Political Headlines March 18, 2013: RNC Republican National Committee’s Releases Review of 2012 Presidential Campaign in “Growth and Opportunity Project” Report

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

RNC Completes Report on 2012 Loss

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-18-13

Growth and Opportunity Project Report

In what they called the “most comprehensive post-election review” ever made of an electoral loss, the Republican National Committee and a group of project co-chairs unveiled a report Monday saying that they need to open their playbook and put their “cards on the table face up” in order to win presidential elections in the future.

While unveiling the 100-page report at the National Press Club, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said he wanted the report, or autopsy, to be “honest” and “raw,” stressing the message of inclusion to Americans who might not be on board with all the party’s policies….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 3, 2013: Mitt Romney in First Interview Since Election Says it ‘Kills’ Him Not to Be in Washington

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

In First Interview, Romney Says it ‘Kills’ Him Not to Be in Washington

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-3-13

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A reflective Mitt Romney Sunday blamed his loss in the presidential election last November to his inability to connect with minorities, and the former Republican nominee admitted to Fox News’ Chris Wallace that it still “kills him” not to be in Washington….READ MORE

Campaign Buzz October 18, 2012: Great Leadership Profiles of Presidential Candidate & Running-Mates: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden & Paul Ryan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Great leadership profiles of Barack Obama

JASON REED/REUTERS – U.S. President Barack Obama

Source: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post, 10-18-12

What’s worth reading after more than four years of scrutinizing one person has become harder and harder to discern.

Great leadership profiles of Mitt Romney

Source: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post, 10-18-12

A few profiles rise above the rest, either for how well they illustrate a certain period in his life or for how lucidly they reveal details about his leadership style.

 

Leadership profiles of Paul Ryan

Leadership profiles of Paul Ryan

A look at three definitive profiles of Ryan—what kind of leader he might be, what has shaped his background and more detail on his policies.

Leadership profiles of Joe Biden

Leadership profiles of Joe Biden

There’s more to Biden’s style and the role he’s played as vice president than being the garrulous uncle of the current White House.

Campaign Buzz October 18, 2012: Barack Obama & Mitt Romney Trade Barbs, Jokes at Al Smith Dinner — Speech Excerpts

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: BARACK OBAMA & MITT ROMNEY AT AL SMITH DINNER

Obama, Romney Trade Barbs, Jokes at Al Smith Dinner

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Two days after their contentious brawl at the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney and President Obama faced off again Thursday night in a war of wit at the annual Al Smith dinner, poking fun at themselves and each other.

“I’m pleased that the president is here. We were chatting pleasantly this evening as if Tuesday night never happened,” Romney joked at the top of his remarks.

“This is the third time that Governor Romney and I have met recently. As some of you may have noticed, I had a lot more energy in our second debate. I felt really well-rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate,” Obama said, making fun of his widely-panned debate performance….READ MORE

QUOTES

BARACK OBAMA: 

“I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate.”

“Everyone please take your seats, or else Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”

“In less than three weeks, voters in states like Ohio, Virgina and Florida will decide this incredibly important election. Which begs the question, what are we doing here?”

“I particularly want to apologize to Chris Matthews. Four years ago, I gave him a thrill up his leg. This time around, I gave him a stroke.”

“Early today, I went shopping at some stores in midtown. I understand Gov. Romney went shopping for some stores in midtown.”

“Of course, the economy is on everybody’s minds. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since I took office. I don’t have a joke here. I just thought it’d be useful to remind everybody that the unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been since I took office.”

MITT ROMNEY

“I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, ‘cause he’ll laugh at anything.”

“As President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room, with everyone in white tie and finery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking: so little time, so much to redistribute.”

“He knows how to seize a moment, this president. And already he has a compelling new campaign slogan: you’re better off now than you were four weeks ago.”

“Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this, it’s just to be the designated driver.”

“By the way, in the spirit of Sesame Street, the president’s remarks tonight are brought to you by the letter O and the number 16 trillion.”

“My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country, and their (the press) job is to make sure no one else finds out about it.”

Campaign Buzz October 16, 2012: Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney: Who Won? Draw in Second Presidential Debate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: SECOND PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are shown. | AP Photo

‘Gov. Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan,’ Obama said. | AP Photo

Mitt Romney, left, addresses President Barack Obama during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University. | AP Photo

Romney has closed on Obama in swing-state polling in recent days. | AP Photo

STATS

IN THE NEWS

Rivals Bring Bare Fists to Rematch

Source: NYT, 10-17-12

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mitt Romney and President Obama during the debate, their second, Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. More Photos »

President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Mr. Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney.

Competing for a shrinking sliver of undecided voters, many of them women, their engagements at times bordered on physical as they circled each other or bounded out of their seats while the other was speaking, at times more intent to argue than to address the questions over jobs, taxes, energy, immigration and a range of other issues….READ MORE

Obama and Romney Get Fired Up in Heated Second Debate

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-16-12

Circling each other like boxers at times and looking one another in the eye, President Obama and Mitt Romney came out swinging as soon as Monday night’s debate began, sparring over Libya, energy production, and an assault weapons ban.

At one point during a particularly heated exchange, Romney snapped when Obama tried to interrupt, “I’m still speaking.”

An another point, Obama said Romney’s insinuation that his administration played politics with the deaths of four Americans in Libya was “offensive.”

Obama, whose performance at the first debate two weeks ago was roundly considered to be lackluster, tried to make up lost ground Monday night….READ MORE

Obama goes on attack against Romney in debate rematch

Source: Reuters, 10-16-12

President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney clashed repeatedly on jobs, energy and Libya in their second debate on Tuesday, with Obama moving aggressively to challenge his opponent.

Obama was much sharper and more energetic than in their first encounter two weeks ago, when his listless performance was heavily criticized and gave Romney’s campaign a much-needed boost….READ MORE

Presidential debate 2012: Fight night on Long Island

Source: Politico, 10-16-12

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney confronted each other almost face to face on the debate stage here at Hofstra University Tuesday, as the president delivered an aggressive, prosecutorial critique of his Republican challenger for the first time in the 2012 debate season.

In one of the most combative presidential debates in recent memory, the two nominees circled each other in the town hall-style format, frequently interrupting each other and squabbling over the rules of engagement. “I want to make sure our timekeepers are working here,” Obama complained at one point, while Romney protested to an interjecting Obama: “You’ll get your chance in a second.” CNN anchor Candy Crowley, who moderated the debate, was at times powerless to keep the two candidates at more than arm’s length….READ MORE

QUOTES

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY

Answering question on women paid less than men:

“What we can do to help young women and women of all ages is to have a strong economy, so strong that employers that are looking to find good employees are bringing them into their workforce and adapting to a flexible work schedule that gives women opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to afford.”

On Obama’s record:

“The president has tried, but his policies haven’t worked. He’s great as a speaker and at describing his plans and his vision. That’s wonderful, except we have a record to look at and that record shows that he just hasn’t been able to cut the deficit, to put in place reforms for Medicare and Social Security to preserve them, to get us the rising incomes we need.”

On his own job plan:

“I want to make small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go. And they’re going now because of the policies of this administration.”

On comparisons to President George W. Bush:

“President Bush and I are different people and these are different times. And that’s why my five-point plan is so different from what he would have done.”

On energy:

“I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables… But what we don’t need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas. This has not been Mr Oil, or Mr Gas, or Mr Coal.”

On taxes:

“I will not under any circumstances reduce the share that’s being paid by the highest-income paying taxpayers and I will not under any circumstance increase taxes on the middle class. The president’s spending, the president’s borrowing will cause this nation to have to raise taxes on the American people, and not just at the high end.”

On unemployment:

“We have fewer people working today than we had when the president took office… We have not made the progress we need to make to put people back to work.”

On employment after college:

“The key thing is to make sure you’ve got a job when you get out of school. And what’s happened over the last four years has been very, very hard for America’s young people… Half of college kids graduating this year without a job, without a college level job, that’s just unacceptable…. When you come out in 2014, I presume I’m going to be president. I’m going to make sure you get a job.”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

On his response to Libya:

“Not everybody agrees with some of the decisions I’ve made, but when it comes to our national security I mean what I say… When I say that we’re going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable and I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there, because these are my folks and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home – you know I mean what I say.

On Romney’s responses to Libya attack:

“While we were still dealing with our diplomats still being threatened, Governor Romney put out a press release, trying to make political points. And that’s not how a commander-in-chief operates. You don’t turn national security into a political issue, certainly not right when it’s happening.”

On women’s issues:

“These are not just women’s issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues… That’s been one of the hallmarks of my administration. I’m going to continue to push on this issue for the next four years.”

On Romney’s tax plan:

“What he says is he’s going to make sure that this doesn’t add to the deficit and he’s going to cut middle-class taxes. But when he’s asked, ‘how are you going to do it, which deductions, which loopholes are you going to close?’ he can’t tell you… We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond Big Bird

and eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that.”

Answering why Americans should vote for him again:

“The commitments I’ve made, I’ve kept. And those that I haven’t been able to keep, it’s not for a lack of trying and we’re going to get it done in the second term.”

On Romney’s promise to crack down on China:

“When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China… Governor, you’re the last person to get tough on China.”

On energy:

“When I hear Governor Romney say he’s a big coal guy, I mean, keep in mind, Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, ‘This plant kills,’ and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly, you’re a big champion of coal.”

On lower gas prices when he took office:

“The economy was on the verge of collapse because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney now promotes. So it’s conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down the gas prices, because with his policies we might be back in that same mess.”

On Romney’s energy plan:

“He’s got the oil and gas part, but he doesn’t have the clean energy part. And if we’re only thinking about tomorrow and the next day and not thinking about ten years from now, we’re not going to control our economic future. Because China, Germany, they’re making these investments, and I’m not going to cede those jobs in the future to those counties.”

On Romney’s economic plan:

“Governor Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector, that’s been his philosophy as a governor and that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.”

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS COMMENTS

Dr. Paul A. Rahe, professor of history, Hillsdale College, Michigan:

Source: One News Now, 10-17-12

“It seems to me that when you have a draw between a president of the United States and a challenger, the challenger wins; and when you have a president of the United States whose policies have obviously failed, that he’s trying to sell you a bill of goods for the future, he’s at a real disadvantage in the debate. So I think Romney did well enough that he will build upon what he achieved in the first debate when he throttled Obama…. You know, if you leave aside the Libya business where Candy Crowley sided with Obama and told an untruth – it’s as simple as that about what went on in the Rose Garden that day. What Obama said was that it was an act of senseless violence, not that it was a terrorist act. Now, an act of senseless violence is consistent with the line that they were peddling – that this was just a demonstration and a reaction to the movie.”

Michael Beschloss, presidential historian:

Source: PBS Newshour, 10-16-12

1984, Ronald Reagan as president was debating Walter Mondale, famously, bad for him, turned in a performance that thought that — many thought that President Reagan had lost it. He just wasn’t with the intensity that he had had before. People wondered whether he was up for a second term, a lot of the same things that were said about Barack Obama.

The thing is Reagan in the second debate, after the first one had caused him in some polls to be actually tied with Walter Mondale, reversed the damage, swept it away.

So I think — with this performance tonight, I think Barack Obama may very well do the same thing….

You know, this is the sixth town meeting debate. And the idea of this in the first place when it was started in 1992 was that it’s one way of making sure that at least you have got one debate where they’re kindly to each other because they’re not going to confront each other.

This was the iciest town meeting debate of all six. I used to think that 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore was an uncomfortable evening. Compared to this one, that was Valentine’s Day….

Well, and the other thing is that, in terms of degree of difficulty, it’s almost always harder for an incumbent president running for reelection because he’s got to defend the record. He’s done all sorts of things for four years.

The challenger can always say, I will do this and that, I will do better. It sounds better. So I think by that standard also, Barack Obama did very well tonight…..

But what he didn’t do is what we have seen with other incumbent presidents, which is they’re very heavy on rebutting what the challenger says, very light in terms of saying what they would do in the second term, Ronald Reagan especially.

Campaign Buzz October 12, 2012: Joe Biden v. Paul Ryan: Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate? Both

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: JOE BIDEN VS. PAUL RYAN: THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

[ CLICK HERE TO READ A FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ]

STATS

Vice-Presidential Debate Fact-Checks and Updates

Source: NYT, 10-11-12

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Paul D. Ryan square off on Thursday night in Danville, Ky. in the only vice presidential debate. Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. eastern….READ MORE

IN THE NEWS

Who Won the Vice Presidential Debate? Depends Who You Ask

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-12-12

Partisan Democrats had a lot to be happy about Thursday night’s vice presidential debate.  Vice President Joe Biden turned in an aggressive and energetic performance that they wished they’d seen in President Obama.

And while Republicans have cried foul on Biden’s behavior (GOP surrogates called him “rude”), they argue that Rep. Paul Ryan’s calm, unflustered demeanor and his solid performance on foreign affairs was appealing to swing voters, especially women….READ MORE

Debate watchers split in new poll

Forty-eight percent think Paul Ryan won; 44 percent say Joe Biden won

Source: CNN, 10-12-12

Call it a draw.

Biden Laughs and Calls Ryan’s Statements a ‘Bunch of Stuff’

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-12-12

Vice President Joe Biden came to Thursday night’s debate ready to make up for his boss’ admittedly lackluster performance of a week ago, bringing the fight to Republican Paul Ryan within moments of the debate starting, calling his challenger’s statements “a bunch of malarkey” and a “bunch of stuff.”

Ryan also spared the pleasantries, quickly citing the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya last month and saying it demonstrated the “unraveling of Obama’s foreign policy.”

“With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden shot back. “Not a single thing he said is accurate,” Biden said. He added that Ryan voted for a bill that would cut embassy security by $300 million.

Biden appeared exasperated, laughing at answers he disagreed with, rolling his eyes and calling one of Ryan’s answers a “bunch of stuff.”…READ MORE

Biden comes out swinging at debate, clashes with Ryan

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden leaped to the attack against Republican challenger Paul Ryan in a lively debate on Thursday, aggressively defending the Obama administration’s economic and foreign policies to try to regain momentum in the White House race.Biden was looking for a Democratic rebound after President Barack Obama’s poor debate performance last week. But the younger and less experienced Ryan held his own in a series of testy exchanges.

First estimates of who prevailed at the debate in Kentucky were split. A CBS News survey of undecided voters showed Biden as the winner by 50 percent to 31 percent, while a CNN poll of debate watchers scored Ryan the victor by 48 percent to 44 percent.

The vice presidential candidates in the November 6 election frequently interrupted each other, talking at the same time and sometimes staring at each other in disbelief….READ MORE

 

QUOTES

* On the fatal assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens:

BIDEN: “I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever – wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.”

RYAN: “Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn’t we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al Qaeda cell with arms?

“… What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.”

* On U.S. policy in the Middle East:

RYAN: “We should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts … When we show that we’re cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us.”

BIDEN: “With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey … not a single thing he said is accurate.”

* On Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon:

RYAN: “When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material – nuclear material to make one bomb.

“Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.

“The Obama administration says the military option’s on the table but it’s not being viewed as credible.”

BIDEN: “Imagine had we let the Republican Congress work out the sanctions. You think there’s any possibility the entire world would have joined us, Russia and China, all of our allies? These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period.

“So all this bluster I keep hearing (from Republicans), all this loose talk, what are they talking about?”

* On the economy:

BIDEN: “We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class. And in addition to that, when that – when that occurred, what did Romney do? Romney said, ‘No, let Detroit go bankrupt.’ We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, ‘No, let foreclosures hit the bottom.'”

RYAN: “Look, did they come in and inherit a tough situation? Absolutely. But we’re going in the wrong direction. Look at where we are. The economy is barely limping along. It’s growing at 1.3 percent. That’s slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before.

“Job growth in September was slower than it was in August, and August was slower than it was in July. We’re heading in the wrong direction; 23 million Americans are struggling for work today; 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This is not what a real recovery looks like.”

* On Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s videotaped remarks that the roughly 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income taxes are “victims” looking for handouts:

RYAN: “This is a man who gave 30 percent of his income to charity, more than the two of us combined. Mitt Romney’s a good man. He cares about 100 percent of Americans in this country. And … I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”

BIDEN: “I don’t doubt his personal generosity. … But you know what? I know he had no commitment to the automobile industry. He just – he said, let it go bankrupt, period. Let it drop out. All this talk – we saved a million jobs. Two hundred thousand people are working today. And I’ve never met two guys (Romney and Ryan) who’re more down on America across the board.”

* On Social Security:

BIDEN: “Let’s talk about Medicare. What we did is, we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to Medicare. We cut the cost of Medicare. We stopped overpaying insurance companies, doctors and hospitals. The AMA supported what we did. AARP endorsed what we did. And it extends the life of Medicare to 2024. They want to wipe this all out.

“With regard to Social Security, we will not … privatize it. If we had listened to Romney and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market. Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad.”

RYAN: “Here’s the problem. They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggy bank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.”

BIDEN: “That’s not what they said.”

RYAN: “Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other.”

BIDEN: “… The bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you’re … in your 40s now you will (get) $2,600 a year … less in Social Security. If you’re in your 20s now, you get $4,700 less.

“The idea of … (cutting) benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work is absolutely the wrong way. (Republicans) haven’t been big on Medicare from the beginning. … And they’ve always been about Social Security as little as you can do.”

RYAN: “This is what politicians do when they don’t have a record to run on: try to scare people from voting for you.

“Medicare and Social Security did so much for my own family. We are not going to jeopardize this program but we have to save it.”

* On taxes:

RYAN: “What we are saying is, lower tax rates across the board and close loopholes, primarily to the higher-income people. We have three bottom lines: Don’t raise the deficit, don’t raise taxes on the middle class and don’t lower the share of income that is borne by the high-income earners.”

BIDEN: “Let’s look at how sincere they are. Ronald – I mean, excuse me, Governor Romney on ’60 Minutes’ … was asked, ‘Governor, you pay 14 percent (income tax rate) on $20 million (income). Someone making $50,000 pays (a higher rate) than that. Do you think that’s fair?’ He said, ‘Oh, yes, that’s fair.'”

RYAN: “You can – you can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers.”

BIDEN: “Not mathematically possible.”

RYAN: “It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before. It’s precisely what we’re proposing.”

BIDEN: “It has never been done before.”

RYAN: “It’s been done a couple of times, actually.”

BIDEN: “It has never been done before.”

RYAN: “Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth. Ronald Reagan…”

BIDEN: “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?”

* On Afghanistan:

BIDEN: “We went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, al Qaeda. We’ve decimated al-Qaeda central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose.

“We’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by … 2014. (Ryan and Romney) say (their plan for withdrawal would be) based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. But we are leaving … And in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion.”

RYAN: “We want to make sure that 2014 is successful. That’s why we want to make sure that we give our commanders what they say they need to make it successful. We don’t want to extend beyond 2014.”

* On abortion:

RYAN: “You want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.

“You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville (Wisconsin) where I was born, for our seven-week ultrasound for our first-born child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, ‘Bean.’ Now I believe that life begins at conception.

“That’s why – those are the reasons why I’m pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

BIDEN: “My religion defines who I am and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine … With regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a … doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

“But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell … women they can’t control their body.”

Campaign Buzz August 29, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention Day 2 Roundup

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT THE SECOND NIGHT OF THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-29-12

“Rock-Star Welcomes” …. “Absolutely Sensational” … “Wows The Crowd” … “Deafening Applause”

NBC News: “Ryan, Former Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice And New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez Received Rock-Star Welcomes…” “Ryan, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez received rock-star welcomes from delegates here in Tampa in speeches extolling nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney and the virtues of leadership.” (NBC News, 8/30/12)

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Dealt With The Most Important Issues Of The Day…” BLITZER: “What I really liked about the Paul Ryan speech tonight is at least it dealt with the most important issues of the day, the substantive economic issues, health care, Medicare. He didn’t skirt those issues.”  (CNN, 8/30/12)

CBS’s Jan Crawford: “A Speech That Appealed To The Brain And The Heart.” CRAWFORD: “What was most interesting about it was this is a speech – and it was a speech that appealed to the brain and the heart. And it had one message to President Obama: bring it on.” (CBS, 8/30/12)

Fox News’ Steve Doocy: “Putting The American Dream Into Perspective…” DOOCY: And Condoleezza Rice putting the American dream into perspective by sharing her own story growing up in Birmingham.” (Fox, 8/30/12)

National Journal’s Major Garrett: “The Reaction On The Floor Was Absolutely Sensational. … A Breakout Star….” GARRETT: “Another big star last night was Susana Martinez. The reaction on the floor was absolutely sensational. Not too many people have seen her before or heard her before – the new Governor of New Mexico. I think she was a breakout star last night.” (CBS, 8/30/12)

Time’s Mark Halperin: “Ryan’s Speech, In Tone, Style, And Substance, Reflects Exactly Why Mitt Romney Picked Him.” “Ryan’s speech, in tone, style, and substance, reflects exactly why Mitt Romney picked him. … Until Wednesday night, Democrats did not seem too worried about what was coming out of Tampa; now, there is manifest concern.” (Time, 8/30/12)

Politico: “Paul Ryan Brought Delegates To Their Feet Here Over And Over Again…” “Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan brought delegates to their feet here over and over again Wednesday night, telling the Republican National Convention in a dozen different ways: Obama isn’t working.” (Politico, 8/29/12)

The Wall Street Journal: “The GOP’s Sharpest Cases Yet Against A Second Term For President Barack Obama…” “Rep. Paul Ryan took the national political stage Wednesday as the Republican Party’s vice presidential candidate, giving a televised speech that laid out one of the GOP’s sharpest cases yet against a second term for President Barack Obama, and for Republicans as the party of small government.” (The Wall Street Journal, 8/30/12)

The Hill: “Electrified The Republican Party…” “Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday night electrified the Republican Party with a speech that combined lacerating attacks on President Obama with homespun values and a tribute to GOP candidate Mitt Romney.” (The Hill, 8/29/12)

The Washington Post: “Condoleeza Rice Brings Down The House” (The Washington Post, 8/29/12)

Politico: “Condoleezza Rice Wows The Crowd” (Politico, 8/29/12)

Univision’s Jordan Fabian: “Martinez Hit It Out Of The Park.” “Martinez hit it out of the park. She gets the tone & can truly empathize and relate with Latino community…” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King: “Gov. Martinez Makes The Case For Hispanics Switching Over To The Republican Party.” (Twitter.com, 8/29/12)

Tampa Bay Times: “Deafening Applause…” “Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan was greeted with deafening applause and hailed as the face of a new GOP on Wednesday night as he tore into President Barack Obama’s policies, casting him as a failure on the economy who is unwilling to make dramatic change.” (Tampa Bay Times, 8/30/12)

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York: “Ryan Got It All Done.” “Ryan’s 36-minute address did everything he needed to do: offer a devastating indictment of President Obama’s economic record, with a few memorable barbs about the president’s legendary self-importance; offer enough personal background so that viewers feel they know a little about Ryan; and most of all, convince voters that he and Mitt Romney will devote all their energy to jobs, the economy, and debt. Ryan got it all done.” (The Washington Examiner, 8/30/12)

The New York Times: “Brought The Crowd To Its Feet Several Times…” “But two hours later, Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush, brought the crowd to its feet several times in a rare foray into electoral politics, even reprising Republican accusations that Mr. Obama has failed to project American strength, saying, ‘We cannot be reluctant to lead — and one cannot lead from behind.’” (The New York Times, 8/30/12)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “A Self-Styled Happy Warrior, Earnest And Eager…” “What they saw was a self-styled happy warrior, earnest and eager to persuade the voting public that the answer to the nation’s economic woes is a Romney-Ryan partnership of freedom-loving, can-do problem-solvers.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/29/12)

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “A Feisty Tim Pawlenty…” “In his most high-profile speech before a nationwide audience, a feisty Tim Pawlenty told thousands of cheering Republicans on Wednesday they were celebrating at ‘Barack Obama’s retirement party.’” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/29/12)

The Wall Street Journal: “A Defense Of American Exceptionalism…” “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) offered a defense of American exceptionalism with the first speech Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.” (The Wall Street Journal, 8/29/12)

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “In Listening To Martinez, She Struck Us As The Female Equivalent Of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – Very Comfortable In Her Own Skin.” (The Washington Post, 8/29/12)

Campaign Buzz August 28, 2012: 2012 Republican National Convention Day 1 Roundup

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: 2012 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: A “ROUSING” AND “PITCH PERFECT” NIGHT IN TAMPA

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 8-28-12

CNBC’s John Harwood: “They Got Underway With A Bang.” HARWOOD: “They got underway with a bang. Chris Christie, who’s known as a very good speaker, came out very powerful delivery in his speech.” (CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 8/29/12)

The New York Times: “A Full-Throated Defense Of Entrepreneurship And Free Enterprise…” “Sher Valenzuela, a candidate for Delaware lieutenant governor, kicked off the Republican National Convention’s theme du jour Tuesday evening with a full-throated defense of entrepreneurship and free enterprise against what she called President Obama’s stifling regulations. The message: We Built It.” (The New York Times, 8/28/12)

Los Angeles Times: “Giving Voice To Those Disillusioned By The Promise Of The Obama White House.” “One of the president’s early supporters, former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis, emerged on the prime-time stage at the Republican convention – giving voice to those disillusioned by the promise of the Obama White House.” (Los Angeles Times, 8/28/12)

Politico: “Romney Spoke Directly To The Women Of America…” “The Romney campaign rolled out its most powerful female surrogate on Tuesday night: Ann Romney, who delivered a single-minded speech aimed directly at women. Addressing the opening night of the Republican National Convention here, Romney spoke directly to the women of America, telling them ‘you are the best of America, you are the hope of America, there would not be an America without you.’” (Politico, 8/28/12)

CBS’s Jan Crawford: “Christie’s Speech Was Pitch Perfect, A Speech For Our Time.” CRAWFORD: “In many ways, Christie’s speech was pitch perfect, a speech for our time. He talked directly to all those people, Charlie and Norah, who are worried our best days are behind us. And he said, you know, we’re not going to sugar coat this. He made an indirect hit on President Obama and said we’re not going to pander to you. We’re going to tell you the truth, the hard truths, and we’re going to get this done. It was never, never give up, almost like Winston Churchill. But also morning in America, Reagan, we can get to those better days.” (CBS’s “This Morning,” 8/29/12)

MSNBC’s Willie Geist: “A Rousing Keynote Address … An Appeal To Women…” “It started a day late but with a bang on a rousing keynote address from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie preceded as you saw there by an appeal to women from Ann Romney.” (MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” 8/29/12)

Tampa Bay Times: “Ann Romney Caressed And Chris Christie Punched, Delivering Rousing Speeches Tuesday Night…” “Ann Romney caressed and Chris Christie punched, delivering rousing speeches Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention that were designed to rally Republicans behind Mitt Romney and show him on more personal terms.” (Tampa Bay Times, 8/28/12)

The Hartford Courant: “The Night Belonged To Ann Romney” (The Hartford Courant, 8/29/12)

ABC’s Rick Klein: “Ann Romney Handled The Man, Chris Christie The Message.” (Twitter.com, 8/28/12)

NBC’s David Gregory: “Appealed To Independent Voters…” GREGORY: “I think he did say some things that also appealed to independent voters that are tough messages that would apply to both parties.” (MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 8/29/12)

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Ann Romney Isn’t — And Never Has Been — A Politician. That Makes Her Performance That Much More Impressive.” “Unlike almost everyone who spoke on Tuesday night, Ann Romney isn’t — and never has been — a politician. That makes her performance that much more impressive.” (The Washington Post, 8/28/12)

The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone: “A Brilliant Job…” “Ann Romney. A brilliant job of relating her and Mitt’s experiences to those of millions of ordinary Americans.” (The Washington Examiner, 8/29/12)

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “No One In The GOP Gives A Speech Like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.” “No one in the GOP gives a speech like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Clapping his hands and punching the air he strode onto the stage at the RNC, and then he proceeded to wow the crowd. If Ann Romney was empathetic, he was tough. If she vouched for her husband, he vouched for Americans. They were the yin and yang of the first night of the convention.” (The Washington Post, 8/29/12)

Full Text Obama Presidency August 22, 2012: President Obama Holds a Press Conference During the White House Daily Press Briefing — Defends His Campaign’s Tone

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama Holds a Press Conference

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

President Barack Obama holds a press conference (August 20, 2012)

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Aug. 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama Defends His Campaign’s Tone

Source: ABC News Radio, 8-21-12

President Obama today defended his campaign’s persistent demand that Mitt Romney release more than two years of his tax returns, saying it’s standard procedure and the American people want to know that “everybody’s been playing by the same rules.”

“The American people have assumed that if you want to be president of the United States that your life’s an open book when it comes to things like your finances,” he told reporters in an impromptu press conference at the White House today.

“This isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys. This is pretty standard stuff. I don’t think we’re being mean by asking you to do what every other presidential candidate’s done, right? It’s what the American people expect,” he said….READ MORE

Remarks by the President to the White House Press Corps

Source: WH, 8-21-12 

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.

MR. CARNEY:  Looks like there’s a surprise guest here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Jay tells me that you guys have been missing me.  (Laughter.)  So I thought I’d come by and just say hello.

Before I take some questions, let me just mention, since Medicare has been a little bit in the news lately, I thought it would be useful to start with some actual facts and news about the program.

Today, HHS announced that thanks to the health care law that we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs.  That’s an average savings of more than $700 per person.  This year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of new preventive care benefits like a mammogram or other cancer screening at no extra cost.

These are big deals for a lot of Americans, and it represents two important ways that the improvements we made as part of the Affordable Care Act has strengthened Medicare and helped seniors everywhere get better care at less cost.  That’s been our goal from the very beginning, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make sure that we keep our seniors healthy and the American people healthy.

So with that, let me start off with Jim Kuhnhenn.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you for being here.  You’re no doubt aware of the comments that the Missouri Senate candidate, Republican Todd Akin, made on rape and abortion.  I wondered if you think those views represent the views of the Republican Party in general.  They’ve been denounced by your own rival and other Republicans.  Are they an outlier or are they representative?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me, first of all, say the views expressed were offensive.  Rape is rape.  And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.

So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.

And so, although these particular comments have led Governor Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions — or qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape — I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party.

But I don’t think that they would agree with the Senator from Missouri in terms of his statement, which was way out there.

Q    Should he drop out of the race?

THE PRESIDENT:  He was nominated by the Republicans in Missouri.  I’ll let them sort that out.

Nancy Cordes.

Q    Yes, Mr. President, thank you.  As you know, your opponent recently accused you of waging a campaign filled with “anger and hate.”   And you told Entertainment Tonight that anyone who attends your rallies can see that they’re not angry- or hate-filled affairs.  But in recent weeks, your campaign has suggested repeatedly, without proof, that Mr. Romney might be hiding something in his tax returns.  They have suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital.  And your campaign and the White House have declined to condemn an ad by one of your top supporters that links Mr. Romney to a woman’s death from cancer.  Are you comfortable with the tone that’s being set by your campaign?  Have you asked them to change their tone when it comes to defining Mr. Romney?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, I’m not sure all those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate.  For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.

And I think that what is absolutely true is, if you watch me on the campaign trail, here’s what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about how we put Americans back to work.  And there are sharp differences between myself and Mr. Romney in terms of how we would do that.  He thinks that if we roll back Wall Street reform, roll back the Affordable Care Act — otherwise known affectionately as Obamacare — that somehow people are going to be better off.

I think that if we are putting teachers back to work and rebuilding America and reducing our deficit in a balanced way, that’s how you put people back to work.  That is a substantive difference.  That’s what I talk about on the campaign.

When it comes to taxes, Governor Romney thinks that we should be cutting taxes by another $5 trillion, and folks like me would benefit disproportionately from that.  I think that it makes a lot more sense and have put out a detailed plan for a balanced approach that combines tough spending cuts with asking people like me — millionaires and billionaires — to do a little bit more.  That’s a substantive difference in this campaign.

Whether it’s on wind energy, or how we would approach funding education, those are the topics that we’re spending a lot of time talking about in the campaign.

Now, if you look at the overall trajectory of our campaign and the ads that I’ve approved and are produced by my campaign, you’ll see that we point out sharp differences between the candidates, but we don’t go out of bounds.  And when it comes to releasing taxes, that’s a precedent that was set decades ago, including by Governor Romney’s father.  And for us to say that it makes sense to release your tax returns, as I did, as John McCain did, as Bill Clinton did, as the two President Bushes did, I don’t think is in any way out of bounds.

I think that is what the American people would rightly expect — is a sense that, particularly when we’re going to be having a huge debate about how we reform our tax code and how we pay for the government that we need, I think people want to know that everybody has been playing by the same rules, including people who are seeking the highest office in the land.  This is not an entitlement, being President of the United States.  This is a privilege.  And we’ve got to put ourselves before the American people to make our case.

Q    Well, why not send a message to the top super PAC that’s supporting you and say, I think an ad like that is out of bounds?  We shouldn’t be suggesting that —

THE PRESIDENT:  So let’s take that particular issue, as opposed to — because you lumped in a whole bunch of other stuff that I think was entirely legitimate.  I don’t think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad.  But keep in mind this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run.  I think it ran once.

Now, in contrast, you’ve got Governor Romney creating as a centerpiece of his campaign this notion that we’re taking the work requirement out of welfare, which every single person here who’s looked at it says is patently false.  What he’s arguing is somehow we have changed the welfare requirement — the work requirement in our welfare laws.  And, in fact, what’s happened was that my administration, responding to the requests of five governors, including two Republican governors, agreed to approve giving them, those states, some flexibility in how they manage their welfare rolls as long as it produced 20 percent increases in the number of people who are getting work.

So, in other words, we would potentially give states more flexibility to put more people back to work, not to take them off the work requirement under welfare.  Everybody who has looked at this says what Governor Romney is saying is absolutely wrong.  Not only are his super PACs running millions of dollars’ worth of ads making this claim; Governor Romney himself is approving this and saying it on the stump.

So the contrast I think is pretty stark.  They can run the campaign that they want, but the truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up.  That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States.  You get called into account.

And I feel very comfortable with the fact that when you look at the campaign we’re running, we are focused on the issues and the differences that matter to working families all across America.  And that’s exactly the kind of debate the American people deserve.

Jake Tapper.

Q    Mr. President, a couple questions.  One, I’m wondering if you could comment on the recent spate of green-on-blue incidents in Afghanistan, what is being done about it, why your commanders tell you they think that there has been an uptick in this kind of violence; and second, with the economy and unemployment still the focus of so many Americans, what they can expect in the next couple months out of Washington, if anything, when it comes to any attempt to bring some more economic growth to the country.

THE PRESIDENT:  On Afghanistan, obviously we’ve been watching with deep concern these so-called green-on-blue attacks, where you have Afghan individuals, some of whom are actually enrolled in the Afghan military, some in some cases dressing up as Afghan military or police, attacking coalition forces, including our own troops.

I just spoke today to Marty Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who happens to be in Afghanistan.  He is having intensive consultations not only with our commander, John Allen, on the ground, but also with Afghan counterparts.  And I’ll be reaching out to President Karzai as well — because we’ve got to make sure that we’re on top of this.

We are already doing a range of things, and we’re seeing some success when it comes to better counterintelligence, making sure that the vetting process for Afghan troops is stronger.  And we’ve got what’s called the Guardian Angel program, to make sure that our troops aren’t in isolated situations that might make them more vulnerable.  But obviously we’re going to have to do more, because there has been an uptick over the last 12 months on this.

Part of what’s taking place is we are transitioning to Afghan security, and for us to train them effectively, we are in much closer contact — our troops are in much closer contact with Afghan troops on an ongoing basis.  And part of what we’ve got to do is to make sure that this model works but it doesn’t make our guys more vulnerable.

In the long term, we will see fewer U.S. casualties and coalition casualties by sticking to our transition plan and making sure that we’ve got the most effective Afghan security force possible.  But we’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t leave our guys vulnerable.

So we are deeply concerned about this from top to bottom.  And hopefully, over the next several weeks, we’ll start seeing better progress on this front.

In terms of the economy, I would love to say that when Congress comes back — they’ve got a week or 10 days before they go out and start campaigning again — that we’re going to see a flurry of action.  I can’t guarantee that.  I do think that there’s some specific things they could do that would make a big difference.  I’ll give you a couple of examples.

First of all, just making sure that we’ve got what’s called a continuing resolution so that we don’t have any disruptions and government shutdowns over the next couple months, that’s important.  It appears that there’s an agreement on that, but we want to make sure that that gets done.

Number two, we have put forward an idea that I think a lot of Americans think makes sense, which is we’ve got historically low interest rates now, and the housing market is beginning to tick back up but it’s still not at all where it needs to be.  There are a lot of families out there whose homes are underwater. They owe more than the house is worth because housing values dropped so precipitously, and they’re having trouble refinancing.

We’re going to be pushing Congress to see if they can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 into the pockets of the average family who hasn’t yet refinanced their mortgage.  That’s a big deal.  That $3,00 can be used to strengthen the equity in that person’s home, which would raise home values.  Alternatively, that’s $3,000 in people’s pockets that they can spend on a new computer for their kid going back to school, or new school clothes for their kids, and so that would strengthen the economy as well.

Obviously, the biggest thing that Congress could do would be to come up with a sensible approach to reducing our deficit in ways that we had agreed to and talked about last year.  And I continue to be open to seeing Congress approach this with a balanced plan that has tough spending cuts, building on the trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts that we’ve already made, but also asks for additional revenue from folks like me, from folks in the top 1 or 2 percent, to make sure that folks who can least afford it aren’t suddenly bearing the burden, and we’re providing some additional certainty to small businesses and families going forward.

Alternatively, they could go ahead and vote for a bill that we’ve said would definitely strengthen the economy, and that is giving everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less certainty that their taxes aren’t going to go down [sic] next year.  That would make a big difference.

Now, obviously the Republicans have voted that down already once.  It’s not likely, realistically, that they’re going to bring it back up again before Election Day.  But my hope is after the election, people will step back and recognize that that’s a sensible way to bring down our deficit and allow us to still invest in things like education that are going to help the economy grow.

Chuck Todd.

Q    Mr. President, could you update us on your latest thinking of where you think things are in Syria, and in particular, whether you envision using U.S. military, if simply for nothing else, the safe keeping of the chemical weapons, and if you’re confident that the chemical weapons are safe?

I also want to follow up on an answer you just gave to Nancy.  You said that one of the reasons you wanted to see Mitt Romney’s tax returns was you want to see if everybody is playing by the same set of rules.  That actually goes to the question she asked, which is this implication, do you think there’s something Mitt Romney is not telling us in his tax returns that indicates he’s not playing by the same set of rules?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  There’s a difference between playing by the same sets of rules and doing something illegal.  And in no way have we suggested the latter.  But the first disclosure, the one year of tax returns that he disclosed indicated that he used Swiss bank accounts, for example.  Well, that may be perfectly legal, but I suspect if you ask the average American, do you have one and is that part of how you manage your tax obligations, they would say no.  They would find that relevant information, particularly when we’re going into a time where we know we’re going to have to make tough choices both about spending and about taxes.

So I think the idea that this is somehow exceptional, that there should be a rationale or a justification for doing more than the very bare minimum has it backwards.  I mean, the assumption should be you do what previous presidential candidates did, dating back for decades.  And Governor Romney’s own dad says, well, the reason I put out 10 or 12 years is because any single year might not tell you the whole story.  And everybody has, I think, followed that custom ever since.

The American people have assumed that if you want to be President of the United States, that your life is an open book   when it comes to things like your finances.  I’m not asking him to disclose every detail of his medical records — although we normally do that as well — (laughter.)  You know?  I mean, this isn’t sort of overly personal here, guys.  This is pretty standard stuff.  I don’t think we’re being mean by asking him to do what every other presidential candidate has done — right?  It’s what the American people expect.

On Syria, obviously this is a very tough issue.  I have indicated repeatedly that President al-Assad has lost legitimacy, that he needs to step down.  So far, he hasn’t gotten the message, and instead has double downed in violence on his own people.  The international community has sent a clear message that rather than drag his country into civil war he should move in the direction of a political transition.  But at this point, the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.

What we’ve said is, number one, we want to make sure we’re providing humanitarian assistance, and we’ve done that to the tune of $82 million, I believe, so far.  And we’ll probably end up doing a little more because we want to make sure that the hundreds of thousands of refugees that are fleeing the mayhem, that they don’t end up creating — or being in a terrible situation, or also destabilizing some of Syria’s neighbors.

The second thing we’ve done is we said that we would provide, in consultation with the international community, some assistance to the opposition in thinking about how would a political transition take place, and what are the principles that should be upheld in terms of looking out for minority rights and human rights.  And that consultation is taking place.

I have, at this point, not ordered military engagement in the situation.  But the point that you made about chemical and biological weapons is critical.  That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria; it concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel.  It concerns us.  We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.  That would change my calculus.  That would change my equation.

Q    So you’re confident it’s somehow under — it’s safe?

THE PRESIDENT:  In a situation this volatile, I wouldn’t say that I am absolutely confident.  What I’m saying is we’re monitoring that situation very carefully.  We have put together a range of contingency plans.  We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons.  That would change my calculations significantly.

All right, thank you, everybody.

END
1:49 P.M. EDT

Campaign Buzz August 11, 2012: Republican & Democratic Reactions & Responses on the Selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential Running Mate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

RESPONSES: MITT ROMNEY CHOOSES REP. PAUL RYAN AS HIS VICE PRESIDENTIAL RUNNING-MATE IN NORFOLK, VIGINIA ANNOUNCEMENT

REPUBLICANS

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: The Romney-Ryan Team Will Lead From Day One

“Gov. Romney showed today that he is determined to confront a host of growing crises that President Obama has ignored. Where the current President has simply refused to act, Gov. Romney has now pledged to lead. Paul Ryan is an excellent choice, and a confirmation that Gov. Romney is serious about strengthening America’s economic future, tackling the deficits and debt that have skyrocketed under President Obama, and returning to a path to solvency and security.

“Americans are looking for leadership that has been lacking on the most critical issues facing our country’s economic future. The Romney-Ryan team can return much-needed leadership from day one and help bring real recovery to our economy, reverse the damage of the Obama economy, and take a serious approach to the Obama debt and focus on growing jobs—not the size of the government.

“President Obama’s term has been marked by overwhelming national debt, a first-ever downgrade of America’s credit rating, high unemployment and a disappointing lack of leadership when it comes to addressing spending. It’s time to change that, and Gov. Romney and Chairman Ryan will be ready on day one to give America the leadership it deserves.”

 

Governor Chris Christie: Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan Will Get Results

“With Paul Ryan on the ticket this is a team that understands the economic stagnation our country has been facing the last four years and the urgency with which we need to change course. The Romney-Ryan team is uniquely positioned to make the tough choices necessary to confront our fiscal challenges and get results.”

 

Sen. John McCain: Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan Will Return America To Prosperity

“Governor Romney and Representative Ryan are the strongest team to return America to prosperity and to defend our interests abroad. Paul Ryan has proven that he is fully prepared to address our nation’s economic challenges, which have only worsened over the last four years under the Obama-Biden Administration. I look forward to working for the election of the Romney-Ryan team this fall.”

 

Speaker John Boehner: Paul Ryan Will Help Mitt Romney Get America’s Economy Moving Again

“Paul Ryan is a reformer and a proven leader who will be a great partner to Governor Romney in his efforts to get our country, and our economy, back on track.  At a time when millions of Americans are still looking at President Obama’s policies and asking ‘where are the jobs?’ Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will focus on common sense solutions to stop Washington from spending money it doesn’t have and get the federal government out of the way of small business job creators.

“I’m proud to call Paul Ryan a friend, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that he and Mitt Romney – along with our entire Republican ticket – are well positioned to win in November.”

 

President George W. Bush: Romney And Ryan Will Confront The Difficult Issues

“This is a strong pick.  Governor Romney is serious about confronting the long-term challenges facing America, and Paul Ryan will help him solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations.”
Gov. Jeb Bush: Paul Ryan’s Command Of Economic Policy Will Prove Invaluable

“I applaud Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate. Congressman Ryan’s command of economic policy and the federal budget will prove invaluable as Governor Romney fights to reform government, accelerate job growth and rein in the out-of-control spending that has been a hallmark of President Obama’s years in office. This courageous choice is the type of leadership American voters deserve. And, I believe it will ensure a victory for the Romney-Ryan ticket this November.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell: With The Romney-Ryan Team, America Is On Its Way Back

“Paul Ryan is a tremendous choice to serve as the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States. In selecting a bold, innovative thinker, Mitt Romney has ensured that his campaign—and ultimately his administration—will be led by individuals with courage, determination, judgment, and wisdom. With this great announcement, America is on its way back. The Romney-Ryan team will get our fiscal house in order, our economy back on track and Americans back to work.”

 

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy: Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan Will Restore The American Dream

“I believe that by choosing my good friend Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has once again shown why he possesses the leadership and vision to get this country back on the right path. Paul has dedicated his career to promoting ideas of economic growth and fiscal responsibility. I am confident that a Romney-Ryan ticket will not only energize our party, but will energize our nation as well, further drawing a distinction between President Obama’s failed record on jobs and the Romney-Ryan record of solutions. The Obama Administration has relentlessly advanced policies that have deepened our economic malaise, causing many Americans to question whether their children will have the same opportunities for success that past generations had. Under the leadership of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, I believe we can restore the American dream and create a brighter tomorrow.”

 

Amb. John Bolton: Mitt Romney And Paul Ryan Will Restore American Leadership 

“Every American and every American ally abroad should be heartened by Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.  Congressman Ryan deeply understands that American leadership in foreign policy makes for a more peaceful world and a safer, more prosperous America. And he and Governor Romney will restore our economic strength at home that is the basis of our influence abroad.  For nearly four years, we have seen the dangerous conditions that are created when a president refuses to lead. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will restore American leadership.”

 

Senator Ron Johnson: Paul Ryan Has The Leadership And Integrity We Need

“Paul Ryan is going to be a great Vice President. He brings a record of leadership and personal integrity that we need in Washington. Nobody understands the federal budget better than Paul, or has worked harder to develop and offer real solutions to the fiscal challenges facing America.  Paul will be a tremendous asset to Governor Romney in crafting policy and helping get legislation passed through Congress.  I will look forward to working with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to repeal Obamacare and instill fiscal discipline in Washington so that we can restore real, self-sustaining private sector growth to America.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte: Romney And Ryan Will Put America Back To Work 

“Governor Romney has made a fantastic choice in selecting Paul Ryan to be our nominee for Vice President. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put America back on a path to prosperity by reforming government, enacting real deficit reduction, and overhauling the tax code to spur economic growth. America needs a Romney-Ryan administration to get our fiscal house in order and put Americans back to work.”

 

Ted Cruz: Romney And Ryan Will Get Our Country Back On The Right Path

“In Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a champion of fiscal sanity and a formidable advocate for policies that will get our country back on the right path. When it comes to the federal budget, we can’t afford four more years of reckless, runaway spending. As the next President and Vice President of the United States, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will lead an administration that finally brings fiscal responsibility back to Washington.”

 

Sec. Condoleezza Rice: Paul Ryan Is A Bold And Inspiring Choice

“Paul Ryan is a bold and inspiring choice as Governor Romney’s running mate. Congressman Ryan shares the belief that American leadership is vital to a more peaceful and prosperous world.   He will help to restore America at home so that we can lead again because he understands that America is an exceptional and indispensable nation on the world stage.”
Sen. Marco Rubio: Paul Ryan Is A Courageous Reformer Who Understands Our Nation’s Challenges

“Throughout his life, Mitt Romney has made great decisions, and choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is a truly inspired choice. I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot. Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation’s challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama and other Washington politicians trying to tear him down.

“The Romney-Ryan ticket is going to win in November because it offers the American people visionary leadership to recapture the free enterprise spirit that has empowered countless Americans to build businesses from scratch and live the American dream. I’m excited about the visionary change a Romney-Ryan team will bring to Washington, and I look forward to campaigning with them this fall.”
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA, 2008 REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE

Congratulations to Mitt Romney on his choice of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. President Obama has declared that this election is about “two fundamentally different visions” for America. Goodness, he’s got that right. Our country cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama’s fundamentally flawed vision. We must now look to this new team, the Romney/Ryan ticket, to provide an alternat…e vision of an America that is fiscally responsible, strong, and prosperous – an America that understands and is proud of her exceptional place in the world and will respect those who fight to secure that exceptionalism, which includes keeping our promises to our veterans….
Gov. Bobby Jindal: Paul Ryan Has The Courage Of His Convictions

“Paul is a good friend and one of the smartest guys I served with in Congress.  He has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs.”

 

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER, REPUBLICAN

“Governor Mitt Romney made a bold and reform-minded selection in Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. This election has to be about who is going to look out for the next generation. America needs a comeback team to turn around the economy and to turn around the fiscal status of our country. Romney and Ryan have the ideas and the experience needed to take on these core issues. This is a great day for Wisconsin and an even greater day for America.”

 

FLORIDA GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT, REPUBLICAN

“Like Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan understands that government doesn’t create jobs, people do, and that the best way to create jobs is to get government out of the way. I’m confident that Congressman Ryan will be a great partner for Governor Romney in getting America back to work.”

 

U.S. SENATOR ROB PORTMAN, REPUBLICAN

“Mitt Romney has made a great choice in Paul Ryan. He is an accomplished public servant and a leading voice on the most pressing issues facing our country. Paul is one of my best friends in Congress and someone I have worked closely with as a former colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee.”

 

FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY, REPUBLICAN

“Congressman Ryan is a respected leader and a bold thinker regarding the changes needed to restore America. His selection will also help Governor Romney win the key swing state of Wisconsin. I am excited about a Romney-Ryan ticket and look forward to doing all I can to help them win this election.”
FORMER U.S. SENATOR RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN

“Congressman Paul Ryan is an outstanding choice as our country’s next vice president, and today’s announcement demonstrates Governor Romney’s commitment to returning fiscal sanity back to Washington, D.C. I have long supported Paul Ryan’s fiscal and entitlement reforms to return our country back on a path of fiscal health. At a time when our country is at an economic crossroads, Congressman Ryan’s depth of knowledge on how to tackle these challenges is unparalleled. … He is solidly pro-life, pro-family, and will be an advocate for our military and our national security priorities. I look forward to supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket in the weeks to come.”

 

DEMOCRATS

OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER JIM MESSINA

“In naming Congressman Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has chosen a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment to the flawed theory that new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy, while placing greater burdens on the middle class and seniors, will somehow deliver a stronger economy. … As a member of Congress, Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.”
TEA PARTY PATRIOTS, A CONSERVATIVE ADVOCACY GROUP

“Tea Party Patriots welcomes the selection of Paul Ryan as the vice-presidential running mate for Governor Mitt Romney. With this selection, Governor Romney and the Republican Party make it clear that they have accepted the Tea Party Patriots’ values of fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets as the best course of action for economic recovery and restoring personal freedom and individual responsibility to our national values.”

 

MARY KAY HENRY, PRESIDENT OF THE SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

“Representative Ryan has made a name for himself by fighting in the halls of Congress for tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations while proposing to gut vital services like Medicare and education, and eliminating any sense of retirement security for working families. His no-holds-barred record of attacking seniors, children, and working men and women is frightening for the 99 percent of Americans who are not rich — but for Mitt Romney it was a calling card to choose him as a running mate.”

 

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT OF THE AFL-CIO

“Whether its outsourcing American jobs or picking his running mate, Mitt Romney’s proven just how bad his decision making is for working people. Aligning himself with the poster-child for ending Medicare and Social Security puts to rest any suggestion that Romney has a clue what the middle-class needs. We’re witnessing the radical Tea Party extremes drive its final nail in what was once the Republican Party.”
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID, DEMOCRAT

“By picking Representative Paul Ryan, Governor Romney has doubled down on his commitment to gut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. Romney’s choice demonstrates that catering to the Tea Party and the far-right is more important to him than standing up for the middle class. The months ahead will provide Americans with a clear choice between the Romney-Ryan plan to gut Social Security and Medicare and Democrats’ balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines smart spending cuts with asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. Democrats in the Senate look forward to engaging in that debate.”

 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI, DEMOCRAT

“There is no question that former Governor Romney now owns the Republican Ryan budget that puts millionaires ahead of Medicare and the middle class. Congressman Paul Ryan led House Republicans in voting to end the Medicare guarantee, which increases costs on seniors and weakens America’s great middle class in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, Big Oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas.”

 

JUSTIN RUBEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MOVEON.ORG, A LIBERAL ADVOCACY GROUP

“Romney and Ryan are the 1 percent Dream Team. Representative Paul Ryan is an extremist ideologue who wants to end Medicare, radically redistribute wealth to the top 1 percent, and throw America’s middle class under the bus. Ryan’s proposed budget would cost America more than a million jobs in less than one year. Like Romney, Ryan believes the poor and middle class should pay more so the rich can get richer. Romney’s choice of Ryan is sure to energize MoveOn’s more than 7 million members as we work to ensure voters know the truth about Romney and Ryan’s extreme plans to demolish Medicare, raise middle class taxes to fund tax cuts for billionaires, and destroy jobs.”

Campaign Buzz August 11, 2012: GOP Ticket Complete: Mitt Romney Chooses Rep. Paul Ryan as His Vice Presidential Running-Mate in Norfolk, Virginia Official Announcement

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY CHOOSES REP. PAUL RYAN AS HIS VICE PRESIDENTIAL RUNNING-MATE IN NORFOLK, VIGINIA ANNOUNCEMENT

Romney names Ryan his vice presidential running mate: Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate in the presidential race and will make the long-awaited announcement in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday morning.
Romney’s campaign told supporters at about 7 a.m. via an iPhone app that the seven-term congressman would be the Republican vice presidential nominee…. – WaPo, 8-11-12

  • Romney Picks Paul Ryan of Wisconsin: Mitt Romney introduced Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate at a boisterous rally here Saturday morning, a choice that puts the issue of the nation’s fiscal soundness at the center of the presidential race….. – NYT, 8-11-12 

     

  • Mitt Romney Picks Paul Ryan for VP: Mitt Romney has named Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate. “Mitt’s choice for VP is Paul Ryan. Spread the word about America’s Comeback Team. #RomneyRyan2012,” was the message the Romney campaign sent out via their VP app early this morning…. – ABC News, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney taps Ryan to be running mate: Mitt Romney named Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate Saturday, ending weeks of speculation about the No. 2 slot on the GOP ticket. The Romney campaign announced the pick through its “Mitt’s VP” smart phone app….. – USA Today, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney chooses Ryan as vice presidential running mate: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Saturday he has chosen Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, a move that will bring the debate over how to reduce government spending and debt… – Reuters, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney Picks Ryan as Vice-Presidential Running Mate: Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, a decision that could spark enthusiasm for the Republican ticket among conservatives and all but ensures the election will…. – Wall Street Journal, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney names Paul Ryan his No. 2: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney introduced Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday, turning to the architect of a deeply conservative and intensely controversial long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions in federal spending…. – AP, 8-11-12 

     

  • Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running mate energizes both sides: Mitt Romney on Saturday announced US Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate for the White House — a bold and risky move that energized both conservatives and their opponents…. – CNN, 8-11-12 

     

  • Obama camp blasts Ryan; GOP hails “comeback team”: On the heels of Mitt Romney’s Saturday announcement that he is tapping Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to be his vice presidential running mate, both parties found reason to be excited: Democrats wasted no time…. – CBS News, 8-11-12 

     

  • Mitt Romney picks Paul Ryan as running mate: Romney and Ryan are embarking on the first day of a four-day bus trip that will take the White House hopefuls to four key swing states: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio…. – WaPo, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney Chooses Ryan, Pushing Fiscal Issues to the Forefront: Mitt Romney introduced Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate Saturday in Norfolk, Va., making a selection that will intensify the campaign debate on the size and role of government…. – NYT, 8-11-12 

     

  • Elevating Ryan, and His Budget Details: To date, Mitt Romney has been criticized for a lack of detail in his plan to reduce the nation’s debt. Tapping the architect of the House Republican budget plan changes that…. – NYT, 8-11-12 

     

  • A Risky Rationale Behind Romney’s Choice: When a prudent candidate like Mitt Romney picks someone like Paul Ryan as his running mate, it suggests that he felt he held a losing position against President Obama…. – NYT, 8-11-12 

     

  • In Romney and Ryan, a Pair Who Don’t Mind Their Differences: Paul Ryan acknowledged that he would fill a void on the ticket, serving as the energetic Beltway yin to Mitt Romney’s experienced corporate yang…. – NYT, 8-11-12 

     

  • Democrats seize upon Romney’s choice of Ryan: Democrats pounced on Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday, saying the pick showed a commitment to “budget-busting tax cuts” for the wealthy and greater burdens on the middle class and seniors…. – AP, 8-11-12 

     

  • Romney’s choice of Ryan reshapes race for White House: * Choice of congressman aimed at energizing conservatives * Democrats relish battle over Ryan budget * Romney kicking off four-state bus tour…. – Reuters, 8-11-12

What They’re Saying: “A Campaign Of Substance”

“A Bold Decision” … “Reagan-Like Quality” … “A Campaign Of Substance”

Time: “The 2012 Presidential Campaign Just Became A Debate About That Most Substantive Of All Issues.” “To anyone who ever complained that politics wasn’t substantive, buckle up: the 2012 Presidential campaign just became a debate about that most substantive of all issues, the federal budget.” (Time, 8/11/12)

The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot: “He Is Earnest, He’s Serious, He’s A Real Policy Wonk.” (Fox News, 8/11/12)

  •  Gigot: “Going To Make This A Fundamental Choice About The Direction Of America.” GIGOT: “Right now, with this choice, Romney is committed, alright. He is basically saying, by picking Ryan, I’m not going to make this a safe election. I am going to make this a fundamental choice about the direction of America. And we are going to debate the future of Medicare and entitlements. We are going to debate the future of tax reform. Those are the issues now front and center.” (Fox News, 8/11/12)

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg: “I Am Delighted By The News … A Bold Decision.” “I am a huge, huge, Paul Ryan fan. So I am delighted by the news he will be Romney’s running mate. … It shows that for all of the talk of Romney’s timidity and cautiousness he can make a bold decision when he needs to.” (National Review, 8/11/12)

The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer: “Ryan Has That Reagan-Like Quality.” KRAUTHAMMER: “The best analogy is, I think, the late 1970s when Reagan became the candidate … I think Ryan has that Reagan-like quality.” (Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” 8/11/12)

Weekly Standard’s William Kristol: “This Is A Strong Pick, It’s A Bold Pick, It’s A Gutsy Pick.” KRISTOL: “This is a strong pick, it’s a bold pick, it’s a gutsy pick. It doesn’t run away from the controversial house budget. It’s really picking the intellectual leader of the Republican Party.” (Fox News’ “Bulls & Bears,” 8/11/12)

CNN’s Jim Acosta: “The Campaign Equivalent Of A Call To Arms.” “The battleship was a tip-off in more ways than one. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan descended from the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia Saturday with the campaign equivalent of a call to arms.” (CNN, 8/11/12)

The New York Times’ Ross Douthat: “This Will Make The Race More Exciting And More Serious, And I’m Looking Forward To Watching It Play Out.” (The New York Times, 8/11/12)

Fox News’ Liz Peek: “The Selection Of Mr. Ryan Sends A Very Different Message – That Romney Is Focused On Solving The Nation’s Financial Crisis.” (Fox News, 8/11/12)

Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kevis Ferris: “A Welcome Move, One That Shows This Will Be A Campaign Of Substance – At Least On The GOP Side.” “This weekend, Romney made it official. It was a welcome move, one that shows this will be a campaign of substance – at least on the GOP side.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/11/12)

National Review’s John Fund: “If Republicans Were Looking For A Superior Candidate, They’ve Found It in Ryan.” “Five, if Republicans were looking for a superior candidate, they’ve found it in Ryan. His maiden speech as the GOP vice-presidential candidate was perfectly pitched…” (National Review, 8/11/12)

What They’re Saying: “An Inspired Choice”

“Shook Up The Presidential Race” … “A Bold Set Of Ideas” … “A New Promise For Presidential Politics”

CBS News’ John Dickerson: “The Choice Offers The First Real Hints About What Kind Of President Romney Will Be. … He’s Willing To Campaign On A Bold Set Of Ideas…” “Mitt Romney has made his first presidential-level decision, picking Paul Ryan, the 42-year-old, seven-term Congressman from southern Wisconsin, as his running mate. The choice offers the first real hints about what kind of president Romney will be. Here’s what we learned: He takes risks, he can adapt, and he’s willing to campaign on a bold set of ideas rather than generalities.” (Slate, 8/11/12)

National Journal’s Ron Fournier: “A New Promise For Presidential Politics And Leadership: Authentic, Bold, Positive And Focused On Results Over Partisan Gridlock.” “Mitt Romney used the choice of running mate Rep. Paul Ryan to script a new promise for presidential politics and leadership: Authentic, bold, positive and focused on results over partisan gridlock.” (National Journal, 8/11/12)

Time: “Romney Shook Up The Presidential Race Saturday Morning With A Single Stroke…” (Time, 8/11/12)

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball: “Overnight, It Was Clear, Romney Has Reoriented The Campaign Around A New, Daring Premise.” (The Atlantic, 8/11/12)

  • The Atlantic Headline: “Paul Ryan’s Message: ‘Courage’” (The Atlantic, 8/11/12)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “In Ryan, Romney Is Getting His Party’s Most Influential Politician On The Budget And Economy…” “In Ryan, Romney is getting his party’s most influential politician on the budget and economy, a huge favorite of pro-business and free-market conservatives, a skilled politician and self-styled ‘policy wonk,’ a prolific fundraiser and ubiquitous cable news presence…” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/11/12)

BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith: “The Ryan Pick Is Going To Take What Has Felt Inside The Beltway Like A National Debate And Turn It Into An Actual National Debate.” “The Ryan pick is going to take what has felt inside the beltway like a national debate and turn it into an actual national debate, I think.” (Ben Smith, Twitter Feed, 8/11/12)

Yahoo News’ Walter Shapiro: “What Stays With Me Was The Earnestness And Policy-Oriented Seriousness Of Ryan…” “I recall the fledging candidate walking me around downtown Janesville to show the houses and the historical markers that trace his family’s influence on this small industrial city since the late nineteenth century. But what stays with me was the earnestness and policy-oriented seriousness of Ryan, even then.” (Yahoo! News, 8/11/12)

National Review Editorial: “Governor Romney Has Made An Inspired Choice.” (National Review, 8/11/12)

  • “Paul Ryan Is The Republican Who Has Made The Most Pointed Critique Of The Philosophy That Underlies Obama’s Economic Policies…” “Paul Ryan is the Republican who has made the most pointed critique of the philosophy that underlies Obama’s economic policies: the notion that government can direct resources toward rising industries. Solyndra is not just a scandal, Ryan notes: It is the kind of crony-capitalist fiasco to which Obama’s view inevitably leads.” (National Review, 8/11/12)

What They’re Saying: “Philosophical Debate Worthy Of A Presidential Campaign”

“A Big Debate” … “A Breath Of Fresh Air” … “Most Well-Respected Fiscal Mind”

Reuters: “His Choice Of Running Mate Is A Bold One…” “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Saturday he has chosen Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate, a move that will bring the debate over how to reduce government spending and debt to the forefront of the race for the White House. … His choice of running mate is a bold one…” (Reuters, 8/11/12)

CNN’s John King: “A Choice By Mitt Romney To Say Sure, Let’s Have A Big Debate About The Big Choices Facing The American Economy.” KING: “Again, this is a bold choice … It’s essentially a choice by Mitt Romney to say sure, let’s have a big debate about the big choices facing the American economy and American spending…” (CNN, 8/11/12)

Boston Herald: “A Breath Of Fresh Air…” “Romney’s choice of Ryan … brings a breath of fresh air to the ticket generationally.” (Boston Herald, 8/11/12)

The Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Ryan Best Guarantees The Country Will Get The Kind Of Philosophical Debate Worthy Of A Presidential Campaign.” “But as the author of the budget plan that most clearly delineates the view of limited government that most Republicans hold, and with more specificity and crystalline explanation than most can muster, Mr. Ryan best guarantees the country will get the kind of philosophical debate worthy of a presidential campaign.” (The Wall Street Journal, 8/11/12)

CNN’s John Avlon: “It’s A Bold Decision. … Moves This Into A More Substantive Stage Of The Campaign.” AVLON: “It’s a bold decision. It is a strong, confident decision. And what it ultimately does is moves this into a more substantive stage of the campaign.” (CNN, 8/11/12)

Roll Call: “The Former Massachusetts Governor Promoted The Most Well-Respected Fiscal Mind Among Capitol Hill Republicans…” “The former Massachusetts governor promoted the most well-respected fiscal mind among Capitol Hill Republicans…” (Roll Call, 8/11/12)

New York Daily News: “A Bold Choice…” “Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate Saturday – a bold choice meant to excite the GOP’s conservative base and further make the economy the defining issue of the election.” (New York Daily News, 8/11/12)

CNN’s Gloria Borger: “I Think The Debate Is Going To Shift Onto A Very Substantive Ground.” BORGER: “But I think what they are trying to do is say, you know what, he hasn’t made the tough choices that we need to make in a serious way to save the economic future of this country, so I think the debate is going to shift onto a very substantive ground.” (CNN’s “Your Bottom Line,” 8/11/12)

Campaign Buzz June 26, 2012: Senatorial & Congressional Primary Night Results: Senator Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: SENATORIAL & CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY NIGHT RESULTS

Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-26-12

Two Capitol Hill stalwarts — a conservative senator and a liberal congressman — easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday, fending off what were viewed as the toughest challenges of their careers.

In Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator for six terms, defeated the Tea Party-supported Dan Liljenquist by a two-to-one margin.

There were questions earlier this year about whether Hatch would win the GOP nomination, as the Tea Party seemed intent on replacing him with a candidate to the far right even though Hatch’s conservative credentials were impeccable.

However, Hatch’s base rallied for him and the senator’s war chest of $7 million was no match for Liljenquist, who had less than $1 million to spend.  Hatch is expected to cruise to re-election in November.

Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel had no problem beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat even as his 15th District in Harlem was melded into the mostly Latino 13th District.

Rangel, seeking his 22nd term in the House, is normally considered a lock to win the Democratic primary but this redistricting, along with ethics issues, posed a threat to his long tenure….READ MORE

Hatch Overcomes Challenge in Republican Primary in Utah

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

The six-term Republican fended off a primary challenge from a Tea Party-backed insurgent candidate on Tuesday….READ MORE

Rangel Fends Off Challengers to Win a Congressional Primary

Source: NYT, 6-26-12

Representative Charles B. Rangel’s victory capped a gripping campaign and preserved a career that had been threatened by ethics troubles and changing demographics….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 22, 2012: GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Speech on Immigration to Latino Leaders at the NALEO Annual Conference in Orlando

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

 

romney-2012-blog-naleo.jpg

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY’S SPEECH ON IMMIGRATION TO LATINO LEADERS AT THE NALEO CONFERENCE IN ORLANDO

Romney Rips Obama’s Immigration Approach in Speech to Latinos: In a high-profile address to Latinos on Thursday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama had “failed to address immigration reform” after promising to do so during the 2008 campaign and vowed that, if elected, he would enact comprehensive measures that would enable families to remain together and improve economically.
“I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution,” Romney said in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to scattered applause from the audience. “I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.”
Romney’s much-anticipated address to the annual conference held by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) came at a time when Obama’s advantage with Latinos appears to be growing…. – ABC News Radio, 6-21-12

  • Romney’s immigration promises hard to deliver: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando…. – AP, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney immigration policy: Will it win some Latino voters? (+video): In an address to Latino officials Thursday, Mitt Romney softened his tone as he laid out immigration policy. But he still won’t say whether he would first overturn Obama’s new policy to help young illegal immigrants…. – CS Monitor, 6-22-12
  • Romney reaches out to Latinos: Mitt Romney offered a family-friendly approach to the nation’s immigration woes in his first general-election outreach to Latino voters, but the modest steps that he sketched underscored the political pull-and-tug the issue has…. – LAT, 6-21-12
  • Romney Exhibits a Change in Tone on Immigration: Mitt Romney struck a more conciliatory tone toward illegal immigrants on Thursday than he took during the Republican primary season, but he backed only limited steps to address the concerns of many Hispanic voters as he … NYT, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney seeks ‘common ground’ on immigration issue: If elected president, Mitt Romney said in a speech to Latino officials Thursday, he will strive to “find common ground” on the issue of immigration, which has stymied presidents of both parties. Reactions from groups on both sides of the issue Thursday…. – USA Today, 6-21-12
  • Mitt Romney tries to soften image among Hispanic voters: Mitt Romney, who courted conservative Republican primary voters with hard-line opposition to illegal immigration, took a first step Thursday toward trying to soften his image among skeptical Hispanic voters — pledging to speak in a “civil and…. – WaPo, 6-21-12

Remarks To NALEO: “Growing Opportunity For All Americans”

Source: Mitt Romney, 6-21-12

Thank you for inviting me to your annual conference. It’s an honor to be here among so many dedicated elected leaders.

I come to you today as a candidate for President of the United States of America. I will govern from the principle that while this is a land of extraordinary diversity, there is much more that unites us than divides us. Though each of us walks a different path in life, we are united by one great, overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America.  We are one nation, under God.

Today, we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united also by our concern for America.

This country we love is in peril. That is why I am running for President.

Almost four years ago, Americans did something that was very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead; someone we hadn’t known for very long, who didn’t have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place.

At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, America wished him well and hoped for the best.

Three and a half years later, over 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed or have just quit looking for work.  At a time when we should be gaining momentum, we’re losing it.  Job growth has slowed and this week, we learned that the number of job openings has fallen again.

Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard.  While national unemployment is still above 8%, Hispanic unemployment is at 11%.

The middle class has been crushed under President Obama. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in history. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.

Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for food and gasoline.

And yet our President says the private sector is doing fine. This is more than a policy failure; it is a moral failure.

Now, I know the President will say that he inherited an economic crisis.  But we shouldn’t allow the challenges he faced four years ago to divert our attention from another important fact:  The President pursued policies that have made this the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.  And he broke promises many were counting on to build a brighter future.

It did not have to be this way.

Just compare this President’s record with Ronald Reagan’s first term.  President Reagan also faced an economic crisis.  In fact, in 1982, the unemployment rate peaked at nearly 11 percent. But in the two years that followed, he delivered a true recovery – economic growth and job creation were three times higher than in the Obama Economy.

If President Obama had delivered a real recovery – a Reagan recovery – we would have five million more jobs today. The unemployment rate would be about six percent. And our economy would be at least one trillion dollars larger.

Tomorrow, President Obama will speak here, for the first time since his last campaign. He may admit that he hasn’t kept every promise. And he’ll probably say that, even though you aren’t better off today than you were four years ago, things could be worse. He’ll imply that you really don’t have an alternative. He’s taking your vote for granted.

I’ve come here today with a simple message: You do have an alternative.  Your vote should be respected.  And your voice is more important now than ever before.

This November, we’ll make a choice.  We can continue along the path we’re on – or we can choose a better way.

Instead of continuing with the policies of the last three and a half years, we can revitalize our free-enterprise economy.  We can lead the world in what we invent and build and create. And let me make this very clear—this is the only way we can strengthen the middle class.  And this is the only way we can create sustained prosperity. Raising taxes to grow government does not grow the middle class.

Today, I am asking you to join me because, while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, the same vision, and the same belief in American greatness that draws so many to our shores.  Liberty’s torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrants as it has burned for immigrants past.

We know our businesses can’t succeed, grow, and hire more workers without a more competitive tax code. That’s why I will lower our corporate tax rate, and reduce individual marginal rates by 20 percent, across the board.

We also know that our businesses and families need affordable and reliable energy.  Producing more of our energy resources will create jobs in America and generate greater revenues for America.  It will also help bring manufacturing back to our shores.

We know our economy can’t grow if we’re mortgaging our future to pay for the big government programs of today.  As President, I will rein in spending and balance the budget.  And I will repeal Obamacare.  We cannot afford another $2 trillion entitlement.  Obamacare depresses job growth.  In one study, 73 percent of business owners said that Obamacare has made it harder for them to hire people.  Repealing Obamacare and replacing it will give businesses the certainty they need to hire, expand, and grow.

We can also jumpstart our economy by expanding trade in our hemisphere.  Yet, the President has not completed a single new trade agreement with Latin America.  And he’s failed to crack down on countries like China that don’t follow the rules.

We know our kids can’t succeed if they’re trapped in failing schools. That’s why, as President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special-needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  When it comes to education, a choice for every parent means a chance for every child.

An effective immigration system can also strengthen our economy, as it has since the nation’s founding.

Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform.

For two years, this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased.  But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.

Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election.  After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One.  I think you deserve better.

Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.

As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure.  I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.  I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.

Let me speak to a few principles that will guide me.

As I have said many times, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to secure the borders. That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa.  We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit verification system.

Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart.  Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof.  But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape.  For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.  And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.

As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.  We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.  And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well.  Immigrants with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate.  Immigrants founded or cofounded nearly half of our 50 top venture-backed companies.  They are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business.  And that kind of risk taking is something we need more than ever because new business starts are now at a 30-year low.

I will work with states and employers to update our temporary worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs.

And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma. We want the best and brightest to enrich the nation through the jobs and technologies they will help create.

We also have a strong tradition in this country of honoring immigrants who join our military and put their lives on the line to keep this country safe. Since September 11, 2001, the United States has naturalized almost 75,000 members of the Armed Forces. Too many of these patriots died on distant battlefields for our freedom before receiving full citizenship here in the country they called “home.”

As President, I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service. Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.

But improving access to legal immigration is only one part of the equation. We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration, so that people are rewarded for waiting patiently in line. That’s why my administration will establish a strong employment verification system so that every business can know with confidence that the people it hires are legally eligible for employment.

We can find common ground here, and we must. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to ensure that our country remains a land of opportunity – both for those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws, and want to come to our shores.

I’ve spoken often about how proud I am of my father.  He was born to American parents living in Mexico. When he was five, they left everything behind, and started over in the United States.

His dad – my grandfather – was a builder who went bust more than once. My grandfather didn’t make much money.  There were times in my dad’s life when he lived in poverty.   But my grandfather had big hopes for my dad, and tried to help him as best he could.

My Dad didn’t finish college. But he believed in a country where the circumstances of one’s birth were not a barrier to achievement – and he wasn’t afraid of hard work.  He held odd jobs – lath and plaster and selling paint.  He was lucky enough to live in America, where hard work can turn aspirations into realities. And he became the leader of a great car company and the governor of a great state.

This is my father’s story – but it could be any American’s. Most of you here today are leaders in your community. You are here because you have benefitted from this land of opportunity, and you want to give back to this country, to fight for its people, so that they have the same chance to succeed.

We are truly one America. Everyone here has made this exceptional nation what it is today.

This isn’t an election about two people.  This isn’t an election about being a Republican, Democrat, or an independent.  This is an election about the future of America.  I would ask each of you to look at the last three and a half years, and ask whether we can do better.

Is the America of 11% Hispanic unemployment the America of our dreams?  I know we can do better.  We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Political Headlines June 19, 2012: Mitt Romney Says Despite ABC News Report Marco Rubio is Being Vetted for Veep — Vice President Running Mate

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Says Marco Rubio is Being Vetted for Veep

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-19-12

ABC News

Marco Rubio is being vetted for the vice presidential spot, Mitt Romney told reporters in Michigan Tuesday afternoon.

“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney said, adding reports from Tuesday that said Marco Rubio is not being vetted is “entirely false.”

“There was a story that originated today, apparently at ABC, based on reports of supposedly outside, unnamed advisors of mine,” Romney told reporters. “I can’t imagine who such people are but I can tell you this. They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself.”

Myers is Romney’s long time aide heading up the vice presidential search and vetting process.

“I know Beth well. She doesn’t talk to anybody,” Romney said….READ MORE

Campaign Buzz June 13, 2012: Former Gabrielle Giffords Aide Democrat Ron Barber Wins Arizona Special Election to Finish her Congressional Term

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Ron Barber, second from left, gets a hug from former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, left, as Giffords husband Mark Kelly, right, looks on as Barber celebrates a victory before speaking to supporters at a post election event, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. | AP Photo

Barber ran as a moderate, never identifying himself as a Democrat in his ads. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: FORMER GABBY GIFFORDS AIDE DEMOCRAT RON BARBER WINS ARIZONA SPECIAL ELECTION TO FINISH HER CONGRESSIONAL TERM

Former Giffords Aide Ron Barber Wins Arizona Special Election: Ron Barber, the former district director for Gabrielle Giffords, has won the special election for his old bosses’ seat.
For Barber, 66, victory is bittersweet. The top aide to Giffords was also injured in the grocery store shooting on January, 2011 — he was shot in the leg and the cheek….. – ABC News Radio, 6-13-12

  • Arizona Race to Succeed Giffords Won by Democrat: Ron Barber, whom former Representative Gabrielle Giffords picked as her successor, defeated his Republican rival on Tuesday in a closely followed special election…. – NYT, 6-13-12
  • Former Gabrielle Giffords aide Ron Barber wins election to finish her term: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ hand-picked Democratic candidate won a special election Tuesday in southern Arizona to finish her term, defeating a Republican who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010…. – AP, 6-13-12
  • Ron Barber wins Arizona special election: Ron Barber gave Democrats a much-needed boost Tuesday by winning an Arizona special election that came just one week after the party suffered a demoralizing loss in Wisconsin.
    In a House contest to finish the term of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Barber defeated Republican  to win a southern Arizona-based seat that has been vacant since Giffords announced her resignation in January to focus on her recovery following a January 2011 assassination attempt.
    The special election ranked as the highest-profile contest on a day when six other states cast ballots in House primaries…. – Politico, 6-13-12
  • Democrat Ron Barber Retains Gabby Giffords’s Arizona Congressional Seat: Former Giffords aide Ron Barber beat his Tea Party opponent in an election that was far less close than predicted. Democrats said the victory is a good omen for Obama, but Republicans attributed it to…. Daily Beast, 6-13-12
  • Arizona Voters Pick Former Aide to Fill Giffords’ Seat: Democrat Ron Barber, an aide to former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, won a special election to fill the remaining term of the congresswoman who resigned after being shot in the head … BusinessWeek, 6-13-12What to Draw from Gabby Giffords Special Election: Voters in southeastern Arizona are at the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Gabby Giffords’ retirement.
    The Democratic nominee, Ron Barber, has a very personal connection to Giffords. Not only is he Giffords’ former district director, but he was also shot in the leg and cheek in the assassination attempt on Giffords in January 2011.
    Tea Party supporter and former Marine Jesse Kelly is the Republican nominee. Kelly narrowly lost his 2010 race against Giffords by 4,000 votes.
    While a new poll out Monday showed Barber ahead of Kelly by 12 points, insiders on both sides say their polling shows the race much tighter. Many of those closest to the contest give Barber a narrow advantage…. – ABC News Radio, 6-12-12
  • Arizona voters go to polls to fill Gabrielle Giffords’s seat in Congress: Voters in Arizona were set to select a replacement for former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D) in a competitive special election on Tuesday, but late poll closings left the winner undetermined late Tuesday night…. – WaPo, 6-12-12
  • Special election to replace Gabrielle Giffords set for Tuesday in Arizona: Voters in southeastern Arizona will decide Tuesday whether to continue the legacy of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D) by electing a former aide who was among those injured with her in a tragic 2011 shooting or to punish President Obama…. – WaPo, 6-11-12
  • Gabrielle Giffords’ House seat: Final scramble underway: Democrat Ron Barber and Republican Jesse Kelly made a last-ditch plea for votes ahead of Tuesday’s special election to succeed former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as an independent poll showed Barber poised to win.
    With momentum apparently in his favor, Barber spent the day trying to mobilize his get-out-the-vote operation and avoid complacency. The tea party-backed Kelly went on a popular conservative talk radio show and pressed his case that Barber would be a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama…. – Politico, 6-12-12

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech on the Economy in St Louis, Missouri — Says Fixing the Economy is Moral Imperative & Obama Failed

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY GIVES SPEECH ON ECONOMY IN MISSOURI — SAYS FIXING ECONOMY IS MORAL IMPERATIVE & OBAMA FAILED

Romney: Fixing US economy a moral imperative: Accusing his rival of a failure of “tragic proportion,” Republican Mitt Romney charged Thursday that the nation under President Barack Obama has failed to keep its “moral commitment to help every American help himself.”
Casting the need to fix the U.S. economy as a moral imperative — but without offering any new proposals — Romney said free enterprise ideas and less government intrusion would help spur a rebound…. – AP, 6-7-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In Missouri: “A Champion For Free Enterprise”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-7-12
Mitt Romney today delivered remarks on free enterprise in St. Louis, Missouri. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you. It is great to be here.

We launched this campaign a little over a year ago.  It’s been a remarkable journey. I’ve traveled across this great country and had the privilege to visit with Americans from every walk of life. As those of the traveling press corps can attest, we’ve brought our campaign to every kind of business imaginable, from factory floors to lumber yards to warehouses of every shape and size.

But whatever the business, everywhere I go, I hear frustration and disappointment in the lack of economic progress of the past three and a half years.  Americans are tired of being tired. They’re tired of working harder for less and now for the first time, more Americans are starting to think our future might not be as bright as our past. That lack of faith in the future is a bridge to despair that we cannot cross.

An America that does not believe that tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow will be better is not the America we know and love.

I’ve spoken often of the President’s failures of policy. From the stimulus bill that gave us Solyndra but left us with record unemployment, to the job-crushing over-regulation of the EPA, to the smothering economic effects of Obamacare, this President’s misguided policies have been muddled, confused and simply ineffective. When you look around at America’s economy, three and half years into this presidency, it’s painfully obvious that this inexperienced President was simply not up to the task of solving a great economic crisis.

But today I want to speak to the road ahead and why I believe the disappointments of the past years have been a breach of faith with the American people.

America is rightly heralded as the greatest experiment in self-governance in world history. We are all here today because of a startling conviction that free individuals could join together to decide their fate and that more freedom made us all stronger.

Our example – and commitment – to freedom has changed the world. But along with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.

That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or competing economic system. The success of America’s free enterprise system has been a bright beacon of freedom for the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and given hope to the once hopeless.

It is called the Free Enterprise System because we are both free to engage in enterprises and through those enterprises we ensure our freedom.

But sadly, it has become clear that this President simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force. Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million of our fellow Americans are living below the poverty line.

This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportions. Our government has an absolute moral commitment to help every American help themselves and today, that fundamental commitment has been broken.

I do not believe this has been done with evil intent or ill will. But for a family watching their house being sold at foreclosure, or the family that is forced to spend their kid’s college savings just to make ends meet, the results are just as devastating.

These are not statistics, these are our fellow Americans. As your President, starting on Day One, I will do everything in my power to end these days of drift and disappointment.  There is something fundamentally wrong when there are over 23 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work, and yet the President tells us he’s doing a great job.

I will not be that President of deception and doubt. I will lead us to a better place.

For three and a half years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper into debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.

Today, government at all levels consumes 37 percent of the total economy or G.D.P. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, government will reach half of the American economy. And through the increasing controls government has imposed on industries like energy, financial services and automobiles, it will soon effectively control the majority of our economic activity.

One must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity.

We know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom.

So for every government-spending proposal, I will ask the following question: “Is this program so important that it is worth borrowing more money from China to pay for it?”  With our nation facing 16 trillion dollars in debt, most times the answer will be an easy and unqualified “no.”  We’ve seen how fast our debt can grow.  It’s time to see how fast our economy can grow, and the first step is spending discipline.

Instead of throwing more borrowed money at bad ideas, I will lower tax rates, simplify the tax code, and get the American economy running at full strength.

Under President Obama, a single, massive law has spread so much uncertainty across the economy, especially to the small companies that employ about half of America’s workers and create most of our new jobs. They have no idea how many more taxes and regulations are coming.  And they sense from Washington an outright hostility toward what they do and what they hope to achieve.

So, as president, I will begin with an equally big dose of certainty across our economy: By granting waivers to all fifty states, I will start the process of repealing Obamacare on Day One.

In a free-enterprise system, we don’t measure our success in equal outcomes, but instead in how well we preserve and promote the equality of opportunity.  And this system has resulted in unrivaled prosperity and made America the greatest nation in history.

President Obama’s vision is very different – and deeply flawed.  There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition and takes away your right to earn your own success. And there is nothing morally right about trying to turn government dependence into a substitute for the dignity of work.

Where my vision believes in the ingenuity of the American people, his vision trusts the wisdom of political appointees and boards, commissions and czars. It’s one in which ordinary Americans must get permission from people in Washington before they can buy, build, invest or hire.

It’s a world of federal mandates and waivers, tax credits and subsidies, federal grants and loan guarantees.  It’s an economy where a company’s lobbyists will be more important than its engineers, and federal compliance lawyers will outnumber patent lawyers.

Business models based on building a better mousetrap will give way to those that seek the right mix of government subsidies, waivers and loan guarantees. And Chief Government Officers will join the ranks of Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers in corporate America’s executive ranks.

President Obama trusts in the wisdom of government. I put my trust in the ingenuity and creativity and commitment to hard work of the American people.

Looking at the sorry economic record of this administration, it’s easy to lose heart, and even to give up – as so many have in their search for a job.  The President and his team would like us to believe that somehow it’s the fault of the free market that things haven’t gone right.  That’s just another way of saying that it’s your fault, and not theirs, that the real recovery hasn’t yet arrived.

We have waited, and waited, and waited for recovery.  And enough time has passed to pronounce judgment on the economic policies of this administration.  They have not worked.  And you, the entrepreneurs and workers of America, have not failed these past three and a half years – your government has failed you.

Never before has federal policy run so contrary to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the American entrepreneur.  And with all that we’ve been through these past few years, the challenges can seem awfully big.  Some might wonder if we have lost our confidence.  But confidence is not what is missing – all that’s lacking is direction and leadership.

This President believes in an America of limits, where it is more important to focus on allocating the rewards of success than helping everyone succeed. That is an America of diminished opportunity and increased disappointment, of long unemployment lines and small dreams.

I believe in a very different America. If we embrace the future with leadership that does everything possible to unlock the potential of our economic might, we can enter a new era of prosperity the likes of which we have never seen. We cannot shy away from greatness for fear that some might succeed more than others. Just as every American who can’t find work makes our light shine a little less bright, success breeds success. It’s not just our economy that is hurting — it is our American spirit.

It doesn’t have to be this way. These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us. We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

All of this can be more than our hope – it can be our future.  It can begin this year, in the choice you make, so I ask for your help, your support, and your vote on the sixth of November.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Bill Clinton Differs with Obama on Bush-Era Tax Cuts Extension then After Backlash Backtracks Position & Apologizes

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: BILL CLINTON DIFFERS WITH OBAMA ON BUSH-ERA TAX CUTS EXTENSION THEN AFTER BACKLASH BACKTRACKS POSITION

MARIA BARTIROMO: So what about this upcoming fiscal cliff? Because a lot of people are worried and the markets certainly have been reacting to the– to the idea that these Bush tax cuts will expire at year end along with the spending programs that will expire. Should those programs and those tax cuts be extended?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: What I think they should do is find a way to keep the expansion going. And I think the– as weak as it is here, you know, unemployment in the euro zone I think is 11%. And– Germany’s doing well but the– and a lot of the smaller countries are doing extremely well, many of which are not in the euro.
But they’re trying to figure out a way to promote growth. And what I think we need to do is to– find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: Well, I think what it means is they will have extend– they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s going to– that’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
But– the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.

  • In Clinton, a Surrogate From the World of Romneys: Bill Clinton is trying to help President Obama, by raising money for his reelection and giving interviews about him — even if those interviews sometimes contradict Obama’s message…. – ABC News, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton ‘very sorry’ about tax remarks, agrees with Obama: Bill Clinton said Thursday that he’s “very sorry” for comments he made days earlier that appeared to undermine President Obama’s position on extending certain tax rates, chalking it up to a misunderstanding over when lawmakers needed to…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • Democrats’ Comments Spark Tax Cut Debate: Congressional Republicans pounced Wednesday on disputed comments from Bill Clinton and a former senior Obama economic adviser as support for the push to extend Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Summers Comment Adds to Confusion on Tax Cuts: Confusing economic comments – first by Bill Clinton, then by Lawrence Summers – have emboldened Republicans to say they have bipartisan backing for the extension of Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • GOP once tried to bury Clinton, now it praises him: Republicans who tried to strip Bill Clinton of his presidency have eagerly embraced the Democrat, taking his words on taxes and decisions on Bosnia and using them to pound another Democratic president, Barack Obama…. – Boston.com, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton becomes Romney’s favorite surrogate for Obama: One of the top unanswered questions of the 2008 presidential campaign has come roaring back: What’s Bill Clinton thinking? The former president has increased his profile in recent days, speaking out on behalf of…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton, even if he can’t control him: The current president is learning that there is both an upside and a downside to having a former one — particularly one with whom he has tangled in the past — as the most prominent surrogate for his reelection bid. On the one hand, Bill Clinton brings…. – WaPo, 6-6-12
  • Clinton Remarks Test Uneasy AllianceWSJ, 6-6-12
  • Obama still opposes extending Bush-era tax cuts for rich: President Barack Obama continues to oppose extending Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the White House said on Wednesday, shrugging off calls for a temporary extension to allow more time for a deal on….. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • Obama and Bill Clinton: On same team but not always reading same playbook: How things change. In 2008, after a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama was on the outs with former President Bill Clinton. This election cycle, Clinton is one of Obama’s most visible surrogates…. – CNN, 6-4-12
  • Clinton’s Tax-Cut Position Undercuts Obama Stance: Former Democratic President Bill Clinton suggested Tuesday that Congress temporarily extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, undercutting President Barack Obama’s position that the rates on upper-income Americans should rise at year’s end…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • US Is Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton: Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Tuesday that the US economy already is in a recession and urged Congress to extend all the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year. In a taped interview aired on “Closing Bell”… CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC’S MARIA BARTIROMO SITS DOWN WITH FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: WHEN: TODAY, TUESDAY, JUNE 5TH AT 4PM ET WHERE: CNBC’S “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO” Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with former President Bill Clinton today on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.”… – CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • Bill Clinton says renew all expiring tax cuts temporarily, long-term cuts: Former President Bill Clinton says broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily extended, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on long-term tax reductions that he says should exclude…. – WaPo, 6-5-12

Campaign Buzz June 5, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Tuesday 5 GOP Primaries with Wins in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota & California

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY SWEEPS TUESDAY’S 5 GOP PRIMARIES IN MONTANA, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, SOUTH DAKOTA & CALIFORNIA

Romney sweeps 5 primaries; redistricting shakes up Congressional races: Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked up more ammo in his quest for the White House, sweeping primaries in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and California on Tuesday night…. – CNN, 6-6-12

 

  • Romney wins Republican primaries in 5 statesCBS News, 6-5-12
  • Republican Romney wins five more US state pollsAFP, 6-6-12
  • Five more states boost Romney delegate totalPhiladelphia Inquirer, 6-6-12
  • Romney sweeps primaries in 5 statesNews24, 6-6-12
  • Mitt Romney sweeps primaries in 5 states: The results aren’t surprising because the presidential candidate, who spent the day stumping for Latino support in Texas, has effectively claimed the nomination. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Fort Worth…. – LAT, 6-5-12
  • Romney wins Republican primaries in 4 states, adding to presumptive nominee’s delegates: Mitt Romney has won the Montana Republican presidential primary on his way to what could be a five-state sweep. Romney also won presidential primaries Tuesday in New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico. California is also holding a primary…. – WaPo, 6-5-12

Campaign Buzz May 29, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Texas Primary & Clinches GOP / Republcan Presidential Nomination — Gains 1144 Needed Delegates

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

With Texas Win, Romney Clinches the GOP Nomination

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-29-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

It has been projected that Romney has won the Texas GOP primary, and ABC News estimates he will win at least 88 of Texas’s 155 delegates, giving him the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.

Romney now moves on to the general election against President Obama in November. Polls have shown a tight race between the two candidates….READ MORE

Tonight, We Begin The Work Of Restoring Our Country To Greatness

Source: Mitt Romney, 5-29-12

romney-2012-blog-image-mitt-thank-you-america.jpg

I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us.

I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On November 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY CLINCHES REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

Romney clinches Republican presidential nomination: Mitt Romney has won the Texas primary, securing the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s August convention…. – WaPo, 5-29-12

  • Nomination His, Romney Steps Up Attack on Obama: Mitt Romney, who formally secured the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, is unleashing an offensive to further undermine confidence in President Obama…. – NYT, 5-29-12
  • Romney clinches GOP nomination, focuses ahead: Mitt Romney wins the Texas GOP primary, locking down the party nomination, and he’s already moving on to general-election goals…. – LAT, 5-29-12
  • CBS News: Romney clinches GOP presidential nomination: Updated: 11:45 pm ET (CBS News) Nearly a year after announcing his presidential bid, CBS News estimates that Mitt Romney has earned the necessary delegates to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. With 85 percent of the votes counted…. – CBS News, 5-29-12 Mitt Romney celebrates clinching 1144 delegates: ‘It is a great honor’: Mitt Romney celebrated clinching the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday night, telling donors that he was honored to cross the 1144 delegate threshold, but he predicted a long battle through the fall…. – LAT, 5-29-12 Romney clinches 1144 delegates, but buzz is about Trump: Mitt Romney finally clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, but all the chatter around his campaign was about Donald Trump. By Julie Jacobson, AP Donald Trump greets Mitt Romney during a news conference in … USA Today, 5-29-12 Romney gets Trumped by birther talk: Though the GOP candidate clinched the nomination, Donald Trump’s claims about the President’s statements upstaged the news…. – CS Monitor, 5-29-12
  • Romney clinches GOP nomination, but faces fallout from the primaries: Mitt Romney’s victory in the Texas primary on Tuesday gives him enough delegates to capture the Republican presidential nomination, but he remains some distance from recovering from the damage caused by months of tussling with … LAT, 5-29-12
  • Romney seals the deal in delayed if inconsequential GOP Texas primary: There was no suspense, there was no drama but Texas finally played a bit role in the presidential election Tuesday with a final boost to GOP candidate Mitt Romney, giving him enough delegates for him to secure the GOP presidential nomination… Kansas City Star, 5-29-12
  • Romney clinches GOP nomination for president with win in Texas primary: Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a win in the Texas primary, a triumph of endurance for a candidate who came up short four years ago and had to fight hard this…. – AP, 5-29-12

Full Campaign Buzz May 23, 2012: Mitt Romney Unveils Education Plan to the Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit — Will Increase School Choice for Low-Income Students Through Vouchers

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY UNVEILS HIS EDUCATION PLAN TO THE LATINO COALITION’S ANNUAL ECONOMIC SUMMIT

Romney Unveils Education Plan

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-23-12


Mario Tama/Getty Images

Mitt Romney unveiled his education plan on Wednesday, vowing to make sweeping changes to the public education system by expanding school choice by assigning federal money to low-income students who will then, in turn, be able to take that money to a school of his or her choice or use it for tutoring or digital education.

“I’ll be blunt,” Romney said during an address to The Latino Coalition’s Annual Economic Summit. “I don’t like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land.”

Romney, who said students in the U.S. are receiving a “third-world education” where “minority children suffer the most,” outlined Wednesday for the first time the specific steps he would take toward education reform….READ MORE

Romney, Dipping Into Education, Pushes School Choice

Source: NYT, 5-23-12

Mitt Romney seizes on a topic — education — that he has shied away from, encouraging measures to push school choice and higher standards….READ MORE

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Remarks: A Chance For Every Child

Source: Mitt Romney, 5-23-12

romney-2012-blog-picture-education-mitt-speech.jpg

Thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for hosting us. This year the Chamber marks 100 years of Standing Up for American Enterprise.  Few organizations have fought longer or harder for the principles of economic freedom. And these days, your voice is more important than ever.

I am grateful to the Latino Coalition for the invitation to be part of your Annual Economic Summit. In recent days we’ve heard a lot about business from the President and if you’re feeling like you deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act, I can’t blame you.

This is a time when everybody in this administration should be doing everything in their power to support you. If every one of our small businesses added just two employees, Americans could pay more mortgages and buy more groceries and fill their gas tanks.

Instead, sadly, President Obama has decided to attack success. It’s no wonder so many of his own supporters are calling on him to stop this war on job creators. Make no mistake, when I am President, you won’t wake up every day and wonder if the President is on your side.

Starting on Day One, I’ll be there to help you make it.  And if you’re successful beyond your wildest dreams, I’ll be the first to celebrate your success because I know your prosperity means greater opportunity – for you, for your families, for your employees, and for your communities.  And that’s what the American Dream is all about.

During my lifetime, I’ve seen a few of my own dreams come true.  I’ve run and started business, helped guide the Olympics, and led a great state. I learned early on that the only way to succeed in tough situations is to bring people together for a common purpose. That’s how you achieve greatness and accomplish your goals.

Dividing people and pitting one side against another produces nothing but failure and mediocrity.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen too much of that from this administration.  That’s part of why we’re facing the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression.  And it’s why this President and his party have failed to address the most serious problems facing our country.

When the President took office, he faced a jobs crisis. It’s barely improved. He faced a spending crisis. It’s only gotten worse.  And he faced an education crisis.

I’d love to stand here today and join you in celebrating the end of our education crisis. Wouldn’t it be great if we could look back on the last four years with confidence that the crisis had been confronted and we’d turned the corner toward a brighter future?

But sadly, that hasn’t happened.  And the tragedy is not just a matter of test scores and international rankings. It’s the frustration of a sixth grader who wants to learn more, but is stuck in a class that’s moving too slowly. It’s the embarrassment of a 10th grader who knows he can’t read the books he’s assigned. It’s the shame of a 12th grader who’s supposed to be ready to graduate, but hasn’t mastered the skills he or she needs to succeed in life.

In this country, we believe every child has something to contribute.  No matter what circumstances they were born into, every child has a dream about where they can go or what they can become.  Whether that dream is to invent something, start something, build something, or create something, it all starts with the basic skills and confidence that only a good education can provide.

Yet, today, too many dreams are never realized because our education system is failing.

More than 150 years ago, our nation pioneered public education.  We’ve now fallen way behind.

Among developed countries, the United States comes in 14th of 34 in reading, 17th of 34 in science, and an abysmal 25th out of 34 in math.

Our public education system is supposed to ensure that every child gets a strong start in life.  Yet, one in four students fails to attain a high school degree. And in our major cities, half of our kids won’t graduate.  Imagine that.

Imagine if your enterprise had a 25% to 50% failure rate in meeting its primary goal.  You would consider that a crisis.  You would make changes, and fast.  Because if you didn’t, you’d go out of business.

But America’s public education establishment shows no sense of urgency.  Instead, there is a fierce determination to keep things the way they are.

Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most.  This is the civil-rights issue of our era.  It’s the great challenge of our time.

Last week, I spoke about the prairie fire of debt that is spreading across our country.  Today, I want to talk about our crisis in education.  With all of our economic troubles, there’s a temptation to put off the task of fixing our nations’ schools for another time.  But the jobs and housing failures of these past few years only make that task more important.

Let’s not kid ourselves – we are in the midst of a National Education Emergency. The only reason we don’t hear more about it is because our economic troubles have taken our national attention away from the classroom.  But if unemployment was where it should be and home values were going up, there is no question that the crisis in American education would be the great cause of this campaign.

Of course, the jobs and housing failures of these past few years only make the need for educational improvement all the more critical.  So I’ll be blunt: I don’t like the direction of American education, and as President, I will do everything in my power to reverse this decline.

Much as you have in your own business careers, I’ve found that you can’t expect dramatically different results unless you are open to dramatic change.  As president, I will pursue bold policy changes that will restore the promise of our nation’s education system.

First, I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way.  Too many of our kids are trapped in schools that are failing or simply don’t meet their needs.  And for too long, we’ve merely talked about the virtues of school choice.

As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school.  For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted.  And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it.

To receive the full complement of federal education dollars, states must provide students with ample school choice.  In addition, digital learning options must not be prohibited.  And charter schools or similar education choices must be scaled up to meet student demand.

Instead of eliminating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as President Obama has proposed, I will expand it to offer more students a chance to attend a better school.  It will be a model for parental choice programs across the nation.

Parental choice will hold schools responsible for results, but parents can only exercise that choice effectively if they have good information.  No Child Left Behind helped our nation take a giant step forward in bridging this information gap.  But the law is not without its weaknesses.  As president, I will break the political logjam that has prevented successful reform of the law.  I will reduce federal micromanagement while redoubling efforts to ensure that schools are held responsible for results.

For example, parents shouldn’t have to navigate a cryptic evaluation system to figure out how their kids’ schools are performing.  States must provide a simple-to-read and widely available public report card that evaluates each school.  These report cards will provide accurate and easy-to-understand information about student and school performance.  States will continue to design their own standards and tests, but the report cards will provide information that parents can use to make informed choices.

We will take bold steps to ensure our system welcomes and rewards the best teachers.  As president, I will make it my goal to ensure that every classroom has a quality teacher.

There are currently 82 programs in ten agencies that spend $4 billion on teacher quality.  As president, I will consolidate these programs, and block grant them to states that adopt innovative policies.  For example, states will be rewarded if they regularly evaluate teachers for their effectiveness and compensate the best teachers for their success.  Teaching is a highly valued profession that must attract and retain the best and brightest.

Dramatically expanding parental choice, making schools responsible for results by giving parents access to clear and instructive information, and attracting and rewarding our best teachers–these changes can help ensure that every parent has a choice and every child has a chance.

Finally, since we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can’t stop at high school’s end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers.  We must stop fueling skyrocketing tuition prices that put higher education out of reach for some and leave others with crushing debt.

These are bold initiatives that will produce better outcomes for our parents and teachers and students.  But accomplishing real change won’t be easy.  Efforts to truly reform our schools always meet strong resistance from entrenched interests.

The teachers unions are the clearest example of a group that has lost its way.  Whenever anyone dares to offer a new idea, the unions protest the loudest.

Their attitude was memorably expressed by a long-time president of the American Federation of Teachers:  He said, quote, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of children.”

The teachers unions don’t fight for our children.  That’s our job.  And our job keeps getting harder because the unions wield outsized influence in elections and campaigns.

Annually, many teachers are forced to pay almost $1,000 in union dues.  The two major teachers unions take in $600 million each year.  That’s more revenue than both of the political parties combined.

In 2008, the National Education Association spent more money on campaigns than any other organization in the country.  And 90% of those funds went to Democrats.

Education is one issue where it should be easy to find common purpose and common solutions.  And I believe the President must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office.  Most likely, he would have liked to do more.  But the teachers unions are one of the Democrats’ biggest donors – and one of the President’s biggest campaign supporters.  So, President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses – and unwilling to stand up for kids.

The most recent example is the Opportunity Scholarship program.  Since 2004, it’s allowed thousands of children in the District of Columbia to escape one of the worst school systems in the nation and get a world-class education.  Armed with scholarships of up to $7,500, students enrolled in private schools. 99% of them were African American or Hispanic.

After three months, students could already read at levels 19 months ahead of their public-school peers.  And parents were happy; for every spot in the program, there were 4 applications.

Then, Senator Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, inserted a provision to end the program.  The White House offered no resistance.  In fact, the President has proposed ending all funding for Opportunity Scholarships.  It must have gone against his better instincts, but the unions wanted it so he went along.

In the Opportunity Scholarships, the Democrats finally found the one federal program they are willing to cut. Why?  Because success anywhere in our public schools is a rebuke to failure everywhere else.  That’s why the unions oppose even the most common sense improvements.

In Detroit, students in the city’s failing public schools were offered a lifeline by a philanthropist who offered $200 million to create 15 charter schools.  The teachers union made the state legislature turn that gift down.

In Connecticut, parents groups tried to pass “parent trigger” legislation so they could take over and transform failing schools.  A national teachers union moved fast to stop that.

Now some union leaders will tell you that their objections are misunderstood.  They’ll argue the issues are complicated.  But really it’s simple – and it comes down to this:  When your cause in life is preventing parents from having a meaningful choice or children from having a real chance, then you are on the wrong side.  You might even be in the wrong vocation, because good teachers put the interests of children first.

The same is true of a good president.  In his speeches, President Obama likes to tell us “we can’t wait.”  If only he would say that and mean it about education reform – because millions are waiting for change, and so many are missing their chance.

The President can’t have it both ways:  He can’t talk up reform, while indulging the groups that block it.  He can’t be the voice of disadvantaged public-school kids, and the protector of special interests.

President Obama has made his choice, and I have made mine: As president, I will be a champion of real education reform in America, and I won’t let any special interest get in the way.

We have to stop putting campaign cash ahead of our kids.

This is a battle we can and must win.  And while a lot needs fixing, we’re getting some of the most important things right.

We have good teachers, like the ones who are leading New York City’s Democracy Prep.  Because of them, kids from the city’s poorest community are outperforming children from the wealthiest.  Last summer, these teachers took over the worst elementary school in Harlem rather than let it shut down.  Democracy Prep is a testament to good people who refuse to give up on our kids or leave our cities without a fight.

And leadership makes a huge difference.  When Jeb Bush became governor of Florida, reading scores of Hispanic students in that state’s school system were dismal. He brought focused innovation and passionate leadership.  Today those scores have risen dramatically.

But too often, new ideas, good teachers, and dedicated parents don’t find a welcoming partner and true champion in elected officials like Governor Bush.  Instead, they are met with resistance and resentment from the establishment.

I know what it is like to be a Governor fighting to do things differently. You need every bit of help you can get.  As President, I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with these reformers and innovators.

When I became Governor, we were in the midst of instituting tough, bi-partisan education reforms.  They included the requirement that every student pass a test to graduate from high school.  The test came under attack from the unions.  But we stood our ground.

We also offered our best students a four-year, tuition-free scholarship to the state college of their choice.  I called it the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, after two Massachusetts citizens who understood the importance of education to our nation.

Every year I’d ask a school principal to invite the students who scored in the top 25% on the exam to a special assembly.  After some words about hard work, I’d ask them to reach under their chair and remove an envelope that had been taped there.  And I’d watch as each of them would open the enclosed letter.

Every year, I’d stand in front of the room and the same scene would unfold:

At first, you could hear a pin drop.  Then each student’s eyes would get big and proud smiles would creep across their faces as they found out how well they had done on the exam.  And then they would read the part of the letter where they learned they’d earned an Adams Scholarship.  The smiles turned into cheers – and the sound was deafening.

I got more hugs on Adams Scholarship day than I did at Christmas.  Kids would bring me their cell phones so I could tell their parents the exciting news.  And parents – more than once – told me that they had been worried they would not be able to afford college and that the scholarship would make a difference.

Here in America, every child deserves a chance.  It shouldn’t be reserved for the fortunate few.

If America is going to continue to lead the world in how much we build, create, and invent, then we must transform how we teach, train, and educate.  We already have good teachers, engaged parents, and big ideas.  What we need now is strong leadership and the political will.

A choice for every parent means a chance for every child.  That can be more than our hope – it can be our future.  It can begin this year, in the choice you make, so I ask for your help, your support, and your vote on the sixth of November.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz May 22, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries — Closer to Amassing Delegates Needed for GOP / Republican Nomination & Out Performs Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

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.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Romney Wins Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries, Outperforms Obama in Both States

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mitt Romney’s victories Tuesday night in Arkansas and Kentucky may have been foregone conclusions, but besides two more batches of delegates on his way to the 1,144 he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, they also gave him something else — bragging rights over President Obama.

In Kentucky, Romney, who is expected to clinch the nomination after the Texas primary on May 29, received a higher percentage of the vote in the Republican presidential primary than Obama received in the Democratic presidential primary. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 67 percent of the vote, while Obama had 58 percent….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY SWEEPS KENTUCKY & ARKANSAS PRIMARIES

Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney is creeping ever closer to ditching the ‘presumptive’ tag in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney swept the Kentucky and Arkansas Republican presidential primaries yesterday…. – AP, 5-23-12

  • Kentucky and Arkansas: Romney romps, Obama struggles, also rans remain also rans: With the presidential nominees of both parties already decided, it is tempting to forget that some states are still holding primaries. June 5th offers contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico…. – Washington Times, 5-23-12
  • Ky., Ark. primaries push Romney toward inevitable nomination: Tuesday’s presidential primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas served one major function: ensuring that Mitt Romney can lock-up the delegates he needs to secure the nomination when Texas votes next week…. – USA Today, 5-22-12
  • Sweep assures his GOP nod: Mitt Romney won all 42 delegates in Kentucky and 21 of 33 in Arkansas. He spent Tuesday evening fund-raising in New York…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-23-12
  • Mitt Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney speaks in Lansing, Mich. Romney is looking to pad his lead in the race for convention delegates in Republican presidential primaries Tuesday in Arkansas and Kentucky as he inches closer to the nomination he’s all but certain to win…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-23-12

Campaign Buzz May 16, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Oregon & Nebraska GOP Primaries — Still does not have the 1144 Delegates needed for the Republican Presidential Nominaton

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mitt Romney is shown speaking in Iowa Tuesday. | AP Photo

Romney edged closer Tuesday to clinching the GOP presidential nomination. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WINS OREGON & NEBRASKA PRIMARIES — STILL DOES NOT HAVE THE 1144 NEEDED DELEGATES

Romney wins Oregon, Nebraska primaries: Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney won primary ballots in Oregon and Nebraska, partial results showed, moving him a step closer to winning his party’s formal White House nomination.
Romney won 73 percent of the vote in Oregon against 12.2 percent for Ron Paul, who suspended active campaigning this week, and 5.7 percent for Newt Gingrich, according to results from nearly two thirds of precincts.
In Nebraska the former Massachusetts governor had some 70.9 percent of votes compared to 9.9 percent for Paul and 5.2 percent for former House Speaker Gingrich, according to nearly complete results.
Even if he won all of Oregon’s 25 delegates and Nebraska’s 32 — from a non-binding poll — he would not be able to reach the 1,144 needed to clinch the Republican nomination…. – AFP, 5-16-12

  • Mitt Romney easily wins Nebraska, Oregon primaries: With almost nothing at stake, Mitt Romney easily won primary contests Tuesday in Nebraska and Oregon, edging closer to formally clinching the GOP presidential nomination.
    Taking more than 70 percent of the Nebraska vote with three-quarters of precincts reporting, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee won by nearly 60 percentage points over Rick Santorum, who ended his campaign a month ago. Ron Paul, who announced Monday that he would cease active campaigning in states yet to hold their primaries, nabbed just 9 percent.
    In Oregon, the Associated Press called the race for Romney with just over a quarter of precincts reporting in the vote-by-mail state. There, Romney led by a similar margin, nearly 60 percentage points over Paul…. – Politico, 5-16-12
  • Romney wins Nebraska, Oregon presidential primaries: Mitt Romney is adding two more victories to his win column. Nebraska and Oregon Republicans, as expected, have made clear their preference for the GOP nomination by choosing Romney in Tuesday’s presidential primaries…. – WaPo, 5-16-12
  • Romney wins Nebraska primary: Mitt Romney won the Nebraska Republican primary on Tuesday, adding to his delegate haul in his march toward the GOP presidential nomination. The Associated Press declared Romney the winner in Nebraska which, along with Oregon…. – MSNBC, 5-16-12

Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: Former President George W. Bush Endorses Mitt Romney… As Elevator Door Closed — Speaking at Launch of Presidential Center’s “Freedom Collection”

CAMPAIGN 2012

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.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Former President George W. Bush is pictured.
Bush spoke Tuesday in Washington at an event for his presidential institute. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY… AS HIS ELEVATOR DOOR CLOSED

George W. Bush offers quick support to Mitt Romney: George W. Bush is backing presumptive Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney.
The former president offered a four-word endorsement of Romney as the doors of his elevator were closing after a speech Tuesday in Washington. Bush said:
“I’m for Mitt Romney.”
ABC News caught Bush after the speech, prompting his unscripted, but not surprising, endorsement.
Bush’s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, endorsed Romney in March. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush also publicly backed Romney.
Since leaving office in January 2009, George W. Bush has tried to avoid politics…. – AP, 5-16-12

  • Bush Dips a Toe Back Into Washington: After keeping a low profile since leaving office, former President George W. Bush is starting to speak out again on issues he hopes will define his legacy…. – NYT, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney: ABC News caught up with former president George W. Bush in an elevator in downtown Washington on Tuesday and asked the question that elicited the sound bite. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, just as the doors slid shut…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush, elevators, and the art of the tepid Romney endorsement: “I’m for Mitt Romney,” said George W. Bush, as the elevator doors closed on him. It’s amazing how much air you can take out of any announcement by inserting “as the elevator doors closed.” “Give me liberty or give me…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush voices support for Romney: Former President George W. Bush voiced his support for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign for the first time today, ABC News reports.
    In a decidedly underwhelming fashion, the former president said to a reporter, “I’m for Mitt Romney,” as the doors of an elevator closed on him. Mr. Bush was in Washington to deliver a speech on freedom and democracy at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
    Andrea Saul, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the latest unofficial endorsement, “We welcome the president’s support, as we welcomed his father’s.”
    She added that Romney does not have any scheduled appearances with Mr. Bush, noting that the former president made clear when he left office that he was not going to engage in political campaigns…. – CBS News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: ‘I’m for Mitt Romney’: Former President George W. Bush speaks during the “Celebration of Human Freedom” event in Washington on Tuesday. President George W. Bush offered up his endorsement of Mitt Romney. It was in an elevator — as the doors were closing…. – WSJ, 5-15-12
  • What’s Behind George W. Bush’s Odd Romney Endorsement?: The former president blurted out his support for his party’s nominee — only to be greeted with silence in return.
    George W. Bush’s endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday appears to have been unplanned. The former president had just given a speech on human rights in Washington, and afterward, Matt Negrin, a reporter for ABC News, followed him to the elevator and asked who he’s supporting in the election in November.
    “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, as the elevator doors inched closed.
    Well, sure he is. What else was he supposed to say? But it was beyond strange to see a former two-term Republican president slide his support for his party’s presumptive nominee under — or, rather, through — the door in this manner. And Romney’s response was even stranger: silence. The Romney campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Bush endorsement, and Romney didn’t mention it in his post-endorsement speech Tuesday in Iowa. (A campaign spokeswoman told the New York Observer that Romney was “proud” to have Bush’s support, but did not expect to campaign with him.)…. – The Atlantic, 5-15-12
  • Can George W. Bush’s tepid Romney endorsement finally unseat Daniels?: In what may be the final face-off in the Ticket’s Romney tepid endorsement playoffs, we’re pitting former President George W. Bush against three-time champion Mitch Daniels for the title. Bush, asked for his position on the election by ABC News after a speech in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, merely stated that “I’m for Mitt Romney.” In a poetic touch, he said so just as the door of the elevator he was riding closed…. – ABC News, 5-15-12

Bush touts Arab spring, says US can’t fear freedom: Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday praised the Arab spring movement and said the U.S. shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue.
“America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere,” Bush said. “It only gets to choose what side it is on.”
And the U.S., Bush said, should always be on the side of freedom.
The former president remarks came at event marking the launch of his presidential institute’s “Freedom Collection.” The event also featured brief remarks by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, and a question-and-answer session by video with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi…. – AP, 5-15-12

  • George W. Bush touts Arab spring, says U.S. can’t fear freedom: President George W. Bush had plenty to say about freedom during a rare public speech Tuesday — he uttered the word about two dozen times — but noticeably absent was a single mention of Afghanistan or Iraq, or of President Barack Obama….- Politico, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: US must stand with dissidents: Former president George W. Bush said Tuesday that the United States must stand with dissidents and democracy activists around the world even if the change they sow makes things more difficult in the short run…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Bush Celebrates Democracy Activists, Sides With Syrian Resistance: As President George W. Bush quietly returned to Washington today, he brought along a slew of global democracy activists known mostly for never being quiet. Today’s line-up at the George W. Bush Presidential Center sponsored event…. – ABC News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush praises Arab spring: Former President George W. Bush praised the Arab spring movement on Tuesday and said the US shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue…. – Fort Worth Star Telegram, 5-15-12

Aung San Suu Kyi Joins President and Mrs. Bush via Video at Human Freedom Event in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-25-12

President George W. Bush today praised the courage of dissidents around the world and called on America to stand with them by choosing the side of freedom. Joined by leading voices of liberty, President Bush delivered his remarks at the Celebration of Freedom, a special event in Washington, D.C., to showcase the Freedom Collection, a collection of inspiring interviews of global freedom activists compiled by the George W. Bush Institute.

“These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom,” said President George W. Bush. “In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. Great change has come to a region where many thought it impossible. The idea that Arab people are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever. Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty, and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle. But there is a reason for the momentum of liberty across the centuries:  human beings were not designed for servitude. They were created for better things. And the human soul is forever restless until it rests in freedom.

Freedom advocates from around the world whose stories are part of the Freedom Collection were in attendance at the standing-room only event, including: Ammar Abdulhamid, Syria; Rodrigo Diamanti, Venezuela; Bob Fu, China; Marcel Granier, Venezuela; Normando Hernandez, Cuba; Wei Jingsheng, China; Cristal-Montanez Baylor, Venezuela; Ahmed Samih, Egypt; Mohsen Sazegara, Iran; Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam; and Cheery Zahau, Burma.

“Today we are pleased to recognize Facebook as a social media partner on the Freedom Collection,” said James K. Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. “Through Facebook, we are extending the reach of the Freedom Collection and the Bush Center’s efforts to promote liberty by documenting and sharing the global struggle for human freedom. Having a strong presence on Facebook will enable us to promote openness, invite conversation, and foster greater debate and understanding.”

Following President Bush’s speech, Mrs. Laura Bush was introduced by ChinaAid Association founder Xiqiu “Bob” Fu. Mrs. Bush introduced Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who joined via video conference, saying, “Her example shows people everywhere that political isolation and prison cannot silence the call for liberty.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, who responded to questions the Bush Center had collected via Facebook, said, “There should be no political prisoners in Burma if we are really headed for democratization.” In response to a request for a message to the people of Syria, she said, “We are with you in your desire for freedom and in your struggle for freedom.”

During Tuesday’s event, the Bush Center also received key artifacts for inclusion in the Freedom Collection from Martin Palous, Director of the Vaclav Havel Library. The items include an original carbon copy of the Declaration of Charter 77, the 1977 independent initiative calling for the communist government of Czechoslovakia to respect fundamental human rights, Havel’s letter nominating three Cuban dissidents for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a volume of texts and speeches signed by Havel.

Available online at www.FreedomCollection.org, the Freedom Collection uses video interviews to document the personal stories of brave men and women who have led or participated in freedom movements from the 20th century to the present day. It also includes a physical archive containing documents and artifacts from major freedom movements, including an early draft of the Tibetan Constitution given to President Bush by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The addition of these items from the Vaclav Havel Library will provide further inspiration and insight for the current generation of freedom advocates. As part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative, the Freedom Collection helps to combat the feeling of isolation that can be common among dissidents by sharing the stories of those who have gone before in the struggle for freedom. It also expands moral and practical support from the United States and other free societies for those still seeking liberty.

 

Remarks by President Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-22-12

The below article by President George W. Bush was published in the Wall Street Journal on May 18, 2012 and was adapted from a speech he delivered May 15, 2012 at the Bush Institute’s Celebration of Human Freedom. The event celebrated the brave efforts of dissidents and activists around the world in their fight to be free. The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative seeks to extend the reach of freedom around the world by fostering democracy and supporting today’s freedom advocates through programs such as the Freedom Collection, unveiled earlier this spring.

The op-ed can be found on the Wall Street Journal online here.

George W. Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

We do not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. We only get to choose what side we are on.

These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom. In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. The idea that Arab peoples are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever.

Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle.

Some in both parties in Washington look at the risks inherent in democratic change—particularly in the Middle East and North Africa—and find the dangers too great. America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.

But in the long run, this foreign policy approach is not realistic. It is not within the power of America to indefinitely preserve the old order, which is inherently unstable. Oppressive governments distrust the diffusion of choice and power, choking off the best source of national prosperity and success.

This is the inbuilt crisis of tyranny. It fears and fights the very human attributes that make a nation great: creativity, enterprise and responsibility. Dictators can maintain power for a time by feeding resentments toward enemies—internal or external, real or imagined. But eventually, in societies of scarcity and mediocrity, their failure becomes evident.

America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.

The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.

It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support.

This is now the challenge in parts of North Africa and the Middle East. After the euphoria, nations must deal with questions of tremendous complexity: What effect will majority rule have on the rights of women and religious minorities? How can militias be incorporated into a national army? What should be the relationship between a central government and regional authorities?

Problems once kept submerged by force must now be resolved by politics and consensus. But political institutions and traditions are often weak.

We know the problems. But there is a source of hope. The people of North Africa and the Middle East now realize that their leaders are not invincible. Citizens of the region have developed habits of dissent and expectations of economic performance. Future rulers who ignore those expectations—who try returning to oppression and blame shifting—may find an accountability of their own.

As Americans, our goal should be to help reformers turn the end of tyranny into durable, accountable civic structures. Emerging democracies need strong constitutions, political parties committed to pluralism, and free elections. Free societies depend upon the rule of law and property rights, and they require hopeful economies, drawn into open world markets.

This work will require patience, creativity and active American leadership. It will involve the strengthening of civil society—with a particular emphasis on the role of women. It will require a consistent defense of religious liberty. It will mean the encouragement of development, education and health, as well as trade and foreign investment. There will certainly be setbacks. But if America does not support the advance of democratic institutions and values, who will?

In promoting freedom, our methods should be flexible. Change comes at different paces in different places. Yet flexibility does not mean ambiguity. The same principles must apply to all nations. As a country embraces freedom, it finds economic and social progress. Only when a government treats its people with dignity does a nation fulfill its greatness. And when a government violates the rights of a citizen, it dishonors an entire nation.

There is nothing easy about the achievement of freedom. In America, we know something about the difficulty of protecting minorities, of building a national army, of defining the relationship between the central government and regional authorities—because we faced all of those challenges on the day of our independence. And they nearly tore us apart. It took many decades of struggle to live up to our own ideals. But we never ceased believing in the power of those ideals—and we should not today.

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Iowa Speech Defends Economic Record Blames Obama for ‘Prairie fire of Debt’ — Day After Obama Campaign Ad Attacked Bain Years as Job Killing

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in  2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY DEFENDS ECONOMIC RECORD IN IOWA SPEECH AFTER OBAMA AD TARGETED BAIN YEARS AS JOB KILLING

On Spending, President Obama Hasn’t Kept His Promises To Iowa: “President Obama has spent the last four years trying to convince Iowans he will stop passing our financial burdens to the next generation. But his liberal policies of skyrocketing debt and deficits just haven’t lived up to the promises he’s made. As president, Mitt Romney will finally deliver the change Washington needs by reining in wasteful spending and getting our economy moving again.” –- Amanda Henneberg, Romney Campaign Spokesperson, 5-15-12

In Iowa, Romney tags Obama for debt ‘prairie fire’: Republican Mitt Romney said Tuesday President Barack Obama’s support for increased federal debt has put the economy on a disastrous course, portraying himself in a speech in battleground Iowa as the defender of fiscal responsibility and his opponent as reckless…. – AP, 5-15-12

  • In Iowa, Romney Tests Economic Message: Iowa is an interesting laboratory for Mr. Romney’s campaign – and how he does in the state could dramatically impact the outcome of the presidential election in November…. – NYT, 5-15-12
  • Romney, GOP try to shift focus to deficit: Mitt Romney will continue his blitz against President Barack Obama over the federal deficit on Tuesday, signaling a GOP shift away from social issues and back to what Republicans consider the president’s Achilles’ heel…. – CNN, 5-15-12
  • How Romney is fighting harsh charge he’s a heartless job-killer: Two new pro-Obama ads are hammering Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, for the demise of a Missouri steel company. The counter-ad from the Romney camp focuses on a firm that Bain bolstered… – CS Monitor, 5-15-12
  • Romney vows to douse ‘prairie fire of debt’: Mitt Romney will say today he can extinguish the “prairie fire of debt” that’s sweeping across the nation. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee will speak this afternoon in Des Moines, in his first campaign appearance…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Rob Portman defends Romney over Bain attacks: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman defended Mitt Romney against Democratic charges that he was a “job destroyer” during his tenure at Bain Capital, insisting the presumptive Republican nominee has a “pretty good” record of creating jobs…. – ABC News, 5-14-12 Obama targets Mitt Romney’s Bain years: President Obama’s reelection campaign rolled out a broad attack Monday against Republican Mitt Romney’s business experience at Bain Capital, trying to undermine Romney’s core argument for why he should be president. The Obama campaign began airing a…. – WaPo, 5-14-12
  • Obama ad depicts Mitt Romney as job-killing ‘vampire.’ Over the top?: Obama’s new ‘Steel’ ad picks up themes of vanquished Romney GOP rivals – that Mitt Romney is not a job creator but a job killer. But Romney was no longer with Bain Capital when the Kansas City steel mill went under…. CS Monitor, 5-14-12
  • Mitt Romney, Bain Capital, and the One Percent Economy: Last week, the Obama reelection campaign told Mark Halperin that it believes Mitt Romney’s one chance of winning the election would be to establish himself as a credible economic fix-it figure, and that it intended to focus its attacks on destroying that reputation. Today the campaign launches a missile straight at its target with an unusually long two-minute campaign ad assailing Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, along with a website (romneyeconomics.com) reinforcing the message that Romney’s record is all about extracting profit for the very rich, at the expense of the middle class. The name of the website, of course, implies that Romney’s record at Bain defines his economic philosophy…. – New York Magazine, 5-14-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In Des Moines, Iowa

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 5-15-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks in Des Moines, Iowa. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you all very much.

It’s good to be back in Iowa. So many friends here hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve come here today to talk to you about an issue that affects the very heart of America.

Of course, Iowa is much more than a collection of beautiful farms and small towns and cities bounded by two of America’s great rivers. Iowa is a collection of the values that built America and that have sustained us through good times and bad. You know them well: hard work, taking care of our neighbors, family, faith in God and country. Common sense, kitchen table values. Not fancy, but enduring.

These aren’t the values that lead to out-of-control spending sprees, or to piling up massive amounts of debt you know your children – and grandchildren – will have to work all their lives to pay off. These aren’t the values of putting off difficult decisions with the hope that maybe someone else will solve them.

Today America faces a financial crisis of debt and spending that threatens what it means to be an American. Here in the heartland you know in your hearts that it’s wrong.

We can’t spend another four years talking about solving a problem that we know we are making worse every single day.

When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep hoping the wind might blow another direction. They knew that their survival was up to them.

A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.

This is not solely a Democrat or a Republican problem. The issue isn’t who deserves the most blame, it’s who is going to do what it takes to put out the fire.

The people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama for nearly four years, much of that time with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than put out the spending fire, he has fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more.

The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine, from foreign countries we’ll never even visit. I will bring us together to put out the fire!

A lot of people think this is a problem we can’t solve. I reject that kind of “can’t do” defeatist talk. It’s wrong.

What’s happened here isn’t complicated. Washington has been spending too much money and our new President made things much worse. His policies have taken us backwards.

Almost a generation ago, Bill Clinton announced that the Era of Big Government was over.

Even a former McGovern campaign worker like President Clinton was signaling to his own Party that Democrats should no longer try to govern by proposing a new program for every problem.

President Obama tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas, along with transparency and bipartisanship. It’s enough to make you wonder if maybe it was a personal beef with the Clintons….but really it runs much deeper.

President Obama is an old school liberal whose first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero. America counted on President Obama to rescue the economy, tame the deficit and help create jobs.  Instead, he bailed out the public-sector, gave billions of dollars to the companies of his friends, and added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined.

The consequence is that we are enduring the most tepid recovery in modern history.

The consequence is that half of the kids graduating from college can’t find a job that uses their skills. Half.

The consequence is that retirees can no longer get by on savings and Social Security.

The consequence is that the length of time it takes an unemployed worker to find a job is the longest on record.

This is why even those who voted for Barack Obama are disappointed in him.

Disappointment is the key in which the President’s re-election is being played. Americans will not settle for four more years of the same melancholy song. We can and we must do better.

President Obama started out with a near trillion-dollar stimulus package – the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history.  And remember this: the stimulus wasn’t just wasted – it was borrowed and wasted.  We still owe the money, we’re still paying interest on it, and it’ll be that way long after this presidency ends.

Then there was Obamacare.  Even now nobody knows what it will actually cost.  And that uncertainty has slowed our economy.  Employers delay hiring and entrepreneurs put the brakes on starting new businesses, because of a massive, European-style entitlement that Americans didn’t want and can’t afford.

When you add up his policies, this President has increased the national debt by five trillion dollars.

Let me put that in a way we can understand. Your household’s share of government debt and unfunded liabilities has reached more than $520,000 under this president. Think about what that means. Your household will be taxed year after year with the interest cost of that debt and with the principal payments for those liabilities. Of course, it won’t be paid off by the adults in your household.  It will be passed along to your children. They will struggle throughout their lives with the interest on our debts–and President Obama is adding to them every single day.

And that’s the best case scenario. The interest rate on that debt is bound to go up, like an adjustable mortgage. And there’s a good chance this debt could cause us to hit a Greece-like wall.

Subprime mortgages came close to bringing the economy to its knees. This debt is America’s Nightmare Mortgage. It is adjustable, no-money down, and assigned to our children. Politicians have been trying to hide the truth about this Nightmare Mortgage for years–just like liar-loans.

This is not just bad economics; it is immoral.

During my time in business and in state government, I came to see the economy as having three big players – the private sector, the states and localities, and the federal government.

Of these three, the private sector is by far the most efficient and cost effective. That’s because scores of businesses and thousands of entrepreneurs are competing every day to find a way to deliver a product or a service that is better than anyone else’s. Think about smart phones. Blackberry got things going. Then Apple introduced the iPhone. Now the Android platform leads the market. In the world of free enterprise, competition brings us better and better products at lower and lower cost. Innovate and change or you go out of business. And the customer–us–benefits.

Government doesn’t begin to compare when it comes to change and improvements that provide better and less expensive services and products. But among governments, the states and localities are more responsive than the federal government, probably because there is a degree of competition between them.

The slowest, least responsive sector is the federal government.  Nobody hears “Washington, D.C.” and thinks “efficiency.”

Imagine if the federal government was the sole legal supplier of cell phones. First, they’d still be under review, with hearings in Congress. When finally approved, the contract to make them would go to an Obama donor. They’d be the size of a shoe, with a collapsible solar panel.  And campaign donors would be competing to become the all-powerful App Czar.

My point is this:  as President Obama and old-school liberals absorb more and more of our economy into government, they make what we do more expensive, less efficient, and less useful. They make America less competitive. They make government more expensive.

What President Obama is doing is not bold; it’s old.

As president, I will make the federal government simpler, smaller, smarter – and, by the way, more in keeping with the vision of the Framers of our Constitution.

This is why I do not, for one moment, share my opponent’s belief that our spending problems can be solved with more taxes.  You do not owe Washington a bigger share of your paycheck.

Instead of putting more limits on your earnings and your options, we need to place clear and firm limits on government spending.  As a start, I will lower federal spending to 20 percent of GDP within four years’ time – down from the 24.3 percent today.

The President’s plan assumes an endless expansion of government, with costs rising and rising with the spread of Obamacare. I will halt the expansion of government, and repeal Obamacare.

Working together, we can save Social Security without making any changes in the system for people in or nearing retirement.  We have two basic options for future retirees: a tax increase for high-income retirees, or a decrease in the benefit growth rate for high-income retirees.  I favor the second option; it protects everyone in the system and it avoids higher taxes that will drag down the economy.

I have proposed a Medicare plan that improves the program, keeps it solvent, and slows the rate of growth in health care costs.

Both of these reforms are relatively simple, compared to the far more difficult choices we’ll face if we do nothing.  Of course, Medicare and Social Security are also easy to demagogue, and I expect the President to continue doing that in this campaign.  But Americans are on to that game, and I’m not going to insult voters by pretending that we can just keep putting off entitlement reform.  I will continue to speak honestly, and, if elected, I will do what is right for the people of America.

The President has made little effort to rein in redundancy and waste.

In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found 34 areas where agencies, offices, or initiatives in the federal government had overlapping objectives or were providing similar services.  The GAO estimated that fixing this redundancy could save over $100 billion.  Yet, one year later, only three of these 34 areas had been fully addressed.  Only one program was actually defunded.

In 2010, 17 federal government agencies gave $7.7 billion to more than 25 United Nations programs, billions of it voluntarily.

Another example:  There are 94 federal programs in 11 agencies that encourage “green” building.  A report found that the results of their initiatives and investments are, quote, “unknown.”

We see the same bureaucracy and overhead in our anti-poverty programs.  Last year, the federal government spent more than $600 billion on more than 100 different programs that aim to help the poor.

My approach to federal programs and bureaucracy is entirely different. Move programs to states or to the private sector where they can be run more efficiently and where we can do a better job helping the people who need our help. Shut down programs that aren’t working. And streamline everything that’s left. It’s time for the people of America to take back the government of America.

Entitlement reform, doing away with redundancy and waste, and shifting services and programs to the economic player who can deliver them best – these are all serious steps toward getting our debt and spending under control.

But above all, we need to shake off the static big-government mindset of these past few years, and all the limits and regulations that go with it.  We need a big turnaround here, and it requires a focused, unrelenting, long-term agenda for economic growth.

Instead of leading the world in how much we borrow, America must continue to lead the world in how much we build, create, and invent.

With all that we’ve been through these past few years, the challenges can seem awfully big, and some might look at America and wonder if we have lost our confidence.  But confidence is not what is missing.  All that’s lacking now is direction and leadership.

These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us.  We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we’ve all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

All of this can be more than our hope – it can be our future.  It can begin this year, in the choice you make, so I ask for your help, your support, and your vote on the sixth of November.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz May 14, 2012: Ron Paul to Stop Actively Campaigning for GOP Nomination — Will Stay in Race & Amass Delegates

CAMPAIGN 2012

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 published by Facts on File, Inc. in  2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: RON PAUL TO STOP CAMPAIGNING FOR GOP NOMINATION — WILL STAY IN RACE

Ron Paul to stop campaigning, but he won’t drop out: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas plans to stop actively campaigning in the Republican presidential race, but he will continue his efforts to win delegates around the country. Paul hopes his delegate share will allow him to play a key role in the Republican National Convention…. – WaPo, 5-14-12

  • Why Ron Paul’s 2012 effort may not really be over: The Ron Paul campaign won’t run ads in upcoming primaries, but Paul is still out to make his mark at the GOP’s August convention…. – CS Monitor, 5-14-12
  • Ron Paul scales back Republican presidential bid: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said on Monday he was scaling back his White House bid and will no longer campaign actively in states that have yet to hold primary elections. Instead, Paul’s campaign will concentrate … Reuters, Chicago Tribune, 5-14-12
  • Paul ends active campaigning in GOP presidential primaries: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas announced Monday he would stop actively campaigning in Republican presidential primaries but also indicated he is not ready to throw in the towel on his presidential bid quite yet…. – USA Today, 5-14-12
  • Ron Paul effectively ending presidential campaign: Ron Paul, Mitt Romney’s lone remaining rival for the Republican presidential nomination, announced Monday that he would stop spending money on the party’s 11 remaining primaries, in effect suspending his campaign…. – LAT, 5-14-12
  • Ron Paul Admits He Will Not Be President: The libertarian congressman doesn’t want his supporters to stop crusading for liberty, but he needs them to recognize the fight for the nomination is over. Ron Paul announced Monday the Texas congressman will not campaign in the states … The Atlantic, 5-14-12
  • Don’t tell Paul’s supporters the primary is over: Don’t tell Ron Paul the Republican primary is over. He’s too busy mucking up Mitt Romney’s efforts to accumulate enough convention delegates to officially claim the GOP nomination for president…. – AP, 5-8-12
%d bloggers like this: