Full Text Campaign Buzz July 19, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on 2 Day Florida Tour at Prime Osborn Convention Center, Jacksonville, Florida — Criticizes Mitt Romney, GOP on Medicare

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

In Florida, Obama Presents Romney as Bad Choice for Seniors

Source: NYT, 7-19-12

President Obama spoke at a campaign event on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

Richard Perry/The New York Times

President Obama spoke at a campaign event on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The president assailed Republican plans to repeal his health care law and transform Medicare into a voucher program….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Jacksonville, FL

Source: WH, 7-19-12

Prime Osborn Convention Center
Jacksonville, Florida

2:12 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Florida!  (Applause.)  Oh, it is good to be back in Jacksonville, Florida!  (Applause.)

A couple people I just want to say thank you to — first of all, please give Don Herrin a big round of applause for the introduction.  (Applause.)  One of our outstanding members of Congress, your own Corrine Brown is here.  (Applause.)  Another great member of the Florida delegation, Ted Deutch is here.  (Applause.) And Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is in the house.  (Applause.)

And all of you are here.  And I’m happy about that.  (Applause.)

I’m sorry we were a little delayed — had some weather issues.  Even Air Force One has to fly around the thunder.  (Laughter.)  But we are so glad to be back.  And I want to thank all of you for being here –

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Applause.)  That’s why I came.

Now, Jacksonville, this is my last political campaign.

AUDIENCE:  Awww –

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s true.  I’m term limited.  (Laughter.)  And since it’s my last campaign, it got me thinking about my first political campaigns, early on, back when I had no gray hair.  (Laughter.)  And when I was running for the state senate, or I was running for the United States Senate in Illinois — Illinois is a big state like Florida, and we’d have to travel across the state, and I didn’t have Air Force One back then.  (Laughter.)  No Marine One.  So I didn’t even have GPS.  (Laughter.)  So I’d be driving — maybe I’d have one staff person in the car.  And since we didn’t have MapQuest, I had to have a map, and I’d fold it and then I’d try to unfold it and fold it back the way it was, and I’d get it all messed up.  And I’d get lost, and then once I got to an event I’d have to find parking, and sometimes I couldn’t find a parking spot, or I’d get rained on.

But I have such fond memories of those early campaigns because, no matter where I went, no matter what community — inner-city, rural town, meeting with black folks, white folks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans — didn’t matter what background people came from, no matter how much they looked different on the surface, there was a common thread to all the stories that I heard as I traveled around the state.

I’d meet an elderly couple, and they’d remind me of my grandparents.  I’d think about my grandfather who fought in Patton’s Army in World War II, my grandmother working on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.  And when he came back he was rewarded with a chance to go to college on the GI Bill.  They were able to buy their first home with an FHA loan.  And I’d think about the journey that they had traveled and everything that that Greatest Generation had done to build America.

Or I’d meet a middle-class couple and I’d think about Michelle’s parents — especially her dad, who had multiple sclerosis, so by the time I met him he could barely walk, had to use two canes, had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else to get to work because that’s how long it took to get him dressed, but would not miss a day of work.  I’d think about Michelle’s mom, who ended up working as a secretary for most of her life, and how, despite the fact that they never had a lot, they were able to give Michelle and Michelle’s brother the best education possible, and how remarkable that was — this country that we live in.

And then I’d meet a single mom and I’d think about my own mother, who raised my sister and me, with the help of my grandparents, because my dad left when I was a baby.  And my mom didn’t have a lot of money, but she worked hard and she went to school at the same time, so that she could give her two children the best education possible and they could travel on a path that she couldn’t have even imagined.

So the people I met in that first campaign and every campaign since, they had all kinds of different stories, all kinds of different backgrounds; they were young and old and every race and every faith — gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, independent — but all of them shared the belief in that core American experience, that basic idea, that core bargain that makes us the shining example for the world — the idea that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, America is a place where you can make it if you try.  (Applause.)

As Americans, we don’t expect handouts, but we expect hard work to pay off.  (Applause.)  We understand there will be setbacks, but we also know that responsibility should be rewarded.  We believe that if you put enough effort into it, enough elbow grease into it, you should be able to find a job that pays the bills — (applause) — you should be able the have a home that you call your own, health care that you can count on if you get sick.  (Applause.)  You should be able to retire with dignity and respect.  You should be able to provide your children with an education that gives them an even better shot than you had.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

Jacksonville, we are here today because we recognize that this basic bargain, this essence of who we are as a people, this simple American Dream is at risk like never before.  For more than a decade, it had been slipping away from too many hardworking people.  Jobs and factories were shipped overseas.  Folks at the top were doing better than ever before, but middle-class families saw their paychecks get smaller even as their bills got bigger.  In Washington, the trillions that were spent on two wars and two tax cuts took us from record surpluses to record deficits.  And on Wall Street, a culture of “anything goes” led to the worst economic crisis and financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Now, ever since I first ran for this office, I’ve said it’s going to take more than one year or one term or maybe even one President to restore the dream that built this country.  (Applause.)  And the financial crisis and economic crisis made our job that much harder.  But I don’t get discouraged — (applause) — because the cynics who say that our best days are behind us, they haven’t witnessed the everyday courage and the essential character of the American people.  (Applause.)

They haven’t met the small business owners in Minnesota who chose to sacrifice some of their own perks, some of their own pay, to avoid laying off a single worker during that recession.  They haven’t been to the auto companies in Michigan and Ohio that were never supposed to build another car again, but now they can’t build them fast enough.  (Applause.)

They haven’t talked to the 55-year-old factory worker from North Carolina who decided that when the furniture industry left town she’d get her degree in biotechnology from the local community college — not just because she hopes it gets her a job, but because she hopes it tells her children, you don’t give up on your dreams.  (Applause.)  That’s the character I’ve seen in the American people.  That’s who we are.

There are no easy fixes, no quick solutions to the challenges we face, but there is no doubt in my mind that we have the capacity to meet them and we will meet them.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world and the best scientists in the world and the best researchers and the best colleges and the best universities.  (Applause.)  We’re a young nation with the greatest diversity and talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.  And Florida knows something about that.  No matter what the naysayers tell us, there is not a country on Earth that would not happily trade places with the United States of America. (Applause.)

So the problem — what’s standing in our way is not technical solutions to the problems of housing or education or dealing with the debt.  We know how to deal with it.  What’s standing in our way is our politics.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s what’s going on in Washington.  It’s the notion that compromise is a bad word, the notion that the only path forward is going backwards to the same top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.

AUDIENCE:  Yes!

THE PRESIDENT:  Our opponent’s entire plan — the same plan of his allies in Congress — is to cut more taxes for the wealthy, cut more regulations for banks and insurance companies, cut more investments in things like education and research.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  — all with the hope that somehow that will create jobs and prosperity everywhere.  That’s what Mitt Romney believes.  That’s what folks in his party in Washington believe. But you know what, Florida, that’s not what you and I believe.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s not what most Americans believe, no matter what party you belong to — because this country was not built on top-down economics.  This country was built from the middle class out.  It was built from the bottom up.  That’s how we became the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. (Applause.)  That’s the path you can choose for America in this election.  And that is why I am running for a second term as President of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  I am running because, like you, I believe you cannot reduce the deficit and deal with our debt without asking folks like me, without asking the wealthiest Americans, to give up the tax cuts they’ve been getting for the last decade.  (Applause.)

Now, my opponent doesn’t just want to keep these tax cuts, he wants to cut those taxes by another $5 trillion, including a 25 percent tax cut for every millionaire in the country.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, hold on, it gets better.  (Laughter.)  To pay for this, he plans to gut things like job training and financial aid for college, and potentially raise taxes on the middle class — on you.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  He plans to roll back health care reform, forcing more than 200,000 Floridians to pay more for their prescription drugs.  He plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  So if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the health insurance that’s on the market, you’re out of luck.  You’re on your own.  One independent nonpartisan study found that seniors would have to pay nearly $6,400 more for Medicare than they do today.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, Florida, that’s the wrong way to go.  It’s wrong to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare just so millionaires and billionaires can pay less in taxes.  That’s not the way to reduce the deficit.  (Applause.)  We shouldn’t be squeezing more money out of seniors who are just barely getting by right now.

My plan is to squeeze more money out of the health care system by eliminating waste, and going after abuse and fraud in Medicare.  (Applause.)  We can cut back government spending that we can’t afford, but I will also ask anybody who is making over $250,000 a year to just go back to the rates they were paying under Bill Clinton — because, by the way, that worked.  (Applause.)  Nearly 23 million new jobs were created, the largest budget surplus in our history.  And when we were doing it that way, where the burden was shared, actually, millionaires did really well.

That’s the choice we have in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  There is such a contrast in approach, two fundamentally different visions that you’re going to have to choose from in this election.

When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs on the line, Governor Romney said let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  I refused to turn my back on a great industry and on American workers.  I bet on American workers.  I bet on American manufacturing.  And three years later the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I want to make sure that the high-tech manufacturing jobs of tomorrow — not just in the auto industry but in every industry — that those advanced manufacturing jobs are taking root not in China, not in Germany, but in Jacksonville — (applause) — and in Cleveland and in Raleigh and in Richmond.

Governor Romney’s experience has been owning companies that were called “pioneers” in the business of outsourcing, wants to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.  I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States — (applause) — rewarding companies that are investing here and hiring American workers, so we can sell products around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)  That’s why I’m running.

I’m running because in 2008, I promised to end the war in Iraq — and thanks to our outstanding men and women in uniform, we kept that promise.  (Applause.)  It’s time to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)  America is safer and more respected because of the selflessness of our troops.  Not only did we end the war in Iraq, we’ve been able to go after al Qaeda and get bin Laden.  (Applause.)  We have set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan.  And as long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, this country will care for our veterans and serve our veterans as well as they’ve served us.  (Applause.)  Nobody who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home.  (Applause.)

So my plan would take about half the money that we’re no longer spending on war and use that to pay down the deficit — use the other half to put people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our runways, our ports, wireless networks.  (Applause.)

I want to create a Veterans Job Corps, so we can put our returning heroes back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them.  (Applause.)  That’s the America we want to build.  That’s the choice in this election.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m running to make sure that America once again leads the world in educating our kids and training our workers.  (Applause.)  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)
Let’s give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and learn the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  (Applause.)  Let’s work with colleges and universities to bring down the cost of tuition once and for all. (Applause.)

In the 21st century, higher education isn’t a luxury.  It’s a necessity that every American should be able to afford.  (Applause.)

On every measure, there’s a difference in this election.  My opponent has a plan to help responsible homeowners by letting the housing market hit bottom.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  That isn’t a solution, that’s a problem.  We’ve already helped more than a million responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages.  And now I want to give everybody the change to refinance and save $3,000 a year.  That’s a plan for housing.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

I’m running because I believe nobody in America should go broke just because they get sick.  (Applause.)  And because we passed the health care law, we are going to realize that goal.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are moving forward.  We are going to help people who are working hard to make sure that just because they have an illness in their family, they don’t lose everything.  (Applause.)

And, by the way, if you’ve already got health insurance, this just gives you the guarantee and security when you’re dealing with your insurance company that they won’t jerk you around because of the fine print.  (Applause.)  And it lets your young — it lets young people stay on their parent’s plan until they’re 26 years old.  (Applause.)  And it helps our seniors reduce their prescription drug costs.  We’re not going to roll that back.  We’re not going to refight that fight for the next four years.  We need to move forwards, not backwards.  (Applause.)

Just like we’re not going to refight the issue of whether you can serve the country you love just — depending on who you love.  We ended “don’t ask, don’t tell” — it was the right thing to do.  We’re not going back and having that fight.  (Applause.) We need to move forward.

We need to make sure that women have control over their own health care decisions.  (Applause.)  We’re not going backwards.  We’re moving forward.

All these issues connect.  Whether it’s bringing manufacturing and construction jobs back, or protecting your health care, or making sure our kids are getting the best education, making sure our veterans are getting the care that they have earned — all these things make up a middle-class life. They’re all central to the idea that made this country great — that promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.  (Applause.)

It’s the same promise our parents and grandparents passed down to all of us, the promise we have to pass down to our kids and our grandkids — the idea that we work hard, that everybody has got to take responsibility, that government can’t solve every problem and it certainly can’t solve problems if you don’t want to help yourself — but we also know there are some things we do better together — (applause) — that we rise or fall as one nation and as one people.

Over the course of the next four months, the other side will spend more money than we have ever seen in our lifetimes on ads that tell you the same thing you’ve been hearing for months.  They know their plan isn’t going to sell, so all they’ll keep doing is saying, the economy is not where it should be and it’s all Obama’s fault.

AUDIENCE:  Booo –

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s basically their message.  Now, I guess that’s a plan to win an election, but they can’t hide the fact that it’s not a plan to create jobs.  (Applause.)  It’s not a plan to grow the economy.  They don’t have a plan to revive the middle class.  Everything they’re proposing we tried for a decade and it didn’t work.

So they don’t have a plan, and I do.  (Applause.)  And, Florida, I’ve been outspent before, and I’ve been counted out before, but through every campaign, what has always given me hope is the American people.  (Applause.)  You have the ability to cut through all that nonsense.  What gives me hope is that you remember the stories of families just like mine, all the struggles of parents and great grandparents; and some folks coming here as immigrants, some brought here in chains; some working on the farm, some working in the mines or on the mills.  They didn’t know what to expect, but they understood that there was something different about this country.  They knew that this was a country where things might not be perfect, but working together, we could perfect our union; where people were free to pursue their own individual dreams, but still come together as neighbors, as friends, as one American family.  (Applause.)

They knew that being middle class wasn’t about how much you had in your bank account — it was about the security of knowing you could take care of your family, and give your kids the chance to pursue the life that they dream of, and the chance to give something back to this country that gave you so much.  (Applause.)

And when we tap into that spirit, when we push aside all the talk and all the politics, and get down to that core of what it means to be American, all that money doesn’t matter.  All those negative ads don’t matter.  When you come together, you cannot be stopped.  (Applause.)  And so you can still make change happen, Florida.  You can still inspire each other, because you inspire me.  (Applause.)

In 2008, I tried to only make promises that I could keep or work on keeping.  And I told you then that I was not a perfect man and I wouldn’t be a perfect President, but I also told you I’d always tell you what I thought, I’d always tell you where I stood, and, most of all, I would wake up every single day — every single day and spend every waking hour thinking about you, fighting as hard as I knew how for you.

Because I see myself in you.  (Applause.)  Your grandparents remind me of my grandparents.  When I see your kids, I think about my kids.  And so I have kept that promise, Florida.  I’ve been fighting for you, and I keep believing in you.

And now I am asking for your vote — not just for me, but for the country that we believe in, together.  (Applause.)  And if you still believe, and if you’re willing to stand up with me  — (applause) — and knock on doors for me, and make phone calls for me, talk to your neighbors and talk to your friends, talk to your coworkers, talk to your family, we will win Florida and we will win this election.  (Applause.)  We’ll finish what we started in 2008, and we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
2:43 P.M. EDT

Campaign Headlines July 5, 2012: Mitt Romney Raised $100 Million for Campaign in June

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Mitt Romney Raised $100 Million in June

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-5-12

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

Mitt Romney’s campaign said Thursday that he raised more than $100 million in June, a record for the candidate so far in the 2012 race. President Obama raised $150 million in September 2008, the most ever hauled in a month.

Mike Allen of Politico broke the news on Twitter after the Romney campaign leaked the June figures.

Obama hasn’t yet announced how much money he raised in June. Typically, campaigns are more eager to leak their fundraising totals when they surpass expectations.

The Obama campaign did, however, accuse Romney of releasing the figure in an effort to change the conversation of the campaign….READ MORE

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 Headlines May 30, 2012: President Obama Calls Congratulating Mitt Romney on Securing the GOP / Republican Presidential Nomination

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLS TO CONGRATULATE MITT ROMNEY ON SECURING GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

  • President Obama has called Mitt Romney to congratulate him on securing the GOP presidential nomination: President Obama has called Mitt Romney to congratulate him on securing the GOP nomination… – WaPo, 5-30-12
  • Obama calls Romney: Game on, Mitt. President Obama called November foe Mitt Romney Wednesday to congratulate him on officially clinching the Republican presidential nomination…. – New York Daily News, 5-30-12
  • Obama calls to congratulate Romney: What would you say to the man trying to force you from your job?
    Hours after Mitt Romney officially clinched the Republican presidential nomination with a win in Texas, President Obama telephoned him. But the call was nothing more than formalities to officially extend congratulatory sentiments.
    At approximately 11:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, the president called Romney “to congratulate him on securing the Republican nomination,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt announced in a readout of the call, which was disseminated to reporters.
    “President Obama said that he looked forward to an important and healthy debate about America’s future, and wished Governor Romney and his family well throughout the upcoming campaign.”
    A Romney aide told news outlets the call was brief and cordial…. – Yahoo/ABC News, 5-30-12

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

Campaign Headlines May 29, 2012: Mitt Romney Will Reach 1144 Delegates & Clinch GOP / Republican Presidential Nominaton with Texas Primary Win

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WILL REACH 1144 DELEGATES & CLINCH REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION WITH TEXAS PRIMARY WIN

Texas Primary: Romney Expected to Clinch GOP Nomination: Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Tuesday’s state and presidential primary is no exception.
Mitt Romney is expected to reach (and surpass) 1,144 delegates Tuesday night — the magic delegate number needed to officially win the GOP nomination. With 155 delegates at stake, Texas’s GOP primary is the largest delegate prize in the contest so far — the second largest overall. California will offer the most delegates on June 5…. – ABC News Radio, 5-29-12

  • THE RACE: Math adds up to GOP victory for Romney: 1 minute ago Not fuzzy math or new math but the simple one-plus-one addition kind of math. By day’s end, if all goes as expected, the former Massachusetts governor will finally have a mathematical lock on the Republican presidential…. – AP, 5-29-12
  • THE RACE: Texas to put Romney over top in delegate count with 3 months yet to the convention: This day is mostly about math for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Not fuzzy math or new math but the simple one-plus-one addition kind of math…. – WaPo, 5-29-12

Campaign Headlines May 29, 2012: Ted Cruz Tea Party Candidate Vies for Open Texas Senate Seat in Primary

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: TED CRUZ TEA PARTY CANDIDATE VIES FOR OPEN TEXAS SENATE SEAT IN PRIMARY

Tea partier Ted Cruz vies for open Texas Senate seat: Following Republican primary victories in Utah, Indiana, and Nebraska, the tea party movement is hoping for more good news on Tuesday in Texas, where Ted Cruz is taking on the Republican establishment in his campaign for the US Senate…. – ABC News, 5-29-12

  • Cruz confident he’ll earn runoff spot in GOP Senate race: Republican Senate hopeful Ted Cruz said the momentum of Tuesday’s primary election was with him this Memorial Day. He started campaigning in Richardson Monday morning, calling voters on the telephone from aboard a Tea Party… KHOU, 5-29-12
  • Much-watched Texas US Senate race may need runoff: The polls have opened in Texas for the primary election that’s a step leading to a new US senator for the state. Republican US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is not seeking another term. Nine candidates are squaring … FOX 4 News, 5-29-12
  • Heated primary races await voters’ choice: Texas voters will at last troop to the polls Tuesday, after weeks of uncertainty and disputation over congressional and legislative redistricting, to cast ballots in the much-delayed primary elections. Voters will choose their nominees … Houston Chronicle, 5-27-12
  • Texas GOP Senate Primary: Big Spending, Big Fight for Conservative Crown: In Texas, the GOP primary to fill Kay Bailey Hutchison’s US Senate seat has become a costly and bitter fight that may not end today. Texas election code stipulates that candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win their party’s…. – ABC News, 5-29-12

Campaign Headlines May 22, 2012: Rep. Paul Ryan blames President Obama for Nation’s Economic Woes at Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library Speech “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012″

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press / May 22, 2012)

Paul Ryan Says Romney Will ‘Save This Country’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12
Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the top contenders floated in GOP circles as a potential running mate to Mitt Romney, addressed a sold-out audience Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, telling the friendly audience that he believes Romney will “save this country.”
The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican, who serves as chairman of the House Budget committee, delivered an address titled “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012.”  In a speech where President Reagan was named at least a dozen times, Ryan contrasted the GOP’s proposals to reform entitlements and taxes with President Obama and the Democrats’ policies….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: REP. PAUL RYAN BLAMES OBAMA FOR ECONOMIC WOES IN REAGAN LIBRARY SPEECH

Possible VP pick pounds Obama on spending: Rep. Paul Ryan, a potential pick to join Mitt Romney’s presidential ticket, blamed President Barack Obama on Tuesday for anemic job growth and unchecked spending and debt that he said are pushing the nation toward decline…. – AP, 5-22-12

  • Paul Ryan coy on whether he’d join the GOP ticket: Rep. Paul Ryan, who is considered a contender to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, is predictably evasive in addressing the question during an appearance at the Reagan library in Simi Valley. Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Library…. – LAT, 5-23-12
  • Paul Ryan goes into Obama attack mode at the Reagan library: Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday was the third Republican with vice-presidential buzz to speak at the Reagan library this election season. But his speech had a different purpose…. – CS Monitor, 5-23-12

Campaign Recap May 19, 2012: Mitt Romney: GOP/ Republican Presidential Candidate — This Week On The Campaign Trail

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

This Week On The Campaign Trail

Source: Mitt Romney Digital, 5-19-12
romney-2012-blog-picture-florida-rally-lt-gov-carroll.jpg

After celebrating Mother’s Day with Ann, Mitt hit the campaign trail focusing on his message of more jobs and less government. With President Obama’s policies only leading to bigger government and out-of-control-spending, more Americans want to see him as a one-term president.

Mitt has the private sector experience needed to help turn the American economy back to prosperity. On November 6th Americans will be given a choice between a president with a record of failed leadership or a businessman who is ready to lead.

Catch up on the latest from the campaign trail in this week’s edition of Mitt Weekly….MORE

Campaign Headlines May 16, 2012: Herman Cain Officially Endorses Mitt Romney for the Republican Presidential Nomination

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: HERMAN CAIN ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY FOR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

Cain Officially Endorses Romney

Source: CBS News, 5-16-12

First he endorsed “the American people.” Then he threw his support behind Newt Gingrich. But now, as the GOP primary winds down, Herman Cain says he is backing Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee. Cain admitted he has some major differences with Romney, but would campaign for the former Massachusetts governor moving forward. The one-time GOP frontrunner also said he would consider running for vice president if Romney asked him to join the ticket, but he denied rumors he would be running for governor in Georgia….READ MORE

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

Full Text Campaign Buzz May 12, 2012: Mitt Romney Delivers Commencement Address At Christian & Conservative Liberty University — Woos Evangeligals with Speech on Faith, Family Values & Spirituality

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

(AP Photo)

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY GIVES COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT CHRISTIAN & CONSERVATIVE LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Romney Woos Evangelicals at Liberty University: Speaking at Liberty University, Mitt Romney sought to quell concerns among evangelical voters by offering a forceful defense of Christian values and faith in public life…. – NYT, 5-12-12

 

  • Romney seeks evangelical votes; opposes gay marriage: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sought on Saturday to calm fears that his Mormon faith would be an obstacle to evangelical Christian voters, stressing shared conservative values while…. – Reuters, 5-12-12
  • Mitt Romney courts evangelicals at Liberty University: Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion has been a problem for some evangelicals. At conservative Liberty University Saturday, Romney stressed Christian values without mentioning his own faith, part of an apparently successful effort to win over evangelicals and other social conservatives…. – CS Monitor, 5-12-12
  • Mitt Romney delivers deeply spiritual address, but avoids his Mormonism, at Liberty University: Making by far his most spiritual speech of his presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney on Saturday offered a fierce defense of Judeo-Christian values and an America that he said “has trusted in God, not man.”… – WaPo, 5-12-12
  • Wooing evangelicals, Romney evokes faith and Christian traditions: Seeking to connect with the community of evangelicals that has been cold to his candidacy for many months, Mitt Romney delivered a commencement speech at Liberty University on Saturday that delved deeply into his faith … LAT, 5-12-12
  • Romney addreses gay marriage issue at Liberty Univ, saying ‘one man and one woman’: Mitt Romney delivered a commencement speech Saturday at Liberty University in which he focused largely on a message of faith, family, hard work and service, but he also addressed the emerging same-sex marriage issue by saying “marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
    The remark drew a loud applause for the likely GOP presidential candidate who faced a big test in trying to win over evangelical voters…. Fox News, 5-12-12
  • Romney reaches out to evangelicals in Liberty speech: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reached out to evangelicals in a commencement speech at Liberty University Saturday that focused largely on the importance of faith and spirituality…. – USA Today, 5-12-12
  • Romney Urges Grads to Honor Family Commitments: Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has shaped his life, but he barely mentioned it as he spoke to graduates at an evangelical university Saturday…. – ABC News, 5-12-12
  • Mormon Romney delivers commencement speech at Baptist university: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney received applause from a crowd at Liberty University in Virginia when he stated that marriage should only be between a man and a woman…. – msnbc.com, 5-12-12
  • For Romney, speech at Christian college offers test: There are not many Mitt Romney fan clubs at Liberty University. The Lynchburg, Virginia, school, founded by the late television evangelist Jerry Falwell, is a bastion for conservative Christian thought…. – Reuters, 5-11-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Commencement Address At Liberty University

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 4-12-12

Location

Boston, MA

United States

Mitt Romney today delivered the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

For the graduates, this moment marks a clear ending and a clear beginning.  The task set before you four years ago is now completed in full.  To the class of 2012: Well done, and congratulations.

Some of you may have taken a little longer than four years to complete your studies.  One graduate has said that he completed his degree in only two terms:  Clinton’s and Bush’s.

In some ways, it is fitting that I share this distinction with Truett Cathy.  The Romney campaign comes to a sudden stop when we spot a Chick-fil-A.  Your chicken sandwiches were our comfort food through the primary season, and there were days that we needed a lot of comforting.  So, Truett, thank you and congratulations on your well-deserved honor today.

There are some people here who are even more pleased than the graduates.  Those would be the parents.  Their years of prayers, devotion, and investment have added up to this joyful achievement.  And with credit to Congressman Dick Armey:  The American Dream is not owning your own home, it is getting your kids out of the home you own.

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about life in four-year stretches.  And let’s just say that not everybody has achieved as much in these last four years as you have.

That’s a theme for another day. But two observations.  First, even though job opportunities are scarce in this economy, it is not for nothing that you have spent this time preparing. Jerry Falwell, Senior, long ago observed that “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.”  America needs your skill and talent.  If we take the right course, we will see a resurgence in the American economy that will surprise the world, and that will open new doors of opportunity for those who are prepared as you are.

Of course, what the next four years might hold for me is yet to be determined.  But I will say that things are looking up, and I take your kind hospitality today as a sign of good things to come.

I consider it a great life honor to address you today.  Your generosity of spirit humbles me.  The welcoming spirit of Liberty is a tribute to the gracious Christian example of your founder.

In his 73 years of life, Dr. Falwell left a big mark.  For nearly five decades he shared that walk with his good wife Macel.  It’s wonderful to see her today.  The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one.  Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary.  Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.

I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness.  Several years ago, in my home, my wife and I were posing for a picture together with him.  We wanted him to be in the center of the photo, but he insisted that Ann be in the middle, with he and I on the sides.  He explained, by pointing to me and himself, “You see, Christ died between two thieves.”

Maybe the most confident step Jerry ever took was to open the doors of this school 41 years ago.

He believed that Liberty might become one of the most respected Christian universities anywhere on earth.  And so it is today.

He believed, even when the first graduating class consisted of 13 students, that year after year young Christians would be drawn to such a university in ever-greater numbers.  And here you are.

Today, thanks to what you have gained here, you leave Liberty with conviction and confidence as your armor. You know what you believe.  You know who you are.  And you know Whom you will serve.  Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here.  Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.

That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration.  In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ.  May that be your guide.

You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal.  Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter.  His conclusion:  Culture makes all the difference.  Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.

The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.

The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention.  For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%.  But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor.  Culture matters.

As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate.  So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage.  Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate.  It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with.  Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.

But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man.  Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution.  And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world.  But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us.

Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations.  The drama is always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life.  We’re not alone in sensing this.  Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.

And, in the way of lessons learned, by hitting the mark or by falling short, I can tell you this much for sure.

All that you have heard here at Liberty University – about trusting in God and in His purpose for each of us–makes for more than a good sermon.  It makes for a good life.  So many things compete for our attention and devotion.  That doesn’t stop as you get older.  We are all prone, at various turns, to treat the trivial things as all-important, the all-important things as trivial, and little by little lose sight of the one thing that endures forever.

No person I have ever met, not even the most righteous or pure of heart, has gone without those times when faith recedes in the busy-ness of life.  It’s normal, and sometimes even the smallest glimpses of the Lord’s work in our lives can reawaken our hearts.  They bring us back to ourselves – and, better still, to something far greater than ourselves.

What we have, what we wish we had – ambitions fulfilled, ambitions disappointed … investments won, investments lost … elections won, elections lost – these things may occupy our attention, but they do not define us.  And each of them is subject to the vagaries and serendipities of life.  Our relationship with our Maker, however, depends on none of this.  It is entirely in our control, for He is always at the door, and knocks for us.  Our worldly successes cannot be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God.  The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving the ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.

Many a preacher has advised the same, but few as memorably as Martin Luther King, Jr.  “As a young man,” he said, “with most of my life ahead of me, I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow.  But to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In this life, the commitments that come closest to forever are those of family.

My Dad, George Romney, was a CEO, a governor, and a member of the President’s Cabinet.  My wife Ann asked him once, “What was your greatest accomplishment?”  Without a moment’s pause, he said, “Raising our four kids.”

Ann and I feel the same way about our family.  I have never once regretted missing a business opportunity so that I could be with my children and grandchildren.  Among the things in life that can be put off, being there when it matters most isn’t one of them.

As C.S. Lewis is said to have remarked, “The home is the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose, and that is to support the ultimate career.”

Promotions often mark the high points in a career, and I hope I haven’t seen my last.  But sometimes the high points come in unexpected ways.  I was asked to help rescue the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

I’m embarrassed now to recall that when this opportunity was first presented to me, I dismissed it out of hand.  I was busy, I was doing well, and, by the way, my lack of athletic prowess did not make the Olympics a logical step.  In fact, after I had accepted the position, my oldest son called me and said, “Dad, I’ve spoken to the brothers.  We saw the paper this morning.  We want you to know there’s not a circumstance we could have conceived of that would put you on the front page of the sports section.”

The Olympics were not a logical choice, but it was one of the best and most fulfilling choices of my life.  Opportunities for you to serve in meaningful ways may come at inconvenient times, but that will make them all the more precious.

People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology.  Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.  The best case for this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God’s love into every life – people like the late Chuck Colson.

Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison.  He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably.  They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man.  His choice at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.

The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character.  It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen.  Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us.  How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.

In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service –the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all.  For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have.  All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom.

At this great Christian institution, you have all learned a thing or two about these gifts and the good purposes they can serve.  They are yours to have and yours to share.  Sometimes, your Liberty education will set you apart, and always it will help direct your path.  And as you now leave, and make for new places near and far, I hope for each one of you that your path will be long and life will be kind.

The ideals that brought you here … the wisdom you gained here … and the friends you found here – may these blessings be with you always, wherever you go.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Campaign Buzz May 8, 2012: Rick Santorum Finally Endorses Mitt Romney for the GOP / Republican Presidential Nomination

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

Romney Santorum.jpg

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, FileIn this Feb. 22, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, talks with fellow candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, left, after a presidential debate in Arizona. On Monday night, May 7, 2012, Santorum endorsed Romney, saying “above all else” they agree that Obama must be defeated.

Rick Santorum’s Endorsement of Governor Mitt Romney

Source: Rick Santorm, 5-7-12
On Friday, Governor Romney came to Pittsburgh for an over-hour long one-on-one meeting. The conversation was candid, collegial and focused on the issues that you helped me give voice to during our campaign; because I believe they are essential ingredients to not only winning this fall, but turning our country around.

While the issue of my endorsement did not come up, I certainly have heard from many of you who have weighed in on whether or not I should issue a formal endorsement. Thank you for your counsel, it has been most helpful. However, I felt that it was completely impossible for me to even consider an endorsement until after a meeting to discuss issues critical to those of us who often feel our voices are not heard by the establishment: social conservatives, tea-party supporters, lower and middle income working families.

Clearly without the overwhelming support from you all, I never would have won 11 states and over 3 million votes, and we would not have won more counties than all the other candidates combined. I can assure you that even though I am no longer a candidate for president, I will still continue to fight every day for our shared values – the values that made America the greatest country in the history of the world.

During our meeting I felt a deep responsibility to assess Governor Romney’s commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives, as well his commitment to ensuring our appropriate representation in a Romney administration.

The family and its foundational role in America’s economic success, a central point of our campaign, was discussed at length. I was impressed with the Governor’s deep understanding of this connection and his commitment to economic policies that preserve and strengthen families. He clearly understands that having pro-family initiatives are not only the morally and economically right thing to do, but that the family is the basic building block of our society and must be preserved.

I also shared with Governor Romney my belief that we cannot restore America as the greatest economic engine the world has ever seen until we return America to being a manufacturing superpower. He listened very carefully to my advice on this matter, and while our policy prescriptions differed, he clearly expressed his desire to create more opportunities for those that are feeling left behind in this economy.

As it is often said, “personnel is policy.” I strongly encouraged Governor Romney as he builds out his campaign staff and advisors that he add more conservative leaders as an integral part of his team. And you can be sure that I will work with the Governor to help him in this task to ensure he has a strong team that will support him in his conservative policy initiatives.

Of course we talked about what it would take to win this election. As you know I started almost every speech with the phrase that this was the most important election since the election of 1860 and four more years of President Obama is simply not an option. As I contemplated what further steps I will take, that reality weighed heavy on me. The America we know is being fundamentally changed to look more like a European socialist state than the land of opportunity our founding fathers established.

Freedom and personal responsibility are being replaced with big government dependency. The greatest and most productive workers in the world are being hamstrung by excessive regulations making it impossible to compete. Our healthcare system had been socialized, and the worth of each life dictated by some government bureaucrat. Our allies are insulted while our enemies are appeased. And our religious beliefs and freedom have come under attack.

What is even more troubling is what a second term of an Obama administration could bring. President Obama’s admission to the Russians that he will have more flexibility in a second term can only be translated to “if you thought I was liberal in the first four years you haven’t seen anything yet!”

The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree: the need for lower taxes, smaller government, and a reduction in out-of-control spending. We certainly agree that abortion is wrong and marriage should be between one man and one woman. I am also comfortable with Governor Romney on foreign policy matters, and we share the belief that we can never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons. And while I had concerns about Governor Romney making a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare, I have no doubt if elected he will work with a Republican Congress to repeal it and replace it with a bottom up, patient, not government, driven system.

Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime.

My conversation with Governor Romney was very productive, but I intend to keep lines of communication open with him and his campaign. I hope to ensure that the values that made America that shining city on the hill are illuminated brightly by our party and our candidates thus ensuring not just a victory, but a mandate for conservative governance.

Karen and I know firsthand how difficult the campaign trail can be particularly as governor Romney faces relentless attacks from the democrats. We have been praying for him and his family and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

I look forward to working together to defeat President Obama this fall and to protect faith, family, freedom and opportunity in America.

IN FOCUS: RICK SANTORUM FINALLY ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY FOR GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

Santorum Keeps Romney Endorsement Low Key: The announcement came in a middle-of-the-night e-mail with a simple subject line: Governor Romney…. – NYT, 5-8-12

  • Santorum finally endorses ex-rival Romney: Rick Santorum tonight finally endorsed Mitt Romney for president, pledging to help his ex-rival defeat President Obama in November…. – USA Today, 5-8-12
  • Rick Santorum endorses Mitt Romney in late-night email: Rick Santorum endorsed his onetime rival Mitt Romney in a long email to supporters late Monday night, calling on them to unite behind the cause of defeating President Obama in November. Santorum, who withdrew from the race last month…. – LAT, 5-8-12
  • Santorum endorses Romney, asks supporters to help: Rick Santorum on Monday urged his supporters to join him in working with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to deny President Obama a second term. Rick Santorum endorsed his one-time bitter rival Mitt Romney in a late-night e-mail…. – Boston Globe, 5-8-12-
  • Santorum endorsement of Romney a bit lukewarm: Rick Santorum finally endorsed Mitt Romney for president, but he sure didn’t trumpet the fact. The word came near the end of the 13th paragraph of an e-mail that hit the inboxes of Santorum supporters about 11 pm Monday – more than…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-9-12
  • Rick Santorum tells Jay Leno why Romney endorsement was ‘buried’: Rick Santorum told ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno, ‘This was a letter to my supporters – who were for me.’ Not Mitt Romney. The socially liberal Leno also pressed Mr. Santorum on cultural issues…. – CS Monitor, 5-9-12
  • On ‘Tonight Show,’ Santorum holds firm on conservative stances: Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the race after presenting an energetic challenge to Mitt Romney from the party’s right flank, jousted over gay marriage and contemporary culture with Jay Leno…. – LAT, 5-9-12
  • Santorum explains Romney e-mail: During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum explained his e-mail endorsing Mitt Romney…. – WaPo, 5-10-12
  • Santorum explains Romney endorsement: Rick Santorum brought back his lucky sweater vest for his first appearance on Jay Leno’s show as he explained that late-night e-mail endorsing ex-GOP rival Mitt Romney. The idea behind releasing the letter to his supporters…. – USA Today, 5-9-12

Full Text Obama Presidency April 3, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Associated Press Luncheon Attacks GOP / Republican Budget as Radical & “Social Darwinism”

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama delivers remarks at the Associated Press Luncheon (April 3, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Associated Press (AP) Luncheon at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama Calls G.O.P. Budget Plan ‘Social Darwinism’

Source: NYT, 4-3-12

President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington.

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington.

President Obama opened a full-frontal assault Tuesday on the budget adopted by House Republicans, saying it would greatly deepen inequality in the country….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ATTACKS REPUBLICAN BUDGET IN SPEECH TO ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama blasts Ryan, Romney, Republican budget USA Today, 4-3-12

Obama Calls G.O.P. Budget Plan ‘Social Darwinism’: President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington. President Obama opened a full-frontal assault Tuesday on the budget adopted by House Republicans, saying it would greatly deepen inequality in the country…. NYT, 4-3-12

  • Obama says election choice ‘unambiguously clear’: Making his case for re-election, President Barack Obama said Tuesday the nation must restore a sense of security for hard-working Americans and stand for a government willing to help those in hard…. – AP, 4-3-12
  • US election 2012: Barack Obama accuses Republicans of ‘social Darwinism’: President Barack Obama on Tuesday night accused the Republican party of trying to impose “social Darwinism” on America by slashing public spending and radically shrinking the scope of the US government…. – Telegraph.co.uk, 4-3-12
  • Obama Says Reagan Couldn’t Get Through GOP Primary: President Barack Obama says if President Ronald Reagan was running for president now, he “could not get through a Republican primary today.” Obama said during a question-and-answer session with newspaper editors on Tuesday…. – AP, 4-3-12
  • Obama: GOP ‘doubling down’ on faulty policies: President Barack Obama says a budget plan presented by House Republicans represents a “doubling down” on a failed economic policy. In a speech before newspaper executives, Obama says a $3.5 trillion budget plan pushed by House Republicans … – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • Obama attacks, mocks Romney and Ryan budget: President Barack Obama jumped fully into the 2012 race Tuesday, naming his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, for the first time in an official presidential speech that accused the Republican establishment of embracing polices that threaten the … – Politico, 4-3-12
  • Obama: GOP budget a “Trojan horse”: Launching a broad argument for his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday delivered a scathing criticism of House Republicans’ proposed 2013 budget proposal…. – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • Obama Calls GOP Budget ‘A Trojan Horse…for Thinly-Veiled Social Darwinism…’: “Whoever he may be, the next president will inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their … – Fox News, 4-3-12
  • On primary day, Obama lambastes GOP budget plan as ‘Trojan horse’: President Obama launched an election-year broadside Tuesday against House Republicans — and particularly Rep. Paul Ryan — denouncing their $3.5 trillion budget plan as a “Trojan horse” and “radical” overhaul that is wrong for America…. – Fox News, 4-3-12

Three Charts Illustrating Two Different Visions for Our Nation

Source: WH, 4-3-12
The President believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those working to reach it.  That’s why he has put forward a blueprint for an economy built to last – one where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

Today at the Associated Press Luncheon, the President discussed how his vision differs with the radical vision laid out in the House Republican Budget:

“This Congressional Republican budget, however, is something different altogether.  It’s a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism.  It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it – a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last – education and training; research and development – it’s a prescription for decline.”

The President’s approach to reducing our deficit is a balanced approach that asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, achieves significant health savings and enacts sensible spending cuts while making the investments we need to have a strong middle class.

Take a look at how the President’s approach and the Congressional Republican policies stack up side by side:

Side by Side – The President’s Budget vs. Republican Budget

It’s a test of fairness.  The Congressional Republican budget gives every millionaire and billionaire a tax cut of at least $150,000 paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and gutting programs that help the middle class and our economy.  This graphic shows just what that $150,000 means to those programs our economic recovery depends on:

The House Republican Budget – The Budget Fails the Test of Balance, Fairness, and Shared Responsibility

By standing by massive tax cuts we can’t afford paid for by the middle class and seniors, the Republican establishment has rubber stamped the economic policies of the past that caused the financial crisis in the first place.   Just take a look at how much the Republican policies of the past added to our deficit:

 Changes in Deficit Projections Since January 2001

At this critical moment for our economy and the middle class, the President will continue to stand by a policy of fairness that reflects our core values as a nation.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at the Associated Press Luncheon

Source: WH, 4-3-12

Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, D.C.
12:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.  Well, good afternoon, and thank you to Dean Singleton and the board of the Associated Press for inviting me here today.  It is a pleasure to speak to all of you — and to have a microphone that I can see.  (Laughter.)  Feel free to transmit any of this to Vladimir if you see him.  (Laughter.)

Clearly, we’re already in the beginning months of another long, lively election year.  There will be gaffes and minor controversies, be hot mics and Etch-a-Sketch moments.  You will cover every word that we say, and we will complain vociferously about the unflattering words that you write — unless, of course, you’re writing about the other guy — in which case, good job.  (Laughter.)

But there are also big, fundamental issues at stake right now — issues that deserve serious debate among every candidate, and serious coverage among every reporter.  Whoever he may be, the next President will inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.  Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their bills or their mortgage.  Too many citizens will still lack the sort of financial security that started slipping away years before this recession hit.  A debt that has grown over the last decade, primarily as a result of two wars, two massive tax cuts, and an unprecedented financial crisis, will have to be paid down.

In the face of all these challenges, we’re going to have to answer a central question as a nation:  What, if anything, can we do to restore a sense of security for people who are willing to work hard and act responsibly in this country?  Can we succeed as a country where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well, while a growing number struggle to get by?  Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules?

This is not just another run-of-the-mill political debate.  I’ve said it’s the defining issue of our time, and I believe it. It’s why I ran in 2008.  It’s what my presidency has been about. It’s why I’m running again.  I believe this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I can’t remember a time when the choice between competing visions of our future has been so unambiguously clear.

Keep in mind, I have never been somebody who believes that government can or should try to solve every problem.  Some of you know my first job in Chicago was working with a group of Catholic churches that often did more good for the people in their communities than any government program could.  In those same communities I saw that no education policy, however well crafted, can take the place of a parent’s love and attention.

As President, I’ve eliminated dozens of programs that weren’t working, and announced over 500 regulatory reforms that will save businesses and taxpayers billions, and put annual domestic spending on a path to become the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower held this office — since before I was born.  I know that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not Washington, which is why I’ve cut taxes for small business owners 17 times over the last three years.

So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.  My mother and the grandparents who raised me instilled the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility that remain the cornerstone of the American idea.  But I also share the belief of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln — a belief that, through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

That belief is the reason this country has been able to build a strong military to keep us safe, and public schools to educate our children.  That belief is why we’ve been able to lay down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce.  That belief is why we’ve been able to support the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, and unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire industries.

That belief is also why we’ve sought to ensure that every citizen can count on some basic measure of security.  We do this because we recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any moment, might face hard times, might face bad luck, might face a crippling illness or a layoff.  And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee health care and a source of income after a lifetime of hard work.  We provide unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss and facilitates the labor mobility that makes our economy so dynamic.  We provide for Medicaid, which makes sure that millions of seniors in nursing homes and children with disabilities are getting the care that they need.

For generations, nearly all of these investments — from transportation to education to retirement programs — have been supported by people in both parties.  As much as we might associate the G.I. Bill with Franklin Roosevelt, or Medicare with Lyndon Johnson, it was a Republican, Lincoln, who launched the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land grant colleges.  It was Eisenhower who launched the Interstate Highway System and new investment in scientific research.  It was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan who worked with Democrats to save Social Security. It was George W. Bush who added prescription drug coverage to Medicare.

What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood is that these investments aren’t part of some scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another.  They are expressions of the fact that we are one nation.  These investments benefit us all.  They contribute to genuine, durable economic growth.

Show me a business leader who wouldn’t profit if more Americans could afford to get the skills and education that today’s jobs require.  Ask any company where they’d rather locate and hire workers –- a country with crumbling roads and bridges, or one that’s committed to high-speed Internet and high-speed railroads and high-tech research and development?

It doesn’t make us weaker when we guarantee basic security for the elderly or the sick or those who are actively looking for work.  What makes us weaker is when fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services our businesses sell, or when entrepreneurs don’t have the financial security to take a chance and start a new business.  What drags down our entire economy is when there’s an ever-widening chasm between the ultra-rich and everybody else.

In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few.  It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class.  That’s how a generation who went to college on the G.I. Bill, including my grandfather, helped build the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.  That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars that they made.  That’s why research has shown that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

And yet, for much of the last century, we have been having the same argument with folks who keep peddling some version of trickle-down economics.  They keep telling us that if we’d convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.  They keep telling us that if we’d just strip away more regulations, and let businesses pollute more and treat workers and consumers with impunity, that somehow we’d all be better off.  We’re told that when the wealthy become even wealthier, and corporations are allowed to maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, it’s good for America, and that their success will automatically translate into more jobs and prosperity for everybody else.  That’s the theory.

Now, the problem for advocates of this theory is that we’ve tried their approach — on a massive scale.  The results of their experiment are there for all to see.  At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003.  We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth.  They did not.  The wealthy got wealthier — we would expect that.  The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades, to an average of $1.3 million a year.  But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down.

Instead, during the last decade, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  And the typical American family actually saw their incomes fall by about 6 percent, even as the economy was growing.

It was a period when insurance companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions didn’t have to abide by strong enough regulations, or they found their ways around them.  And what was the result?  Profits for many of these companies soared. But so did people’s health insurance premiums.  Patients were routinely denied care, often when they needed it most.  Families were enticed, and sometimes just plain tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford.  Huge, reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line.  And our entire financial system was nearly destroyed.

So we tried this theory out.  And you would think that after the results of this experiment in trickle-down economics, after the results were made painfully clear, that the proponents of this theory might show some humility, might moderate their views a bit.  You’d think they’d say, you know what, maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy and prevent people from being taken advantage of by insurance companies or credit card companies or mortgage lenders.  Maybe, just maybe, at a time of growing debt and widening inequality, we should hold off on giving the wealthiest Americans another round of big tax cuts.  Maybe when we know that most of today’s middle-class jobs require more than a high school degree, we shouldn’t gut education, or lay off thousands of teachers, or raise interest rates on college loans, or take away people’s financial aid.

But that’s exactly the opposite of what they’ve done.  Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal.  (Laughter.)  In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget “radical” and said it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.”  This is coming from Newt Gingrich.

And yet, this isn’t a budget supported by some small rump group in the Republican Party.  This is now the party’s governing platform.  This is what they’re running on.  One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency.  He said that he’s “very supportive” of this new budget, and he even called it “marvelous” — which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget.  (Laughter.)  It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.  (Laughter.)

So here’s what this “marvelous” budget does.  Back in the summer, I came to an agreement with Republicans in Congress to cut roughly $1 trillion in annual spending.  Some of these cuts were about getting rid of waste; others were about programs that we support but just can’t afford given our deficits and our debt.  And part of the agreement was a guarantee of another trillion in savings, for a total of about $2 trillion in deficit reduction.

This new House Republican budget, however, breaks our bipartisan agreement and proposes massive new cuts in annual domestic spending –- exactly the area where we’ve already cut the most.  And I want to actually go through what it would mean for our country if these cuts were to be spread out evenly.  So bear with me.  I want to go through this — because I don’t think people fully appreciate the nature of this budget.

The year after next, nearly 10 million college students would see their financial aid cut by an average of more than $1,000 each.  There would be 1,600 fewer medical grants, research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS.  There would be 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students, and teachers.  Investments in clean energy technologies that are helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil would be cut by nearly a fifth.

If this budget becomes law and the cuts were applied evenly, starting in 2014, over 200,000 children would lose their chance to get an early education in the Head Start program.  Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program that gives them access to healthy food.  There would be 4,500 fewer federal grants at the Department of Justice and the FBI to combat violent crime, financial crime, and help secure our borders.  Hundreds of national parks would be forced to close for part or all of the year.  We wouldn’t have the capacity to enforce the laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food that we eat.

Cuts to the FAA would likely result in more flight cancellations, delays, and the complete elimination of air traffic control services in parts of the country.  Over time, our weather forecasts would become less accurate because we wouldn’t be able to afford to launch new satellites.  And that means governors and mayors would have to wait longer to order evacuations in the event of a hurricane.

That’s just a partial sampling of the consequences of this budget.  Now, you can anticipate Republicans may say, well, we’ll avoid some of these cuts — since they don’t specify exactly the cuts that they would make.  But they can only avoid some of these cuts if they cut even deeper in other areas.  This is math.  If they want to make smaller cuts to medical research that means they’ve got to cut even deeper in funding for things like teaching and law enforcement.  The converse is true as well.  If they want to protect early childhood education, it will mean further reducing things like financial aid for young people trying to afford college.

Perhaps they will never tell us where the knife will fall — but you can be sure that with cuts this deep, there is no secret plan or formula that will be able to protect the investments we need to help our economy grow.

This is not conjecture.  I am not exaggerating.  These are facts.  And these are just the cuts that would happen the year after next.

If this budget became law, by the middle of the century, funding for the kinds of things I just mentioned would have to be cut by about 95 percent.  Let me repeat that.  Those categories I just mentioned we would have to cut by 95 percent.  As a practical matter, the federal budget would basically amount to whatever is left in entitlements, defense spending, and interest on the national debt — period.  Money for these investments that have traditionally been supported on a bipartisan basis would be practically eliminated.

And the same is true for other priorities like transportation, and homeland security, and veterans programs for the men and women who have risked their lives for this country.  This is not an exaggeration.  Check it out yourself.

And this is to say nothing about what the budget does to health care.  We’re told that Medicaid would simply be handed over to the states — that’s the pitch:  Let’s get it out of the central bureaucracy.  The states can experiment.  They’ll be able to run the programs a lot better.  But here’s the deal the states would be getting.  They would have to be running these programs in the face of the largest cut to Medicaid that has ever been proposed — a cut that, according to one nonpartisan group, would take away health care for about 19 million Americans — 19 million.

Who are these Americans?  Many are someone’s grandparents who, without Medicaid, won’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s Syndrome.  Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the people who count on Medicaid.

Then there’s Medicare.  Because health care costs keep rising and the Baby Boom generation is retiring, Medicare, we all know, is one of the biggest drivers of our long-term deficit.  That’s a challenge we have to meet by bringing down the cost of health care overall so that seniors and taxpayers can share in the savings.

But here’s the solution proposed by the Republicans in Washington, and embraced by most of their candidates for president:  Instead of being enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65, seniors who retire a decade from now would get a voucher that equals the cost of the second cheapest health care plan in their area.  If Medicare is more expensive than that private plan, they’ll have to pay more if they want to enroll in traditional Medicare.  If health care costs rise faster than the amount of the voucher — as, by the way, they’ve been doing for decades — that’s too bad.  Seniors bear the risk.  If the voucher isn’t enough to buy a private plan with the specific doctors and care that you need, that’s too bad.

So most experts will tell you the way this voucher plan encourages savings is not through better care at cheaper cost.  The way these private insurance companies save money is by designing and marketing plans to attract the youngest and healthiest seniors — cherry-picking — leaving the older and sicker seniors in traditional Medicare, where they have access to a wide range of doctors and guaranteed care.  But that, of course, makes the traditional Medicare program even more expensive, and raise premiums even further.

The net result is that our country will end up spending more on health care, and the only reason the government will save any money — it won’t be on our books — is because we’ve shifted it to seniors.  They’ll bear more of the costs themselves.  It’s a bad idea, and it will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.

Now, the proponents of this budget will tell us we have to make all these draconian cuts because our deficit is so large; this is an existential crisis, we have to think about future generations, so on and so on.  And that argument might have a shred of credibility were it not for their proposal to also spend $4.6 trillion over the next decade on lower tax rates.

We’re told that these tax cuts will supposedly be paid for by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful deductions.  But the Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole they are willing to close.  Not one.  And by the way, there is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families — tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.

Meanwhile, these proposed tax breaks would come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year.  That’s an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country — $150,000.

Let’s just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for:  A year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen.  Plus a new school computer lab.  Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran.  Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease.  Plus a year’s salary for a firefighter or police officer.  Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable.  Plus a year’s worth of financial aid.  One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined — investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us.  For $150,000, that would be going to each millionaire and billionaire in this country.  This budget says we’d be better off as a country if that’s how we spend it.

This is supposed to be about paying down our deficit?  It’s laughable.

The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission that I created — which the Republicans originally were for until I was for it — that was about paying down the deficit.  And I didn’t agree with all the details.  I proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and $600 billion — I’m sorry — it proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and about $600 billion more in defense cuts than I proposed in my own budget.  But Bowles-Simpson was a serious, honest, balanced effort between Democrats and Republicans to bring down the deficit.  That’s why, although it differs in some ways, my budget takes a similarly balanced approach:  Cuts in discretionary spending, cuts in mandatory spending, increased revenue.

This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether.  It is a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.  It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last  — education and training, research and development, our infrastructure — it is a prescription for decline.

And everybody here should understand that because there’s very few people here who haven’t benefitted at some point from those investments that were made in the ’50s and the ’60s and the ’70s and the ’80s.  That’s part of how we got ahead.  And now, we’re going to be pulling up those ladders up for the next generation?

So in the months ahead, I will be fighting as hard as I know how for this truer vision of what the United States of America is all about.  Absolutely, we have to get serious about the deficit. And that will require tough choices and sacrifice.  And I’ve already shown myself willing to make these tough choices when I signed into law the biggest spending cut of any President in recent memory.  In fact, if you adjust for the economy, the Congressional Budget Office says the overall spending next year will be lower than any year under Ronald Reagan.

And I’m willing to make more of those difficult spending decisions in the months ahead.  But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there has to be some balance.  All of us have to do our fair share.

I’ve also put forward a detailed plan that would reform and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.  By the beginning of the next decade, it achieves the same amount of annual health savings as the plan proposed by Simpson-Bowles — the Simpson-Bowles commission, and it does so by making changes that people in my party haven’t always been comfortable with.  But instead of saving money by shifting costs to seniors, like the congressional Republican plan proposes, our approach would lower the cost of health care throughout the entire system.  It goes after excessive subsidies to prescription drug companies.  It gets more efficiency out of Medicaid without gutting the program.  It asks the very wealthiest seniors to pay a little bit more.  It changes the way we pay for health care — not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to improve their results.

And it slows the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission — a commission not made up of bureaucrats from government or insurance companies, but doctors and nurses and medical experts and consumers, who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best way to reduce unnecessary health care spending while protecting access to the care that the seniors need.

We also have a much different approach when it comes to taxes — an approach that says if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t afford to spend trillions more on tax cuts for folks like me, for wealthy Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them, and that the country cannot afford. At a time when the share of national income flowing to the top 1 percent of people in this country has climbed to levels last seen in the 1920s, those same folks are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  As both I and Warren Buffett have pointed out many times now, he’s paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.  That is not fair.  It is not right.

And the choice is really very simple.  If you want to keep these tax rates and deductions in place — or give even more tax breaks to the wealthy, as the Republicans in Congress propose — then one of two things happen:  Either it means higher deficits, or it means more sacrifice from the middle class.  Seniors will have to pay more for Medicare.  College students will lose some of their financial aid.  Working families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less.  I repeat what I’ve said before:  That is not class warfare, that is not class envy, that is math.

If that’s the choice that members of Congress want to make, then we’re going to make sure every American knows about it.  In a few weeks, there will be a vote on what we’ve called the Buffett Rule.  Simple concept:  If you make more than a million dollars a year — not that you have a million dollars — if you make more than a million dollars annually, then you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families do — then your taxes shouldn’t go up.  That’s the proposal.

Now, you’ll hear some people point out that the Buffett Rule alone won’t raise enough revenue to solve our deficit problems.  Maybe not, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  And I intend to keep fighting for this kind of balance and fairness until the other side starts listening, because I believe this is what the American people want.  I believe this is the best way to pay for the investments we need to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.  And by the way, I believe it’s the right thing to do.

This larger debate that we will be having and that you will be covering in the coming year about the size and role of government, this debate has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the ones that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper; it gets more vigorous.  That’s a good thing.  As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.

But no matter what we argue or where we stand, we have always held certain beliefs as Americans.  We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves.  We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible.  We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community.  We have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

And this sense of responsibility — to each other and our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling.  This isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea.  It’s patriotism.  And if we keep that in mind, and uphold our obligations to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, then I have no doubt that we will continue our long and prosperous journey as the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

MR. SINGLETON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  We appreciate so much you being with us today.  I have some questions from the audience, which I will ask — and I’ll be more careful than I was last time I did this.

Republicans have been sharply critical of your budget ideas as well.  What can you say to the Americans who just want both sides to stop fighting and get some work done on their behalf?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I completely understand the American people’s frustrations, because the truth is that these are eminently solvable problems.  I know that Christine Lagarde is here from the IMF, and she’s looking at the books of a lot of other countries around the world.  The kinds of challenges they face fiscally are so much more severe than anything that we confront — if we make some sensible decisions.

So the American people’s impulses are absolutely right.  These are solvable problems if people of good faith came together and were willing to compromise.  The challenge we have right now is that we have on one side, a party that will brook no compromise.  And this is not just my assertion.  We had presidential candidates who stood on a stage and were asked, “Would you accept a budget package, a deficit reduction plan, that involved $10 of cuts for every dollar in revenue increases?” Ten-to-one ratio of spending cuts to revenue.  Not one of them raised their hand.

Think about that.  Ronald Reagan, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases.  Did it multiple times.  He could not get through a Republican primary today.

So let’s look at Bowles-Simpson.  Essentially, my differences with Bowles-Simpson were I actually proposed less revenue and slightly lower defense spending cuts.  The Republicans want to increase defense spending and take in no revenue, which makes it impossible to balance the deficit under the terms that Bowles-Simpson laid out — unless you essentially eliminate discretionary spending.  You don’t just cut discretionary spending.  Everything we think of as being pretty important — from education to basic science and research to transportation spending to national parks to environmental protection — we’d essentially have to eliminate.

I guess another way of thinking about this is — and this bears on your reporting.  I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.  This is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalence.  I’ve got some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress who were prepared to make significant changes to entitlements that go against their political interests, and who said they were willing to do it.  And we couldn’t get a Republican to stand up and say, we’ll raise some revenue, or even to suggest that we won’t give more tax cuts to people who don’t need them.

And so I think it’s important to put the current debate in some historical context.  It’s not just true, by the way, of the budget.  It’s true of a lot of the debates that we’re having out here.

Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems.  The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush.  Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection; let’s gut the EPA.

Health care, which is in the news right now — there’s a reason why there’s a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got covered, in contrast to a single-payer plan.  Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.

So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions I’m taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions.  What’s changed is the center of the Republican Party.  And that’s certainly true with the budget.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, the managing director of the (inaudible) for continuation of United States leadership (inaudible) economic issues, and underscored the need for a lower deficit and lower debt.  How can you respond to that claim?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, she’s absolutely right.  It’s interesting, when I travel around the world at these international fora — and I’ve said this before — the degree to which America is still the one indispensable nation, the degree to which, even as other countries are rising and their economies are expanding, we are still looked to for leadership, for agenda setting — not just because of our size, not just because of our military power, but because there is a sense that unlike most superpowers in the past, we try to set out a set of universal rules, a set of principles by which everybody can benefit.

And that’s true on the economic front as well.  We continue to be the world’s largest market, an important engine for economic growth.  We can’t return to a time when by simply borrowing and consuming, we end up driving global economic growth.

I said this a few months after I was elected at the first G20 summit.  I said the days when Americans using their credit cards and home equity loans finance the rest of the world’s growth by taking in imports from every place else — those days are over.  On the other hand, we continue to be a extraordinarily important market and foundation for global economic growth.

We do have to take care of our deficits.  I think Christine has spoken before, and I think most economists would argue as well, that the challenge when it comes to our deficits is not short-term discretionary spending, which is manageable.  As I said before and I want to repeat, as a percentage of our GDP, our discretionary spending — all the things that the Republicans are proposing cutting — is actually lower than it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower.  There has not been some massive expansion of social programs, programs that help the poor, environmental programs, education programs.  That’s not our problem.

Our problem is that our revenue has dropped down to between 15 and 16 percent — far lower than it has been historically, certainly far lower than it was under Ronald Reagan — at the same time as our health care costs have surged, and our demographics mean that there is more and more pressure being placed on financing our Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.

So at a time when the recovery is still gaining steam, and unemployment is still very high, the solution should be pretty apparent.  And that is even as we continue to make investments in growth today — for example, putting some of our construction workers back to work rebuilding schools and roads and bridges, or helping states to rehire teachers at a time when schools are having a huge difficulty retaining quality teachers in the classroom — all of which would benefit our economy, we focus on a long-term plan to stabilize our revenues at a responsible level and to deal with our health care programs in a responsible way.  And that’s exactly what I’m proposing.

And what we’ve proposed is let’s go back, for folks who are making more than $250,000 a year, to levels that were in place during the Clinton era, when wealthy people were doing just fine, and the economy was growing a lot stronger than it did after they were cut.  And let’s take on Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way — which is not just a matter of taking those costs off the books, off the federal books, and pushing them onto individual seniors, but let’s actually reduce health care costs.  Because we spend more on health care with not as good outcomes as any other advanced, developed nation on Earth.

And that would seem to be a sensible proposal.  The problem right now is not the technical means to solve it.  The problem is our politics.  And that’s part of what this election and what this debate will need to be about, is, are we, as a country, willing to get back to common-sense, balanced, fair solutions that encourage our long-term economic growth and stabilize our budget.  And it can be done.

One last point I want to make, Dean, that I think is important, because it goes to the growth issue.  If state and local government hiring were basically on par to what our current recovery — on par to past recoveries, the unemployment rate would probably be about a point lower than it is right now.  If the construction industry were going through what we normally go through, that would be another point lower.  The challenge we have right now — part of the challenge we have in terms of growth has to do with the very specific issues of huge cuts in state and local government, and the housing market still recovering from this massive bubble.  And that — those two things are huge headwinds in terms of growth.

I say this because if we, for example, put some of those construction workers back to work, or we put some of those teachers back in the classroom, that could actually help create the kind of virtuous cycle that would bring in more revenues just because of economic growth, would benefit the private sector in significant ways.  And that could help contribute to deficit reduction in the short term, even as we still have to do these important changes to our health care programs over the long term.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be unprecedented for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress.  But that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence.  If the Court were to overturn individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, let me be very specific. We have not seen a Court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on a economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce — a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner.  Right?  So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre New Deal.

And the point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.  And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.

Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there.  I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has.  As a consequence, we’re not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies.

What I did emphasize yesterday is there is a human element to this that everybody has to remember.  This is not an abstract exercise.  I get letters every day from people who are affected by the health care law right now, even though it’s not fully implemented.  Young people who are 24, 25, who say, you know what, I just got diagnosed with a tumor.  First of all, I would not have gone to get a check-up if I hadn’t had health insurance. Second of all, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to get it treated had I not been on my parent’s plan.  Thank you and thank Congress for getting this done.

I get letters from folks who have just lost their job, their COBRA is running out.  They’re in the middle of treatment for colon cancer or breast cancer, and they’re worried when their COBRA runs out, if they’re still sick, what are they going to be able to do because they’re not going to be able to get health insurance.

And the point I think that was made very ably before the Supreme Court, but I think most health care economists who have looked at this have acknowledged, is there are basically two ways to cover people with preexisting conditions or assure that people can always get coverage even when they had bad illnesses.  One way is the single-payer plan — everybody is under a single system, like Medicare.  The other way is to set up a system in which you don’t have people who are healthy but don’t bother to get health insurance, and then we all have to pay for them in the emergency room.

That doesn’t work, and so, as a consequence, we’ve got to make sure that those folks are taking their responsibility seriously, which is what the individual mandate does.

So I don’t anticipate the Court striking this down.  I think they take their responsibilities very seriously.  But I think what’s more important is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to recognize that in a country like ours — the wealthiest, most powerful country on Earth — we shouldn’t have a system in which millions of people are at risk of bankruptcy because they get sick, or end up waiting until they do get sick and then go to the emergency room, which involves all of us paying for it.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you’ve been very, very generous with your time, and we appreciate very much you being here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

END
1:35 P.M. EDT

 

Getting at the Facts

Source: WH, 4-6-12

On Tuesday, the President gave a speech in which he contrasted his vision for our economy – one where everyone pays their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules – with the Republican approach of giving massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires paid for by cuts to programs that the middle class and seniors depend on.

Congressman Ryan and his staff has since taken issue with some of the critiques the President made about the Republican approach.  We believe in backing up our facts – so here’s some further explanation of some of the core problems with the Ryan Republican Budget.

1. The Republican budget enacts a drastic, unspecified 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary programs that help the middle class and help our economy grow.

The House Budget resolution includes a $1.060 trillion cut in non-defense discretionary spending, below the levels to which both Democrats and Republicans agreed in the Budget Control Act.  We did the math, and a $1.060 trillion cut to discretionary programs – as called for in the Republican budget – would amount to a 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending.  By comparison, the cuts proposed in the House Budget resolution would be three times as great as the cuts required by the sequester and because of the lack of detail in the resolution, we are left to assume that they would be applied in the same arbitrary, across the board, manner.  The President carefully described the impact of those cuts if they were distributed across the board, and noted that protecting some places would require even deeper cuts in other places.

House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s office responded that considering the cut across-the-board wasn’t fair because “the House Budget Committee made dozens of specific assumptions to justify our numbers, and we made these assumptions public in the hundreds of pages of text we posted in plain view on the House Budget Committee’s website.”  But if you look at the report, it only includes a list of “illustrative policy options.”  But they’re just that—as you can see on page 30 of that same PDF: “this report offers a range of policy options to help demonstrate how the budget’s fiscal goals could be achieved.  These options are illustrative….”  So it’s not as though the House is taking ownership of these proposals—as President Obama has owned his specific ideas in each of his budgets.

What’s more, even if you look at the specific numbers in the House budget, you see that they aren’t very specific.  A Budget Resolution shows federal spending distributed across different categories of spending.  Most of the categories are specific—things like “Energy” or “Administration of Justice.”  But the House put 85 percent of their cuts into a category called “Allowances” (see page 16 of the same report).  That’s a great big “TBD.”  The 19 percent cut is calculated by taking the level Congress agreed to last summer in the Budget Control Act for non-defense discretionary programs in 2013 and subtracting the proposed $406 billion cap for 2014 in the House Republican Budget.  That’s a $95 billion cut that, when left undistributed, is a 19 percent cut to the 2012 level of services in every non-defense discretionary program.

And even if you were going to give the House Republican Budget credit for the 15% of their domestic discretionary cut which does fall into specific categories, you would have to make deeper cuts in other programs.  For example: the House said they don’t want to cut Veterans Benefits.  When we calculated the percentage cut in non-defense spending, we spread it across the entire discretionary budget, including Veterans programs.  If you took Veterans benefits out of the mix, the cuts to everything else would be a lot bigger.

The bottom line is that when a budget proposes cuts as vast and vague as this budget, the best way to illustrate its impact is to show the effects across the board. The Republican budget’s lack of specifics gives us no other choice.

2. The Republican approach would end Medicare as we know it.

Chairman Ryan’s team also disputes the President’s characterization that House Republican Budget would “end Medicare as we know it.”  But that’s exactly what would result from a plan that would voucherize the Medicare program beginning in 2023 and would reduce deficits only by shifting cost and risk onto America’s seniors.

First, they claim that the “second-lowest-cost private plan” (the benchmark at which Chairman Ryan would set the value of a senior citizen’s Medicare voucher) would provide the same benefits in a more cost-effective way than traditional Medicare.

  • But analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on this topic in 2011 found something far different:  that private plans cost 39 percent more than traditional Medicare, in part because Medicare enjoys lower administrative costs and better purchasing power.  And the flip side is that, for those limited areas of the country where private plans are cheaper than traditional Medicare, premiums for seniors seeking to stay in traditional Medicare will rise as a result of the bidding program – upwards of 49 to 64 percent on average, according to 2006 CBO study of a similar proposal.  In other words:  In most of the country, private Medicare providers will cost more to deliver the same benefit as traditional Medicare.  And in those few places where that’s not true, the security of the traditional Medicare program will become a lot more expensive for seniors who wish to stay in it. While the exact numbers in Chairman Ryan’s current plan may differ from these previous studies, which had different details and different assumptions, the broad analysis would still apply to his current proposal.

Second, the Ryan team claims that, under their plan, the risk of private plans going up in price faster than the value of the Medicare voucher would not entirely fall on the beneficiary because Congress would be required to act.

  • The Ryan team does not even need to look beyond its own ranks to disprove this one.  According to testimony by House GOP Budget Committee staff, the Ryan budget would cap growth in the value of voucher payments to the rate of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent – a rate below the average annual growth of health care costs.  And when asked what would happen if competitive bids increased faster than that rate, Staff Director Austin Smythe testified: “The premium support payment would be capped at that level” – in other words, if the voucher’s value does not keep up with the cost of private plans, seniors will be expected to pick up the difference, a radical departure from the promise of the current Medicare program. Moreover, there is no way around this conclusion because under the Ryan Medicare plan just about the only cost to the government is what it pays for the voucher, so the only way to hit his Medicare growth rate target is to reduce the voucher and shift costs to seniors.

Third, the Ryan team claims that there will always be one health plan that is fully covered by the voucher and always one plan that costs even less.

  • But, after 2023, the first year their budget goes into effect, this just isn’t true.  While it is true that every newly eligible senior could choose a plan that was fully covered in that first year, even then that plan generally would not provide many of the benefits that Medicare beneficiaries have enjoyed from traditional Medicare.   And, after 2023, there is no guarantee that any plan – even those geared toward younger and healthier seniors – would be fully covered.  Because the voucher amount would not be based on the actual bids of private providers, but rather on a growth rate capped below the historical and projected growth of health care costs, there is simply no guarantee that the voucher will be able to keep up – with seniors on the hook if it does not.

The House Republican plan’s voucher is based on an spending  target with all of the risk falling on beneficiaries, which is a key reason that led Henry Aaron, one of the co-inventors of premium support, to write “current proposals are not premium support as [former Urban Institute President Robert] Reischauer and I used the term.”

Last, the Ryan team claims that private plans “cherry picking” the healthiest seniors away from traditional Medicare would be prohibited under their reforms because their plan includes risk-adjusting as an extra precaution against doing so.

  • For starters, the House Republican Budget does not provide any details that would allow one to judge if they contained even an attempt at serious regulations.  But even the best intentioned and implemented regulations and risk adjustment procedures would still fall well short of what is needed to prevent an adverse selection spiral from driving healthier seniors out of traditional Medicare and dramatically raising the costs for those who remain.  For example, a 2002 study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if risk-adjustment were 50 percent effective (which is four times the effectiveness of risk adjustment in Medicare today [http://www.medpac.gov/transcripts/RiskAdj_Mar_2012.pdf] according to the non-partisan Medicare Payments Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that advises Congress), 76 percent of seniors would be pushed out of traditional Medicare by the 20th year of the program – effectively ending Medicare as we know it.

3. The Republican budget would mean 19 million Americans lose the health coverage they are already getting under current Medicaid

Finally, Chairman Ryan’s staff is disputing the President’s statement yesterday that the House Republican budget would take away health care for 19 million Americans.  Yet again, the Ryan team is missing the mark with their criticisms.  If anything, the President was conservative in his characterization of the effects of the House Republican Medicaid plan.

The President based his statement on a study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.  That study found that, by block granting Medicaid, “the House Budget Plan would lead to . . .  19.4 million people being cut” from the program.

The reason is this:  The House Republican budget plan turns Medicaid into a block grant and indexes it to consumer prices, but without any adjustment for additional beneficiaries or health costs.  So if health care costs continue to rise faster than other prices, or if the aging population results in more elderly Medicaid enrollees, or if a future recession results in Americans losing their jobs and newly qualifying for Medicaid, the block grant structure proposed in Ryan’s budget would prevent the program from expanding to meet those needs.

Over the next decade, this structure would result in $800 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program as it currently exists, 34 percent less funding than is currently projected and a cut so deep that it would be impossible to achieve without denying care to many of the people who rely on Medicaid today.

And that’s just the Ryan plan’s cuts from the existing Medicaid program.

That same Kaiser study also found that the Ryan plan’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act would take away Medicaid coverage from the additional 17 million Americans who are slated to receive it when health reform goes into full effect.  As a result, according to Kaiser, counting the impact of the ACA as well as the block grant, the result would be a cut of 36.4 million enrollees, a reduction of 48 percent.

Jay Carney is the White House Press Secretary.

History Buzz March 9, 2012: Controversial “Game Change” based on the 2008 Presidential Election & GOP Candidates John McCain & Sarah Palin Premieres on HBO Saturday, March 10 @ 9PM

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

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 late 2011.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/af/Game_Change_2012_poster.jpg

IN FOCUS: GAME CHANGE ON HBO BASED ON MARK HALPERIN & JOHN HEILEMANN BOOK ON THE 2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION & GOP CANDIDATES JOHN MCCAIN & SARAH PALIN

Game Change airs on HBO, Saturday, March 10, 2012 @ 9PM

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Game Change

“Hollywood lies are Hollywood lies. The film is based on a false narrative.” Palin told Fox News last week. She said she has no plans to see the film though she did catch the trailer. Her PAC even created its own “trailer” to counteract “Game Change,” dubbing the HBO film “fiction.”

  • Trying to Train and Contain a Candidate: “Game Change,” an engaging HBO docudrama about Gov. Sarah Palin’s 2008 run for the vice presidency, stars Julianne Moore as the Alaska governor with her eyes on the White House…. – NYT, 3-9-12
  • ‘Game Change’ debuts Saturday, draws criticism from Palin, McCain: HBO’s much anticipated movie adaptation of “Game Change,” the best-selling book by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann about the 2008 presidential election, airs Saturday night. The film has drawn criticism from two of the major characters…. – WaPo, 3-9-12
  • Sarah Palin attacks HBO’s film ‘Game Change’ about Sarah Palin: Near the end of the HBO film “Game Change,” John McCain (Ed Harris) gives kudos to his running mate Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) during his concession speech, calling her “one of the best campaigners I’ve ever seen.”
    “Still think she’s fit for office?” says senior campaign strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) to campaign manager Rick Davis (Peter MacNicol).
    “Who cares?” Davis responds. “In 48 hours, nobody will even remember who she is.”…. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3-7-12
  • Sarah Palin comes unhinged as star rises in ‘Game Change’: There is one thing the new HBO movie “Game Change” won’t alter after it airs on television in one week: Sarah Palin still will be loved by many Republican conservatives and loathed by liberal Democrats.
    In the controversial new TV movie that aims at a behind-the-scenes portrait of the former U.S. vice presidential candidate, Julianne Moore portrays Sarah Palin as a devoted Republican who lacks basic knowledge of world affairs and careens out of control.
    Adapted from parts of the bestselling book of the same name by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, “Game Change” dramatizes Republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and his choice of Palin as a running mate who was shaped into a political star, nearly leading to a nervous breakdown…. – Reuters, 3-2-12
  • Sarah Palin Takes Shots At HBO’s ‘Game Change’: Sarah Palin is firing back at the coming HBO docudrama “Game Change.” The former Alaska governor posted a video called “Game Change We Can Believe In” on YouTube that’s critical of the TV docudrama. The HBO film tells the story of the 2008 presidential campaign, focusing on John McCain’s failed bid for the White House alongside vice-presidential candidate Palin. In Palin’s YouTube parody, she labels the movie “Fact Change” and titles announce “we know the truth.” The clip also features real-life images of Palin that put her in a more positive light. In the movie, Palin is played by actress Julianne Moore…. – WSJ, 3-2-12
  • ‘Game Change’ Screenwriter Responds To Charges That Film Borrowed From Palin Biography: After concluding her debate with now-Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming HBO movie “Game Change,” Sarah Palin tells John McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt why McCain needs to definitely win the 2008 presidential election. “I so don’t want to go back to Alaska,” Palin says.
    The line, uttered by actress Julianne Moore, who portrays Palin in the film, echoes a similar one from a book about Palin — but it isn’t “Game Change,” the bestseller by Time’s Mark Halperin and New York magazine’s John Heilemann. Instead, a slight variation of the quote can be found in “Sarah From Alaska,” a book written by political reporters Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, both of whom were embedded with Palin during her two months on the Republican ticket. “I just don’t want to go back to Alaska,” Palin says in “Sarah From Alaska” after the debate…. – Huff Post, 3-7-12
  • Moviegoers hail Julianne Moore’s Palin: Did DC’s political and media elite find Hollywood’s portrayal of “Game Change” and Sarah Palin fascinating? You betcha. HBO’s “Game Change” had its star-studded — for Washington, at least — premiere Thursday night in the Newseum with some of the town’s … – Politico, 3-9-12
  • Television review: ‘Game Change’: HBO’s surprisingly kind film about Sarah Palin’s run for vice president stars Julianne Moore and Ed Harris. “Game Change” with Julianne Moore and Ed Harris…. – LAT, 3-9-12
  • A star is born on ‘Game Change’ named Sarah Palin: A certain segment of the U.S. population will presumably shun “Game Change.’’
    As a warts-and-all portrayal of the 2008 campaign of GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, this HBO film (premiering Saturday at 9 p.m. EST) has raised suspicions, and hackles, among Palin loyalists. Surely its mission is to trash her, they contend.
    Meanwhile, viewers from the other end of the political spectrum will tune in gleefully expecting the same thing: an evisceration of the world’s most famous hockey mom…. – AP, 3-8-12
  • Palin calls movie fiction Film portrays 2008 campaign: The hotly anticipated HBO movie Game Change airs this weekend just as former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has audaciously reinserted herself into the American political scene, suggesting on so-called Super Tuesday she’d step in to save the Republican party if necessary.
    Palin has been complaining bitterly for weeks about the film, which airs Saturday and is based on the best-selling memoir of the same name about the 2008 presidential campaign. She’s demanded HBO add a fiction disclaimer to the movie that portrays her as ill-informed, inept and possibly mentally unstable; the cable giant has refused.
    Her political action committee recently released its own two-minute video, a mock movie trailer entitled Game Change We Can Believe In.
    It’s a collection of laudatory remarks about Palin by many of the same Republican strategists who later spoke of deep regret for pushing John McCain to tap the young, dynamic Alaska governor as his running mate in a high-stakes gamble to beat Barack Obama…. – Winniped Free Press, 3-9-12
  • Around the remote: Television picks for the week of March 4-10: “GAME CHANGE” – Like a master illusionist, actress Julianne Moore makes an incredible metamorphosis to become Sarah Palin in this compelling, behind-the-scenes look into John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign…. – Kansas City Star, 3-4-12
  • HBO’s Game Change shows Sarah Palin out of her depth: There is one thing the new HBO movie Game Change won’t alter after it airs on television in one week: Sarah Palin will still be loved by many US Republican conservatives and loathed by American liberals…. – Ottawa Citizen, 3-3-12
  • ‘Game Change’ and Politics as Reality TV: There’s a great scene toward the end of HBO’s Game Change, the controversial and shamelessly entertaining movie about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential campaign, starring Julianne Moore as the Wasilla Windbag. A few of John McCain’s advisers hit … – RollingStone.com, 3-2-12
  • Game Change: Game Change is based on a small portion of the best-selling book of the same name by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin — the portion that eviscerates John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign…. – Entertainment Weekly, 3-2-12
  • ‘Game Change’ is unlikely to change minds about Sarah Palin: If you like the former vice presidential candidate, you will find the film to be offensive. If not, you are primed to enjoy it…. – USA Today, 3-8-12
  • Julianne Moore aims for ‘total immersion’: The 51-year-old Oscar-nominated actress portrays American politician and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in HBO’s political drama Going Rogue. The film based on the eponymous book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin follows the 2008 US … – Belfast Telegraph, 3-2-12
  • Sarah Palin PAC unveils ‘trailer’ mocking HBO’s ‘Game Change,’: Sarah Palin has ripped the movie “Game Change,” which documents her 2008 bid for the vice presidency. Attention HBO: Sarah Palin won’t see your movie. But she will raise you a trailer…. – New York Daily News, 3-2-12
  • Sarah Palin: The big loser in ‘Game Change’: Predictably, Sarah Palin emerges as the big loser in HBO’s movie adaptation of “Game Change,” the best-selling book about the 2008 presidential race. The people in charge of the film could have done … – MarketWatch, 3-9-12
  • Dressing the Part: Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in ‘Game Change’: The HBO movie “Game Change” has come under fire by Sarah Palin and her supporters for its characterization of her as a vice presidential candidate who was obstinate, out of her depth and even delusional. One aspect of the portrait that hasn’t been attacked: its costuming.
    “It’s a pretty easy thing to be uncontroversial about,” says director Jay Roach, whose team combed through reams of rally footage and rope line photos to source the clothes worn by Palin (played by Julianne Moore), John McCain (Ed Harris) and other members of the Republican team…. – WSJ, 3-9-12
  • Game Change: No one doubted that Julianne Moore would nail the physical details playing Sarah Palin in Game Change, about the Alaska governor’s astonishing explosion on the political scene in 2008 as John McCain’s running mate. So, yes, she does “the voice,” which … – People Magazine, 3-9-12
%d bloggers like this: