These are my links for December 12th through December 14th:
- Christine O’Donnell: I like Mitt Romney’s flip – Christine O’Donnell, who has endorsed Mitt Romney, appeared on CNN Wednesday and inadvertently drew attention to one of the charges against the former Massachusetts governor from his critics — flip-flopping.
“That’s one of the things that I like about him — because he’s been consistent since he changed his mind,” O’Donnell said.
She said Romney is “humble enough” to admit he doesn’t always have the right answers and is open to making the “necessary changes” to his own view points sometimes, but maintained that he never betrays his core convictions.
O’Donnell, who had the backing of the tea partiers in the 2010 when she ran unsuccessfully for Senate in Delaware, also had a strong warning for members of the conservative movement: Don’t choose Newt Gingrich, no matter what.
“People are trying to paint Newt Gingrich as the anti-establishment candidate, which I think is funny because in a lot of the tea party vs. establishment campaigns in 2010, Newt Gingrich was on the side of the establishment,” said O’Donnell. “The tea party I don’t think should be behind Newt at all.”
- The Myth of the New Newt – All that is predictable about Newt is that he is unpredictable, and, irresistibly, an election that should be about President Obama and his record will become about the heat and light generated by his electric performance. That’s the way it was as speaker, too. Eventually, he wore out his welcome in epic fashion. Benjamin Franklin said any houseguest, like a fish, stinks after three days. With the public and his colleagues, Gingrich became the houseguest who would never leave.
More than a decade after he was cashiered as speaker, he’s back on the basis of his superlative handling of the debates. He is better informed and has more philosophical depth than any of his rivals. Despite all his meanderings through the years, he knows how to win over a conservative audience as well as anyone. The debates have held out the alluring promise of a New Newt. But beware: The Old Newt lurks.
- Mitt Romney at Bain – A Photo – I wonder how many times the Dems and Obama will use this photo in their ads?
- Newt Gingrich commits a capital crime – Newt Gingrich — the friend of his detractors, to whom he offers serial vindications — provided on Monday redundant evidence for the proposition that he is the least conservative candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination: He faulted Mitt Romney for committing acts of capitalism.
Gingrich did so when goaded by Romney regarding his, Gingrich’s, self-described service as a “historian” for Freddie Mac, which paid him more handsomely than anyone paid Herodotus. Romney was asked by an interviewer about the $1.6 million Gingrich earned, or at any rate received, from Freddie Mac, the misbegotten government-backed mortgage giant. In the service of Washington’s bipartisan certitude that too few people owned houses, Freddie Mac helped produce the housing bubble and subsequent crash. It did so even though it paid Gingrich $30,000 an hour. That is about what he received if, as he says, he worked for Freddie Mac about an hour a month, telling it that what it was doing was “insane.”
- Christine O’Donnell Endorses Mitt Romney for President – Christine O’Donnell, the former Republican Senate candidate and a tea party favorite during the 2010 election, has officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
O’Donnell made her endorsement during an appearance this evening on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“It was not an easy decision because I too think any of our candidates would make a great president and a great candidate going against Barack Obama,” O’Donnell said. “But I think there are certain tie breakers and I know that in making my decision I might be hurting some people but I think infrastructure and executive experience are important, and for that reason I’m endorsing Mitt Romney.”
“I’m very happy,” she added. “This is not anti-[Newt] Gingrich or anyone else, it’s a pro Gov. Romney endorsement.
“I’m not arrogant to think that my endorsement will make or break his candidacy,” she said, adding she hopes people just “take a second look” at Romney.
- Scarborough: Like Beck, I’d Consider Third-Party Ron Paul Over Gingrich – Today’s Morning Joe has been one long festival of Gingrich gouging.
Joe Scarborough set the tone early. During the opening segment Scarborough announced that, like Glenn Beck, if the choice comes down to Obama vs. Gingrich, and Ron Paul is running as a third-party candidate, “I’m going to give him a long look.”
Last week, Scarborough criticized Gingrich’s political persona, calling him a “terrible person” when he puts on his political helmet. Today, Scarborough focused on his policy differences with Newt, saying that Gingrich is “the opposite of being a small-government conservative.” Watch Scarborough contemplate a vote that he went on to acknowledge would hand the election to Barack Obama.
- Gingrich needs Rudy Giuliani like he needs another marriage – I must say I got a chuckle out of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s comments Monday night on CNN: “My gut tells me right now as I look at it that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate, because I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney to those Reagan Democrats. . . . You won’t have this barrier of possible elitism that I think Obama could exploit pretty effectively.”
His timing couldn’t be worse. We’re beginning to see polling (and there will be more later today) showing that Gingrich lags significantly in electability. The Gallup-USA Today race reported: “In swing states, Obama trails former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among registered voters by 5 points, 43% vs. 48%, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich by 3, 45% vs. 48%. That’s a bit worse than the president fares nationwide, where he leads Gingrich 50%-44% and edges Romney 47%-46%.”
UPDATE (3:35 p.m.): PPP is out with details from its new poll in Iowa. Gingrich is now at 22 percent and his lead is down to one point over Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), with Romney at 16 percent. Gingrich has gone from a plus-31 favorable rating (62/31 percent) to plus-12 (52/40 percent). He’s dropped 11 points with Tea Partyers.
- Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney – When it comes down to the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, former New York mayor and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Monday he thought Gingrich might have an edge.
Speaking to CNN’s Piers Morgan, Giuliani said the former House speaker’s appeal to a wide array of voters would help him, as opposed to potential problems Romney may have in relating to average Americans.
- Trump pulls out of GOP debate – Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will not moderate next month’s GOP debate sponsored by Newsmax.
The reality televison show host’s decision came after most Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in the debate, with only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum agreeing to appear.
- Axelrod Sets Sights on Gingrich – At briefing for reporters, Chicagoan says of the Georgian: “The higher a monkey climbs on the pole the more you can see his butt.”
AND: Doesn’t forget to sneak in a Romney tweak: “Generally his practice has been to bet other people’s money, not his own.”
PLUS: Bonus barb from Bam 2012 spox LaBolt: “The $10,000 bet may end up being Mitt Romney’s grocery-score scanner moment.”
- When Truth Survives Free Speech – Last week, a story came across my desk that seemed to suggest that a blogger had been unfairly nailed with a $2.5 million defamation award after a judge refused to give her standing as a journalist. A businessman who was the target of the blogger’s inquiries brought the suit.
I went to work on a blog post, filled with filial umbrage, saddened that the Man once again had used a boot heel to crush truth and free speech. But after doing a little reporting, I began to think that what scanned as an example of a rich businessman using the power of the courts to silence his critic was actually something else: a case of a blogger using the Web in unaccountable ways to decimate the reputation of someone who didn’t seem to have it coming.
The ruling on whether she was a journalist in the eyes of the law turned out to be a MacGuffin, a detail that was very much beside the point. She didn’t so much report stories as use blogging, invective and search engine optimization to create an alternative reality. Journalists who initially came to her defense started to back away when they realized they weren’t really in the same business.
- Dan Kennedy: The Real Danger in That Bloggers-Aren’t-Journalists Ruling – You may have heard that a Montana blogger must pay a $2.5 million libel judgment because a federal judge ruled she was not a journalist, and was thus not entitled to protect her anonymous sources.
In fact, that’s not quite what happened. The case actually had little to do with whether bloggers have the same right to protect their sources as traditional journalists. But U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez’s opinion nevertheless threatens to weaken long-standing protections against libel suits, and to widen the already-gaping divide between the media and the rest of society.
Let’s take the shield-law issue first.
Crystal Cox, a self-described “investigative blogger,” was sued for libel by Obsidian Financial Group and one of its executives, Kevin Padrick, after Cox wrote that some of their business practices were “illegal” and “fraudulent.”
As part of the discovery process, Obsidian demanded to know the identity of the confidential sources Cox said she had relied on in the course of reporting her story. The trial was to be held in Oregon, and she invoked that state’s shield law, which gives journalists a limited ability to protect their sources.
- More on the journalists-aren’t-bloggers ruling – The redoubtable David Carr has an interesting column in today’s New York Times in which he reports that “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox’s conduct was considerably beyond the pale of what anyone would consider journalism. (My Huffington Post commentary on the case is here.)
But if her behavior was that egregious, then the plaintiffs should have had no problem convincing a jury that she acted negligently (or worse). The negligence standard is a vital constitutional protection regardless of whether those benefitting from it are sympathetic figures.
In order to prove libel, a plaintiff must show that information published or broadcast about him was false and defamatory. Starting with the 1964 case of New York Times v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court began to require a third element as well: fault. The regime that’s in effect today was solidified by the 1974 case of Gertz v. Robert Welch. Here’s what the courts mean by “fault”:
A public official or public figure must show that what was published or broadcast about him was done so with knowing falsity, or with “reckless disregard” of whether it was true or false.
A private figure must show that the defendant acted negligently when it published or broadcast false, defamatory information about the plaintiff.
U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez, in his pretrial ruling, obliterated the fault requirement for any defendant except those he deems to be journalists, ignoring the Supreme Court’s longstanding position that the First Amendment applies equally to all of us — for the “lonely pamphleteer” as much as for major newspaper publishers, as Justice Byron White put it in Branzburg v. Hayes (1972).
Hernandez’s contention that journalists enjoy greater free-speech protections than non-journalists is an outrage, and should not be allowed to stand.
- The Morning Flap: December 12, 2011 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Morning Flap: December 12, 2011 #tcot #catcot