Campaign Buzz December 10, 2011: Iowa Debate — The ABC News – Des Moines Register and Republican Party of Iowa GOP Republican Presidential Candidates Debate, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa — Newt Romney: Gingrich vs. Romney vs. GOP Candidates


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.


Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Mitt Romney, left, sought to raise questions about Newt Gingrich’s temperament during Saturday’s debate in Des Moines. More Photos »


The ABC News, ABC5/WOI-DT, The Des Moines Register and Republican Party of Iowa debate at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa

Live Blog: Race Reshaped, Rivals Target Gingrich in G.O.P. Debate: Newt Gingrich, who has surged in the polls, offered a robust defense of his views and experience during a debate in Des Moines, as his rivals urged voters to take a closer look at his candidacy…. – NYT, 12-10-11

Live Blog: GOP Presidential Iowa DebateABC News, 12-10-11

Race Reshaped, Rivals Target Gingrich in G.O.P. Debate: Three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich took fire for most of the evening and seemed to relish his new role as the leading Republican candidate in the field…. – NYT, 12-10-11

  • Fact Checking the Debate in Iowa:
    Fact Check 1 – We’ll lose 1.6 million jobs over five years under the affordable healthcare act.
    Fact Check 2 – Newt Gingrich would build a colony on the moon.
    Fact Check 3 – Payroll tax cut: band-aid, gimmick or something else all together?
    Fact Check 4 – Romney’s record on the Affordable Care Act.
    Fact Check 5 – HPV vaccine vs. Romney’s health care plan.
    Fact Check 6 – Palestinians as an “invented” people? — ABC News, 12-10-11Mitt Romney: “We can start with his idea…to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon… He said that he would like to eliminate in some cases the child labor laws so that kids could clean schools… His plan in capital gains, to remove capital gains for people at the very highest level of income. But our real difference, I believe, is our backgrounds. I spent my life in the private sector.”Newt Gingrich: “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.”Mitt Romney: “If I had been able to get in the NFL as a kid, I would have been a football star, too. But I spent my life in the private sector. We don’t need folks who are lifetime Washington people to get this country out of the mess it’s in — we need people outside Washington, outside K street.”

    Rick Perry: “I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country. And I know it came out of the reprint of the book. But, you know, I’m just sayin’, you were for individual mandates, my friend.”
    Mitt Romney: “Rick, I’ll tell you what: $10,000 bucks? 10,000 bet? I have not said, in that book, first edition or the latest edition, anything about our plan being a national model imposed on the nation.”

    Rick Perry: “I’m not in the betting business, but I’ll show you the book.”

    Newt Gingrich: “I fought against ‘Obamacare’ every step of the way. I think it’s important for you — and this is a fair game. It’s important for you to be accurate when you say those things. I did no lobbying.”

    Michele Bachmann: “This is such an important issue. We have one shot. Do we honestly believe two men who stood on this stage and defended ‘Romneycare’ and an individual mandate. Are they honestly going to get rid of it in 2012? It’s going to be a very heavy lift.”

    “If you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner, so I think that issue of fidelity is important.” — Rick Perry

    “I said up front openly, I’ve made mistakes at times. I’ve had to seek reconciliation. I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather. I think people have to measure who I am now and whether I’m a person they can trust.” — Newt Gingrich

    “Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes. Are we in a situation where every day rockets are fired into Israel while the United States? The current administration tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process… Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, if there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.” — Newt Gingrich

    “Technically and historically, yes– you know, under the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinians didn’t have a state, but neither did Israel have a state then too.” — Ron Paul

    “I happen to agree with… most of the speaker said, except by going out and saying the Palestinians are an invented people. That I think was a mistake on the speaker’s part.
    The last thing [Israeli Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu needs to have is not just a person who’s a historian, but someone who is also running for president of the United States stand up and say things that create extraordinary tumult in… his neighborhood. And if I’m president of the United States, I will exercise sobriety, care, stability and make sure that I don’t say anything like this. Anything I say that can affect a place with — with rockets going in, with people dying. I don’t do anything that would harm that — that process. And, therefore, before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend, Bibi Netanyahu and say, would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do? Let’s work together because we’re partners. I’m not a bomb-thrower. Rhetorically or literally.” — Mitt Romney

    “I think sometimes it is helpful to have a president of the United States who has the courage to tell the truth, just as it was Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire, and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,'” he said. “Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and re framed the world. I am a Reaganite. I’m proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid.” — Newt Gingrich

    “I think you have to speak the truth. But you have to do so with prudence.. it’s a combination. I sat there and I listened to both. I thought they both… made excellent points. But we’re in a real life situation. This isn’t an academic exercise… We have an ally here that we have to work closely with. And I think Mitt’s point… was the correct one. We need to be working with the Israelis to find out, you know what? Is this a wise thing for us to do? To step forward and to engage this issue? Maybe it is. My guess is at this point in time, it’s not. Not that we shouldn’t tell the truth, but we should be talking to our allies. It’s their fight.” — Rick Santorum

    “This president is the problem, not something that Newt Gingrich said.” — Rick Perry

    “My mom was a fulltime homemaker with four kids and we went below the poverty line overnight. “I know what it’s like for single moms to struggle. We are still coupon-clippers today. … We get what that feels like.” — Michele Bachmann

    “Congressman Paul is the individual on the stage that got me the most interested in a subject that I found to be quite interesting and at the root of a lot of the problems we have.” — Rick Perry

    Terry Branstad is my role model. Get outta politics for a while doin’ something else, be involved in health care, come back when you’re clearly too old, too experienced, tied to the past, win the governorship decisively, do a great job. If we do survive, it will be in part because of people like Rick who’ve had the courage to tell the truth about the Iranians for a long time.” — Newt Gingrich

    “You can’t have a debate without saying ‘999’ in the debate. I think one thing that he showed us is the power of being very plain spoken. I’m going to go with ‘win, win, win’ instead of 999.” — Michele Bachmann

  • Fact Checking the Debate in IowaABC News, 12-10-11
  • Romney’s $10K Bet Steals Iowa Debate SpotlightABC News, 12-10-11
  • Romney Camp Insists $10K Bet Was No GaffeABC News, 12-10-11
  • Bet On It: Twitter Loves Romney’s WagerABC News, 12-10-11
  • Kennedy Reference Prompts Twitter ActionABC News, 12-10-11
  • Candidates’ Slams from the Iowa DebateABC News, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich Says Republicans Won’t Win If Negative Attacks PersistABC News, 12-10-11
  • Dec. 10 | Republican Debate, Des Moines, Iowa 9 PM ET | hosted by ABC News, ABC5/WOI-DT, The Des Moines Register and Republican Party of Iowa: Six candidates will take the stage at Drake University in Des Moines. (Jon M. Huntsman Jr., still lagging in the polls, did not qualify; Herman Cainhas dropped out.) They will debate for two hours, from 9 p.m. Eastern time, in a session sponsored by ABC and The Des Moines Register and moderated by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.
    Much of the attention tonight will be on Newt Gingrich, whose surge in the national and state-by-state polls has drastically reshaped the race in the final weeks of 2011. The interaction between Mr. Gingrich and Mitt Romney, his chief rival, will be a featured part of the night.
    But the energy of the debate may be generated by the other four candidates – Representatives Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Santorum – each of whom may be shifting into desperation mode as the election draws nearer…. – NYT, 12-10-11
  • Iowa Debate: Winners and Losers: ABC News, in conjunction with Yahoo! News and The Des Moines Register, sponsored a debate in Des Moines Saturday night, a little more than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Here’s our take on the winners and losers from Saturday night.
    • WINNERS:

    Newt Gingrich: Newt Gingrich is now clearly the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. Saturday’s debate in Iowa was the first one since he has surged in the polls and Gingrich handled it with his usual aplomb. Many expected the debate to be a full-throated attack on the former House speaker, but shots were fired at both Gingrich and Mitt Romney, which helps Gingrich.
    His recent surge stemmed in part because of impressive debate performances and he was clearly at ease on the stage Saturday. Many of his answers showed more depth than his rivals, especially his lengthy factual explanation of why he changed his position on a very important issue for voters: the individual mandate to buy health insurance. He also struck Mitt Romney hard in the early part of the debate, telling Romney that the reason he is also not a professional politician is because he lost a 1994 bid to unseat Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. And, perhaps most significantly, the thrice-married Gingrich had as strong an answer on questions of infidelity as could be expected. He directly addressed the issue, acknowledging mistakes and said he is older and wiser now… –

    CBS News, 12-10-11

  • A $10000 bet between Romney and Perry tops chatter at GOP debate: Key moments in Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa: ___ BIG MOMENT: What’s $10000 among friends? Mitt Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s claims that the former Massachusetts governor backed a requirement that … – WaPo, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich comes under attack in GOP debate: Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich came under sharp and repeated attack here Saturday night, accused by his rivals of being a career politician who has profited by being a Washington insider, a serial hypocrite who has often … – WaPo, 12-10-11
  • Republican debate in Iowa: Newt Gingrich unbloodied, unbowed: The Republican presidential candidates went quickly after Newt Gingrich on the debate stage in Iowa Saturday night, describing the newest GOP frontrunner as a Washington insider with a record of espousing outlandish ideas.
    But the former House speaker, whose debate performances throughout the summer and fall enabled him to rise from the political dead, never appeared to falter.
    In the debate hosted by ABC and Yahoo! News, Mitt Romney came out aggressively against Gingrich, charging that his long career in politics leaves him unprepared to lead an economic recovery…. – Politico, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich, Romney hammered at GOP debate: Newt Gingrich came under heavy fire from his rivals during a presidential debate Saturday night, with Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann hammering the former House Speaker over his support for an individual health care mandate, his long career in Washington, his personal life and even his advocacy for a lunar colony to mine the moon’s natural resources.
    Romney, who is widely seen as Gingrich’s chief rival for the nomination, was also a target in Des Moines Saturday, with Perry and Bachmann casting the two frontrunners as insufficiently conservative.
    The debate marked the first time that Gingrich, who has risen to the top of the polls in the Republican presidential race, has been aggressively criticized during a presidential debate…. – CBS News, 12-10-11
  • Republican debate: 7 takeaways: The GOP debate last night was a rarity — it lived up to the hype. For nearly two hours, six Republican candidates (minus Jon Huntsman) duked it out on a stage at Drake University im Iowa, drawing blood, getting under one another’s skin, and — for a few monents — getting warm and fuzzy about which rival they’ve learned the most from.
    The main focus was expected to be Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and neither disappointed the viewing public.
    Here are POLITICO’s seven takeaways from the ABC News/Des Moines Register debate…

    Mitt Romney had a $10,000 unforced error
    Newt Gingrich accomplished what he needed to
    Gingrich is testing how far right a GOP candidate can go on Israel
    Rick Perry still has some game
    Michele Bachmann is the only one invoking Herman Cain
    The Jon Huntsman-Newt Gingrich debate just got more interesting
    Ron Paul gets his due

    Politico, 12-10-11

  • Gingrich sticks by comment calling Palestinians “invented” people: Newt Gingrich is standing by comments he made earlier this week when he called the Palestinians an “invented” people.
    “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” the former House speaker told the Jewish Channel this week. “And I think that we’ve have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community, and they had the chance to go many places.”
    Gingrich’s comments immediately caused a stir in the Middle East and elsewhere. A Palestinian legislator said Gingrich had “lost touch with reality,” while another official described called him “ignorant,” according to the Associated Press.
    Gingrich was then asked about the comments during Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate from Iowa, which was sponsored by ABC News…. – CBS News, 12-10-11
  • Indulgence, invention, infidelity — the Newt Romney debate: One man dominated the questions asked at the Saturday night’s ABC News Republican debate: Newt Romney. “Newt Romney” -… – WaPo, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich plays defense in key GOP debate: Newt Gingrich defended himself from attacks on his record, character and rhetoric as six GOP presidential candidates traded jabs in the first of two pivotal debates before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. … – USA Today, 12-10-11
  • Iowa Republican debate: An off night for Romney: Short version? Not a good night for Mitt Romney, as everyone gives solid performances. For a change, Romney didn’t stand out as the class of the field and the obvious “presidential” type. It’s important not to assume too much importance for these … – WaPo, 12-10-11
  • Des Moines Republican debate decisive?: Tonight’s Des Moines debate had no meltdown moment for any candidate, although it did suggest Newt Gingrich is in for a tough time now that he’s not just an entertaining candidate, but a serious contender for the nomination. … – WaPo, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich is favorite target at latest GOP debate: The newest Republican front-runner parries attacks on his character, his record and his ideas, including recent statements about Palestinians…. – LAT, 12-10-11One of the most memorable moments of the ABC News/Des Moines Register debate was when Romney bet Rick Perry he was wrong about what Romney had written about a national health care mandate:“Rick, I’ll tell you what: $10,000 bucks? 10,000 bet?” Romney said, extending a hand for a handshake.
    Perry stepped back, saying: “I’m not in the betting business. I’m in the politicking business.”
  • Debate: Gingrich, Romney take most of debate’s jabs: It was a Saturday night brawl in Des Moines, with Republican rivals clubbing each other and front-runner Newt Gingrich, who batted back at criticisms that he once supported mandating purchase of health insurance and that he makes inflammatory remarks.
    But despite withering criticism of Gingrich and to a lesser extent fellow national front-runner Mitt Romney, if anyone won the debate, it was Gingrich, said Iowa Republican strategist Richard Schwarm.
    “He entered the debate with momentum and did not lose any momentum,” Schwarm said. “Despite being the main target, he was not damaged.”… – Des Moines Register, 12-10-11Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia, told the Des Moines Register after the debate: Romney may have hurt himself with his jaw-dropping $10,000 bet. Not too many average Americans can identify with a candidate who can casually risk ten grand on a whim.” Drake Political Science Professor Rachel Paine Caufield said tonight: “On the whole, viewers got what they expected out of this debate. They saw Gingrich and Romney go head-to-head but at the end of the day it was a draw. Neither one of them clearly and decisively knocked out their opponent.”
  • 2012 Iowa debate: The Outsider: Rick Perry swatted both big government and big banks in his opening answer at Saturday night’s debate, declaring that only an “outsider” can turn around the US economy…. – Politico, 12-10-11
  • Huntsman, Excluded from Iowa Debate, Holds NH Town Hall: Excluded from Saturday’s GOP presidential debate, Jon Huntsman concentrated on wooing Granite State votes, using markedly sharper language than he has in the past. Tim Pawlenty: Candidates will…. – National Journal, 12-10-11Minneapolis mayor to give a Democratic response after GOP debate in Iowa Saturday: The ABC News/Des Moines Register/Republican Party of Iowa debate is Saturday at 8 pm at Drake University. It will be broadcast live on ABC…. –, 12-7-11
  • New GOP front-runner Gingrich expected to draw rivals’ shots in latest debate: Newt Gingrich has leapfrogged Mitt Romney to become the GOP front-runner and prime target of his rivals at their latest presidential debate less than a month before the leadoff vote to determine President Barack Obama’s challenger. … – WaPo, 12-10-11“These are the last chances for the candidates to really have an impact on the race before the voting starts. It’s a huge opportunity.” — Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak
  • Gingrich vs Romney rivalry in Iowa debate spotlight: The budding rivalry between surging Newt Gingrich and former frontrunner Mitt Romney will take center stage on Saturday in the first of two Republican presidential debates in Iowa over the next five days.
    Gingrich, Romney and four other White House contenders will make their case to voters in a race that polls show is still up for grabs less than a month before Iowa kicks off the state-by-state Republican nominating contest.
    The debate will be broadcast nationally on ABC at 9 p.m. EST from Drake University in Des Moines. Another Republican debate will be held on Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa…. – Reuters, 12-10-11
  • With Race Heating Up, Republicans Set To Square Off In Pivotal Iowa Debate: Only three weeks from the Iowa caucuses, the top Republican candidates will square off tonight at a pivotal debate in the state capital…. – ABC News, 12-10-11
  • What to Watch for in Tonight’s Debate: Saturday night’s debate carries many risks for the Republican candidates…. – NYT, 12-10-11
  • Saturday Iowa Debate: We all know that Newt Gingrich has soared to the top of the polls – that’s one big difference from the last debate held just before Thanksgiving – but since then Herman Cain has dropped out of the race…. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 12-10-11
  • Gingrich prime focus of rivals in latest debate: Newt Gingrich has leapfrogged Mitt Romney to become the GOP front-runner and prime target of his rivals at their latest presidential debate less than a month before the leadoff vote to … – AP, 12-10-11
  • Romney Makes Surprise Appearance at Iowa Rally: A punchy and jovial Mitt Romney made a surprise visit to his Iowa headquarters just hours before he is set to take the stage at a Republican debate, joking with the crowd and his wife, Ann, and son, Josh, who joined him … – NYT, 12-10-11
  • Surprise! It’s Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney, continuing his recent push in Iowa, made a surprise visit to campaign headquarters Saturday, telling supporters to rally their friends ahead of the caucuses. Mr. Romney wasn’t originally scheduled to appear at the event in … – WSJ, 12-10-11“Many of the pack runners are going to try to take aim at, and ultimately take down, the new front-runner, Newt Gingrich — by trying to frame him as the smart yet unreliable alternative. But doing so against such an accomplished debater carries its own risks for the field.” — Republican strategist David Polyansky
  • IOWA DEBATE: What to look for from each Republican candidate tonight: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during a GOP debate in Michigan on Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
    Back when he was at the back of the pack, a relaxed Newt Gingrich rested an elbow on the debate lectern, dished out cerebral policy ideas and zingy applause lines, and got snippy with the moderators.
    But the race has reshuffled considerably, and tonight Gingrich will be at the center-front lectern, facing a much more thorough examination of his record and behavior than in the last debate, on Nov. 22.
    During the 8 p.m. event in Des Moines, watch for Gingrich’s rivals to try to give Iowans an eye-opening moment by calling him more moderate than they are, campaign strategists told the Register.
    The overarching theme of the night will likely be “Who is the real Newt Gingrich?”… – Des Moines Register, 12-10-11
  • Jon Huntsman Won’t Do Anything to Win: You won’t be seeing Jon Huntsman in the next Republican debate. The debate this weekend is taking place in Iowa, where Huntsman has made himself unwelcome. (He will, however, attend the following Iowa debate, in Sioux City … – National Journal, 12-9-11
  • Huntsman to skip Iowa debate: Jon Huntsman says he plans to skip a GOP debate in Iowa next week in a move that casts a positive light on the possibility that he likely would not have met the qualifications set by the event’s hosts…. – CNN,

Political Buzz December 10, 2011: President Obama & VP Biden Attend Army Navy Game 2011 — Ends in 10th Straight Victory for Navy: 27-21



Obama flips Reagan coin at Army-Navy game: President Obama flipped the coin before today’s Army-Navy football game and managed to pay tribute to predecessor Ronald Reagan at the same time. The coin: A silver dollar commemorating this year’s centennial of Reagan’s birth… USA Today, 12-10-11

Army Navy Game 2011 Ends in 10th Straight Victory for Navy: 27-21

Source: WH, 12-10-11

On Saturday, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden attended the 112th edition of the annual Army vs. Navy football game at FedEx Field, which ended in the 10th straight victory for Navy, scoring 27-21.  The President’s attendance kicks off a number of observances to mark the end of the Iraq war and honor all Americans who have served in Iraq.

Army Navy 1President Barack Obama performs the coin toss before the annual Army vs. Navy football game at FedEx Field, Landover, Md. December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Army Navy 2President Barack Obama watches the first half of the annual Army vs. Navy football game with U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman at FedEx Field, Landover, Md., Dec. 10, 2011. December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Army Navy 3During an Army vs. Navy halftime ceremony, President Barack Obama is transferred from the U.S. Naval Academy’s custody to the custody of the U.S. Military Academy by Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr., Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, at FedEx Field, Landover, Md., Dec. 10, 2011 December 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Full Text December 10, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Focuses on Middle Class Issues — Extending the Payroll Tax Cut & Confirming Richard Cordray to Lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau



President Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Obama tapes the Weekly Address, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 12/9/11

Weekly Address: Ensuring a Fair Shot for the Middle Class

Source: WH, 12-10-11

President Obama calls on Congress to do what’s right for the American people by extending the payroll tax cut and confirming Richard Cordray to lead a new consumer-watchdog agency that will protect families from dishonest business practices.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3


WEEKLY ADDRESS: Ensuring a Fair Shot for the Middle Class

In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that the United States succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and engages in fair play.  This is why the President nominated Richard Cordray to lead a new consumer-watchdog agency designed to protect families from being taken advantage of, but Republicans in Congress have blocked the nomination. They have also stood in the way of a balanced plan to extend the payroll tax cut for working families – and the President made clear he believes that elected officials should not go home for the holidays until they’ve done what is right for the American people and for the economy by extending this tax cut.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
Saturday, December 10, 2011

Today, America faces a make-or-break moment for the middle class.

After the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, some still want to return to the same policies that got us into this mess.  They’re the same policies that have stacked the deck against working Americans for too long.  They’re part of a philosophy that says we’re better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

But I have a different vision.  I believe that we are greater together than we are on our own.  I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone engages in fair play.

To ensure fair play, last year, we passed the toughest financial reform in generations.

See, for too long, the rules weren’t the same on Wall Street as they were on Main Street.  Risky bets were made with other people’s money.  Some folks made a lot of money taking advantage of consumers.  It was wrong.  And this irresponsible behavior on the part of some contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

So this financial reform refocuses the financial sector on what’s really important: getting capital to entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses, and financing to millions of families who want to buy a house or send their kids to college.

A key part of that was putting in place the first-ever consumer watchdog – someone whose job it is to protect American families from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and debt collectors.

Tens of millions of Americans use these services.  Protecting them from unscrupulous practices is an important job.  And that’s why I nominated Richard Cordray to serve as the head of this consumer watchdog agency.

As the former Attorney General of Ohio, Richard helped recover billions of dollars on behalf of retirees and stood up to dishonest lending practices.  He has the support of most Attorneys General across the country, both Democrats and Republicans.  Members of Congress from both parties say he’s more than qualified for the job.  And yet on Thursday, Republicans blocked his nomination.  They refused to even allow it to come up for a vote.

That doesn’t make any sense.  Do Republicans in Congress think our financial crisis was caused by too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?  Of course not.   And every day America has to wait for a new consumer protection watchdog is another day that dishonest businesses can target and take advantage of students, seniors, and service members.

So I refuse to take “no” for an answer.  Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them.  It’s time consumers had someone on their side.

And while they’re at it, Republicans in Congress should stop the games and extend the payroll tax cut for working Americans. Because if they don’t, nearly 160 million Americans will see their taxes go up at the end of this month.

Congress can’t end the year by taking money out of the pockets of working Americans.  Now is not the time for playing politics.  Now is the time to do what’s right for the American people.

No one should go home for the holidays until we get this done.  So tell your Members of Congress, don’t be a Grinch.  Tell them to do the right thing for you and for our economy.  Thank you.

White House Recap December 3-9, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Advocates Payroll Tax Cut Extension & the Middle Class in Populist Economic Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas — Channels Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism



This week, the President gave a major address on the defining issue of our time, restoring economic security to the middle class.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: The Clock is Ticking

Source: WH, 12-9-11

Download Video: mp4 (205.5MB)

Tax Countdown The clock is ticking. On Monday, the President urged Congress to pass tax cuts for the middle class before they go home for the holidays. Immediately after the briefing, the White House launched a countdown clock on and in the press briefing room, to let people know exactly how much time is left before taxes go up for middle class families without congress. Later in the week, Senate Republicans blocked the tax cut extension as well as Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—a job that ensures consumer protection. In a press briefing, the President addressed that vote and Congress’ failure to extend the payroll tax cut. President Obama promised to explore all options and take nothing “off the table” in ensuring that the CFPB is able to fulfill its mission of protecting consumers.

Make or Break Moment More than 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt gave his historic New Nationalism speech in Osawatomie,Kansas, President Obama traveled  to this same small town to address the make-or-break moment for the middle class. Some in Washington argue that we should let the markets take care of everything — rolling back regulation and slashing taxes.Thankfully, President Obama said, we can choose a different path: “There’s another view about how we build a strong middle class in this country. It is a view that says in America we are greater together — when everyone engages in fair play and everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does their fair share.”

College Affordability Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida to talk about college affordability in a town hall meeting. They spoke with parents and students about steps the administration has taken to reduce college costs and the need to keep college tuition low so more Americans have the opportunity to obtain a degree.  President Obama and Vice President Biden have focused on making college affordable for middle-class families since the day they took office.  Before making his speech, the Vice President made a surprise visit to Mayport in Jacksonville as sailors returned from overseas to be welcomed home by their families.

Canada Visit The President welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the White House Thursday to discuss the economy and make commitments to ease trade and travel between the two neighboring nations. The President also discussed Canada’s role in helping put Americans back to work. “Canada is key to achieving my goal of doubling American exports and putting people back to work and the important initiatives that we agreed to today will help us do just that.”

Kennedy Center Honors President Obama and the First Lady honored Meryl Streep, Neil Diamond, Sonny Rollins, Yo-Yo Ma and Barbara Cook for their lifelong contributions to the arts and thanked them for sharing their talents with the world.  The award winners were honored at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

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