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Nooners, who predictably scores the debates 1-0-2 for the GOP so far (win for Romney, draw for Ryan, draw for Romney), wags her finger at the President for being too mean to Mitt.
What the president said at the debate was nothing he hadn't said on the trail. His campaign has been personal, accusatory and manipulative. But there in the room on a tiny stage, for a sitting president to come out with that kind of put-down?I couldn't imagine a JFK doing it, with his cool, or a Jerry Ford with his Midwestern decency, or a Reagan, or the Bushes. When you are president, you don't stand next to an opponent and accuse and attack. You keep a certain almost aesthetic distance. You know the height of the office you hold. You let the debate come to you, and if at some point you get an opening to uncork a joke or a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger criticism, you move.
Uh-huh. Let's roll the tape on a portion of the first two Bush-Kerry debates in 2004.
BUSH: That's totally absurd. Of course, the U.N. was invited in. And we support the U.N. efforts there. They pulled out after Sergio de Mello got killed. But they're now back in helping with elections.
My opponent says we didn't have any allies in this war. What's he say to Tony Blair? What's he say to Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland? You can't expect to build an alliance when you denigrate the contributions of those who are serving side by side with American troops in Iraq.
BUSH: I think what is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has. As the politics change, his positions change. And that's not how a commander in chief acts.
Let me finish.
The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at, the very same intelligence. And when I stood up there and spoke to the Congress, I was speaking off the same intelligence he looked at to make his decisions to support the authorization of force.
BUSH: The only consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent. He changes positions. And you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win.
BUSH: I can see why people at your workplace think he changes positions a lot, because he does. He said he voted for the $87 billion, and voted against it right before he voted for it. And that sends a confusing signal to people. He said he thought Saddam Hussein was a grave threat, and now he said it was a mistake to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
BUSH: No, I can see why people think that he changes position quite often, because he does.
You know, for a while he was a strong supporter of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He saw the wisdom -- until the Democrat primary came along and Howard Dean, the anti-war candidate, began to gain on him, and he changed positions.
I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics.
BUSH: You remember the last debate?
BUSH: My opponent said that America must pass a global test before we used force to protect ourselves. That's the kind of mindset that says sanctions were working. That's the kind of mindset that said, "Let's keep it at the United Nations and hope things go well."
Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working. The United Nations was not effective at removing Saddam Hussein.
BUSH: That answer almost made me want to scowl.
He keeps talking about, "Let the inspectors do their job." It's naive and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed. He was deceiving the inspectors.
BUSH: You tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going alone. Tell Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland we're going alone.
There are 30 countries there. It denigrates an alliance to say we're going alone, to discount their sacrifices. You cannot lead an alliance if you say, you know, you're going alone. And people listen. They're sacrificing with us.
BUSH: I don't think my opponent has got the right view about the world to make us safe; I really don't.
First of all, I don't think he can succeed in Iraq. And if Iraq were to fail, it'd be a haven for terrorists, and there would be money and the world would be much more dangerous.
I don't see how you can win in Iraq if you don't believe we should be there in the first place. I don't see how you can lead troops if you say it's the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time.
BUSH: You're right, what does matter is a plan. He said he's for -- you're now for capping punitive damages? That's odd. You should have shown up on the floor in the Senate and voted for it then.
BUSH: He's just not credible when he talks about being fiscally conservative. He's just not credible. If you look at his record in the Senate, he voted to break the caps -- the spending caps -- over 200 times.
And here he says he's going to be a fiscal conservative, all of a sudden. It's just not credible. You cannot believe it.
And on and on.
Not at all accusatory or attacky!
Give us all a break, Nooners, and go back to your Manhattans.
Under Alabama’s harmful immigration law, applicants for professional licenses have to prove that they are either a citizen or living in the U.S. legally. In order to verify a person’s status, non-U.S. residents have to be cleared through the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database. State officials have asked the federal government to [...]
It’s a great coup for the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, named for the Progressive, wet politician and first Catholic presidential candidate, that its annual fundraising dinner has become a mandatory stop on the presidential campaign trail. And it’s good for us for reasons of politics, if not of comedy, that we get to see President [...]
Our guest blogger is Seth Hanlon, Director of Fiscal Reform at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Throughout the campaign, Mitt Romney has refused to give details when asked how he plans to pay for his nearly $4.8 trillion in tax cuts. In Tuesday night?s debate, audience member Mary Follano asked Romney how his [...]
Wisconsin Senate debateIt's not entirely clear why Tommy Thompson is running for senate in Wisconsin. He's not doing much campaigning; he seems to spend more time complaining about why he's behind in fundraising than he does actually fundraising. He's just really, really cranky about the whole thing, and that was very much on display in last night's debate.
Both candidates were on the offensive and interrupted each other, but Thompson often took the more aggressive tone. At one point, he tried cutting Baldwin off.But there's more:
"You want to interrupt me, Joe Biden, let me finish," said Thompson, producing a groan from the audience.
He also resorted to snide asides, saying creating jobs was ?something you (Baldwin) probably don?t understand.? And he fumbled a riff on a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report about Baldwin?s receipt of campaign donations from a political action committee that opposes Iran sanctions.
As soon as the story was published, Thompson had to sell the stock, which he says he didn't know about previously, though the financial disclosure forms he filed when he entered the race include those companies. Details, details.
Details which make Thompson's attacks on Baldwin over Iran pretty damned empty.
John Bolton is on board. Who else is going to be in CEO Commander In Chief Mitt "Mitt" Romney's War Cabinet?[...]
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Today, Philip Bump at Grist passed along this interesting story about a shock jock in Australia who, after spewing some false nonsense about climate change on the air, "has been ordered to undergo 'factual accuracy' training, and to use fact-checkers." Obviously, the government has no such powers here in America, but it's a good reminder that America's particular version of free speech wasn't handed down from above, or even by the Founders. The words in the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press") are very general; the contours and details of that freedom have been given shape over the decades by a succession of Supreme Court cases. James Madison didn't have an opinion about whether it was OK for Rush Limbaugh to go on the air and call Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," so we had to figure out later how to handle that, and we chose, for some good reasons, to let it slide (legally speaking).
In other countries where people are just as committed to freedom as we are, they've come to slightly different conclusions about where the limits of those freedoms are. It's not that they don't value free expression, it's just that competing values like truth and civility sometimes get weighed more heavily. We believe there are limits to freedom of speech no less than the Australians do; we just put those limits farther out. There are plenty of speech acts you can be sued or even prosecuted for, from intentionally libeling someone to inciting violence to revealing state secrets to conspiring to commit a crime.
I wouldn't be comfortable with our government making decisions like the one the Australian government did, but we shouldn't forget that our expansive interpretation of free speech comes with a cost. Because we don't want the government policing the truth, we have to put up with a lot of lies; because we don't think you have a right not to be offended, we have to put up with lots of offensive speech. There are countries where the consensus belief is that personal dignity is a value that outweighs freedom of speech, so you can be punished for offending someone. This is at the heart of why many people in the Muslim world can't quite understand why our society would tolerate something like that anti-Muslim film, and why we can't quite understand why they got so worked up over it, since it was just some jackass making a stupid video. Here in America, we offer wide latitude to jackassery.
There are lots of Americans who only value free speech so long as their own feelings aren't being hurt and they don't have to hear any speech they don't like. But democracy is often painful and unpleasant. For instance, 18 days from now, half the country is going to be very, very disappointed with the results of the election. I have a feeling that when it happens, particularly if Barack Obama wins, we're going to see how thin the commitment to democracy is on the part of some people.
The Pennsylvania man arrested in Virginia on Thursday for allegedly throwing completed voter registration forms into a dumpster was released overnight on a $3,000 bond and scheduled to be back in court the day before the election.
Colin Small, a 23-year-old from Phoenixville, Pa., is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 5, Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson told TPM. Small has been charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.
While Small listed himself as a "Grassroots Field Director" for the Republican National Committee on his LinkedIn profile, spokesman Sean Spicer told NBC that Small was never directly employed by the RNC and will be "told to take that down." The RNC was financing the Virginia voter registration drive as well as drives in seven other swing states, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Spicer told TPM the RNC has "zero tolerance" for voter fraud.
"As was the case with the staffer for the DNC who was fired last week for alleged voter fraud, this individual was terminated immediately," Spicer said, referring to a DNC employee fired after being captured in a James O'Keefe video offering help to a woman who claimed to want to vote in two states.
A staffing agency called Pinpoint was paying Small for his work on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Republican Party of Virginia chair Pat Mullins issued a statement to WWBT in Richmond that Small was fired after the allegations were brought to the party's attention.
Small was originally hired by Pinpoint to work for Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm run by an Arizona-based Republican political consultant named Nathan Sproul. The RNC fired Strategic Allied Consulting in late September after Florida investigators began looking into potentially fraudulent voter registration forms in the state.
David Leibowitz, a spokesman for Sproul, downplayed the connection in an interview with TPM and said company officials hoped Small was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"When this person was hired by Strategic, he was trained on how to do the job," Leibowitz said. "He was educated on how to obey the law. If he followed the training, if he followed the education he was provided, he wouldn't have gotten arrested."
Leibowitz said it was unfair to blame Sproul or his company for Small's conduct.
"Let's say that I'm working at McDonald's, I'm a manager at McDonald's. I hire employees, I'm the manager of McDonald's, I get fired. A few days later, or three weeks later when I no longer manage the McDonald's, one of the employees goes out and robs the cash register. Am I connected to the employee who robbed the cash register? I mean I guess, circumstantially there's some small connection, but you can't hold me accountable for his conduct. That's ridiculous," Leibowitz said.
Small, who did not respond to a message TPM left on his cell phone, was arrested on Thursday as the result of an investigation launched by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office.
On Monday, a manager of a retail store in Harrisonburg, Va. allegedly spotted a man throwing a bag containing eight completed voter registration forms into a dumpster before driving off in a black car with Pennsylvania licenses plates. The manager, Rob Johnson, spotted the same car the next day outside of the GOP's Harrisonburg Victory Office, located down the street.
When Congress returns to Washington, DC after the election, they will be debating what to do about looming cuts to education and other programs, tax cuts for the wealthy and the middle class, and potentially long-term deficit reduction. The outcome of these debates will have a direct impact on students, educators, and public education! At stake are services to over nine million students, and the potential loss of over 78,000 education jobs.
Will Congress choose kids over CEOs, or will they continue to give tax breaks to the wealthiest while slashing programs that serve vulnerable children? Will they stop putting the burden for deficit reduction on the shoulders of kids, or will they continue to let corporations get away without paying their fair share?
Now is the time to make our voices heard. Don?t let them make the wrong choices!
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Benjy Sarlin and Pema Levy report from today's Obama rally in northern Virginia, where the campaign's focus was on women, women, women. [...]
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