Full Text September 27, 2011: NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s Speech at the Ronald Reagan Library — Monumental Takedown of Obama

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Christie Delivers Monumental Takedown of Obama at Reagan Library

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Source: Fox News, 9-27-11

Via Weekly Standard: New Jersey governor Chris Christie delivered the following address this evening at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California:

Mrs. Reagan, distinguished guests.  It is an honor for me to be here at the Reagan Library to speak to you today.  I want to thank Mrs. Reagan for her gracious invitation.  I am thrilled to be here.

Ronald Reagan believed in this country.  He embodied the strength, perseverance and faith that has propelled immigrants for centuries to embark on dangerous journeys to come here, to give up all that was familiar for all that was possible.

He judged that as good as things were and had been for many Americans, they could and would be better for more Americans in the future.

It is this vision for our country that guided his administration over the course of eight years.  His commitment to making America stronger, better and more resilient is what allowed him the freedom to challenge conventional wisdom, reach across party lines and dare to put results ahead of political opportunism.

Everybody in this room and in countless other rooms across this great country has his or her favorite Reagan story.  For me, that story happened thirty years ago, in August 1981.  The air traffic controllers, in violation of their contracts, went on strike.  President Reagan ordered them back to work, making clear that those who refused would be fired.   In the end, thousands refused, and thousands were fired.

I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations but as a parable of principle.  Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said.    Those who thought he was bluffing were sadly mistaken.  Reagan’s demand was not an empty political play; it was leadership, pure and simple.

Reagan said it best himself, “I think it convinced people who might have thought otherwise that I meant what I said.  Incidentally, I would have been just as forceful if I thought management had been wrong in the dispute.”

I recall this pivotal moment for another reason as well.  Most Americans at the time and since no doubt viewed Reagan’s firm handling of the PATCO strike as a domestic matter, a confrontation between the president and a public sector union.  But this misses a critical point.

To quote a phrase from another American moment, the whole world was watching.   Thanks to newspapers and television – and increasingly the Internet and social media – what happens here doesn’t stay here.

Another way of saying what I have just described is that Americans do not have the luxury of thinking that what we have long viewed as purely domestic matters have no consequences beyond our borders.  To the contrary.   What we say and what we do here at home affects how others see us and in turn affects what it is they say and do.

America’s role and significance in the world is defined, first and foremost, by who we are at home.  It is defined by how we conduct ourselves with each other.  It is defined by how we deal with our own problems.  It is determined in large measure by how we set an example for the world.

We tend to still understand foreign policy as something designed by officials in the State Department and carried out by ambassadors and others overseas.  And to some extent it is.  But one of the most powerful forms of foreign policy is the example we set.

This is where it is instructive to harken back to Ronald Reagan and the PATCO affair.  President Reagan’s willingness to articulate a determined stand and then carry it out at home sent the signal that the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who could be predicted to stand by his friends and stand up to his adversaries.

If President Reagan would do that at home, leaders around the world realized that he would do it abroad as well.  Principle would not stop at the water’s edge.    The Reagan who challenged Soviet aggression, or who attacked a Libya that supported terror was the same Reagan who stood up years before to PATCO at home for what he believed was right.

All this should and does have meaning for us today.  The image of the United States around the world is not what it was, it is not what it can be and it is not what it needs to be.  This country pays a price whenever our economy fails to deliver rising living standards to our citizens–which is exactly what has been the case for years now.

We pay a price when our political system cannot come together and agree on the difficult but necessary steps to rein in entitlement spending or reform our tax system.

We pay a price when special interests win out over the collective national interest.  We are seeing just this in the partisan divide that has so far made it impossible to reduce our staggering deficits and to create an environment in which there is more job creation than job destruction.

This is where the contrast between what has happened in New Jersey and what is happening in Washington, DC is the most clear.

In New Jersey over the last 20 months, you have actually seen divided government that is working.  To be clear, it does not mean that we have no argument or acrimony.  There are serious disagreements, sometimes expressed loudly—Jersey style.

Here is what we did.  We identified the problems.  We proposed specific means to fix them.  We educated the public on the dire consequences of inaction.  And we compromised, on a bi-partisan basis, to get results.  We took action.

How so you ask?  Leadership and compromise.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you can balance two budgets with over $13 billion in deficits without raising taxes while protecting core services.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you reform New Jersey’s pension and health benefits system that was collectively $121 billion underfunded.

Leadership and compromise is the only way you cap the highest property taxes in the nation and cap the interest arbitration awards of some of the most powerful public sector unions in the nation at no greater than a 2% increase.

In New Jersey we have done this, and more, because the Executive Branch has not sat by and waited for others to go first to suggest solutions to our state’s most difficult problems.

Being a mayor, being a governor, being a president means leading by taking risk on the most important issues of the day.  It has happened in Trenton.

In New Jersey we have done this with a legislative branch, held by the opposite party, because it is led by two people who have more often put the interests of our state above the partisan politics of their caucuses.

Our bi-partisan accomplishments in New Jersey have helped to set a tone that has taken hold across many other states.  It is a simple but powerful message–lead on the tough issues by telling your citizens the truth about the depth of our challenges.  Tell them the truth about the difficulty of the solutions.  This is the only effective way to lead in America during these times.

In Washington, on the other hand, we have watched as we drift from conflict to conflict, with little or no resolution.

We watch a president who once talked about the courage of his convictions, but still has yet to find the courage to lead.

We watch a Congress at war with itself because they are unwilling to leave campaign style politics at the Capitol’s door.  The result is a debt ceiling limitation debate that made our democracy appear as if we could no longer effectively govern ourselves.

And still we continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office. We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things that are obvious to all Americans and to a watching and anxious world community.

Yes, we hope. Because each and every time the president lets a moment to act pass him by, his failure is our failure too. The failure to stand up for the bipartisan debt solutions of the Simpson Bowles Commission, a report the president asked for himself…the failure to act on the country’s crushing unemployment…the failure to act on ever expanding and rapidly eroding entitlement programs…the failure to discern pork barrel spending from real infrastructure investment.

The rule for effective governance is simple. It is one Ronald Reagan knew by heart. And one that he successfully employed with Social Security and the Cold War. When there is a problem, you fix it. That is the job you have been sent to do and you cannot wait for someone else to do it for you.

We pay for this failure of leadership many times over.  The domestic price is obvious:  growth slows, high levels of unemployment persist, and we make ourselves even more vulnerable to the unpredictable behavior of skittish markets or the political decisions of lenders.

But, there is also a foreign policy price to pay.  To begin with, we diminish our ability to influence the thinking and ultimately the behavior of others.  There is no better way to persuade other societies around the world to become more democratic and more market-oriented than to show that our democracy and markets work better than any other system.

Why should we care?

We should care because we believe, as President Reagan did, that democracy is the best protector of human dignity and freedom.  And we know this because history shows that mature democracies are less likely to resort to force against their own people or their neighbors.

We should care because we believe in free and open trade, as exports are the best creators of high-paying jobs here and imports are a means to increase consumer choice and keep prices down.

Around the world– in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa and Latin America—people are debating their own political and economic futures–right now.

We have a stake in the outcome of their debates.  For example, a Middle East that is largely democratic and at peace will be a Middle East that accepts Israel, rejects terrorism, and is a dependable source of energy.

There is no better way to reinforce the likelihood that others in the world will opt for more open societies and economies than to demonstrate that our own system is working.

A lot is being said in this election season about American exceptionalism.   Implicit in such statements is that we are different and, yes, better, in the sense that our democracy, our economy and our people have delivered.  But for American exceptionalism to truly deliver hope and a sterling example to the rest of the world, it must be demonstrated, not just asserted.  If it is demonstrated, it will be seen and appreciated and ultimately emulated by others.  They will then be more likely to follow our example and our lead.

At one time in our history, our greatness was a reflection of our country’s innovation, our determination, our ingenuity and the strength of our democratic institutions.  When there was a crisis in the world, America found a way to come together to help our allies and fight our enemies.  When there was a crisis at home, we put aside parochialism and put the greater public interest first.  And in our system, we did it through strong presidential leadership.  We did it through Reagan-like leadership.

Unfortunately, through our own domestic political conduct of late, we have failed to live up to our own tradition of exceptionalism.  Today, our role and ability to affect change has been diminished because of our own problems and our inability to effectively deal with them.

To understand this clearly, one need only look at comments from the recent meeting of the European finance ministers in Poland.  Here is what the Finance Minister of Austria had to say:

“I found it peculiar that, even though the Americans have significantly worse fundamental data than the euro zone, that they tell us what we should do.  I had expected that, when [Secretary Geithner] tells us how he sees the world, that he would listen to what we have to say.”

You see, without strong leadership at home—without our domestic house in order—we are taking ourselves out of the equation.  Over and over, we are allowing the rest of the world to set the tone without American influence.

I understand full well that succeeding at home, setting an example, is not enough.  The United States must be prepared to act.  We must be prepared to lead.  This takes resources—resources for defense, for intelligence, for homeland security, for diplomacy.  The United States will only be able to sustain a leadership position around the world if the resources are there—but the necessary resources will only be there if the foundations of the American economy are healthy.  So our economic health is a national security issue as well.

Without the authority that comes from that exceptionalism—earned American exceptionalism—we cannot do good for other countries, we cannot continue to be a beacon of hope for the world to aspire to for their future generations.

If Ronald Reagan faced today’s challenges we know what he would do.  He would face our domestic problems directly, with leadership and without political calculation.

We would take an honest and tough approach to solving our long-term debt and deficit problem through reforming our entitlement programs and our tax code.

We would confront our unemployment crisis by giving certainty to business about our tax and regulatory future.

We would unleash American entrepreneurship through long-term tax reform, not short-term tax gimmickry.

And we would reform our K-12 education system by applying free market reform principles to education—rewarding outstanding teachers; demanding accountability from everyone in the system; increasing competition through choice and charters; and making the American free public education system once again the envy of the world.

The guiding principle should be simple and powerful—the educational interests of children must always be put ahead of the comfort of the status quo for adults.

The United States must also become more discriminating in what we try to accomplish abroad. We certainly cannot force others to adopt our principles through coercion.  Local realities count; we cannot have forced makeovers of other societies in our image.  We need to limit ourselves overseas to what is in our national interest so that we can rebuild the foundations of American power here at home – foundations that need to be rebuilt in part so that we can sustain a leadership role in the world for decades to come.

The argument for getting our own house in order is not an argument for turning our back on the world.

We cannot and should not do that.  First of all, our economy is dependent on what we export and import.  And as we learned the hard way a decade ago, we as a country and a people are vulnerable to terrorists armed with box cutters, bombs, and viruses, be they computer generated or man-made.  We need to remain vigilant, and be prepared to act with our friends and allies, to discourage, deter or defend against traditional aggression; to stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons and the means to deliver them; and to continue to deprive terrorists of the ways, means and opportunity to succeed.

I realize that what I am calling for requires a lot of our elected officials and a lot of our people.  I plead guilty.  But I also plead guilty to optimism.

Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in what this country and its citizens can accomplish if they understand what is being asked of them and how we all will benefit if they meet the challenge.

There is no doubt in my mind that we, as a country and as a people, are up for the challenge.  Our democracy is strong; our economy is the world’s largest.  Innovation and risk-taking is in our collective DNA.  There is no better place for investment.  Above all, we have a demonstrated record as a people and a nation of rising up to meet challenges.

Today, the biggest challenge we must meet is the one we present to ourselves.  To not become a nation that places entitlement ahead of accomplishment.  To not become a country that places comfortable lies ahead of difficult truths.  To not become a people that thinks so little of ourselves that we demand no sacrifice from each other.  We are a better people than that; and we must demand a better nation than that.

The America I speak of is the America Ronald Reagan challenged us to be every day.  Frankly, it is the America his leadership helped us to be.  Through our conduct, our deeds, our demonstrated principles and our sacrifice for each other and for the greater good of the nation, we became a country emulated throughout the world.  Not just because of what we said, but because of what we did both at home and abroad.

If we are to reach real American exceptionalism, American exceptionalism that can set an example for freedom around the world, we must lead with purpose and unity.

In 2004, Illinois State Senator Barack Obama gave us a window into his vision for American leadership.  He said, “Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us — the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of ‘anything goes.’ Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.”

Now, seven years later, President Obama prepares to divide our nation to achieve re-election.  This is not a leadership style, this is a re-election strategy.  Telling those who are scared and struggling that the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others.  Trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard.  Insisting that we must tax and take and demonize those who have already achieved the American Dream.  That may turn out to be a good re-election strategy for President Obama, but is a demoralizing message for America.  What happened to State Senator Obama?  When did he decide to become one of the “dividers” he spoke of so eloquently in 2004?  There is, of course, a different choice.

That choice is the way Ronald Reagan led America in the 1980’s.  That approach to leadership is best embodied in the words he spoke to the nation during his farewell address in 1989.  He made clear he was not there just marking time.  That he was there to make a difference.  Then he spoke of the city on the hill and how he had made it stronger.  He said, “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still.”

That is American exceptionalism.  Not a punch line in a political speech, but a vision followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world.  Not a re-election strategy, but an American revitalization strategy.

We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes and, once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish.

Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century.  We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less.

Thank you again for inviting me—God Bless you and God Bless the United States of America.

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Campaign Recap September 12, 2011: Rick Perry Joins GOP Candidates in Debate at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Monica Almeida/The New York Times

Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney listened as Rick Perry, right, spoke Wednesday in his first Republican presidential debate. More Photos »

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

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

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

    • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
    • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
    • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
    • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
    • Survey: Tea Party Isolated on Climate, But Wide Accord on Most Energy Policies: A new survey shows strong support for energy research across the political spectrum…. – NYT, 9-7-11

In a recent Fox News survey, Bachmann was the choice of a whopping 4 percent of Republican voters. That tied her for fifth place with two candidates who aren’t even running: Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. She’s only one percentage point ahead of, you guessed it, Newt Gingrich.

  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

  • The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library: The following is a transcript of the 2012 Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., as transcribed by Roll Call…. – NYT, 9-7-11

IN FOCUS: GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AT REAGAN LIBRARY

Campaign Buzz September 7, 2011: Full Text Transcript Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Library — Rick Perry & Mitt Romney Steal the Show — NYT, 9-7-11

Republican Debate Live Coverage ABC News, 9-7-11

Who won the Reagan debate? Politico Arena, 9-7-11

    • Republican Debate 2011: Reagan Library hosts GOP Presidential Candidates (Live Updates): The Republican Candidates Debate at the Reagan Library happens tonight at 8pm. Eight Presidential candidates will square off in a debate co-moderated by John F. Harris of POLITICO and Brian Williams of NBC News. We’ll be updating this page throughout the night with highlights from POLITICO’s coverage and around the web. Also check out our Burns and Haberman live blog and watch the debate livestream…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • Live-Blogging the GOP Debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes his debate debut tonight at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, Calif.
      The GOP presidential debate is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT, and will be carried live on MSNBC. It will also air later on CNBC and Telemundo.
      All eyes are on the Texas governor, who quickly sprinted to the front of the field in just a few short weeks, to see how he answers difficult questions about his past and fends off attacks from his rivals for the nomination. Will the outspoken Texan offer up another of his over-the-top remarks — like calling Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke‘s monetary policy “treasonous” or Social Security “a Ponzi scheme”? Or will he wade into the night with a front-runner’s reserve?
      Likewise, will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney go on the attack after losing his perch atop most national polls? And how will tea-party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann react now that she is no longer the flavor-of-the-month? And will Rep. Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum renew their spirited feud from the last debate?
      Sparks flew when Republicans gathered in Ames, Iowa, last month, but the race has fundamentally altered since Tim Pawlenty quit the field after a lackluster finish in the Iowa straw poll and Mr. Perry commandeered the spotlight…. – WSJ, 9-7-11

“We created more jobs in the last three months in Texas, than he created in four years in Massachusetts…..
Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.” — Rick Perry

“Gov. Perry doesn’t believe he created those things, if he tried to say that, well it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet….
As a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.” — Mitt Romney

“I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah we were the No. 1 job creator during my years of service.” — Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.” — — Rick Perry

“Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who’s committed to saving Social Security.” — Mitt Romney

“I kind of feel like the piñata here at the party.” — Rick Perry said midway through the debate

    • FACTBOX-Romney, Perry spar at Republican debate: Republican presidential hopeful Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sparred over who did a better job at promoting employment in a testy exchange at a debate on Wednesday night.
      Since entering the race just weeks ago to unseat Democratic President Barack Obama, Perry has knocked Romney off his front-runner perch and is now leading in the polls…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Governor Perry comes out swinging at debate: Texas Governor Rick Perry came out swinging in his national debut on Wednesday, all but calling President Barack Obama a liar, describing Social Security as a fraud and attacking his main Republican rival in the presidential race.
      Perry, a conservative Tea Party favorite and the Republican front-runner, traded barbs with closest competitor Mitt Romney over who has created more jobs.
      Their testy exchange in Perry’s first presidential debate was proof that the fight to determine the 2012 Republican challenger to Democrat Obama is becoming a two-man contest…. – Reuters, 9-7-11
    • Romney, Perry spar over jobs, Social Security: Eager to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred vigorously over job creation and Social Security Wednesday night in a lively campaign debate that marked a new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama…. – AP, 9-7-11
    • Romney and Perry Clash, Drawing Lines in G.O.P. Sand: The fight for the Republican presidential nomination began narrowing into an intense and ideological battle at a debate here Wednesday night, with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Mitt Romney sharply clashing over Social Security, health care and each other’s long-term prospect against President Obama.
      A series of spirited exchanges between the two men, which revealed differences in substance and style, offered the first extensive look into the months-long contest ahead that will offer Republican voters a starkly different choice. They traded attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to be president, overshadowing their opponents in the crowded Republican field…. – NYT, 9-7-11
    • Panelists, GOP rivals target Perry from outset of debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry got a rugged baptism to the Republican presidential race Wednesday as both his opponents and the panelists of a debate here pitched pointed questions to Perry about his 10-year record and views expressed in his 2010 book.
      Moderators and candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library made up for lost time, delving into Perry’s “Texas Miracle,” record on the death penalty and skepticism about climate change. By the debate’s conclusion, the back and forth revealed what was turning into a two-candidate race between Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney…. – USA Today, 9-7-11
    • Front-runner Rick Perry plays the ‘piñata’ at GOP presidential debate: In his first presidential debate since entering the GOP field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took most of the barbs from his fellow candidates on issues ranging from Social Security to jobs…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney spar over job creation, Social Security: Debate newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clashed over their job creation records, health care and Social Security at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night. … – CNN, 9-7-11
    • Perry, Romney square off in Reagan Library debate: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, the two front-runners, spar over their job creation records. Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and other GOP candidates seem almost relegated to the sidelines. GOP presidential candidates debate at the Reagan Presidential Library…. – LAT, 9-7-11
    • Rick Perry shows aggressive style in his first GOP debate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a reputation for running aggressive campaigns designed to keep the focus on his opponents rather than himself. In his opening debate as a presidential candidate, he followed that script from start to finish.
      Midway through Wednesday’s forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Perry joked, “I kind of feel like a piñata here at the party.” It was an acknowledgement that as the new leader in the polls for the GOP nomination, Perry drew more attacks and more critical questions than any of the other candidates.
      But he did as much to stick his rivals as they did to him. He went after the other candidates with relish, whether in response to their criticisms or preemptively. He stood by some of his most controversial statements, including his view that Social Security is a “monstrosity.” At other times, he slipped past questions calling into question his record in Texas.
      Many of his exchanges were with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the erstwhile front-runner for the GOP nomination until Perry got into the race last month. That produced a Romney who was more animated than in the first three debates, creating the impression that, for now, the Perry vs. Romney dynamic is the dominant theme of the Republican nomination contest.
      Polls have shown that Perry and Romney are well ahead of any of the others in the race. But it took Wednesday’s debate — preceded by questions about Perry’s staying power and preparation for a national race, and about Romney’s ability to respond to a serious Republican rival — to demonstrate that both candidates are ready to battle it out for the foreseeable future…. – WaPo, 9-7-11
    • Perry clashes with Romney in debate: Gov. Rick Perry tangled often with his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday, clashing with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security and jobs in Perry’s first presidential debate.
      As the newest entrant to the race and the person sitting atop national polls, Perry was the central character in Wednesday’s nationally televised debate from Ronald Reagan’s presidential library, the first of three such contests this month. Questioners and opponents repeatedly zeroed in on his Texas record, his book and some of the most provocative statements from his young candidacy…. – Austin American-Statesman, 9-7-11
    • Perry swings, Romney sings, as GOP frontrunners face off in first debate: Rick Perry proved one thing in his first debate appearance since joining the Republican presidential nomination race: He takes no guff.
      Despite the “Southern gentleman” veneer in which he occasionally couched his barbs, the Texas Governor shot at nearly anything that moved on stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
      He called Social Security, which remains a financial lifeline for millions of seniors, a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie” visited on younger Americans who will be left holding the bag.
      He called Karl Rove, the former George W. Bush adviser who had criticized some of Mr. Perry’s earlier comments as unpresidential, “over the top for a long time.”
      “Maybe it’s time to have provocative language in this country,” Mr. Perry retorted after Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Mr. Perry’s chief rival for the nomination, challenged him on his characterization of Social Security…. – Globe & Mail, 9-7-11
    • Reagan debate reactions come quickly on Twitter: If you’d kept up with Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate only by Twitter, you could have easily thought Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were the only candidates on stage and their other six rivals for the Republican presidential nomination had decided to stay home.
      The clash between the two over jobs that kicked off the NBC News/POLITICO debate was an instant Twitter hit, making the phrase “Romney and Perry” a top Twitter trend.
      But it didn’t take long for users to grow weary of the back-and-forth between the two rivals standing next to each other on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif…. – Politico, 9-7-11
    • GOP debate: Biggest winner, loser and missed opportunity: Biggest Missed Opportunity: Rick Perry. He needed to explain what he means when he calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Does he want to repeal it? Change it? We still don’t know. Biggest winner: Mitt Romney. Looked and sounded presidential. … – LAT, 9-7-11

PERRY: Well, Governor Romney left the private sector, and he did a great job of creating jobs in the private sector all around the world. But the fact is, when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. So the fact is, while he had a good private-sector record, his public-sector record did not match that. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.

WILLIAMS: Well, let’s widen this out and let’s bring in Mr. (Herman) Cain on one side.

ROMNEY: Wait a second. … Listen, wait a second.

WILLIAMS: We could do this all evening.

ROMNEY: States are different. Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right-to-work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground.
Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

ROMNEY: Look, the reality is, there are differences. There are differences between states. I came into a state that was in real trouble — a huge budget gap, losing jobs every month. We turned it around. Three out of four years, we had unemployment rate below the national average, we ended up with 4.7 percent unemployment rate. I’m proud of what we were able to do in a tough situation.

PERRY: (Former Massachusetts Governor) Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.

ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.

PERRY: That’s not correct.

ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.

THE HEADLINES: WEEKLY RECAP

  • Live Blog: Republicans Meet in Florida for Tea Party Debate: Just days after a debate in California, the eight Republican presidential candidates will square off again tonight at a forum in Tampa…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry Wears a Bull’s-Eye at G.O.P. Debate: The presidential candidates aggressively confronted Gov. Rick Perry and pressed him to expound upon his views on Social Security and a vaccination program for teenage girls…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • As Perry Rises, G.O.P. Elite Look Toward Romney: The rising presidential candidacy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is stirring excitement for many Republican voters but is creating unease in some quarters of the party’s establishment…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Pawlenty Endorses Romney: Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race last month, endorses Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Jindal to Endorse Perry: Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has decided to back Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Perry’s Tone on Social Security Takes a Turn: Rick Perry, once highly critical of Social Security, now suggests its long-term viability must be assured…. – NYT, 9-12-11
  • Florida set for big role in GOP presidential race: Florida is much larger, diverse and expensive than the other four early-voting states, he said, and so it rewards the type of campaigning a Republican must do around the country to oust President Barack Obama in November 2012. … – AP, 9-11-11
  • Democrats Fret Aloud Over Obama’s Chances: Elected officials and party leaders at all levels said that their concern about President Obama’s vulnerability in 2012 has intensified as the economy has displayed fresh signs of weakness…. – NYT, 9-10-11
  • Obama campaign sets $55M fundraising goal: President Barack Obama’s campaign team told top donors Friday they hope to raise a combined $55 million during a three-month period ending in late September, warning of an impending fundraising onslaught from Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney…. – AP, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry Assume Contrasting Republican Brands: The performances of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry at Wednesday’s Republican debate were a kind of lesson in the different paths that might lead to the White House…. – NYT, 9-9-11
  • Romney and Perry clash over Social Security: A growing divide over Social Security splits the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, and the differences between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney foreshadow a tricky political dance with older voters.
    Romney has seized on what he perceives as Perry’s vulnerability on a program that seniors hold dear, Democrats venerate as sacrosanct and Perry has labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”… – AP, 9-9-11
  • Attacking the Democrats, but Not Always Getting It Right: The Republican presidential candidates’ arguments ran into factual hurdles during the debate on Wednesday night…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Electability a Primary Liability for Perry: Gov. Rick Perry’s remarks about Social Security may play into concerns about his appeal to general election voters…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Grist for Left and Right in Perry Immigration Record: As Gov. Rick Perry edges into front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination, his opponents are trying to plant seeds of doubt about how tough he has been on illegal immigration…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Fresh Off Debate Debut, Perry Turns Down the Heat: Gov. Rick Perry was less critical in his assessment of his Republican rivals the day after they met for a debate, focusing his attacks on President Obama instead…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Scenes From the Republican Candidates’ Debate: Readers respond to coverage of the Republican presidential candidates’ debate on Wednesday…. – NYT, 9-8-11
  • Bachmann: Even if Obama gets jobs plan, it’ll fail: Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann is criticizing President Barack Obama’s plan to create jobs. She says Obama’s approach amounts to more “failed gimmicks.” The Minnesota congresswoman says the plan Obama outlined … – AP, 9-8-11
  • It’s Romney-Perry now, with plenty of differences: As Rick Perry and Mitt Romney jockey over their ability to defeat President Barack Obama, there are deepening fault lines between the two on Social Security, immigration, jobs and more that could shape the contest…. – AP, 9-8-11
  • Analysis: GOP debate raises jobs pressure on Obama: President Barack Obama, already under pressure to present a compelling new job-expansion strategy in his nationwide address Thursday, will now feel even more urgency. The California forum Wednesday night covered several topics, but above all it helped … – AP, 9-8-11
  • GOP rivals gang up on Romney over health care law: The “individual mandate” component of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is one of its most controversial. At Wednesday night’s Republican debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Romney’s plan is a bad example for the rest of the nation…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Romney and Perry jab at each other on job records: Romney says that as governor of Massachusetts, he oversaw more jobs created in his state than President Barack Obama has overseen nationwide. Perry sniped back that another former Massachusetts governor, Democrat Michael Dukakis, created jobs three … – AP, 9-7-11
  • GOP debate features first appearance for Perry: Republicans competing for the chance to challenge President Barack Obama next fall were taking the stage one day before the incumbent Democrat rolls out a jobs-creation plan. It’s the first of three Republican presidential debates scheduled over…. – AP, 9-7-11
  • Perry leaves Texas wildfires, heads to GOP debate: President Barack Obama rejected Texas’ request in April for federal aid due to wildfires, but then declared 45 fire-ravaged counties a major disaster in July, after Perry wrote to the White House to appeal the previous decision. … – AP, 9-7-11
  • Texas wildfires: Is Rick Perry being hypocritical asking for federal aid?: Texas wildfires are forcing Gov. Rick Perry to walk a philosophical tightrope. A strong advocate for a smaller federal government, he’s chiding the Obama administration for not helping more during the Texas wildfires…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Ron Paul versus Rick Perry: Who is Ronald Reagan’s true heir?: Rep. Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have been trading barbs, with both talking about allegiance to Ronald Reagan. Their arguments take a few liberties…. – CS Monitor, 9-7-11
  • Republicans Debate in California as Race Intensifies: The debate was the first time the Republican contenders shared a stage since Gov. Rick Perry opened his campaign in August…. – NYT, 9-7-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Romney unveils economic plan ahead of Obama speech: Romney also accused President Barack Obama of expanding federal regulations. Romney’s new plan calls on government agencies to make sure that new regulations don’t cost money — if a new set of rules raises costs for businesses, Romney would require … – AP, 9-6-11
  • Mitt Romney jobs plan: Can it create 11 million jobs in four years?: Romney’s plan includes tax cuts, reduced regulation, and an emphasis on expanded free trade. But creating 11 million new jobs would require many things to go just right, economists say…. – CS Monitor, 9-6-11
  • A Campaign Challenge: Defining Obama: While the president will not directly confront the Republican nominee until 2012, his advisers believe that the next three months are critical to reversing his downward trajectory…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Super PAC Plans Major Primary Campaign for Rick Perry: Make Us Great Again plans to spend as much as $55 million to help Rick Perry win the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Is Michele Bachmann’s campaign in danger?: Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and deputy campaign manager, David Polyansky, moved on to other duties over the weekend. Is presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann the new Newt Gingrich?… – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Loss of Top Two Aides Raises Questions About Bachmann Campaign: The departure of Ed Rollins and his deputy was seen by some as evidence that Michele Bachmann’s campaign was at a critical juncture…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Bachmann’s Steep Path to the Nomination: Michele Bachmann faces many potential obstacles to the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 9-6-11
  • Pataki Says He Is Content to Be a Noncandidate: The former governor said he had no regrets about deciding not to make a run for president, a notion that some people in the political world had mocked….- NYT, 9-6-11
  • G.O.P. Hopefuls Vying for Tea Party’s Support: The leading Republican presidential candidates spent Labor Day declaring their fealty to limited government as they strongly criticized President Obama’s economic policies…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • GOP candidates in SC vow to carry tea-party banner: Mitt Romney says the Obama administration flaunted the constitution to push a political agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota calls Obama’s policies “unconstitutional.” And Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he has a better record on jobs than Obama. … – AP, 9-5-11
  • Still undecided, Palin rails against Obama: Sarah Palin left open the possibility of a presidential bid Monday afternoon, while encouraging tea party activists to unite against President Obama. And the former Alaska governor praised Republican presidential candidates…. – AP, 9-5-11
  • Their Optimism Rising, G.O.P. Voters Look for a Winner: In interviews in New Hampshire and Iowa, Republicans expressed a sense of possibility and a longing for a strong conservative leader…. – NYT, 9-5-11
  • Republican Candidates Turn Attacks on One Another: The Republican field is entering a pivotal stage as candidates increasingly move beyond criticizing President Obama and start to run against each other…. – NYT, 9-4-11

HOUSE — SENATE — GOVERNORSHIPS CANMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS

  • Democratic US Rep. Baldwin joins Wis. Senate race: Republicans are sure to go after Baldwin’s liberal voting record, hoping to sway independent and moderate voters their way in a state that has swung between handing President Barack Obama a 14-point win in 2008 and kicking Democrats out of power…. – AP, 9-5-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

    • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
    • Julian Zelizer: If Obama Is a One-Term President: “I’D rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” President Obama confessed to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer last year. Other than the “really good” part, Republicans would be happy to see this wish fulfilled.
      With waning approval ratings and a stagnant economy, the possibility that Mr. Obama will not be re-elected has entered the political bloodstream. Suddenly, the opposition party envisions a scenario in which its presidential candidate could defeat Mr. Obama in a referendum on his job performance. Mr. Obama needs to think hard about his own statement and consider what it takes to be a successful one-term president, in the light of history…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Thomas F. Mayer: Historian Says Perry Misses Point on Galileo and Climate Change: “If Perry means to say that at some point some body of scientists said Galileo was wrong, that didn’t happen,” said the historian, Thomas F. Mayer, who teaches at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.
      Galileo and Copernicus were long ago proved right, but even in Galileo’s day there were scientists who supported him, Dr. Mayer said. “His notions about science were not that far out there,” he said. “There were a lot of other scientists, especially in Rome, who more or less agreed with his scientific observations.”… – NYT, 9-8-11
    • LARRY J. SABATO: The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States National polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters: Straw polls, real polls, debates, caucuses, primaries—that’s the public side of presidential campaigns 14 months before Election Day. But behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College.
      The emerging general election contest gives every sign of being highly competitive, unlike 2008. Of course, things can change: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were both in trouble at this point in their first terms, and George H.W. Bush still looked safe. Unexpectedly strong economic growth could make Mr. Obama’s re-election path much easier than it currently looks, as could the nomination of a damaged Republican candidate. But a few more weeks like the past couple, and Mr. Obama’s re-election trajectory will resemble Jimmy Carter’s.
      Both parties are sensibly planning for a close election. For all the talk about how Hispanics or young people will vote, the private chatter is about a few vital swing states. It’s always the Electoral College math that matters most.
      Voting is predictable for well over half the states, so even 14 months out it’s easy to shade in most of the map for November 2012….
      Right now, though, a troubled President Obama—so far unopposed for re-nomination—has the luxury of keeping both eyes on the Electoral College, planning his trips and policies accordingly. By contrast, the leading Republican contenders are forced to focus their gaze on delegate votes in a handful of early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Still, quietly they’re already seeking admission to the only college that can give them the job they want. – WSJ, 9-6-11

It’s hard to remember the last time a time a presidential candidate joined a race relatively this late in the game and made this much of an impact. Part of it is based on Perry’s style, his affinity for Tea Party causes, and his record as governor, in which he boasts of unparalleled job creation and growth. But part of it has always been the fragile status of the previous leader in the polls, Mitt Romney. A former governor of Massachusetts, Romney was thought to have the upper hand because of his fundraising advantage, strong organization and the fact that he had run once before; he was an also-ran in 2008. — Kem Rudin, NPR

  • The GOP Race Begins Now: Ignore all that other stuff. Yes, we’ve had months and months of non-stop activity by the Republicans who would like to take on President Obama next year. We’ve had a few debates, a bunch of straw polls, campaign finance reports, visits to the early primary and caucus states, some almost candidacies and even a major dropout.
    But now the battle for the GOP nomination starts in earnest, beginning this Wednesday with the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (sponsored by Politico and NBC News; 8 pm ET)…. – NPR, 9-5-11
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