These are my links for August 12th through August 14th:
Newt Gingrich Tells Piers Morgan ‘You Guys Almost Sound Like You’re An Extension of the Obama Campaign’– Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan’s budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, “I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly…You guys almost sound like you’re an extension of the Obama campaign”
BUSTED: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Caught Using Liberal Blog To Attack Ryan Plan– In yet another classic display of the liberal media, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has been caught red-handed using left-wing blog Talking Points Memo to counter Virginia House of Delegates member Barbara Comstock on the House GOP budget.As Ali A. Ackbar of Viral Read discovered:Tonight, she was the substitute host for Anderson Cooper, a program that boasts of its reputation for “keeping [politicians] honest.” During her interview with Virginia House of Delegates Republican member Barbara Comstock, O’Brien became visibly flustered and was actually caught doing finger stress exercises as she attempt to insert editorial commentary while her guest, a former skilled Republican operative, defended the House GOP budget, designed by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.Accidentally, a cameraman captured O’Brien furiously flipping through notes, only to cut out seconds later. What was she viewing?
Footage proves it was a printed email, talking points and opposition research.
The Forgotten History of Ryan’s Medicare Reform– There was a small but instructive moment in 2010, the summer after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that shows why Paul Ryan is so unusual for Washington.A panel at the American Enterprise Institute featured Richard Foster, the Medicare actuary who estimates that ObamaCare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts will cause one of six hospitals to become unprofitable. In the audience was Chip Kahn, the president of a for-profit hospital trade group that lobbied for ObamaCare, who stood up to defend the bargain his industry cut in return for 30 million new subsidized customers.Mr. Foster noted that the cuts, which come via a technical change to Medicare payment rates, apply in perpetuity. But the hospitals only get the extra patients once, so the wedge between costs and benefits for hospitals widens over time.”Well,” Mr. Kahn replied, “you can say, ‘Did you make a bad deal?’ Fortunately I don’t think I’ll probably be working after 2020.” When Mr. Foster pressed him, he joked again, “I’m glad my contract only goes another six years.”
This kind of short-range thinking—and intellectual exhaustion—dominates both parties and their many clients in Washington, in health care especially.Mr. Ryan’s political character has always been different. He saw before anyone else that one era of government was inexorably ending, and that if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
McCain Says Reid’s Claim on Romney’s taxes is Wrong– Sen. John McCain told Jon Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is wrong about his assertion that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, saying his team that vetted the presumptive GOP nominee in 2008 found no such thing.Said McCain: “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
Paul Ryan veep selection draws Romney closer to House GOP– Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate draws his presidential campaign closer to Congress and the House Republican leadership, an association that could carry more risk than reward in the short term.As a former executive and governor who had never served in Washington, Romney had run an outsider campaign and kept a healthy distance from a historically unpopular Congress. The presumptive GOP nominee did not support the 2011 debt ceiling deal negotiated by his party’s congressional leadership (and which Ryan backed), and he did not immediately endorse the Ryan-authored budget plan that the House has passed two years in a row.
Marco Rubio, Chris Christie get key speaking roles at RNC– In a showcase role on his party’s biggest stage, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney for his speech to accept the nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention.It is an introduction aimed at giving Romney a boost from a rising star in a must-win state, but it will almost certainly further enhance Rubio’s standing, too.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite among fiscal conservatives in the party, will give the keynote address, the convention announced early Tuesday.”We have an opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems, and make bold choices, we will see America’s comeback,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for his take-no-prisoners speaking
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin raise questions by moving into expensive $3.3 million Manhattan apartment– Anthony Weiner’s wife not only took him back, she took him back in style — moving with the shamed pol into a luxurious, $3.3 million Manhattan pad owned by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor, The Post has learned.After quitting his Queens House seat amid a notorious sexting scandal, Weiner and beautiful, brainy spouse Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, landed in the sprawling, 12th-floor Park Avenue trophy residence owned by Rosen Partners LLC, which is headed by close Clinton pal Jack Rosen, records show.Rosen — who oversees the American Jewish Congress — is an influential international political force. He’s been a guest at the White House, flies the Clintons in his private plane, and has poured money into both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns over the years, according to campaign-finance records.
Treasury: U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout– The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.
The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.
The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.
Hey Paul Ryan haters, your congressional insider trader suspect actually is Sheldon Whitehouse– Paul Ryan falsely was accused today by left-wing bloggers, most notably Matthew Yglesias (formerly of Think Progress now of Slate), of insider trading based on confidential information provided by the Treasury Secretary to Congress on September 18, 2008.That day, Ryan traded Citigroup stock.The accusation fell apart when someone noticed that the congressional meeting was in the evening of September 18, after the markets closed and Ryan already had completed his trades. Yglesias issued a retraction, and even New York Magazine defended Ryan on the charge of insider trading (which at the time would have been legal for members of Congress).If Yglesias and the rest of the left-blogosphere want to chase someone for insider trading based solely on the timing of trades around the September 18 congressional briefing, then they need look no further than their hero Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as I detailed on November 19, 2011, Sheldon Whitehouse, luckiest investor in America?
Poll Watch: Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick– Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.One of the largest movements on Ryan’s favorability numbers was the 21-point jump among conservative Republicans, but the initial movement was positive among independents as well, doubling from 19 to 39 percent.
Retirees Shower Paul Ryan With Contributions– Democrats say presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan is a senior citizen’s worst nightmare, but retirees seem to have no problem writing him checks.One of the most prolific fundraisers in Congress, Ryan has drawn nearly $400,000 from retirees this election cycle, dramatically outperforming most House lawmakers, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.The seven-term Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget chairman has come under fire for the controversial budget proposal he released last year that called for dramatically reshaping Medicare and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. The plan would transition Medicare into a voucher-like system by 2022 and strike the 2010 health care law – two ideas that Democrats say would be devastating for older Americans.Just about 13 percent of residents of Ryan’s district, which blends the wealthy Milwaukee suburbs with some of the state’s largest industrial areas, are 65 years or older, ranking 203rd out of the 437 districts, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to 2010 census data.
By comparison, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who represents more people over age 65 than any another Member of Congress, according to 2010 census figures, has raised just $113,000 from retirees so far this cycle.
California Pension Reform: Legal pension hikes: air time, golden handshake– If the Legislature attempts pension reform this month, one of the targets may be “air time,” a decade-old policy that allows CalPERS and CalSTRS members to boost their pensions by buying up to five years of additional service credit.Another older but also colorfully named policy, the “golden handshake,” allows management to encourage early retirement by boosting pensions with two years of additional service credit.Some regard air time as an abuse, even though employees make a payment that is supposed to cover the cost. There is the question of fairness, a benefit not available to all citizens, and of taxpayer risk if long-term investment earnings are below the forecast.The golden handshake, with employers presumably paying the cost, has the same investment risk and often is offered only to higher-paid employees. The CalPERS version also gets competition from a private firm, Public Agency Retirement Services.
Air time and the golden handshake were linked in a bill veto message in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis, who signed a major state worker pension increase, SB 400 in 1999, criticized for triggering unsustainable pension increases throughout the state.
California moving forward on plan to upgrade schools, seek 2014 bond– State officials have set to work on an ambitious plan to upgrade California’s aging and outdated school facilities and, in doing so, lay the groundwork for a 2014 bond measure to help pay for it.The goal is to transform existing school structures into 21st Century learning environments – clean, safe and technologically-advanced with sustainable, cost-efficient energy systems – for the state’s six million students.The first step, officials said, is to create a comprehensive inventory on the status of the state’s classrooms to assess what actually needs to get done.“It’s vital that we have a plan,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said during a hearing on school facility needs last week. “I think it’s going to be a springboard for action in a way that the Legislature can move to a place in 2014 where we can go to the voters to say ‘let’s re-up; let’s invest again in a program that’s even more targeted toward the needs of our students.”
Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks– Pedro Ruiz of Madrid, a 29-year-old unemployed plumber, has been putting off dental surgery to fix his crooked teeth.“I don’t want to spend in one visit to a dentist what it takes me 10 days to earn,” said Ruiz.In the midst of Europe’s worst financial crisis in a generation, countless other patients are making similar decisions across the continent, doing without everything from checkups to tooth implants as unemployment has surged and governments have reined in health spending. Many are putting their health at risk.Though no hard Europe-wide data on dental spending exists, the cutbacks by governments and individuals mean oral cancers and other illnesses won’t be spotted earlier, when they’re more easily treatable, said Kamini Shah, honorary secretary at the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry.
“The mouth is a mirror to the rest of the body,” said Shah.
The effects of the financial crisis on dental care are also evident for companies that supply equipment. Shares of the world’s biggest makers of dental implants, Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NOBN) and Straumann Holding AG (STMN), have plunged 90 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from their peaks in 2007.
Declining sales in Europe is “the new normal,” said Ingeborg Oie, an analyst with Jefferies International Ltd.
“If Europe continues to plod along this trajectory then we’re not going to be out of this for a few years,” she said.
In Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate among countries using the euro at 24.8 percent, patients are choosing cheaper, removable dentures costing a few hundred euros instead of permanent implants that can cost thousands of euros, Manuel “Alfonso” Villa, president of the Spanish Dental Association said in a telephone interview from his clinic in Gijon, northern Spain.
“People are very scared about spending,” he said. “We’ve noticed a significant slowdown since 2009, but 2011 and this year have been disastrous.” Patients are delaying procedures “unless it hurts too much,” he said.
Ruiz, the Spanish plumber, earned 2,500 euros ($3,070) a month before losing his job in January. He just finished a temporary job that paid him 1,200 euros and decided to bank it rather than spend it on his teeth because “it’s not a life-or- death matter.”
10 reasons why Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney become US President – Mail Online – Toby Harnden’s blog– Until a fortnight ago, it looked like Mitt Romney wanted to make the safest, least dramatic vice-presidential pick possible, a running mate who would be the unPalin – someone who would be a news story for the day but would not alter the shape of the campaign.Someone like Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. Either this approach was a feint all along or something changed as the 2012 campaign descended into petty, slimy negativity and Romney began to slip slightly in the polls despite a terrible economy and unemployment rising to 8.3 percent.Choosing Ryan is a bold and surprising – though by no means as outlandish as Sarah Palin in 2008 – choice. Vice-presidential running mates seldom have a major impact on the outcome of a presidential election. But this time, Ryan might a difference – here are 10 reasons why:
Why Romney Chose Ryan – A Choice Between Stagnation and Renewal– Mitt Romney did much more this weekend than announce a running mate. He unveiled a significant change in strategy. The 2012 election is now a choice, not just a referendum.Conservatives have spent much of this summer reassuring themselves. They’ve pointed out the extraordinary sums President Obama has thrown at crippling Mr. Romney. They’ve noted how ugly and brutal those attacks have been. They’ve comforted themselves that, for all the smears, Mr. Romney is within a few points of the incumbent in national tracking polls.Yet the same can be said on the other side. The economy is teetering, the deficit exploding, the nation unhappy with his signature legislation. Daily, Mr. Romney beats the White House with these failures. But he has barely moved the polling dial.
VP candidate Ryan returns to Wisconsin to adoring crowd– Brushing aside tears and responding to raucous cheers, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returned to Wisconsin on Sunday for an emotional homecoming in front of thousands of people on the grounds of the Waukesha County Expo Center. “It’s good to be home,” Ryan said in a speech that wove personal history and national aspiration.A day after he was named Mitt Romney’s running mate and vaulted on to the Republican Party’s biggest political stage, Ryan spoke of his family’s deep roots in Wisconsin and his ties to Janesville, where “we live on the block I grew up on.”
Ann Romney, former Poland President Lech Walesa and Mitt Romney
These are my links for July 27th through July 30th:
A Trip to Poland, With an Eye on Swing States– Mitt Romney’s arrival in Poland on Monday provides an opportunity for the Republican candidate to embrace the ideals and values of one of America’s closest allies in front of a global audience.His campaign hopes they are watching in the Rust Belt.Mr. Romney arrived in Gdansk for the start of two days of talks with Polish leaders, to be capped off by remarks from Warsaw on Tuesday. Aides have signaled that he will focus on the relationship between the two countries and strategic concerns about Russia.But at home — where votes count — the trip’s imagery may be more important than the specifics of Mr. Romney’s policy pronouncements.
Polish voters make up large chunks of the electorate in several swing states that Mr. Romney must win if he wants to capture the White House in November. His campaign is clearly hoping that the high-profile visit this week will help woo those voters.
Walesa Endorses Romney– Lech Walesa today endorsed Mitt Romney for president, saying he hoped the Republican presidential candidate is “successful.”From the pool report:Flash: Lech Walesa, the Nobel Prize winner and former Polish president, has effectively endorsed RomneyYour pool was brought in at the end of the meeting and heard Walesa say the below thru a translator:
Walesa: “I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Gov Romney, get your success — be successful!”
2012 Campaign Very Different Than Kerry vs. Bush– Does the 2012 campaign look a lot like the 2004 campaign? Many Democrats think so.And there are some resemblances. As in 2004, current polling suggests a close race and shows only about a dozen states in contention.As in 2004, the incumbent has been running negative ads against the challenger, hoping to disqualify him as Bill Clinton disqualified Bob Dole in 1996. Many Democrats think that Barack Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s business career will have the same effect that they think the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads had on John Kerry in 2004.But, as William Galston of the Brookings Institution, an alumnus of the Clinton White House, writes in The New Republic, “the evidence in favor of all these propositions is remarkably thin.”
Galston points out that in 2004 no single issue was as prominent as the economy is this year and that on most significant issues George W. Bush had a clear edge by the end of the campaign. He cites polling evidence that the Swift Boat ads hurt Kerry less than did Bush ads replaying his March statement that “I did actually vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”
Also, he points out that many more voters this year think the nation is seriously off on the wrong track and that the economy is in trouble. Obama’s job rating now is weaker than Bush’s was then.
Galston, as usual, is on target. His analysis tracks with the statement of Democratic pollster Peter Hart (for whom I worked from 1974 to 1981) that Obama’s chances are “no better than 50 percent.”
U.S. crackdown on online-poker companies forces many players to flee the country– From his oceanfront balcony, Tyler Forrester glanced out at the Pacific surf on the beach. Palm trees rustled in the breeze.“Tough life I’m living,” Forrester said, cackling at his own humor.Forrester, 28, makes his living in a bedroom before two computer monitors playing online games of Texas Hold ’Em for hours on end. He’s a professional poker player, and a very successful one at that.Forrester, who grew up in Dillon, Mont., is one of probably 150 American professional online-poker players who flooded Costa Rica after U.S. federal prosecutors went after the founders of the three largest online-poker companies.
Paul Ryan’s Influence on the G.O.P. – ne day in March, 2009, two months after the Inauguration of President Obama, Representative Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, sat behind a small table in a cramped meeting space in his Capitol Hill office. Hunched forward in his chair, he rattled off well-rehearsed critiques of the new President’s policies and America’s lurch toward a “European” style of government. Ryan’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all died before their sixtieth birthdays, so Ryan, who is now forty-two, could be forgiven if he seemed like a man in a hurry. Tall and wiry, with a puff of wavy dark hair, he is nearly as well known in Washington for his punishing early-morning workouts as he is for his mastery of the federal budget. Asked to explain his opposition to Obama’s newly released budget, he replied, “I don’t have that much time.”
Cheney: Obama worse than Carter, ‘one of our weakest presidents’– Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in his first interview since a heart transplant operation in March, blasted President Obama calling him “one of our weakest presidents.”“Obviously, I’m not a big fan of President Obama,” said Cheney in an excerpt from an interview with ABC News aired Monday on “Good Morning America.” “I think he’s been one of our weakest presidents. I fundamentally disagree with him philosophically, be hard put to find any Democratic president I disagree with more.”Asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl if Obama was “worse than Jimmy Carter in your perspective,” Cheney responded “yes.”
Bill Clinton to Have Marquee Role at Democratic Convention– Former President Bill Clinton is set to play a central part in the Democratic convention, aides said, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.The prominent role of Mr. Clinton, which is scheduled to be announced on Monday, signals an effort by the Obama campaign to pull out all the stops to rally Democrats when they gather for their party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. An even more important audience will be the voters across the country who will see the address carried by television networks
Voters say Romney, Obama equal on issues of character– Mitt Romney holds thin advantages over President Obama on leadership, personal values and honesty, according to a new poll for The Hill.The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, suggests voters see little difference between the candidates on character issues that Democrats have cited as key to Obama’s appeal.It found 48 percent of voters consider Romney the stronger leader, compared to 44 percent who favored Obama.
Americans Want Next President to Prioritize Jobs, Corruption – Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit score highest when Americans rate 12 issues as priorities for the next president to address. Americans assign much less importance to increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and dealing with environmental concerns.
Romney screwed up in London. Does it matter?– What’s undeniable: former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s trip to London did not go as planned. Let’s review:* He called security problems for the Olympics “disconcerting.” The gaffe led to jabs from Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Romney, who has promised a “No Apologies” approach to the world, was forced to repeatedly backtrack.* He talked about his meeting with the leader of MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service. Such meetings are normally kept secret.* Anonymous officials snarked to the Daily Mail that Romney was a “total car crash,” “worse than Sarah Palin,” and “apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.”
* The trip spawned a trending Twitter topic: #romneyshambles.
What’s less clear: whether anyone (outside of the “small island” of England) cares.
“We’re not worried about overseas headlines. We’re worried about voters back here at home in America,” Louisisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Thursday in Romney’s defense. He makes a good point.
Team Romney Readies For “Saturday Obama Surprise”– After a disastrous 48-hour news cycle in London, the Romney campaign “wants the world to know” that they are prepared for a “Saturday Obama Surprise,” of unknown specifications.”We want to communicate to the world that we are ready for whatever they throw at us,” a Romney adviser told BuzzFeed unsolicited. “After poor economic numbers today, we are preparing for them to throw out absurdities, distractions, and anything else they can to divert from the economy.”When asked why Romney’s camp expected a sneak attack from the Obama campaign, the advisor said their guard was up because of “how they’ve conducted themselves in the past.”So far, the campaign’s preparations have entailed assembling an army of surrogates to fill the message void while Romney is out of the country, unable to attack Obama himself because “politics end at the water’s edge.”
The Opening Hypocrisies – However, especially in turbulent and chaotic times, when nations are choosing whether to pursue freedom or religious zealotry, civil war or reconciliation and respect for human rights or inhumanity, I wish we’d stop perpetrating the idea that all you have to do to be part of the “international community” is to show up. No, to be part of the “global community” and to encourage “common humanity and universal ideals” countries must foster liberty, abhor violence, practice tolerance and defend human rights. We shouldn’t blur the distinction between those who uphold those values and those who threaten them.
Strip Clubs in Tampa Are Ready to Cash In on G.O.P. Convention– Over at the back door of the 2001 Odyssey, a limo-size tent with flaps — especially designed for discretion and camera-shy guests — is ready to go up. Déjà Vu is welcoming extra “talent” from around the country in its V.I.P. rooms.And Thee DollHouse is all Americana: women plan to slip out of red, white and blue corsets and offer red, white and blue vodka. The headliner that week is expected to bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain ex-governor from a wilderness state, known for her strong jaw and devotion to guns and God.“She’s a dead ringer for her,” said Warren Colazzo, co-owner of Thee DollHouse. “It’s just a really good gimmick to get publicity.”As Tampa gears up for the Republican National Convention, the biggest party it has ever held, the city and its businesses are primping and polishing for the August arrival of tens of thousands of visitors. Like it or not — mostly not, for city officials — Tampa’s well-known strip clubs have joined the welcome wagon.
PETA: Let’s bet on Chuck Grassley’s death– Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley is chewing out the Agriculture Department for promoting “Meatless Mondays” for their employees, promising to eat more meat to make up the difference — a move PETA says it will counter by taking “informal bets” on when the Republican senator will die.“Shame USDA. One has to wonder whether the Dept of Ag supports Iowa farmers since it is promoting ‘meatless Monday’ for USDA employees,” Grassley said Wednesday night on Twitter. “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday.”
Marco Rubio to raise cash for Mitt Romney in Texas– Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will head to Texas next month to raise cash for Mitt Romney.Rubio, a rising Republican star, and Romney’s brother, Scott, will headline two fundraising events for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Aug. 15 in San Antonio, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.On behalf of the Romney Victory Fund, the two will host receptions at the Marriott Rivercenter in downtown San Antonio. Guests can get a photo with Rubio and Scott Romney for $5,000 per person. The general reception costs $250 per person.Later that night, Rubio and Scott Romney will be on hand at a $25,000-per-couple dinner at the San Antonio home of Nancy and Edward Steves, who previously backed the failed presidential campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The fundraising trip will come two-and-a-half weeks after Rubio stumps for Romney this weekend at the senator’s former elementary school in Las Vegas.
Saturday’s visit to Ronnow Elementary School, where Rubio attended as a child, represents the first solo campaign event for the vice presidential prospect. In recent days, close Rubio allies — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Romney adviser Al Cardenas — have urged the presidential hopeful to tap the freshman senator for the No. 2 job.
But most pundits believe Romney will go with a safer pick, such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
Mitt Romney Namedrops Marco Rubio On Piers Morgan, Fueling Veep Speculation– Mitt Romney randomly mentioned Sen. Marco Rubio during a Piers Morgan interview, reigniting speculation that the Florida Republican will be the former Massachusetts governor’s running mate.n an advance clip posted on CNN from an interview airing Thursday night, Romney mentioned Rubio while discussing folks who “attack success.” The pushbacks against supposed attacks on achievement has been Romney’s answer to President Barack Obama and his surrogates’ attempts at labeling him as “out of touch” with middle-class America.In addressing the attacks, Romney, with wife Ann in tow, said, “I heard Marco Rubio the other day. He said, you know, we were poor living in Miami. We saw these homes across town. My parents never said to us, ‘Gee, why don’t those people gives us some of what they have?’
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“They said, instead, ‘Aren’t we lucky to live in a country where with education and hard work we might be able to achieve that ourselves?'”
Speculation around Romney’s veep pick is heating up with the Republican National Covention in Tampa, Fla., just over a month away, when the presumptive nominee will be take up the party’s standard.
Once a Rebel, McCain Now Walks the Party Line– As Election Day edges close and most members of Congress yearn to flee Washington, Senator John McCain of Arizona is more present than ever.Only there is a new iteration of the Republican lawmaker and defeated presidential candidate who has been a constant in the capital even as he regularly transforms himself. Absent is the maverick who bucked his party on the environment and campaign finance, and verbally towel-snapped Republicans and Democrats alike on the Senate floor.Gone, too, is the far-right leaning Mr. McCain of 2010, who found himself in a primary fight back home that caused him to retreat from his stances on immigration and global warming.Mr. McCain instead appears to have entered Version 3 of his long and multipronged Senate career — partisan warrior and party stalwart. He takes to the Sunday TV talk shows, the Senate floor and the Capitol hallways that are filled with more reporters than mosquitoes at a garden party to press his party’s agenda on taxes, military spending and national security.
Pentagon official says civilian workforce could get layoff notices 4 days before election– Tens of thousands of civilian employees in the Defense Department could receive warnings about potential layoffs four days before the November election if impending spending cuts aren’t averted, hitting presidential battleground states such as Virginia and Florida hard.The alerts would come in addition to any that major defense contractors might send out at the same time to their workers under an often-overlooked law, a prospect that is unnerving the White House roughly three months before voters go to the polls.
These are my links for June 19th through June 20th:
Obama grants Holder request on ‘Furious’ documents as contempt vote looms– President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway.If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on committee to pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the legislative and executive branches.After Holder made the request to Obama via letter on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Wednesday informing him that the president has granted the request.
Obama asserts executive privilege on Fast and Furious documents– President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, according to a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.”I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Cole wrote in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.”We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee’s concerns and to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” Cole continued. “Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.”
Food Stamp Fiasco – The Senate refuses to cut $20 billion out of $770 billion– The next time someone moans about Washington “austerity,” tell them about the Senate’s food stamp votes on Tuesday. Democrats and a few Republicans united to block even modest reform in a welfare program that has exploded in the last decade and is set to spend $770 billion in the next 10 years.Yes, $770 billion on a single program. And you wonder why the U.S. had its credit-rating downgraded?When the food stamp program began in the 1970s, it was designed to help about 1 of 50 Americans who were in severe financial distress. But thanks to eligibility changes first by President George W. Bush as part of the 2002 farm bill and then by President Obama in the 2008 stimulus, food stamps are becoming the latest middle-class entitlement.
So, What’s up with Marco Rubio? – This morning, I reported that Mitt Romney had not asked Marco Rubio to take the first steps in the vice presidential vetting process. As my report said, “He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.”
This afternoon the Washington Post matched that reporting. And in a taped interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Romney brushed off questions about whether Rubio was being vetted.
“I get a kick out of some of the speculation that goes on,” Romney told Hannity. “And I’m not going to comment on the process, of course. But I can tell you this. Only Beth Myers and I know who’s being vetted.”
A few hours later, however, Romney called in reporters traveling with him to give an entirely different response.
“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney told reporters, adding reports that said Rubio was not being vetted were “entirely false.”
“There was a story that originated today, apparently at ABC, based on reports of supposedly outside, unnamed advisers of mine,” Romney said. “I can’t imagine who such people are but I can tell you this. They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself.”
Obama’s grandfather Stanley Armour Dunham tortured by the British?– A new biography of Barack Obama has established that his grandfather was not, as is related in the President’s own memoir, detained by the British in Kenya and found that claims that he was tortured were a fabrication.’Barack Obama: The Story’ by David Maraniss catalogues dozens of instances in which Obama deviated significantly from the truth in his book ‘Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance’. The 641-page book punctures the carefully-crafted narrative of Obama’s life.One of the enduring myths of Obama’s ancestry is that his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who served as a cook in the British Army, was imprisoned in 1949 by the British for helping the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebels and held for several months.
Elizabeth Warren loses it, lashes out at “right wing extremist” (me)– As you know, Elizabeth Warren has been caught in a series of at best misleading and at worst false responses since The Boston Herald first broke the story in late April that Harvard Law promoted her as Native American in the mid-to-late 1990s.First she played dumb and said she didn’t know why. But over the course of several weeks digging by bloggers and newspapers punctured Warren’s story, and revealed or forced Warren to admit she listed herself as Native American to get on a list of “Minority Law Teachers” in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, that she informed both Penn Law and Harvard Law that she was Native American for federal reporting purposes, and that she was on a list at Harvard during her “visiting year” of “Women of Color in Legal Academia.”Genealogical tracing of Warren’s alleged Cherokee ancestry by a group of Cherokees led by Twila Barnes has shown that Warren has no Cherokee heritage. The documentation and research has been posted for all to see. Anger at Warren extends beyond Cherokees.Yet Warren persists in the claim to this day, raising bizarre defenses such as her Aunt Bea told her her ancestors had high cheekbones “like all the Indians” and that her parents supposedly had to elope because her mother was 1/16 Native American.
Working-Class Whites a Barrier to a Democratic House – Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously remarked that all politics is local. But this year, it’s the rhetoric of John Edwards that rings truer–in assessing the House race landscape, there are indeed two Americas. President Obama believes the way to win a second term is by rallying elements of the party base, but House Democrats trying to take back the majority face the added burden of winning the votes of increasingly disillusioned white working-class voters.
These are my (Flap) links for June 18th through June 19th:
A White House mess– One little-known fact about the world of journalism is that news organizations prepare obituaries of famous people while those people are still alive, so that packages of material will be ready to go when a death is announced.Over the past week, journalists have been writing articles that have the quality of these sorts of pre-obituaries — only the event they’re anticipating isn’t the last breath of an individual but the defeat of President Obama’s re-election bid.Even more striking, these journalists aren’t conservatives indulging in their deepest wish, but rather liberals who admire Obama and want to see him win a second term.Al Hunt, who was for decades the voice of liberal conventional wisdom as the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, declared yesterday in his Bloomberg column that Obama “needs an intervention.”
The Sad Demise of the Occupy Movement– Remember when the Democratic Party saw the Occupy movement as the Left’s equivalent of the Tea Party? That lasted until it became obvious that 1) Occupy wasn’t actually much of a movement, and 2) to the extent it existed, it was an embarrassment. Occupy is in the process of fading away, not with a bang but a whimper, and with more criminal prosecutions to its credit than normal citizens converted to the leftist cause.But, much as a dead frog’s legs will continue kicking for a while, a few remnants of Occupy cling to a fitful existence. To see what the “movement” is up to these days, check out this online diary that documents the Occupy Caravan. The Caravan is a group of nine leftists who are driving, in two minivans, from California to Philadelphia. The diary, by one James Jennison, is hilarious but sad. You can’t help feeling sorry for this ragtag band of misfits who evidently think they are making some kind of political statement
Another Ridiculous Lie From Liberal Media – Distorting Romney’s “WAWAs” Hoagie Speech– Another example of how ridiculous the media is in their uncompromising struggle to distort the truth in order to make sure Obama wins and Conservatives lose.Today it’s being widely reported that Romney had a moment were he was amazed at the existence of WAWAs, a convenience/gas store, and the electronic touchtone ordering of sandwiches. They have spun this to make it seem like he’s out of touch – BUT THE VIDEO IS EDITED DECEPTIVELY:
MSNBC mischaracterizes Romney remarks– MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad — you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”
Will GOP demand Plame-style leak investigation?– A lot of lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are angry about the damaging national security leaks that have come out of the Obama administration. But Republicans are probably angrier, and their feelings can be explained in two words: Valerie Plame.The Plame affair was a complicated, tortured episode in which the George W. Bush White House was accused of having deliberately leaked classified information — the identity of an undercover CIA agent — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the Iraq war. Now, many Republicans believe the Barack Obama White House has deliberately leaked classified information — among other things, details of the U.S. cyberwar against Iran — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the presidential campaign.
Dem hopes of taking House dim– Democratic hopes of recapturing the House are dimming as a series of race-by-race setbacks and economic uncertainty suggest that the 25 seats they need to net might be out of reach.The Hill projects that Democrats will net somewhere between 10 and 15 seats, assuming the presidential election remains a close contest.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given her party a better than 50-50 chance of wresting control of the lower chamber — but missed opportunities in specific races and increasing economic worries have put that prediction in doubt.“The environment certainly isn’t as good as it was six months ago for Democrats,” a senior Democratic strategist who works on House races told The Hill, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to comment candidly.“Democrats are way off track of where they need to be to regain the majority,” said David Wasserman, the House race editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report
Marco Rubio Not Being Vetted to Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate– Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
After spat with former construction management company, officials get projects back on track– Months after the El Monte Union High School District cut ties with its former construction management company, details are emerging about related issues that have come at a hefty expense to the district.A construction update last week revealed that the district is paying the price for design plans that didn’t have the required state approval before the construction work began at several campuses.In one case, work began on a new two-story classroom building without the plans getting state approved, resulting in the district being forced to make extensive revisions.In another a much publicized case, the state didn’t sign off on plans for new heating and air conditioning systems in two high school auditoriums before they were installed. The buildings have been closed for months as officials work to rectify the issue.The projects are part of a $148 million bond measure approved by voters in 2008. After parting ways with its construction management company Alsaleh Project Management (APM) last year and hiring another firm, officials have been working to get projects back on track. But it hasn’t been easy, or cheap.The costs of some construction projects under the bond measure have increased by up to 36 percent over what was originally budgeted, according to last week’s construction update.
While some of the rising costs were the result of upgrades desired by district leaders, part of the increase is related
A Guide to How Obama’s New Immigration Policy Will Work, And a Word of Caution– The policy memo directs ICE and Customs to begin using their on-the-ground discretion immediately. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ordered to implement what is known as “deferred action” for this category of immigrants within 60 days. It’s a good sign that the administration is moving quickly. But bear in mind, deferred action is exactly what it sounds like. It means the federal government isn’t placing you in removal proceedings now. In fact, the memo says specifically that the deferral is good for two years before the next re-evaluation. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. “The question becomes: What if the person is granted deferred action and then they turn 30,” Schwamkrug asks. “Does that mean it won’t be renewed?”If it isn’t, and that person doesn’t have some sort of legal status, current policy is to automatically forward them to immigration court for removal proceedings. Two years-worth of work authorization may be small recompense for imminent deportation.Perhaps the biggest wild card here is the November presidential election. Obama’s policy is just that. It doesn’t amount to citizenship, nor is it law, enacted by Congress. You can bet one of Mitt Romney’s first acts as president would be to rescind Napolitano’s memo. And then what? Young people who have lived their lives as Americans announce their presence as undocumented immigrants and become subject to removal proceedings. “You’re luring people out, dangling a carrot of employment authorization in exchange for putting themselves on the radar,” Schwamkrug says. “As attorneys, we’d have to lay everything out to our clients and let the clients make the choice. We can’t tell them what to do. But I personally think there’s cause for concern.”In other words, the undocumented American may rejoice, but must remain mindful that there’s no permanence to Obama’s extended hand. And in just five short months, it may be snatched away altogether.
Scalia and Ginsburg Drop Hints about Obamacare’s Fate at the Supreme Court– The Supreme Court is set to issue its ruling on the epic Obamacare case, Florida v. HHS, at the end of June. Two of the High Court’s justices, Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dropped hints this weekend as to what the Court might do. Between what they said, and the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing, we can start to think about what the Court may do—and when.On Friday, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at the annual Court review of the American Constitution Society, a group “dedicated to…countering the activist conservative legal movement.” Ginsburg said that she was quite aware of the controversy surrounding the Obamacare case. “Some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”
Germany says renegotiating EU pact ‘not possible’– The German government on Monday ruled out reworking the European Union’s fiscal pact despite calls to do so by French president-elect Francois Hollande.”It is not possible to renegotiate the fiscal pact,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.He noted that 25 of the 27 EU member states had already signed the accord imposing strict budgetary discipline in March after major wrangling.
Hollande has called for a shift in strategy toward more growth-oriented measures including more public spending.
But Seibert said Merkel would not accept “deficit spending” to feed economic expansion, and believed in “growth through structural reforms” such as reducing the cost of job creation as pursued by Germany over the last decade.
Yet he dismissed suggestions that the apparently conflicting policies would put Merkel on a collision course with Germany’s closest ally, insisting she was ready for an open dialogue.
“We will see what proposals and ideas he has and go from there,” Seibert said, referring to Hollande.
He noted that Merkel was also a firm believer in promoting growth as a path out of the debt crisis.
“Growth is not a new issue but rather the second pillar of our fiscal policy, and not just since yesterday,” he said.
Hollande faces battle with Berlin over growth– Fresh from the election campaign, president-elect Francois Hollande faces a new battle with France’s European partners, in particular Germany, to add a growth pact to balance the EU’s new compact on strict budgetary discipline.The handover of power by Nicolas Sarkozy should take place by May 15 at the latest, but the Socialist will immediately begin consultations with EU partners on his emblematic campaign initiative, according to his advisors.The goal is to advance the proposal on a growth compact to the stage of a memorandum that would be transmitted to European capitals for consideration by the end of the month.
The fiscal compact treaty requiring cutting deficits and debt was signed at the beginning of March by 25 EU states and has already been ratified by several.
Socialist Hollande triumphs in French presidential poll– François Hollande has won France’s presidential election, giving the country its first Socialist president in almost two decades, exit polls showed Sunday.According to Ipsos polling institute, the left-wing candidate took 51.7% of the vote to incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy’s 48.3%.Celebrations are underway at the iconic Place de la Bastille in central Paris, the same spot where the last Socialist to win a presidential election, François Mitterrand, celebrated his first victory back in 1981.