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Author Topic: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY  (Read 16772 times)
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« Reply #180 on: Oct 05, 2012, 07:47 AM »

Obama Targets Romney’s Debate Lies with Ad Focusing on Trust

By: Sarah JonesOctober 4th, 2012

Last night, I told nervous Obama supporters that Obama would hit Romney with fact-checking today and it would be brutal. And here we go. Obama is hitting Romney on the trail, fact-checkers are having a field day with Romney, and now the ads have started.

Here is your first TV ad from the Obama campaign, called “Trust”. If you can’t trust Romney in the debate, how can you trust him in the White House?

Reporter:
“I’m not in favor of a 5 trillion tax cut. That’s not my plan. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center concluded that Mitt Romney’s tax plan would cost 4.8 trillion dollars over ten years.”

Voice-over:
“Why won’t Romney level with us about his tax plan which gives the wealthy huge new tax breaks? Because according to experts he’d have to raise taxes on the middle class or increase the deficit to pay for it. If we can’t trust him here how could we ever trust him here?”

Here’s a small roundup of the response to Romney’s fairy tale presentation of his positions last night:

    CNN’s David Gergen: “Romney was just sort of flat out lying.”

    Bloomberg News: “Romney’s tax plan can’t add up.”

    CNBC Fact Check: “Romney again tonight did not say specifically how he would pay for his proposed across the board tax cut.”

    Los Angeles Times: “Fact check: Romney repeats erroneous claims on healthcare”:

    Fact Check‏@factcheckdotorg Romney says he will pay for $5T tax cut without raising deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that’s not possible….

    Rachel Weiner ‏@rachelweinerwp Fact Checker: Romney says “six other studies” have found his plan can be revenue neutral, but he’s wrong about that. wapo.st/UGjQeh

    PolitiFact ‏@politifact Obamacare is a government takeover of health care? That was the 2010 Lie of the Year. ow.ly/ecO9V #debate

    Chicago Sun-Times: “If, however, you score Wednesday’s debate on substance — accurate facts and honest arithmetic — Obama more than held his own.”

    Michael Crowley ‏@CrowleyTIME Romney closes with pretty dishonest warning about defense cuts

Liberals can’t stand seeing the President bullied and not fighting back. It brings up painful memories of lost elections stemming from unchecked Republican lies about patriotism and purple band-aids. But Obama is not John Kerry. Obama is not Jimmy Carter. Obama is not a wimp.

If anyone in this election is a wimp, it is Mitt Romney — as even Newsweek pointed out months ago. Romney is so desperate to be liked that he will tell the voters anything, do anything, to get their approval in this moment. But he will change it all tomorrow or the next hour to get someone else’s approval. He is fickle, two-faced and back-stabbing. He stands for nothing except the sleaze of an unethical used car salesman. This is what Americans think wins a debate? Bullying and lies?

Perhaps Americans are that silly. I don’t happen to think they are. But at any rate, Obama is not trying to win a debate. He’s trying to win an election. There is a big difference. Ask Sarah Palin about that. She is foolish enough to be gloating today over Romney’s performance, because Palin loves it when anyone takes a cheap shot at the President since she never managed to land a punch.

The country needs to lift itself up from the Right, not stoop down to their level. We are not electing bully-in-chief. We already had one of those and it didn’t work out so well. Fact lovers worry that the average voter didn’t hear the truth last night, and I agree. They didn’t.

But there isn’t anything Obama could have done about that without coming down to Romney’s level. Romney stood on that stage and reinvented his entire tax plan, disowning everything he’s been saying for the past year. Have you ever fought a serial liar in public? Engaging with them on their every lie is a mistake, because a misinformed public who do not understand the issues will falsely equate your growing hysteria with the lies of the serial liar. The mud spreads.

Obama did what he had to do. He was put in a bad position – how to catch a slippery liar who keeps changing their position? Punch air? He rose above it, spoke to the people directly, and he let the fact-checkers do their job. Today, he’s taking his case to the people in swing states. This man is not a wimp. But if his opponents want to make that same mistake again, fighting their fictional Obama, that will no doubt be just fine with the Obama camp.

In case anyone forgot, in 2008 Obama had the exact same strategy. He does not play the aggressive, angry man. He makes his rational, calm case to the public. He waits until the public has made up their mind about who is being dishonest or unfair, and when even the Independents are screaming “Why doesn’t he hit back!?”, Obama finally delivers the smooth, never-nasty knock out.

There is nothing more damaging for a candidate than having their own words used against them. It proves that they are not trustworthy and no matter what the pundits say, trust and likeability matter at the polls. George W Bush came across as a decent guy; Mitt Romney does not. Romney is a serial liar, who seems to garner smug pleasure from getting away with it at the moment. Mitt Romney is only fooling himself and what is left of his base. Sure, he took some “Undecideds” last night, but how are those folks feeling this morning after Romney has been roundly taken to the woodshed for his lies?

Trust. You can’t buy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eV5m1NxffEs
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« Reply #181 on: Oct 07, 2012, 07:34 AM »

Post-Debate Romney is Still a Pig in a Poke

By: Hrafnkell HaraldssonOctober 7th, 2012

By the time the last words were spoken in 2012′s first presidential debate, millions of Americans were no doubt left wondering who Mitt Romney is, and what he stands for. Romney had not managed to make that clear at any previous point in his political career. Mitt Romney, possibly alone among America’s major public figures, has managed to hold just about every position hat can be imagined, left to right.

There are those who think Barack Obama is actually more of an old-fashioned moderate Republican than a moderate Democrat, and many on the left see Barack Obama as being too far toward the center for their liking. But placing Obama on the left-right spectrum is more a matter of perspective, of one’s own point of view, whereas Romney actually shifts positions.

Since the debate, Romney has continued to talk a new language. You would think he had completely disavowed all his former positions. But he has not. He is talking one way, but his actions, or rather, inaction, proves he hasn’t actually changed his mind. Romney wants voters to think he thinks one way while he actually thinks another. He talks about the middle class. He talks about the  100 percent.

But his policies continue to be all about the 1 percent.

What do conservatives think of all this? Aren’t they a little befuddled too? Perhaps the rank and file, unless somebody is carefully explaining it all to them. But Paul Waldman, who is a contributing editor at The American Prospect, seems to point to the lack of outrage on the right when he says,

    You won’t hear Republicans saying this newly moderate Romney represents a betrayal. First off, they’re smart enough to realize that Romney hasn’t actually changed any of his plans; all he’s changed is how he talks about them. And second, conservatives have always been good at coming together when power is on the line. The right has just as many factions and just as much infighting as the left, but when Election Day approaches, they become deadly serious about the task at hand. There will be plenty of time for an ideological struggle over the GOP’s identity once the ballots are counted.

I think too that Romney’s incessant attacks against Obama and his flirtation with the most extreme elements within the Republican Party, will obscure a sense of his own “otherness” and  cover up his sudden appeal to moderation. The Republican Party has always been about hatred of Obama, after all, and less about policies. The Republicans, as just one example, have always crowed about spending and deficits but it is inevitably Republican administrations that rack up the debt.

You would think even Republican voters would recognize this but they seem to go right along with the propaganda, and I suspect they will go right along with the propaganda again. I can’t think of another political movement in all of American history that has been so resilient in the face of facts. Bill Maher can demolish their claims Obama destroyed America but that sort of thing goes right over their head. It’s just buzzing in their ears even if they bother to listen.

You might say that Mitt Romney has the best possible audience for his Etch A Sketch politics that could be imagined. A man who will say anything to get elected meets an audience that will believe anything to get rid of Obama.

Romney shows very little substance. You can’t be overflowing with substance and be as nimble ideologically as Mitt Romney has been. The ultimate political chameleon, Romney is good at saying what needs to be said, but not so good at making decisions. We saw what happens to a man like him when the pressure is on. He completely crumbled  in his first foreign policy forays, not only his reaction to the consulate attack in Libya but in his earlier visit to Europe.

Europeans expected some gravitas; Romney gave them a big, dopey, frat-boy bully. Which is all Romney really is, as he displayed again at the debate. He didn’t actually debate at all. He bullied. And Lehrer, with his “so what?” attitude, let him. Again, Obama displayed the gravitas we all look for. Obama even continued to say what he had said all along. And he did it without telling a lie a minute.

We didn’t see any substance at the debate and there is a very simple reason for this. There is no substance to Mitt Romney. Robert Draper, at the New York Time magazine, talks about Romney’s recent attempts to explain his policies in more detail after months of excuse-making and obfuscation. These, he says, look more as if “they were hatched from a few late-night strategy sessions after a string of bad news days rather than from the candidate’s core philosophy.” Draper makes the observation that Romney’s “campaign tactics reveal only what he would do in order to win, not what he’ll do once he has won.”

I have asked who the real Mitt Romney is politically. I am increasingly certain there is no answer to that question. What Mitt Romney is about, and what Mitt Romney will always be about, is Mitt Romney. His first and last question each day will be, did I do right by Mitt Romney? Asked who the real Mitt Romney is, I would be inclined to answer now that there is no real Mitt Romney beyond the Mitt Romney who will say anything to anybody to get elected.

If Mitt Romney comes across as a man who has no ideas – and he had no ideas when acting as an informal adviser to John McCain in 2008 – in all likelihood we can trust appearances. In his entire political career Romney has not displayed any core philosophy unless his core philosophy is to lie and lie often. They like to say all politicians lie, but no politician in American history has lied with the vigor and enthusiasm of Mitt Romney.

Pragmatic? That might be a word for it, though we like a little principle, a little substance, with our pragmatism. That is a combination displayed to good advantage by our current president, Barack Obama. We like a president who thinks before he speaks, a trick Romney, who is used to bullying and firing people, has never had to learn. Privilege, after all, has its privileges.

And it’s a lie to say we know any more about Mitt Romney than we did going into the debate. If we made a post-debate Mitt Romney action figure, it would look like the pre-debate Mitt Romney action figure. All the post-debate Romney does is say both “yes” and “no” at the same time to the benefit of none – save Mitt Romney.

Republicans are willing to overlook all this in the cause of getting Obama out of office. But I strongly suspect, should Romney win, Democrats will have to jostle to get into line when the complains start rolling in. Because when Republicans vote for Mitt Romney, they are buying a pig in a poke. They think they’re getting an anti-Obama, but what they need to remember is the fact that when they vote for Romney, they are voting for the man who invented the Obamacare they hate so much.
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« Reply #182 on: Oct 07, 2012, 08:10 AM »

For those in America please read and absorb this healine....and what it actually means in terms of what is going on in your country  .. the nature of your corporate media.

Unlike the Corporate Media, Citizens Aren’t Buying Romney’s Debate Lies

By: Sarah Jones
October 6th, 2012

A new tool was applied to social media following the presidential debate, and it showed that public sentiment was Obama won on substance, whereas Romney appeared to win by lying. The ability of social media to spread the word about fact-checks has changed the game.

NBC used a tool called ForSight, used to gauge public opinion in new media, to conclude that by Friday there was a sustained social media backlash against the punditry calling the Denver presidential debate for Romney. The new meme was that if Romney “won”, he did so by lying, whereas Obama had won on substance.

    The immediate consensus that Mitt Romney won Wednesday’s presidential debate has eroded significantly as fact-checkers have weighed in and supporters of President Barack Obama have fought back, according to NBCPolitics’ computer-assisted analysis of more than 1.3 million post-debate comments on social media.

    The analysis suggests that as debate over a news event continues unmediated over time, the impact of the conventional wisdom of journalists and partisan commentators can be mitigated…

    By Friday morning, the counterargument that Obama had actually won on substance had taken root, with online sentiment now favoring the president.

I am not presenting these revelations to argue that Obama won the debate. It was established by the media that Romney won the debate, even if this study — based upon the post mortem fact-checking that damaged Romney’s “win” — says otherwise. Romney has also gotten a small bounce in post debate polls so far among undecideds.

However, to the point of the social media backlash, the debate bounce is not a shift in the electorate precisely for the reasons people were citing on social media; the public does not find Romney trustworthy or presidential. According to numbers from a Reuters/Ipsos survey released Saturday, the bounce is not a shift in the electorate, but a short term bounce. “We haven’t seen additional gains from Romney. This suggests to me that this is more of a bounce than a permanent shift,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark concluded.

Furthermore, Obama gained ground post debate on matters of character and who understands the electorate more, even among voters who thought Romney “won” the debate. Obama is still more liked than Romney (53-29), and he still has a slim overall lead over Romney. Voters feel Obama has right values needed for a President by 43 to 37. Ironically given the narrative that came out of Denver’s debate, Obama still leads 42-38 on who is “tough” enough to be President.

So, Romney “won” the debate but did nothing he needed to do in order to present himself as more presidential. Worse, our media gave a debate to the person who by all fact-checkers’ accounts, lied his way through the entire debate to such an astonishing degree that there were times we did not know who was standing on that stage. This was not the Mitt Romney who has been campaigning for the past six years. Mitt Romney “won” by disavowing himself of Mitt Romney. How is that a real “win”? Perhaps he won the debate only to lose himself.

Not bothered in the least by Romney stabbing Republican ideology in the back in order to present himself as Obama lite during Denver’s debate, the Romney camp were out with champagne and snarls the day after the debate — high on their first “win” in a long and rather embarrassing campaign season for them. Republicans took to the airwaves to gloat like frat boys, demonstrating the very reason why they should not be in charge of anything. Ambition happily sacrificed principles in the Romney camp.

If this is “winning”, then we need to redefine the purpose of these debates. Ostensibly, they exist to inform the people. How exactly did Mitt Romney inform the people of his policy positions so that they were better equipped to vote their conscience? He misled them, if anything, and he seemed to only confirm voters’ already dim opinions of his character. The media dropped the ball on this one, including the allegedly liberal media.

Things are so bad in our corporate media that we were told a liar won a debate for the Presidency because the other guy didn’t hit him back hard enough. These folks are paid for their ability to see past the trees, even if they are the right height, and focus on more than political theater.

The debate is supposed to be about who is best suited to be President, not about who won the WWE show, unless the media is conceding that our presidential debates are nothing but entertainment not subject to rules. The Denver debate and the post debate coverage was an unmitigated fail.

Just like the trolled Town Halls of 2010, the media got punked by manic hysteria and distortions meant to distract from the very issues at hand. The media did nothing to clear the air. But citizens took to social media to point through the crazed haze, revealing the little man behind the curtain of lies.

Romney won the debate, but failed to achieve what should have been his biggest goals; to change public perception of him and to come off as presidential.


* poll.png (71.05 KB, 485x223 - viewed 127 times.)
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« Reply #183 on: Oct 07, 2012, 09:48 AM »


Highly Debatable: The Big Liar’s Biggest Lies

October 5th, 2012 12:34 am Joe Conaso

“It’s not easy to debate a liar,” complained an email from one observer of the first presidential debate  – and there was no question about which candidate he meant. Prevarication, falsification, fabrication are all familiar tactics that have been employed by Mitt Romney without much consequence to him ever since he entered public life, thanks to the inviolable taboo in the mainstream media against calling out a liar (unless, of course, he lies about sex).

Yes, President Obama ought to have been better prepared for Romney’s barrage of blather and bull. The Republican’s own chief advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, had glibly described the “Etch-a-Sketch” strategy they would deploy in the general election, to make swing voters forget the “severe conservative” of the primaries. Romney executed that pivot on Wednesday night, but he could do so only by spouting literally dozens of provably fraudulent assertions — which various diligent fact-checkers proceeded to debunk.

Knowing that he is vulnerable on taxation and the budget for many reasons, including his own peculiar and secretive tax history, Romney made several contradictory claims regarding his economic plan. He has no plan to lavish $5 trillion in tax breaks on the wealthy. He won’t cut taxes for the rich at all. He vowed to provide tax relief to the middle class and won’t increase their tax burden. He swore that his tax cuts would not increase the deficit.

Finally, he said that with all of that, he would grow the economy enough to shrink and eventually eliminate the deficit — without raising taxes on anyone. And he claimed that there are several studies proving he can fulfill all of these conflicting promises — even though he refuses to provide any specific tax proposals beyond a broad tax cut.

There is no study proving that Romney can do what he promised – and among his lies is his description of editorials in Tthe Wall Street Journal as “studies” of his plan. The most complete and unrefuted study of his claims remains the Tax Policy Center’s bipartisan report on the Romney plan, which shows that there is simply no way to pay for his $5 trillion, across-the-board tax cut without raising taxes on the middle class. None of the alternative studies he has cited proves otherwise – and some of them actually amass additional evidence that he is wrong.

Undoubtedly he knows all that. He knows that eliminating the estate tax, a mainstay of his plan, will benefit the rich enormously and almost nobody else.

He also knows that when he claims economic growth alone will erase the deficit, without raising taxes, he is inventing impossible numbers. As The National Memo’s Howard Hill demonstrated yesterday, the assumptions behind his claims are ridiculous. For the numbers to work, he would have to create not 12 million jobs, as he promised to do by 2016, but 162 million — more than the total current U.S. workforce. Or else the jobs created would have to pay more than $443,000 per year on average — which is even less likely than Rafalca winning the dressage medal at the next Summer Olympics.

At the same time, Romney accused the president of increasing the federal debt by an amount that is “almost as much…as all prior presidents combined.” This charge, which he leveled before, is patently false and by now Romney must  know it. The prior debt, mostly run up by George W. Bush and his Republican congressional cronies, stood above $10 trillion when Obama took office. The debt is now just over $16 trillion, mostly due to costs incurred by Bush and by Obama’s successful effort to prevent a Depression.

Having essentially disavowed the health care reforms that were his sole significant achievement in his single term in elected office, the former Massachusetts Governor suddenly claimed ownership of Romneycare. Presumably, this will make him more appealing to swing voters, too. But he still wants to do away with Obamacare, except for the parts that are popular.

For this maneuver, he must misrepresent his own proposed federal health care overhaul. He says there will be no change to Medicare for current beneficiaries, but repealing the Affordable Care Act will deprive them of free preventive care, increase their costs for prescription drugs, and do irreparable harm to Medicaid, which provides assisted care for nine million destitute Medicare patients.

But Romney has been lying about the Affordable Care Act for years, according to his own former advisor Jonathan Gruber, the chief intellectual architect of Romneycare. Nearly a year ago, Gruber complained  that Romney’s attempt to draw a sharp distinction between the Massachusetts legislation and Obamacare was phony. He told Capital New York in November 2011 that “they’re the same fucking bill. He just can’t have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it’s the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he’s just lying.”

Lying again? Indeed, the falsehoods flowed on every conceivable subject. Concerning energy, Romney claimed that “about half” of the renewable energy firms that received federal assistance under Obama administration programs went bankrupt — a claim that cannot be justified by any measure. Of the 28 firms that got federal loans or loan guarantees, three went under, representing under 11 percent — and less than 5 percent of the funds committed. (This assertion was so blatantly untrue that the Romney campaign withdrew it the next day.)

The examples cited above hardly exhaust the deep well of dishonesty in the Republican campaign. What Romney has done presents a fundamental challenge to the American political media. Will news outlets hold him accountable for baldly misleading voters? Are they capable of confronting his continuous mendacity with basic facts? Some have made a beginning, while others have scarcely tried. If that isn’t their responsibility, then they no longer have any purpose at all.
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« Reply #184 on: Oct 08, 2012, 07:46 AM »


After Dissing Spain, AP Says Romney Might Need Lesson in Diplomacy 101

By: Sarah JonesOctober 7th, 2012

The Denver fallout continues for Mitt Romney. Sunday, the AP said that Mitt Romney might need a crash course in diplomacy 101 if he gets elected.

During the first presidential debate, Romney attempted to conflate Spain with Obama in order to smear the President with failure no matter how unrelated. The irony of this is that not only did he irritate Spain (a Romney specialty, it seems), but also he got it wrong.

In fact, Spain’s problems come precisely from the kind of “leadership” we would expect under Romney; the kind of leadership America had under Bush that led to the great recession.

Spain is none-too-pleased. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria called out Romney’s “ignorance” of reality (are we cringing yet?), “What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy.”

Additional Spanish leaders piled on, managing to demonstrate more diplomacy than Mitt Romney has shown in this entire campaign:

    Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, noted that “Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested.” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it “very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples” when the facts are skewed.

“Skewed facts” and Romney seem to go together these days. The AP wrote, “If Mitt Romney becomes president, he might need a crash course in Diplomacy 101.”

During the Denver debate, Romney argued that government spending was the root of Spain’s problems, and fear-mongered that because of this faulty premise, America would face the same path under Obama (again ignoring that Republicans drove Clinton’s surplus into a record deficit and told us deficits don’t matter as they did it). Romney said, “I don’t want to go down the path of Spain. I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work.”

Spain’s level of government spending is low compared to the rest of Europe. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “Spain ran budget surpluses in the years from 2005-2007. Its debt to GDP ratio fell from 50.3 percent in 2000 to 26.5 percent of GDP in 2007. There is no remotely plausibly story of government profligacy here.”

What did cause the problems? The same thing that happened here in America – the greed of the private sector bankers fueling a housing bubble, and now those same bankers refuse to loan money thereby killing the credit that spurs the economy.

Center for Economic and Policy Research reported on the ideologically driven misunderstanding of the crisis in Spain being used by the American Right wing to justify cutting social spending when it is actually not related to social spending (emphasis mine):

    In short, people who describe the euro zone crisis as a story of excessive government deficits are pushing an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with reality. The story of the current deficits of the non-Greece countries is the story of the collapse of housing bubbles that threw the euro zone economies into a severe downturn. The European Central Bank (ECB) has magnified the problem by maintaining relatively tight monetary policy in order to maintain very low inflation and also explicitly asserting that it would not act as a lender of last resort to the heavily indebted countries.

    Blaming government profligacy may be useful to those who want to see cuts in social spending, but it is not a story that is based in reality. It conceals the incompetence/greed of the private sector bankers who fueled the bubble. It also ignores the recklessness of the ECB of clinging to its inflation obsession even in the midst of a crisis that threatens the survival of the euro and could cause millions of additional workers to lose their job.

If Romney wants to put Americans to work then why is Romney advocating for the same policies that threaten to put millions of additional workers out of a job in Spain?

Romney’s showing at the debate “put Europe on edge”. Embarrassingly for the U.S., the Romney international affairs circus is just getting warmed up. Monday, Romney makes a foreign policy speech, in which no doubt he will attempt to paint himself as Reagan and tell Obama to tear down some wall. I have ten thousand on Romney managing to insult an ally or give yet another nation an excuse to refuse to cooperate with the US as he did with Russia.

So far, Romney has managed to insult, offend and/or deeply concern Australia, Russia, Palestine, Britain, and Spain. All of Europe is on “edge” with Romney, including the center-right and conservative governments. Romney was accused of putting our national security at risk during his summer of foreign affairs woes. The British suggested that Romney take diplomacy lessons from Michelle Obama during his gaffe ridden visit, and now the AP is suggesting that he might need lessons in diplomacy. The AP.

When the AP is calling out a Republican neo-con corporatist, things might be worse than they appear. I don’t recall the main stream press warning us about Bush’s lack of diplomacy, and we all know how he governed. I daresay it’s not just Europe that’s on edge over the possibility of a Romney presidency.

***************

 Sunday, Oct 7, 2012 1:30 PM UTC

Spain quip adds to Romney’s foreign policy trouble

By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Mitt Romney becomes president, he might need a crash course in Diplomacy 101.

He irritated Britons and Palestinians during a summer tour abroad and has declared Russia to be America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe. Just last week, the Republican candidate, who plans a foreign policy speech Monday, raised eyebrows in Spain by holding it up as a prime example of government spending run amok.

That left Spaniards confused, and threatened to reinforce Romney’s perceived handicap in international affairs, precisely at a time when lingering questions over the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has President Barack Obama on the defensive.

“I don’t want to go down the path of Spain,” Romney said Wednesday night during the first presidential debate. He argued that government spending under Obama has reached 42 percent of the U.S. economy, a figure comparable with America’s NATO ally. “I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work.”

The remark was Romney’s latest to cause international offense during a campaign that much of the world is closely monitoring.

The sensitivity reflects a wide understanding that Romney could prevail over President Barack Obama and take over as leader of the world’s top military, economic and diplomatic power. If Romney becomes commander in chief, he could face a testy beginning with Europe’s economic laggards such as Greece, Italy and Spain, whom he has beaten up regularly throughout the campaign.

No one contests that Spain’s situation is dire, its economy in deep recession and unemployment hovering around 25 percent. But Spain’s level of government spending is actually low by European standards, and significantly less than Germany and Scandinavian countries with far healthier economic prospects. Spain’s woes were chiefly caused by the collapse of a property bubble that had fueled more than a decade of booming economic growth.

Spanish reaction to Romney was swift.

“What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, noted that “Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested.” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it “very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples” when the facts are skewed.

The criticism comes at an inopportune time for Romney. Obama has consistently outscored his challenger in polls asking about national security leadership, but the administration is struggling to deal with last month’s attack on the consulate. Four Americans died, including the first ambassador killed in the line of duty in more than three decades.

Romney will have a chance to fully articulate his vision of America’s role in world affairs when gives his address Monday at the Virginia Military Institute. But the furor in Spain, however minor, instead serves as a reminder of Romney’s record of diplomatic stumbles, such as calling Russia — not Iran or China, for example — America’s primary global adversary in March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since pointed to Romney’s comment as justification for Russia’s opposition to America’s missile defense plans in Europe, saying the statement has “strengthened Russia’s positions in talks on this important and sensitive subject.”

Then on a July trip to Europe and Israel meant to burnish Romney’s foreign policy credentials, the candidate criticized Britain over its preparations for the London Olympic Games. The comment baffled America’s closest ally, drawing withering retorts from the British press, the Conservative prime minister and London’s right-wing mayor. He also cited a private meeting with Britain’s spy service MI6, in a significant breach of protocol.

In Israel, he followed up by declaring Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, which U.S. administrations have refused to accept for decades given Palestinian claims to the ancient city.

At a gathering of mostly American Jewish donors, Romney implied that Israel was more advanced than the Palestinians because of cultural superiority. The comment drew a charge of racism from the Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator, with whom the U.S. has been working to reach a two-state peace deal with Israel and counter the threat posed by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rejects Israel’s existence.

The comments in some ways reflect the demands of a presidential campaign and the thousands of speeches, fundraisers and public appearances each candidate must make.

Obama, too, has made mistakes. He was forced to apologize to Poland’s president in June after using the expression “Polish death camp” in reference to an extermination center operated by Nazi Germany on Polish soil during World War II.

Romney’s Spain quip might play well with Americans closely split on the election, who’ve heard from both candidates about the perils of economic contagion from Europe’s debt crisis. It also was meant as a reminder of the $16 trillion U.S. debt that Obama presides over.

But even if it barely registered in a debate that most observers credited Romney with winning, the comparison may do damage. By singling out Spain, Romney ruffled feathers in a country he will probably need to call on for assistance if he becomes president. Spain has almost 1,500 troops in Afghanistan. It contributed fighter jets, refueling planes and naval vessels to the U.S.-led NATO mission that ousted Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi from power.

“When you have a party or politician that has not been in power nationally for a while, there is a learning curve,” said Frances G. Burwell, director of transatlantic relations at the Atlantic Council. “Europe has changed rapidly in terms of its governance rapidly. It’s a very diverse place. But I’m sure a Romney administration would quickly get up to speed on this.”

Burwell didn’t see Romney’s slighting of Spain or other European countries significantly straining ties or complicating tough questions on the horizon for any U.S. president, such as troop deployments in Afghanistan. But she said his critique of Spain’s government spending level was somewhat strange considering the Madrid government is assertively cutting expenditures to avoid a European bailout and the high levels of American debt.

Added Heather Conley, European director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies: “Europeans ask the U.S., ‘What about you?’ This isn’t helpful to either side of the transatlantic relationship.”

*************

Romney's strong debate showing puts Europe on edge

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks during the first presidential debate with President Barack Obama (not pictured) in Denver October 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

By Luke Baker

BRUSSELS | Thu Oct 4, 2012 11:08am EDT

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's lackluster performance in the first U.S. election debate provoked uneasiness in European capitals on Thursday, where hopes are mostly, if unofficially, pinned on his securing a second term.

While a lot can change before the November 6 vote, and Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will go head to head twice more before then, polling conducted immediately after the debate showed Romney came out overwhelmingly on top.

A flash poll by CNN showed 67 percent of viewers thought Romney had 'won', with just 25 percent for Obama. Intrade, an online prediction market, cut Obama's re-election prospects from 74 percent to 66 percent.

In Europe, where leaders and finance officials have worked closely with the Obama administration over the past 2-1/2 years trying to resolve the euro area debt crisis, there was particular consternation at Romney's singling out of deficit-ridden Spain as a poorly administered economy.

"Romney is making analogies that aren't based on reality," Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters after a meeting of his centre-right party.

Leading Spanish daily El Pais highlighted the fact that Spain was the only European country mentioned, and contrasted Romney's negative depiction of it with Obama's praise for Spain's renewable energy policies during the 2008 campaign.

"Spain has never been mentioned in a presidential debate as a symbol of failure," the left-leaning newspaper lamented. "What happened last night makes history. And not in a good way."

Political commentators in France and Germany registered surprise at Obama's underwhelming performance, saying the election could be much tighter as a result.

"Obama showed a lack of desire to be president, which could put him on shaky ground as a presidential candidate," said liberal German news magazine Der Spiegel.

"It's now clear that to get back into the White House the U.S. president needs running shoes, not flip-flops."

France's Le Monde appeared equally surprised by Obama's sub-par performance. "Where did the favorite go?" it asked on its front page, with a headline below saying: "Obama fails his first televised debate against an incisive Romney."

LEANING OBAMA'S WAY

In private, many EU diplomats have no qualms about saying they want Obama re-elected; it is no secret that many European countries, whether led by centre-left or centre-right governments, are more broadly aligned with the Democrats when it comes to social and tax policy, the environment and a range of foreign-affairs issues.

That is something Obama has sought to exploit in the past. In the run-up to a G8 meeting at Camp David in May, White House officials firmly pressed their European counterparts to rally behind Obama's policy initiatives, according to those involved.

"It was like all of the G8 apart from Russia and Japan were expected to be part of the Obama re-election campaign," the chief of staff of one European leader told Reuters at the time.

Washington has also applied quiet pressure on Europe in recent months about the need to avoid a major blow-up in the debt crisis ahead of the election, in part so as not to rattle the U.S. economy, several EU officials have told Reuters.

Europe's leaders have good reason to go along; they want to keep a politically risky crisis under wraps, too, and they want to expand the close working relationship they have developed with Obama's administration over the past four years.

"The Europeans have a general uneasiness about a Romney presidency," said Jan Techau, the director of Carnegie Europe.

"It's not because they don't like him, but there are a lot of neoconservative policy advisers who would come back into office under a Romney presidency, and that is a prospect that a lot of European leaders are not comfortable with.

"There's a general tendency to stick to what you know and what you have been working with," he told Reuters.

"DEAL WITH IT"

Romney has also not done much to endear himself to the Old World. During a visit to Britain ahead of the Olympics in July he cast doubt on how well prepared London was to host the games, and in Israel days later he appeared to criticise Palestinian culture, leading to widespread condemnation.

One of Romney's advisers on a "Europe working group" is Nile Gardiner, a Briton who was an aide to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and now works for the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Times last month, Gardiner was decidedly downbeat on Europe, saying the continent was in terminal decline and European integration was misguided.

"The European Project is falling apart, drowning in a sea of debt, and driven by bureaucrats in Brussels who lack any semblance of democratic accountability," he wrote.

Those sorts of opinions among the circle around Romney have raised hackles in Europe and fuelled hopes that his challenge for the White House will fail.

Obama still holds an advantage in opinion polls, including a daily Reuters/IPSOS tracking poll that gives him a 47 percent to 41 percent lead over Romney, a margin that has held fairly steady since mid-September.

With just 33 days before the election, Romney still has a hill to climb to unseat Obama, but two more strong performances in the debates could tip undecided voters his way.

In Europe, leaders are watching closely and will be ready to suppress their Romney reservations if need be.

"Even though we have a natural predilection for Democratic presidents, we'll embrace the next U.S. president whoever he is," said one diplomat in Brussels. "We just have to deal with it."

(Additional reporting by Michelle Martin in Berlin, Fiona Ortiz in Madrid and Alexandria Sage in Paris; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Will Waterman)
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« Reply #185 on: Oct 08, 2012, 10:17 AM »


Republicans Sell America’s Sovereignty and Give in to a Foreign Corporation’s Demands

By: RmuseOctober 8th, 2012         

As a sovereign nation, America’s government has supremacy of authority to rule as dictated by the U.S. Constitution and is completely independent from outside forces. The Founding Fathers never intended for foreigners to influence the government or impose their will on Americans or politicians, but for the past two years, Republicans have acquiesced to a foreign corporation’s demand they be given the authority to raise gas prices, endanger the water supply, and impede farmers right to produce crops to feed the nation. Now, Willard Romney has joined the fray and Americans should begin asking why Romney promises to allow a Canadian corporation to control land in America, and why they are funding his run for the White House.

It is obvious to many Americans that Romney and Republicans hate this government and its people, and in their drive to weaken America, they are promoting a Canadian corporation to assist in their efforts. It was revealed recently that a Canadian corporation contributed $1 million to put Willard Romney in the White House, and he supports another Canadian corporation’s expedition to takeover Americans’ lands and raise gas prices. At one point in America’s history, it was illegal for foreigners to impact elections and influence the government, but that was before Republicans abandoned their duty to serve the Constitution and the American people.

The two Canadian corporations attempting to influence the government of the United States are TransCanada and investment management giant, Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. Maybe Romney believes that as president, ceding control of Americans’ private property to a Canadian oil corporation is acceptable because they have oil, and it is possible he accepted a million dollars from a Canadian investment firm because of his affinity for vulture capitalism, but whatever his logic, Romney and Republicans are traitors for giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the people.

The investment and insurance giant, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., contributed $1 million to a Romney super-PAC in spite of the law that says that any foreign national is prohibited from “directly or indirectly” contributing money to influence US elections. The Canadian investment firm donated to Romney because “a victory by Gov. Romney in November would be beneficial and level the playing field against corporations in more favorable tax jurisdictions.” Apparently, if the investment firm can buy Romney’s assistance to change tax laws for a Canadian corporation, then an illegal million dollar donation is a small price to pay. Romney is notorious for using other people’s money to increase his wealth, so accepting an illegal campaign contribution fits his penchant for corruption, however, it is Romney and Republican’s aid to TransCanada Corporation that is impacting America’s farmers, the water supply, and the price of gasoline.

TransCanada Corporation is the owner-operator of the Keystone XL pipeline that Romney promises to approve on his first day in office to supply oil to China. In a campaign speech in Michigan, Romney told supporters “I’ll get us that oil from Canada we deserve,” but he knows the oil is slated for export on the foreign market and that Americans will never see one drop; except when the pipeline ruptures. Romney, Paul Ryan, and Republicans lied to the American people that expediting construction of the pipeline from Canada to Texas will create jobs and provide a glut of gasoline for Americans, but TransCanada debunked job creation claims and guaranteed the pipeline will increase the price of gas at the pump by at least 15 cents per gallon if not more. The environmental impact will be substantially more costly though, but decimating America’s natural resources has never been a concern for conservatives. For the record, the tar sand belongs to Canada and Speaker of the House John Boehner, and subsequently they have already contracted to export the refined gas to China. However, before the northern route has even been decided, TransCanada has taken over farmers’ land throughout Texas and prompted local officials to protestors even on their own  land. Republicans trumpet personal freedom and decry intervention in private citizens’ lives, but where oil, wealth, and power are involved, freedom rests in the hands of a Canadian corporation.

On Thursday, actress Daryl Hannah was arrested for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas, but real victim was a 78 year-old grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, who was arrested with Hannah. A spokesman for the Canadian corporation said, “It is unfortunate Ms. Hannah and other out-of-state activists have chosen to break the law by illegally trespassing on private property,” but the Texas grandmother was not an out-of-state activist; she owned the private property TransCanada claimed she was trespassing on. Fairchild is not alone in protecting her private property. Across Texas, and states where the pipeline is planned or already under construction, farmers are protesting KeystoneXL cutting through their land, and their common complaint is, “they’re siting it across me,” and not “across my land,” because farmers “identify with their land like they identify with their own bodies.”

It is common knowledge Romney is not concerned about the American people, and that his first allegiance is to corporations and Wall Street, but he is giving clear indications he will allow foreigners to dictate their policies that will affect this government and its people. His company, Bain Capital, invested in Chinese companies, Iran, and a firm that acknowledged its strategy was profiting from US companies outsourcing jobs, and it begs the question; does Romney intend to serve the American people or foreign corporations, or in the case of Israel, a foreign government?

The Romney campaign asserts President Obama is foreign to America, but they are projecting Romney and his devotion to serving foreigners. That his campaign accepted a million dollars from a Canadian investment firm, or that he promotes a Canadian company that is taking over Americans’ land proves he is not devoted to America, but to whichever foreign entity supports his campaign. Romney pledged to give TransCanada free rein to build the Keystone pipeline, and it has already resulted in the arrest of a Texas grandmother and Native Americans for standing on their own land, and construction of the Northern portion of the pipeline assures that more American farmers will lose their property rights to a foreign corporation to enrich the oil industry that contributes heavily to Romney’s campaign.

The American people should be mortified that when it comes to protecting Americans’ freedom as private property owners, Romney’s promise to approve the Keystone XL pipeline informs his intent of defending foreign entities; not Americans. In fact, if Romney believes a Canadian investment firm and tar sand corporation will increase his wealth and power, he will defer to them regardless if they arrest Americans on their own private property or raise the price of gas, and it defines him as the only foreigner running for president.
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« Reply #186 on: Oct 09, 2012, 07:39 AM »

Originally published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 12:04 AM   

Diminished GOP brand heightens Romney's challenge

Even with his strong debate performance, Mitt Romney needs every possible advantage to overtake President Barack Obama in the next four weeks. Not helping him much is the Republican Party he leads.

By CHARLES BABINGTON
Associated Press

SALISBURY, N.C. —

Even with his strong debate performance, Mitt Romney needs every possible advantage to overtake President Barack Obama in the next four weeks. Not helping him much is the Republican Party he leads.

Thanks in part to congressional Republicans' no-compromise stands on key issues, and an unpopular past president in George W. Bush, the GOP's image is at one of its lowest points in modern times. Romney is now distancing himself a bit from some party policies, most notably by emphasizing that he doesn't want to cut taxes for high earners.

That's probably a smart move, say Republican activists in regions where it's getting harder to sell the party's brand.

When talking with unaffiliated voters, "it's more important to sell Romney" than Republican policies, said Jordan McSwain, 19, who makes about 800 phone calls a week for GOP candidates from the central North Carolina town of Salisbury. A lot of undecided voters tell him "the Republicans have stopped all work in Washington," McSwain said, although he reminds them that Democrats controlled Congress for Obama's first two years.

Ten months ago, Americans were fuming over a near crisis in the economy triggered by Congress' partisan showdown over raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government operating. A Pew Research poll found that considerably more adults thought the Republican Party was "more extreme in its positions" than the Democratic Party. They saw the GOP as less ethical and less willing to work with the other party. And more Americans blamed Republican leaders for Congress' paltry list of accomplishments.

Recent polls spell out the Republican Party's challenge. A CBS-New York Times poll last month found that 49 percent of adults had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, and 36 percent unfavorable. The GOP was upside down on the question, with 43 percent viewing it favorably, and 55 percent unfavorably.

This is partly because more Americans see themselves as Democrats. The latest AP-GfK poll found that 31 percent of adults considered themselves Democrats, 22 percent Republicans and 29 percent independents. When unaffiliated voters were pressed to say which way they lean, the results were 50 percent Democrat and 37 percent Republican.

The Democratic Party's favorable ratings are nothing to brag about. But party identification is less important to Obama, who has a four-year record for voters to judge. Romney, being less well known, must rely at least in part on the "Republican brand."

"The Republican brand name is in terrible shape, and people are not naturally sympathetic to the Republicans in Congress," Fox News commentator Brit Hume said in June.

Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, speaking in February of the rambunctious GOP primary, said, "This process has certainly hurt all the Republican candidates, and diminished the brand, unfortunately."

Romney's hopes may rest, at least somewhat, on distancing himself from the brand's less popular parts, while sacrificing as little fundraising and enthusiasm from the base as possible. The less popular parts, in some voters' eyes, include the uncompromising stand that many tea party-leaning Republicans have taken in Congress, especially on tax and spending issues.

In recent days, Romney has said he does not want to reduce the overall tax burden for high-income families, even though he still calls for a 20 percent cut in all federal income tax rates. He says changes in tax deductions would keep Americans' overall tax burden about the same. But he has not detailed how he can accomplish both goals.

Polls show significant support for Obama's call to increase taxes on households making more than $250,000 a year.

Romney's new emphasis on a no-net-decrease tax policy puts him at odds with many congressional Republicans, who say tax cuts for high earners will spur job growth.

The move delights GOP commentators such as David Brooks. During the presidential primaries, "the GOP did its best to appear unattractive," Brooks wrote last week in The New York Times. In Wednesday's debate with Obama, he wrote: "Romney did something no other mainstream Republican has had the guts to do. Either out of conviction or political desperation, he broke with tea party orthodoxy and began to redefine the Republican identity."

With the Nov. 6 election nearing, it's unclear what effect Romney's efforts will have.

Brian Nick, a Republican consultant based in Charlotte, said neither party "has a good brand right now," because Washington's constant partisan quarreling has given politics in general a bad name. He said, however, that Democrats have sometimes benefitted in competitive states by painting all Republicans as being more interested in party purity than in solving problems.

"Democrats do use the tea party label to attack Republicans and try to tie them to a strict orthodoxy," Nick said.

Further hurting the Republican brand is the status of each party's most recent former president. Only one-fourth of Americans had a favorable view of Bush when his presidency ended, according to Gallup. His standing has improved somewhat since then, but he lags far behind former President Bill Clinton. A recent Bloomberg News poll found that nearly 2 in 3 Americans favorably view the former Democratic president.

Ron Thomas, 26, is an independent voter with a fairly dim view of the national Republican Party.

"Who will help the working man more? It's definitely Barack," said Thomas, who works for a rental car company in Charlotte.

Thomas, who endured a chilly drizzle this week to discuss politics, has few problems with Republicans at the state level. In fact, he supports Republican Pat McCrory in the governor's race, saying the former Charlotte mayor is good on urban issues.

But Thomas said Romney turned him off with his claim that the 47 percent of Americans who don't owe federal income taxes will not take responsibility for their lives.

"I'm part of that 47 percent," Thomas said. "I have a college degree, and I work two jobs," he said, but it's still a struggle.

**************

Originally published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Big gaps in Romney plan on pre-existing conditions

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there's a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON —

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there's a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

If you had a significant break in health insurance coverage an insurer still could delve into your medical history, looking for anything - from a bad back to high blood pressure - that could foreshadow future claims. They'd be able to turn you down.

That's a contrast to President Barack Obama's health care law, which guarantees that people in poor health can get comprehensive coverage at the same rates everybody else pays, and provides government subsidies to help low- to middle-income households pay premiums.

Starting Jan. 1, 2014, an insurer "may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion," the law says.

Romney mentioned his pre-existing conditions plan during last week's presidential debate. "I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions," he said.

His campaign has not spelled out details other than it would help people who have maintained continuous coverage. That involves making incremental changes to insurance laws and regulations, and may or may not whittle down the number of uninsured.

"It will solve some of the problems," said health economist Gail Wilensky, a longtime adviser to Republicans. "It won't solve the problem of people having gone for a long time without health insurance."

Since losing health insurance is often connected to major life upheavals like job loss or divorce, many people aren't able to keep up continuous coverage. More than 70 percent of the uninsured have been without coverage for a year or longer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Obama's answer - it's the law of the land unless repealed - is more like hitting the reset button. About 30 million uninsured people would gain coverage as the U.S. moves closer to other economically advanced countries that provide health care for all citizens.

The differences between the Obama and Romney approaches reflect a fundamental disagreement about the role of government in dealing with the nation's health care woes: high costs, uneven quality, widespread waste and nearly 49 million uninsured.

Republicans are looking for private-sector solutions that government can encourage. Under Obama, government has taken the wheel, framing a grand bargain in which insurance companies will have to accept all applicants in exchange for a requirement that virtually all Americans carry coverage.

About 13 percent of people age 64 and younger who apply for an individual policy are turned away for medical reasons, according to insurance industry statistics. In 2008, that was more than 220,000 individuals. The denial rate rises to nearly 25 percent for people age 50 to 64.

While Republicans are united in their desire to repeal Obama's law, there is no consensus within the party on how or whether to replace it.

Romney has been stressing his pre-existing conditions plan as he works to soften his public image in the homestretch of a campaign that appears to have tightened since last week's debate with Obama. Yet his campaign has only provided a bare-bones set of talking points.

Romney himself addressed the issue in a recent column for The New England Journal of Medicine. "Regulation must prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage."

Most people already enjoy such protection under a 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton. It works fairly seamlessly for people who switch from one job-based plan to another.

It's harder for people switching from job-based coverage to an individual plan. They first have to exhaust a coverage option known as COBRA, which allows people with job-based insurance to keep their health plan for up to 18 months after leaving the company, provided they pay the full premium. Many can't afford that.

And there's no federal protection against being turned down for people trying to switch from one individual plan to another.

Romney could address those two gaps, making it easier for people to switch from job-based to individual coverage and among individual plans. His campaign has not specified how.

In his journal article, Romney also proposed to allow people purchasing coverage individually to deduct the cost from their income taxes, and he expressed support for purchasing pools and for allowing insurers to sell across state lines. His campaign says states will have the flexibility and resources to design programs for residents who cannot afford coverage on their own.

Individual insurance market expert Karen Pollitz, who served in the Obama administration as a consumer regulator, says the components of Romney's plan are unlikely to provide as comprehensive a guarantee as the president's Affordable Care Act.

"The ACA just says insurance companies can't discriminate against you, period," said Pollitz, now with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "If you've been uninsured, you can come into this market on Jan. 1, 2014, no questions asked."

*************
---
Fact check: Romney's one-sided story on defense and trade

Mitt Romney blamed President Obama solely Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress agreed to, and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free-trade initiatives.

A closer look at some of the Republican presidential nominee's statements in his foreign-policy speech:

MITT ROMNEY: "I will roll back President Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense that would devastate our military."

THE FACTS: "Arbitrary" defense cuts do not belong to Obama alone but also to congressional Republicans, including Romney's vice-presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. The first round of cuts in projected defense spending comes from a bipartisan deal in August 2011 between Congress and the White House. Unless a new budget deal is reached in time, additional spending cuts will begin in January across government, and the cost to the Pentagon would be $500 billion over a decade. The Pentagon's budget, including war costs, is $670 billion this year, or about 18 percent of total federal spending. Even setting aside the costs of the wars, military spending has more than doubled since 2001.

ROMNEY: "The president has not signed one new free-trade agreement in the past four years."

THE FACTS: Obama hasn't opened new trade negotiations, but after taking office, he revived a free-trade deal with Colombia that had been negotiated by his Republican predecessor but left to languish and sought similar progress with South Korean and Panamanian free-trade pacts.

ROMNEY: "I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel."

THE FACTS: Romney apparently has moved toward the balance enshrined in U.S. policy from one administration to another on the question of Israelis and Palestinians and away from his provocative remarks to a May fundraiser when he said "the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace," "the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish," Palestinians are "committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel" and it would be "the worst idea in the world" to put pressure on the Israelis to give up something in hopes Palestinians would respond accordingly.

ROMNEY: "As the dust settles, as the murdered (in the Libya consulate attack) are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do."

THE FACTS: It's unclear whether terrorism has gotten worse. There has been no incident even remotely comparable in scope or symbolic meaning to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Assailants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, and there has been an uptick in attacks on American troops by supposedly friendly Afghan forces. But many counterterrorist experts say al-Qaida has been weakened and the threats of global terrorism better countered over the past decade.

ROMNEY: "When we look at the Middle East today — with Iran closer than ever to nuclear-weapons capability, with the conflict in Syria threatening to destabilize the region, with violent extremists on the march and with an American ambassador and three others dead likely at the hands of al-Qaida affiliates — it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office."

THE FACTS: Obama entered office in 2009 with the United States still engaged in a conflict in Iraq. U.S. troops are no longer there. Israel and Hamas had just finished a three-week war. That was two years after another war between Israel and an Iranian-backed force, in that case, Hezbollah in Lebanon. There has been no significant Israeli military conflict since Obama has come into office. However, Syria's conflict has become the region's deadliest since the Iraq war. The United States has stayed out of that conflict under Obama.

The Associated Press

******************

Pro-Romney energy company accused of extorting contributions from workers

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, October 8, 2012 17:27 EDT

The Ohio Democratic Party on Monday formally requested that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio launch an investigation of Murray Energy, which has been accused of forcing its employees to make political contributions to Republican candidates.

“I write to formally request a criminal investigation concerning a recent report suggesting the Murray Energy Corporation, its subsidiaries, and management (“Murray Energy”) may have engaged in a pattern of illegal activity, extorting millions in financial contributions from employees and vendors for Republican candidates running for public office,” Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern wrote to U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.

Two Murray Energy managerial sources told The New Republic that the company pressures employees into giving money to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates. In addition, internal documents revealed that the company tracks which employees are and are not making contributions. Employees of the company allegedly fear that if they do not make the political contributions and attend fundraisers, they will face repercussions including demotions and being refused bonuses.

Murray Energy has given more than $1.4 million to Ohio state and federal candidates for public office, with the majority of that money going to Republicans.

The energy company has also been accused of forcing employees to attend an August rally with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Coal miners said they feared being fired if they did not attend the event. Images from that event have been used in Romney campaign ad, sparking a Federal Elections Commission complaint by the liberal group OhioProgress.

Murray Energy denies any wrongdoing. In a statement, the company said the allegations “are simply an attempt to silence Murray Energy and its owners from supporting their coal mining employees and families by speaking out against President Barack Obama’s well known and documented War on Coal.”

“It is unfortunate that there are political entities in America, such as The New Republic and the Ohio Democratic Party, that will go to no limits to destroy innocent people to get their candidates elected,” Murray Energy added.

************

Paul Ryan ends interview after being pressed on guns and taxes

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, October 8, 2012 19:22 EDT

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Monday ended an interview with ABC12 in Michigan after being questioned about how he would prevent gun violence in the United States.

During the interview, Ryan denied the U.S. had a “gun problem.” He said the country only had a “crime problem.”

“If you take a look at the gun laws we have, I don’t even think President Obama is proposing more gun laws,” Ryan told the interviewer. “We have good strong gun laws. We have to make sure we enforce our laws. We have lots of laws that aren’t being properly enforced. We need to make sure we enforce these laws, but the best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity to the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character, that is civil society. That is what charities and civic groups and churches do to help one another make sure they can realize the value in one another.”

“And you can do all that by cutting taxes?” the interviewer asked.

At that point, Ryan ended the interview, saying the reporter had asked a “strange” question and put words in his mouth.

“The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts,” spokesman Brendan Buck told BuzzFeed. “Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.”

The National Rifle Association has endorsed the Romney-Ryan ticket last week, even though Romney has previously described assault rifles as “instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
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« Reply #187 on: Oct 09, 2012, 07:41 AM »

Really ? My God ....

Romney refuses to face kids on Nickelodeon after vow to defund Big Bird

By David Edwards
Monday, October 8, 2012 16:14 EDT

After recently promising to end funding for beloved Sesame Street character Big Bird, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is now refusing to take questions from children on a Nickelodeon special, Kids Pick the President: The Candidates.

Although both then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appeared on the special in 2008, only Obama has agreed to participate this year, the network said on Monday.

“By answering kids’ questions directly, candidates show respect for kids,” host Linda Ellerbee said. “We are disappointed that Mitt Romney wouldn’t take the time to answer the questions, but are thrilled that President Obama participated in the special.”

Deputy National Press Secretary Adam Fetcher told TMZ that Romney had decided to “play hookey” because he couldn’t even handle questions from America’s youth.

“Kids demand details, and I’m sure they want some answers on why Romney could increase their class sizes, eliminate their teacher’s jobs, raise taxes on their families and slash funding for Big Bird,” Fetcher quipped. “‘The dog ate my homework’ just doesn’t cut it when you’re running for President.”

During a presidential debate last week Romney had told moderator Jim Lehrer, “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow from China to pay for.”

Obama, who recorded his Nickelodeon appearance on Monday, took questions from kids about gun control, the economy, immigration, marriage equality, bullying, obesity and his most embarrassing moment.

“I’m running into doors and desks all the time,” the president said.

Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President: The Candidates airs at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 15. Kids will have a chance to vote online between Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.
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« Reply #188 on: Oct 09, 2012, 09:14 PM »

Thanks for the continuous flow of information Rad.
Here's another great example of being two-faced...

Mitt Romney Abortion Stance Changes, As Candidate Says He Won't Push To Restrict Access

The Huffington Post  |  By Elise Foley

Mitt Romney said Tuesday he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion, a softer stance from a candidate who has said he would "get rid of" funding for Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview.

The Romney campaign walked back the remark within two hours of the Register posting its story. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the National Review Online's Katrina Trinko that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

His statement could put him at odds with congressional Republicans who have made limiting abortion central to their messages. His own running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has introduced bills to restrict access to abortion. And the Republican Party platform toughened its anti-abortion stance earlier this year.

Both Romney and Ryan oppose abortion, but the presidential candidate supports exemptions while his running mate does not. Romney told the Register he will restrict abortion in one way, through an executive order banning U.S. foreign aid money to be used for abortions.

Romney has previously vowed to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the most common ways in which Republicans have tried to restrict access to abortion, even though the organization is already banned from using taxpayer dollars to fund the procedure. "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that," he said in March, referring to budget cuts he would make as president.

Romney said in September that he would prefer to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that would oppose Roe v. Wade.

"I hope to appoint justices for the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution," he said at the time on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe V. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue."

Romney said Tuesday his legislation will be focused on jobs and education, when asked whether he would push for other bills on women's issues.

"Women are frequently asking about the massive amount of debt we’re passing on to the next generation," he told the Register.

UPDATE: 7:45 p.m. -- The Democratic National Committee posted video later on Tuesday of Romney saying during a February interview that he would cut Planned Parenthood funding, block foreign aid from going to abortions and appoint Supreme Court Justices to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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« Reply #189 on: Oct 10, 2012, 08:28 AM »

Mitt Romney Calls the EPA 'Out of Control' For Wanting to Make Sure Our Drinking Water is Safe

By Heather

During the Mike Huckabee Republican Presidential Debate forum held on Fox this Saturday night, Mitt Romney was asked by moderator Scott Pruit whether heaven forbid his head of the EPA might not be that different from President Obama's choice to lead that agency.

Romney responded by throwing a whole lot of red meat to the GOP base with whether the federal government and the EPA ought to be allowed to regulate fracking on a national level and said it should be left to the states, because heaven forbid Romney might want to concern himself over whether fracking is polluting the drinking water around the country, as Pro Publica has documented here -- Fracking or on whether states are complying with the Clean Water Act with their fracking operations.

As Think Progress has also noted -- Bringing Fracking to the Surface: More Scrutiny Needed on Natural Gas Development -- there are a whole lot more concerns that need to be examined before we just allow these drilling operations to go on without more scrutiny.

I would assume Romney is more concerned about which of those companies are contributing to his political campaign.

Rough transcript below the fold from this Saturday's "forum."

    PRUITT: Well Governor, you've traveled Oklahoma, you know that Oklahoma is a leader, in energy from oil and gas to coal to wind. So when energy CEO's tell me that your EPA, or your EPA administrator may not be much different than the president's now, what do you say to that?

    ROMNEY: Well, they don't know what I would do if I were the president of the United States. You know, one of my good friends is Mike Leavitt who was the EPA administrator under George W. Bush and I've asked some of the oil and gas company executives, what was it like under Mike Leavitt and they said it was a whole lot better than it is today.

    I think the EPA has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy, whether it's oil, gas, coal, nuclear... there's a real effort on the part of some in the president's party that don't like the American enterprise system and are trying to find a way to do everything they can to impede the growth of our economy and our energy independence.

    And I look at the effort on the EPA for instance to step in the way of fracking and eliminate the potential in some states to have our access to natural gas and to oil and say look, this is all an effort to just say let's go solar and wind and let's raise the cost of energy dramatically.

    That's in my view, it's just entirely opposite of the view that we need to have a federal government that sees its job as helping the private sector grow and thrive and add jobs.

    PRUITT: Well Governor, you've traveled Oklahoma, you know that Oklahoma is a leader, in energy from oil and gas to coal to wind. So when energy CEO's tell me that your EPA, or your EPA administrator may not be much different than the president's now, what do you say to that?

    ROMNEY: Well, they don't know what I would do if I were the president of the United States. You know, one of my good friends is Mike Leavitt who was the EPA administrator under George W. Bush and I've asked some of the oil and gas company executives, what was it like under Mike Leavitt and they said it was a whole lot better than it is today.

    I think the EPA has gotten completely out of control for a very simple reason. It is a tool in the hands of the president to crush the private enterprise system, to crush our ability to have energy, whether it's oil, gas, coal, nuclear... there's a real effort on the part of some in the president's party that don't like the American enterprise system and are trying to find a way to do everything they can to impede the growth of our economy and our energy independence.

    And I look at the effort on the EPA for instance to step in the way of fracking and eliminate the potential in some states to have our access to natural gas and to oil and say look, this is all an effort to just say let's go solar and wind and let's raise the cost of energy dramatically.

    That's in my view, it's just entirely opposite of the view that we need to have a federal government that sees its job as helping the private sector grow and thrive and add jobs.

    PRUITT: Well Governor, you mentioned hydraulic fracturing and you know that that's revolutionary now with the natural gas industry as far as extracting natural gas. The states have promise in that area right now on the regulation standpoint. The current EPA administrator is marching toward having the federal government oversee the hydraulic fracturing. Would you put a stop to that?

    ROMNEY: Absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. They, I think the EPA and those extreme voices in the environmental community and in the President's own party are just frustrated beyond belief that the states have the regulatory authority over fracking. And right now I guess it's something close to seventy percent of the oil wells in this country that have been tracked, so states have been managing this and managed it well.

    But the EPA wants to be able to get in and grab more power and basically try and move the whole economy away from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and push it into the renewables.

    Look, we all like the renewables. But renewables alone are not going to power this economy. And yeah, I would, among other things, I would get the EPA out of its effort to manage carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and trucks.

    Look, that was not a pollutant within the meeting of the legislation that authorized the EPA. It is of all the agencies in Washington, it is the one most being used by this President to try and hold down and crush and insert the federal government into the life of the private sector.



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« Reply #190 on: Oct 11, 2012, 06:36 AM »

October 10, 2012 11:00 AM

Slain Former SEAL Used in Stump Speech Thought Romney Was 'Pathetic': Friend

By David

The friend of a former Navy SEAL who was recently killed during attacks in Libya says that his friend "would definitely not approve" of Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney invoking his name to score political points.

Over the past week, Romney has been recalling a chance meeting with former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty years ago to get an edge on President Barack Obama after attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of the veteran, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans.

The former Massachusetts governor appeared to get choked up on Tuesday as he told a crowd in Iowa that he had met Doherty when he mistakenly attended the wrong neighborhood party.

"We had a lot of things in common," Romney said. "You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALs killed in Benghazi on Sept. 11th."

But Elf Ellefsen, a friend of Doherty's, said that the former SEAL's recollection of Romney was not as favorable.

"He said it was very comical," Ellefsen told Ron & Don radio show producer Libby Denkmann. "Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale."

"He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen's face."


Although Doherty was a member of the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), Ellefsen said that he was non-political and "would not approve" Romney using his name.

"Whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, it doesn't make a difference," Ellefsen explained. "Because this guy is using our great friend, our humble, and honorable great friend... who is truly larger than life... He has become part of the soapbox routine for politics in a presidential race."

"Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it. He probably wouldn't do much about it. He probably wouldn't say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him."

Speaking to WHDH, Doherty's mother also called on the GOP hopeful to stop using her son's name on the campaign trail.

"I don't trust Romney," Barbara Doherty told the station. "He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda. It's wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama."

Update (2:45 p.m. ET): After Romney told the same story about Glen Doherty again on Wednesday, his campaign promised that the former Massachusetts governor would not mention the slain former SEAL in campaign speeches again.

**************

Mother and Friend are Sickened by Romney’s use of Slain SEAL for Political Gain

By: Sarah JonesOctober 10th, 2012

The mother of slain Navy SEAL Glen Doherty is not happy to hear Mitt Romney using her dead son for political gain. She told 7News of Boston, “I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”

You might have thought Romney’s callous, bizarre presser about the attacks was bad enough, but Mitt Romney wasn’t done politicizing the deaths of four Americans in the September 11 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi. Needing to humanize himself after his 47% comments, the Romney team found a new way to endear Romney on the stump. He could tell a story about Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, whom he had once met at a Christmas Party.

You have probably saw a clip of Romney saying this in Van Meter, Iowa because he showed emotion and the press was entranced. Speaking with fond emotion of Doherty and their meeting, Romney said, “You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALS killed in Benghazi on September 11th.”

Except that is not how one of Glen Doherty’s close friends of twenty years remembers Doherty’s chance meeting with Romney in an interview with MyNorthwest. According to Doherty’s friend Elf Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doehrty four times during the same party, not remembering that he had already met Glen. Doherty called it “pathetic and comical”. Each time, Romney introduced himself “robotically” as “Mitt Romney, political figure.” Glen believed it to be very “insincere and stale.”

    Elf said it made him sick to hear Romney using his friend Glen on the stump. “Whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, it doesn’t make a difference. Because this guy is using our great friend, our humble, and honorable great friend…who is truly larger than life…He has become part of the soapbox routine for politics in a presidential race.”

Reporter Libby Denkmann asked Ellefsen “what he thought of his friend’s story being used on the political stump”, to which Ellefsen replied, “Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it… I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”

Glen Doherty’s mother and close friend do not appreciate Romney using their loved one to score cheap points on the trail. Glen’s mother is specifically appalled to see Romney using her son to hurt President Obama, when Glen fought for freedom for all. Glen’s friend Elf says it makes him sick, and that his friend found Romney pathetic and comical.

It doesn’t get much more cynical than using someone’s death for your own political gain, especially when that person would not have approved of your campaign or your tactics, and even worse, when you didn’t even remember meeting him the first three times you introduced yourself to him. Romney used the story again on the trail today.

Update 2:30PM: The Romney campaign aide Kevin Madden told Buzzfeed that they will stop using the Glen Doherty story on the campaign trail, though Romney was allegedly “inspired” by meeting the man he forgot three times in a row.
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« Reply #191 on: Oct 11, 2012, 07:19 AM »


Romney Camp to Donor Accused of Racketeering, ‘We get a lot of charges, this will go away’

By: Sarah JonesOctober 10th, 2012

Remember Mr. Murray, the coal mine owner who made his workers lose pay to stand with Mitt Romney at a rally in Ohio? CREW has filed a complaint with the FEC and Ohio Democrats separately filed a letter with allegations of “extortion, money laundering, racketeering” against Murray Energy Corporation, the Murray Energy Corporation PAC, and the company’s Chairman, President, and CEO Robert E. Murray.

When a distraught Mr. Murray contacted the Romney campaign, he says he was told not to worry about it because ‘We get a lot of charges, this will go away.”

These are not words the Romney campaign would want publicized.

The CREW complaint alleges that Mr. Murray of Murray Energy Corporation threatened employees with reprisals, including the loss of their jobs, to coerce them to make contributions to the company’s PAC.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “It is outrageous for a business owner to abuse his power to force his employees to support a political candidate. Whether coercing company executives to make campaign contributions or insisting coal miners take time off without pay so that a candidate can stage pretty pictures — it is all illegal.”

Furthermore, “The complaint also alleges that the company reimbursed employees for contributions to the PAC by giving them monthly bonuses personally approved by Mr. Murray. Campaign finance law prohibits corporate PACs from using coercion to extort contributions from company employees and prohibits companies from using corporate funds to reimburse employees for contributions to a company PAC.”

These are serious allegations of campaign finance fraud, a federal crime. This is the very definition of racketeering and money laundering. Tom DeLay got convicted for engaging in similar activities.

Mr. Murray apparently likes to pressure his employees to vote and contribute to Republicans. Two of his employees told The New Republic in an article published on October 4th that they felt “coerced” by Mr. Murray. He sends emails inviting them to expensive several thousand dollar fund-raising dinners and invites them to automatically contribute to his PAC via their paychecks. When they don’t show up, interoffice memos show that Mr. Murray keeps tabs on them, asking why they can’t give 3 hours.

In spite of the fact that coal jobs are at a 15 year high, Mr. Murray warns his employees that an Obama win means no jobs for them. What Mr. Murray really means is that an Obama win means he will have to live up to safety regulations that would benefit his employees and the surrounding community.

The Romney campaign has been making a big show of Mitt’s alleged concern over the middle class workers of America, but he’s mum on the abuse heaped upon Mr. Murray’s employees. Not only was Romney aware that he , but his campaign is aware that serious allegations have been made against Mr. Murray for threatening his employees with their jobs if they didn’t contribute to Republican candidates. If that isn’t enough to make Romney do the right thing, allegations that Murray is reimbursing employees who donate via “bonuses” should be an alarm bell that a wise candidate would distance himself from.

Instead, the Romney campaign tells Mr. Murray, “They said, ‘We get a lot of charges, this will go away.’” According to the Romney campaign, they get a lot of charges of racketeering, extortion and money laundering but they all go away. In this case, there are internal memos and documents that substantiate the employees claims against Mr. Murray. If indeed somehow this “goes away”, it won’t speak well of our justice system or of the Romney campaign, which hasn’t yet said that they will stop accepting donations from Murray’s PAC.

According to the Post Gazette, Mr. Murray sees himself as “Appalachia’s version of the deep-pocketed Koch brothers.”
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« Reply #192 on: Oct 11, 2012, 07:21 AM »


Romney’s Ever Changing Abortion Positions Backfire

By: Sarah JonesOctober 10th, 2012

Mitt Romney may have finally managed to wake the press up to his duplicity. This, of course, is the one thing he should have avoided doing for the next few weeks, but this wouldn’t be Mitt Romney if it weren’t a clumsy fail of an easy win. Coming off of his post-debate bounce, Romney should be focusing on selling himself to the center, not driving attention to his very radical positions on abortion and women’s health.

As I wrote Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney told the Des Moines Register “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Yes, that’s a tortured way of saying he was not going to pursue any anti-choice legislation that he was “familiar with”. No one asked him how he could be familiar with legislation when he hasn’t introduced himself to his tax plan yet, but no matter. He was selling himself as not a radical on abortion.

Yet, Romney has also previously promised to pass the Personhood Amendment that radically reduces even access to some forms of birth control and his running mate Paul Ryan was on board with “forcible rape” language.

Then, the Romney campaign scrambled to reassure conservatives that he had not really changed his positions. The press will surely soon get tired of being burned by reporting one thing only to have it suddenly not true two hours later. And who changes their position on something so rooted in principle as abortion within hours?

Someone who will do anything to win, that’s who. The Obama campaign is hitting back with a new ad, “The Real Mitt Romney.” Watch here:

The Obama campaign pointed out, “Just weeks before the election, Romney isn’t being honest with the American people about his severely conservative positions… Romney will say anything to win, even if it’s not true. Over the past few years, the real Mitt Romney has consistently committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade and denying women the right to choose… He can try to hide these far-right positions, but voters simply won’t be fooled when he cynically and dishonestly tells voters the exact opposite of what he’s run on.”

Sooner than we would have imagined, the press jumped on the Romney walk back bus. Here’s a roundup from today, in which Romney is outed for his radical positions no matter what he said to the Des Moines Register:

Associated Press: “A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do ‘everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.’”

New York Times: “Perhaps Mr. Romney just meant he did not know of any specific bills that would restrict abortion. But he might want to check in with his running mate, Paul Ryan, who co-sponsored the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ and helped introduced the term ‘forcible rape’ into the national conversation.”

Politico: “For the third time in a week, Mitt Romney has taken a prominent U-turn on something that’s supposed to be a matter of fundamental principles.”

Talking Points Memo: “Perkins said the Romney campaign called him soon after Romney’s remarks were published by the Des Moines Register and assured him it didn’t represent a shift by Romney from his support for pro-life issues.”

Huffington Post: “‘I have looked him in the eye and talked about this issue, [and] I absolutely believe in my heart and know that he is personally committed to a pro-life agenda as president,’ [Governor Chris] Christie said. ‘If you trust me on this issue … I know what his agenda is. I know what he believes. I know that he stands for a strong pro-life agenda.’”

Headlines:

    NBC: Romney vows to be ‘a pro-life president’ after newspaper interview

    Associated Press: Conservatives remind Romney of abortion pledge

    LA Times: Romney says abortion stance unchanged, that he remains ‘pro-life’

    Washington Post: Romney: ‘I’ll be a pro-life president’

    Columbus Dispatch: Romney says he will be pro-life president

    Des Moines Register: Decoding Mitt Romney’s stance on abortion

    ABC: Ryan Denies Romney’s Position on Abortion Has Changed

    NBC: Jindal, McDonnell defend Romney’s abortion remarks
    New York Times: Romney’s Confusing Abortion Comment

    LA Times: Romney’s latest fudge on his abortion ‘agenda’
    NPR: Romney’s Remarks On Abortion Cause Stir

    Slate: Romney’s Abortion “Agenda”

    Talking Points Memo: Anti-Abortion Activists Call Romney’s New Comments A Gaffe, Not A Change Of Heart

If a voter was on the Internet Wednesday, they are now thinking about Romney and abortion and what he really stands for. This is not what Romney should be shooting for weeks before the election, especially given his lagging polls with women.

Romney and Ryan both have expressed support for making abortion illegal even in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Romney has also expressed shock at that same position being attached to him, looking behind him for the Other Mitt.

Just like his secret tax plan, Romney’s secret abortion stance is something he wants us to trust him with. Some evangelicals are buying that from him, but anyone who has studied his record wouldn’t be so quick to take him at his word anymore.

Now if only the press would stop calling being anti-women’s lives “pro-life”, we might really be making some progress here.
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« Reply #193 on: Oct 12, 2012, 07:00 AM »


GOP Congressman: Romney Tax Plan Follows The Bush ‘Recipe’

By Travis Waldron posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Oct 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

The tax plan proposed by Mitt Romney, which he says will avoid adding to the debt and won’t cut taxes for the rich, will work exactly the way the 2003 high-income Bush tax cuts worked, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said during an appearance on CNN on Thursday. Romney has faced criticism over how his tax plan will provide a 20 percent, across-the-board tax cut without adding to the debt or raising taxes on the middle class. The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan analyst, recently found that Romney’s plan as outlined is mathematically impossible.

But Hensarling has confidence that it will work, because the Republican Party has tried this before. In fact, Hensarling said, Romney’s tax plan will work just because it followed the “recipe” outlined by earlier GOP-led tax cuts, including the 2003 Bush tax cuts:

    HENSARLING: This is the tax plan: fairer, flatter, simpler, more competitive tax code. We broaden the base by getting rid of a lot of these special interest deductions, exclusions — by one estimate, one-third of the tax code is what is known as tax expenditures.

    HOST: Why couldn’t Paul Ryan explain that 11 days ago?

    HENSARLING: My guess is he could have had he had time. But we did this in ’03, it was done in the Reagan administration, it was done under President Kennedy under JFK, and guess what: when you follow this recipe, you get more jobs, more economic growth, and more tax revenue.

Since their passage, the Bush tax cuts have been a major driver of the nation’s increased debt and deficits. Without the Bush tax cuts, in fact, the nation’s debt would be at sustainable levels.

Even worse, the Bush tax cuts, which the Romney plan maintains before cutting taxes even deeper, were heavily skewed toward the rich and failed to lead to the economic and job growth Republicans promised. The decade following was one of the worst on record for economic, job, and income growth.

Hensarling is correct: the Romney tax plan certainly follows the Bush recipe. That recipe, though, is one that leads to fewer jobs, slower economic growth, and even bigger debts and deficits.
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« Reply #194 on: Oct 13, 2012, 07:58 AM »

The ‘Moderate Mitt’ Myth

Published: October 12, 2012
NYT   

The way a presidential candidate campaigns for office matters to the country. A campaign should demonstrate seriousness of purpose and a set of core beliefs, and it should signal to voters whether a candidate shows trustworthiness and judgment. Those things don’t seem to matter to Mitt Romney.

From the beginning of his run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has offered to transfigure himself into any shape desired by an audience in order to achieve power. In front of massed crowds or on television, he can sound sunny and inclusive, radiating a feel-good centrism. His “severely conservative” policies and disdain for much of the country are reserved for partisans, donors and the harsh ideologues who clutter his party’s base. This polarity is often described as “flip-flopping,” but the word is too mild to describe opposing positions that are simultaneously held.

The best way to judge candidates is not by the popular way they describe their plans near the end of a campaign; it is by the most divisive presentations of themselves earlier on. A candidate’s political calculations when fewer people are watching is likely to say far more about character than poll-tested pleasantries in the spotlight.

That’s what is disingenuous about the “Moderate Mitt” in recent speeches and the first presidential debate. He hasn’t abandoned or flip-flopped from the severe positions that won him the Republican nomination; they remain at the core of his campaign, on his Web site and in his position papers, and they occasionally slip out in unguarded moments. All he’s doing is slapping whitewash on his platform. The immoderation of his policies, used to win favor with a hard-right party, cannot be disguised.

This week, for example, in the swing state of Iowa, Mr. Romney tried to cover up his strident anti-abortion agenda. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” he told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board. But that carefully worded statement was designed to mislead, because the threat to women’s rights doesn’t necessarily come from legislation. He would cut financing for Planned Parenthood, and he has said he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and would appoint justices who would do so.

And, though he has conveniently forgotten, he does support anti-abortion legislation — what he called in a 2011 essay the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to ban abortion when a fetus can feel pain. In 2007, he said he’d sign a bill prohibiting all abortions. He has also tried to paper over his positions on his $5 trillion tax cut, pretending it would be cost-free, and he now says he wants to cover pre-existing health conditions, though his plan does so only for those who have insurance coverage.

At last week’s debate, Mr. Romney presented himself as a bipartisan leader able to work with Democrats. But that’s not how Massachusetts Democrats remember his tenure as governor, as Michael Wines of The Times reported last week. He ignored or insulted Democrats and failed to achieve most of his big-ticket proposals, like reform of the Civil Service and pension systems. His decision to support a universal health care system in 2006, long advocated by Democrats, was seen at the time as a purely political calculation, at least until Republicans rejected the idea in 2009 when President Obama proposed it.

There isn’t really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt. Anyone willing to advocate extremism to raise money and win primaries is likely to do the same to stay in office.

************

October 5, 2012

Romney Claims of Bipartisanship as Governor Face Challenge

By MICHAEL WINES
NYT

BOSTON — He came into office with a mandate to shake things up, an agenda laden with civics-book reforms and a raging fiscal crisis that threatened to torpedo both. He sparred with a hostile legislature and suffered a humiliating setback in the midterm elections. As four years drew to a close, his legacy was blotted by anemic job growth, sagging political popularity and — except for a landmark health care overhaul bill — a record of accomplishment that disappointed many.

That could be the Barack Obama that Mitt Romney depicted in Wednesday’s presidential debate as an ineffective and overly partisan leader. But it could also be Mitt Romney, who boasted of a stellar record as Massachusetts governor, running a state dominated by the political opposition.

Mr. Romney did score some successes beyond his health care legislation, notably joining a Democratic legislature to cut a deficit-ridden budget by $1.6 billion and revamping a troubled school building fund. Some outside experts and former aides say his administration excelled at the sorts of nuts-and-bolts efficiencies that make bureaucracies run better, like streamlining permit approvals and modernizing jobs programs.

As a Republican governor whose legislature was 87 percent Democratic, Mr. Romney said in Wednesday’s debate, “I figured out from Day 1 I had to get along, and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done.” The result, he said, was that “we drove our schools to be No. 1 in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times.”

But on closer examination, the record as governor he alluded to looks considerably less burnished than Mr. Romney suggested. Bipartisanship was in short supply; Statehouse Democrats complained he variously ignored, insulted or opposed them, with intermittent charm offensives. He vetoed scores of legislative initiatives and excised budget line items a remarkable 844 times, according to the nonpartisan research group Factcheck.org. Lawmakers reciprocated by quickly overriding the vast bulk of them.

The big-ticket items that Mr. Romney proposed when he entered office in January 2003 went largely unrealized, and some that were achieved turned out to have a comparatively minor impact. A wholesale restructuring of state government was dead on arrival in the legislature; an ambitious overhaul of the state university system was stillborn; a consolidation of transportation fiefs never took place.

Mr. Romney lobbied successfully to block changes in the state’s much-admired charter school program, but his own education reforms went mostly unrealized. His promise to lure new business and create jobs in a state that had been staggered by the collapse of the 2000 dot-com boom never quite bore fruit; unemployment dropped less than a percentage point during his four years, but for most of that time, much of the decline was attributed to the fact that any new jobs were being absorbed by a shrinking work force.

Mr. Romney won lawmakers’ consent to streamline a tangled health and human services bureaucracy, but the savings amounted to but $7 million a year. He entered office considering an eight-state compact to battle climate change, but left office outside the consortium, saying it cost too much.

“He put on the table in his inaugural address, and then in his budget, a series of proposed reforms like civil service reform, pension reform — going right to the heart of the lion’s den,” Michael Widmer, president of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said in an interview. But excepting health care, “he never followed up. There was a handful of successes, but there was never a full-blown or focused program in the sense of saying, ‘Here’s our vision.’ ”

Mr. Romney’s former aides vigorously disagree.

  “That’s an overwrought type of critique,” said Timothy Murphy, the health and human services secretary under Mr. Romney. “If you take a look at the things the governor set out to do, we accomplished a lot. The budgets were more than balanced — we generated surpluses.”

And, he said, “We did pass the most consequential piece of health care legislation in this state in 25 years.”

Mr. Romney was pushing on an open door on the 2006 initiative — Democrats had long dreamed of providing health coverage to almost every resident.

Jane Edmonds, who headed the state’s Labor and Workforce Development agency, recounted a meeting at the start of Mr. Romney’s term in which he handed out a list of campaign promises to his staff and ordered them carried out within four years.

“My opinion is that he delivered on almost all those promises,” she said. “We had 8 or 10 of them and we carried them all out.”

Some of Mr. Romney’s harshest critics concede his competence and his grasp of Massachusetts’ problems and needs. Many of the initiatives he took into office were arguably nonpartisan; he brought to the job the same gimlet-eyed scrutiny of costs and revenues that he employed as an investment manager to spot potentially profitable companies.

But in contrast to his statements in the debate, many say, Mr. Romney neither mastered the art of reaching across the aisle nor achieved unusual success as governor. To the contrary, they say, his relations with Democrats could be acrimonious, and his ability to get big things done could be just as shackled as is President Obama’s ability to push his agenda through a hostile House of Representatives.

Mr. Romney could be appealing and persuasive, they say. But he also could display a certain political tone-deafness and a failure to nurture the constituencies he needed to make his initiatives succeed.

Mr. Romney promoted his record on Wednesday as a bipartisan leader by noting that he met regularly with the Democratic leadership of the Massachusetts legislature. But that apparently was not enough to keep afloat a relationship that had been rancorous from the beginning.

 In the opening months of his tenure, Mr. Romney vetoed a House plan to create new committees and raise legislative pay, and the legislators rejected his flagship proposal, a nearly 600-page plan to overhaul the state bureaucracy. “They had a deteriorating relationship during the first two years,” said Jeffrey Berry, a political science professor and expert on state politics at Tufts University.

Mr. Romney proved to have a taste for vetoes, killing legislative initiatives in his first two years at more than twice the rate of his more popular Republican predecessor, William F. Weld, The Boston Globe reported in 2004.

Some seemed almost designed to rankle legislators: one rejected an increase in disability payments to a police officer who had slipped on an ice patch. Others reflect his ramrod-straight views on ethics and government waste — knocking down a special pension deal for a state legislator; rejecting a subsidy to Medicaid payments so nursing homes could provide kosher meals to Jewish residents.

“He seemed to take great delight in vetoing bills,” recalled his director of legislative affairs, John O’Keefe. "Some of the bills we would chuckle when we wrote the veto message.”

By 2004, the second year of his term, Mr. Romney was provoked enough to mount an unprecedented campaign to unseat Democratic legislators, spending $3 million in Republican Party money and hiring a nationally known political strategist, Michael Murphy, to plan the battle.

The effort failed spectacularly. Republicans lost seats, leaving them with their smallest legislative delegation since 1867. Democratic lawmakers were reported to have been deeply angered by the campaign’s tactics.

On close scrutiny, some of the bipartisan successes that Mr. Romney claimed in the Wednesday debate turn out to by peppered with asterisks.

On education, Mr. Romney was correct in stating that Massachusetts students were ranked first in the nation during his tenure. Students in grades four and eight took top honors in reading and mathematics on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

However, educators largely credit an overarching reform of state schools 10 years earlier under Governor Weld. The reforms doubled state spending on schools and brought standards and accountability to administrators and students.

“Governor Romney does not get to take the credit for achieving that No. 1 ranking,” said Mike Gilbert, field director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Association of School Committees, “but it did happen while he was in office.”

Mr. Romney’s claim that he was responsible for 19 separate tax cuts is also technically accurate, but not the full story. In 2005, for example, Mr. Romney’s administration wrote legislation refunding $250 million in capital gains taxes — but the bill came only in response to a court ruling that the taxes had been illegally withheld in 2002.

Many of the other tax cuts were first proposed by the legislature, not Mr. Romney, and others were routine extensions of existing tax reductions or were one-day sales tax holidays.

Michael Barbaro contributed reporting.
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