Daily Archives: 11/20/2011

Video: Matthews Explains Why President Does Not Deserve Another Term

I didn’t know that MSNBC host Chris Matthews voted for President Bush in 2000. Chris in a different interview explains tha he gave Bush a chance but he messed it up, and apparently Obama too has messed up his chance. The short attack from Matthews takes a mere one in a half minutes but it says a lot.

Santorum: [Mormon] Romney Would Have Been ‘Uncomfortable’ at Christian Forum

Politicai Ticker Reports: Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum suggested Sunday that Mitt Romney’s absence at a Christian forum held in Des Moines a day earlier was because he may not have been completely at ease in an environment discussing his faith.

“Clearly this was a forum that Mitt Romney was not particularly comfortable with,” Santorum told reporters when asked for his reaction to the Republican frontrunner’s decision to skip the event, which was held in a church and sponsored by The Family Leader, a conservative group. The event was aimed at getting to the heart of candidates’ core moral and religious beliefs.

“It was one that was longer form and one that was much more personal, much more reflective of where you’ve been and where you’re going, as opposed to just talking about the future in sound bites… I don’t think that played to Gov. Romney’s strengths,” Santorum said.

Asked to elaborate, Santorum said he didn’t think Romney would be comfortable in a setting that explores “why you believe what you believe and where that came from.”

Romney is a member of the Mormon faith.

Jersey Dem Congressman Spent $9,000 Campaign Funds on Donor’s Wedding

NJ Star Ledger Reports: A three-night stay at a five-star hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a wedding: $7,725.

A set of china from Bloomingdale’s for the bride and groom: $463.

Cab rides, meals, tips and airline baggage fees: $953.

Expensing it to your campaign account: Priceless.

In June, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1st Dist.) and his family visited Edinburgh for a wedding — part of a larger European vacation. There, Andrews, his wife and two teenage daughters stayed at the Balmoral Hotel in the center of town, which bills itself as a “luxury hotel in the true sense of the word.” The price was indeed five-star: Two rooms for three nights cost $7,725.

Nor did they go to Scotland empty-handed. The family bought a $463 china set from Bloomingdale’s as a gift to the newlyweds.

In all, Andrews and his family spent more than $9,000 on the Edinburgh leg of the trip. Rather, his congressional campaign did.

The hotel, wedding gift, and several hundred more dollars for ground transportation, meals and petty cash came not from the family’s pockets, but from Andrews’ campaign fund, according to a Star-Ledger review of his campaign-finance-reports.

Andrews said the expense was legitimate because the wedding was for a donor and volunteer adviser, allowing him to consider it a political event. Citing privacy concerns, he declined to identify the adviser, who he said helps his campaign with opposition research.

“We have legal advice, and before we make any expenditure like that we listen to legal advice,” said Andrews, pointing out that the rest of the European vacation, including airfare, was paid for with family funds. “We’re convinced this is an appropriate expenditure to thank and support someone who has given us a lot of time and effort.”

But the Edinburgh trip is just one of many instances in which the South Jersey congressman — who together with his wife earned more than $500,000 in 2010 — mixed personal and political expenses in an unorthodox way.

Spain’s Conservatives Earn Resounding Election Victory as Voters Oust Socialists

The Washington Post Reports: In an election marked by bitter disappointment and desperation over the euro zone’s highest unemployment rate, the Socialists who have led the country since 2004 were cast from office in their worst showing in the modern era of Spain’s democracy.

Conservatives won 186 of the 350 seats in parliament; the Socialists won 110. But the sharp swing was more a result of millions of voters abandoning the Socialists for smaller parties, not conservatives picking up new voters, suggesting a country more dispirited with the policies of the past than excited about the future.

The leader of the conservatives, Mariano Rajoy, 56, will not take over for another month, but he is widely expected to announce his economic team and strategy in the coming days.

“It is times like these that measure what men and societies are made of,” Rajoy said Sunday in his victory speech. “Our destiny is to play a big role in and with Europe. We will be more loyal but also more demanding. . . . There aren’t going to be any miracles, but we didn’t promise
them.”

Sunday’s vote gives Europe another leader closely aligned with the austerity-based consensus that the continent’s strongest economies say is the solution to what plagues the weaker ones. In recent weeks, leaders in Italy and Greece have been forced from their perches.

Still, Rajoy may have limited influence over problems that have spread to France, Austria and the Netherlands — countries long associated with fiscal discipline and economic power — which saw their borrowing costs spike last week. France has called for continent-wide solutions more radical than those applied so far, including the printing of more money to prop up struggling countries, something Germany
staunchly opposes.

In Spain, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had abandoned many of his party’s historic positions to implement budget cuts aimed at getting the country’s finances under control. But they did little to head off the nation’s 22.6 percent unemployment rate.

Last week, Spain’s borrowing costs spiked to their highest level since 1997, and one of Rajoy’s first tasks will be to soothe investors’ fears about his country’s viability.

Huntsman Video: Romney Back Flips!

I am not exactly sure how many voters care what Jon Huntsman has to say at this time. However, the following video is certainly a good attack against Mitt Romney. As a side note, it is worthy to point out that Huntsman has a better standing in a few early states than Rick Perry which can make anyone wonder how things will end up. Anyway, Here is the anti-Romney video.

http://youtu.be/EhyMplwY6HY

Qaddafi’s Hatred of Jews Turned on Him

Andrew Engal Writes: Crossing the Ras Ajdir border into Libya from Tunisia on October 24 and 25  required two attempts and three hours, and culminated with an instructive  initiation into a post-revolution reality.

The Libyan side felt like a scene from “Lord of the Flies”: gun-toting,  barely uniformed teenagers attempting to enforce a semblance of authority;  trucks roaming aimlessly, loaded with anti-aircraft guns; occasional tracers  from random gunfire cutting across the sky. Entering at midnight only added to  the surrealism.

Then, there was the Libyan guard booth at the crossing.

Among the first visuals to greet visitors, it was prominently graffitied with  a large caricature of the ousted dictator Moammar Qaddafi, his wild hair  sticking out from under a baseball cap. Emblazoned on the cap where a Yankees  logo should have been was a large Star of David.

Later, after traversing the country as a freelance journalist, I would see  this introduction to Libya as a supreme irony. Qaddafi, I came to understand,  had spent decades conditioning his populace to hate Jews in a bid to build  popular support for himself, as so many Arab dictators have done. And in the  end, when his tyranny and misrule ultimately undid him, it was the hatred of  Jews that he so successfully inculcated which was turned against him.

“Did you know that Qaddafi was a Jew?” the Libyan driver we hired to take us  to Tripoli from Tunis smugly asked me somewhere on the road close to the  Tunisian Island of Djerba, which still has a small Jewish population. “No,” I  responded, though I had heard this claim before. “Yes, his mother was a Jew, and  on his father’s side he was Italian,” the driver said matter-of-factly.

During the course of my six days hopscotching over the 1,000-mile-wide  country, I had the opportunity to listen to scores of Libyans express themselves  freely for the first time in 42 years, whether in person or through other media,  such as music and graffiti. What I found, unfortunately, along with freedom of  expression, was a virulent and ubiquitous anti-Semitism that looks likely to  outlast the ruler who promoted it.

The presence of Jews in Libya dates back to the third century BCE, long  predating the Arab conquest of Libya in the seventh century. But most of Libya’s  38,000 Jews fled in the wake of anti-Jewish riots after the creation of the  State of Israel, in 1948. The remaining 4,000 to 7,000 Jews fled following the  1967 Six Day War. To ensure that they stayed out, Qaddafi, who came to power in  1969, canceled all debts owed to Jews. He also forbade the departed Jews from  returning and confiscated their properties. Jewish cemeteries were bulldozed as  if to show that even a dead Jew had no place in Libya.

To be sure, widespread incitement against Libyan Jews pre-dated Qaddafi. But  the young dictator successfully channeled prevalent anti-Semitism to effectively  make Libya Judenrein, cleansed of Jews, for the first time since  Greco-Roman era.

Two elderly Israelis of Libyan descent have helped propel the notion that  Qaddafi was a Jew: Israel’s Channel Two News interviewed, in February, Guita  Boaron and Rachel Saada, who both claimed to share a relative with Qaddafi’s  grandmother. Though those claims remain unproven, the interview is cited in  Libya and beyond as proof of long-held suspicions that Qaddafi was a Jew.

As we drove toward Libya, listening to a CD dedicated to the February 17th  Revolution, the lead song pulsed: “Tripoli, ‘O capital of free Libya, we accept  no other city than you. Tripoli, beautiful bride of the ocean, who lives as high  as the moon. We live for Tripoli and we will die for it.”

Yet the music soon changed.

With a new driver in Tripoli, as I desperately sought a hotel at daybreak,  came a new CD titled “Rap of the Libyan Revolution.” The first track, “Khalas ya Qaddafi” (“Finished, oh Qaddafi”), rapped in English: “Thank  you Obama, thank you Jazeera, thank you Sarkozy for everything you’ve done to  me.” It then moved into Arabic: “I’m sorry for Algeria because their leader is  Bouteflika, who supports every Jew with his soldiers and weapons. Leave, oh  Qaddafi. Every day people die, every day people suffer, every day mothers become  widows, every day children fear their house will be destroyed, their toys will  be broken, that they will become orphans in their youth, Go out, you Jew!”

Another rap number, “HadHihi al-Thawra” (“This Revolution”), rapped  in Arabic: “From the north to the south, from the east to the west, let’s rise  up, let’s rise up! The anger won’t die, the one who will die is Qaddafi, his  supporters and the Jews.”

(Read more at the Farword)

Super Committee Failure? Dems Blame… Bush!

Huffington Post Reports: The leaders of a special deficit reduction panel signaled Sunday that they will fail to strike a deal to reduce the deficit before their Wednesday deadline.

Republican opposition to taxing the rich is the main obstacle, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There is one sticking divide, and that is the issue of what I call shared sacrifice, where everybody contributes in a very challenging time for our country,” Murray said. “That’s the Bush tax cuts. In making sure that any kind of package includes everybody coming to the table and the wealthiest of Americans, those who earn over a million dollars every year, have to share, too. And that line in the sand, we haven’t seen any Republicans willing to cross yet.”

Murray is the co-chair of the special panel assigned to strike a deficit deal by Thanksgiving to prevent huge automatic cuts. The failure of the 12-member super committee, as it’s known, will supposedly result in $1.2 trillion worth of discretionary and military spending cuts. However, as HuffPost reported in September, Congress has plenty of time to intervene before the automatic cuts take effect in 2013.

(Read More at HuffPost)

Report: Recall Walker Rally at Capitol Draws 25,000 to 30,000

Patch Reports: As tens of thousands of people descended upon the state Capitol Saturday, organizers of the effort to remove Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from office announced they have collected more than 105,000 signatures on recall petitions.

“As  of (Friday) night — the fourth day of signature collection, more than  105,000 Wisconsin residents have already signed their name to a petition  to recall Scott Walker,” said Heather DuBois Bourenane, a volunteer with United Wisconsin, the group spearheading the recall effort. “Across the state, people are talking with their  friends, family and neighbors about Walker’s destruction and are doing  all they can to end his days as governor.”

Organizers need to collect 540,000 signatures by Jan. 17 to force a recall election. United Wisconsin, which is working with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin on the recall effort, says it hopes to gather between 600,000 and 700,000 signatures by that deadline.

The news came as a crowd estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000 attended the Madison rally, the largest gathering since the huge Capitol protests in March, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The State Journal said the rally — like those in March — drew thousands of teachers, union members, labor leaders and students. In addition U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Madison Democrat who is running for a senate seat, and MSNBC talk show host Ed Schultz were on hand, the newspaper reported.

After the rally, the Republican Party of Wisconsin issued a statement that reiterated its position that a recall is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

“The  bill Wisconsin families will receive for the Democrats’ baseless recall  effort is without precedent,” said state GOP Executive Director Stephan Thompson. “While Governor Walker and the state Legislature instituted bold reforms to cut wasteful spending, the  Democrats and their liberal special interests simply want to increase  it in their selfish pursuit to regain political power.”

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has estimated the cost of a statewide recall elections at $7.7 million — a figure based on what it cost to hold nine state Senate recall elections over the summer.

Before the rally got under way, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold signed a petition to recall the governor before an enthusiastic crowd of about 300 at a Madison theater.

And while many in the crowd were chanting “Run, Russ, Run!”, the Democrat told reporters Saturday that he had no intention of running against Walker if a recall is held.

Polls say Feingold, who was defeated by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in November, would have the best chance of defeating Walker in a recall election.

NRCC Edges DCCC in October Fundraising

National Journal Reports: The National Republican Congressional Committee edged out its Democratic counterpart during the month of October, bringing in $4.56 million in contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $4.18 million.

The NRCC’s haul was a rebound from the previous month, when the DCCC outraised the GOP by nearly $3 million. The House Democrats’ campaign committee also won the third fundraising quarter.

Last month marked the GOP House campaign arm’s best off-year October since the Federal Election Commission began tracking records electronically in 1995. The NRCC also has more cash on hand, ending the month with $13.8 million to the DCCC’s $9.81 million.

But despite Democrats’ minority status in the House, the DCCC has still raised more total this year, bringing in $52.08 million to the NRCC’s $48.73 million.

Both campaign committees have continued to pay down debt from the 2010 election cycle. The NRCC now carries only $500,000 in debt, compared to $1.33 million in debt for the DCCC. But that’s down significantly from the $19.6 million in debt House Democrats were carrying at the beginning of this election cycle.

Iran May Use Oil as Political Tool

Reuters Reports: Iran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict over its nuclear program, Iran’s energy minister told Al Jazeera television.

Tension over Iran’s nuclear program has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on November 8 that Tehran appears to have worked on designing a bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end.

Iran has warned it will respond to any attack by hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf and analysts say Tehran could hit Western interests by closing the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil passes.

 ”We don’t consider crude oil as a political tool, however if necessary, we’ll use it as a tool any way we need to,” Rostam Qasemi said in response to a question in an interview translated into English by the Qatar-based news channel.

“Right now, we believe everything’s OK and that there is no need to use crude oil as a tool. However, I have to reiterate that in case we are urged to and in case we think it’s necessary, yes, we will use this,” he said in the interview posted on the television’s website on Saturday.

(Read More at Yahoo!)

Charlie Cook: #CTSen ‘May be in Play’ in 2012

Charlie Cook Writes: Senate Democrats have 10 seats in varying degrees of danger: the five open seats in Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin; and the five seats held by Sens. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Ben Nelson in Nebraska, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Jon Tester in Montana. Four other Democrats are worth watching: Sens. Maria Cantwell in Washington, Robert Casey in Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. The open seat in Connecticut of retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman might also be in play.

Republicans have just two incumbents at risk: Sens. Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Dean Heller in Nevada. In addition, Sens. Richard Lugar in Indiana and Olympia Snowe in Maine are worth watching, as are the races for the open seats of retiring Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

With eight Democratic seats currently in the danger zone—meaning that The Cook Political Report rates them as Toss-Ups or leaning in the GOP’s favor—compared with just two for Republicans, the best-case scenario for Democrats would seem to be a net loss of three seats. This would take the Senate makeup from 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans to a 50-50 tie. The best-case outlook for Republicans seems to be a net gain of six seats, which would give the GOP 53 seats in the next Senate. At this admittedly early stage, the most likely outcome is a net Republican gain of four or five Senate seats, yielding them a 51-49 or 52-48 majority. Of course, in the world of the Senate, having the majority and having control are two very different things.

Meet Herman Cain’s New Secret Service Detail

The Ticket Reports:  At least nine Secret Service agents wearing dark sunglasses flanked Herman Cain on all sides during a short media conference outside a Christian-themed amusement park here Friday–one of the candidate’s first outings with his new government security detail.

Cain, the first Republican candidate to receive Secret Service protection this election cycle, rolled up to the pre-arranged spot with three Chevy sport utility vehicles, a heavy-duty pick up truck and one mini-bus. Agents immediately jumped out of the vehicles and dispersed, warding away any supporters who tried to get too close.

Although Cain spent several minutes answering questions from reporters and even gaggled after the official press conference, it was clear that the era of open candidate-access that marked the first months of Cain’s initial lower-tier candidacy is definitively over.

Cain’s campaign requested the agents after several contentious skirmishes with reporters in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed co-workers during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. In an interview with The Washington Post this week, campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon cited the media swarm as a reason for requesting the Secret Service detail, but Cain on Friday denied that he was trying to keep reporters away from him.

“No,” Cain said in response to a question about whether the media were responsible for his new armed guards in dark suits. “It was just that it was time because of the popularity of the campaign. It was just time to go to that next step. And I’m just glad we were given that opportunity so we’re delighted to have it.”

“We had private security for a while before we asked for Secret Service protection,” he went on to say. “But we wanted to move to that next level because of my ranking in the polls and the additional scrutiny that I’ve been getting.”

The AP reported Thursday that there were unspecified threats made against the candidate, but Cain wouldn’t say anything beyond that when asked for details.

“The thing about Secret Service is that things are secret, so we don’t discuss any details about it because that would not be appropriate,” he said.

When Cain finished his remarks, he signaled to the agents that he would accept more questions from individual reporters that gathered around him near his SUV. After a few minutes, his staff ushered him into the car, and agents physically blocked anyone who followed him for more questions. Cain climbed in the car, and sped away in his new motorcade.

#GOP2012 Reuters Poll: Newt 24; Mitt 22; Cain 12; Perry 10

Reuters Reports: Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has roared into the lead of the Republican nominating race, brushing off concerns about his work for a troubled housing company, a Reuters/Ipsos poll [taken Friday-Saturday] showed.

Twenty-four percent of registered Republican voters would support the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives if the contest were held now, an increase of 8 percentage points from roughly a week ago, according to the poll, which was conducted on November 18-19.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has stayed near the top of most polls, garnered support from 22 percent of Republicans, slumping 6 percentage points from the last survey conducted on November 10-11 and ending up essentially tied with Gingrich.

Despite allegations of questionable business ties, Gingrich is the latest favorite of conservative Republicans eager for an alternative to Romney, whom they see as too moderate.

Support for Herman Cain, a previous frontrunner, is crumbling. The former pizza executive dropped 8 percentage points in the poll from last week and fell back into third place. Support for him has halved since late October.

In a sign of further relief for Gingrich, 46 percent of Republicans said the revelations that he had received up to $1.8 million in consulting fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac had no impact on their view of the candidate. Thirty-one percent said the issue left them with a less favorable opinion of Gingrich, who has criticized Freddie Mac sharply in the past.

Support for Cain and Texas Governor Rick Perry fell in the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Cain came in with 12 percent support and Perry, who has performed poorly in a series of televised debates, was in fourth place with 10 percent.

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