Mitt Romney?s recent rhetoric on student loans is a sure sign that we?ve moved to the general election. In addition to distancing himself from the congressional GOP on student loans?like the president, he wants interest rates to stay low?Mitt Romney has adapted his overall message for the under?30 set, blaming President Obama for high unemployment among young people and a poor job market for recent college graduates. Here?s how he presented the issue at a press availability in Aston, Pennsylvania yesterday:
When you look at fifty percent of the kids coming out of college today can?t find a job or can?t find a job which is consistent with their skills, how in the world can you be supporting a president that?s led to that kind of an economy? [?]
?I think this is a time when young people are questioning the support they gave to President Obama three and a half years ago. He promised bringing the country together; that sure hasn?t happened. He promised a future with good jobs and good opportunity; that hasn?t happened. And the pathway that he pursued is one which has not worked. Young people recognize that and I think that?s why they?re going to increasingly look for a different approach.?
The problem with this, as is the case with Romney?s campaign writ large, is that it?s shockingly divorced from the actual circumstances of Obama?s presidency. Like him or hate him, this president isn?t responsible for the poor economy; that distinction goes to George W. Bush, who drove the economy into a ditch and left his successor to clean up the mess. Obama hasn?t been the perfect steward of the economy?he?s been scandalously complacent with the Federal Reserve, for example?but it?s deeply misleading to take the economic circumstances of the last four years and attribute them exclusively to the president.
It?s not hard to understand why Romney has turned his attention to young people. The difference between 2008 and all other recent elections wasn?t youth turnout?it rose to 18 percent from 17 percent in 2004 and 2000?but overwhelming youth support for Democrats. Obama won the youth vote by a margin of 66 percent to John McCain?s 33 percent. According to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center, Obama maintains support from 61 percent of young voters. If he can keep that margin through the fall, then he?s in better shape for reelection. On the same token, if Romney peels a few percentage points from the president, he becomes much more competitive (and might even take a lead).
What?s galling about this push is the fact that Romney is running on a plan that would make life terrible for young people. His tax plan calls for deep cuts for the wealthiest Americans and tax hikes for the lowest earners (who tend to be young). His spending plan, lifted mostly from Paul Ryan, would boost the military, and sack the welfare state?programs for the poor, the elderly, and the disabled would disappear from the federal budget. Indeed, there?s a certain deception in Romney?s rhetoric to students; he promises ?a bright and prosperous future? to young people, but his budget calls for the elimination of Pell Grants and most aid to students. And the signature item in his domestic program?ending the Affordable Care Act?would be disastrous for the bulk of young people who don?t have health insurance and risk crippling medical bills.
Insofar that Romney has a ?different approach? for the country, it would fall hardest on the mass of young people who don?t exist in the highest reaches of society. Of course, that sums up Romney?s campaign?a massive push to keep privilege with the privileged, and wealth with the wealthy.
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Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney declared on Monday that "young voters in this country have to vote for me."
During a press conference in Aston, Pennsylvania, the candidate told reporters that young Americans should reconsider their support for President Barack Obama.
"I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they're really thinking about what's in the best interest of the country and what's in their personal best interests," he explained. "Because the president's policies have led to extraordinary statistics. And when you look at 50 percent of the kids coming out of college today can't find a job or can't find a job that is consistent with their skills. How in the world can you be supporting a president that's led to that kind of economy?"
"I think that young people will understand that ours is the party of opportunity and jobs," the former Massachusetts governor continued. "If they want to have a president that can create good jobs and can allow them to find them a bright and prosperous future for themselves and for their families then I hope their going to vote for me."
"I think this is a time when young people are questioning the support they gave to President Obama three and a half years ago. He promised bringing the country together. That sure hasn't happened. He promised a future with good jobs and good opportunity. That hasn't happened."
After the press conference ended, Romney returned the the microphone and added that he "fully" supported an extension of low interest rates on student loans, a position that puts him in opposition to House Republicans.
"There was some concern that that would expire halfway through the year, and I support extending the temporary relief on interest rates for students as a result of student loans, obviously, in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market."
A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 48 percent of voters aged 18 to 24 support a second term for Obama, compared with 41 percent who would like to see a Republican in the White House.
In 2008, Obama won the age group by 34 points over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Fox News host person Steve Doocy just went on the air to correct the fabricated version of an Obama quote he used in an interview with Mitt Romney last week. But he it was a classic non-correction correction, referring to it as a 'paraphrase' and then[...]
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Well that isn't very nice. As Joe notes over at AMERICAblog Gay:
Today, President Obama will be at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to give a speech on student loan interest rates, which will double in July if Congress doesn't act. That's not the big issue in North Carolina right now. North Carolinians are currently voting on the viciously anti-gay Amendment 1, which will ban marriage equality and more in the state. Early voting began on April 19th for the May 8th election. Much of the opposition is coming from students. The President's campaign issued a statement a couple weeks ago, which stated Obama's opposition to Amendment 1.It's not just not helpful. It sends a terrible message, having the President in the state, and NOT talking about the biggest issue in the state. It makes it look as if he's afraid to talk about the issue. And it sends the message to voters, especially certain constituencies deeply aligned with the President, that he just might not care how they vote on the issue.
Mexican immigration into the U.S. is so slow it may now be in reverse. A new study from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that, “In the five years from 2005 to 2010, about 1.4m Mexicans immigrated to the US ? exactly the same number of Mexican immigrants and their US-born children who quit America and moved back or were deported to Mexico.”
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Arizona’s immigration law this week, Mitt Romney will be forced to take a stance on immigration. The Romney campaign has been particularly focused on gaining the Latino vote, and his approach to the Supreme Court’s arguments this week may determine his tone on immigration for the rest of the election season.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said yesterday on Fox News that there’s a “1-in-3″ chance the GOP will lose its majority in the House. That conflicted a bit with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who was more bullish, saying, ?I am very confident that we will strengthen our majority.?
The government in the Netherlanders fell after lawmakers were unable to get enough votes to implement austerity measures, the latest sign suggesting Europeans are beginning to reject austerity. The Dutch collapse comes just days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost the first round of presidential elections to socialist Francois Hollande, who rejects austerity.
Newt Gingrich will “reassess” whether to drop out of the presidential race this week, depending on his finish in the winner-take-all Delaware primary today.
Despite pious promises of an earmark ban, 65 House Republican freshman have requested bringing back a form of earmarks — pushing for a loophole to allow them to bring home the same pork for their own districts most decried in their 2010 campaigns.
New state-by-state polls in Arizona and New Hampshire contain promising signs for President Obama?s reelection campaign. In New Hampshire, considered a swing state, Obama is up by nine over Mitt Romney in a new poll. And in Arizona, home of conservative icons Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, President Obama is trailing by just two.
Voters in California will decide this November whether to keep the state?s death penalty legal or become the 17th state to abolish it after opponents of capital punishment gathered enough signatures to force it onto the ballot. California has the nation?s largest death row population.
And finally: The cash-strapped Minnesota Republican Party is facing eviction from the headquarters after having difficulty paying the building’s owner. ?We?re not going to be evicted,? the chairman of the party assured reporters, saying they are ?continuing to negotiate on the back payments as well as on a lease that better fits both our space needs and our budget.?
Sarah Palin, John McCain’s “energy expert” in 2008, now appears to be setting the agenda for Mitt Romney. On Earth Day, Palin bashed the “holiest of days for EcoLiberals,” saying in a National Review blogpost that it should be celebrated with “drill, baby, drill.” On Monday, Romney followed Sarah Palin’s lead, telling an audience at a major coal company that he too opposes environmental regulations for drilling of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Romney even adopted Palin’s language in his speech at a Consol Energy research facility:
PALIN: “It?s time for the greatest nation on earth to tap into its full potential, and one surefire way to do so is to tap into what is beneath this earth.”
ROMNEY: ?The course that I will put us on is to take advantage of what comes from above the ground as well as what comes from below the ground so that America can finally become energy-secure and independent of the oil cartel.”
“Romney?s energy and environmental platform calls for stripping EPA?s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and expanding oil-and-gas leasing to include areas that are currently off limits, including the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among other measures,” The Hill’s Ben Geman writes.
It’s time to take back the narrative about clean energy.
Since the bankruptcy of a few high-profile clean energy companies, political opponents and media pundits have tried to label the entire industry a failure. This is a gross distortion of the on-the-ground reality ? and it shows how disconnected people are from what’s really happening in this sector.
The clean energy industry is extraordinarily diverse, ranging from small contractors to massive industrial manufacturers. Recognizing the local value these sectors provide, states around the country are putting policies in place to attract new businesses and large amounts of private capital. And it’s working.
Massachusetts is the perfect example. After signing the Green Communities Act into law in 2008, the commonwealth has seen an explosion of new companies. There are now 64,000 people employed in Massachusetts’ clean energy sector today.
I traveled to the commonwealth with Andrew Satter, our senior video producer at the Center for American Progress, and brought back this piece from the front lines of the clean energy economy:
– Violence continues in Syria as opposition representatives report that regime forces shelled Homs and Hama after U.N. observers left those cities. Syria’s capital city of Damascus also experienced heightened unrest after a Syrian intelligence officer was killed in a car blomb blast today.
– Iranian media reported that Iran disconnected several of its main Persian Gulf oil terminals from the Internet this week. Technicians said they were trying to respond to intensifying cyberattacks on the Oil Ministry and its affiliates.
– The White House Office of Management and Budget said in a letter to the Government Accountability Office that the Veterans Affairs Department’s budget is exempt from sequestration, a decision hailed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
– The Pentagon’s new “Defense Clandestine Service,” working closely with the CIA — two organizations who have often been at odds over the use of special forces — will boost the military’s espionage operations overseas.
– Withdrawing weapons, vehicles and supplies from Afghanistan will cost U.S. taxpayers between $5 and $10 billion, reports The Washington Examiner.
– The Egyptian government rejected requests by eight U.S. groups, including President Jimmy Carter’s center, to operate in the country on the grounds that they infringe on Egyptian sovereignty.
– Turkish media reports said Turkey blocked Israel’s participation in a May NATO summit because of the Jewish State’s refusal to apologize for an incident in May 2010, even as top NATO officials denied Israel was ever invited.
– After pushing South Sudan from a disputed oil field on its border, Sudanese planes are still bombing towns in the South, drawing condemnation from U.N. officials on the ground and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Sponsors of legislation in Missouri that would eliminate discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in public schools and prohibit teachers from addressing bullying based on sexual orientation told the Huffington Post that they “do not want the homosexual agenda taught in the schools.” Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (R), a co-sponsor of the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, argued that sexual orientation issues “should be taught by parents, clergy and physician” and warned that teaching about LGBT issues would lead to other discussions. “There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat,” he said. The bill is has been referred to a House subcommittee.
The Israeli government announced the legalization of three Jewish settlement “outposts” — where communities set up make-shift homes on hilltops — in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. The announcement comes as the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale is in the region attempting to reignite the long-stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The Obama administration, successive U.S. governments and most of the world consider the settlements — which now house about 500,000 Jewish Israelis in occupied territory — to be “illegitimate.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also sought to delay the Israeli Supreme Court’s order to demolish another illegal outpost built on privately owned Palestinian land.