Campaign Recap September 19, 2011: GOP Candidates Gang-up on Rick Perry Attack Social Security Position at the CNN / Tea Party GOP Republican Presidential Debate


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.


Chip Litherland for The New York Times

Republican presidential candidates before their debate in Tampa, Fla. More Photos »


Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website —

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

  • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
  • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
  • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
  • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
  • Rick Perry’s ‘Ponzi scheme’ problem: new evidence it’s real: Gov. Rick Perry’s inflammatory language on Social Security doesn’t sit well with independents, though it’s a wash for Republican voters, a new Gallup poll shows…. – CS Monitor, 9-16-11


Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts

“I still have that same old dopey same old answer that I’m sure you guys are getting sick of hearing, and that is I’m still thinking about it, praying about it, contemplating, talking to my family. I’m sick of giving the same answer, believe me. I’m anxious to give an answer and get on with life one way or the other.” — Sarah Palin on Fox News 9-12-11


Full Text Campaign Buzz September 12, 2011: CNN / Tea Party GOP Republican Presidential Debate — Candidates Gang Up on Rick Perry — Target Social Security (Complete Transcript) CNN, 9-12-11

Live blog of CNN’s first-ever Tea Party Republican Debate CNN, 9-12-11

Fact-checking the Republican presidential debate San Francisco Chronicle, 9-12-11

Jon Huntsman: “Yesterday, we were reminded how extraordinary this country is … Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are deeply divided.”

Herman Cain: “I am the only non-politician on this stage tonight.”

Michele Bachmann: “I brought the voice of the tea party to the United States Congress.”

Mitt Romney: “Like you, I recognize that America’s economy is in crisis.”

Rick Perry: “I simply want to get America work again and make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.”

Ron Paul: “My goal has always been to promote the cause of liberty and to obey the Constitution.”

Newt Gingrich: “In the spirit of 9/12, I hope to work with you to fundamentally, profoundly change Washington.”

Rick Santorum: “I won two elections [in Pennsylvania] without having to change my policies or my party to win.”

“We’re having that conversation, Governor. We’re running for president.” — Mitt Romney

“A program that’s been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we’re not going to take that away.” — Rick Perry

“The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.” — Rick Perry

“If you’ve been in the state of Texas for three years, if you’re working towards your college degree, and if you are working and pursuing citizenship in the state of Texas, you pay in-state tuition there. It doesn’t make any difference what the sound of your last name is, that’s the American way.” — Rick Perry

“The idea you’re going to build a wall from Brownsville to El Paso and go left to Tijuana is not reality. What you gotta have is boots on the ground … the aviation assets in the air. We understand and know how to secure that border, but the federal government needs to step up and do their constitutional duty and secure the border with Mexico.” — Rick Perry

“Of course we build a fence, and of course we do not give in-state tuition credits to people who have come here illegally.” — Mitt Romney

“I would put a little damper on this, but I don’t want to offend the governor, because he might raise my taxes or something.” — Ron Paul

“I think Gov. Perry would agree that if you’re dealt four aces, that doesn’t make you a terrific poker player.” — Mitt Romney

“Well, I was going to say Mitt you were doing pretty good until you got to talking poker.” — Rick Perry

“For Rick to say we can’t secure the border is pretty much a treasonous statement.” — Jon Huntsman

“You’ve got Governor Romney, who called it a fraud in his book ‘No Apology.’ I don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain or not.” — Jon Huntsman

“We could spend all night talking about where Mitt’s been on all the issues and that would take forever.” — Jon Huntsman

Perry Is Target as Republican Candidates Take Aim: The presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry and pressed him to expound upon his views on Social Security and a vaccination program for teenage girls…. – NYT, 9-12-11

Perry assailed by GOP rivals, defends his record: Attacked from all sides, Texas Gov. Rick Perry softened his rhetoric if not his position on Social Security in a snarky campaign debate Monday night and fended off attacks on his record creating jobs and requiring the vaccination of schoolgirls against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted virus…. – AP, 9-12-11

    • Factbox: Social Security central in Republican debate: Republican presidential candidates on Monday traded barbs over their positions on Social Security but avoided deep discussion of possible solutions to a coming funding crunch in the retirement program.
      Here are some important dates and possible choices lawmakers will weigh on Social Security as 77 million older Americans — Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 — begin to draw benefits…. – Reuters, 9-12-11
    • A Ben Bernanke treason trial: Michele Bachmann refuses to respond to a question about Rick Perry’s “treasonous” comment on Ben Bernanke, saying, “As president of the US I would not be reappointing Ben Bernanke but during the bailout … I worked behind the scenes against the bailout. the enabling act legislation is written so broadly that congress is giving the federal reserve unlimited power.”
      Pushed, she said, “That’s for Gov Perry to make that decision. my decision is i would not appoint Ben Bernanke.”
      Perry, at his turn, stood by the remark, saying, “I said if you are allowing the federal reserve to be allowed to be used for political purposes it would be almost treasonous.”…. – Politico, 9-12-11
    • Jabbing over Social Security, Romney takes on Perry: a look at key moments in the GOP debate:
      Big moment: To open the debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney immediately went after each other on Social Security — with Perry defending his inflammatory language and Romney accusing Perry of scaring seniors.
      “It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before me,” Perry said. The Texas governor has also called the social safety net a “monstrous lie.”
      “I think the word ‘Ponzi scheme’ is over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people,” Romney snapped back…. – WaPo, 9-12-11
    • Republican debate: Perry fends off assaults from GOP rivals: Gov. Rick Perry stood his ground, Monday, while fellow GOP candidates took numerous jabs at the front-runner….
      Attacked from all sides by fellow Republicans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry softened his rhetoric if not his position on Social Security in a snarky presidential campaign debate Monday night. He fended off assaults on his record creating jobs and requiring the vaccination of schoolgirls against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted virus.
      Across a crackling two-hour debate, the front-runner in opinion polls gave little ground and frequently jabbed back, particularly at his chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney….
      It marked the first time in the summer debates that internal Republican differences dominated rather than a common eagerness to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama…. – CS Monitor, 9-12-11
    • In debate Republicans lash out at each other: A Republican presidential debate became a race to the bottom Monday night as candidates attacked each other for treason, lack of manliness, trying to prevent cervical cancer, and even – – gasp – – letting campaign contributions affect their judgment. … – Politico, 9-12-11
    • At GOP debate, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney tear into each other: The second presidential debate in a week begins as a cross between a fight club and a book club….
      Mitt Romney and Rick Perry took the first possible opportunity to tear into each other at the CNN- and Tea Party Express-hosted forum in Florida, trading harsh accusations over their views on Social Security…. – Politico, 9-12-11
    • At Tea Party Debate, Perry Experiences the Full Force of His Rivals’ Wrath: Firmly entrenched as the double-digit front-runner for the Republican President nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry endured the unpleasant privilege of his status on Monday night…. – TIME, 9-12-11
    • Tea Party Debate Themes: Gang Up On Rick Perry, Dismantle Washington: The dynamics of the Republican race became clear: it’s Rick Perry against the field. And the contest’s central theme became just as clear: let’s dismantle as much as we can of the federal government’s role…. – Huffington Post, 9-12-11
    • GOP debate: Rick Perry remains in front despite bumpy ride in Tampa: The Texas governor, Rick Perry, emerged bruised but still looking like the frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination after a contentious televised debate in which he was the focus of attack from rival candidates and in which he drew scorn…. – The Guardian, UK, 9-13-11
    • The Tea Party/CNN debate: Ganging up on Rick Perry, as Kurt Cobain makes a cameo: The Tea Party Republican debate turned into a brawl pretty fast on Monday night. Well aware of the momentum that Gov. Rick Perry has as the most media-analyzed Republican of the moment, candidates including Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann went after him on issues ranging from Social Security to the HPV vaccine…. – Entertainment Weekly, 9-12-11
    • Republicans go after Rick Perry in Florida debate: Rick Perry’s Republican presidential rivals took turns ganging up on the leader of the pack during a presidential debate Monday, accusing the Texas governor of frightening senior citizens with his attacks on Social Security…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 9-12-11
    • Perry assailed by rivals, forced to defend record Texas governor clashes with Romney on Social Security, Bachmann on HPV vaccine: Attacked from all sides, Texas Gov. Rick Perry softened his rhetoric if not his position on Social Security in a snarky campaign debate Monday night and fended off attacks on his record creating jobs and requiring the vaccination of schoolgirls against a cancer-causing sexually transmitted virus.
      It marked the first time in the summer debates that internal Republican differences dominated rather than a common eagerness to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama…. – MSNBC, 9-12-11
    • Rick Perry Stands By Harsh Ben Bernanke Remarks (VIDEO): Texas Governor Rick Perry stood by eyebrow-raising remarks he made last month about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during Monday night’s Republican presidential debate…. – Huff Post, 9-12-11
    • Rick Perry Calls For Afghanistan Withdrawal At GOP Tea Party Debate: Rick Perry has been relatively silent on foreign policy, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the GOP debate Monday night, he said he believed that the US should continue to have a “presence” in Afghanistan, but that it was time to start…. – Huff Post, 9-12-11
    • Ron Paul checks Rick Perry on his jobs record: Asked about Rick Perry’s jobs record and whether he deserves so much credit, Ron Paul replies, “Not quite…I would put a little damper on this but I don’t want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes or something.”… – Politico, 9-12-11
    • Michele Bachmann regains footing in ‘tea party’ debate: Michele Bachmann recaptured some of her stride tonight. After seeming to fade in last week’s debate at the Reagan Library, she was far more vocal and passionate. Of course, she was playing to her crowd — the “tea party” has an uncomplicated passion for her — but there was a new energy in her voice, particularly when she slammed Rick Perry for his executive order on the HPV vaccine.
      If Perry felt like a piñata at last week’s debate, as he joked then, he must have felt like the human silhouette on the wrong end of a shooting range tonight…. – LAT, 9-12-11
    • Rick Perry: “The first round of stimulus … it created zero jobs.”: Rick Perry criticized President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan during a Republican presidential debate Sept. 12, 2011, saying his previous effort “created zero jobs.”… – PolitiFact, 9-12-11
    • Santorum: I feel like I’m on ‘Survivor’: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum used a reality television show to describe how he feels in the current Republican presidential contest. That show, “Survivor.”… – CNN, 9-12-11
    • Analysis: Bachmann comes back to life in Republican debate: Michele Bachmann won a new lease on life for her fizzling presidential campaign by aggressively targeting Republican front-runner Rick Perry and raising doubts about his conservative credentials.
      But whether Bachmann can save a campaign that is clearly on the ropes is very much in doubt, just a month after she enjoyed her best moment of the 2012 season by winning the Iowa straw poll, an important early test of strength…. – Reuters, 9-12-11
    • Commentary: Republican nomination may be Perry’s to lose: Paul Burka of Texas Monthly summed up the general consensus in Austin last month, saying Gov. Rick Perry “is going to be the Republican nominee. … We might as well skip the primary and go straight to the general election.” Burka draws a straight path … – Kansas City Star, 9-12-11
    • GOP rivals spar on Social Security: GOP presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry clashed again last night during their second debate — sharpening their differences on Social Security and jobs in the key battleground state of Florida, where older voters … – Boston Herald, 9-12-11
    • Texas pol storming into town as Democrats go on the offensive: GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry is kicking up a Texas-sized ruckus in Boston today — intent on skewering rival Mitt Romney’s jobs records in his own backyard while protesting Democrats plan to slam Perry’s controversial stance…. – Boston Herald, 9-12-11
    • Second tier candidates, not chief rival, score points against Perry: At least for now, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. But it was the second- and third-tier candidates who shed light on some of Perry’s greatest vulnerabilities in Monday’s presidential debate and they did so from his right.
      U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania pounded away at Perry for ordering in 2007 that schoolgirls get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus. The order never took full effect, and it gave parents the option to opt out, but the idea of requiring an inoculation against a sexually transmitted disease just isn’t going to play well with GOP primary voters…. – Austin American-Statesman, 9-12-11
    • Perry’s not-so-innocuous inoculation at the Tea Party HPV debate: If, as the consensus seems to be, Perry only managed to whelm us at the last debate, this time he distinctly underwhelmed. Santorum and Bachmann seized him by the ankles of his hand-tooled cowboy boots and refused to let go. … – WaPo, 9-12-11
    • On immigration, Rick Perry takes heat for Texas DREAM Act: In a debate that’s already been fiery, the temperature rose further, even a little uncomfortably, when the subject of immigration came up.
      The candidates on this stage have repeatedly said they won’t elaborate on their plans for dealing with the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country until the border with Mexico is secured.
      Perry, who signed a Texas version of the DREAM Act (which allows young people in the country illegally to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities) drew several rounds of boos when he defended the policy…. – LAT, 9-12-11
    • Republican candidates unite on Fed attack: Republican candidates for president squabbled over social security, foreign wars and the economy but presented a largely united front on one issue – the need to rein in the power of the Federal Reserve…. – Financial Times, 9-12-11
    • Federal Reserve is a target at Florida Republican debate: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke was in the bullseye Monday night at the debate of Republican presidential hopefuls in Florida. Texas Governor Rick Perry stood by comments made last month that Bernanke’s efforts to jumpstart the US economy…. — CBS News, 9-12-11
    • The GOP debate: 7 takeaways: Last night’s GOP debate wasn’t a face-off, it was a pile-on. The CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Tampa, Fla. —the second in a string of five Republican meet-ups coming in rapid succession—was an opportunity to gang up on Rick Perry and his onstage rivals took full advantage. Here are seven takeaways from Monday’s debate…. – Politico, 9-12-11
    • Palin slams Perry on ‘crony capitalism’: Sarah Palin, who has kept mum about whether she’ll run, is not in sync with Rick Perry: Sarah Palin took a hard swipe against her friend Rick Perry in a post-debate TV appearance, calling him out by name for “crony capitalism”…. – Politico, 9-12-11
    • DNC Chair uses debate moment to pounce on GOP: The woman working to ensure President Obama’s re-election entered the political equivalent of the lion’s den – and pounced on a debate moment to blast the Republican presidential candidates late Monday. … – CNN, 9-12-11
    • Huntsman Paul take hits on Twitter in debate: If Twitter trends were the measure, Kurt Cobain was the clear winner of Monday’s presidential debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express. Seventeen years after the Nirvana frontman’s suicide, a name-check on stage by Jon Huntsman shot him right … – Politico, 9-12-11

“The 1 million jobs he’s helped create as governor is a stark contrast to the 2.4 million jobs lost on President Obama’s watch. Rick Perry will bring our country more than hope – he’ll get America working again.” — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

  • Endorsement fever: Bobby Jindal backs Rick Perry: The first bit of rapid response among Republican presidential hopefuls came hours before the start of Monday’s “tea party” debate in Tampa, as Rick Perry answered Tim Pawlenty’s endorsement of Mitt Romney by announcing the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
    Jindal, once seen as a rising GOP star, said in a statement that Perry’s “record on job creation simply cannot be beat.”… – LAT, 9-12-11
  • As Perry Rises, GOP Elite Look Toward Romney: The rising presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is stirring excitement for many Republican voters but is creating unease in some quarters of the party’s establishment…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • For Debate Partners, an Unusual Pairing: The sponsors, CNN and the Tea Party, each stand to benefit from reaching the other’s following…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Factbox: Four keys to Republican debate in Florida: Eight Republican presidential hopefuls will meet on Monday in a debate co-sponsored by CNN and the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, which helped elect dozens of Republicans to Congress in 2010. Here are four keys to the debate…. – Reuters, 9-12-11
  • GOP Debate: Three keys to tonight’s debate: What do the presidential candidates need to do in tonight’s Tea Party Express/CNN GOP debate?…. – CS Monitor, 9-12-11
  • Five things to watch for in CNN/Tea Party Republican debate: Watch the CNN/Tea Party Republican Debate at 8 p.m. ET Monday on CNN TV and
    Here are key storylines and strategies to watch for in Monday night’s CNN/Tea Party Republican Debate
    1. Round two of the Perry-Romney slugfest? It started in Wednesday’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the new guy in the race and the front-runner in the national polls, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the previous front-runner, sparred over jobs creation and Social Security…. – CNN, 9-12-11


    • Pennsylvania Republicans Weigh Electoral Vote Changes: The newly empowered Republicans are considering changing the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes in presidential elections despite growing concerns that the move could backfire…. – NYT, 9-19-11
    • Mitch Daniels Calls for a More Honest Campaign Debate: The governor of Indiana says his party’s presidential candidates should “campaign to govern, not just win.”… – NYT, 9-18-11
    • SC senator: Presidential election is GOP’s to lose: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says the upcoming presidential election is the GOP’s to lose. Graham says President Barack Obama has done “everything he knows how” to beat himself and that people have little confidence in Obama’s policies because they aren’t working…. – AP, 9-18-11
    • Rick Perry, Uber Texan: We have had several Texas presidents, but none so deeply, intensely Texas as Rick Perry would be…. – NYT, 9-18-11
    • Michele Bachmann doubles down on ‘Perrycare.’ Will it work?: In a swipe at Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann took flak for suggesting that the HPV vaccine might cause “mental retardation.” But she’s not backing down, and “Perrycare” is now her prime target…. – CS Monitor, 9-17-11
    • GOP candidates revive private Social Security idea: Most of the top Republicans running for president are embracing plans to partially privatize Social Security, reviving a contentious issue that fizzled under President George W. Bush after Democrats relentlessly attacked it.
      As President Barack Obama sidesteps ways to keep the retirement system viable, his would-be rivals are keen on letting younger workers divert part of their payroll taxes into some type of personal account to be invested separately from Social Security…. – AP, 9-17-11
    • Republicans seize on waning campus Obamamania: The young people in the ad look dissatisfied and pouty. Barack Obama’s voice and the words “winning the future,” from one of his old campaign speeches, echo in the background. “You’re LOSING my future,” says one young man.
      The ad, which has aired during sportscasts, reality TV shows and late-night comedy programs popular with younger people, was produced for the College Republican National Committee. It is an attempt to play on the fears that haunt college students, that they won’t find jobs and will be living with less than their parents did…. – AP, 9-17-11
    • Perry Finds Kindred Spirits in Iowa: Gov. Rick Perry’s charisma and straight-talking Texan message have wide appeal…. – NYT, 9-16-11
    • Perry likens Romney health care program to Obama’s: Rick Perry is continuing to tie the health care program enacted by fellow Republican Mitt Romney in Massachusetts to President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Perry told more than 100 Republican activists at a coffee shop in Iowa Friday morning…. – AP, 9-16-11
    • Republican Perry says Romney health plan cost jobs: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Thursday the health care bill GOP rival Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts paved the way for President Barack Obama’s federal health law last year and cost the state jobs. … – AP, 9-15-11
    • Obama raising money, pitching jobs plan: Pitching his jobs plan and his re-election, President Barack Obama attended two intimate $35,800-per-couple fundraisers Thursday, assuring donors that he will push Congress to pass his economic initiative and expressing confidence in his ability to win a second term…. – AP, 9-15-11
    • Candidates bash stimulus, campaign at companies: Republican presidential contenders have crisscrossed the nation bashing President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plans as a colossal waste of taxpayer money. But with an awkward frequency, these same candidates are campaigning at businesses that benefited from the president’s landmark stimulus package…. – AP, 9-15-11
    • GOP chairman ‘very satisfied’ with candidate field: The chairman of the Republican Party says he’s “very satisfied” with the GOP presidential field and that it’s not too late for another candidate to join the race.
      Reince Priebus tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” show that it’s normal for there to be “a lot of shots” among candidates in the primary season…. – AP, 9-15-11
    • On immigration, a Democrat has kind words for GOP’s Rick Perry (VIDEO): Presidential candidate Rick Perry is right to back a Texas law that lets students who are illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition rates, said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley…. – CS Monitor, 9-15-11
    • Misstatements Shadow Bachmann in Republican Presidential Race: Representative Michele Bachmann’s penchant for exaggeration has been getting more exposure, raising questions about her judgment and maturity…. – NYT, 9-15-11
    • Is the Republican Victory in New York a Sign?: Republicans wasted no time Tuesday night in trying to nationalize their victories in special elections in New York and Nevada…. – NYT, 9-14-11
    • With Wins in New York and Nevada, Republicans See a Trend: The Republican Party seized on the outcome of two special Congressional elections as fresh evidence that voters are souring on President Obama and are prepared to hold Democrats accountable…. – NYT, 9-14-11
    • Obama Campaign Launches The Obama campaign has started a Web site where users can report what they believe are false accusations against the president’s record…. – NYT, 9-14-11
    • Republicans See a Ripple in the Nation’s Jewish Vote: Republicans are hoping to seize on unhappiness among some Jewish voters over the president’s treatment of Israel…. – NYT, 9-14-11
    • For Democrats, It’s 2010 All Over Again: With special elections, any one race may or may not be representative of a national trend…. – NYT, 9-14-11
    • Is Rick Perry a real front-runner, or the next Michele Bachmann?: Rick Perry took a beating at the CNN/Tea Party debate in Tampa, Fla., on Monday night. But is it enough to dethrone him as front-runner of the GOP primary race? Don’t bet the ranch on it…. – CS Monitor, 9-14-11
    • Obama adviser: GOP candidates offer no job ideas: Barack Obama’s top political adviser says none of the president’s Republican challengers has much to say about how they’re going to create jobs. David Axelrod told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Rick Perry and Mitt Romney…. – AP, 9-13-11

“A great many of those who perished were approximately your age. Young men and women whose entire future was in front of them. They sacrificed their dreams to preserve yours. Because of what they gave, I simply ask you to make the most of the freedom that they sacrificed.” — Gov. Rick Perry at Liberty University

  • On defense, Perry talks of faith, military heroes: Texas Gov. Rick Perry avoided contentious social issues in a speech Wednesday at the nation’s largest evangelical university, offering the youth a testimonial about his own path to Christian faith and praising the men and women of the military.
    The Republican presidential contender urged students at Liberty University to remember the legacies of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Without explicitly invoking his own presidential bid, he cast life’s choices as tributes to the military’s sacrifice in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…. – AP, 9-14-11
  • Social Security no longer a ‘monstrous lie’? Why Rick Perry is shifting. (VIDEO): Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry had questioned the very foundations of Social Security before Monday’s debate. His new, softer stance is a bow to political reality…. – CS Monitor, 9-13-11
  • Perry Wears a Bull’s-Eye at G.O.P. Debate: The presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry and pressed him to expound upon his views on Social Security and a vaccination program for teenage girls…. – NYT, 9-13-11
  • Leading the Pack Brings New Perils, Perry Discovers: After his second presidential debate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is finding that the downsides of being tagged as the Republican front-runner are coming into sharper focus…. – NYT, 9-13-11
  • Romney’s aggressive approach here to stay: An assertive Mitt Romney has emerged in the GOP presidential race. The former Massachusetts governor has shown little willingness to assail his Republican competitors over the past few months, focusing all of his criticism on President Barack Obama. But in one night, Romney became the most prominent aggressor in a growing effort by the GOP field to derail front-runner Rick Perry. And in doing so, Romney may have started to ease concern within the GOP establishment over the strength of his candidacy…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • As Perry Rises, G.O.P. Elite Look Toward Romney: The rising presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is stirring excitement for many Republican voters but is creating unease in some quarters of the party’s establishment…. – NYT, 9-13-11
  • Perry’s Tone on Social Security Takes a Turn: Rick Perry, once highly critical of Social Security, now suggests its long-term viability must be assured…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Republican debate: Who did best? Who stumbled?: For the second time in a week, Mitt Romney may have turned in the best overall performance. Some conservatives believe Rick Perry did well, too. And the other candidates all had their moments…. – CS Monitor, 9-13-11
  • FACT CHECK: Social Security prompts debate miscues: Rick Perry 1.0 thought Social Security was a “disease” inflicted on the population by the federal government. Rick Perry 2.0 thinks Social Security deserves to be saved “for generations to come.”
    That metamorphosis by the Republican presidential hopeful over recent months contributed to some factual stretches Monday night in a GOP debate, both by the Texas governor and his opponents for the nomination.
    A look at some of the claims in the debate and how they compare with the facts…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • Analysis: GOP foes seek cracks in Perry’s record: Rick Perry’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination will rise or fall on his 10-year record as Texas governor.
    In Monday’s crackling GOP debate, his rivals attacked that record as never before, led by a newly energized Mitt Romney and hard-charging Michele Bachmann.
    Perry, holding his own but looking besieged at times, defended himself vigorously on most fronts. He acknowledged mishandling a schoolgirl vaccination program, however, and asked for understanding about Texas’ need to work with illegal immigrants who seek citizenship and college educations.
    As President Barack Obama might say: Welcome to the role of an incumbent with a complex record to defend from critics on all sides…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • Perry attacks Obama jobs plan: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is attacking President Barack Obama’s jobs plan as a second stimulus plan that won’t put Americans back to work.
    Obama’s plan includes some tax cuts, and Perry was asked whether he would oppose them. Perry instead says Obama’s plan would raise taxes…. – AP, 9-12-11
  • Perry assailed by GOP rivals, defends his record: It marked the first time in the summer debates that internal Republican differences dominated rather than a common eagerness to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama. Especially on Social Security. “A program that’s been there 70 or 80 years.”… – AP, 9-12-11
  • Jindal endorses Perry for president: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal endorsed Rick Perry for president on Monday, calling the Texas governor “the candidate who can lead our party to victory in 2012.”
    Jindal and Perry announced the endorsement ahead of Monday night’s GOP presidential debate in Tampa, Fla. — and just hours after former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney, Perry’s most significant rival for the Republican nomination.
    Jindal praised Perry’s job creation record as Texas governor, the central message of Perry’s campaign…. – AP, 9-12-11
  • Jindal to Endorse Perry: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has decided to back Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Romney: NLRB Boeing complaint political payback: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, fresh from picking up former rival Tim Pawlenty’s endorsement, criticized the Obama administration’s links to organized labor, arguing that a National Labor Relations Board’s complaint against Boeing is White House payback to unions…. – AP, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty endorses Romney in GOP race: While a candidate against Romney, Pawlenty hit hard on his rival’s role in crafting a Massachusetts health law, parts of which were a template for President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. Pawlenty once dubbed the Massachusetts law … – AP, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty Endorses Romney: Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race last month, endorses Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty: Romney’s front-line defender: Within hours of picking up an endorsement from former White House contender Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney swooped into South Carolina Monday morning with his new de-facto cheerleader and front-line defender.
    Pawlenty’s new role was apparent at a press availability with the two men in North Charleston. Romney was able to step back, at least for one question, and let his new national co-chair speak for his record…. – CNN, 9-12-11
  • Perry Seeks Blessing From an Immigration Hardliner: Rick Perry, who once said he was “intrigued and open” to an amnesty program for Mexican workers in the United States illegally, is now courting the support of a famous immigration hardliner: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona…. – Texas Tribune, 9-12-11
  • GOP debate: three things we might see at tea party event tonight: The Republican candidates face off in Florida tonight, and the Tea Party Express organizers vow that the debate will focus only on tea party ‘core principles.’ Will Perry and Paul clash?… – CS Monitor, 9-12-11
  • DNC ad campaign to promote Obama jobs plan: The Democratic National Committee is launching an ad campaign in politically key states aimed at rallying the public behind President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan and pressuring a divided Congress to act. … – AP, 9-12-11


  • The Dewhurst Profile: Unexciting but Atop Polls: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the Mitt Romney of the United States Senate race in Texas — orderly, and leading in the polls…. – NYT, 9-15-11
  • Election Reflects New Dynamic in Brooklyn and Queens: The Democratic Party in Queens ended Tuesday night exposed as a tottering old dame, her inability to push a loyal son into Congress testament to her infirmities…. – NYT, 9-14-11
  • Warren launches US Senate campaign with Mass. tour: Harvard Law professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren officially launched her Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, hoping for a chance to take on Republican Sen. Scott Brown in next year’s election…. – AP, 9-14-11


G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner, AP Reports: A little-known Republican businessman from Queens, channeling voter discontent with President Obama into an upset victory, on Tuesday won election to Congress from the heavily Democratic district in New York City last represented by Anthony D. Weiner, according to The Associated Press.
The Republican, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the scion of a prominent Democratic family in Queens, in a nationally watched special election.

With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Turner recently polled 6 points higher than Democrat opponent David Weprin, who is actually Jewish, and narrowed Weprin’s lead among Jewish voters by 15 points. The Turner campaign sent out 5,000 letters to registered voters in Israel, asking them to register for the ballots and place them in time.

“We congratulate Bob Turner on his historic victory.
This Republican win in an overwhelmingly Democrat district is a significant indicator of the problem that President Obama has in the Jewish community. While party leaders scramble to deny and try to stem the erosion of Jewish support for Democrats, the real issue is this President’s policies on Israel, on jobs, and on the economy. Jewish voters are coming to see that Republicans offer real solutions to our economic crisis, are resolute friends of Israel, and represent a way forward to a better future.
Bob Turner’s win tonight has huge implications for 2012 races in states with large Jewish communities, such as Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The RJC took a proactive approach in this race, reaching out to Jewish voters in the district, and we will be a leading voice driving the debate in the Jewish community nationally through 2012 as well.” — Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks statement on the results of the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district — RJC: Jewish Defections Hurt Obama, Democrats in Queens Race

“His [President Barack Obama] hostility should concern Jews, Christians, and other supporters of Israel. Many believe the president has conveyed by his actions and demands on that state that he is willing to throw it under the bus and end the special relationship which has existed between the U.S. and Israel beginning with Harry Truman and continuing through the administration of George W. Bush….
While President Obama has made demands upon Israel that affect its security, no comparable demand — indeed, no demands — have been made upon the Palestinian Authority before entering the peace talks….
On the other hand, the election of Bob Turner in a normally safe Democratic district running against President Obama’s position on Israel and against his own party’s positions on the three entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would send a message to his own party leadership, as well as to President Obama.” — Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

“No matter who wins in the special election in New York’s 9th congressional district on Tuesday. This race highlights the serious problems that President Obama has in the Jewish community because of his policies regarding Israel. Without question, Obama’s policies are causing significant numbers of Jewish voters to re-examine their loyalty to the Democratic Party.” — Matt Brooks RJC executive director

    • G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner: Bob Turner, a little-known Republican businessman from Queens, beat Assemblyman David I. Weprin in an upset victory seen as a message to Washington…. – NYT, 9-13-11
    • GOP Takes Anthony Weiner’s Seat in Congress: Republican Bob Turner, a retired media executive, bested Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin. With about 70 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Turner had 53 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 47 percent when the Associated Press called the race…. – ABC News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Weiner’s former seat: In a blow to Democrats, a Republican candidate captured the heavily Jewish New York City congressional district previously represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner.
      The race was closely watched as a measure of attitudes toward President Obama, with the Jewish vote a particular focus of attention. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to support the Republican, Bob Turner, in order to send a message of dissatisfaction to President Obama over his policies toward Israel…. – JTA, 9-13-11
    • Why Obama Is Losing the Jewish Vote He doesn’t have a ‘messaging’ problem. He has a record of bad policies and anti-Israel rhetoric: New York’s special congressional election on Tuesday was the first electoral outcome directly affected by President Obama’s Israel policy. Democrats were forced to expend enormous resources to try to defend this safe Democratic district, covering Queens and Brooklyn, that Anthony Weiner won last year by a comfortable margin.
      A Public Policy Poll taken days before the election found a plurality of voters saying that Israel was “very important” in determining their votes. Among those voters, Republican candidate Robert Turner was winning by a 71-22 margin. Only 22% of Jewish voters approved of President Obama’s handling of Israel. Ed Koch, the Democrat and former New York mayor, endorsed Mr. Turner because he said he wanted to send a message to the president about his anti-Israel policies.
      This is a preview of what President Obama might face in his re-election campaign with a demographic group that voted overwhelmingly for him in 2008. And it could affect the electoral map, given the battleground states—such as Florida and Pennsylvania—with significant Jewish populations. In another ominous barometer for the Obama campaign, its Jewish fund-raising has deeply eroded: One poll by McLaughlin & Associates found that of Jewish donors who donated to Mr. Obama in 2008, only 64% have already donated or plan to donate to his re-election campaign…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Koch Played Key Role in GOP Victory: The Republican victory in New York’s solid blue 9th Congressional District seat in Tuesday’s special election came largely with the help of an influential Democrat: former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
      Koch was arguably the one single factor in helping the GOP win the battle to succeed disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner in the U.S. House.
      The thrice-elected former mayor, who remains a powerful force in New York and national politics, had backed Obama strongly in the 2008 election.
      A self-describer “liberal with reason,” former Congressman Koch holds a hawkish view on U.S. foreign policy and national security matters.
      In 2004, he cited the war on terror to cross party lines and back George Bush over John Kerry for the presidency. Koch campaigned for Bush’s re-election in Florida and Ohio.
      In the special election, the 86-year-old Koch urged fellow New Yorkers, and disaffected Democrats like himself, to send a message to President Obama that they give him a thumbs down for his domestic and foreign policies.
      Koch, a staunch supporter of Israel, has been dismayed with Obama’s lukewarm support for Israel.
      The former mayor’s message appeared to resonate in the congressional district that straddles the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and is home to many Jews, including many Orthodox ones. Newsmax, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins special election in New York: Democrats suffered a stunning blow Tuesday as voters in New York’s 9th Congressional District handed the seat to Republican Bob Turner, reversing a nearly 90-year tradition of electing Democrats to represent the district. … – LAT, 9-13-11
    • Republican Bob Turner wins New York special election: Businessman Bob Turner (R) defeated state Assemblyman David Weprin (D) in the special election for the House seat held by former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D)…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • A referendum on Obama and Israel: Bob Turner vs. David Weprin is really about: In deciding between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin, the 9th’s large percentage of Jewish voters may provide an important clue about what a part of President Obama’s base in 2008 will do in next year’s presidential contest…. – New York Daily News, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins Democratic New York House seat: Republican Bob Turner won the race to succeed Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district. By Paul Kane, With his outcome of his own reelection effort 14 difficult months away, President Obama suffered a sharp rebuke…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
    • GOP Wins in Race to Replace Weiner: AP Democrats suffered a setback Tuesday in a congressional election in New York City, where a district they have held for nearly a century elected a Republican who framed his candidacy as a rebuke to President Barack Obama. … – WSJ, 9-13-11
    • Republican wins in New York Democratic stronghold: Republicans won an upset victory in a Democratic stronghold in New York Tuesday in a special US House of Representatives election for the seat vacated by former Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned after a Twitter sex scandal…. – Reuters, 9-13-11
    • GOP wins in NY House race, seen as Obama rebuke: Republicans have scored an upset victory in a House race that started as a contest to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner after he resigned in a sexting scandal but became a referendum on President Barack Obama…. – Forbes, 9-13-11

“The idea is telling Obama, we’re not just in your pocket because we’re Democrats and we’re ticking off Democrat all the way down the list. We are holding you responsible for your policies, and we’re telling you we don’t want them…. If Obama looks at his always historically blue district … if he gets this message from this Democrat district, this can affect his policies–again, both on fiscal and Israel — in the next year” — Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant

  • NY-9 Could Affect White House Israeli Policy: This afternoon, Ruth Lieberman, a veteran political consultant who has been helping Republican Bob Turner in his special election race to win former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in New York, spoke with Townhall about the dynamics between Turner and the Jewish vote in this race and broader implications for 2012. The district shows 1/3 registered Jewish voters, but of last year’s participation in the election, a large percentage were Jewish voters, according to Lieberman.
    The conversation with Lieberman revealed voters in the very blue district seem interested on two issues: jobs and Israel. Turner’s message to constituents has been that if they’re not happy with the Obama economy or with the administration’s stance on Israel, Turner is their man. Turner also picked up major Jewish Democrat endorsements along the way — local Assemblyman Dov Hikind (who has been campaigning with Turner) and former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Lieberman emphasized that these two Democrat politicians are telling voters to cross over and that this isn’t about party, but a referendum on Obama and jobs and Israel…. – Townhall, 9-13-11
  • Is Israel Policy an Election Problem for Obama?: President Barack Obama’s weakened standing with voters has helped put a safe Democratic House seat at risk of tipping to the GOP in a special election Tuesday in New York City…. – WSJ, 9-13-11
  • Shocker: White House Spox Says NY-9 Special Is Not A Referendum On Obama’: It is worth reiterating that PPP found 54% of those polled said they disapproved of Obama’s policy on Israel, but voters were split on whether Israel matters in the NY-9 election…. – New York Daily News, 9-12-11
  • Polling Israel in NY-9: Republican Bob Turner’s unusual lead in last night’s PPP poll among Jewish and pro-Israel voters in Anthony Weiner’s old district has drawn its share of attention, but a reader points out that it may be a bit of a local anomaly. … – Politico, 9-12-11
  • GOP Jewish group yokes NY-9 results to Obama: The Republican Jewish Coalition, which sent mailers to 30,000 Jewish homes in NY-9 in advance of the special congressional election this week, is trying to pre-frame the results as negative for President Obama, regardless of whether Democrat David Weprin wins or loses.
    Weprin is locked in a tight race against neophyte politician and Republican Bob Turner, in a heavily Jewish district where Obama’s approval numbers are now underwater…. – Politico, 9-9-11
  • Gaming the Catholic vote: In a brief interlude into NY-9, which appears poised to go for the Republican Bob Turner tonight and will be sifted-over for national implications, veteran New York strategist Hank Sheinkopf said one takeaway for the Democrats next year is the Catholic vote…. – Politico, 9-13-11
  • Boehner on N.Y. special election: Republicans don’t have ‘any right to think we can win”: But if businessman Bob Turner (R) does prevail at the polls, Boehner said, the message will be a clear one: Voters are unhappy with President Obama’s leadership on the economy…. – WaPo, 9-13-11
  • NY special election a measure of Obama’s strength: Democrat David Weprin faced an unusually tight race against Republican Bob Turner in a special election Tuesday in New York’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District, where voters unhappy with President Barack Obama could elect a Republican for the first time.
    The contest to replace disgraced Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has become too close to call, with public opinion polling showing a slight edge for Turner, a retired media executive with no previous political experience…. – AP, 9-13-11
  • Outside groups spend $1.65 million on House races in Nevada, New York: In Nevada, Kate Marshall (about $748000 reported) has out-raised Republican Mark Amodei (about $659000), while in New York David Weprin (about $684000) has more than doubled the campaign cash of his opponent Bob Turner (about $323000)…. – iWatch News, 9-13-11
  • 6 NY Assembly seats up for grabs in NYC, upstate: The race getting the most attention is the special election in New York City’s 9th Congressional District, where Democrat David Weprin faces Republican Bob Turner in the contest to succeed replace disgraced Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner…. – Houston Chronicle, 9-13-11
  • Former Mayor Ed Koch Supports Bob Turner YouTube, 9-12-11
  • Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) Endorses Bob Turner (R) for US Congress in NY-9 YouTube, 9-9-11


  • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: Romney offers the electability argument Portrays Perry as too extreme: “Usually [electability] is not the most effective appeal in primaries where activists are the main voices,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history at Princeton University. “In this election though, the anger toward President Obama is so intense for the Republican Party that the electability argument might be stronger than it usually is.”… – Boston Globe, 9-16-11

Full Text September 19, 2011: President Barack Obama Unveils $4 Trillion Economic Growth & Deficit Reduction Plan — $3 Trillion Deficit Cuts in Over 10 Years — $1.5 Trillion in New Taxes



President Obama announces his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

President Barack Obama delivers a statement announcing his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 19, 2011.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 9-19-11

President Obama’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction — Full Text — PDF

The health of our economy depends on what we do right now to create the conditions where businesses can hire and middle-class families can feel a basic measure of economic security. In the long run, our prosperity also depends on our ability to pay down the massive debt the federal government has accumulated over the past decade. Today, the President sent to the Joint Committee his plan to jumpstart economic growth and job creation now – and to lay the foundation for it to continue for years to come.

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction lives up to a simple idea: as a Nation, we can live within our means while still making the investments we need to prosper – from a jobs bill that is needed right now to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure. It follows a balanced approach: asking everyone to do their part, so no one has to bear all the burden.  And it says that everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – has to pay their fair share.

Overall, it pays for the American Jobs Act and produces net savings of more than $3 trillion over the next decade, on top of the roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts that the President already signed into law in the Budget Control Act – for a total savings of more than $4 trillion over the next decade. This would bring the country to a place, by 2017, where current spending is no longer adding to our debt, debt is falling as a share of the economy, and deficits are at a sustainable level.

Now, let me review some of its main components.

First, the plan includes the American Jobs Act – a set of ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans that will put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. It’s imperative that we pass this bill now both to get the economy moving again and creating jobs at the pace we need it, and to help with deficit reduction since a growing economy is a vital part to reducing our deficits and debt.

Second, the plan lays out a way to live within our means so that we can invest in the things that will power economic growth for decades to come: education, innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure. To do this, it follows a balanced approach to deficit reduction by drawing from across the Budget for savings and by asking everyone to pay their fair share.

Specifically, the President is proposing approximately $580 billion in cuts and reforms to a wide range of mandatory programs from cuts to agricultural subsidies that are no longer necessary to reform of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and modest changes to federal civilian worker retirement and health benefits for military retirees.

In health care programs, the President is recommending a series of reforms that builds on the historic savings and reforms in the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid so that these vital programs are robust and healthy to serve Americans for years to come.

These proposals will save $248 billion in Medicare and $72 billion in Medicaid and other health programs over 10 years, and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by three years. This is accomplished in a way that does not shift risks unfairly onto the individuals they serve; slash benefits; or undermine the fundamental compact they represent to our Nation’s seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Any savings that affect beneficiaries do not begin until 2017 and do not affect middle-income and current beneficiaries. Other health and Medicaid savings amount to $72 billion, and because of the structural nature of these reforms to both programs, health savings grow to over $1 trillion in the second decade. Moreover, as he said today, the President will veto any bill that takes one dime from the Medicare benefits seniors rely on without asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

The President’s plan reflects the Administration’s current policy of drawing down our troop presence in Afghanistan and the transition from a military to a civilian-led mission in Iraq for a savings of $1 trillion.

Finally, the President calls on the Committee to undertake comprehensive tax reform and lays out five key principles. Reform should: 1) lower tax rates; 2) cut wasteful loopholes and tax breaks; 3) reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion; 4) boost job creation and growth; and 5) comport with the “Buffett Rule” that people making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.

To advance this debate, the President is offering a detailed set of specific tax loophole closers and measures to broaden the tax base that, together with the expiration of the high-income tax cuts, would be more than sufficient to hit the $1.5 trillion target for additional revenue. These measures include cutting tax preferences for high-income households, eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, closing the carried interest loophole for investment fund managers, and eliminating benefits for those who own corporate jets.

We have little doubt that some of these proposals will not be popular with many of those who benefit from these affected programs and currently enjoy special tax breaks. These are tough choices that we had to make — and some of these changes we are only putting forward to address our fiscal situation. But we are all in this together, and all of us must contribute to getting our economy moving again and on a firm fiscal footing.

If we don’t take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes asking the wealthiest 2 percent of families and big corporations to pay their fair share, then everyone else must shoulder the load. That could mean drastic cuts to things like education, research and development, infrastructure, and food safety; and could mean severe cuts to Medicare that would burden seniors with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.

Second, if we do nothing, our economy will not get the jolt it needs now and it will be weighed down by our debt or years to come. If we don’t take these steps now, it will only get harder.

I’ve been working on these issues for three decades, and I can tell you that making these changes in this plan will require some tough choices. Everyone will have a cut or a new policy that they do not like – or wish that they could avoid. But remember: the challenge we face is one that we all face – together – as Americans. We are in this together, and the only way that we can have a balanced approach is that we all do our part.

So read the plan, and join the debate about how we can jumpstart our economy, reduce our deficit, and win the future.

President Obama: Washington Has to Live within its Means

Source: WH, 9-19-11

President Obama today unveiled a plan for economic growth and deficit reduction that details how to pay for the American Jobs Act while also paying down our debt over time. The plan, which is being sent to the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, offers a balanced approach to further reduce our nation’s deficit and get our fiscal house in order, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.

The President’s plan lays out a blueprint that will enable Washington to live within its means, something Americans across the country have been doing for years. And the balanced approach means that no one group has to bear the burden alone. It means that everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – has to pay their fair share.

The plan, which will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, includes many of the proposals the President has previously discussed — closing tax loopholes for oil companies and hedge fund managers and asking the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share. It also includes difficult spending cuts and making adjustments to strengthen programs like Medicare and Medicaid for future generations. As part of the plan, the President is also calling on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform to simplify the system, make it more fair and efficient, and lay a stronger foundation for economic growth:

It comes down to this: We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.

Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.

This is not class warfare. It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.

That’s unacceptable to me. That’s unacceptable to the American people. And it will not happen on my watch. I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.

According to Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, taking the steps outlined in this plan would bring the country to a place, by 2017, where current spending is no longer adding to our debt, debt is falling as a share of the economy, and deficits are at a sustainable level.

You can read the entire proposal that was submitted to the Joint Committee or read an overview in this fact sheet


Full Text September 19, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden Speech on Economy, American Jobs Act Introduces Deficit Reduction Plan, Including Tax Increases (Transcript)




Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama discussed his deficit plan at the White House on Monday.

Remarks by the President on Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 9-19-11

Rose Garden

10:56 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

A week ago today, I sent Congress the American Jobs Act.  It’s a plan that will lead to new jobs for teachers, for construction workers, for veterans, and for the unemployed.  It will cut taxes for every small business owner and virtually every working man and woman in America.  And the proposals in this jobs bill are the kinds that have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past.  So there shouldn’t be any reason for Congress to drag its feet.  They should pass it right away.  I’m ready to sign a bill.  I’ve got the pens all ready.

Now, as I said before, Congress should pass this bill knowing that every proposal is fully paid for.  The American Jobs Act will not add to our nation’s debt.  And today, I’m releasing a plan that details how to pay for the jobs bill while also paying down our debt over time.

And this is important, because the health of our economy depends in part on what we do right now to create the conditions where businesses can hire and middle-class families can feel a basic measure of economic security.  But in the long run, our prosperity also depends on our ability to pay down the massive debt we’ve accumulated over the past decade in a way that allows us to meet our responsibilities to each other and to the future.

During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars, and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs.  If we don’t act, that burden will ultimately fall on our children’s shoulders.  If we don’t act, the growing debt will eventually crowd out everything else, preventing us from investing in things like education, or sustaining programs like Medicare.

So Washington has to live within its means.  The government has to do what families across this country have been doing for years.  We have to cut what we can’t afford to pay for what really matters.  We need to invest in what will promote hiring and economic growth now while still providing the confidence that will come with a plan that reduces our deficits over the long-term.

These principles were at the heart of the deficit framework that I put forward in April.  It was an approach to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet.

It was an approach that said we need to go through the budget line-by-line looking for waste, without shortchanging education and basic scientific research and road construction, because those things are essential to our future.  And it was an approach that said we shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.

Now, during the debt ceiling debate, I had hoped to negotiate a compromise with the Speaker of the House that fulfilled these principles and achieved the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that leaders in both parties have agreed we need — a grand bargain that would have strengthened our economy, instead of weakened it.  Unfortunately, the Speaker walked away from a balanced package.  What we agreed to instead wasn’t all that grand.  But it was a start — roughly $1 trillion in cuts to domestic spending and defense spending.

Everyone knows we have to do more, and a special joint committee of Congress is assigned to find more deficit reduction. So, today, I’m laying out a set of specific proposals to finish what we started this summer — proposals that live up to the principles I’ve talked about from the beginning.  It’s a plan that reduces our debt by more than $4 trillion, and achieves these savings in a way that is fair — by asking everybody to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the burden on their own.

All told, this plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues.  In addition to the $1 trillion in spending that we’ve already cut from the budget, our plan makes additional spending cuts that need to happen if we’re to solve this problem. We reform agricultural subsidies — subsidies that a lot of times pay large farms for crops that they don’t grow.  We make modest adjustments to federal retirement programs.  We reduce by tens of billions of dollars the tax money that goes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  We also ask the largest financial firms — companies saved by tax dollars during the financial crisis — to repay the American people for every dime that we spent.  And we save an additional $1 trillion as we end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These savings are not only counted as part of our plan, but as part of the budget plan that nearly every Republican on the House voted for.

Finally, this plan includes structural reforms to reduce the cost of health care in programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  Keep in mind we’ve already included a number of reforms in the health care law, which will go a long way towards controlling these costs.  But we’re going to have to do a little more.  This plan reduces wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments while changing some incentives that often lead to excessive health care costs.  It makes prescriptions more affordable through faster approval of generic drugs.  We’ll work with governors to make Medicaid more efficient and more accountable.  And we’ll change the way we pay for health care.  Instead of just paying for procedures, providers will be paid more when they improve results — and such steps will save money and improve care.

These changes are phased in slowly to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid over time.  Because while we do need to reduce health care costs, I’m not going to allow that to be an excuse for turning Medicare into a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.  And I’m not going to stand for balancing the budget by denying or reducing health care for poor children or those with disabilities.  So we will reform Medicare and Medicaid, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment that this country has kept for generations.

And by the way, that includes our commitment to Social Security.  I’ve said before, Social Security is not the primary cause of our deficits, but it does face long-term challenges as our country grows older.  And both parties are going to need to work together on a separate track to strengthen Social Security for our children and our grandchildren.

So this is how we can reduce spending:  by scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency, by reforming government spending, and by making modest adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid.  But all these reductions in spending, by themselves, will not solve our fiscal problems.  We can’t just cut our way out of this hole.  It’s going to take a balanced approach.  If we’re going to make spending cuts — many of which we wouldn’t make if we weren’t facing such large budget deficits — then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.

You know, last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner gave a speech about the economy.  And to his credit, he made the point that we can’t afford the kind of politics that says it’s “my way or the highway.”  I was encouraged by that.  Here’s the problem: In that same speech, he also came out against any plan to cut the deficit that includes any additional revenues whatsoever.  He said — I’m quoting him — there is “only one option.”  And that option and only option relies entirely on cuts.  That means slashing education, surrendering the research necessary to keep America’s technological edge in the 21st century, and allowing our critical public assets like highways and bridges and airports to get worse.  It would cripple our competiveness and our ability to win the jobs of the future.  And it would also mean asking sacrifice of seniors and the middle class and the poor, while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.

So the Speaker says we can’t have it “my way or the highway,” and then basically says, my way — or the highway.  (Laughter.)  That’s not smart.  It’s not right.  If we’re going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it together.

Now, I’m proposing real, serious cuts in spending.  When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history. But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else.

And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get.  And if tax reform doesn’t get done, this plan asks the wealthiest Americans to go back to paying the same rates that they paid during the 1990s, before the Bush tax cuts.

I promise it’s not because anybody looks forward to the prospects of raising taxes or paying more taxes.  I don’t.  In fact, I’ve cut taxes for the middle class and for small businesses, and through the American Jobs Act, we’d cut taxes again to promote hiring and put more money into the pockets of people.  But we can’t afford these special lower rates for the wealthy -– rates, by the way, that were meant to be temporary.  Back when these first — these tax cuts, back in 2001, 2003, were being talked about, they were talked about temporary measures.  We can’t afford them when we’re running these big deficits.

Now, I am also ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform our entire tax code, to get rid of the decades of accumulated loopholes, special interest carve-outs, and other tax expenditures that stack the deck against small business owners and ordinary families who can’t afford Washington lobbyists or fancy accountants.  Our tax code is more than 10,000 pages long. If you stack up all the volumes, they’re almost five feet tall.  That means that how much you pay often depends less on what you make and more on how well you can game the system, and that’s especially true of the corporate tax code.

We’ve got one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, but it’s riddled with exceptions and special interest loopholes.  So some companies get out paying a lot of taxes, while the rest of them end up having to foot the bill.  And this makes our entire economy less competitive and our country a less desirable place to do business.

That has to change.  Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies with the best-connected lobbyists.  It should give an advantage to companies that invest in the United States of America and create jobs in the United States of America.  And we can lower the corporate rate if we get rid of all these special deals.

So I am ready, I am eager, to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform the tax code to make it simpler, make it fairer, and make America more competitive.  But any reform plan will have to raise revenue to help close our deficit.  That has to be part of the formula.  And any reform should follow another simple principle:  Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.  That’s pretty straightforward.  It’s hard to argue against that.  Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.  There is no justification for it.

It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.  Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out.  They should have to defend that unfairness — explain why somebody who’s making  $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that — paying a higher rate.  They ought to have to answer for it.  And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.

Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just “class warfare.”  I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare.  I think it’s just the right the thing to do.  I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.

Nobody wants to punish success in America.  What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it and everybody should be able to try -– the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea and make us millionaires or billionaires.  This is the land of opportunity.  That’s great.  All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible.  We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get.  And I think most wealthy Americans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future.

It comes down to this:  We have to prioritize.  Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion.  So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal?  Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.  We can’t afford to do both.

Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get.  We can’t afford to do both.

This is not class warfare.  It’s math.  (Laughter.)  The money is going to have to come from someplace.  And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more:  We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor.  We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow.  We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.

That’s unacceptable to me.  That’s unacceptable to the American people.  And it will not happen on my watch.  I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans.  And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share.  We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.

None of the changes I’m proposing are easy or politically convenient.  It’s always more popular to promise the moon and leave the bill for after the next election or the election after that.  That’s been true since our founding.  George Washington grappled with this problem.  He said, “Towards the payment of debts, there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; [and] no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.”  He understood that dealing with the debt is — these are his words — “always a choice of difficulties.”  But he also knew that public servants weren’t elected to do what was easy; they weren’t elected to do what was politically advantageous.  It’s our responsibility to put country before party.  It’s our responsibility to do what’s right for the future.

And that’s what this debate is about.  It’s not about numbers on a ledger; it’s not about figures on a spreadsheet.  It’s about the economic future of this country, and it’s about whether we will do what it takes to create jobs and growth and opportunity while facing up to the legacy of debt that threatens everything we’ve built over generations.

And it’s also about fairness.  It’s about whether we are, in fact, in this together, and we’re looking out for one another.  We know what’s right.  It’s time to do what’s right.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

11:16 A.M. EDT

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