Full Text Political Transcripts December 13, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in West Allis, Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in West Allis, Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump Speeches

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Wisconsin  Governor Scott Walker and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Speeches

 

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Politics November 27, 2016: Election 2016 redux Trump calls Clinton a hypocrite for recount support

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York. US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist "alt-right" movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to "energize" them."I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn," Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York.
US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist “alt-right” movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to “energize” them.”I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn,” Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes.
/ AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The harsh 2016 campaign is never ending. President-elect Donald Trump has a good reason to call his former opponent and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a hypocrite. On Saturday evening, Nov. 26, 2016, and Sunday morning, Nov. 27, Trump went after Clinton supporting Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s filing for a recount in three battleground states. The president-elect criticized Clinton on Twitter for not wanting to accept the election results when she spent nearly two months attacking him that he would not concede and accept the election results.

On Saturday evening, Trump criticized just the Democratic Party, writing, “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore! Then Trump went after Clinton specifically, writing, “Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change.”

Clinton heavily criticized Trump for refusing to agree that he would accept the election results in a response to one of the questions during the third presidential debate. Trump repeatedly said the elections were rigged against him, because of the now proved bias against him and for Clinton by both the media and the polls.

On Sunday, Trump reminded Clinton of her response attacking him for his position on election concession. On Twitter, the president-elect posted Clinton’s comments from the campaign,  “That is horrifying. That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a – during a general election. I, for one, am appalled that somebody that is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.”

In another post, Trump wrote Clinton called his position, “a direct threat to our democracy.” Trump also reposted a quote from Clinton’s concession speech, where she declared, “We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

This was the first time Trump specifically blamed Clinton for the recount effort. On Saturday, Trump disparaged just Stein and the Green Party for their “scam,” before the Clinton campaign announced they supported Stein’s efforts. President-elect said in an official Trump Transition statement, “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount.”

Continuing, Trump condemned the recount, “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.” On Saturday, Trump praised Clinton for her classy concession of the election, “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.'” Later when Trump found out about the Democratic support, he tweeted, “The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems.”

On Friday afternoon, Nov. 25, just before the 5 p.m. deadline Grenn Party nominee Stein raised $4 million, enough money to file in Wisconsin for a recount of the votes. In Wisconsin, she requested a “reconciliation of paper records.” Stein promised to the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, three battleground states that Trump turned red but usually voted Democrat. Stein claimed the voting systems in those states were hacked.

Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias announced on Medium that the Clinton campaign would support the recount. Elias said they were doing this because of the “the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton” And the “hundreds of messages, emails and calls” from supporters requesting an investigation. Elias admitted, the Clinton campaign “quietly taken a number of steps” to investigate the results. In contradiction, New York Magazine reported this weekend, that cyber security experts convinced the Clinton campaign they had “persuasive evidence” that the votes had “manipulated or hacked.”

Elias continued, “Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.” Still, the Clinton campaign intends to support all the recounts, “If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.”

Stein maintains, she was not doing the recount to benefit, Clinton and even criticized her as a hypocrite as well on Twitter, “Why would Hillary Clinton-who conceded the election to Donald Trump-want #Recount2016? You cannot be on-again, off-again about democracy.”

The Obama White House does not believe any hacking occurred and dismissed the recount. A senior administration official told the press, “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people. The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day. We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

The recount needs to be completed by Dec. 13, while the deadlines to apply for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania is this upcoming week. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump beat her in the Electoral College, she would need all three states to flip back to beat him, and that is not going to happen. The margin of victory was close but in the double digit thousands. In total Trump won 107,000 more votes in those three states than Clinton, winning by a margin of 22,000 in Wisconsin alone, “Trump won 1.404 million votes to Clinton’s 1.382 million.”

Clinton has a lead of 2.2 million votes, “64,637,140 votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 62,408,908, according to a count curated by Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.” Elias touted those numbers in his post, writing, “And most importantly, we have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses…  During that process, we have seen Secretary Clinton’s vote total grow, so that, today, her national popular vote lead now exceeds more than 2 million votes.”

Clinton is not the first candidate to lose the election but win the popular vote. Again, there are calls to change the system from Electoral votes to a popular vote, and some electors are even trying to defect from voting for Trump. Looking at the electoral map, it hard not to notice that Trump won the most regions and states, and the map is red compared to Clinton’s blue in just some major cities.

Clinton is acting like a hypocrite; she could criticize Trump all she liked when she was positive she would win, Clinton never imagined how it would feel to lose and how much of a sore loser she would be. The American public should not be surprised, Clinton did not want to concede in the 2008 Democratic primary against now President Barack Obama, and even this year, she balked at conceding election night although Obama asked her to, Clintons just hate losing.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 July 13, 2015: Full Text of Gov. Scott Walker’s Campaign Launch Speech Transcript

ELECTION 2016

CampaignBuzz2016

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2016

THE HEADLINES….

Transcript: Read Full Text of Gov. Scott Walker’s Campaign Launch

Source: Time, 7-13-15

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker launched his presidential campaign Monday with a speech in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Here is a transcript for the full remarks.

I love America.

As kids, my brother David and I enjoyed going over to the home of a neighbor by the name of Claire Congdon. In our small town, Mr. Congdon was something of a legend. He served our country in both World War I and World War II.

Then, like so many other veterans, he returned home and continued to serve his community. Mr. Congdon helped out with the concession stand at Legion baseball, he was active in our church and he was one of the leaders of my Boy Scout troop.

Each year before Memorial Day, he would organize all of us Scouts as we put flags on the graves of the fallen. He loved America. It was impossible to be around him and not share his love for God and Country.

Thirty years ago, Mr. Congdon’s American Legion Post in our small town of Delavan, Wisconsin, helped me attend Badger Boys State. This is where I learned about state and local government. It was then my honor to be chosen to represent Wisconsin at a program called Boys Nation.

There I met a Vietnam veteran from Georgia by the name of Bob Turner. Bob and the other veterans who helped run the program did more than teach us about the federal government and national elections, they shared their love for our country, and instilled within me the importance of public service as we seek to protect our freedom.

These veterans remind me that America is a can-do kind of country. We just have a government in Washington that can’t seem to get the job done. Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality.

The good news is that there is still time left to turn things around.

To do this, we need new, fresh leadership; leadership with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington; the kind of leadership that can actually get things done – like we have here in Wisconsin.

Since I’ve been Governor, we took on the unions and won.

We reduced taxes by $2 billion and lowered taxes on individuals, employers and property. In fact, property taxes are lower today than they were in 2010. How many Governors can say that?

Since I’ve been Governor, we passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform. We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation. We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin.

If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America.

Traveling the country, I’ve heard people say that they are tired of politicians who only tell them what they’re against and why they should vote against someone.

Americans want to vote FOR something and FOR someone.

So let me tell you what I’m for: I’m for Reform. Growth. Safety.

I’m for transferring power from Washington to the hard-working taxpayers in states all across the country. That’s real reform.

I’m for building a better economy where everyone can live their piece of the American Dream. That’s pro-growth.

I’m for protecting our children and grandchildren from radical Islamic terrorism and other threats in the world. That’s true safety.

My record shows that I know how to fight and win. Now, more than ever, we need a President who will fight and win for America.

Real Reform

First, we need to be for real reform in Washington.

Our big, bold reforms in Wisconsin took the power from the big government special interests and put it firmly into the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.

Today, people elected by local taxpayers actually get to run the schools. Our reforms ended seniority and tenure. Now we can hire and fire based on merit and pay based on performance. We can put the best and the brightest in the classroom.

Four years later: our graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are higher and Wisconsin’s ACT scores are now second best in the country.

Government that is closest to the people is usually the best. This is why we should move power and money out of Washington and send it back to our states and communities in key areas like Medicaid, transportation, workforce development and education.

Sadly though, Washington seems to measure success by how many people are dependent on the government. Instead, we should measure it by just the opposite: by how many people are no longer dependent on the government.

We understand that true freedom and prosperity don’t come from the mighty hand of the government, they come from empowering people to live their own lives and control their own destinies through the dignity that comes from work.

You see, my first job was washing dishes at the Countryside Restaurant. Then, I moved up to the big times and started flipping hamburgers in high school at McDonald’s to save up for college.

My dad was a small-town pastor and my mom worked as a part-time secretary and bookkeeper. My grandparents were farmers who didn’t have indoor plumbing until my mom went off to junior high school. My dad’s dad – my Grandpa Walker – was a machinist for 42 years at Barber-Coleman.

Looking back, I realize my brother David and I didn’t inherit fame and fortune from our family. What we got was the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can do and be anything you want. That’s the American Dream. And that is worth fighting for.

Helping adults who are able to work transition from government dependence to true independence will help more people live that dream.

In Wisconsin, we enacted a program that says that adults who are able to work must be enrolled in one of our job training programs before they can get a welfare check. Now, as of the budget I just signed, we are also making sure they can take a drug test.

When I proposed this, the status quo defenders cried that we were making it harder to get government assistance. My response? No, we’re making it easier to get a job.

Strong families help too. We know that children who are raised in a household where both parents are involved are more likely to finish school, find a good job and live a life free of government dependence.

The federal government needs to support strong families by ending the marriage penalty and by reforming welfare programs that discourage fathers from being involved in the lives of their children.

I know how important both my parents were to my brother David and I when we were growing up.

That’s why Tonette and I try to be good role models for Matt and Alex and we are proud of the leaders that each have become today.

We want to ensure that they – and every other son and daughter – have the opportunity to grow up in a more free and prosperous country.

Pro-Growth

To ensure that prosperity, we need to be for a pro-growth economic plan that helps individuals and families earn, save and achieve their piece of the American Dream.

Instead of the top-down, government-knows-best approach we hear from politicians in Washington, we need to build the economy from the ground up in a way that is new and fresh, organic and dynamic.

As long as you don’t violate the health and safety of your neighbors – go out and start your own career, build your own business, live your own life.

That’s freedom – the freedom that serves as the cornerstone of the American Dream.

To help live that dream, we have a plan to help the people of this country create more jobs and higher wages.

First, we must repeal ObamaCare. That’s right, repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act entirely and put patients and families back in charge of their health care decisions – not the federal government.

As Governor, I approved Wisconsin joining the lawsuit against ObamaCare on my first day in office. We need a President who – on the first day in office – will call on Congress to pass a full repeal of ObamaCare.

Next, we need to rein in the federal government’s out-of-control regulations that are like a wet blanket on the economy. Yes, enforce common sense rules – but don’t add more bureaucratic red tape.

In Wisconsin, I called for an overhaul of Wisconsin’s regulatory process on my first day as Governor. We can do the same in Washington, then we can act to repeal Obama’s bad regulations.

Then, put into place an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that uses the abundance of what God has given us here in America and on this continent. We are now an energy-rich country and we can literally fuel our economic recovery.

We need a President who will approve the Keystone pipeline on the very first day in office and then seek to level the playing field for all sources of energy.

Next, we need to help people get the education and the skills they need to succeed. This will help people find careers that pay far more than the minimum wage.

In Wisconsin, we reformed our public schools and gave families as many quality choices as possible because I trust parents to make the right decision for their children. I believe that every child deserves access to a great education – be it in a traditional public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school environment.

We want high standards, but we want them set at the local level. No Common Core. No nation-wide school board.

I will push to take the power and money out of Washington and send it to our states and our schools, where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people of America. Think about it: where would you rather spend your dollar – in Washington or at your child’s school?

And then, we need to lower the burden on hard-working taxpayers to improve take-home pay. And we need tax levels that are competitive for job creators to bring jobs back from overseas to put more of our fellow Americans back to work.

We can do it. We did it in Wisconsin and we can do it in Washington, too.

So, why do I focus so much attention on tax relief? Well, some of you know that Tonette and I like to shop at Kohl’s. Over the years, I’ve learned that if I’m going to buy a new shirt, I go to the rack that says that the shirt was $29.99 but now is $19.99. Then, I take the coupon from the Sunday paper up to the cashier or I take out the flyer that we get in the mail that gives us 15 or 20% off – or even 30% if we are really lucky.

Then, Tonette reaches into her purse and pulls out some Kohl’s cash. Next thing you know, they’re paying us to buy that shirt.

Well, not really. So how does a company like Kohl’s make money?

Volume. They make it off of volume.

You see, they could charge you $29.99 and a few of you could afford it or they can lower the price and broaden the base and make more money off of volume.

That’s what I think about your money – the taxpayers’ money. The government could charge the higher rates and a few of you could afford it. Or, we can lower the rates and broaden the base and increase the volume of people participating in our economy.

Years ago, we saw this kind of plan work well under President Ronald Reagan. Back then, it was called the Laffer Curve. Today, I call it the Kohl’s Curve because I believe that you can spend your own money far better than the government – and that will help grow the economy.

True Safety

To prosper, however, we need a safe and stable world. Let me tell you why I’m for true safety. To me, the commander in chief has a sacred duty to keep the people of America safe.

During my lifetime, the best president on national security and foreign policy was a Governor from California. Under his leadership, we rebuilt our military, stood up for our friends, stood up to our enemies and – without apology – stood for American values: this led to one of the most peaceful times in modern American history.

Today sadly, under the Obama/Clinton doctrine, America is leading from behind and we’re headed toward a disaster.

We have a President who drew a line in the sand and allowed it to be crossed. A President who called ISIS the JV squad, Yemen a success story and Iran a place we can do business with. Iran…think about that.

My brother David and I used to tie ribbons around the tree in front of our house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. One of them was Kevin Hermening who grew up down the road in Oak Creek. He was the youngest hostage – a Marine working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Kevin Hermening is here today. He knows that Iran is not a place we should be doing business with. Iran hasn’t changed much since he and the other hostages were released on President Reagan’s first day in office.

Looking ahead, we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One, put in place crippling economic sanctions and convince our allies to do the same.

Earlier this year, the President proclaimed that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations. Well Mr. President, I respectfully disagree. The greatest threat to future generations is radical Islamic terrorism and we need to do something about it.

That means lifting the political restrictions on our military personnel in Iraq so they can help our Kurd and Sunni allies reclaim land taken by ISIS. On behalf of your children and mine, I’d rather take the fight to them than wait for them to bring the fight to us.

We need to acknowledge that Israel is our ally and start treating Israel like an ally. There should be absolutely no daylight between our two countries. That’s why I went to Israel earlier this year and met with both the Prime Minister and the opposition leader to express my wholehearted support for the unshakeable bonds between our two countries.

We need to stop the aggression of Russia into sovereign nations. Putin bases his policies on Lenin’s old principle: probe with bayonets, if you encounter mush, push; if you encounter steel, stop.

With Obama and Clinton, Putin has encountered years of mush. The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in front of our enemies.

We need to stop China’s cyber attacks, stop their territorial expansion into international waters and speak out about their abysmal human rights record.

We need to have the capacity to protect our national security interests – here and abroad – and those of our allies. That begins with rebuilding the Defense budget at least to the levels recommended by Secretary Gates.

We need to honor our men and women in uniform by giving them the resources they need to keep us safe – and then give them the quality and timely healthcare they deserve when they return home.

But I believe that the best way we can honor them is by fighting to win. This is important because our goal is peace, but there will be times when America must fight.

And if we must, Americans fight to win.

The world needs to know that there is no better friend and no worse enemy than the United States of America.

America is a great country. We just need to lead again.

It’s not too late. We can do it because we’ve done it before.

Veterans like Claire Congdon and Bob Turner remind me that what makes America great, what makes us exceptional, what makes us the greatest country in the world, is that all throughout our history during times of crisis – be it economic or fiscal, spiritual or military – what makes America amazing, is that there have been men and women of courage who thought more about future generations than they did about their own political futures.

This is one of those times in American history.

After a great deal of thought and a whole lot of prayer, we are proud to announce that I am officially running to serve as your President of the United States of America.

Tonette and I want our sons Matt and Alex – and all of the other sons and daughters like them – to grow up in a country that is at least as great as the one we inherited.

Americans deserve a President who will fight and win for them.

Someone who will stand up for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Someone who will stand up for our religious rights and all of our other Constitutional rights. Someone who will stand up for America.

You see, It doesn’t matter if you’re from a big city, a suburb or a small town, I will fight and win for you.

Healthy or sick, born or unborn, I will fight and win for you.

Young or old – or somewhere in between – I will fight and win for you.

Over the years, I’ve met some amazing people who came here from other places around the world. The people I’ve met tell me that they didn’t come here to become dependent on the government.

No, the reason they came was because America is one of the few places left in the world where it doesn’t matter what class you were born into or what your parents did for a living. In America, you can do and be anything you want.

Here, the opportunity is equal for all, but the outcome is up to each and every one of us.

You see, there is a reason we just took a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not April 15th. Because in America, we celebrate our independence from the government and not our dependence on it.

That’s why I love America. That’s why we love America. That’s why – working together – we can fight and win for America.

God bless you. God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America.

University Musings July 12, 2015: The end of tenure? Scott Walker wins war against professors and why he is right

EDUCATION BUZZ

EDUCATION & UNIVERSITY MUSINGS

The end of tenure? Scott Walker wins war against professors and why he is right

July 12, 2015
On the eve of declaring his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed the state’s $73 billion budget on Sunday, July 12, 2015 and won his fight against tenured professors at state and public…READ MORE

Election 2012 November 7, 2012: Paul Ryan Hangs Onto Congress Seat in Wisconsin

ELECTION 2012

http://politicsbuzz.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/election2012.jpg

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Paul Ryan Hangs Onto Congress Seat in Wisconsin

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-7-12

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Paul Ryan knows he will be headed to Washington, D.C., again next year even though his presidential ticket failed to win election.

Ryan will begin serving his eighth term as a U.S. congressman representing the 1st District of Wisconsin in 2013….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz November 1, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Green Bay, Wisconsin — Obama Kicks Off Closing Argument Tour in Wisconsin

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Kicks Off Closing Argument Tour in Wisconsin

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-1-12

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is officially back on the campaign trail in full swing, delivering his closing argument at a chilly tarmac rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin — steps from Air Force One — after an unprecedented and unanticipated two-day pause in the home stretch thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

Obama invoked the super-storm, and the lessons he’s taken from it, to set the tone for his three-state, 16-hour swing with just five days of campaigning to Election Day….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Green Bay, WI

Source: WH, 11-1-12 

Austin Straubel International Airport
Green Bay, Wisconsin

10:43 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Wisconsin!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all of you for giving such a warm welcome to a Bears fan  — (applause) — and I especially want to thank one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history for being here today  — Charles Woodson.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank Charles because I understand he made an announcement about a gift to the Red Cross to help support everybody over on the East Coast, and that’s the kind of guy he is, so we’re grateful to him.  Thank you, Charles.  (Applause.)

Let’s also give it up for your next United States senator, Tammy Baldwin.  (Applause.)  She’s going to be following leaders like Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold in being fierce fighters for the people of Wisconsin.  (Applause.)

Now, for the past few days, all of us have been focused on one of the worst storms in our lifetimes.  And we’re awed and we’re humbled by nature’s destructive power.  We mourn the loss of so many people.  Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones.  We pledge to help those whose lives have been turned upside down.  And I was out in New Jersey yesterday and saw the devastation, and you really get a sense of how difficult this is going to be for a lot, a lot of people.

But we’ve also been inspired these past few days — because when disaster strikes, we see America at its best.  All the petty differences that consume us in normal times all seem to melt away.  There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm, there are just fellow Americans.  (Applause.)  Leaders of different parties working to fix what’s broken; neighbors helping neighbors cope with tragedy; communities rallying to rebuild; a spirit that says, in the end, we’re all in this together -– that we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.  (Applause.)

That spirit has guided this country along its improbable journey for more than two centuries.  It has carried us through the trials of the last four years.  In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Today, our businesses have created over 5 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  The American auto industry is back on top.  American manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in 15 years.  Home values are on the rise.  Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over.  (Applause.)  The war in Afghanistan is winding down.  Al Qaeda has been decimated.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)

So we’ve made real progress these past four years.  But, Wisconsin, we know our work is not yet done.  As long as there’s a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work isn’t done.  As long as there are families who are working harder but falling behind, our work isn’t done.  As long as there’s a child languishing in poverty, barred from opportunity, anywhere in this country, our work is not yet done.  (Applause.)

Our fight goes on because we know this nation cannot succeed without a growing, thriving middle class; and strong, sturdy ladders into the middle class.  Our fight goes on because America has always done its best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.  (Applause.)  That’s what we believe.  That’s why you elected me in 2008.  And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — because we’ve got more work to do.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, we knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year, or even one term — because let’s face it, the middle class was getting hammered long before the financial crisis hit.  Technology made us more productive, but it also made a lot of good jobs obsolete.  Global trade brought us cheaper products, but it also allowed companies to hire in low-wage countries.  American workers saw their paychecks squeezed, even as corporate profits rose and CEO salaries exploded, and the guaranteed security of pensions and health care slowly started disappearing.

And these fundamental changes in the economy –- the rise of technology and global competition –- they’re real.  We can’t wish these challenges away.  But here’s what I know, Wisconsin:  We can meet them — because we’re Americans.  We’ve got the world’s best workers and the best entrepreneurs.  We’ve got the best scientists and the best researchers; the best colleges and universities.  And we’ve got the most innovative spirit.  We have everything we need to thrive in this new economy, in this new century, and there’s not a country on Earth that wouldn’t trade places with the United States of America.

But we have a choice to make.  In five days, we will choose our next President.  (Applause.)  And it’s more than just a choice between two candidates or two parties.  You’ll be making a choice between two fundamentally different visions of America -– one where we return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, Wisconsin — vote.  (Applause.)

Or a future that’s built on a strong and growing middle class.  (Applause.)  And, Wisconsin, we know what the choice needs to be.  We’re here today because we believe that if this country invests in the skills and ideas of its people, then good jobs and businesses will follow.

We believe that America’s free market has been the engine of America’s progress, driven by risk-takers and innovators, and dreamers.  But we also understand that in this country, people succeed when they’ve got a chance to get a good education and learn new skills –- and, by the way, so do the businesses that hire those people, or the companies that those folks start.

We believe that when we support research into medical breakthroughs or new technology, then entire new industries will start here and stay here and hire here.

We don’t believe government should poke its nose into everything we do.  But do we believe this country is stronger when there are rules to protect our kids from toxic dumping and mercury pollution — (applause) — when there are rules to protect consumers and ordinary families from credit card companies that are engaging in deceptive practices, mortgage lenders that are unscrupulous.  (Applause.)

We grow faster when our tax code rewards hard work and companies that create jobs here in America.  (Applause.)  And we believe that quality, affordable health care and a dignified retirement aren’t just achievable goals, they’re a measure of our values as a nation.  (Applause.)  That’s what we believe.

For eight years, we had a President who shared these beliefs; his name was Bill Clinton.  (Applause.)  When he was first elected, he asked the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more so we could reduce the deficit and still make investments in things like education and training, science and research.  And guess what?  Plenty of folks who were running for Congress at the time said it would hurt the economy; that it would kill jobs.  And if that argument sounds familiar, one of those candidates back then happens to be running for President right now.  (Laughter.)  And it turns out their math was just as bad back then as it is today.  (Applause.)  Because by the end of Bill Clinton’s second term, America had created 23 million new jobs, and incomes were up, and poverty was down.  And our deficit became the biggest surplus in our history.

So, Wisconsin, we know the ideas that work.  We also know the ideas that don’t work.  Because in the eight years after Bill Clinton left office, his policies were reversed.  The wealthiest Americans got tax cuts they didn’t need and that we couldn’t afford.  Companies enjoyed tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.  Insurance companies and oil companies and Wall Street were given free license to do what they pleased.  Folks at the top got to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

And the result of this top-down economics was falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis that we’ve been cleaning up for the last four years.

Now, in the closing weeks of this campaign, Governor Romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up these very same policies that failed our country so badly, the very same policies we’ve been cleaning up after for the past four years.  And he is offering them up as change.  (Laughter.)  He’s saying he’s the candidate of change.

Well, let me tell you, Wisconsin, we know what change looks like.  (Applause.)  And what the Governor is offering sure ain’t change.  Giving more power back to the biggest banks isn’t change.  Leaving millions without health insurance isn’t change.  Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn’t change.  Turning Medicare into a voucher is change, but we don’t want that change.  (Laughter.)  Refusing to answer questions about the details of your policies isn’t change.  Ruling out compromise by pledging to rubberstamp the tea party’s agenda as President -– that’s definitely not change.  In fact, that’s exactly the attitude in Washington that needs to go.
Now, here’s the thing, Wisconsin.  After four years as President, you know me by now.  You may not agree with every decision I’ve made.  You may be frustrated at the pace of change.  But you know what I believe.  You know where I stand.  You know I’m willing to make tough decisions, even when they’re not politically convenient.  (Applause.)  And you know I’ll fight for you and your families every single day, as hard as I know how.  You know that.  (Applause.)

I know what change looks like, because I fought for it.  You have, too.  And after all we’ve been through together, we sure as heck can’t give up now.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  Change is a country where Americans of every age have the skills and education that good jobs now require.  And government can’t do this alone, but don’t tell me that hiring more teachers won’t help this economy grow, or help young people compete.  (Applause.)  Don’t tell me that students who can’t afford college should just borrow money from their parents.  That wasn’t an option for me, and I’ll bet it wasn’t an option for a whole lot of you.

We shouldn’t be ending college tax credits to pay for millionaires’ tax cuts; we should be making college more affordable for everyone who’s willing to work for it.  (Applause.)  We should recruit 100,000 math and science teachers so that high-tech, high-wage jobs aren’t created in China, they’re created right here in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Applause.)

We should work with community colleges to train another two million Americans with skills that businesses are looking for right now.  That’s my plan for the future.  That’s what change is.  That’s the America we’re fighting for in this election.

Change comes when we live up to our legacy of innovation, and make America home to the next generation of manufacturing, scientific discovery, technological breakthroughs.  I’m proud I bet on American workers and American ingenuity and the American auto industry.  And today, we’re not just building cars again, we’re building better cars –- cars that by the middle of the next decade will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  (Applause.)

Today, there are thousands of workers building long-lasting batteries and wind turbines and solar panels all across the country –- jobs that weren’t there four years ago.  And sure, not all technologies we bet on will pan out.  Some of the businesses we encourage will fail.  But I promise you this -– there is a future for manufacturing here in America.  There is a future for clean energy here in America.  (Applause.)  And I refuse to cede that future to other countries.

I don’t want tax codes rewarding companies for creating jobs overseas; I want to reward companies that create jobs here in America.  (Applause.)  I don’t want a tax code that subsidizes oil company profits; I want to support the energy jobs of tomorrow and the new technologies that will cut our oil imports in half.  That’s my plan for jobs and growth.  That’s the future of America that I see.

Change is finally turning the page on a decade of war to do some nation-building here at home.  So long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will pursue our enemies with the strongest military the world has ever known.  But it’s time to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to start paying down our debts here and rebuilding America.  Right now, we can put people back to work fixing up roads and bridges.  Right now, we can expand broadband into rural neighborhoods, and make sure our schools are state-of-the-art.

Let’s put Americans back to work doing the work that needs to be done.  And let’s especially focus on our veterans — because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads, or the care that they need when they come home.  (Applause.)  That’s my plan to keep us strong.  That’s my commitment to you.  And that’s what’s at stake in this election.

Change is a future where we reduce our deficit in a way that’s balanced and responsible.  I’ve signed a trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts; I intend to do more.  And I’ll work with both parties to streamline agencies and get rid of programs that don’t work.

But if we’re serious about the deficit, we’ve also got to ask the wealthiest Americans to go back to the tax rates that they paid when Bill Clinton was in office.  (Applause.)  Because as long as I’m President, I will never turn Medicare into a voucher just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut.  (Applause.)  I will never allow this nation to be plunged into another battle over health care reform just so insurance companies can jump back in the driver’s seat.  And I will never allow politicians in Washington to control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.  (Applause.)

So, Wisconsin, we know what change is.  We know what the future requires — we don’t need a big government agenda or a small government agenda.  We need a middle-class agenda that rewards hard work and responsibility.

We don’t need a partisan agenda –- we need a common-sense agenda that says when we educate a poor child, we’ll all be better off; that says when we fund the research of a young scientist, her new discovery will benefit every American.

We need a vision that says we don’t just look out for ourselves –- we look out for one another other; we look out for future generations, and we meet those obligations by working together.  That’s the change we believe in.  That’s what this election is all about.

Now, let’s be clear, achieving this agenda won’t be easy.  It’s never been easy.  We always knew that.  Back in 2008, when we talked about change, I told you I wasn’t just talking about changing Presidents.  I wasn’t just talking about changing parties.  I was talking about changing our politics.  I ran because the voices of the American people –- your voices -– had been shut out of our democracy for way too long –- by lobbyists and special interests, and politicians who believe that compromise is somehow a dirty word; by folks who would say anything to win office, and do anything to stay there.

The protectors of the status quo are a powerful force in Washington.  And over the last four years, every time we’ve tried to make a change, they’ve fought back with everything they’ve got.  They spent millions to stop us from reforming health care and Wall Street and student loans.  And their strategy from the start was to engineer pure gridlock in Congress, refusing to compromise on ideas that both Democrats and Republicans had supported in the past.

And what they’re counting on now, Wisconsin, is that the American people will be so worn down by all the squabbling, so tired of all the dysfunction, that you’ll actually reward obstruction, and put people back in charge who advocate the very policies that got us into this mess.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  In other words, their bet is on cynicism.  But, Wisconsin, my bet is on you.  (Applause.)  My bet is on the decency and good sense of the America people — because despite all the resistance, despite all the setbacks, we’ve won some great fights.  And I’ve never lost sight of the vision we share that you would have a voice; that there would be somebody at the table fighting every single day for middle-class Americans who work hard.  Sometimes, Republicans in Congress have worked with me to meet our goals –- to cut taxes for small businesses and families like yours, to open new markets for American goods, or finally repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  (Applause.)

And sometimes we’ve had big fights — fights that were worth having — like when we forced the banks to stop overcharging for student loans, and made college more affordable for millions.  (Applause.)  Like when we forced Wall Street to abide by the toughest rules since the 1930s.  Like when we stopped insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with preexisting conditions like cancer or diabetes, so that nobody in America goes bankrupt just because they get sick.  (Applause.)

I didn’t fight those fights for any partisan advantage.  I’ve shown my willingness to work with anybody, of any party, to move this country forward.  And if you want to break the gridlock in Congress, you’ll vote for leaders –- whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or independents –- who feel the same way.

But if the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that will kick students off of financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or eliminate health care for millions on Medicaid who are poor, or elderly, or disabled, just to give a millionaire a tax cut, I’m not having it.  That’s not a deal worth having.  That’s not bipartisanship.  That’s not change.  That’s surrender to the same status quo that has hurt middle-class families for way too long.  And I’m not ready to give up on that fight.  (Applause.)

I hope you aren’t either, Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  I hope you aren’t either.  See, the folks at the very top in this country don’t need another champion in Washington.  They’ll always have a seat at the table.  They’ll always have access and influence.

The people who need a champion are the Americans whose letters I read late at night; the men and women I meet on the campaign trail every day.  The laid off furniture worker who is retraining at age 55 for a career in biotechnology -– she needs a champion.

The small restaurant owner who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down -– he needs a champion.  The cooks and the waiters and the cleaning staff working overtime at a Vegas hotel, trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college -– they need a champion.  (Applause.)

The autoworker who’s back on the job, filled with pride and dignity because he’s building a great car –- he needs a champion.  (Applause.)  The young teacher doing her best in an overcrowded classroom with outdated textbooks –- she needs a champion.  (Applause.)

All those kids in inner cities and small farm towns, in the valleys of Ohio or rolling Virginia hills or right here in Green Bay; kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs, diplomats or even a president –- (applause) — they need a champion in Washington.  (Applause.)  They need a champion.  They need a champion because the future will never have as many lobbyists as the past, but it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace.

And that’s why I need you, Wisconsin — to make sure their voices are heard; to make sure your voices are heard.  We’ve come too far to turn back now.  We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint.  Now is the time to keep pushing forward -– to educate all our kids, and train all our workers; to create new jobs, and rebuild our infrastructure; to discover new sources of energy, to broaden opportunity, to grow our middle class, to restore our democracy, and to make sure that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or how you started out, you can work to achieve your American Dream.  (Applause.)

In the midst of the Great Depression, FDR reminded the country that “failure is not an American habit; and in the strength of great hope we must [all] shoulder our common load.”  That’s the strength we need today.  That’s the hope I’m asking you to share.  That’s the future in our sights.  That’s why I’m asking for your vote.  (Applause.)

And if you’re willing to work with me again, and knock on some doors with me, and make some phone calls for me, and turn out for me, we’ll win Brown County again.  (Applause.)  We’ll win Wisconsin again.  We’ll win this election.  And together, we’ll renew those bonds, and reaffirm that spirit that makes the United States of America the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, Wisconsin.  Get out there and vote!  Thank you.  God bless you, and God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
11:08 A.M. CDT

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 21, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Statement On Today’s Shooting Tragedy In Brookfield, Wisconsin

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Statement By Paul Ryan On Today’s Tragedy In Wisconsin

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-21-12

Paul Ryan made the following statement on today’s shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin:
“Janna and I were shocked and saddened by the news from Brookfield today. As our community continues to heal from August’s tragic violence, our thoughts and prayers are with today’s victims and their loved ones. Our gratitude also goes to the first responders who rushed to save lives and secure the scene.  We will not allow the evil responsible for this heartbreaking event to triumph over the spirit of the people of Wisconsin. I ask all Americans to keep those affected by this event in their hearts, minds, and prayers today.”

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 15, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Speech at a Campaign Event in Waukesha, Wisconsin — Mitt Romney Will Confront Our Debt Crisis

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Paul Ryan: Mitt Romney Will Confront Our Debt Crisis

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-15-12

“We have never knowingly given our kids an inferior standard of living, a diminished future, but that is exactly what we are doing by piling up this mountain of debt, by giving these deficits. And it takes leadership to confront this. That’s what Mitt Romney and I are offering. We are not going to run away from these problems; we’re going to run at these problems to solve these problems before they get out of our control.” – Paul Ryan

Remarks

Waukesha, Wisconsin

October 15, 2012

Click Here To Watch Paul Ryan

PAUL RYAN: “Look at that debt clock over there. Look at how fast those numbers are running. When President Obama came into office, it was more than $5 trillion lower. The president came into office saying he would cut the deficit in half in his first term. He’s given us four years of trillion-dollar deficits. He has added almost more public debt than almost all previous presidents combined. Not only do we have a string of broken promises, not only do we have a string of a lack of leadership, this debt is not only hurting our economy today, it is guaranteeing that these young kids who are getting their Halloween costumes, who are going to go out trick-or- treating, have a diminished future. We have never done that in this country before. We have never knowingly given our kids an inferior standard of living, a diminished future, but that is exactly what we are doing by piling up this mountain of debt, by giving these deficits. And it takes leadership to confront this. That’s what Mitt Romney and I are offering. We are not going to run away from these problems; we’re going to run at these problems to solve these problems before they get out of our control. That’s what leaders do.”

Campaign Headlines October 4, 2012: Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Heads to Wisconsin, Romney Looks to Build on Momentum

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-4-12

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Following last night’s first presidential debate of the 2012 voting season, President Obama headlines a rally Thursday in Madison, Wis., while Republican candidate Mitt Romney heads to Virginia.

This morning, the Republican National Committee seized on the president’s body language during the first showdown between the two candidates, releasing a web video called, “Smirk,” a compendium of the president’s facial contortions during the debate….READ MORE

Political Headlines May 19, 2012: GOP Weekly Address Sen. Ron Johnson, Republicans Dispappointed by President Obama’s Economic Policies

POLITICAL HEADLINES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

GOP Address: Sen. Johnson, Republicans Dispappointed by Obama’s Economic Policies

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-19-12

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin delivers this week’s Republican address, marking this week’s Senate vote of 99-0 against a budget amendment represented as President Obama’s budget request….

Sen. Johnson lays in to Senate Democrats placing blame on the lawmakers for the Senate’s failure to pass a budget in three years….READ MORE

Campaign Buzz May 8, 2012: Primary Night Results: Mitt Romney Wins 3 Primaries — GOP Sen. Richard Lugar Loses Indiana Primary to Tea Party Candidate Richard Mourdock — Wisconsin Democrats Choose Tom Barrett to Run Against Scott Walker for Governor in Recall Race — North Carolina Voters Pass Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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

Mayor Tom Barrett, a man and woman wedding cake topper and Sen. Dick Lugar are shown.  | AP Photos
Voters said yes to Wisconsin’s Tom Barrett, no to gay marriage and Sen. Dick Lugar. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: PRIMARY NIGHT RESULTS

Primary results: 5 takeaways: Conservatives claimed two major victories, and Scott Walker’s main event finally arrived Tuesday night after a tandem set of state-based elections that will have a ripple effect in the fall.
Votes in the Indiana Republican Senate primary, Wisconsin’s Democratic gubernatorial primary for the June recall election and North Carolina’s vote on an amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions are now over, but they’re leaving an indelible mark on the shape of the 2012 contests…. – Politico, 5-8-12

3 Big Elections: Indiana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin: A titan of the Senate faces defeat, a gay-marriage ban looks set to pass, and Democrats nominate a candidate for the recall of Scott Walker. The presidential primaries are finally over, but across the country, the real political … The Atlantic, 5-8-12

  • Five things to watch in Tuesdays contests: The long presidential primary slog continues Tuesday, with three more states going to the polls: Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.
    Not all the action is presidential — there are competitive congressional and gubernatorial primaries, as well. Indiana features a closely watched Senate GOP primary where longtime Sen. Dick Lugar is in jeopardy of losing his seat.
    Wisconsin voters will also cast ballots: They’ll continue their ongoing recall civil war, with recall primaries for governor, lieutenant governor and four state Senate seats…. – Politico, 5-8-12
  • Primary Day: What to Watch: Congress, not the White House, is the major focus of primary elections today…. – Bloomberg, 5-8-12Lugar Loses Primary Challenge in Indiana: Richard G. Lugar, one of the Senate’s longest-serving members, lost a hard-fought Republican primary to Richard E. Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Veteran Republican Senator Lugar soundly defeated: Senator Richard Lugar, a 35-year Senate veteran and leading foreign policy voice, was soundly defeated in the Indiana Republican primary by a Tea Party-backed rival on Tuesday…. – Reuters, 5-8-12
  • Longtime GOP Sen. Richard Lugar loses Indiana primary to challenger Richard Mourdock: Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., lost a primary battle Tuesday to tea party challenger and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock … Fox News, 5-8-12
  • Mourdock Wins Ind. GOP Race for Senate: Tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock won Indiana’s Republican nomination for Senate, defeating longtime Senator Richard Lugar. Mourdock will face Democratic US Rep. Joe Donnelly in November…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Indiana’s Lugar loses primary challenge, Romney wins trio, NC bans gay marriage: Six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar was routed by the right flank of his own Republican Party on Tuesday, and North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state’s gay marriage ban. It was a double-barreled show…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Lugar Loses Indiana GOP Primary to Tea Party Foe: US Sen. Richard Lugar was ousted Tuesday by a tea party-backed challenger in Indiana’s Republican primary, abruptly ending his nearly four-decade career as one of Indiana’s best-known and popular politicians…. – WaPO, 5-8-12
  • Lugar loss will mean new approach for Indiana in Congress: In addition to Lugar’s Tea Party-backed opponent Richard Mourdock, three other Indiana races will see new faces…. – CS Monitor, 5-8-12
  • Lugar’s parting words: Part defense, part warning: As soon as 36-year Senate veteran Richard Lugar finished his concession speech Tuesday, he walked off the stage, out the back door and into his car. But he left behind something … CNN, 5-9-12
  • Mourdock ends Lugar era: Republican voters handed Sen. Richard Lugar his retirement Tuesday, rejecting his bid for a seventh term and instead nominating State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. It might have been considered one of the biggest upsets in Indiana…. – Journal and Courier, 5-8-12
  • Mourdock supporters say their candidate can change direction of party, nation: Many of the hundreds who attended the victory party for GOP US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock Tuesday night said they were there because they wanted change in the direction of the party and nation…. – Evansville Courier & Press, 5-8-12
  • US to lose respected foreign policy voice in Lugar: Senator Richard Lugar, defeated in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday, was a quiet and respected voice on foreign policy during more than three decades of service that focused on stemming the worldwide spread of nuclear … Reuters, 5-9-12Wisconsin Democrats Choose Challenger to Run Against Governor in Recall Race: Democrats in Wisconsin have a month to persuade voters to unseat the governor, Scott Walker, in a recall election with Tom Barrett as Mr. Walker’s opponent…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor to face Walker in Wis. Recall: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Wisconsin’s historic recall election, leaving him with a short four weeks to make the closing argument that Republican Gov. Scott Walker should be booted from office after 16…. – AP, 5-8-12
  • Tom Barrett wins Wisconsin recall primary: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election Tuesday, dealing a blow to organized labor and setting up the June 5 race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Barrett defeated former Dane County…. – Politico, 5-8-12
  • Wisconsin Democrats Choose Challenger to Run Against Governor in Recall Race: Wisconsin Democrats will get a do-over election between Gov. Scott Walker and Tom Barrett when the two face off in a rare recall vote next month. Mr. Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, got the nod from his party after a statewide primary on…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor wins Democratic primary to face Wis. Gov. Scott Walker in recall election: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary Tuesday in Wisconsin’s historic recall election, leaving him with a short four weeks to make the closing argument that Republican Gov. Scott Walker should be booted from office … WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Milwaukee mayor wins Wisconsin recall primary: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to face Gov. Scott Walker(R) in a recall election next month, setting up a rematch of their 2010 race. Barrett, who has been under fire from unions for using Walker’s reforms to cut benefits and…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Wis. Gov. Scott Walker easily wins Republican primary in recall election: Wis. Gov. Scott Walker easily wins Republican primary in recall election over union rights…. – WaPo, 5-8-12North Carolina Voters Pass Same-Sex Marriage Ban: North Carolina’s voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage, joining 29 other states and the rest of the South…. – NYT, 5-8-12
  • NC approves amendment on gay marriage: North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman, becoming the latest state to effectively slam the door shut on same-sex marriages…. – AP, 5-8-12
  • North Carolina voters approve same-sex marriage ban: North Carolina voters on Tuesday approved a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions, dealing a blow to efforts across the United States to expand gay marriage rights.
    The amendment, which says marriage between a man and a woman is the only legally recognized domestic union in the state, passed by a wide margin. With 95 of 100 counties’ results reported, about 61 percent of votes backed the amendment.
    North Carolina law already blocks gay and lesbian couples from marrying, but the state now joins the rest of the Southeast states in adding the prohibition to its constitution.
    Many voters simply viewed the amendment as a vote on same-sex marriage despite efforts by the measure’s opponents to broaden the discussion, said Tom Jensen of the Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling firm.
    Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia allow gay and lesbian nuptials.
    Maryland, New Jersey and Washington state have passed laws this year approving same-sex marriage, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed New Jersey’s law and opponents in Maryland and Washington are threatening ballot initiatives to overturn those laws…. – Reuters, 5-8-12
  • NC voters OK ban on gay marriage: North Carolina voters approved a state constitutional amendment Tuesday declaring marriage is solely between a man and a woman, dealing a setback to gay-rights advocates…. – USA Today, 5-8-12
  • NC approves constitutional ban on same-sex marriage: North Carolina voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, dealing a setback to a gay rights movement that has enjoyed significant momentum in recent years. With less than a third of the returns tallied, the measure had enough…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • Gay marriage: North Carolina voters approve constitutional ban: North Carolina voters on Tuesday appeared to easily pass Amendment One, an amendment to the state constitution that not only bans gay marriage but also outlaws civil unions and domestic partnerships…. – LAT, 5-8-12
  • Obama’s campaign says he is ‘disappointed’ with NC amendment banning gay marriage: President Barack Obama’s campaign says he’s “disappointed” with North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Obama campaign spokesman Cameron French said in a Tuesday statement that the ban on same-sex unions is…. – WaPo, 5-8-12
  • NC passes Marriage Amendment: A majority of North Carolinians voted Tuesday in favor of a Constitutional amendment that recognizes the marriage of a man and woman as the only valid domestic union in North Carolina, with a 61 percent to 38 … – Durham Herald Sun, 5-8-12
  • Marriage amendment passes by large margin: With a more than 20-point lead with more than 90 percent of precincts reported, North Carolina’s marriage amendment has passed…. – WXII The Triad, 5-8-12

Full Text Campaign Buzz April 4, 2012: Rick Santorum’s Speech in Pennsylvania After Losing all 3 Primaries in Maryland, Washington DC & Wisconsin

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Rick Santorum: Wisconsin Primary speech (Transcript, video)

Source: WaPo, 4-3-12

Rick Santorum delivered his election-night speech from Mars, Penn., on Tuesday night as the results from the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin primaries were coming in. Unfortunately for Santorum, he was defeated in all three primaries by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

SANTORUM: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. It is great to be home. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

I’m here with Karen and the kids and the people behind us, that’s just — that’s not all of Karen’s family but most of it. Karen is — Karen and her — Karen’s parents had 11 children and umpteen nieces and nephews that we have and it’s — it’s just great to be here with — with friends and family. And we have now reached the point where it’s halftime. Half the delegates in this process have been — have been selected. And who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?

(APPLAUSE)

It is — it is great to be here in Southwestern Pennsylvania where — where I grew up in a — in a steel town about 20 miles north — northeast of here in this same county, Butler, Pennsylvania. How about a shout out for Butler?

(APPLAUSE)

And this area — this area like that town and like the people in it, forged steel to build this country, to help win world wars and not just have we built the country and forged steel to win wars, we’ve forged people with strong values and a strong commitment to what made America great. OK you can applaud that too.

(APPLAUSE)

I can always be interrupted for applause, don’t worry about that. This is — this why we came here. This is why we wanted to come back to west — Southwestern Pennsylvania to — to kick off the second half. This is a — a part of the country, Pennsylvania that well, it’s where America started. Not only did we forge steel in this state, we forged liberty in this state.

(APPLAUSE)

The symbol of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, where that document that those who have been following me about on the campaign trail have been seeing, this document both the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence forged right here in Pennsylvania. And there’s no place where those values are more instilled than in this great commonwealth. Ladies and gentleman…

(APPLAUSE)

This great commonwealth has given a tremendous amount to our country. If you look at just the history of our — of our great state, not only the Declaration and the Constitution created here, but we won key battles. Washington’s crossing — Washington crossing the Delaware to save the revolution. That plan was hatched up here in Pennsylvania. Some in the other camps in this race have said that all of the significant people have spoken in this race so far. See, General Washington knew that in fact not all the significant are those elites in society. Those who are the generals and the ranked officers, but in fact what General Washington understood, some of the best ideas, some of the best plans, in fact what has made this country great is that we have listened to real significant voices of every day Americans. And he did. And that’s why he crossed the Delaware, surprised the Hessian’s and turned the tide of the revolution. Ladies and gentleman, Pennsylvania and half the other people in this country have yet to be heard and we’re going to to out and campaign here and across this nation to make sure that their voices are heard in the next few months.

(APPLAUSE)

We know who we are here in Pennsylvania. We know who we are. We know the stock that we are made of. We’ve contributed a lot. Great deeds have occurred here. Great Pennsylvanians have contributed. I know, I had the privilege of representing this state in the Senate for 12 years and this community here in Southwestern Pennsylvania for four.

(APPLAUSE)

I went to every one of those counties every year, all 67 and I understand the greatness of the people of this state. And I understand how important this race is here in Pennsylvania. This is called the Keystone State for a reason. We are in fact the keystone. We’re the — we’re the place upon which our country was built and great things continue to happen here. Great things like in manufacturing and oil and gas production here in Pennsylvania that is turning our economy around and creating opportunities for us to grow our economy. Not just here in Pennsylvania, but because of lower natural gas prices we’re seeing manufacturing and other businesses come back in spite of the crushing burden that Barack Obama and his administration has put on our economy.

SANTORUM: We need someone who understands what liberty is all about. Someone who’s going to go out and fight to make sure that the biggest and most crushing burden that this administration has put on us, one that was debated just last week in the United States Supreme Court about government taking control of your health and of course as a result, of your very life. And dictating to you – dictating to you what you will do, how much you will pay, what insurance you will get. And even what the practice of your faith will be dictated by the federal government.

We need someone in this race who can go out and make the clarion call for liberty. Someone who has stood tall and opposed government run health care at any level, state or federal. Who can go out and make the case of what Barack Obama is doing, which even Justice Stevens, which is what ObamaCare does and what his agenda of government control of health care and his attempt to get Cap and Trade, where he’s going dictate how you — energy — how much energy, not just health care, but how much energy you’re going to use.

That this is a fundamental change in the relationship between the people and their government. Ladies and gentleman if we’re going to win this race, we can’t have little differences between our nominee and President Obama. We have to have clear contrasting colors. In the last 120 years…

(APPLAUSE)

In the last 120 years, we’ve had one time where the Republican Party has defeated an incumbent Democrat for president. One time. Time and time again the Republican establishment and aristocracy have shoved down the throats of the Republican Party and people across this country, moderate Republicans. Because of course we have to win by getting people in the middle. There’s one person who understood, we don’t win by moving to the middle. We win by getting people in the middle to move to us and move this country forward.

(APPLAUSE)

Not only do we know who we are here in Pennsylvania and what we stand for, but you know who I am. You’re going to hear a lot of things being thrown as has happened in all the other states where we’ve seen a whole bunch of negative campaigning. We’ve gone out across this country. And with the most improbable of odds, and with limited resources except one in which we’ve had incredible resources, and that’s human resources. The people of this country have stood up and followed because they’ve seen someone who has a clear positive vision. Someone whose convictions are also forged in steel, not on an Etch-A-Sketch.

(APPLAUSE)

So you’ll be seeing the negative ads and you’ll be here getting the robo-calls and all the other things thrown at us. But you know me. You know how hard I work. You know how strongly I believe the things that — the values of Southwestern Pennsylvania have instilled in me. You know that I come from a steel town from immigrant parents. Grandfather worked in the mines. Someone who lived in government housing on a V.A. grounds and saw the great sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, serving them as they served our country. You know me. They’ll say all the things, that I’m someone who doesn’t stand up for what I believe in. You know me.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I ask you over the next three weeks, this isn’t halftime, no marching bands. We’re hitting the field. The clock starts tonight. We’ve got three weeks to go out here in Pennsylvania and win this state and after winning this state, the field looks a little different in May. I remind everybody the one time that we did win in the last 120 years, the Republican Party had the courage to go out and nominate someone who all the experts and all the pundits and all the media — all the Republican establishment said couldn’t win. He was too conservative.

He lost almost every early primary. He only won one until May. One primary till May. Everybody told him to get out of the race. This was back in 1976. They said, get out of the race, we need a moderate. In 1976, Ronald Reagan didn’t get out of the race. He was able to stand tall in May, win the state of Texas, which we have every intention of doing.

(APPLAUSE)

He took that race the entire way to the convention and he fell short. And in the fall Republicans fell short because we nominated another moderate who couldn’t galvanize our party and bring those votes to our side to get the kind of change that we needed in America. And then four years later, they fought him again. We need another moderate. We have to defeat this Democratic incumbent. And this time the Republican establishment lost. Let’s not make the mistake of 1976 again. Let’s bypass that error and move straight to 1980. And let’s defeat a Democratic incumbent. And you can help me here in Pennsylvania. Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you.

Full Text Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech After Winning Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC Primary Trio — Transcript

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks in Wisconsin

Source: Mitt Romney, 4-3-12

romney-2012-blog-photo-mitt-speech-wisconsin-election.jpg

Thank you, Wisconsin! And Maryland! And Washington, DC!

We have won a great victory tonight in our campaign to restore the promise of America.

You won’t find Americans with bigger hearts than those here in our heartland.  But as I’ve travelled across this beautiful state, I’ve visited with far too many whose hearts are filled with anxiety about the future. So many good and decent people seem to be running harder just to stay in place and, for many, no matter how hard they run, every day puts them just a little bit further behind.

It’s that way across so much of America.

Under this President’s watch, more Americans have lost their jobs than during any other period since the Depression. Millions have lost their homes, and a record number of Americans are living in poverty. And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most – over 30% of single moms are struggling in poverty. New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years, and our national debt is at a record high. And when you drive home tonight and stop at a gas station, just take a look at the prices and ask yourself, “Four more years?”

And that’s why it is important to understand one astonishing fact about this election: President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job. No, I’m not kidding. He actually thinks he’s doing a great job. An historically great job. According to the President, only Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson have accomplished more. And no, he didn’t say that on Saturday Night Live.

It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of True Believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch.

This campaign will deal with many complicated issues but there is a basic choice before us:

The President has pledged to “transform America,” and he has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new Government-Centered Society.

I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free people and free enterprises.

Our different visions for America are the product of our values and our life experiences.

Barack Obama once said that his work as a community organizer motivated him to help “communities that had been ravaged by plant closings.”  His desire to help others could not be more admirable but it’s clear that he saw free enterprise as the villain and not the solution.

He never seemed to grasp the basic point that a plant closes when a business loses money. So today when the President attacks business and when his policies make it more difficult for businesses to grow and prosper, he is also attacking the very communities he wanted to help. That’s how it works in America. Or at least that’s how it works when America is working.

But under Barack Obama, America hasn’t been working. The ironic tragedy is that the community organizer who wanted to help those hurt by a plant closing became the President on whose watch more jobs have been lost than any time since the Great Depression.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less. When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success. And then, of course, the debate becomes about how much to extend unemployment insurance because you have guaranteed there will be millions more unemployed.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, tax increases become not only a necessity, but also a desired tool for social justice. In that world of shrinking means, there’s a finite amount of money, and as someone once famously said, you need taxes to spread the wealth around.

In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, government spending will always increase because…there’s no reason to stop it. There’s always someone who is entitled to something more, and who will vote for anyone who will give them something more.

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

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom and opportunity and limited government that have made this nation the leader it is.

It is opportunity that has always driven America and defined us as Americans!

I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems – nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.

Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better, than all of the government programs put together.

If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.

That’s not who we are. The promise of America has always been that if you worked hard, and took some risks, that there was the opportunity to build a better life for your family and for the next generation.

This means that government must be smaller and have strict limits placed on its power.  Obamacare violates both principles. I will repeal it.

Taxes should be as low as possible, in line with those of competing nations, and designed to foster innovation and growth. That’s why I will cut marginal tax rates across the board.

Regulations are necessary, but they must be continuously updated, streamlined, and modernized. Regulators should see part of their job as protecting economic freedom, promoting enterprise, and fostering job creation.

Workers should have the right to form unions, but unions should not be forced upon them. And unions should not have the power to take money out of their members’ paychecks to buy the support of politicians favored by the union bosses.

Out-of-touch liberals like Barack Obama say they want a strong economy, but they really don’t like businesses very much.  But the economy is simply the product of all the nation’s businesses added together.  So it’s like saying you love omelets but don’t like eggs.

To build a strong economy that provides good jobs and rising wages and that reduces poverty, we need to build successful businesses of every kind imaginable.  And President Obama has been attacking successful businesses of every kind imaginable.

We have always been the country where dreamers build dreams and where one dream helps launch another. And if those dreamers are rewarded with prosperity, we view that as a reason others would be encouraged to dream big as well.

These last few years have been difficult, made worse by mistakes and failures of leadership.

But if the hill before us is a little steeper we have always been a nation of big steppers.

In this last year, I have been all over this country, from student union cafeterias to kitchen tables, from factory break rooms to boardrooms, and I’ve heard frustration and anger but rarely hopelessness. Many Americans have given up on this President but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.

We have a sacred duty to restore the promise of America. And we will do it.  We will do it because we believe in America.

Tonight, I’m asking the good people of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island to join me.  Join me in the next step toward that destination of November 6th, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept. The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can be dusted off, and we can start again.

And this time we’ll get it right. We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad. Together we’ll build the greatest America we have ever known, where prosperity is grown and shared, not limited and divided, an America that guarantees that ours is the door that innovation and greatness always knocks on first.

There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us, but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.

Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny. Join me.  And take another step every day until November 6th.

We believe in America. We believe in ourselves. Our greatest days are still ahead. We are, after all, Americans!

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Clean Sweep Wins all 3 Primaries — Deciscive Victories in Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington DC Primaries

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 late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY’S CLEAN SWEEP WINS ALL 3 PRIMARIES — DECISIVE VICTORIES IN WISCONSIN, MARYLAND & WASHINGTON DC PRIMARIES

Live Coverage of the Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington Primaries: Mitt Romney won the Maryland and Washington primaries on Tuesday night, with a comfortable lead in Wisconsin, steadily adding to a comfortable delegate lead that he hopes will soon be formidable enough to drive his lagging rivals from the race for the Republican presidential nomination…. – NYT, 4-3-12

  • Mitt Romney wins Republican primary in Wisconsin: Mitt Romney has won the Wisconsin primary, AP reports, adding to his commanding lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The former Massachusetts governor also captured Tuesday’s GOP primaries in Maryland and the District of Columbia…. – WaPo, 4-3-12Mitt Romney wins District of Columbia GOP primary: Mitt Romney has won the District of Columbia Republican primary, AP reports. Romney’s leading opponent, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, wasn’t on the D.C. ballot.
    Romney also captured Maryland earlier Tuesday, and polls have closed in Wisconsin, the day’s most contested primary race…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
    Mitt Romney wins Republican primary in Maryland: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the Maryland Republican presidential primary Tuesday night, easily defeating former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Romney Scores Decisive Victories in Maryland and Wisconsin: Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican nomination on Tuesday, and found himself in his first direct engagement with President Obama…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney wins Wisconsin GOP primary, CBS News projects: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney scored a high-profile victory Tuesday night in the politically-charged state of Wisconsin, CBS News projects…. – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • In blow to Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney wins Wisconsin GOP primary: Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primary in Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press, delivering what could be a final blow to the sputtering candidacy of Rick Santorum. As voters in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District…. – LAT, 4-3-12
  • Romney Wins Maryland and Spars With Obama: Mitt Romney was poised to tighten his grip on the Republican nomination, and found himself in his first direct engagement with President Obama…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney picks up two wins in Republican race: Mitt Romney won contests in Maryland and Washington, DC on Tuesday to tighten his grip on the race for the Republican presidential nomination and looked to land a big blow on rival Rick Santorum with an expected…. – Reuters, 4-3-12
  • In Wisconsin Exit Polls, Hints at the Leanings of November Voters: More than 8 in 10 Wisconsin voters said they thought Mr. Romney would be the party’s standard-bearer, according to preliminary exit poll results…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Romney wins rare conservative majority in Maryland; Wisconsin voters see him: Mitt Romney won the Maryland Republican presidential primary broadly and deeply, besting chief rival Rick Santorum among conservatives as well as moderates and emerging as the runaway favorite of those who care most about beating President…. – WaPo, 4-3-12

Campaign Buzz April 3, 2012: Live Coverage of Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC Primaries — Mitt Romney Set to Win All 3

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 late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: LIVE COVERAGE OF WISCONSIN, MARYLAND & WASHINGTON DC PRIMARIES — MITT ROMNEY SET TO WIN ALL THREE

Live Coverage of the Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington Primaries: Follow along for live updates, analysis, exit polls and results from The New York Times political unit…. – NYT, 4-3-12

Wisconsin primary looms large for Romney, larger for Santorum: Forty-two delegates are up for grabs when Wisconsin holds its Republican presidential primary Tuesday. But for Rick Santorum, much more appears to be at stake…. – CNN, 4-3-12

  • Can Mitt Romney settle doubts once and for all in tonight’s primaries?: With Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, DC today, front-runner Mitt Romney is poised to win a hat-trick and cement recent gains, but can he change the script – and the doubts over his candidacy – for good this time?… – Globe and Mail, 4-3-12
  • Primary voting begins in Washington, turnout light as expected: Mitt Romney is expected to coast to victory Tuesday in the lightly contested Republican presidential primary in the District of Columbia, which offers GOP voters in the nation’s capital a rare opportunity to have their voices heard in … – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Wisconsin Votes After Fiercely Fought Battle: As Wisconsin voters went to the polls on Tuesday in the first hard-fought Republican presidential primary in the state since 1980, many echoed the arguments made by the two main rivals on the campaign trail…. – NYT, 4-3-12
  • Wisconsin, Maryland, DC primaries could move Romney closer to nomination: Polls are open in Maryland, the District and Wisconsin, where Tuesday’s Republican primaries could move Mitt Romney closer to a nomination that has hovered just out of his reach.
    Romney is favored to win in all three jurisdictions: the closest race appears to be in Wisconsin, where recent polls have shown him with a single-digit lead over former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.)…. – WaPo, 4-3-12
  • Santorum’s county victories show rural strength: Rick Santorum spent a lot of time campaigning recently in more rural areas of Wisconsin and Maryland, hoping to boost his vote totals today in the states’ primaries. A new analysis shows Santorum is doing better than Mitt Romney… – USA Today, 4-3-12
  • Primary voters in Wisconsin, DC and Maryland head to polls: Primary voters here will either help solidify Mitt Romney’s grip on the Republican presidential nomination or give Rick Santorum another reason to continue his campaign…. – USA Today, 4-3-12

Full Text November 25, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama Greets White House Christmas Tree as it Arrives

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The White House Christmas Tree Arrives

Source: WH, 11-25-11
Receiving the White House Christmas tree

First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by Malia Obama and Sasha Obama for the presentation of the Official White House Christmas Tree at the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 25, 2011. The 19-foot-tall balsam fir came from Schroeder’s Forevergreens near Neshkoro, Wisconsin and will be displayed throughout the holiday season in the Blue Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama received the official White House Christmas tree. The tree, a 19-foot balsam fir, arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and will be displayed in the Blue Room of the White House. It will be decorated in honor of military families.

This year’s tree came from Schroeder’s Forevergreens in Wisconsin, a member of the National Christmas Tree Association, and one of about 800 Christmas tree farms and lots around the country that donates free, full-grown trees to military families as part of the Trees for Troops program. This year, Trees for Troops hopes to deliver its 100,000th tree.

Political Buzz August 9, 2011: Wisconsin Recall Election Results, Republicans Retain 4 Senate Seats, Lose 2 to Democrats

POLITICAL 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.

WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION RESULTS

Scott Walker speaks at a press conference. | AP Photo
Placing Walker on the ballot in 2012 would require gathering 500,000 signatures. | AP Photo

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

4 Wisconsin Republicans survive recall elections, GOP maintains control of state Senate: Four Republican state senators in Wisconsin survived recall challenges Tuesday, allowing the GOP to maintain its control of both houses of the state legislature as well as the governor’s mansion, the Associated Press projected. Two other Republican senators were recalled, losing to their challengers. The recall elections, orchestrated by labor leaders and their Democratic allies, followed Gov. Scott Walker’s move to strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights.

“I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts,” Walker said. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin….. I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin.” — Gov. Scott Walker

“How can that be a win for Scott Walker when he loses two Republican seats?” — Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

    • Wis. GOP holds off Democrats in recall elections: Republicans held onto control of the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, beating back four Democratic challengers in a recall election despite an intense political backlash against GOP support for Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to curb public employees’ union rights.
      Fueled by millions of dollars from national labor groups, the attempt to remove GOP incumbents served as both a referendum on Walker’s conservative revolution and could provide a new gauge of the public mood less than a year after Republicans made sweeping gains in this state and many others…. – AP, 8-9-11

Wisconsin Recall: GOP Retains Senate Control ABC News, 8-10-11

  • In Wisconsin, a Big Recall Push Comes Up Short: Two Republican senators lost their jobs, but the party still controls the legislature and the governor’s office…. – NYT, 8-10-11
  • Walker recall expected to proceed: Democrats are forging ahead with efforts to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next year, one day after losing four of six recall elections to oust GOP state senators.
    The Tuesday night losses left Democrats a single seat short of overturning GOP control of the state’s upper chamber, though Democratic officials and operatives on the ground insisted Wednesday that their two wins in Republican-leaning areas exposed Walker’s weaknesses…. – Politico, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Democrats Vow Walker Recall Drive in 2012 After Ballot Failure: Wisconsin Democrats will extend their recall battle into next year with an effort to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker, possibly on Election Day 2012, the state’s party chairman said … – Blomberg, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall vote: What does it mean?: A victory for Republicans? Kinda. A plus for Democrats? Sorta. DCDecoder says that The Wisconsin elections offered neither a massive backlash to GOP policy nor strong support for those same policies…. – CS Monitor, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall: Conservatives win, liberals gain: There will be no magic potion, no instant formula for Democrats and progressives struggling to come back from their disastrous 2010 election losses…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Recall: Republican Win Seen as Coup Heading into 2012 Elections: As a result of the recent Wisconsin recall elections, quite possibly the most contentious in state history, Republicans managed to fend off the Democrats and hold onto their majority. … – International Business Times, 8-10-11
  • The Day After Wisconsin: Will Democrats Still Target Walker?: Dashing Democrats’ hopes of flipping Wisconsin’s state senate and overturning Gov. Scott Walker’s austerity measures, on Tuesday night Republicans retained four out of the six state senate seats that were up for recall…. – ABC News, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall election 2011: Democrats fail to take Senate majority by one seat: Voters in Wisconsin recalled two of the six Republican State Senators in Tuesday’s recall elections, which left the Democrats one seat short of a majority in the Senate…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Walker: Election Results Show Voters Want Bipartisanship: Gov. Scott Walker said he thinks Tuesday night’s recall elections show voters want more bipartisanship from their elected leaders. Walker said believes no matter which party is in control, voters want lawmakers to work together on jobs … – WISC Madison, 8-10-11
  • Recall results show voters want parties to work together, Walker says: Madison — Gov. Scott Walker said results from Tuesday’s recall elections show voters are on board with Republican efforts but that they want the two parties to work together…. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8-10-11
  • Recall elections once again show Wisconsin’s purple pedigree: Democrats can take solace in the fact that Walker’s agenda is apparently only popular among conservatives. “The people have spoken.” That’s what both sides are saying about the recall elections. Democrats and Republicans will both claim vindication…. – Isthmus Daily Page, 8-10-11

Political Headlines June 15, 2011: Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Anti-Union Bill

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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.

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS: WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS ANTI-UNION LAW

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker: “The Supreme Court’s ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again.”

  • Court allows Wisconsin’s union law to take effect: A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court handed Republican Gov. Scott Walker a major victory Tuesday, ruling that a polarizing union law that strips most public employees of their collective bargaining rights could take effect.
    In a 4-3 decision that included a blistering dissent, the court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she declared the law void. She sided with a lawsuit that claimed Republicans didn’t provide proper public notice of a meeting that helped get the original legislation approved.
    The legislation sparked weeks of protests when Walker introduced it in February. Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended on the state Capitol for weeks and Democratic senators fled the state to prevent a vote, thrusting Wisconsin to the forefront of a national debate over labor rights.
    Walker claimed that the law, which also requires public employees to pay more for their health care and pensions, was needed to help address the state’s $3.6 billion budget shortfall and give local governments enough flexibility on labor costs to deal with deep cuts to state aid. Democrats saw it as an attack on public employee unions, which usually back their party’s candidates…. – AP, 6-15-11
  • Wisconsin Court Reinstates Law on Union Rights: The Wisconsin Supreme Court cleared the way on Tuesday for significant cuts to collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state, undoing a lower court’s decision that Wisconsin’s controversial law had been passed improperly.
    The Supreme Court’s ruling, issued at the close of the business day, spared lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Capitol from having to do what some of them strongly hoped to avoid: calling for a new vote on the polarizing collective bargaining measure, which had drawn tens of thousands of protesters to Madison this year and led Democratic lawmakers to flee the city in an effort to block the bill.
    Republican leaders had warned on Monday that if the Supreme Court did not rule by Tuesday, they would feel compelled to attach the same measure to the state’s budget bill, which is expected to be approved this week…. – NYT, 6-15-11
  • Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds anti-union law: A sharply divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a controversial measure that curbs the collective bargaining rights of public workers in the state can go into effect.
    In what was essentially a 4-3 decision, the high court overturned a lower court, which had ruled Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings law when they passed the measure in March.
    “Access was not denied,” the Supreme Court declared in Tuesday’s decision. “There is no constitutional requirement that the legislature provide access to as many members of the public as wish to attend meetings of the legislature or meetings of legislative committees.”
    But Tuesday’ 68-page decision was a thicket of concurrences and dissents, reflecting the sharp divide the measure has created in the state itself.
    David Prosser, whose recent reelection to the state’s high court had been hotly contested by opponents of the union measure, wrote in his eight-page concurrence that GOP legislators had good reason to rush things they way they did, given the ugly mood of protesters at the Capitol.
    “The circuit court concluded that the legislature should have provided public notice of the special session conference committee 24 hours in advance,” Prosser wrote.
    “The court did not acknowledge that thousands of demonstrators stormed and occupied the state Capitol within a few hours of the notice that a conference committee meeting would be held.”
    But Justices Shirley Abrahamson, Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Coons disagreed, saying their colleagues had rendered a “hasty judgment” in a case where “the answers are not clear and our precedent is conflicting.”
    The three in dissent blasted the order to overrule the lower court, saying it was “based on errors of fact and law.
    “They inappropriately use this court’s original jurisdiction, make their own findings of fact, mischaracterize the parties’ arguments, misinterpret statutes, minimize (if not eliminate) Wisconsin’s constitutional guarantees, and misstate case law, appearing to silently overrule case law dating back to at least 1891,” the three said…. – Reuters, 6-15-11
  • Court allows Wisconsin’s union law to take effect: The ruling on the law, which strips most public employees of collective bargaining rights, is a major victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court handed Republican Gov. Scott Walker a major victory on Tuesday, ruling that a polarizing anti-union law stripping most public employees of collective bargaining rights could take effect.
    In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she said Republican lawmakers had violated the open meetings statutes and declared the law void….
    In a one-sentence reaction, the governor said: “The Supreme Court’s ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again.”… – LAT, 6-15-11
  • Supreme Court reinstates collective bargaining law: Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial plan to end most collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.
    The court found that a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when it hastily approved the collective bargaining measure in March and made it possible for the Senate to take it up. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled a Dane County judge who had halted the legislation, ending one challenge to the law even as new challenges are likely to emerge.
    The changes on collective bargaining will take effect once Secretary of State Doug La Follette arranges for official publication of the stalled bill, and the high court said there was now nothing to preclude him from doing that. La Follette did not return a call Tuesday to say when the law would be published.
    The ruling came on lines that have become familiar in recent years for the often divided court.
    The majority opinion was by Justices Michael Gableman, David Prosser, Patience Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. The other three justices – Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and N. Patrick Crooks – concurred in part and dissented in part. Abrahamson’s dissent was particularly stinging as she upbraided her fellow justices for errors and faulty analysis…. – Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 6-15-11

March 10, 2011: Scott Walker Battles Unions; Republicans Pass Bill Restricting Collective Bargaining

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

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.

WISCONSIN UNION WARS

Protests

Protesters fill the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday night. (Michael P. King / Associated Press)

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; file photo

    IN FOCUS:

    THE HEADLINES….

       

    • In Wisconsin Battle on Unions, State Democrats See a Gift: After nearly a month of angry demonstrations and procedural maneuvering in the State Capitol here, Gov. Scott Walker won his battle on Thursday to cut bargaining rights for most government workers in Wisconsin. But his victory, after the State Assembly passed the bill, also carries risks for the state’s Republicans who swept into power last November. Democratic-leaning voters appeared energized by the battle over collective bargaining on a national stage. The fight has already spurred a list of potential recall elections for state lawmakers this spring. Protesters are planning more large demonstrations this weekend…. – NYT, 3-10-11
    • In Wisconsin, GOP maneuver pushes anti-union bill forward: Senate Republicans omit financial provisions from legislation to curb public workers’ collective bargaining rights, skirting a requirement that a quorum be present…. – LAT, 3-10-11
    • Divisive Wisconsin union-busting bill set to pass: A bill to bust Wisconsin’s public workers unions that sparked mass protests and led Democratic lawmakers to flee the US state was set for approval on Thursday after a Republican legislative maneuver. Republican state senators appeared to end the weeks-long standoff by stripping all references to the budget from the bill, which allowed it to pass without the legislative quorum required for fiscal measures. The bill was to be taken up by the Republican-led state Assembly — which approved a similar previous measure — at 11:00 am (1600 GMT) on Thursday… – AFP, 3-10-11
    • Wis. GOP bypasses Dems, cuts collective bargaining: The Wisconsin Senate voted Wednesday night to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, approving an explosive proposal that had rocked the state and unions nationwide after Republicans discovered a way to bypass the chamber’s missing Democrats.
      All 14 Senate Democrats fled to Illinois nearly three weeks ago, preventing the chamber from having enough members present to consider Gov. Scott Walker’s “budget-repair bill” — a proposal introduced to plug a $137 million budget shortfall…. – AP, 3-9-11
    • Did Wisconsin Senate choose nuclear option in collective-bargaining fight?: Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate vote to strip key public-sector unions of collective bargaining rights, despite the fact that no Democrats were present. The vote is a bid to protect core budget cuts to public-employee benefits, Republicans say. But is that necessary?… – CS Monitor, 3-09-11
    • Is Gov. Scott Walker’s offer enough for a deal with rogue ‘Wisconsin 14’?: Governor Walker has released emails with some of the absentee ‘Wisconsin 14’ that show he’s willing to compromise – on some issues, to some extent…. – CS Monitor, 3-9-11
    • Wis. gov. proposes union compromise in e-mails: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has offered to keep certain collective bargaining rights in place for state workers in a proposed compromise aimed at ending a nearly three-week standoff with absent Senate Democrats, according to e-mails released Tuesday by his office.
      The e-mails, some dated as recently as Sunday, show a softened stance in Walker’s talks with the 14 Democrats who fled to Illinois to block a vote on his original proposal that would strip nearly all collective bargaining rights for public workers and force concessions amounting to an average 8 percent pay cut…. – AP, 3-8-11
    • Hard Stance Seems Softer In E-Mail Of Governor: For weeks, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has publicly held firm to his plan to sharply curtail collective bargaining rights for most public workers, despite the protests of union supporters. But e-mail messages released Tuesday between representatives of Mr. Walker and some Senate Democrats who oppose the measure suggest that Mr. Walker has privately considered tempering at least some limited elements of those bargaining changes.
      Mr. Walker’s initial proposal, which set off a firestorm of debate in Wisconsin and beyond, would allow collective bargaining on matters of wages only, limit raises to the Consumer Price Index, keep contracts to one year and require unions to vote annually to determine whether most workers still wish to be members.
      The e-mails show that as recently as Sunday evening Mr. Walker’s representatives appeared willing to agree to some changes…. – NYT, 3-9-11
    • Walker blames unions for standoff Governor thinks national labor leaders barring deal: Gov. Scott Walker blamed national labor organizers Monday evening for scuttling attempts at compromise with 14 Democratic senators who fled to Illinois to avoid a vote on a budget-repair bill that would take away most collective bargaining rights of public workers. Citing a Wall Street Journal report, Walker said Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) indicated Sunday that the Democrats would return to Wisconsin. But he said that changed Monday.
      The governor said he doesn’t know what happened, but he suspects it was union leaders who are influencing the 14 Democrats. “I don’t have this on firsthand knowledge. My guess is he got a phone call from one of the union bosses in D.C. who said, ‘You cannot go back there and let them have a vote,’ ” Walker said… – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3-7-11
    • Why ‘Wisconsin 14’ are ready to return: They think they’re winning: Wisconsin’s 14 Democratic absentee state senators indicate they’re ready to return – because they think they’ve already won the war, if not this battle…. – CS Monitor, 3-7-11
    • Lawmaker: Wisconsin Democrats returning soon: The Democratic senators who fled are convinced that Republicans will be severely hurt if Walker’s plan is passed…. The State Senate Democrats who left Wisconsin to block a vote on a bill that would severely curb collective bargaining for most public employees are planning to return soon, one of the lawmakers said…. – WaPo, 3-7-11
    • Wisconsin’s Walker dismisses Democratic overture: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dismissed as “ridiculous” a request on Monday from the leader of absent Senate Democrats to meet and negotiate a compromise in their standoff over Republican plans to limit public sector union powers…. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker blasted the leader of the state’s Senate Democrats as an obstacle in getting some of the Democrats to return and vote on his budget proposal…. – Reuters, 3-7-11
    • Unions winning battle for public opinion in Wisconsin: According to a new Pew Poll, Forty-two percent of people said they favor unions, while 31 percent take Walker’s side and another nine percent take neither side in the skirmish. WaPo, 3-1-11
    • Supporters of Wisconsin anti-union bill hold rally: About 700 people have rallied in support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his plan to take away collective bargaining rights from public workers have rallied in Madison. The Sunday rally at a Madison arena was organized by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity…. – AP, 3-6-11
    • Michael Moore rallies Wis. pro-union protesters: Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore urged Wisconsin residents Saturday to fight against Republican efforts to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, telling thousands of protesters that “Madison is only the beginning.” “We’re going to do this together. Don’t give up. Please don’t give up,” filmmaker Michael Moore told the Wisconsin protesters, who have swarmed the Capitol every day for close to three weeks. Moore told the crowd they’ve galvanized the nation against the wealthy elite and compared their fight to Egypt’s revolt…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Wis. governor warns of layoffs, talks to Democrats: Thousands of Wisconsin state workers were bracing for layoff notices Friday as Republican Gov. Scott Walker and absent Democrats remained in a standoff over a budget balancing bill that would also strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
      Walker said he would issue 1,500 layoff notices Friday if at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats doesn’t return from Illinois to give the Republican majority the quorum it needs to vote. Senate Republicans voted Thursday to hold the missing Democrats in contempt and force police to bring them back to the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald canceled Friday’s floor session, saying in a statement that Republican senators want time to allow law enforcement to adjust their staffing levels and “help the Capitol to return to something of a sense of normalcy.”… – AP, 3-4-11
    • In Midwestern union strongholds, residents torn over proposals to curb union benefits, powers: There once was a time when Harry and Nancy Harrington _ their teenage children in tow _ walked the picket line outside the nursing home where she was a medical aide, protesting the lack of a pension plan for the unionized work force. But those days of family solidarity are gone…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Wisconsin governor begins process to lay off 1,500: 57 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin disapprove of the job Walker is doing, while 43 percent approve. Of those who disapprove, 48 percent strongly disapprove…. – WaPo, 3-5-11
    • Protesters leave Wis. Capitol after 17-day sit-in: Pro-union protesters who had been camping out at the Wisconsin Capitol for 17 days vacated the building peacefully late Thursday after a judge ordered the building closed at night but ruled the state was wrong to restrict access to the building during the day. With a group hug, and singing “Solidarity Forever,” about 50 protesters grabbed their sleeping bags, pillows and drums and left through two rows of Democratic state lawmakers and others who thanked them for their efforts…. – AP, 3-3-11
    • Wisconsin Senate votes to detain absentee DemocratsCNN, 3-3-11
    • RNC ad links Obama to ‘union bosses’: The Republican National Committee on Wednesday began airing a television ad in Wisconsin that blames President Barack Obama and “union bosses” for standing in the way of economic reform.
      The ad is an effort to bolster Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he tries to push through a measure that would take away most collective bargaining rights for state employees.
      Obama has not been to Wisconsin since the protests began. But he has called Walker’s proposal an assault on unions and urged other governors not to vilify public workers. Obama’s political arm at the Democratic National Committee also helped mobilize demonstrators in coordination with unions…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • AFL-CIO leader: Wisconsin fight energizing unions: In trying to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state workers, Wisconsin’s governor may have unintentionally given the American labor movement the lift it needed after years of decline.
      “We’ve never seen the incredible solidarity that we’re seeing right now,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Tuesday at the federation’s headquarters. “People are giving us another look now,” he said. “It’ll be up to us to keep it going and continue defining ourselves in ways the American public will support.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Wisconsin governor to lay out budget: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive proposal to take nearly all collective bargaining rights away from most public workers represents just one piece of his vision for the state’s future…. – AP, 3-1-11
    • Rallies support fight against Wis. anti-union billAP, 2-27-11
    • Volunteers help Wis. protesters keep up the fightAP, 2-26-11
    • By keeping his distance, has Obama played Wisconsin right?: With the battle of Wisconsin reverberating in union halls across the country, Obama has refrained from weighing in forcefully on a core Democratic issue. Analysts say he has played it right… – CS Monitor, 2-25-11
    • Wisconsin GOP wins Round 1 over unions, but final victory still eludes: The Wisconsin GOP-led Assembly approved a bill Friday to sharply curtail the power of public employee unions. But the battle for public opinion, in Wisconsin and the nation, goes on, with the state Senate yet to vote…. – CS Monitor, 2-25-11
    • Some Republicans soften tough talk on unionsAP, 2-24-11
    • State troopers sent to find Wisconsin DemocratsAP, 2-24-11
    • Wis. Democrats filibuster to halt anti-union billAP, 2-23-11
    • In Wisconsin, the real struggle is over power: Protesters rest inside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Monday as their standoff with Republican lawmakers over union rights entered its second week with no possible resolution on the horizon…. – WaPo, 2-21-11
    • Wisconsin: Ground zero in battle over clout of labor unions in US: At stake in the fight between unions and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the perception of public-sector unions and how much clout they’ll retain in an era of tight budgets for state and local government…. – CS Monitor, 2-19-11
    • State budget fights fire up union; Obama involved: Organized labor is trying to re-energize and take advantage of the growing backlash from the wave of anti-union sentiment in Wisconsin and more than a dozen other states. President Barack Obama and his political machine are offering tactical support, eager to repair strained relations with some union leaders upset over his recent overtures to business…. – AP, 2-19-11

    QUOTES

       

    • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: Walker acknowledged the protests, but said “their voices cannot drown out the voices of the countless taxpayers who want us to balance our budgets and, more importantly, to make government work for each of them.”

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

       

    • Rosemary Feurer: Wisconsin’s Legacy of Labor Battles: One of the key authors of that federal legislation was the chief of labor relations at Allis-Chalmers, a Milwaukee-area farm equipment and machine manufacturing company that had fended off an epic strike earlier that year. Now the nation is watching to see which side wins in the battle between Mr. Walker and the flood of unions, local and national, that has surrounded the Capitol to fight him.
      “The play by the governor is part of a longer history and a longer struggle over ideas and social policy,” said Rosemary Feurer, a labor historian at Northern Illinois University. “When I see this I think, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.”
      In her book, “Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950,” Professor Feurer recounts how companies in the electrical industry in St. Louis started a network known as the Metal Trades Association in the first part of the 20th century to fight union organizing. The association had been alarmed by union protests that erupted violently with the Haymarket Square riot in 1886 and the demands for an eight-hour day, which started with the 1894 Pullman strike in Illinois — an early effort by Eugene V. Debs, the former Indiana legislator and future Socialist Party candidate for president.
      “That left a legacy of the 1930s and ’40s for employers to form deep right-wing networks,” Professor Feurer said.
      That network, she argues, was the precursor to the Midwestern groups that have now been assisting the fight against the unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana: the Bradley Foundation, based in Milwaukee, and Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kan. David H. and Charles G. Koch, the billionaire brothers behind the energy and manufacturing conglomerate that bears their name, have been large donors to Mr. Walker in Wisconsin, as has their advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, which first opened an office in Wisconsin in 2005…. – NYT, 3-6-11
    • Julian Zelizer: By keeping his distance, has Obama played Wisconsin right?: “The biggest danger in some ways was for him to be consumed by this issue,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That hasn’t happened.”… – CS Monitor, 2-25-11

    Political Highlights March 7, 2011: Obama Congress Budget Showdown, Chaos in Libya, and Wisconsin War over Unions

    POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

    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.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

    The President on Libya
    White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 3/3/11

    STATS & POLLS

    • Over Half of Americans Give President Obama a Bad Job Rating: President Obama has a full plate. There’s the battle over the budget, which could shutdown the government if it goes badly. Labor union issues are cropping up across the country. Conflict and chaos are popping up left and right overseas and the decision to intervene weighs heavy. And, his 2012 reelection team is gearing up.
      But there’s another issue at hand: his falling approval ratings. 58% of Americans reported having a negative option of the President’s job so far, according to the Harris Poll conducted during the third week of February. This is a two percent rise over last month’s 56%. Some of the disapproval may be directly caused by partisanship. 90% of Republicans gave the President a thumbs down, while 73% of Democrats approved. Independents followed the overall trend with 60% disapproval…. – All Newswire, 3-5-11
    • A Deep Dive Into President Obama’s Public Approval Ratings: In January, President Obama had the biggest improvement in his public approval rating of his entire presidency. In February, Obama consolidated and built on his January “bump,” by posting his second-most-improved month ever. This turnaround has set the clock back for Obama over a full year (in terms of his overall polling numbers), to roughly where he was in December, 2009. All in all, not a bad month for the president…. – Business Insider, 3-3-11
    • President Obama’s 2010 Approval Ratings, State-by-State: Hawaii and Washington, D.C., approved of the president most last year, while Wyoming and Idaho thought the least of him
      President Barack Obama’s new home district and old home state liked the president best last year, according to Gallup daily tracking from January to December 2010. District of Columbia residents gave Obama an average approval rating of 84.4 percent, and Hawaii gave 65.9 percent. Wyoming and Idaho thought the least of the president, giving him an average approval rating of 27.6 percent and 31.6 percent, respectively. The biggest change came from Residents of Vermont, who dropped their average annual approval of the president 15.2 percentage points from 2009 to 52.6 percent in 2010. The ratings are based on nearly 179,000 interviews throughout the year…. – US News, 3-1-11

    REVOLUTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: LIBYA IN TURMOIL

    President Barack Obama addresses the Situation in Libya During a Joint Press Conference with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico

    President Barack Obama addresses the situation in Libya at the start of a joint press conference with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, left, in the East Room of the White House, March 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    • New York Times Topic: Libya — The Protests (2011)NYT
    • Arab and Middle East protestsGuardian UK
    • Libya protests: live blog of the latest developmentsGuardian UK
    • AP INTERACTIVE: Libya uprising: A look at the state of play in Libya, including a timeline, the latest news, recent photos, key players and an AP expert’s analysis. AP, 3-1-11
    • Five myths about the Muslim Brotherhood: Myth #1: The Muslim Brotherhood is a global organization — Globally, the Brotherhood is more a school of thought than an official organization of card-carrying members. Attempts to create a more formal global structure have failed…. – WaPo, 3-4-11
    • US increases pressure on Sri Lanka over slain civilians: The United States is increasing pressure on Sri Lanka to investigate the deaths of thousands of civilians at the end of its civil war. Rights groups contend a Sri Lankan government commission has demonstrated no intent of doing it…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • In Libya, Kadafi’s forces launch assault on rebel-held city: Forces led by one of Moammar Kadafi’s sons battle to regain control of Zawiya, west of the capital. Dozens of civilians are killed, witnesses say, as is a leading rebel commander…. – LAT, 3-5-11
    • Qaddafi Brutalizes Foes, Armed or Defenseless: Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi counterattacked with brutal force on Friday, battling rebel forces on two fronts, firing on unarmed protesters in front of international news media and leaving the rebels seeking his ouster in disarray.
      Rebels gathered in Brega before pushing west to Ras Lanuf on Friday. A government brigade surrounded the rebel-controlled town of Zawiyah and opened fire with mortars, machine guns and other heavy weapons, witnesses said, in two skirmishes. More Photos »
      His militia’s actions seemed likely to stir renewed debate over international intervention to limit his use of military power against his own citizens, possibly by imposing a no-flight zone…. – NYT, 3-4-11
    • Libyan rebels, Gaddafi forces battle for oil sites: Libyan rebels prepared for further attacks by forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday as both sides struggled for control of a strategic coast road and oil industry facilities…. – Reuters, 3-4-11
    • Gaddafi investigated for ‘crimes against humanity’: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he will investigate Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and senior aides for crimes against humanity…. – BBC News, 3-4-11
    • Libyan rebels push back assault by Gaddafi forces in port city of Brega: Libyan rebels repelled an assault by troops backing Moammar Gaddafi in a key oil port Wednesday. The battle in the town of Brega lasted for hours until the attackers beat a retreat…. – WaPo, 3-2-11
    • Khadaffi’s jets, troops attack foes: Moammar Khadaffi’s forces struck back on three fronts yesterday, using fighter jets, special forces units, and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war… – Boston Globe, 3-1-11
    • US, Europe intensify efforts to isolate Gadhafi: The United States and European allies intensified efforts to isolate Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Monday, redoubling demands for him to step down, questioning his mental state and warning that those who stay loyal to him risk losing their wealth and being prosecuted for human rights abuses. Europe, which buys most of Libya’s oil exports, outlined fresh sanctions to force the dictator to stop attacks on civilians and step down after 42 years of iron-fisted rule. The European Union issued travel bans and an asset freeze against senior Libyan officials, and ordered an arms embargo on the country…. – AP, 2-28-11
    • Battle for Libya Rages as Qaddafi Strikes Back – NYT, 2-28-11
    • Libyan historian Ya’akov Hajaj-Lilof, how will the anti-Gadhafi protests end?: Historian Ya’akov Hajaj-Lilof, 69, is the director of the Institute for the Research and Study of Libyan Jewry and a member of the board of the World Organization of Libyan Jews. In recent days, he has been closely following the reports from Tripoli, Benghazi and the other locations in Libya where there has been political unrest against the regime of Muammar Gadhafi, who has been in power since 1969 and is considered the longest ruling non-royal leader in the world. Hajaj-Lilof believes that if there is a successful revolution against Gadhafi, it will be much more difficult and prolonged than those in Tunisia and Egypt.
      Who is behind the demonstrations in Libya? Who forms the opposition to Gadhafi? I attach great importance to the hatred and antagonism that exists between the two parts of that country – between the region of Cyrenaica which covers a little more than one half of the area of Libya and has Benghazi as its capital, and the region of Tripolitania with its capital, Tripoli. The focus of the unrest is in Cyrenaica where they still remember that Gadhafi overthrew King Idris I who was born in the region…. – Haaretz, 2-21-11

    THE HEADLINES….

    The President joins Jeb Bush in Florida
    White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 3/4/11
    • White House jabs GOP diplomat who may run in 2012: The White House is praising a departing U.S. ambassador for supporting the administration and working closely with President Barack Obama. Not much news there. Except the diplomat — former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman — is a potential GOP opponent for Obama in 2012. And his ties to a Democratic president might not go over too well with Republican activists who play a large role in selecting the party’s nominee…. – AP, 3-6-11
    • National focus on debate on Muslim radicalization: Muslims in the America aren’t cooperating enough with law enforcement to counter the radicalization of young followers by al-Qaida-linked groups, said a House leader on terrorism issues, renewing debate about religion’s role in motivating extremists and what the U.S. can do without alienating the Islamic world.
      Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, asserted that al-Qaida terrorists are targeting Muslim youth in this country, previewing his hearing Thursday on the extent of the problem and the Muslim community’s response.
      “The overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding Americans, but at this stage in our history there’s an effort … to radicalize elements within the Muslim community,” he said in an interview broadcast Sunday. “It’s there and that’s where the threat is coming form at this time,” King said…. – AP, 3-6-11
    • NYC rally planned against hearing on US Muslims: A coalition of over 100 interfaith, nonprofit and governmental organizations plans to rally in New York City against a planned congressional hearing on Muslims’ role in homegrown terrorism. The coalition says Thursday’s hearing will send the wrong message to U.S. Muslims by “demonizing” them…. – AP, 3-6-11
    • Obama’s Choice: To Intervene or Not in Libya: For President Obama, who told Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi last week that it was time to quit, the bloodshed and terror in Libya have posed a dilemma that sooner or later confronts every modern American president: whether, and how, to intervene with military force in a distant conflict.
      This time, the choice has been made even tougher by history, geography and the peculiar circumstances of Libya’s upheaval: a famously ruthless and unpredictable leader willing to do anything to cling to power, in a conflict that seems as much an African civil war as an Internet-fueled youth revolt of the kind that forced out Arab dictators in Egypt and Tunisia.
      Mr. Obama’s blunt call last Thursday for Colonel Qaddafi to leave office, coupled with a threat to leave all military options on the table if he doesn’t, made it clear that the president believes the United States cannot stand by while Libyan jets bomb civilians. But his reluctance to talk about the most obvious measure — a no-flight zone over the country — reveals his qualms about thrusting the United States into a volatile situation in a region where foreign intervention is usually viewed as cynical neo-colonialism…. – NYT, 3-5-11
    • Obama offers deeper cuts, appeals for budget deal: President Barack Obama says he’s willing to make deeper spending cuts if Congress can compromise on a budget deal that would end the threat of a government shutdown. Obama’s appeal for common ground came Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address, but lacked specifics on how to bridge the $50 billion gulf that divides the White House and Democratic budget proposal from the deeper reductions offered by Republicans…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • SPIN METER: Competing, misleading claims on budget: It sounds like a pretty good starting point for negotiations: The White House and Capitol Hill Democrats say they’re ready to meet the GOP halfway in the latest round of budget talks, offering $50 billion in cuts compared with Republicans’ proposed $100 billion worth of reductions. “The White House has been willing to move halfway to where they are,” said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council. “Talking about negotiation and compromise, that’s very important.”… – AP, 3-4-11
    • Romney seeks to address health care woes: Call it an attempt to address an obvious political vulnerability. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Saturday derided President Barack Obama’s health care law — modeled in some ways after one the ex-governor signed in Massachusetts — as a misguided and egregious effort to seize more power for Washington.
      “Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for America’s families,” Romney declared. “And that’s the reason why President Obama will be a one-term president.” He vowed to repeal it if he were ever in a position to do so, and drew hearty cheers from his Republican Party audience…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Obama praises Jeb Bush on education reform: In his first year as Florida governor, Jeb Bush was vilified by Democrats as a “radical” for an education agenda they argued would undermine public schools. So it was a striking moment when, 12 years later, a Democratic president came here Friday to hail the Republican as a “champion of education reform.”
      It was even more striking to consider that President Obama, introduced by Bush for a speech at a Miami high school, was teaming up with the younger brother of the man he replaced in the White House – a predecessor he has been quick to blame for many of America’s troubles. And even more intriguing to think that, if only his last name were not Bush, Jeb would probably be the Republican Party’s best hope of beating Obama next year.
      Yet there they were, warmly shaking hands, exchanging laughs and declaring themselves brothers in arms when it comes to fixing the country’s schools.
      “I’ve gotten to know Jeb because his family exemplifies public service,” Obama said, declaring that he was “grateful to him for the work that he’s doing.”
      Bush was more muted, withholding direct praise for Obama but adding: “Mr. President, as you have said, educational achievement is not a Republican or Democrat issue.”… – WaPo, 3-4-11
    • Obama, With an Unlikely Co-Star, Pushes Bipartisanship on a Miami Visit: President Obama, road-testing his new message of bipartisan cooperation here on Friday, promoted his education agenda with Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor, and then used his first stump speech of the 2012 season to call on Democrats to “find common ground.”
      Florida will be a critical state for Mr. Obama in 2012, and Mr. Obama used his visit here to continue his effort to reposition himself toward the political center. But while he has tried to remain above the political fray in Washington, employing the classic Rose Garden strategy here in Florida seemed a bit trickier.
      His appearance with Mr. Bush seemed awkward at best. And his strikingly nonpartisan campaign speech, at back-to- back fund-raisers for Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, and other Democrats, left some in his party a bit puzzled.
      “There are times when we’re were among family, we’re among Democrats where we want to talk about being Democrats,” Mr. Obama began his speech at the first of the two fund-raisers, at the Fontainebleau hotel. “But today I want to talk to you a little about being an American, I want to talk about those things that bring us together as opposed to the things that drive us apart.”
      He went on to say that he had just visited a high school with Mr. Bush. The crowd booed and hissed. Mr. Obama pressed on, saying he knew that the name Bush was one that might not ordinarily be heard at a Democratic fund- raiser. “Even though Governor Bush and I disagree on a range of issues,” the president said, “we agree on the importance of education to America”… – NYT, 3-4-11
    • Gabrielle Giffords shooting suspect charged with murder: Gabrielle Giffords shooting suspect: Jared Lee Loughner has been charged with the murders of US District Judge John Roll and Gabrielle Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman, as well as causing the deaths of four others…. – CS Monitor, 3-4-11
    • Good News on Many Economic Fronts; Oil, Housing Still Threaten Recovery: A new report shows U.S. employers added 192,000 jobs in February and the jobless rate fell to 8.9 percent. Jeffrey Brown discusses the numbers and recovery prospects with former Labor Department Chief Economist Lisa Lynch and Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight…. – PBS Newshour, 3-5-11
    • Big Jump in Private Jobs Bolsters Recovery Hopes: In all, the nation added 192,000 jobs in February, a big jump from the 63,000 added the previous month, the Labor Department reported on Friday… – NYT, 3-4-11
    • John Edwards tipster breaks silence amid federal probe: As John Edwards’ legal fight enters its final phase, the woman who tipped the National Enquirer to his affair spilled the details Thursday in The Huffington Post…. – Miami Herald, 3-3-11
    • Attorneys Seek Court Order to Press John Edwards on Sex TapeABC News, 3-3-11
    • Obama, Calderon reach trucking accord at US summit: The accord comes at a sensitive time. Mexico President Felipe Calderon has said US efforts in the fight against Mexican drug cartels haven’t curbed US demand or stemmed the flow of arms to Mexico…. – LAT, 3-3-11
    • Obama Authorizes Airlift of Refugees From Libya: President Obama called again on Thursday for the immediate resignation of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and said he had authorized American military airlifts to help transport refugees fleeing from Libya back to their home countries in the region.
      “The U.S. and the entire world continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people,” Mr. Obama said after a White House meeting with President Felipe Calderón of Mexico. “Muammar el-Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, and he must leave.” …. – NYT, 3-3-11
    • Obama insists every option under review for Libya: Wary that Libya’s bloody crisis could devolve into humanitarian chaos, President Barack Obama on Thursday insisted he is considering every intervention option, including military might, along with America’s allies. To Moammar Gadhafi, he declared: “Step down from power and leave.”
      Obama made clear he has not ruled out establishing a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Gadhafi’s air forces from bombing rebels. His broad assurance came one day after his defense chief, Robert Gates, said bluntly that a no-fly zone would amount to an act of war and warned about too much “loose talk” of U.S. military intervention in Libya.
      “I don’t want us hamstrung,” Obama said in defending his approach. “There is a danger of a stalemate that, over time, could be bloody,” Obama said in an appearance with visiting Mexican President Felipe Calderon. “And that is something that we’re obviously considering. So what I want to make sure of is, is that the United States has full capacity to act — potentially rapidly — if the situation deteriorated in such a way that you had a humanitarian crisis on our hands.”… – AP, 3-3-11
    • Obama: No plans to step into NFL labor dispute: The football fan in the White House said Wednesday he expects wealthy NFL team owners and players can figure out for themselves how to share the billions of dollars that their sport generates.
      “I’ve got a lot of other stuff to do,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference, making clear he had no plans to intervene…. – AP, 3-3-11
    • Bush back in Washington to unveil Frist portrait: Tap-tap-tap went George W. Bush’s feet under his chair in the Old Senate Chamber Wednesday as he waited through a speech by his longtime friend, heart surgeon and one-time majority leader Bill Frist. The former president, invited for the unveiling of Frist’s Senate portrait, shifted in his chair. He crossed his legs. He fidgeted. “I’ll speed it up, Mr. President,” Frist said over his shoulder.
      The two could not wait to leave the place — Frist voluntarily in 2007, Bush at the end of his second presidential term, in 2009. “It takes a really good friend to get me to come back to Washington,” Bush told the crowd…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Jewish leaders say Obama meeting was positive: Jewish organizational leaders rejected the notion that their meeting with President Obama was negative in any way. A JTA article this week reported that President Obama, in a meeting Tuesday with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, reaffirmed American support for Israeli security and discussed U.S. policy in the Middle East in a spirit of cordiality and respect.
      But the article also noted negative reactions to the president’s view that Palestinians are prepared for a deal but that supporters of Israel ought to “search your souls” over the Jewish state’s seriousness about making peace.
      The Conference of Presidents issued a clarification late Wednesday that, notwithstanding “certain public reports,” Obama has conducted the meeting “in an atmosphere of warmth, friendship and openness and there as no expression of hostility toward Israel or its government.” “The President articulated his expectations of all parties with respect to the Middle East peace process,” conference leaders said. “The President underscored the unprecedented security cooperation with and support for Israel. He asserted his commitment to maintaining Israel’s qualitative edge and to sustaining foreign aid to Israel. The President asserted that efforts to delegitimize Israel would be met with a firm response.”… – JTA, 3-3-11
    • Less Drama in White House After Staff Changes: A new order and a calmer management style have prevailed since William M. Daley took over as chief of staff from Rahm Emanuel and David Plouffe succeeded David Axelrod…. – NYT, 3-3-11
    • Obama condemns assassination in Pakistan: President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned the assassination of the only Christian member of Pakistan’s government, calling the slaying of Shabaz Bhatti a “horrific act of violence.” Republicans and Democrats in Congress echoed Obama’s outrage, hours after Bhatti was gunned down outside his mother’s home. His slaying came just weeks after the killing of liberal politician Salman Taseer. The two men had pushed to change laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Fed survey: Economy expands throughout US: The U.S. economy expanded in January and early February in all parts of the country, but businesses reported they are under pressure to raise their prices. A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday showed that all 12 of the Fed’s regions reported growth at a “modest to moderate pace” and it pointed to a pickup in job creation in each…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • GOP governors and Obama at impasse over Medicaid: Strained state budgets and a new crew of Republican governors have combined to reopen the debate over Medicaid, the health care program for the poorest and sickest Americans. GOP governors want control of the purse strings and leeway to rewrite coverage and payment rules. So far President Barack Obama has turned them down, but he may be forced to give some ground if negotiations to reduce federal debt get serious later this year…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Obama condemns shooting of US troops in Germany: President Barack Obama says he’s “saddened and outraged” by the shooting in Frankfurt, Germany, that killed two U.S. Air Force personnel and injured two others. The president says the U.S. will spare no effort in finding out how the “outrageous” act took place and will ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. It happened on a bus outside the Frankfurt airport on Wednesday. Obama called it a tragedy…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Senate to send Obama a stopgap GOP spending bill: In an early victory for Republicans, the Democratic Senate is voting to send President Barack Obama a GOP-drafted measure that cuts $4 billion in spending as the price for keeping the government open for an additional two weeks. Sweeping bipartisan support is expected Wednesday for the measure, which passed the House on Tuesday by a 335-91 tally. More than 100 Democrats broke with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California to support it… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Gov’t shutdown averted as House votes $4B cuts: The House passed emergency short-term legislation Tuesday to cut federal spending by $4 billion and avert a government shutdown. Senate Democrats agreed to follow suit, handing Republicans an early victory in their drive to rein in government. The bill that cleared the House on a bipartisan vote of 335-91 eliminates the threat of a shutdown on March 4, when existing funding authority expires. At the same time, it creates a compressed two-week timeframe for the White House and lawmakers to engage in what looms as a highly contentious negotiation on a follow-up bill to set spending levels through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • House approves two-week funding measure, putting Congress on track to avert government shutdown: The House on Tuesday approved a stopgap measure that would keep the federal government funded through March 18 and cut $4 billion in spending by targeting programs that President Obama has already marked for elimination. The measure, which passed the House on a 335 to 91 vote, now goes to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that the measure is likely to be approved in the Senate within the next 48 hours. If Congress does not pass a funding resolution by Friday, the federal government would be forced to shut down, but the apparent agreement between the two chambers seems likely to avert that possibility in the short-term. – WaPo, 3-1-11
    • Streep, James Taylor among cultural medalists: President Barack Obama honored 20 artists, scholars and writers — from James Taylor to Quincy Jones, from Philip Roth to Joyce Carol Oates — in a salute to the arts and humanities that embraced both celebrity and quiet achievement. The president and first lady Michelle Obama filled the East Room of the White House Wednesday with an array of talent that transcended generations and reached into the worlds of letters and music, history and dance, criticism and film.
      “One of the great joys of being president is getting a chance to pay tribute to the artists and authors, poets and performers who have touched our hearts and opened our minds,” Obama said, adding with a knowing look, “or in the case of Quincy Jones and James Taylor, set the mood.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Geithner wants housing overhaul bill in 2 years: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is telling Congress that the Obama administration wants Congress to approve legislation overhauling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation’s troubled housing finance giants, within two years… – AP, 3-1-11
    • Politics and bedfellows: President Obama on Monday made favorable mention of Mitt Romney’s role in expanding health-care coverage in Massachusetts, highlighting what has become a giant political liability for the former governor and likely 2012 Republican candidate…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 3-1-11
    • Obama to Back Easing Health Law Rules for States: The announcement is the first time the president has called for changing a central component of his signature health care law.
      The president plans to tell governors on Monday that he supports letting states opt out of parts of the health plan earlier than is currently permitted… – NYT, 2-28-11
    • Health care reform: How big is Obama’s concession?: On Monday, President Obama offered to let states design their own health systems, as long as they meet the overall goals of the national health care reform plan…. – CS Monitor, 2-28-11
    • Obama: Flexibility OK, but health care law remains: Anxious to ease deepening political tensions with the states, President Barack Obama on Monday told governors he wants to speed up their ability to enforce his signature health care law on their own terms. But his concession goes only so far: He warned he won’t allow states to weaken the law. He also told them not to vilify their own states’ public workers while struggling with spending cuts.
      Hosting governors of both parties on his own turf, Obama offered them what they often request: more flexibility as they cope with painful budget dilemmas. Declaring that he would “go to bat for whatever works,” Obama supported letting states propose their own health care plans by 2014 — three years faster than the current law allows…. – AP, 2-28-11

    112TH CONGRESS

    • House Republicans Move to Uphold Marriage Act: House Republicans quietly moved Friday to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, saying they would step in to argue for the measure’s constitutionality after the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending it. Republican leaders had the option of inserting themselves in the case by introducing a resolution on the House floor and allowing members to speak out on the issue. Instead they released a statement of their intent on a Friday afternoon when the House was out of session…. – NYT, 3-5-10
    • Speaker launches effort to defend gay marriage ban: House Speaker John Boehner said Friday the House may go to court to defend the federal law against gay marriage, which President Barack Obama’s administration has concluded is unconstitutional…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Capitol ceremony for WWI vet blocked in Congress: West Virginia’s two Democratic senators blamed House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday after their hopes of having the remains of World War I veteran Frank Buckles honored in the Capitol Rotunda were dashed, at least for now. Buckles died Sunday on his farm in Charles Town, W.Va., at the age of 110. He had been the last surviving American veteran of World War I. The episode turned what West Virginia lawmakers had hoped would be easy approval for the rare honor for Buckles into a finger-pointing dispute with partisan overtones…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • Democrats unveil counteroffer easing GOP cuts: Senate Democrats unveiled a detailed counteroffer Friday seeking to undo tens of billions of dollars in cuts Republicans would make to education, housing and other domestic programs. With the two parties maneuvering for advantage in their budget clash, the Democratic plan conforms to President Barack Obama’s opening gambit to cut another $6.5 billion from domestic agencies. But neither it nor the $61 billion in cuts passed by House Republicans is expected to survive test votes next week in the Senate…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • Economic recovery colors federal budget debate: Would a partial government shutdown – or the spending cuts needed to avoid it – risk the nation’s economic recovery and nascent job creation?… – USA Today, 3-4-11
    • Senate Republicans push to oust Medicare chief: Unable to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, Republicans are trying to oust the official who is quarterbacking the overhaul of the nation’s medical system. In a letter released Thursday, 42 Republican senators asked the president to withdraw the nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick as Medicare administrator, saying his experience isn’t broad enough and past statements raise fundamental questions about his views on policy…. – AP, 3-3-11
    • Republican McCarthy Says U.S. Budget Will Tackle Entitlements: U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, third-ranking Republican in the House, places politicians in two camps, “thermometers” and “thermostats.” He says President Barack Obama is playing “thermometer” to Republicans. “He’s letting everything take its course, and he’s just standing out, telling you what the temperature is after everybody already knows it,” McCarthy, of California, said during a Bloomberg Breakfast with reporters in Washington yesterday.
      The Republican leadership, McCarthy said, “takes the temperature of the room, but tells you where you need to get to, and it may be uncomfortable.’ His party plans to heat things up soon: McCarthy said House Republicans will introduce a spending plan in April that will address cuts in entitlement programs representing 40 percent of the federal budget “We will be different than the president,” he said. “We will address entitlements.”… – Bloomberg, 3-3-11
    • House votes to end unpopular new business tax rule: An unpopular tax filing requirement for businesses tucked into the new health care law would be repealed under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the House Thursday.
      The filing requirement is so unpopular in Congress that it is unlikely to ever take effect. The House voted 314 to 112 Thursday to repeal the filing requirement, with 76 Democrats joining all Republicans in voting to pass the bill. The Senate passed a similar measure last month, and attached it to an unrelated bill to help modernize the nation’s air traffic control system…. – AP, 3-3-11
    • GOP wins first budget skirmish, bigger fight looms: Republicans won an early round Wednesday in their fight to shrink the government, pushing $4 billion in spending cuts through Congress in a bill that puts off the possibility of a government shutdown for two weeks.
      The Senate cleared the temporary spending measure by an overwhelming 91-9 vote after the House passed it with a large bipartisan vote Tuesday. Obama signed it Wednesday afternoon…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • House taking up stopgap GOP spending bill: Republicans controlling the House are moving quickly to pass stopgap legislation to avoid a partial shutdown of the government when temporary funding runs out Friday…. – AP, 3-1-11

    COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

    • Judge: States must continue with health overhaul: A federal judge who declared President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other states follow the law until their challenge to it is resolved…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • Professor calls Supreme Court ruling victory for free speech: An ASU professor who specializes in the research of First Amendment court cases said Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling, which favored a radical church’s picketing of a 2006 military funeral, was a victory for free speech… – The State Press, 3-3-11
    • Supreme Court: Anti-gay funeral picketers allowed: The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a grieving father’s pain over mocking protests at his Marine son’s funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. All but one justice sided with a fundamentalist church that has stirred outrage with raucous demonstrations contending God is punishing the military for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality.
      The 8-1 decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., was the latest in a line of court rulings that, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court, protects “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Court: Victim’s dying words may be used at trial: Prosecutors may use victim statements given at the crime scene even if the victim dies before testifying at trial, the Supreme Court ruled Monday…. – WaPo, 3-1-11

    STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

    • Who had the Worst Week in Washington? Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa: Who watches the watchers? That existential question is not one that Republican Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, had hoped to be asking himself just a few months into his job as the self-declared lead investigator of the Obama administration.
      But that was before a young Issa press aide named Kurt Bardella agreed to share private correspondence between himself and reporters covering his boss with New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who is writing a book on the culture, such as it is, of Washington…. – WaPo, 3-4-11
    • New governors may outshine White House hopefuls: What’s wrong with this picture? While half a dozen current and former Republican governors weigh bids to challenge President Barack Obama, the party’s lightning and thunder are coming from a different handful of governors, who threaten to overshadow those potential candidates. Republicans drawing the most national attention in recent weeks are first-term Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey. Many conservatives love them for battling public-sector unions in the name of cutting government spending…. – AP, 3-2-11

    WISCONSIN GOVERNOR-UNION WARS

    • Unions winning battle for public opinion in Wisconsin: According to a new Pew Poll, Forty-two percent of people said they favor unions, while 31 percent take Walker’s side and another nine percent take neither side in the skirmish. WaPo, 3-1-11
    • Supporters of Wisconsin anti-union bill hold rally: About 700 people have rallied in support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his plan to take away collective bargaining rights from public workers have rallied in Madison. The Sunday rally at a Madison arena was organized by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity…. – AP, 3-6-11
    • Michael Moore rallies Wis. pro-union protesters: Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore urged Wisconsin residents Saturday to fight against Republican efforts to strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, telling thousands of protesters that “Madison is only the beginning.” “We’re going to do this together. Don’t give up. Please don’t give up,” filmmaker Michael Moore told the Wisconsin protesters, who have swarmed the Capitol every day for close to three weeks. Moore told the crowd they’ve galvanized the nation against the wealthy elite and compared their fight to Egypt’s revolt…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Wis. governor warns of layoffs, talks to Democrats: Thousands of Wisconsin state workers were bracing for layoff notices Friday as Republican Gov. Scott Walker and absent Democrats remained in a standoff over a budget balancing bill that would also strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.
      Walker said he would issue 1,500 layoff notices Friday if at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats doesn’t return from Illinois to give the Republican majority the quorum it needs to vote. Senate Republicans voted Thursday to hold the missing Democrats in contempt and force police to bring them back to the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald canceled Friday’s floor session, saying in a statement that Republican senators want time to allow law enforcement to adjust their staffing levels and “help the Capitol to return to something of a sense of normalcy.”… – AP, 3-4-11
    • In Midwestern union strongholds, residents torn over proposals to curb union benefits, powers: There once was a time when Harry and Nancy Harrington _ their teenage children in tow _ walked the picket line outside the nursing home where she was a medical aide, protesting the lack of a pension plan for the unionized work force. But those days of family solidarity are gone…. – AP, 3-5-11
    • Wisconsin governor begins process to lay off 1,500: 57 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin disapprove of the job Walker is doing, while 43 percent approve. Of those who disapprove, 48 percent strongly disapprove…. – WaPo, 3-5-11
    • Protesters leave Wis. Capitol after 17-day sit-in: Pro-union protesters who had been camping out at the Wisconsin Capitol for 17 days vacated the building peacefully late Thursday after a judge ordered the building closed at night but ruled the state was wrong to restrict access to the building during the day. With a group hug, and singing “Solidarity Forever,” about 50 protesters grabbed their sleeping bags, pillows and drums and left through two rows of Democratic state lawmakers and others who thanked them for their efforts…. – AP, 3-3-11
    • Wisconsin Senate votes to detain absentee DemocratsCNN, 3-3-11
    • RNC ad links Obama to ‘union bosses’: The Republican National Committee on Wednesday began airing a television ad in Wisconsin that blames President Barack Obama and “union bosses” for standing in the way of economic reform.
      The ad is an effort to bolster Republican Gov. Scott Walker as he tries to push through a measure that would take away most collective bargaining rights for state employees.
      Obama has not been to Wisconsin since the protests began. But he has called Walker’s proposal an assault on unions and urged other governors not to vilify public workers. Obama’s political arm at the Democratic National Committee also helped mobilize demonstrators in coordination with unions…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • AFL-CIO leader: Wisconsin fight energizing unions: In trying to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state workers, Wisconsin’s governor may have unintentionally given the American labor movement the lift it needed after years of decline.
      “We’ve never seen the incredible solidarity that we’re seeing right now,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Tuesday at the federation’s headquarters. “People are giving us another look now,” he said. “It’ll be up to us to keep it going and continue defining ourselves in ways the American public will support.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Wisconsin governor to lay out budget: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s explosive proposal to take nearly all collective bargaining rights away from most public workers represents just one piece of his vision for the state’s future…. – AP, 3-1-11
    • Rallies support fight against Wis. anti-union billAP, 2-27-11
    • Volunteers help Wis. protesters keep up the fightAP, 2-26-11
    • By keeping his distance, has Obama played Wisconsin right?: With the battle of Wisconsin reverberating in union halls across the country, Obama has refrained from weighing in forcefully on a core Democratic issue. Analysts say he has played it right… – CS Monitor, 2-25-11
    • Wisconsin GOP wins Round 1 over unions, but final victory still eludes: The Wisconsin GOP-led Assembly approved a bill Friday to sharply curtail the power of public employee unions. But the battle for public opinion, in Wisconsin and the nation, goes on, with the state Senate yet to vote…. – CS Monitor, 2-25-11
    • Some Republicans soften tough talk on unionsAP, 2-24-11
    • State troopers sent to find Wisconsin DemocratsAP, 2-24-11
    • Wis. Democrats filibuster to halt anti-union billAP, 2-23-11
    • Wisconsin: Ground zero in battle over clout of labor unions in US: At stake in the fight between unions and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the perception of public-sector unions and how much clout they’ll retain in an era of tight budgets for state and local government…. – CS Monitor, 2-19-11
    • State budget fights fire up union; Obama involved: Organized labor is trying to re-energize and take advantage of the growing backlash from the wave of anti-union sentiment in Wisconsin and more than a dozen other states. President Barack Obama and his political machine are offering tactical support, eager to repair strained relations with some union leaders upset over his recent overtures to business…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • Rosemary Feurer: Wisconsin’s Legacy of Labor Battles: One of the key authors of that federal legislation was the chief of labor relations at Allis-Chalmers, a Milwaukee-area farm equipment and machine manufacturing company that had fended off an epic strike earlier that year. Now the nation is watching to see which side wins in the battle between Mr. Walker and the flood of unions, local and national, that has surrounded the Capitol to fight him.
      “The play by the governor is part of a longer history and a longer struggle over ideas and social policy,” said Rosemary Feurer, a labor historian at Northern Illinois University. “When I see this I think, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.”
      In her book, “Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950,” Professor Feurer recounts how companies in the electrical industry in St. Louis started a network known as the Metal Trades Association in the first part of the 20th century to fight union organizing. The association had been alarmed by union protests that erupted violently with the Haymarket Square riot in 1886 and the demands for an eight-hour day, which started with the 1894 Pullman strike in Illinois — an early effort by Eugene V. Debs, the former Indiana legislator and future Socialist Party candidate for president.
      “That left a legacy of the 1930s and ’40s for employers to form deep right-wing networks,” Professor Feurer said.
      That network, she argues, was the precursor to the Midwestern groups that have now been assisting the fight against the unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana: the Bradley Foundation, based in Milwaukee, and Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kan. David H. and Charles G. Koch, the billionaire brothers behind the energy and manufacturing conglomerate that bears their name, have been large donors to Mr. Walker in Wisconsin, as has their advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, which first opened an office in Wisconsin in 2005…. – NYT, 3-6-11
    • Julian Zelizer: By keeping his distance, has Obama played Wisconsin right?: “The biggest danger in some ways was for him to be consumed by this issue,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That hasn’t happened.”… – CS Monitor, 2-25-11

    ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

    • Republican presidential hopefuls join battle to face Barack Obama in 2012: The race to take on the Democratic president has begun in earnest as potential contenders head for the key battleground of Iowa… – Guardian UK, 3-6-11
    • Gates Ratchets Up His Campaign of Candor: This is the season when defense secretaries typically sit for hours, hat in hand, before Congressional committees to plead for more money and then journey to the military academies to give perfunctory speeches about patriotism before young cadets. But this year, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has not followed the script…. Mr. Gates’s independence is a reminder that if he leaves this year — as he has insisted he will — his departure will kick off a search that will help define the administration. Will the president choose someone as outspoken, with a bipartisan pedigree that allows him to criticize the conduct of combat and makes him acceptable to Republicans?… – NYT, 3-5-11
    • Unions wary of Dems’ convention plans in NC: With the American labor movement newly energized by its most serious threat in years, the Democratic Party’s decision to hold its 2012 convention in the least union-friendly state is causing friction with a key constituency. The Democratic National Committee selected Charlotte to show confidence in the party’s ability to win crucial swing states in the South, including North Carolina, that President Barack Obama carried in 2008. But the choice isn’t sitting well with some union leaders. “I think the Democratic Party is in crisis and they’re trying to figure out who are they really going to represent,” said Angaza Laughinghouse, president of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • Gingrich: I expect to be ‘in the race’: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he expects to be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • Gingrich Tests 2012 Presidential Support: Newt Gingrich on Thursday became the first major Republican to begin raising money for the 2012 presidential race, but he stopped short of declaring his candidacy until he finishes delivering paid speeches this month and distances himself from a web of business ventures that would interfere with a campaign.
      In an afternoon visit to the State Capitol here, Mr. Gingrich smiled broadly as he entered the governor’s formal briefing room, with his wife, Callista, at his side. He said they had decided, after months of deliberation, to move forward and see if he could find enough support among Republican primary voters to compete seriously for the party’s nomination.
      “We believe that America’s best years are actually ahead of us,” said Mr. Gingrich, 67, who won his first bid for elective office 33 years ago as a Georgia congressman. “We believe that it is possible through the right policies, with the right values, to create dramatically more jobs with dramatically higher incomes.”… – NYT, 3-4-11
    • Newt Gingrich: Return of the Mack: This week, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives (1995 to 1999) and de facto face of the House Republican Revolution of the nineties, launched a new website to explore “whether there is sufficient support for my potential candidacy for President of this exceptional country.” The website features a large picture of Gingrich with his third wife, Callista, but little else aside for a place for supporters to sign up and leave a comment.
      Republicans are split on him. A recent survey by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center showed 41 percent of people who identified as Republican viewed him favorably but 39 percent view him unfavorably. Those ratings were much higher among those Republicans who also identified as conservative, but conversely lower among those who identified as moderate. Overall, however, he only pulled support form seven percent of those polled, trailing far behind the other candidates…. – WYNC, 3-4-11
    • Huckabee Slams Natalie Portman For Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy: Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a potential 2012 presidential candidate, went after the actress Natalie Portman for getting pregnant before she was married…. – NYT, 3-4-11
    • Why is Mike Huckabee criticizing Natalie Portman? (Poll): “You know Michael, one of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine,'” Huckabee said. “But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock [sic].”
      Huckabee’s argument isn’t an unfamiliar one for conservatives, but the example is somewhat odd. Portman is, after all, marrying the father of her child. She didn’t practice abstinence, as Huckabee advocates, but neither do scores of other celebrities. By embracing motherhood and marriage, she’s taking a more conservative position than many of her peers.
      In a statement, Huckabee called Portman “an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar trophy” and said “I am glad she will marry her baby’s father.” He said he wasn’t attacking her, only arguing that “it’s unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock.”… – WaPo, 3-4-11
    • Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and the spotlight-chasing candidates of 2012: “Don’t you think it’s fair also to ask [Barack Obama] . . . how come we don’t have a health record, we don’t have a college record, we don’t have a birth cer – why, Mr. Obama, did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It’s one thing to say, I’ve – you’ve seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don’t you think we deserve to know more about this man?”
      “I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya. . . .”… – WaPo, 3-4-11
    • Gingrich Appearance in Georgia to Give 2012 U.S. Presidential Race a Nudge: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today moves closer to jumping into the 2012 Republican presidential race, appearing in his home state of Georgia to discuss his White House aspirations and announce fundraising efforts.
      Gingrich, 67, will make his comments during a visit to the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Though aides say he is stopping short of announcing formation of a presidential exploratory committee, his remarks will nudge forward a Republican primary race that so far has been marked by prospective candidates biding their time.
      Joe Gaylord, one of Gingrich’s longest-serving advisers, said he expects him to launch a challenge to President Barack Obama…. – Bloomberg, 3-3-11
    • Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii won’t seek re-election: Democratic U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii announced Wednesday he won’t run for re-election next year after 22 years in the Senate. The 86-year-old Akaka — the third oldest member of the Senate — becomes the seventh recent senator to announce plans to retire.
      “It was a very difficult decision for me. However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside,” Akaka said in a statement. “I have always strived to serve the people with much love and aloha.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • Gingrich announces website to explore GOP bid: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he is launching a website to explore a run for president…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Rove groups plan $120 million campaign in 2012: A pair of political action committees organized by GOP strategist Karl Rove and demonized by Democrats said Tuesday it plans to raise $120 million ahead of the 2012 elections to help make President Barack Obama a one-term leader and elect Republicans. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS told supporters they look to raise the massive sum to combat unions, which spent a combined $400 million to help elect Obama and Democrats in 2008. With eyes on Wisconsin and Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s showdown there with Democrats over union rights, the conservative committees hope to attract donors and attention early. “These resources will fund advocacy efforts to compete with the torrent of outside money from unions and left- leaning groups,” said Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the effort. “Our first fundraising goal in 2010 was $52 million, but we ended up raising $71 million. There’s more time to raise money, there’s more at stake and we have a proven brand now. We’ve spoken with all of our donors — they’re sticking with us, and most plan to come in at a significantly higher level than last time.”… – AP, 3-2-11
    • GOP hopefuls cheer for a spending showdown: Easy for them to say: Cut spending, no matter what. Don’t let the government borrow any more. Shut it down if you have to. While the cast of potential White House contenders tells Congress to get tough, drawing lines in the sand is risky for lawmakers who have to live with the consequences. Many remember what happened more than two years ago when House conservatives bolted from their Republican president and leadership to defeat a $700 billion rescue bill for the nation’s financial system. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 777 points, the most ever for a single day. Lawmakers had second thoughts, and four days later 58 of them, including 25 Republicans, switched sides to pass it…. – AP, 2-28-11

    QUOTES

    The President records the Weekly Address
    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at Miami Central High School, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 3/4/11
    • Weekly Address: Both Parties Must Come Together on a Budget that Cuts Wasteful Spending Without Sacrificing Investments in the Future: Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery, Miami, Florida March 5, 2011: I’m talking with you from Miami, Florida, where I’m visiting Miami Central High School, a school that’s turning itself around on behalf of its kids. And I came here with Jeb Bush, former governor of this state, because he and I share the view that education isn’t a partisan issue – it’s an American issue.
      But in a larger sense, this is a moment when we’ve all got to do what the students and teachers are doing here. We’ve got to step up our game.
      Our top priority right now has to be creating new jobs and opportunities in a fiercely competitive world. And this week, we received very good news on that front. We learned that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two years as our economy added another 222,000 private sector jobs last month.
      Now, we have a lot more work to do, not just for the Americans who still don’t have a job, but for the millions more who still don’t have the right job or all the work they need to live out the American Dream. But the progress we’re seeing says something about the determination and ingenuity of our people and our businesses. What’s also helping to fuel this economic growth are the tax cuts that Democrats and Republicans came together to pass in December and I signed into law – tax cuts that are already making Americans’ paychecks bigger and allowing businesses to write off their investments, freeing up more money for job creation.
      Just as both parties cooperated on tax relief that is now fueling job growth, we need to come together around a budget that cuts spending without slowing our economic momentum. We need a government that lives within its means without sacrificing job-creating investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.
      The budget I sent to Congress makes these investments, but it also includes a 5-year spending freeze, and it will reduce our deficits by $1 trillion over the next decade. In fact, the cuts I’ve proposed would bring annual domestic spending to its lowest share of the economy under any president in more than 50 years.
      Over the last few weeks, Members of Congress have been debating their own proposals. And I was pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together a few days ago and passed a plan to cut spending and keep the government running for two more weeks. Still, we can’t do business two weeks at a time. It’s not responsible, and it threatens the progress our economy has been making. We’ve got to keep that momentum going.
      We need to come together, Democrats and Republicans, around a long-term budget that sacrifices wasteful spending without sacrificing the job-creating investments in our future. My administration has already put forward specific cuts that meet congressional Republicans halfway. And I’m prepared to do more. But we’ll only finish the job together – by sitting at the same table, working out our differences, and finding common ground. That’s why I’ve asked Vice President Biden and members of my Administration to meet with leaders of Congress going forward.
      Getting our fiscal house in order can’t just be something we use as cover to do away with things we dislike politically. And it can’t just be about how much we cut. It’s got to be about how we cut and how we invest. We’ve got to be smart about it. Because if we cut back on the kids I’ve met here and their education, for example, we’d be risking the future of an entire generation of Americans. And there’s nothing responsible about that.
      We’ve got to come together to put America back on a fiscally sustainable course – and make sure that when it comes to the economy of the 21st century, our children and our country are better-prepared than anyone else in the world to take it on. Our future depends on it. That’s not a Democratic or a Republican challenge – that’s an American challenge. And I’m confident it’s one we’ll meet. – WH, 3-5-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • “I’m Not Willing to Give Up on Any Child In America:” The President’s Trip to Miami Central High School: We are at a pivotal turning point. We just came through a tough recession that’s taken a big toll on families here in Florida and all across the country. And to accelerate our recovery in the short term we took some essential steps to spur hiring and economic growth, including tax cuts that are making Americans’ paychecks bigger and letting businesses write off their investments –- and I am proud — I’m proud that Republicans and Democrats came together to get that done.
      And you’re already seeing those steps make a difference. This morning we learned that the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in nearly two years. (Applause.) Our economy added another 222,000 jobs in the private sector. (Applause.) That’s the 12th straight month of private sector job growth. So our economy has now added 1.5 million private sector jobs over the last year. And that’s progress. (Applause.)
      But we need to keep building on that momentum. And in a world that’s more competitive, more connected than ever before, that means answering some difficult questions
      Now, turning around these schools isn’t easy. A lot of people used to argue, well, all they need is more money. But money is not alone going to do the job. We also have to reform how things are done. It isn’t easy to turn around an expectation of failure and make that into an expectation of excellence. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. And there is always plenty of naysayers out there who will say it’s not even possible. Who say that turning around a failing school means just throwing good money after bad. Who say too many of these schools are beyond repair. Who say we ought to give up on those schools and focus on places that have more breaks and have a little more going for them.
      Here’s what I say. I say I am not willing to give up on any child in America. (Applause.) I say I’m not willing to give up on any school in America. (Applause.) I do not accept failure here in America. (Applause.) I believe the status quo is unacceptable; it is time to change it. And it’s time we came together — just like Jeb and I are doing today -– coming from different parties but we come together not as Democrats or Republicans, as Americans –- to lift up all of our schools — (applause) — and to prepare students like you for a 21st century economy. (Applause.) To give every child in America a chance to make the most of their God-given potential…. – WH, 3-5-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul: Standing up to EPA’s war on coal Coal is a vital sector of Kentucky’s economy. More than 200,000 jobs in the state depend on it, including more than 18,000 coal miners, and half the country’s electricity comes from coal. And yet, as we’re faced with a weakened economy and high unemployment, an overreaching Environmental Protection Agency in Washington is blocking new… jobs for Kentuckians by waging a war on coal…. – Kentucky.com, 3-5-11
    • Clinton backs Al-Jazeera, criticizes US news media before Senate: A decade ago the U.S. government attacked Al-Jazeera as a propagator of anti-American propaganda. Now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is citing the network for fine news coverage _ and tweaking the U.S. media in the process…. – AP, 3-4-11
    • President Obama on the Tragic Events In Germany: I want to take a brief moment just to say a few words about a tragic event that took place earlier today in Frankfurt, Germany.
      I’m saddened and I am outraged by this attack that took the lives of two Americans and wounded two others. I think the American people are united in expressing our gratitude for the service of those who were lost. Michelle and I have their family and their friends in our thoughts and prayers and we are praying for a speedy recovery for those who were injured.
      I want everybody to understand that we will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place and in working with German authorities to ensure that all of the perpetrators are brought to justice.
      We don’t have all the information yet, and you will be fully briefed as we get more information. But this is a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe, and the dangers that they face all around the globe.
      So I think it’s fair to say that on behalf of the American people we want to extend our deepest condolences to these families. And we will give you further updates as we get more information about it. – WH, 3-2-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • STATEMENT BY SENATORS MCCAIN AND LIEBERMAN REGARDING THE SITUATION IN LIBYA: We strongly support President Obama’s declaration yesterday that Colonel Qaddafi must go. The President is correct that Qaddafi and those loyal to him—by unleashing horrific violence against the Libyan people—have lost the legitimacy to remain in power, and we agree that the United States must consider the full range of options to stop the bloodshed taking place in Libya now.
      We also applaud the measures adopted by the United States and our partners so far to ratchet up the pressure on the Qaddafi regime, including the imposition of both unilateral and multilateral sanctions, the regime’s eviction from the UN Human Rights Council, its suspension from the Arab League, and the referral of its case to the International Criminal Court.
      However, we remain deeply concerned about the situation in Libya. Despite the measures adopted by the international community, the Qaddafi regime still appears to be entrenched in Tripoli, and news reports indicate that Qaddafi’s forces are carrying out a campaign of terror against Libyan civilians. We are also deeply concerned that Qaddafi’s forces have launched offensives, including the use of airpower, against the opposition in the liberated areas of Libya.
      It is stated U.S. policy that Qaddafi must go, so now it is critical for the United States, together with our friends and allies, to ensure that he does go – as quickly as possible. A protracted and bloody stalemate in Libya would not only be an unnecessary humanitarian disaster, with the potential to destabilize a critical region. It could also create space for al Qaeda and its extremist allies to exploit the chaos. We agree with Secretary Clinton about the danger that a prolonged Libyan civil war could result in another Somalia. Moreover, if Qaddafi is able to remain in power, it would send a dangerous message that dictators should respond with brutal violence to the peaceful protest movement for universal rights that is sweeping the region and beyond…. – Lieberman Senate, 3-4-11
    • The President on Libya: “The Violence Must Stop; Muammar Gaddafi Has Lost the Legitimacy to Lead and He Must Leave”: The United States, and the entire world, continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people. The United States is helping to lead an international effort to deter further violence, put in place unprecedented sanctions to hold the Qaddafi government accountable, and support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We are also responding quickly to the urgent humanitarian needs that are developing.
      Tens of thousands of people—from many different countries—are fleeing Libya, and we commend the governments of Tunisia and Egypt for their response, even as they go through their own political transitions. I have therefore approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to help move Egyptians who have fled to the Tunisian border to get back home to Egypt. I’ve authorized USAID to charter additional civilian aircraft to help people from other countries find their way home. And we’re supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well.
      I have also directed USAID to send humanitarian assistance teams to the Libyan border, so that they can work with the United Nations, NGOs and other international partners inside Libya to address the urgent needs of the Libyan people.
      Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: the violence must stop; Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave; those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable; and the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met. – WH, 3-3-11
    • Presidential Proclamation: Women’s History Month: During Women’s History Month, we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honor their role in shaping the course of our nation’s history….
      As we prepare to write the next chapter of women’s history, we must carry forward the work of the women who came before us and ensure our daughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacles to their achievements, and no remaining ceilings to shatter…. – WH, 3-1-11
    • Presidential Proclamation: 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps: In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order establishing the Peace Corps, forever changing the way America sees the world and the world sees us…. On its 50th anniversary, the United States Peace Corps remains an enduring symbol of our nation’s commitment to encouraging progress, creating opportunity, and fostering mutual respect and understanding throughout the world…. – WH, 2-28-11
    • President Obama’s Plan to Cut Red Tape, Give States Flexibility, and Save Money: President Obama issued a memorandum to executive departments and agencies to work with state, tribal, and local governments to reduce unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens in order to focus resources on achieving better outcomes at lower cost…. – WH, 2-28-11
    • John Boehner: The House just voted to repeal ObamaCare’s job-destroying 1099 paperwork mandate, a major source of uncertainty for job-creators grappling w/ the costs of the government’s takeover of health care. Having run a small business, I can tell you Washington mandates like this destroy jobs by increasing costs, creating uncertainty, & burying employers in paperwork. The Senate should pass this bill without delay. –
    • First Lady Michelle Obama & Dr. Jill Biden to America’s Governors: Support Our Military Families: Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors’ Association and talk about their initiative to support America’s military families….
      Because in the end, this is something that I think we can all agree on, no matter where we come from, no matter what we might think about any other issue. We all know that this issue — this is not a Democrat issue, this is not a Republican issue. This is an American issue. And more importantly, this is an American obligation. It truly is.
      It’s about showing our gratitude to that very small group of Americans who make such a tremendous contribution and sacrifice to this country. And it’s about serving the people who sacrifice so much to serve us. – WH, 2-28-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • President Obama and Vice President Biden Address National Governors Association: The President announces a proposal to move up the date when states are allowed to implement their own health care plans as long as they meet the standards for affordability and coverage under the Affordable Care Act…. – WH, 2-28-11
    • President Obama to America’s Governors: “The Flexibility That You Need to Find Your Own Innovative Ways Forward”: You see, part of the genius of our Founders was the establishment of a federal system in which each of our states serves as a laboratory for our democracy. Through this process, some of the best state ideas became some of America’s best ideas. So whether it’s through Race to the Top, or improving the Affordable Care Act, or reforming the way that we approach social programs by ensuring that spending is tied to success, our approach has been to give you the flexibility that you need to find your own innovative ways forward…. – WH, 2-28-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • Barbour says Obama cheers for higher gas prices: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential presidential contender, accused the Obama administration Wednesday of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.
      “This administration’s policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive,” Barbour said during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce breakfast across the street from the White House…. – AP, 3-2-11
    • Mitch McConnell: U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following comment on the Senate floor Monday regarding the need to reduce Washington spending. ‘Americans have been telling lawmakers for two years that business as usual simply will not cut it anymore. They want us to get our fiscal house in order and to start to create the right conditions for private sector job growth. Democrats have an opportunity this week to show they get it. They have an opportunity to show that the status quo on spending and debt is no longer an option.’… – The Hill, 2-28-11
    • Rep. Eric Cantor: Cutting spending will grow the economy: America is at a tipping point, and Republicans have begun to take action. Last week, the House passed unprecedented legislation reducing discretionary spending this fiscal year by more than $100 billion. In addition, we made clear that our long-term budget, to be unveiled in the spring, will address the entitlement crisis that threatens to bankrupt our country – a long overdue move that politicians for too long have kicked down the road. This show of fiscal restraint represents not merely a clean break with Congress’ free- spending past, but a rededication to economic growth and a laser-like focus on job creation.
      It’s important to recognize the link between cutting spending and growing the economy. Like the gardener pruning the tree, we do not cut for the sake of cutting, but out of necessity. It’s the only way to restore economic health and free up the private capital necessary for new growth. Put simply, less government spending equals more private sector jobs…. – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-26-11

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

    • Dukakis on Obama, Palin and what might have been: …”You make the effort,” he says, “and if folks just don’t want to sit down and come to a reasonable conclusion, you just go out and say, ‘The single most important priority is getting this economy back on track and getting people back to work, and what these guys are doing is going to have a profound effect on that.”
      Of course, this isn’t to say that Obama shouldn’t also begin defining the Republican opposition now in advance of next year’s presidential race. Dukakis suggests that Obama steal a page from the playbook of Clinton, who began running television ads in the summer of 1995.
      “I mean, [Clinton] had poor Dole on the floor, bleeding, a year in advance,” Dukakis says. “I think, given the opposition he’s likely to face, the corporate money pouring in, I’d make it an issue. I’d make the Koch brothers an issue — where’s that money coming from? I’d turn that into a plus, and early.”
      Ask him about the Tea Party and the woman who is arguably its most prominent public face — Sarah Palin — and Dukakis reacts with bewilderment…. – Salon, 3-6-11
    • Julian Zelizer: Obama steers clear of ‘doctrine’ as Arab tumult rages: “The closest we have to a policy is to allow the different revolutions to take place at their own pace, based on the timing of the people involved and intervening only through general statements of support,” said Julian Zelizer of Princeton University. “Other than that I don’t think there is any consistent principle.”
      “It can push you into wars where you should not be because you want to follow the logic of the doctrine,” said Zelizer. “Vietnam is a great example of where presidents from (Dwight) Eisenhower to (Lyndon) Johnson were following the logic of the ideas set out by Truman but in a war that really wasn’t that necessary and many realized they shouldn’t be in.” – AFP, 3-5-11
    • For Reagan, Gadhafi Was A Frustrating ‘Mad Dog’: America’s long, complicated history with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi goes back three decades. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Gadhafi was public enemy No. 1 — just as President John Kennedy’s nemesis had been Cuba’s Fidel Castro. “I find he’s not only a barbarian but he’s flaky,” Reagan said of Gadhafi. Some U.S. allies — even a few officials within his own administration — thought Reagan was too fixated on Gadhafi, that he was building Gadhafi up. But the president bristled at the Libyan leader’s support for terrorist groups and revolutionaries. And he coined a nickname for him: the “mad dog of the Middle East.” Gadhafi’s goal, Reagan said, was “a Muslim fundamentalist revolution.”… – NPR, 3-4-11
    • Julian E. Zelizer Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton And are two-week budgets the new normal?: It is a very effective strategy for Republicans. The longer this stopgap figure is in place, the easier it is for Republicans to claim that this is the new normal when it comes time to pass the budget. Through the stopgap they lower the bar as to how much money Congress needs to spend and place Democrats in the position of defending perceived increases in spending (rather than the reality, where they are preventing budget cuts). – Politico Arena, 3-3-11
    • Obama’s ‘Where’s Waldo?’ presidency: For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action – unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful. Each of these instances can be explained on its own terms, as matters of legislative strategy, geopolitical calculation or political prudence. Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape…. – WaPo, 3-1-11
    • Liberal tradition is under assault: In one of the unexpected moments from the past few weeks, some defenders of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on public unions have pointed to President Franklin Roosevelt.
      Patrick McIlheran of the Journal Sentinel wrote, “Somewhere, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is grinning past his cigarette holder at Wisconsin’s governor. They are on the same page regarding government unions.”
      These commentators have noted that Roosevelt’s doubts about public sector unions suggest that today’s conservatives are more in touch with his positions than the Democrats…. – CNN, 2-28-11
    • Julian Zelizer: By keeping his distance, has Obama played Wisconsin right?: “The biggest danger in some ways was for him to be consumed by this issue,” says Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “That hasn’t happened.”… – CS Monitor, 2-25-11

    Ken Germanson: America’s union story: Blood, struggle and bargaining for good and bad

    Source: CNN, 3-4-11

    union-story

    By Ashley Fantz
    CNN

    Eighty-one-year-old labor historian Ken Germanson watches the news from home in Milwaukee every night, mystified.

    “All those people raising their signs, protesting,” he said. “Well, geez, what did our governor think was going to happen?”

    Germanson ran the Wisconsin Labor History Society for nearly two decades, an organization that teaches students about the state’s union heritage.

    This year, students will learn 2011 is the 100th anniversary of when Wisconsin became the first state to pass a law guaranteeing workers’ compensation. They’ll probably be taught that the state was a major fighter in the early 19th century for the radical idea of an eight-hour workday. It is the law, after all, in the land of cheese and Super Bowl champs, that school curriculums include Wisconsin’s organized labor history.

    It’s also possible that some of those students and teachers are today among the thousands of demonstrators who have crowded the state Capitol in Madison for weeks. They are beating drums, holding hands, doing defiant yoga, all chanting, “Kill the bill!”

    The bill, backed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and many GOP lawmakers, would mostly end public unions’ rights to bargain collectively. The governor and his supporters say the legislation would help ease the state’s projected $3.6 billion budget deficit by, in part, increasing state worker contributions for pension and health benefits.

    Workers view the bill as a way to quash their rights to negotiate for better work conditions and decent wages. Fourteen Democratic lawmakers have left the state in protest, refusing to vote on the measure, a move that got them slapped with $100 fines for every day they are gone.

    Similar political and union battles are boiling in Indiana and Ohio, where bills would end or substantially weaken public unions…READ MORE

    Political Highlights February 28, 2011: Governors & Tea Party Meet — Obama Congress Budget Showdown; Threat of Government Shutdown — Wisconsin’s Gov. Walker & Union Wars — Unrest in the Middle East & Libya

    POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

    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.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

    President Obama and a bipartisan group of governors in the State Dining Room
    The President tells Governors that from infrastructure to the health reform law, he wants to give them “the flexibility that you need to find your own innovative ways forward.”

    STATS & POLLS

    • Almost Six in Ten Americans Give President Obama Negative Job Rating Almost nine in ten give Congress negative ratings: Going into these battles, almost three in five Americans (58%) have a negative opinion of the job the President is doing while 42% have a positive opinion of it. This is slightly down from last month when 44% of U.S. adults gave the job the President was doing positive marks and 56% gave it negative ratings…. – PRNewswire, 2-28-11
    • Gallup poll: Obama’s approval ratings fell across U.S. in 2010: The Gallup survey says President Obama’s approval rating is above 50% in a dozen states, and in 10 states his approval rating is lower than 40%…. – LAT, 2-23-11

    REVOLUTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: LIBYA IN TURMOIL

    Ed Ou for The New York Times

    Egyptian protesters taped a flag on the front doors of the Libyan Embassy in Cairo on Sunday.

    Political Highlights February 21, 2011: Obama Unveils Budget, Wisconsin Budget Crisis & Unions — Unrest in the Middle East Erupts

    POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

    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.

    OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

    West Wing Week

    STATS & POLLS

    • Ratings on Obama’s handling of the deficit: In a new Gallup poll – taken before the president released his budget this week – fully 68 percent of Americans said they disapprove of the way the president is handling the federal budget deficit, by far his worst rating of the eight specific issues in the survey. Pitted against the GOP, however, there’s a roughly even split: in a January Washington Post-ABC News poll, 44 percent of Americans said they put more faith in Obama to handle the deficit; about as many said they trust the GOP on the issue. (CBS-NYT and CNN polls in January showed similar divide.)… – WaPo, 2-15-11
    • Obama Ratings Continue to Rise in Approval: President Obama’s ratings of approval continue to rise according to a new poll released this week. The approval rating for Obama increase to 51 percent from 50 percent in January, and his disapproval rating similarly slid to 46 percent from 47 percent — part of an upward trend since October’s 43 percent low.
      Contributing to Obama’s positive rating is the fact that the jobless rate dipped to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent the month before, completing a 0.8 percentage point drop since November that was the biggest two-month decline since 1958…. – Third Age, 2-11-11
    • Obama’s 2012 Budget Proposal: How $3.7 Trillion is Spent: Explore every nook and cranny of President Obama’s budget proposal. – NYT
    • The Budget: Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012 contains the Budget Message of the President, information on the President’s priorities, budget overviews organized by agency, and summary tables.
      To download “Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012” as a single PDF click here (216 pages, 4.1 MB)
    • Breakdown of budget’s big numbers: There are a lot of big numbers being tossed around in Washington these days: a $3.7 trillion budget proposal, $61 billion in cuts, a $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Below is a breakdown of what they represent…. – WaPo, 2-15-11
    • Office of Management and Budget: Budget 2012:

    REVOLUTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

    Raouf Mohseni/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Members of Iran’s Parliament clamored on Tuesday for two leaders of the opposition movement, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, to be hanged.

    • Qaddafi’s Son Warns of Civil War as Libyan Protests Widen: A five-day-old uprising in Libya took control of its second-largest city of Benghazi and spread for the first time to the capital of Tripoli late on Sunday as the heir-apparent son of its strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, warned Libyans in a televised speech that their oil-rich country would fall into civil war and even renewed Western “colonization” if they threw off his father’s 40-year-long rule…. – NYT, 2-21-11
    • Clinton: Gadhafi must stop bloodshed: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the violence against anti-government protesters in Libya on Monday and called on the government of Moammar Gadhafi to “stop this unacceptable bloodshed.” Clinton said the world is watching event unfold in Libya “with alarm.”… At least 233 people have been killed so far, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.
      “Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed,” Clinton said in what amounted to the toughest denunciation of the crackdown in Libya by the Obama administration yet…. – AP, 2-21-11
    • Libya Death Toll Surges in Crackdown: Libya Regime Fires on Protesters in Capital; Nation Fractures; Diplomats Break Ties… Violent clashes between protesters and security forces snowballed in cities throughout eastern Libya Sunday, as the country’s leader, Moammar Gadhafi, struggled to crush an uprising aimed at ending … WSJ, 2-20-11
    • US condemns crackdowns on Mideast protests: A senior U.S. diplomat on Sunday condemned the brutal crackdown on opposition protesters in Libya, saying Arab leaders facing pro-democracy protests need to lead the way rather than resist reform. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the Obama administration was “very concerned” about reported armed attacks by Libyan security forces on peaceful protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi.
      “We’ve condemned that violence,” Rice told “Meet the Press” on NBC. “Our view is that in Libya as throughout the region peaceful protests need to be respected.”… – AP, 2-20-11
    • 1 killed as Yemeni police fire on marchers: Antigovernment protesters shouted slogans and raised their shoes in Sana, Yemen, yesterday. It was the 10th day of protests….. – Boston Globe, 2-20-11
    • Bahrain’s gov’t says dialogue begins with opposition: Bahrain’s government says it has begun what it calls a dialogue, with opposition groups demanding reform…. – Xinhuanet, 2-20-11
    • Cycle of Suppression Rises in Libya and Elsewhere: Libyan security forces moved against protesters Saturday in Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city and the epicenter of the most serious challenge to four decades of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule, opposition leaders and residents said. The death toll rose to at least 104 people, most of them in Benghazi, Human Rights Watch reported…. – NYT, 2-19-11
    • After 42 years, Libya’s controversial ruler faces new threats: Moammar Gadhafi’s first grab at power occurred 42 years ago in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, when he led a crew of fellow military officers in taking over key government institutions…. – CNN International, 2-19-11
    • Egypt women stand for equality in the square: Women think as differently as they dress here, but they have emerged from the barricades agreeing on one thing: This is their moment in history, and they cannot afford to lose it. During 18 days of demonstrating for freedom and democracy, Egyptian men and women walked into Tahrir Square separate and unequal, divided by gender as they passed through checkpoints. Men were scrutinized by men, and women had their bags and person searched by other women. There were several lines of men to every one for the fewer numbers of women…. – WaPO, 2-19-11
    • Libya, Yemen crack down; Bahrain pulls back tanks: Security forces in Libya and Yemen fired on pro-democracy demonstrators Saturday as the two hard-line regimes struck back against the wave of protests that has already toppled autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia. At least 15 died when police shot into crowds of mourners in Libya’s second-largest city, a hospital official said.
      Even as Bahrain’s king bowed to international pressure and withdrew tanks to allow demonstrators to retake a symbolic square in the capital, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh made clear they plan to stamp out opposition and not be dragged down by the reform movements that have grown in nations from Algeria to Djibouti to Jordan.
      Libyans returned to the street for a fifth straight day of protests against Gadhafi, the most serious uprising in his 42-year reign, despite estimates by human rights groups of 84 deaths in the North African country — with 35 on Friday alone…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • Police kill 4 during protests on Yemen’s ‘Friday of Rage’: Antigovernment demonstrators clashed with supporters of Yemen’s longtime ruler and riot police, who fired guns and tear gas to disperse the crowd on what organizers called a nationwide “Friday of rage”…. – Boston Globe, 2-19-11
    • Over 50 injured as troops open fire in Bahrain: Bahraini troops have fired on anti-government demonstrators, just a day after several people were killed when a protest camp was forcibly removed in the capital, Manama…. – Xinhuanet, 2-19-11
    • Bahrain’s king seeks dialogue after another crackdown on protesters: The widened unrest in the Middle East took a more violent turn Friday as US-allied governments in Yemen and Bahrain opened fire on their citizens, prompting Britain and France to announce a halt in arms sales. WaPo, 2-19-11
    • Rights group estimates 84 killed in Libya protests: Libyan security forces have killed 84 people in a harsh crackdown on three days of protests, said the New York- based Human Rights Watch, even as the government shut off Internet in the North African country early on Saturday…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • Bahrain opposition plots strategy before talks: Bahrain’s opposition wants the nation’s rulers to guarantee they will back up their conciliatory words with actions, a Shiite leader said Sunday as he and other activists weighed the regime’s offer for talks after nearly a week of protests and deadly clashes that have divided the Gulf nation. The streets in the tiny but strategically important island kingdom were calmer as efforts shifted toward political haggling over demands the monarchy give up its near-absolute control over key policies and positions…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • Egypt to allow Iranian vessels through Suez Canal: Egypt has agreed to allow two Iranian naval vessels to transit the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean, a military official said Friday, ending several days of confusion over their planned passage, which Israel’s foreign minister has labeled a provocation.
      The movement of Iranian naval ships past Israeli shores is of concern there because Israel considers Iran an existential threat. Those fears stem from Iran’s disputed nuclear program, ballistic missile development, support for militants in the region and its threats to destroy Israel.
      The White House said the U.S. was also closely monitoring the progress of the ships, now in the Red Sea. Their passage comes as the region is being swept by anti-government unrest, including the protests that toppled Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak a week ago and left the military in charge of the country…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • Obama condemns violence in Middle East: President Barack Obama on Friday condemned reports of violent reprisals against protesters in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen, and called for government restraint as unrest swept the volatile Middle East in the wake of Egypt’s uprising.
      “I am deeply concerned about reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur,” Obama said. “The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests and to respect the rights of their people.”… – 2-18-11
    • Opposition figure says Libya uprisings ignored: TANYA NOLAN: As we’ve mentioned media bans and intermittent phone and internet connections have made it very difficult to verify events unfolding in Libya…. – ABC Online, 2-18-11
    • In Yemen, Arab unrest takes a violent turn: Several thousand Yemeni protesters defied appeals for calm and marched through the capital on Thursday, pressing on with their campaign to oust the country’s president… – WaPo, 2-18-11
    • Bahrain’s Crackdown Wins Neighbors’ Support: WSJ’s Joe Parkinson reports from the midst of ongoing protests in Bahrain in which at least three people have died.
      Bahrain’s military sent tanks and armored personnel carriers into the streets Thursday to extend its control after a government crackdown on protests, while neighboring monarchies of the Persian Gulf endorsed the country’s violent response…. – WSJ, 2-18-11
    • Bahrain Turmoil Poses Fresh Test for White House: Hundreds gathered outside a hospital emergency room in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, on Thursday afternoon to wait for news about the injured…. – NYT, 2-17-11
    • Bahrain Main Opposition Group says 2 Dead in Crackdown: Bahrain’s leading opposition party says at least two protesters were killed early Thursday when riot police stormed the main square of the capital, Manama, driving out thousands of demonstrators who had set up camp, demanding sweeping political change…. – Voice of America, 2-17-11
    • Libya protests: Activists call for ‘day of anger’: Anti-government activists in Libya have been using social networking sites to rally support for protests on what they are describing as a “day of anger”…. – BBC News, 2-17-11
    • Protests Spread to Libya as Unrest Roils Bahrain, Yemen: A Bahraini anti-government protester waves his national flag during a protest calling for regime change at Pearl Square in Manama…. – Bloomberg, 2-16-11
    • Bahrain Takes the Stage With a Raucous ProtestNYT, 2-16-11
    • Obama careful in criticism of Iranian crackdown on protestsWaPo, 2-15-11
    • Iran’s Leader Derides Protests; Lawmakers Urge Death for Opposition Leaders: A day after the largest antigovernment protests in Iran in more than a year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday dismissed opposition attempts to revive mass demonstrations as certain to fail, while members of the Iranian Parliament clamored for the two most prominent leaders of the protest movement to be executed…. – NYT, 2-15-11
    • Tehran Beats Back New Protests: Iranian police used tear gas and electric prods to crack down on the country’s biggest antigovernment protests in at least a year, as demonstrators buoyed by activism across the Middle East returned to the country’s streets… – WSJ, 2-15-11
    • CBS News’ Lara Logan Assaulted During Egypt Protests: CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Separated From Her Crew And Brutally Assaulted on Day Mubarak Stepped Down… – CBS News, 2-15-11
    • ‘Egypt is free’ after Mubarak quits; celebrations continue into the nightCNN, 2-11-11
    • Egypt unrest: Mubarak’s speech leaves nation, world wondering who’s in chargeCNN, 2-10-11

    THE HEADLINES….

    • Arrested US official is actually CIA contractor: An American jailed in Pakistan for the fatal shooting of two armed men was secretly working for the CIA and scouting a neighborhood when he was arrested, a disclosure likely to further frustrate U.S. government efforts to free the man and strain relations between two countries partnered in a fragile alliance in the war on terror.
      Raymond Allen Davis, 36, had been working as a CIA security contractor and living in a Lahore safe house, according to former and current U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about the incident…. – AP, 2-21-11
    • G-20 Deal Reached, but Outcome Open to Interpretation: Negotiators from the world’s leading economies haggled all night over seemingly technical details regarding how to measure global economic imbalances. WSJ, 2-20-11
    • National Institute for Civil Discourse to open at University of Arizona: Colleagues pay tribute to wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the president’s address as the Arizona lawmaker is set to begin the next phase of her recovery at a rehab facility in Houston…. – WaPo, 2-20-11
    • Hot air on both sides in budget deficit debate: When Shakespeare’s Macbeth mentions a tale “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” he could be talking about the US budget process…. – St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2-20-11
    • Obama wades into budget battle in US states: The budget battle embroiling Washington is heating up in US states as newly elected Republican lawmakers move to bust public workers unions and slash services in the face of big deficits. President Barack Obama, who earlier this week threatened to veto the Republican federal budget plan, has also stepped into the fray at the state level as his Democratic party engages in a deeply ideological fight over budget priorities…. – AFP, 2-18-11
    • Obama coaches Sasha’s team, but without Sasha: President Barack Obama stepped in to help coach his younger daughter’s basketball team even when she wasn’t there. White House officials said Obama helped coach 9-year-old Sasha’s team Saturday in suburban Maryland because a regular parent-coach was unable to attend…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • Obama: US needs better math, science education: President Barack Obama says improving math and science education is essential to helping the U.S. compete globally, and he wants the private sector to get involved in making it happen. Obama recorded his weekly radio and Internet address during a visit this past week to Intel Corp. outside of Portland, Ore. He praised the company for making a 10-year, $200 million commitment to promote math and science education — and held it up as an example of how corporate America can make money at the same time it builds the country.
      “Companies like Intel are proving that we can compete — that instead of just being a nation that buys what’s made overseas, we can make things in America and sell them around the globe,” Obama said. “Winning this competition depends on the ingenuity and creativity of our private sector. . But it’s also going to depend on what we do as a nation to make America the best place on earth to do business.”… – AP, 2-19-11
    • Obama urges Bahrain’s king to show restraint: President Barack Obama condemned the violence in Bahrain and urged the country’s king in a phone call Friday night to show restraint after a series of bloody protests. Obama discussed the situation with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, asking the king to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. Obama says Bahrain must respect the “universal rights” of its people and embrace “meaningful reform.”… – AP, 2-19-11
    • Obama says companies can help bottom line & nation: Pushing his jobs agenda, President Barack Obama made the case Friday that companies can make money and build up the country at the same time, citing the giant Intel Corp. chip maker as his model of smart investing in education.
      “We know what works. We know how to succeed,” the president told employees here after getting an eye-opening tour of Intel’s manufacturing facility. “We know how to do big things. And all across this nation, in places just like this one, we have students and teachers, local leaders and companies who are working together to make it happen.”… – AP, 2-18-11
    • US vetoes UN resolution on Israeli settlements: The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.
      The 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution in Friday’s vote. The Obama administration’s veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • HI lawmaker: Obama birth certificate bill tabled: A proposal to sell copies of President Barack Obama’s birth records to anyone for $100 is going nowhere in the Hawaii Legislature…. – AP, 2-17-11
    • Obama seeks support from GOP on schools: President Obama is hoping the GOP will help him overhaul the No Child Left Behind law in time for the new school year this fall, but it may prove a tall order for a divided Congress that’s preoccupied with talk of cutting spending…. – Washington Times, 2-17-11
    • New White House press secretary takes stage: Jay Carney the journalist once commented that it’s a “tricky job” to be White House press secretary. “I’m sure I wouldn’t be any good at it,” he told C-SPAN in 2006 when he was Washington bureau … – USA Today, 2-17-11
    • California Supreme Court reenters Proposition 8 fray: The California Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday to take up a key question in the fight over Proposition 8 places the court once again at the forefront of the legal battle over same-sex marriage…. – LAT, 2-17-11
    • Obama awards Medal of Freedom to George H.W. Bush, Maya Angelou and 13 others: Presenting the nation’s highest civilian honor is ‘one of the things I most look forward to every year,’ President Obama says…. – LAT, 2-16-11
    • Clinton: How the Internet can save the world: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Internet can allow people to achieve great things, but also do great harm. She says now is the time to discuss what if any rules should be in place concerning the Web…. – WaPo, 2-15-11
    • Obama sends Congress $3.73 trillion budget: President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion budget Monday that holds out the prospect of eventually bringing deficits under control through spending cuts and tax increases. But the fiscal blueprint largely ignores his own deficit commission’s plea to slash huge entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
      Obama called his new budget one of “tough choices and sacrifices,” but most of those cuts would be held off until after the end of his first term…. – AP, 2-14-11
    • Obama calls for investments in education, r&d: President Barack Obama says the U.S. must invest in research and development, science, and especially education — or risk seeing the technological breakthroughs of the future happen in some other country. Obama says he wants to focus “like a laser” on improving education. He said the quality of a nation’s education is one of the biggest predictors of a nation’s success…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • Madoff: Banks ‘Had to Know’ of Multi-Billion Dollar Fraud: Convicted fraudster Bernard L. Madoff believes banks and hedge funds were complicit in his elaborate multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, The New York Times reported Tuesday…. – AP, 2-16-11
    • Obama budget fails to curb entitlements, GOP says: Republicans yesterday accused President Obama and Democrats in Congress of failing to rein in entitlement programs that make up the bulk of federal spending – but said they weren’t ready to lay out their own proposed cuts to the budget… – Boston Globe, 2-16-11
    • Obama’s Budget Focuses on Path to Rein in Deficit: With President Obama’s release on Monday of a budget for next year and House action this week on a Republican plan for immediate deep spending cuts, the nation is getting its clearest view since the president took office of the parties’ competing visions of the role of government, the urgency of addressing the deficit and the best path to long-term economic success.
      Mr. Obama used his budget for the fiscal year 2012 and beyond to make the case for selectively cutting spending while increasing resources in areas like education and clean energy initiatives that hold the potential for long- term payoffs in economic growth. With this year’s deficit projected to hit a record, $1.6 trillion, he laid out a path for bringing down annual deficits to more sustainable levels over the rest of the decade…. – NYT, 2-15-11
    • Obama budget: Some cuts, not the slashes GOP asks: Putting on the brakes after two years of big spending increases, President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan Monday that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation’s poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office….. – AP, 2-15-11
    • Highlights of Obama’s 2012 spending plan: Obama sends plan to Capitol Hill; goal is to get funding in place by start of 2012 fiscal year… Plan includes a significant increase in education funding… Plan decreases discretionary resources for the Department of Transportation…. It trims funding for African Development and Inter-American Foundations by nearly 20%
      President Obama’s spending plan is just the first step in a process that will involve no less than 40 congressional committees, 24 subcommittees, countless hearings and a number of floor votes in the House and Senate, with the aim of getting funding in place for the federal government by the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year October 1.
      Congress never passed a budget for the current fiscal year, and the government has been running on a “continuing resolution,” which expires March 4. House Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet over cuts to current programs and threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way.
      After Obama sends his 2012 plan to Capitol Hill, House and Senate budget committees each pass their own budget resolutions, which set caps on spending and establish revenue targets and generally serve as five- to 10-year blueprints for congressional priorities…. – CNN, 2-14-19
    • Obama budget resurrects rejected tax increases: President Barack Obama’s budget proposal resurrects a series of tax increases on certain corporations and the wealthy that were largely ignored by Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers. Republicans, who now control the House, are signaling they will be even less receptive.
      The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.- based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited starting in 2012, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes…. – AP, 2-14-11
    • Showtime for House Republican spending cuts: One day after President Barack Obama presented Congress with his $3.7 trillion budget, the focus shifts on Tuesday to Washington’s more immediate spending needs and a controversial spending-cut bill that Republicans hope to pass in the House of Representatives.
      The House legislation, cobbled together by Republicans after weeks of intraparty fighting, would cut about $61 billion from current spending in a bill to fund government activities through the rest of this fiscal year that ends on September 30.
      The spending being proposed would be equal to a 14 percent cut from last year…. – Reuters, 2-15-10
    • House Republicans counter Obama budget plan with much deeper cuts: On Monday, President Obama made his statement about how the government ought to change its spending habits: a gradual plan that minimizes immediate pain by phasing in cuts over a decade.
      Starting Tuesday, House Republicans will move forward with a very different approach, one intended to be viewed as radical and painful. Their proposal deals not with theoretical deficit targets set far in the future but with the final seven months of this year’s budget, a period left in flux by congressional inaction.
      House Republicans want to cut $61 billion from the budget, which would amount to the most significant government contraction since the end of World War II. Decried as “dire” and “disturbing” by Democrats, the plan has become a test for how far Republicans are willing to go in order to deliver on the promise of fiscal austerity that GOP candidates pledged to voters last year.
      “It’s big, and it’s real and it can impact people’s lives,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday of the House legislation. “But we have a budget deficit right now of nearly $1.5 trillion. We have a lot of work to do.”… – WaPo, 2-15-11
    • Obama budget: $3.7 trillion FY ‘12 blueprint calls for key ‘investments’; red ink surges: Trying to balance the need to rein in deficits with his belief that spending now on education and other priorities will pay off in the long term, President Obama on Monday sent Congress a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint for 2012 that makes some short-term fixes but puts off heavy lifting on Social Security and Medicare.
      The budget acts as an update on the current fiscal year, as well as a plan for the future, and it shows the federal government will run a record $1.645 trillion deficit in 2011, slimming down to $1.101 trillion in 2012 and continuing the red ink for the foreseeable future, though at lower levels.
      After massive spending during his first two years in office, Mr. Obama proposed some tax increases and strategic spending cuts for 2012, such as in low-income energy assistance and student aid. But he also called for boosting spending on transportation and education – needs the president said cannot be sacrificed even in the face of the deficit…. – Washington Times, 2-14-11
    • Obama budget sets up spending fight Proposed cuts too small for GOP’s fiscal hawks: President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion 2012 budget that would boost spending in Michigan on items like education and energy, while cutting things like heating assistance for the poor and Great Lakes cleanup in an effort to bring the federal deficit under control. White House officials said Obama’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins in October would trim the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over a decade, and produce about a $1.6 trillion budget hole for this year. The plan now goes to Congress, where it’s likely to encounter stiff opposition from Republicans who have said they want deeper cuts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who will fight for programs and tax breaks benefiting their districts… – The Detroit News, 2-15-11
    • Editorial: The Obama Budget: On paper, President Obama’s new $3.7 trillion budget is encouraging. It makes a number of tough choices to cut the deficit by a projected $1.1 trillion over 10 years, which is enough to prevent an uncontrolled explosion of debt in the next decade and, as a result, reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis.
      The questions are whether its tough choices are also wise choices and whether it stands a chance in a Congress in which Republicans, who now dominate the House, are obsessed with making indiscriminate short-term cuts in programs they never liked anyway. The Republican cuts would eviscerate vital government functions while not having any lasting impact on the deficit.
      What Mr. Obama’s budget is most definitely not is a blueprint for dealing with the real long-term problems that feed the budget deficit: rising health care costs, an aging population and a refusal by lawmakers to face the inescapable need to raise taxes at some point. Rather, it defers those critical issues, in hopes, we assume, that both the economy and the political environment will improve in the future…. – NYT, 2-15-11
    • President Obama’s budget kicks the hard choices further down the road: THE PRESIDENT PUNTED. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided. “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices,” the president said in his budget message. “A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.” His budget would keep the country on that course…. – WaPo, 2-15-11

    112TH CONGRESS

    • As Republicans See a Mandate on Budget Cuts, Others See Risk: In Congress and in statehouses, Republican lawmakers and governors are claiming a broad mandate from last year’s elections as they embark on an aggressive campaign of cutting government spending taking on public unions. Their agenda echoes in its ambition what President Obama and Democrats tried after winning office in their own electoral wave in 2008…. – NYT, 2-21-11
    • Schumer: In recess, Senate working on budget issue: A leading Democrat says Senate officials are working behind the scenes on a budget proposal to keep the government running. Even with the budget crisis looming, both houses of Congress are in recess this week. But Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says that lawmakers and aides are poring over the massive budget document passed by the House in the wee hours of Saturday morning. It proposes cutting $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs…. – AP, 2-20-11
    • Memories of 1995 haunt GOP as shutdown talk grows: Few memories haunt Republicans more deeply than the 1995-96 partial shutdown of the federal government, which helped President Bill Clinton reverse his falling fortunes and recast House Republicans as stubborn partisans, not savvy insurgents.
      Now, as Congress careens toward a budget impasse, government insiders wonder if another shutdown is imminent — and whether Republicans again would suffer the most blame. Leaders of both parties say they are determined to avoid a shutdown. But they have not yielded on the amount of spending cuts they will demand or accept. Meanwhile, shutdown talk is rippling through Washington and beyond…. – AP, 2-20-11
    • The Fix: Sen. Jeff Bingaman to retire: New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman is expected to announce his retirement today, according to a source close to the decision, a move that further complicates his party’s efforts to hold their Senate majority in 2012…. – WaPo, 2-18-11
    • NM’s Bingaman becomes 3rd Dem senator to retire: As U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman shook hands of those congratulating him on his years of service, he turned to the crowd and said: “Sure seems like a wake in here, doesn’t it?” The 67-year-old Democrat announced Friday that he would retire after the end of his current term, which ends in two years. The decision was the latest in a string of departures to hit congressional Democrats as they head to the 2012 elections…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • House passes sweeping cuts to domestic programs: Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House passed sweeping legislation early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations. The 235-189 vote to send the bill to the Senate was largely along party lines and defied a veto threat from President Barack Obama. It marked the most striking victory to date for the 87-member class of freshmen Republicans elected last fall on a promise to attack the deficit and reduce the reach of government. Three Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • GOP bill pairs budget cuts, regulatory rollbacks: The GOP-controlled House is using a catchall spending bill not just to cut President Barack Obama’s budget but to assault his health care overhaul, global warming policy and efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • House effort to restrict labor wage law fails: The House early Saturday turned back an effort to suspend a Depression-era law that requires federal contractors to pay locally prevailing wage rates. The vote came amid heightened clashes between the two parties over labor rights.
      Lawmakers voted 233-189 against barring spending on Davis-Bacon wage requirements on federal work projects for the remainder of this budget year. The measure was offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, as an amendment to a massive spending bill to keep the government running through Sept. 30…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • GOP newcomers test mandate to shrink government: Asked how long the House would need to finish legislation cutting $61 billion in government spending, the most powerful Republican in the land responded wryly. “I don’t know, I’m only the speaker.” It was a candid acknowledgement from Ohio Rep. John Boehner that the 87 Republican first-term lawmakers who swept the party into power in the House are moving on a path — and at a pace — of their own choosing…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • Freshmen spur GOP-run House on big spending cuts: Jolted to action by deficit-conscious newcomers, the Republican-controlled House agreed early Saturday to cut $61 billion from hundreds of federal programs and shelter coal companies, oil refiners and farmers from new government regulations.
      By a 235-189 vote, largely along party lines, the House sent the bill to the Senate, where it faces longer odds, and defied a veto threat from President Barack Obama. Passage of the legislation was the most striking victory to date for the 87 freshman Republicans elected last fall on a promise to attack the deficit and reduce the reach of government. Three Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure…. – AP, 2-19-11
    • House votes to block EPA’s global warming power: The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming. The 249-177 vote added the regulation ban to a sweeping spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30. The restriction is opposed by the Obama administration, which is using its regulatory powers to curb greenhouse gases after global warming legislation collapsed last year. The administration also says the ban would cost thousands of construction jobs…. – AP, 2-18-11
    • US House poised to pass Republican spending cuts: The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives on Thursday was poised to approve deep spending cuts for this year, setting the stage for a battle with the Democratic-run Senate…. – Reuters, 2-18-11
    • House votes to curb regulators, cut spending: The Republican-controlled House voted to shield greenhouse-gas polluters and privately owned colleges from federal regulators on Friday, strengthening the pro-business emphasis of legislation that also would chop $61 billion from government spending. But as a final vote neared on the sweeping measure, newly elected conservatives suffered a rare setback when a split among rank-and-file Republicans sank a move to cut an additional $22 billion.
      “The American people have spoken. They demand that Washington stop its out-of-control spending now, not some time in the future,” declared Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., one of the 87 newly elected Republicans who have moved aggressively to attack federal deficits and reduce government’s reach. In a victory for social conservatives, the House voted 240-185 to block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who proposed the move, said, “It is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion.”… – AP, 2-18-11
    • Deficit Plan Details Emerge: A bipartisan group of senators is considering legislation that would trigger new taxes and budget cuts if Congress fails to meet a set of mandatory spending targets and other fiscal goals aimed at reducing federal deficits…. – WSJ, 2-17-11
    • House axes funds for jet engine to be built in Lynn: The House rejected funding for a second engine for the Pentagon’s new jet fighter yesterday, dealing a major blow to a program that had promised to create more than 400 jobs at a General Electric plant in Lynn…. – Boston Globe, 2-17-11
    • Brown describes beatings, sexual abuse in childhood: Senator Scott Brown, describing a childhood of family violence and strife, reveals in his new autobiography that he was sexually assaulted as a 10-year-old by a summer camp counselor on Cape Cod…. – Boston Globe, 2-17-11
    • Senate to vote on patent reform after breakReuters, 2-16-11

    STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

    • PAUL KRUGMAN: Wisconsin Power Play: Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”
      It wasn’t the smartest thing for Mr. Ryan to say, since he probably didn’t mean to compare Mr. Walker, a fellow Republican, to Hosni Mubarak. Or maybe he did — after all, quite a few prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, denounced the uprising in Egypt and insist that President Obama should have helped the Mubarak regime suppress it…. – NYT, 2-20-11
    • Wis. governor predicts Democrats will return to debate union rights: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose bid to reduce public employees’ collective-bargaining power has triggered public protests, said Sunday that he expects Democrats who oppose his plan to return to the state and debate…. – WaPO, 2-20-11
    • Bachmann defends Wisconsin moves on collective bargaining: US Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, February 10, 2011. Tea Party activist and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann on Saturday defended moves by fellow Republicans in Wisconsin to reduce state union bargaining power…. – Reuters, 2-19-11
    • Thousands surround Capitol in Wisconsin: A state Capitol thrown into chaos swelled for a fifth day Saturday with thousands of protesters, as supporters of Republican efforts to scrap the union rights of state workers added their voices to the debate…. – NewsOK.com, 2-19-11
    • Protests Continue In Wisconsin As Budget Fight Rages: Protests continued Friday at the Wisconsin state Capitol building, as several missing Democratic state senators hold up action on a plan to reduce union bargaining rights of government employees…. – NPR, 2-18-11
    • Wisconsin in near-chaos over anti-union bill: Protestors swarm Wisconsin’s Capitol and Democratic lawmakers flee the state to stall the new Republican governor’s anti-union bill…. – LAT, 2-18-11
    • Wisconsin Public Workers Protest Governor’s ProposalWSJ, 2-17-11
    • Gov. Brown freezes statewide hiring: Before the announcement, he quietly drops a suit to lower California state workers’ checks to the federal minimum wage during a budget impasse…. – LAT, 2-15-11
    • Flake 1st candidate to run for Kyl’s seat: U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake wasted no time Monday in becoming the first official candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that will open in 2012, moving fast to get a jump-start on campaign fundraising and to discourage potential Republican rivals from entering the GOP race.
      Flake, 49, the libertarian-leaning senior Republican member of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation, launched his campaign four days after three-term U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said he would not seek re-election next year.
      The speed of Flake’s entry into the 2012 competition could crowd out some of the other Republicans whose names have been floated, although Flake said he looks forward to “a spirited campaign.”… – The Arizona Republic, 2-14-11

    CHICAGO MAYORAL CAMPAIGN

    • Emanuel beats rivals to become next Chicago mayor: Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation’s third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley. Emanuel trounced all opponents with 55 percent of the vote — a margin that allowed him to avoid an April runoff. He needed more than 50 percent to win outright.
      It was the city’s first mayoral race in more than 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot and the first in more than two decades without Daley among the candidates. Daley and his father have led Chicago for more than 43 out of the last 56 years.
      Emanuel called the victory “humbling” and said the outgoing mayor had “earned a special place in our hearts and our history.” But he added: “We have not won anything until a kid can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety. Until the parent of that child is thinking about their work and not where they are going to find work, we have not won anything.”… – AP, 2-22-11

    ELECTIONS — PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2012….

    • GOP 2012: Do Early Polls Matter?: A look at when potential GOP candidates may announce their candidacy… – Neon Tommy, 2-17-11
    • The idea of President Palin hits a granite wallWaPo, 2-17-11
    • Obama wants to know Kaine’s intentions on Senate race: President Barack Obama told a television interviewer Wednesday that he wants to hear former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s intentions regarding a possible run for Jim Webb’s US Senate seat…. – Richmond Times Dispatch, 2-16-11
    • Twelve for ’12: A Dozen Republicans Who Could Be the Next President: With the GOP’s presidential primary fight fast approaching, TIME takes a look at the prospective contenders to take on Barack Obama…
      Candidates of the Conservatives: Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee, John Thune, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint… – Time
    • Romney reaches out to business, but isn’t ready to show hand: Mitt Romney sought yesterday to distinguish himself from President Obama, his potential 2012 election opponent, by casting himself as a friend to the nation’s business community…. – Boston Globe, 2-14-11
    • Romney tops Obama in NH poll: In a WMUR Granite State Poll released today, Mitt Romney garnered 49 percent of the vote to 41 percent for the president, who took the state in his 2008 win over Republican John McCain…. – Boston Globe, 2-14-11

    QUOTES

    The President records the Weekly Address
    White House Photo, Pete Souza, 2/18/11
    • Weekly Address: To Win the Future, America Must Win the Global Competition in Education: Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery February 19, 2011 Hillsboro, Oregon: I’m speaking to you from just outside Portland, Oregon where I’m visiting Intel, a company that helped pioneer the digital age. I just came from a tour of an assembly line where highly-skilled technicians are building microprocessors that run everything from desktop computers to smartphones.
      But these workers aren’t just manufacturing high-tech computer chips. They’re showing us how America will win the future….
      If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industries, we’ve got to win the global competition to educate our people. We’ve got to have the best trained, best skilled workforce in the world. That’s how we’ll ensure that the next Intel, the next Google, or the next Microsoft is created in America, and hires American workers.
      This is why, over the past two years, my administration has made education a top priority. We’ve launched a competition called “Race to the Top” – a reform that is lifting academic standards and getting results; not because Washington dictated the answers, but because states and local schools pursued innovative solutions. We’re also making college more affordable for millions of students, and revitalizing our community colleges, so that folks can get the training they need for the careers they want. And as part of this effort, we’ve launched a nationwide initiative to connect graduates that need jobs with businesses that need their skills.
      Intel understands how important these partnerships can be – recognizing that their company’s success depends on a pipeline of skilled people ready to fill high-wage, high-tech jobs. Intel often pays for workers to continue their education at nearby Portland State University. As a result, one out of every fifteen of Intel’s Oregon employees has a degree from Portland State.
      In fact, Intel’s commitment to education begins at an even younger age. The company is providing training to help 100,000 math and science teachers improve their skills in the classroom. And today, I’m also meeting a few students from Oregon who impressed the judges in the high school science and engineering competitions that Intel sponsors across America….
      So these have been a tough few years for our country. And in tough times, it’s natural to question what the future holds. But when you meet young people like Laurie and Yushi, it’s hard not to be inspired. And it’s impossible not to be confident about America.
      We are poised to lead in this new century – and not just because of the good work that large companies like Intel are doing. All across America, there are innovators and entrepreneurs who are trying to start the next Intel, or just get a small business of their own off the ground. I’ll be meeting with some of these men and women next week in Cleveland, to get ideas about what we can do to help their companies grow and create jobs.
      The truth is, we have everything we need to compete: bold entrepreneurs, bright new ideas, and world-class colleges and universities. And, most of all, we have young people just brimming with promise and ready to help us succeed. All we have to do is tap that potential.
      That’s the lesson on display at Intel. And that’s how America will win the future. – WH, 2-19-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • The President Unveils a Budget to Win the Future for Our Kids: And I just came to Parkville on a day where we are unveiling our budget, and I’m doing so for a reason. But before I do that I just want to thank Principal Buddy Parker, who is showing us around, as well as Susan Yoder, the eighth grade science teacher who we just visited with in her classroom.
      Over the last few weeks I’ve traveled the country, talking about what we need to do to win the future; talked about the need to invest in innovation, so that the next big idea is discovered here in the United States of America. I’ve talked about the need to invest in high-speed rail and high-speed Internet, so that companies can move goods and information faster than ever. And this week, I’ll be talking about the need to invest in education -– in places like Parkville -– so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
      These investments are an essential part of the budget my administration is sending to Congress. Because I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States. Our people will prosper and our country will succeed.
      But I’m also convinced that the only way we can make these investments in our future is if our government starts living within its means, if we start taking responsibility for our deficits. That’s why, when I was sworn in as President, I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term. The budget I’m proposing today meets that pledge -– and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade. We do this in part by eliminating waste and cutting whatever spending we can do without.
      As I start — as a start, I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending — domestic discretionary spending — to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let me repeat that. Because of our budget, this share of spending will be at its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President. That level of spending is lower than it was under the last three administrations, and it will be lower than it was under Ronald Reagan.
      Now, some of the savings will come through less waste and more efficiency. To take just one example, by getting rid of 14,000 office buildings, lots and government-owned properties we no longer need, we can save taxpayers billions of dollars. And when it comes to programs we do need, we’re making them work better by demanding accountability. Instead of spending first, and asking questions later, we’re rewarding folks inside and outside government who deliver results. And to make sure that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, I’ve pledged to veto any bill that contains earmarks.
      Still, even as we cut waste and inefficiency, this budget freeze will require some tough choices. It will mean cutting things that I care deeply about — for example, community action programs in low-income neighborhoods and towns, and community development block grants that so many of our cities and states rely on. But if we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary…. – WH, 2-14-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
    • Jack Lew: The 2012 Budget: Today, the President sent to Congress his budget for the 2012 fiscal year. This document is built around the simple idea that we have to live within our means so we can invest in the future. Only by making tough choices to both cut spending and deficits and invest in what we need to win the future can we out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world.
      This is the seventh Budget that I have worked on at OMB, and it may be the most difficult. It includes more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction – two-thirds from spending cuts — and puts the nation on a path toward fiscal sustainability so that by the middle of the decade, the government will no longer be adding to our national debt as a share of the economy and will be paying for what it spends – and will be able to sustain that for many years afterwards.
      The President has called this budget a down payment because we will still have work to do to pay down the debt and address our long-term challenges. But it is a necessary and critical step for we cannot start to move toward balance and to cutting into the size of our debt until we first stop adding to it – and that is what this Budget does…. – WH, 2-14-11
    • Barack Obama: “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices. A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.”
    • Barack Obama: “As we move to rein in our deficits, we must do so in a way that does not cut back on those investments that have the biggest impact on our economic growth, because the best antidote to a growing deficit is a growing economy. So even as we pursue cuts and savings in the months ahead, we must fund those investments that will help America win the race for the jobs and industries of the future – investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.”
    • Eric Cantor: This week, the House will consider H.R. 1 – historic legislation that will reduce spending by at least $100 billion over the next seven months. This is the largest spending cut in modern history. These are not easy cuts, but we are finally doing what every American has to do both at home and at work – begin a path towards living within our means.
    • John Boehner: President Obama’s latest budget will destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, & taxing too much. The American people have made it clear they want Washington’s job-crushing spending binge to end. To help our economy get back to creating jobs, we need to liberate it from the shackles of Big Government and out-of-control spending. H.R. 1, on the House floor this week, will help do this.
    • Mitch McConnell: Senator McConnell comments on the President’s Budget: After two years of failed Stimulus programs and Democrats in Washington competing to outspend each other, we just can’t afford to do all the things the administration wants to do. The President has said he wants us to ‘Win the Future.’ But this budget abdicates the future. It simply spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.
    • Sarah Palin: The Truth Behind the White House’s Budget Spin: Today the White House finally produced its proposal for the 2012 budget. Beware of the left’s attempt to sell this as “getting tough on the deficit,” because as an analysis from Americans for Tax Reform shows, the White House’s plans are more about raising taxes and growing more government than reducing budget shortfalls.
      The fine print reveals a White House proposal to increase taxes by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. If you want to know how minuscule their proposed $775 million-a-year budget “cuts” really are, please look at this chart. The proposed cuts are so insignificant – less than 1/10 of 1% of this year’s $1.65 trillion budget deficit – that they are essentially invisible on the pie chart. That speaks volumes about today’s budget.
      UPDATE: As J.D. Foster of the Heritage Foundation points out: “…the President proposes a budget that keeps the federal government on a thoroughly irresponsible and unsustainable course.” Please read the Heritage Foundation article and understand the $775 million in proposed cuts noted above are what the White House’s budget director Jacob Lew identified as reflecting what they perceive as some “tough calls.” Yet, as noted, they are a drop in the bucket; and the White House’s total proposed cuts for this year are still not at all enough to make us solvent.

    HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

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