Visual source: Newseum
As entertaining as the Republican primary has been (and will continue to be for a while -- thank you, Mr. Santorum), the debate over gas prices has brought out general election fighting words from the president and his campaign. First, let's look at the funny things Republicans are saying about President Obama and gas prices. From The St.Louis Today Editorial Board:
The ploy of presidential candidates blaming sitting presidents for rising gas prices is nearly as old as the internal combustion engine. Just one election cycle ago, it was Mr. Obama pulling the same routine against then-President George W. Bush.Romney inconsistent on gas prices? Shocking. The MetroWest Daily News adds some facts into the equation:
But Mr. Romney pulls the punch right out of his attack when, days before he launches it, he makes it clear it's meaningless.
"I think people recognize that the president can't precisely set the price at the pump," Mr. Romney told CNBC just days ago.
Actually, it gets worse. At a Republican presidential debate in December, Mr. Romney himself tied Iran to gas prices, saying that as president, he would be responsible for higher prices on gasoline because he'd place "crippling" sanctions on Iran.
The president of the United States is not a factor in high gas prices. Still, a new Washington Post poll shows that only 26 percent of those surveyed approve of his ?handling? of gas prices, although exactly how a president is supposed to handle gasoline prices is unclear.Speaking of energy, Newt Gingrich uses the energy debate to launch a not-so-subtle attack on President Obama's patriotism:
Said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar: ?...(T)he oil prices and the gas prices that we pay here in the United States are set on the global market. We don?t set them, and we don?t control them. This president and this Congress can?t control those prices. ...?
President Barack Obama has not been idle on the issue. The drilling-rig count has doubled since he took office. He has opened new areas, including Alaska?s Arctic coast, to drilling. And he has pushed hard for fuel-efficient vehicles. [...] Even when it arrives, the Keystone oil won?t necessarily bring down gasoline prices. The proposed pipeline will terminate in Port Arthur, Texas, an area specifically designated as an export zone. The oil company that owns the fuel will sell it into a global market. Demand in Asia is as important to the price we pay at the pump as supply in North America.
"We need an American president who is for American energy," Gingrich told a crowd of about 50 people here Thursday. "Someone with American values who will create American jobs on American soil."Birther attacks and wrongly blaming the president for rising summer gas prices? The smell of the general election is getting stronger, and as Jamie Dupree at The Atlanta Journal Constitution examines, the White House is officially in campaign mode:
While outright birther conspiracies are now generally regarded as desperate and/or crazy, Gingrich's fuzzy birtherism is a thinly-veiled nod to the sizable group of conservatives who are still not convinced that Obama was born in the U.S.
While I have been running around the country chasing Republican candidates for the White House, President Obama's own campaign has been quietly prepping for this election year. On Thursday, the first real salvos were fired by the Obama-Biden team.MSNBC's Chuck Todd adds:
At the same time, President Obama used an energy speech outside of Washington, D.C. to smack Republicans while Vice President Biden assumed the role of attack dog in a speech to auto workers in Toledo, Ohio.
"Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich -- these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do," Biden said in a fired up tone.
"Simply stated, we?re about promoting the private sector, they?re about protecting the privileged sector," Biden said to applause.
"We are for a fair shot and a fair shake. They?re about no rules, no risks, and no accountability," the Vice President added.
In a speech that the Obama campaign says will be the first of a series of addresses by the vice president framing the general election, Joe Biden today delivers remarks at a United Auto Workers town hall in Toledo, OH at 11:00 am ET. This is the first major campaign speech by either member of the ticket that didn't have a fundraising invite connected to it. According to excerpts released by the campaign, Biden will focus on -- you guessed it -- the auto bailout that Obama supported (and Romney didn?t). ?The president didn't flinch. This man has a spine of steel, [...] We all want a president with the courage of his convictions. Well, folks, we have one. He made the tough call. And the verdict is in: President Obama was right and his critics were dead wrong.? Do take note of the somewhat low-key rollout of this speech; it appears this may be more about message testing (and practicing) for the vice president, whose role on this campaign is likely to be similar to the role of previous veeps: serve as both a validator and the chief "contraster."Yep, that looks like clear message testing, and it's a message that works to set up a stark contrast between the oscillating fan that is Mitt Romney's candidacy and the consistency of the president's own philosophy. "Spine of steel," "courage of convictions"...expect to see a lot more of that rhetoric. I suspect it polls quite well against Romney.
More analysis from Chuck Todd today on the weakness of the Republican frontrunner:
we?ve learned a couple of new things about Romney that we might not have known four years ago: 1) it?s pretty easy to get under his skin; and 2) he?s not very nimble when it comes to turning lemons into lemonade. (Saying you want to repeal Obamacare doesn?t erase all the questions about your past support for an individual mandate.) After losing Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, Romney is now getting TONS of advice from news outlets -- the latest being from Politico. This is what happens when you don?t put a Rick Santorum away.Turning to former frontrunners, The Dallas Morning News looks at Newt Gingrich's campaign:
His campaign has soared and stumbled, rising on fiery debate performances and falling on actual vote counts. Whatever his impact or influence, his bottom line is a primary triumph in Georgia, his home state, and one next door in South Carolina, two states the GOP is almost certain to carry in November. His ?Southern strategy,? based on another comeback in Alabama and Mississippi, fell short.Gingrich's "Southern Strategy" fell short, but what of the Republican's Latino strategy of alienation and antagonism? Maeve Reston at The Los Angeles Times puts the GOP's Latino problem under a microscope:
His new plan is to acquire enough delegates to deny Romney the 1,144 needed to clinch and then win the nomination at a brokered GOP convention in Tampa ? a scenario as implausible as the notion that a president can force $2.50-a-gallon gasoline. If Gingrich, with his big ideas and ability to express them, could not persuade rank-and-file Republicans to back him, how does he expect to sway the party?s most committed? [...]
It?s far from certain that every Gingrich supporter, in his absence, would flip to Santorum. But what is certain is that it?s time Republican voters in the states still on the board, including Texas on May 29, had a one-or-the-other choice on their nominee: Romney or Santorum.
Romney's strategists argue that his business savvy will resonate with Latinos, who rank the economy and jobs as their top concern. Speaking before Latino audiences, the former Massachusetts governor has touted his plans to launch an initiative to bring American and Latin American business owners together and create greater opportunity for Latino businesses through tax cuts. [...]
But it is Romney's views on illegal immigration that have drawn the most notice in Latino communities. During the Republican debates, Romney repeatedly sought to outflank his rivals with a hard line on illegal immigration, in part because he has struggled to connect with the party's most conservative voters. [...]
Democrats believe that the Republican rhetoric in recent months will create greater opportunities for Obama in states like Colorado, Florida and possibly even Arizona. To guard against erosion in the GOP's standing in those states and "be competitive" this fall, Republican pollster Whit Ayres said, the GOP candidates must do a better job of reaching out to Latino voters. The visits to Puerto Rico this week by Romney and Santorum are a start, he said.
It’s a 4:30 a.m. call time for me today and you ladies know what that means and how early I arose to make it.
At the crack of dawn, I’m booked to be on CNN’s “Early Start,” hosted by Ashleigh Banfield and Zoraida Sambolin.
Two segments during the 5-7 a.m., with other panelists, which are scheduled for the bottom of both hours.
UPDATE: CNN had a guest bail and as goes with live TV, the segment I was to be on was bumped. Thanks so very much for all the emails! Who knew you all were such early risers?
“One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It?s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.” – Pres. Obama
Talk about gafferiffic.
New York Magazine‘s Dan Amira was not amused. Here’s his headline:
This is a lesson for Pres. Obama. When you try to be cute and cutting to your opponents it’s a good idea to have your snark straight.
It gets worse, not only did Hayes not say what Obama and Reagan before him said he did, but the history is quite the opposite.
She then read aloud a newspaper article from June 29, 1877, which describes Hayes’s delight upon first experiencing the magic of the telephone. The Providence Journal story reported that as Hayes listened on the phone, “a gradually increasing smile wreathe[d] his lips and wonder shone in his eyes more and more.? Hayes took the phone from his ear, “looked at it a moment in surprise and remarked, ‘That is wonderful.’”
In fact, Card noted, Hayes was not only the first president to have a telephone in the White House, but he was also the first to use the typewriter, and he had Thomas Edison come to the White House to demonstrate the phonograph. “So I think he was pretty much cutting edge,” Card insisted, “maybe just the opposite of what President Obama had to say there.”
With Obama’s penchant for citing Ronald Reagan, it was inevitable that he’d get himself into trouble.
Atlantic contributor Yoni Appelbaum has a great theory. While the Hayes library can’t figure out where this rumor got started, Appelbaum notes that it was popularized by President Reagan, who repeated the same anecdote Obama told Thursday in speech for the National Technology Awards in 1985. “In the years that followed, the line was widely cited,” Appelbaum tells us, “although rarely attributed. So where did Obama get the line? There’s no way to know for certain. But one of the executives in the room back in 1985 was Steve Jobs, and the entire scene is recounted in Walter Isaacson’s recent biography. It’s a safe bet that someone in the White House read the book.”
Fact checking on something like this is important. It would be interesting to find out if Obama’s people read it in the Jobs’ biography and simply took it as gospel.
This is the kind of stuff that’s infuriating for people caught in a gaffe like this. But at least Pres. Obama is in very good company.
Pres. Reagan blew the history, too.
However, it’s no excuse.
Whatever brings you the most joy will also probably
bring you the most pain. Always a price to pay.
Born March 16, 1952
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Barack Obama's former right-hand man accused Republicans of passing laws to shut out Democrats from voting in the next presidential election. "There's no doubt that Republican legislatures and governors across this country have made an attempt to try to win the elections in 2012 and 2011 by passing laws that are restrictive, that are meant to discourage participation, particularly by key constituencies that have voted Democratic in the past," said David Axelrod, former White House official and current senior advisor to the Obama campaign.
The comments were made in an online Q&A following the premiere of "The Road We Traveled," a 17-minute film directed by David Guggenheim and produced by the Obama campaign. Questions were submitted over Twitter, and the topics ranged from how the president will handle Iran to whether Axelrod ever got in arguments with fellow senior advisor David Plouffe. The final question posed to Axelrod was about the string of laws Republican state legislatures have passed over the past year that will restrict access to the ballot in the name of combating voter fraud.
"The bottom line is we're going to have to fight this in every state," he said, "with every set of rules through organization, through commitment on the part of the campaign but also on individuals to find out exactly what the rules are in their state." Axelrod and fellow Obama staffer Mitch Stewart then touted GottaRegister, a website started by the Democratic National Committee that helps voters register and navigate their local voting laws.
Seven states have passed strict voter ID laws since the 2010 midterm elections, though some of those have been held up after objections from the Department of Justice.
Immediately after taking power, newly elected Republican majorities in state legislatures rushed to combat voter fraud, a constant fear among the conservative base. But research has shown that these laws?and other restrictive voting measures such as repealing same-day registration or cutbacks on early voting?will make it incredibly difficult for certain groups of citizens to cast a ballot: senior citizens, racial minorities, the poor, and the young.
Republicans claim that it is just a coincidence that these groups targeted by the bill happen to vote consistently for Democrats. But Axelrod didn't mince words about Republicans' intentions. "We're going to thwart this cynical attempt to depress voter turnout," he said in the video. "The difference between our party and their party is we'd be comfortable if every single American who was qualified to vote did vote. We think that'd be a great thing for this country."
Republican Texas State Senator Dan Patrick is a leading architect of the Texas forced[...]
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Last night were the Utah caucuses that will lead to a determination (or a runoff) of whether Orrin Hatch will be the Republican Senate candidate this November. Running at age 77 for his 7th term. I was hunting around for results, and all I can find is that he did very well in some places, poorly in others, but no determination at the time of this writing, except that turnout, at 125,000 - 200,000 people, was very high.
So I'm reading the Salt Lake Tribune and come across this:
Sen. Mike Lee is among a group of conservative senators who want to phase out Medicare and shift seniors into the health program that covers Congress and all federal employees. [...]
Their proposal would allow seniors to pick from the expansive menu of insurance options now offered to all public employees by private companies, with the government picking up a share of the cost depending on how much money the person makes.
The bill would also gradually increase the Medicare-eligibility age, which is now 65, by three months a year until it reaches 70.
I had to read this several times. When I was done laughing, I went and got another cup of coffee and read it again.
The insurance choices for Federal employees are mighty fine. Great coverage (including birth control, but let's not go there) and reasonable premiums, co-pays and deductibles to the patient. The thing about it is that it would cost the government MORE to go to this system. That's right kids, despite the GOP meme of lower the deficit, they want to AT LEAST DOUBLE what health care would cost the government viz-a-viz senior citizens, and increase the number of people who lose jobs.
Suddenly the government would be paying private industry (which processes claims to the tune of 15 - 30% of each premium dollar) to do what Medicare administrators do at a cost of 2 - 4% of premium dollar. Plus, that would cost government jobs, meaning the government would now need to pay unemployment compensation. Not to mention that the Senate plan (and some of the other government plans) cover more things at a higher payout than Medicare.
I used to be appalled at the Republicans, now I can only laugh. Does Medicare cost a lot of money? Sure. Could we find ways to streamline costs? Sure. Should we come up with a "solution" that costs more? Only the Republicans could do something like this.
Muse in the MorningEarly Summer 2 I know you have talent. What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent. I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I'm a pretty darn good cook. :-)Let your[...]
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Source: Advanced Currency Markets | G10 Advancers and Decliners vs USD GBP 0.06 JPY 0.03 EUR -0.01 CHF -0.03 Another mild session in Asia, as USD was slightly weaker, but in overall FX was content to consolidate. Asia?s regional indices were mixed with Nikkei up +0.06%, the Hang Sang -0.13% and the Shanghai Composite rose +1.30%. EURUSD bounced around the 1.3068 to 1.3100 range while AUDUSD chopped around 1.0510 and 1.0550. Strong intraday cloud coming in at 83.00 should keep USDJPY downside limited. In…
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What really denotes freedom more than having a decision about your life made by someone else, especially your boss?[...]
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