King made the remarks during a town hall meeting on April 6 in Jefferson, Iowa. Pressed by a constituent about the impact of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, King claimed he had “not dug into” the decision yet, but conceded that he’s “not comfortable with the result.” Still, he claimed that his own campaign was free from the influence of corporate contributions.
CONSTITUENT: The whole question of what’s wrong with our country here is corruption. Money buying elections. Money buying corporate messages.
KING: That’s another thing. I will listen to him. I just want to tell you. I don’t have any corporate contributions into my campaign.
Watch it (relevant section begins at 1:25):
A cursory glance at King’s fundraising reports this year shows maxed-out contributions from the PACs of many corporations, including Koch Industries, American Crystal Sugar, AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, Exxon, First American Bank, Kirke Financial Services, Mail Services LLC, Mobren Biological, Silverstone Group, Sukup Manufacturing, and a wide array of corporate trade associations.
King is technically correct that corporations haven’t contributed directly to his campaign. Federal election law prohibits corporations from making such contributions to any candidate. However, corporations establish their own PACs precisely so that their leadership and investors can donate to candidates. King’s campaign has benefited immensely from these corporate PACs, receiving more than $100,000 for his reelection bid.
Lieutenant General Benny Gantz told Haaretz that Iran has not yet made critical decisions:
[Iran] is going step by step to the place where it will be able to decide whether to manufacture a nuclear bomb. It hasn’t yet decided whether to go the extra mile.
Gantz also emphasized that Iran is a rational actor, a departure from hawks who claim that Iran’s leadership is irrational:
[The acquisition of a nuclear bomb] will happen if [Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei judges that he is invulnerable to a response. I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile. I think the Iranian leadership is composed of very rational people. But I agree that such a capability, in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who at particular moments could make different calculations, is dangerous.
The Israeli military chief said that all options — including the military one — remain on the table for Israel and that “This is a critical year, but not necessarily ‘go, no-go.’” And he reported that diplomatic presure and economic sanctions are begining to bear fruit.
Gantz’s comments contrast with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hawkish rhetoric on Iran. In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett last night, Netanyahu questioned Iran’s rationality:
I don’t think you want to bet the peace in the Middle East and the security of the world on Iran’s rational behavior.
A potential Iranian nuclear weapon is widely considered a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, and the nuclear non-proliferation regime. While hawkish rhetoric towards Iran is becoming a normal occurrence in the political discourses in both Israel and the U.S., neither IAEA, Israeli nor U.S. intelligence estimates conclude that Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration has vowed to keep “all options on the table” to deal with the possibility of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon but the efficacy and consequences of such a military strike continue to raise serious questions.
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Last night, Mitt Romney gave what was billed as the opening speech of his general election campaign. Jamelle has explained how much Romney distorted the economic story of the past four years, while Ezra says accurately that "If this speech was all you knew of Mitt Romney -- if it was your one guide to his presidential campaign -- you'd sum his message up as, 'vote for me: I think America is great.'" Indeed you would?the speech included the word "America" a numbing 33 times. But there's something else I want to note from Romney's speech, something that both Republicans and Democrats do, and it drives me crazy:
I?ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.
You see, Mitt Romney may not have pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, but he has a pair of bootstraps that he inherited from his father, which he keeps in a small mahogany box and takes out and gazes upon every now and again to remind himself of how great it is for someone to have bootstraps, and pull himself up by them, if that's what he needs to do. All he's saying is, he knows from bootstraps.
Can we just put aside the "only in America" schtick? It's like every presidential candidate has to channel Yakov Smirnoff at some point. Let's be honest about this. America does indeed offer enormous opportunities for all kinds of people, despite our huge and growing inequality. The attraction it has always held for immigrants made this country what it is. For a long time, the kinds of opportunities available here were a rarity among nations, when in so many places class lines were much more rigid. But that's not true anymore. There are lots of places where somebody can come from modest circumstances and achieve wealth and/or power. South African president Jacob Zuma's father was a cop, and his mother was a maid; he grew up without any formal schooling. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's father was an accountant. Evo Morales was a subsistence farmer who turned to growing coca, and now he's the president of Bolivia. Now those are some bootstraps! And you know who else pulled himself up from modest circumstances? Saddam Hussein, that's who.
Why is it necessary to assert that every good thing about America can only be found in America? We should continue to be enormously proud of the fact that we were the first democracy, but sometimes we act as though America is the only place in the world that isn't still ruled by a king. Are we so insecure about ourselves and our nation that we have to be constantly told that we're the most terrific country that ever was or ever will be, and there's nobody else even remotely like us? Is Mitt Romney running for president, or does he want to be some combination of a proud grandfather and a national life coach?
But it isn't just Romney. Barack Obama does this too; he has repeated many times that only in America could someone with his unusual background have become president. Which is certainly closer to the truth than the assertion that only in America could a guy like George Romney have become governor of Michigan, but still. There's no easier or more foolish way to check off the patriotism box than to repeat "Only in America!" Enough already.
Mitt Romney is erasing his image as a flip-flopper ... but at a priceIf you're wondering why the Obama campaign has focused most of its recent criticism of Mitt Romney on Romney's conservative positions instead of his track record as a flip-flopper, you need look no further than this fact: despite Mitt Romney's track record of being a flip-flopper and despite predictions from virtually everybody in politics (including his own campaign!) that he would Etch-A-Sketch his conservative primary positions away, Mitt Romney has largely stayed true to his campaign promises.
Romney has flip-flopped on flip-flopping, you might say. The most glaring exception is his reversal on student loan interest rates; there's no question he's flip-flopped there. And he's hinted at a shift on immigration policy, but aside from disputing his own statement about Arizona being a model for immigration policy, he hasn't actually changed his position.
Meanwhile, on virtually everything else, Romney hasn't budged. His economic philosophy is extraordinarily conservative, featuring a $10 trillion tax cut for the wealthy. His stump speech portrays Obama as an enemy of the American way of life and describes his campaign in apocalyptic terms, saying that America's survival is at stake in the 2012 election. That's not hyperbole (on my part). Last night, Romney said if Obamacare is allowed to stand, America's economic system will have "ceased" to exist.
Not only isn't Romney flip-flopping on any of those positions, for the most part he's not even trying to soften his rhetoric. Case in point: going on Jay Leno's show to tell sick people without insurance that they are out of luck if they want to buy coverage. He even brought up the Republican War on Birth Control during his speech to the NRA. (Talk about shooting blanks!)
It might be remarkable that Mitt Romney hasn't sought to flip-flop on those positions or soften his rhetoric, but given the fact that he's decided to stay on the right, it's not exactly hard to understand why the Obama campaign is training its fire on his conservative positions. It's true that they've shifted from attacking him as a flip-flopper to attacking his conservative views, and The New York Times and Politico have done an interesting job exploring the dynamics of that shift, but the central reason for it is that Mitt Romney?against all odds?hasn't even tried to flip-flop.
Perhaps the key question that reporters should explore is understanding why Romney hasn't yet tried to erase more of his positions. Perhaps he's waiting until voters are paying more attention, or maybe he just wants to make sure he unifies the Republican base. He might even be sensitive to the perception?fueled by the Obama campaign and his own past history?that he's particularly inclined to being a flip-flopper. And if Mitt Romney's camping out on the right simply because he doesn't want to play into the Obama campaign narrative of him as a flip-flopper, then that narrative will have proven to be one of the most effective traps in political history because Mitt Romney cannot win this election without Etch-A-Sketching his way to the middle. And if?or, more likely, when?he eventually tries, you can bet the Obama campaign will be there every step of the way, challenging his credibility. And the longer Romney waits, the more effective those challenges will be.
Back in 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa called Obama one of the most corrupt presidents in history, and pledged to investigate his administration. After a year?s worth of hearings and investigations, Issa has come out empty-handed. Of course, when has lack of proof stopped anyone from making ridiculous accusations in politics? To wit:
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told Bloomberg TV that the Obama government is ?proving to be? the ?most corrupt in history.?
Said Issa: ?We are busy in Washington with a corrupt government, with a government that I said perhaps because of the money, the amount of TARP and stimulus funds, was going to be the most corrupt government history and it is proving to be just exactly that. This money going though the hands of political leaders is corrupting the process, whether it is Solyndra, GSA, or a number of other scandals.?
Solyndra is a bugaboo of the right wing (that?s been roundly dismissed by mainstream outlets), and the GSA scandal has little to do with the Obama administration itself. Moreover, as political scientist Brendan Nyhan has pointed out, the administration has been remarkably scandal-free in a way that hasn?t been true of any administration in recent history. Even if that weren?t the case?and Solyndra was a cause for concern?it pales in comparison to the criminal probes (and actual convictions) of the Bush years, and the record-breaking corruption of Ronald Reagan?s tenure (Iran-Contra, to use one example).
But none of this matters; it is a presidential election year, and the Republican case against Obama will include an attack on the ethics of his administration. Romney has already railed against the ?crony capitalism? of Obama's policies, and you should expect Republicans to dig in on the charge that the administration is incredibly corrupt, despite the lack of any evidence.
In Yesterday's Pennsylvania Democratic primary two incumbent members of the Blue Dog Coalition, Jason Altmire and Tim Holden, lost their re-election bids to more liberal opponents. Unless newly elected freshmen choose to join the coalition, the[...]
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Mitt Romney would have us believe that despite his embrace of a budget that would cut Pell Grants and double student loan interest rates, he also wants to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. Except notice how even by Romney's exceedingly high standards of awkwardness, his statement calling for interest rates to be kept from doubling is awkward. As in, he can barely get the words out of his mouth.
The question to ask whenever Romney has conflicting positions on an economic issue is which of his positions would benefit wealthy and powerful people. That's the one he means; the other one is the pander.
Mommy Republicans? Not so much.Here's some bad news for Mitt Romney and Republicans: moms (a subset of the also not-very-attainable Lady Voters category Republicans are desperate to woo) just aren't that into them.
Which party do you think better represents the interests of mothers?Those numbers are almost the same among all voters, by the way, not just moms.
Both equally....................................................... 8%
Not sure............................................................ 8%
Remember, this poll was conducted after Republicans seized on a completely true statement about Ann Romney's never having worked (something she herself has said many times), and tried to use against President Obama and the Democrats. Suddenly, Democrats were waging a war on moms, and only Republicans respect them and the hard work they do. They even sold mom mugs!
Yeah, well, no one's buying it, especially not moms. They might not be over the moon about Democrats, but they definitely don't like Republicans. Oh, and they're not so into Mitt Romney either:
Of course, the election is still half a year away, and those numbers can change a thousand times between now and then. But so far, women aren't buying the bullshit Republicans are selling. Mitt Romney and his crack team may have devised a three-pronged strategy to make the chicks dig him, and Ann Romney, chief adviser on Stuff That Ladies Care AboutTM, may have reported back to Mitt on said Stuff That Ladies Care AboutTM, but that doesn't mean the Republican message of telling women what they should and shouldn't care about?you should care about lower taxes for the rich; you shouldn't care about access to affordable health care?is working. Because as of now, it's pretty clear that it isn't.