Even The New York Times has thrown in the towel on the Wisconsin recall.With an Intrade poll citing Walker’s chances of winning the Wisconsin recall at more than 93%, The New York Times is entering into full-blown panic mode over what this election could mean for Obama’s chances this November:A Republican resurgence here, which has burst into full view as the party determinedly defends its sitting governor in a rare recall election, is spilling into the presidential race. The result is poised to shape the general election fight between Mr. Obama and Mitt...
Both presidential campaigns are using job statistics to attack each other. President Barack Obama and his allies have spent months criticizing Mitt Romney’s job-creation record as governor of Massachusetts. Now, Romney and his surrogates are arguing that job creation in Massachusetts actually improved on Romney’s watch. So who’s right? We’ll start by looking at a claim that senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom made on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on June 3, 2012. "If you throw D.C. into the mix," Fehrnstrom said, "we were 51 out of 51 (in ...>> More
Over the weekend, the Obama campaign repeated a talking point it’s been making for at least a year. Obama adviser David Axelrod said on the June 3, 2012, edition of CBS’ Face the Nation that Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation during Romney’s tenure as governor. He said something similar a year earlier during a CNN interview -- that "people have a right to say, why is it that your state was 47th in the country in job creation when you were governor?" Separately, we're checking the Romney camp’s rebuttal to Axelrod -- ...>> More
In the duel over economic records between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a Romney surrogate this week took the fight straight to our wallets. When Romney was governor, adviser Ed Gillespie said on Fox News Sunday, "the average income for a family in Massachusetts went up by $5,500." High unemployment and stagnant wages are hurting Americans everywhere, so we decided to check whether Massachusetts families fared that much better during Romney’s 2003-07 gubernatorial term. First, the data The Romney campaign cited U.S. Census ...>> More
By Erin McPike - June 5, 2012On Tuesday, a potential Republican vice presidential contender, Rep. Paul Ryan, will hold a business round-table discussion on behalf of the Romney campaign in Raleigh, N.C. -- without Mitt Romney. On Saturday, another VP contender, Sen. Rob Portman, will fly solo in opening the presumptive nominee's Ohio headquarters in Columbus.By contrast, Romney himself held no events and no interviews on Monday, according to a memo his campaign staff distributed to the press that morning. Tuesday, while voting is under way in a pivotal recall election for governor in...
It should surprise no one that I'm opposed to the recall of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor whose fate will be decided Tuesday. But that's only in part because I support what he's been trying to do in the Badger State. I'm also against recalls as a matter of principle.In 2003, I was one of the few conservatives opposed to the recall of Gray Davis, arguably the worst California governor in modern memory.
MADISON, Wis. -- Nearly a year and a half of anti-Scott Walker protests will come to a head Tuesday when Wisconsinites decide whether to replace the Republican governor with Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.But the effort that began with rallies and sit-ins in this state capital after Walker signed a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public workers has morphed into a national campaign with presidential election overtones.It is both risky and something of an overreach to project a parallel between Tuesday's outcome and the results of the Obama-Romney face-off in the...
What am I getting at? This: Few states in the union have done more in recent years to restrict and suppress voting "” particularly by groups who lean Democratic, such as young people, the poor and minorities "” than Florida.In May 2011, the state's Republican-led Legislature passed and the Republican governor, Rick Scott, signed a sweeping election law that cut early voting short and imposed onerous burdens on voter registration groups by requiring them to turn in registration applications within 48 hours of the time they are signed or face fines.Â
IT DOES not take much to be accused of waging class warfare in America. The charge was levelled last year at Mitt Romney, of all the unlikely leftist agitators, when he suggested that certain tax breaks should be available only to those who earned less than $200,000. Rick Santorum, one of Mr Romney’s rivals for the Republican nomination, though he had promised never to use the word “class”, earned a similar rebuke for pointing out that he came from humble origins, supposedly an implicit contrast with Mr Romney, whose father was a governor and cabinet secretary.
Mitt Romney is a smooth salesman. When he was a candidate in 2002, his pitch to the people of Massachusetts was that he could fix all that ailed us. As the Bay State's top salesman, he said, he would "bring great jobs here." He claimed he would at last be the governor to reform state government.
David Axelrod, communications director for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, held a press conference today on the steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse to highlight some of the more controversial aspects of Mitt Romney's record as governor.
But before he could get started, the event was sabotaged by a group of Romney supporters and aides who jeered, booed and even blew bubbles into the crowd. Shouts of "four more years" were countered with cries of "five more months." Talk of the president's accomplishments were met with chants of Solyndra and Cory Booker -- the latter in reference to the Newark mayor's off-message criticism of the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain Capital.
The end result was a circus, illustrating some of the more juvenile aspects of political campaigns, with one side leveling bromides and the other, boos.
"Thanks for the bubbles -- it was a hell of a lot better than the smoke Mitt Romney blew at us 10 years ago," said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
The whole charade did, at various points, seem to irritate Axelrod, who starred down at his shoes as he was introduced by a series of local mayors. "You can't handle the truth, my friends, that is the problem," he told the hecklers upon taking the lectern. "If you could handle the truth, then quiet down."
Three questions in, he was asked to address the surrounding fracas. "This is the great pageant of democracy," he replied. "But for those who are concerned about the issue of jobs and debt ... it would behoove them to look at Mitt Romney's record here in Massachusetts."
And that, evidently, was the point. Instead of Axelrod taking free swipes at Romney's record, the story being written concerns the disruptive crowd, and campaign workers at Romney headquarters in Boston get to high-five one another over the disruption they caused.
But the long-term implications are a bit worrisome, because the next time Romney gives a public address, there will almost assuredly be retaliation. As the Washington Examiner's Byron York tweeted: "Team Romney will reap what it sows someday, probably soon."
Martin O'Malley: "When it comes to what little bit of job creation was happening in Massachusetts (when Mitt Romney was governor), it was happening in the public sector at six times the rate that it was happening in the private sector."
With the presidential campaign focusing on the economy, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is making the case that President Barack Obama is a better job creator than Republican Mitt Romney. In an appearance on Meet the Press on May 27, 2012, O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, squared off with former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who defended Romney. Gingrich called Obama’s effect on employment "disastrous" and said voters will question whether they can afford another four years with him in the White House. O’Malley then brought up Romney’s ...>> More
Prior to tonight's 2012 New Hampshire GOP Victory Dinner, where former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke to a crowd of more than 700 Republicans, Raymond Buckley, head of the NH Democratic Party, suggested the former Arkansas governor's views fall in line with Donald Trump's in terms of the theory that Barack Obama was born outside the United States.
What’s the matter with Massachusetts that would make Mitt Romney want to pretend he’d never been its governor? Yes, it presents some image problems for the conservative candidate Romney now wants to be. The last time a Massachusetts governor ran for president, it did not go well. Still, it’s what Romney has. Had he not been (to use his preferred term) “CEO” of the 15th-most populous state in the country, Romney would have a weak claim on the Oval Office.
Clarence B. Jones: Bain Capital Not the Most Important Issue: Citizens United and Voter Suppression Should Be a Greater Concern
Is the ability to successfully manage a private equity firm the defining criterion for determining whether such an equity fund manager, as president of the United States, will manage and operate our federal government better than someone who has not been a private equity fund manager? This was the theme of Mitt Romney's successful primary campaign. It is now the centerpiece of his bid to replace President Obama.
Okay, so what are some of these presumed advantageous managerial skills that Mitt Romney would bring to the presidency?
We assume Governor Romney has taken a look at the "balance sheet" of the federal government. Accordingly, as a former private equity manager, has he configured what a healthy operating debt to equity ratio the government should have? Is a household income of less than a million dollars equivalent to a common stock holder; everyone above a million, a preferred shareholder?
Has Romney looked at the annual revenues of the federal government to determine if they are sufficient to pay short-term liabilities and annual interest on our long term debt? Has he determined what annual operating cash flow is needed to cover the federal government's annual operating expenses?
Romney's skills as a business manager at Bain Capital would be an abstract and intellectual exercise of conjecture, but for his actual tenure as governor of the state of Massachusetts following his years at Bain.
What were his achievements as governor that demonstrated the successful transfer of his management skills developed at Bain?
When Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he had one of the worst economic records in the nation. His state ranked 47th in job creation.
- "During Romney's tenure as governor, Massachusetts' economic performance was 'one of the worst in the country' on 'all key labor market measures' [Boston Globe, 7/29/07].
- "In Romney's four years as governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in jobs growth [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]." "'No matter how we sliced the data,' Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 states in job creation under Romney [Politifact, 6/22/11]."
- "Under Romney the wages of the average worker in Massachusetts fell by nearly 2 percent [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]."
- Romney increased state spending by 6.5 percent annually [New York Times, 12/31/07]. He "proposed 8 percent higher spending per person in Massachusetts [Factcheck.org, 10/12/07]" and he "raised fees and faxes on individuals and businesses between $740-750 million a year [Boston Globe, 9/27/06]."
- "During Romney's tenure, the Massachusetts tax burden increased from 10 percent to 10.6 percent of per capita income [Boston Globe, 6/29/07]." "State and local tax burden increased 6.5 percent during the Romney administration [The Tax Foundation, 8/7/08]."
- "Romney's claim to have closed a $3 billion budget gap is 'misleading' as the gap was closer to $1.2 billion [Factcheck.org, 9/6/07]. Romney left a $1.3 billion budget gap [New York Times, 3/16/07]."
Romney supporters who claim his Bain Capital management experience can be successfully transferred to his "management" of the federal government omit the empirical evidence of his "transferred management skills" as governor of Massachusetts. Most importantly, no one seems to talk about that critical aspect of exercising management skills as president of the United States: prudent judgment.
The president of the United States is not guided by achieving an acclaimed internal rate of return or management of the government "annual operating cash flow" to protect the interest of "preferred stockholders." President Obama, like presidents before him, must be concerned about all of the people he governs.
While the media and blogosphere have been pre-occupied with the issue of Romney's time at Bain Capital, there is a more ominous challenge to President Obama's re-election. Last week I wrote a post called "Managing Disappointed Expectations: A Major Challenge to President Obama's Re-Election." Since then, I have come to believe that the greatest challenges to his re-election are the unlimited spending against him permitted by the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court and the various "voter suppression laws" enacted or pending in several States.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. Responding to the 24/7 "carpet bombing" of negative ads by "super PACs" funded by corporations and wealthy individuals in key states like VA, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania will require lots of time and energy by the Obama re-election campaign.
Similarly, the threat of "voter suppression laws" will have to be addressed. In 2011, more than 30 states' legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote. The Brennan Center for Justice reports, "These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, and low income voters, as well as voters with disabilities."
- "These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012."
- "The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012-63 percent of the 270 need to win the presidency."
- "Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of the Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights, (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.
The proposed or enacted voting restrictions in several states consist of:
- Registration restrictions: limiting when citizens can register, restricting who is permitted to assist them and tougher beaurocratic requirements to register; ending highly popular Election Day and same-day voter registration.
- Residency restrictions
- Limiting early and absentee voting
- Voter ID laws: mandating individuals must have certain kinds of government-issued ID at polls before being allowed to vote. These "ID laws," in 34 states, would disenfranchise an estimated 21 million voters
In 2008, 15.1% more African Americans voted than in 2004. 28.4% more Hispanics voted in 2008 than in 2004.
The conservative columnist Mathew Vadum put all of the above in political election perspective for 2012. He writes, registering minorities "to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals."
Sarah Palin took to Facebook on Friday night to say, "Todd and I and our family would like to wish you all a happy Memorial Day weekend. We'd especially like to offer our best wishes to our friends in Rolling Thunder who will be taking part in their Ride for Freedom this weekend in D.C. as they do each year to honor our vets and specifically to bring awareness to POW/MIA issues. We were honored to join them last year."
She continued, "We were both sad to learn that Preston 'Jay' Fairlamb, Jr., one of the organizers of Rolling Thunder and someone who made us so welcome last year, tragically died in an accident last week. Jay was a Vietnam vet, a retired New Jersey State Trooper, and a great American who will be dearly missed. Please keep his wife, his children, grandchildren and his innumerable friends in your prayers."
The former Alaska governor included in her post a photograph of herself, Todd and Jay.
"On this Memorial Day weekend, may God bless our brave men and women in uniform," she said.
During Memorial Day weekend last year, Palin participated in the "Rolling Thunder" motorcycle ride, which begins at the Pentagon and culminates at the Vietnam Memorial. At the time, speculation was swirling around whether Palin would launch a campaign for the White House. Her 2011 motorcycle ride kicked off a bus tour of the eastern United States.
Below, a slideshow of photos capturing Palin's motorcycle ride last year:
Democrats and Republicans in the California Legislature have once again broadcast this troubling fact: They are far more concerned about the ever-expanding demands of a relatively small group of public sector union members than they are about the public welfare of the citizens of our state.On May 17, the state Assembly voted 68-0 to support the most despicable piece of legislation that’s come through the halls in a while, which is saying a lot given the foolhardy proposals routinely on display in Sacramento. (It still requires approval by the Senate and the governor.)
In a Fox News interview this week Mitt Romney made it quite clear that he's the anti-education candidate. In criticizing what he calls President Obama's attack on capitalism, the presumptive Republican nominee summarily dismissed and disrespected the entire teaching profession:
"He doesn't understand how the free economy works," he said of Obama. "He's never had a job in the free economy."
Really? Teaching Constitutional law was not a real job? Being a grade school or high school teacher or college professor doesn't make you part of the "free economy" workforce in Romney's convoluted elitist thinking?
It's morally reprehensible and irresponsible enough that, as Massachusetts governor, he cut the education budget so severely that state universities were forced to raise tuition by 63 percent. But his latest salvo against educators should be a dire warning to voters as to what a Romney presidency will look like for those who, unlike him, weren't born with a silver spoon and who need educational assistance.
And any teacher or professor who is contemplating voting for Romney has to question his principles, his lack of commitment to the education of America's youth, and to his palpable disdain for how they earn a living in his "free economy."
This November, millions of conservatives will find themselves in the familiar position of holding their noses to vote for a problematic Republican presidential candidate, because the alternative is far worse.Although conservatives don't exactly have fond memories of the candidacies of Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 1996 and Senator John McCain in 2008, the almost certain nomination of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has its own sting.
Mitt Romney: When Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, "we didn’t just slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it."
In recent campaign events, Mitt Romney has made the federal debt a major issue, even standing in front of an oversized debt clock during a visit to St. Petersburg, Fla. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Romney made a point of contrasting the fiscal record of President Barack Obama with his own record as governor of Massachusetts. Romney was elected governor in 2002 and served one four-year term. "Issue by issue, (voters) have an opportunity to see my record when I was governor of Massachusetts," Romney said in the May ...>> More
BOSTON -- Massachusetts Republicans Mitt Romney and Scott Brown have a history of supporting each other throughout their political careers.
But with each facing a tough election, neither the presidential candidate nor the U.S. senator is playing up that history, perhaps with good reason.
Brown, trying to win re-election in one of the most Democratic states, spends much of his time promoting his bipartisan bona fides and describing himself as a "Scott Brown Republican" rather than a conservative or liberal Republican.
He may be one of the few Republicans running who boasts of working with President Barack Obama to pass bills. On his campaign website, Brown has posted pictures and videos of him with the Democratic incumbent.
Romney has moved increasingly to the right, shedding some of the more moderate positions he held as Massachusetts governor as he worked to rally GOP activists during the primaries.
As Brown took a more moderate stance, he alienated some of the conservative and tea party activists who helped elect him in 2010. Those are the same people Romney will need if he hopes to win in November. Brown's shift to the middle could make him a liability for Romney among conservatives.
Brown probably will continue to play down his ties to his former governor and emphasize his own independent streak, particularly with recent polls showing Obama enjoying a double-digit over Romney in Massachusetts.
"Brown sees pretty clearly that there are no Romney coattails in Massachusetts for him to ride and, indeed, being close to Romney for his own re-election bid could be a liability," said Paul Watanabe, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts.
The distance between the candidates is more than strategic. Romney and Brown have adopted competing views on several big issues, from a new nuclear weapons treaty with Russia to the fate of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Romney has said Roe v. Wade should be reversed. Brown says a woman should have the right to an abortion, although he opposes federal money for the procedure. Brown voted for the new START treaty with Russia, saying it was important for national security. Romney said the treaty was Obama's "worst foreign policy mistake."
The differences don't stop there.
Romney has called for repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Brown voted for it. Romney backs amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. Brown opposes such an amendment and says gay marriage is "settled law" in Massachusetts. Such unions became legal in the state in 2003.
Romney, in 2007, said the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy seemed to be working. Brown voted with Democrats and some Republicans to end the policy that barred gays from serving openly in the military, earning praise from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group.
While Romney hasn't said if he'll release more than two years of his income tax returns, Brown has made public six years of his tax documents.
When pressed on the differences of opinion, Brown's campaign repeats his endorsement of Romney.
"Sen. Brown thinks Mitt Romney is a good and decent person who is devoted to his family and strong on jobs and the economy and that's why he supports him for president," Brown spokesman Colin Reed said in a statement.
The campaigns also share staff, including Eric Fehrnstrom, a top political adviser to both men. Fehrnstrom did not respond to a request for comment.
Romney and Brown come from very different backgrounds. Brown's parents divorced early and his family moved often when he was young. Romney's father was a governor of Michigan and an automotive executive. Still, the two found political common ground nearly a decade ago.
Both are ambitious Republicans from a state known for frustrating GOP hopes.
When a seat opened up in the state Senate in 2004, Brown, then a state representative, jumped into the race. The seat had been held by a Democrat but, with a campaigning and fundraising assist from then-Gov. Romney, Brown squeaked out a narrow victory over his Democratic challenger, who at first doubted the results.
"It's a new day in Massachusetts politics when the Democrats are calling for a recount," said Romney, who appeared at a Statehouse news conference with Brown after the election.
When longtime Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died of brain cancer in 2009, Romney supported Brown in the special election to fill the seat. Though Brown was considered a long shot, Romney issued campaign fundraising letters on his behalf.
"Scott's election would shock the country," Romney wrote. "Wouldn't it be nice to elect a fiscal conservative to Ted Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate?" Romney had challenged Kennedy for the seat in 1994, and lost.
The mutual accolades reached a pinnacle at an annual meeting of conservative activists the month after Brown's election to the U.S. Senate.
Introducing Romney, Brown joked that at the start of his Senate campaign "I could have held my campaign rally in a phone booth" and Romney was "one of those guys who was in that phone booth with me."
Romney returned the compliment moments later.
"Scott Brown, boy, I'd take him anywhere I could take him," he told the crowd.
Except that neither has taken the other anywhere lately.
Democrats are busy trying to make voters aware of the ties between Romney and Brown, especially in Massachusetts, where Brown faces a tough fight against likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.
Democrats note that Romney and Brown both supported an amendment in the U.S. Senate this year that would have allowed employers or health insurers to deny coverage for services they said violated their moral or religious beliefs, including birth control. The amendment failed.
"Scott Brown and Mitt Romney have made clear that they share a close personal relationship as Massachusetts Republicans," state Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck said in a statement. "They share the same policy agenda of protecting tax breaks for big oil and millionaires, while refusing to invest in helping the middle class."
Mitt Romney has at times had an awkward relationship with firearms, as when he said during the 2008 Republican presidential primary that his hunting experience generally involved "small varmints." But has he flip-flopped on gun policy? We’ll start by noting that the Flip-O-Meter rates politicians' consistency on particular topics from No Flip to Full Flop. The meter is not intended to pass judgment on their decisions to change their minds. It’s simply gauging whether they did. Romney’s statements on gun restrictions before he became governor In ...>> More
People have always told Bobby Jindal to slow down.The Louisiana governor has a tendency to speak faster than his audience is able to think, so when it came time to deliver the Republican response to President Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress in 2009, the most important speech of Jindal's political life, he made sure to take it slow.What resulted was an oratorical disaster.On live national television, Jindal spoke in a jarring, singsong pitch that replaced his natural rapid-fire monotone. Even longtime friends found it difficult to concentrate on what he was...