From the August 12 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
Local Wisconsin reporters say that as the national media begins to scrutinize Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) life and career following his selection as Mitt Romney's running mate, they may overlook details such as his inside-the-Beltway focus, the high level of unemployment in his hometown, and his family connection to the natural gas industry.
In the early stages of such reviews, news outlets are often dependent on the campaigns themselves, prior national coverage of the candidate, and even Wikipedia for insight and can miss the kind of information local reporters who have covered the vice presidential selection for years may know best.
Media Matters went to some of those local reporters in Wisconsin and asked for their take on the information voters, and reporters, need most but may miss as they look at Ryan's career.
One issue most journalists raised was that Ryan left Wisconsin at a young age and climbed the political ladder in Washington. One local scribe compared him to Dick Cheney in that regard, stating both men rose to the top by focusing on D.C. connections and not in home state political circles.
"The way to understand him is he is Dick Cheney, he is a guy who went to Washington as soon as he could, rooted himself in the establishment, got himself elected as soon as he could and became a major player," said John Nichols, an associate editor at the Capital Times in Madison. "He is Dick Cheney with very good hair."
Other Wisconsin news people who have covered Ryan describe him as likeable and accessible to reporters, but something of an unknown even to local voters who re-elect him regularly despite his hometown being hit by hard economic times.
Scott Angus, editor of The Janesville Gazette, the daily newspaper in Ryan's hometown, described Ryan's fellow residents as having mixed views on their representative.
"The people of Janesville are probably as divided about Paul Ryan as the rest of the country," Angus said Saturday, hours after Ryan was announced as Romney's choice. "A lot of people would view [Ryan's opinions] as pretty conservative and pretty far to the right and that does not sit well with a lot of people in his district."
Angus, a 21-year editor of the paper, added, "He has lived here, but he has not worked here much, he has been in Washington working on his career path. I think a lot of people are surprised because he has always said his plans were not to rise to national office. He never had any elected office until he was elected to Congress."
But Janesville's recent past is also important, several reporters said, citing the town's difficult economic situation, sparked by the closure of a General Motors plant in 2009.
"Their unemployment rate is double digits," said Jeff Flynt, a news reporter at WTAQ Radio in Green Bay. "For a state that is trying to turn around the business aspects of the state the fact that Janesville unemployment continues to be pretty high and you have a guy who is known pretty well nationally and has not found a way to help the plant or put something in its place, that may catch" the national media's attention.
Former Minnesota governor and Mitt Romney surrogate Tim Pawlenty was caught off guard when asked how many years of tax returns he had to turn over to the Republican campaign as part of the vice presidential vetting process, during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “Several,” Pawlenty said, careful not to reinvigorate the issue or contradict Romney’s resistance to release more than two years of returns. A top aide to Romney has admitted that the campaign received ?several years? of income tax returns “from potential running mates.” Watch it:
Just moments after Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his vice presidential nominee on Saturday, his campaign tried to distance itself from Ryan’s signature House budget. Although Romney has admitted he would sign the Ryan budget if it crossed his desk, calling it “marvelous” and an “important step”, the campaign’s internal talking points were careful to avoid endorsing the Republican blueprint: “Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance,” they argued.
But a day later, the campaign switched tactics and went back to embracing the document, insisting that Romney would have happily signed it into law:
TOP ROMNEY ADVISER ED GILLESPIE: Well, as Governor Romney has made clear, if the Romney, sorry, if the Ryan budget had come to his desk as a budget, he would have signed it, of course, and one of the reasons that he chose Congressman Ryan is his willingness to put forward innovative solutions in the budget.
RNC CHAIRMAN REINCE PREIBUS: First of all, he did embrace the Ryan budget. He embraced it.
Romney’s support for Ryan’s plan is understandable. After all, if the budget were to become law, the former Bain Capital executive would have paid $177,650 out of a taxable income of $21,661,344, for a cool effective rate of 0.82 percent.
by Harsha Nahata
July was the hottest month ever recorded in the U.S. with 3,135 record temperatures set. The heat, together with the excessive drought facing 63 percent of the nation, have animals across the U.S. struggling to stay cool and find food. Here are a few examples of how animals are adjusting to the heat.
The mild winter and record hot summer have taken their toll on animal behavior and survival in a variety of ways. For instance, Chicago has seen a decline in its squirrel population, as more older squirrels survive a milder winter and compete for resources, leaving newborns more vulnerable. Lemurs, which usually do what they can to steer clear of water, lately have made exceptions to seek relief in cooler, wetter parts. The shortage of food due to the drought combined with a loss in appetite because of the heat have also affected farm animals like cattle and pigs, making some thinner and less healthy. Overall the heat has caused some animals to become lethargic and lose their appetites, also placing them at risk for heatstroke.
– Harsha Nahata is an intern with the ThinkProgress War Room.
Rich Lowry, the editor of conservative magazine National Review, appeared on a Meet The Press roundtable this morning to defend vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) widely panned budget plan as a moderate solution built upon the foundations of the Bowles-Simpson tax proposal, which both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have opposed.
Responding to charges that Romney’s plan cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans, Lowry tried to deflect criticism by saying that the Romney/Ryan plan is really a version of Bowles-Simpson:
LOWRY: Democrats always refer to it as a tax cut. but it’s not a tax cut. It’s designed to be revenue neutral. It’s based on the template of the Bowles-Simpson plan, which has been subject to bipartisan acclaim, and the 1986 tax reform which was one of the great bipartisan accomplishments in this town over the last 30 years. And if you study the effects of that ’86 tax reform, which lowered rates and closed loopholes, it actually increased the share that the rich were paying. So this is not some fantasy.
But as fellow panelist Rachel Maddow was quick to point out, if the architect of the Romney/Ryan budget is such an admirer of Bowles-Simpson, he has a funny way of showing it: Paul Ryan voted against Bowles-Simpson, and helped blow up the so-called “Gang of Six” that was responsible for proposing a deficit-reduction budget.
Watch the exchange:
While it’s true that Bowles-Simpson would lower the marginal tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, it would also increase tax revenue across the board by an estimated $1 trillion by upholding the estate tax and levying hefty taxes on capital gains and dividends at the same rates as income, a proposal strongly opposed by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Still, Lowry’s assertion echoed recent similar arguments from Romney and his campaign’s surrogates, which have tried to paint its own tax plan as a moderate solution to the nation’s debt. During the primaries, Romney outlined his tax plan by saying he would “move our tax system in the direction of the Bowles-Simpson Commission?s recommendations.” And last week, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page also tried to tie Romney’s tax plan to Bowles-Simpson. But Forbes Magazine — headed by editor in chief Steve Forbes, a vocal Romney surrogate and supporter — called the comparison “absurd.”
Paul Ryan is what we'd call a "cafeteria Catholic." Instead of following church teachings, he simply picks and chooses what he wishes to believe. Typically, an American cafeteria Catholic adheres to everything but the birth control/abortion/homosexuality teachings, but Ryan's an unusual case: He only wants to cut loose the poor and the needy. I wonder if the conservative Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Madison diocese is going to publicly call him to task, the way conservative bishops do for the other kind of cafeteria Catholics?
Last April, the US Catholic Bishops sent a blistering message to the House Ways and Means Committee saying that any federal budget must be judged by the way it protects the 'least of these.' In Bishop Blaire's words: "The House-passed budget resolution fails to meet these moral criteria."
The architect of the budget the Bishops deemed immoral was Rep. Paul Ryan, a Catholic, who has now joined Mitt Romney as his running mate on the GOP ticket.
Much has already been said about how Gov. Romney's choice of Rep. Ryan will turn the presidential election into a substantive debate on policy. But the choice will also provide Catholic voters with a choice in the November election that will serve to highlight internal tensions and conflicting priorities.
The Catholic Church is already under immense stress. Just Friday (August 11), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most Catholic nuns in America, formally rejected the Vatican takeover of their organization and its accompanying Bishop overseers.
These nuns have been accused of emphasizing work with the poor and not focusing enough on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Some of them participated in the media-friendly Nuns On A Bus tour, during which they traveled to nine states protesting the budget proposal of Rep. Paul Ryan. Sister Simone Campbell was quoted as saying that Ryan's budget "rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor, and the common good. That's wrong."
Their months-long critique of Rep. Ryan's budget is unlikely to lessen in the coming months.
Another show of Catholic concern with Rep. Ryan came when he was invited to speak at the Jesuit affiliated Georgetown University. Before he arrived, Ryan was sent a letter signed by more than 90 faculty, including over a dozen Jesuit priests. In the letter, the vice presidential candidate was again taken to task by Catholics: "Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love."
So, on the one hand you have a rare show of Catholic unity in condemning what is considered Paul Ryan's major asset to the Romney campaign -- namely his radical fiscal conservatism.
We can always hope that Bishop Morlino will eventually be morally consistent with what he wrote in a recent letter to the Wisconsin legislature:
Irresponsibly claiming to be Catholic, while rejecting the basic Catholic values that are to be embodied in emergency contraception legislation, is yet another source of scandal and confusion for faithful Catholics and all those who claim to be pro-life.
But I wouldn't hold my breath. The Catholic church does have strong teachings on social justice, but the right-wing bishops and cardinals appointed by the last two popes seem to be cafeteria Catholics, too. They have no problem publicly shaming politicians who support birth control, abortion and gay marriage, but are strangely silent on the church teachings on the poor, and on their right to support and dignity.
Considering Bishop Morlino's track record, he's just another fetus fetishist whose silence on other issues mocks the social underpinnings of a real "right to life." And I'm not the first person to bring up his hyperfocus on some moral issues at the expense of others.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty appeared on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and was thrown for a loop when asked how many tax returns Romney demanded of him during the vice presidential vetting process:
You can see him taking a deep breath before he says, "I don't know the exact number..."
A dubious declaration. You really don't remember if they asked to go back to 2008, 2005? Less? More? The year wouldn't stick out in your mind?
Pawlenty had obviously been well-prepped for this media appearance, dutifully spouting all the appropriate Romney propaganda and lies.
But, and you must watch the video to get the full affect, it's obvious he was totally unprepared to answer this obvious question. He stammers and fumbles it, it's really a thing of great beauty to watch Pawlenty struggle.
He eventually settles on an appropriate, no comment "we don't get into the details of the vetting process..."
Of course, not before revealing that Romney demanded more tax returns from Pawlenty than Romney believes the American voters are due.
Evelynn Brown, a federal whistleblower and CEO of her own whistleblower support group, has been lobbying the Make It Safe Campaign steering committee to become more open, transparent, responsive, and accountable. She asked for basic things like sharing[...]
Read The Full Article:
Hey, Paul Ryan, you're just like me!Ouch:
Sen. John McCain said on Sunday that Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate reminded him of his own game-changing choice in 2008. Choosing Ryan was "a pretty bold choice," McCain said, just like his pick of Sarah Palin.A "pretty bold choice."
Funny, because just a few short months ago, Romneyland had a plan to be anything but bold. Or anything like McCain:
Mitt Romney and his top aides are building a strategy, partly by design and partly because of circumstance, around what they consider John McCain?s disastrously run campaign in 2008.That Romney chucked the "incredibly boring white guy" strategy for a "bold" (read: desperate) choice?just like McCain made in 2008 when he picked half-time governor and full-time idiot Sarah Palin?tells you that Romney is just as scared now as McCain was in 2008 of having his ass delivered to him by Barack Obama.
The strategy: whatever McCain did, do the opposite.
And he should be. He definitely should be.