Monthly Archives: November 2011 - Page 2

GOP2012 Poll: Rick Perry Holds ‘Commanding Lead’ Among Hisponics

Real Clear Politics Reports: With nearly a month to go until Iowa Republicans gather for their state’s presidential nominating caucuses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the field of White House hopefuls there by 15 points, according to a new Insider Advantage survey conducted for Newsmax. Texas Rep. Ron Paul places second.

Gingrich attracts 28 percent of the support from likely voters while Paul garners 13 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney takes third with 12 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who won the state’s straw poll in August, and businessman Herman Cain tie with 10 percent of the support. Texas Gov. Rick Perry receives 7 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has campaigned in every Iowa county, picks up just 3 percent of the support. Notably, 14 percent are undecided..

Perry holds a commanding lead among Hispanic voters in Iowa, taking 53 percent of the support from this minority group. Cain wins the plurality of black voters with 43 percent. Gingrich and Paul tie among this group with 25 percent of the support each. Gingrich holds a 15-point lead over his rivals among white voters. Paul and Romney take 13 percent and 12 percent of this group, respectively.

Insider Advantage surveyed 509 likely voters in Iowa.

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Romney Picks Up 3 Key Latino Endorsements in FL; Including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Fox News Reports: U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart and former Rep.  Lincoln Diaz-Balart (yes, they’re brothers) will endorse Mitt  Romney Tuesday at an event in South Florida, and serve as foreign policy  advisers to the Romney campaign.

The three are powerful among the Cuban community, which makes up the majority  of registered Republican voters in Miami-Dade County. Ros-Lehtinen is also  chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The three all supported Sen. John  McCain in 2008 over Romney in the Republican primary. McCain went on to win  the Florida primary. Romney lost Miami-Dade by 52,000 votes.

“I am proud to be working with Ileana, Mario, and Lincoln,” Romney said in a  statement released early in the day. “They’re conservative leaders who will help  me articulate my vision to make America more prosperous at home and respected  throughout the world.”

This is not the first endorsement for Romney by an influential Florida  Hispanic. Former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, also a Cuban-American, has backed the  former Massachusetts governor.

Of course, the biggest “get” by any of the candidates in terms of influence  among Latino GOP voters in Florida would be Sen. Marco  Rubio. Rubio told Fox News’ Bret Baier in an interview in Miami Monday that  he was not planning on endorsing anyone during the primary.

Rubio has close ties to both Gingrich and Romney. Romney campaigned for the  freshman senator last year and his political action committee donated money for  Rubio’s 2010 effort. Gingrich and Rubio share a friendship that goes back  to when Rubio was speaker of the Florida state House.

“I have a lot of people running that I have had relationships with who have  been helpful to me so I am really not inclined to endorse during the primary,”  Rubio said.

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/11/29/romney-picks-3-key-latino-endorsements-florida#ixzz1f7au9qib

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Video: Obama Says Name of his Book is From Jeremiah Wright’s Sermon

The Daily Caller Reports: Video obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller shows Illinois Senator Barack  Obama, then campaigning for Democrats before the 2006 midterm elections,  praising Reverend Jeremiah Wright and telling an audience that he “stole” the  title of his book “The Audacity of Hope” from Wright’s sermon of the same name,  which he “loved.” Obama also referred to Wright as “my pastor.”

“I’m not plugging the book, but the title of it, ‘The Audacity of Hope.’ Some people have noticed that I actually used that line in the speech that I  gave at the 2004 Democratic Convention,” Obama said on November 4, 2006 in  Bristol, Pa., at a rally in support of Patrick Murphy, who went on to serve two  terms in Congress. ”But I tell you what: I’m confessing to all of you here  today — it’s a big crowd, 2,000 people — I’m confessing in front of the TV  cameras: I actually stole this line from my pastor, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.”

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NY Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos Backs Romney

Capital Tonight Reports: Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos just announced his formal support of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president, saying the businessman “has what it takes to create private sector jobs and fix the country’s ailing economy.”

The Long Island lawmaker said his decision to back Romney came after “extensive” discussions with his 31 fellow Republican senators. This nod is not a collective one from the entire conference, however.

So far, only a handful of New York Republican elected officials have chosen sides in the 2012 race. Rep. Nan Hayworth recently endorsed Romney, too, and NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich was tapped yesterday to lead Romney’s NYC campaign.

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Political Ads go Mobile

Emily Schultheis at Politico Reports: If you went to the Minnesota State Fair last year and checked your iPhone or Android while you were waiting in line for food, you probably saw an ad from Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign telling you her opponent wanted to raise taxes on the food you were about to buy.

“I know, I know, it’s state fair time and you don’t want to hear about politics,” the ad said. “But while you’re at the fair, you should know that Tarryl Clark here voted to raise taxes on your corn dog and your deep-fried bacon and your beer.”

The Bachmann campaign bought a mobile version of the ad within a 2-mile radius of the state fairgrounds in order to reach people specifically attending the fair, said Eric Frenchman, who ran digital strategy for Bachmann’s reelection campaign and now advises her presidential campaign.

Geo-targeted mobile advertising, which made its debut among political campaigns during the 2010 midterms but is just now becoming more widespread, offers presidential campaigns an attention-getting new way to stalk voters wherever they may be found — the state fair, the ballgame or the caucus site. On the presidential level, this means targeting ads at primary- and caucus-goers in the days leading up to the election — or even as they’re heading to the polls on Election Day.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t get to the point this cycle where around caucuses, you could run ads to areas right around caucus locations,” said GOP new media strategist Vincent Harris. “This is absolutely here and now, and I think that it’s something that’s going to continue to get more and more [frequent].”

Read More at Politico

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CT Voters Can Register One Day Before 2012 Presidential Primary

Courant.com Reports: Connecticut voters can cast ballots in the April 24, 2012 Presidential Preference Primary even if they wait to register as late as the day before, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Monday.

Unaffiliated voters will have that same deadline – April 23, 2012 – to enroll in a major party and vote on primary day.

Connecticut will be part of a regional primary as New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware citizens also will vote on April 24.

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Video: Stewart Pokes Fox for Attacking Obama Over ‘God’ in Thanksgiving Address

Mediaite Reports: With a week off to celebrate Thanksgiving, Jon Stewart returned tonight with some orders of business to discuss– among them President Obama’s Thanksgiving address, which irritated some on Fox News for having omitted mention of God. Looking at the coverage of it, Stewart found that Fox even turned to a priest to discuss the matter, while only mentioning in passing that other Presidents had done so in the past, and that the President actually did mention God in his written address.

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300,000 of the 540,208 Signatures Needed for Walker Recall Already Collected

Boston Globe Reports: Organizers of the effort to recall Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker from office said Monday they have collected 300,000 signatures, more than half of what is needed to force an election.

The United Wisconsin coalition needs 540,208 signatures by Jan. 17 to force a recall election sometime in 2012. They reported Monday that over half the number needed had been collected in just 12 days, with signatures coming in from all 72 Wisconsin counties.

The recall drive was motivated by anger over Walker’s proposal effectively ending collective bargaining rights for most public workers. The law passed in March despite massive protests and the fleeing of all 14 Democratic state senators to Illinois for three weeks.

Organizers’ signature counts can’t be independently verified. The petitions won’t be submitted for verification before organizers have gathered more than the required total of signatures.

United Wisconsin did not report how many signatures had been collected for the recall of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, but a spokeswoman for the group said the totals were close.

Walker has already moved into campaign mode assuming the necessary signatures will be collected. He has released two television ads to counter the recall effort. The national conservative group Americans for Prosperity has also hit the airwaves in support.

Walker has defended the collective bargaining changes, and other moves such as cutting public education aid, as necessary to bring the state’s budget back into balance at a time when it faced a $3.6 billion shortfall.

Ben Sparks, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Republican Party, called the recall effort “a baseless partisan power-grab being pushed on Wisconsin families by liberal special interests.”

“We remain focused on Governor Walker’s common-sense reforms that have laid the ground work for economic growth, and our economy only continues to improve,” Sparks said in a written statement.

Anger spurred nine state Senate recall elections this summer targeting six Republican and three Democratic incumbents. Two Republicans lost, leaving them with a slim one-vote majority in the Senate.

Petitions are also circulating against four more Republican incumbents, setting up the possibility of more recall elections next year that could give Democrats control of the Senate.

The earliest a Walker recall could be held, assuming enough petitions have been collected, would be March 27.

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Opinion: Democrats Bailing on Obama

Patricia Campion at Yahoo! writes: In 2008, a mystery candidate named Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African American president of the United States.

Today, Obama has a record, a very public record, with very real consequences. Among his most notable achievements: the most deficit spending of any president from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, stagnant unemployment, a record number of Americans living below poverty level and dependent on some form of government assistance and the first downgrade of the U.S. credit rating in United States history — all while setting the national record for most rounds of golf played by a sitting president.

Republicans and the tea party tried to warn you. But most didn’t listen. They were too busy chanting Hope and Change and calling anyone who didn’t buy into it a racist. Now, as all those admonitions of economic and social chaos continue to come to ugly fruition, even Congressional Democrats, liberal pundits, pollsters and once rabidly loyal members of the mainstream media are starting to squirm with discomfort.

It’s all about saving face, mind you. They knew the chaos would come too. They just know it’s just getting harder for them to keep spinning three years of failure into a believable success story without looking like a fool. So now, just as Bush loyalists turned on George near the end of his struggling presidency, the most devoted of Obama’s public relations support unit are bailing.

In August, Politico reported Democrat strategist James Carville offering a single word of advice for the struggling president: “Panic.” On Monday, Patrick Caddell, President Carter’s pollster, and Douglas Schoen, who advised President Bill Clinton’s re-election, suggested through an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that it’s time for Obama to “step aside” and give the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

According to a recent CNN/ORC International Poll 26 percent of Democrats would prefer that their party nominate another candidate for president. While that is hardly a majority, that number was only 18 percent a month ago.

In September, after listening to Obama’s absurd class warfare rhetoric that the “millionaires and billionaires” need to pay their “fair share” of taxes, even the Associated Press had to call him out and bear the facts that prove “they already are.

Because of their highly unpopular fiscal policies, like Obamacare and the waste of his 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus, Democrats were pummeled in the 2010 midterms. Losses in the Sept. 13 House special elections in New York and Nevada were again attributed directly to Obama.

In anticipation of another drubbing in 2012, seventeen House Democrats – including the 16-term Democrat from Massachusetts, Rep. Barney Frank — have decided not to seek reelection.

As Obama tours the country on his own reelection tour, incumbent Democrats who want to keep their seats are avoiding him like the plague.

After contacting over a dozen Democrats in the moderate Blue Dog Caucus Politico found only a few were even “willing to comment on whether they supported Obama’s reelection bid.”

Unable or simply unwilling to come through with those promises of Hope and Change the New York Times reported that Democratic operatives for the 2012 election have decided that “the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.”

Once believing she and her husband were “well beyond the hot dogs and beans era” of their lives and finding herself “exhausted” at defending Obama – the man “who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class,” Velma Hart asked the president to his face at a Washington D.C. town hall a year ago. “Is this my new reality?”

Having observed the stark difference between Obama “talk” and Obama “reality” for three years even Chris ‘I Use to Have a Thrill Up My Leg’ Matthews wants to know; “Is this it? Is this as good as it gets?”

According to Gallup, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s effort to create jobs, 67 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy and the deficit and 73 percent believe it’s all getting worse.

Republicans and the tea party tried to warn you. Now, after three years of the economic chaos Obama has inflicted upon the nation, their new message is simply; “We told you so.”

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White House Shooter Fit to Stand Trial

Jason Ryan at The Note Reports: Alleged White House shooter Oscar Ortega-Hernandez has been determined to be competent to stand trial, but will undergo further psychiatric testing and evaluation.

Ortega-Hernandez was declared to be competent to stand trial by court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Teegarden.

The 21-year-old Idaho man is charged with attempting to try to assassinate President Obama for allegedly shooting at the White House on Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. He was arrested five days later in western Pennsylvania, after he allegedly fled from the Washington area.

When asked in court today whether he understood the proceedings, Ortega-Hernandez said: “Yes, sir.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking for further review, because Teegarden’s assessment was based on only 50 minutes of screening, according to a motion prosecutors filed this afternoon.

“Although the government does not dispute that conclusion, the government notes that it was based only on a 50-minute screening and submits that a full psychiatric or psychological screening…given the serious nature of the criminal charges pending against the defendant and the likelihood that mental health issues may arise in the course of these proceedings,” prosecutors said in the filing.

Ortega-Hernandez, who is being held without bond, is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 12, after the additional screening, and prosecutors may have an indictment in the case by then. Ortega-Hernandez has only been charged in a criminal complaint.

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Christie Aims for Non-Violent Drug Offenders to Get Treatment; Not Prison

NJ.Com Reports: Gov. Chris Christie today announced a comprehensive plan to help more non-violent criminals break drug and alcohol addictions in an effort to reduce the number of released offenders who return to prison.

Flanked by former prisoners being trained at a food kitchen in Camden, Christie called for expanding the state’s Drug Court Program — which offers non-violent drug addicts treatment and counseling rather than prison sentences — by making it mandatory for certain offenders.

About 8 percent of those who participate in the drug courts, which are available statewide and accept about 1,400 new participants each year, are convicted again — as compared to 43 percent of drug offenders released from prison, statistics show. Also, drug court participants cost taxpayers about $11,379 a year, as opposed to the $38,900 for the average prison inmate.

Through an executive order, Christie also created a task force that will, for the first time, coordinate the state’s programs to help prisoners return to normal life.

“We’re not giving people the skills they need, and we’re not giving them the treatment they need to overcome some of the problems that led them to crime in the first place,” Christie told a small crowd at Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, which serves food to the city’s poor and needy.

First Lady Mary Pat Christie, who visited rehabilitation centers, training programs and church groups to learn about the problem, joined her husband today to make the announcement.

Christie’s plan represents the biggest steps taken by any governor in recent history to address the problems faced by repeat offenders, said former Democratic Gov. James E. McGreevey, who volunteers with inmates and was consulted by the Christie administration.

“No governor, myself included, provided the level of attention and execution of policy to afford ex-offenders this opportunity,” McGreevey said. “And there’s almost no political dividend.”

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“I am Looking for Some Babies to Kiss”

The National Journal Reports: Rick Perry furthered his anti-Washington message in two radio interviews on Monday, saying that he would call on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither to resign,  or he would fire them…

The governor has spoken out against the bank bailouts, and has also  pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank legislation that sought  to reform the behavior of financial institutions. “I just wish he would  take the Dodd-Frank banking regulation with him when he leaves,” Perry  joked of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s announcement on Monday that he  would not seek reelection.

Perry was interviewed in Manchester, N.H.,  where he is preparing to announce the endorsement of controversial  Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio will appear with Perry at one  campaign event and two town halls in various New Hampshire cities on  Tuesday. The endorsement is expected to help shore up Perry’s record as  being tough on immigration, after he was forced to defend a 2001  law he signed in Texas giving in-state tuition to the children of illegal  immigrants.

As for suggestions by Michael Graham of Boston’s WTKK that Perry  isn’t working hard enough for the nomination – he is only scheduled to  campaign publicly for two days this week despite being only a month away  from the Iowa caucuses – Perry had this to say: “I’ve kissed my fair  share of babies and nobody’s going to outwork me.… I’m in Manchester, New Hampshire, right now and I’m looking for some babies to kiss.”

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Top GOP Aide for House Panel Has Ties to Solyndra

From the AP Via CBS: The top GOP aide to a House committee investigating Solyndra Inc. once worked for a lobbying firm that helped the now-bankrupt solar company apply for a half-billion-dollar federal loan.

Gary Andres, staff director of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was a vice chairman at Dutko Worldwide  until last December, when he was appointed to his current post by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the energy panel. The committee is investigating  Solyndra, which received a $528 million Energy Department loan in 2009. The company later went bankrupt and laid off its 1,100 workers.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reported Monday that Solyndra paid Dutko $30,000 in 2008 to handle its  application for the federal loan. Alexa Marrero, a spokeswoman for the committee, said Andres never worked on behalf of Solyndra and was not aware until recently that Dutko had represented Solyndra in 2008.

Marrero said the revelation that Solyndra hired Dutko, now known as Dutko Grayling, does not change the facts of the case.

“Despite serious warning signs from within the (Obama) administration that a federal loan to Solyndra would be a losing proposition, the Department of Energy gave a green light to a half-billion dollar loan to this company, followed by a restructuring that put taxpayers at the back of the line,” she said. “Now the committee is asking what went wrong, and what can be done to ensure taxpayers aren’t left on the losing end of this kind of bad bet ever again.”

John Waltz, a Democrat running for Upton’s seat in 2012, said Monday that Upton should have disclosed Dutko’s involvement with Solyndra once he became aware of it. Andres should recuse himself from the Solyndra investigation, Waltz said.

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Campaign Video: FL’s Nelson, President Obama Described as “Lockstep Liberals” by Connie Mack

Republican Congressman Connie Mack announced monday that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson. Mack is now in a five way primary on the Republican side. He came out swinging with a new ad called “Lock Step Liberals” where he shows that Nelson and Obama agree on all major issues. Here it is:

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Romney NYC Chair Applauds Newt’s ‘Sensible’ Approach to Immigration

As reported earlier , Team Romney announced that NYC Councilman Republican Eric Elrich will Chair the Romney efforts in NYC. Interesting is that just a day earlier, Sunday, Elrich age 26 tweeted as follows: “kudos to @newtgingrich for proposing a realistic and sensible plan to deal with illegal immigration.”

At this time, the tweet is not deleted. Regardless, here is a screen shot.

H/T @Jacobkornbluh

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Eric Ulrich, Age 26, Named Mitt Romney 2012 NYC Chair

The NYDN Reports: Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich has joined Team Mitt as NYC chairman. Former Congressman and Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari – who serves as NYS Chairman for the frontrunner’s campaign – made the announcement via the Romney press operation.

“Since being elected in 2009, Eric Ulrich has emerged as one of the rising stars in the Republican Party,” Molinari said. “I am honored that he has agreed to work with me to ensure that Governor Romney assembles a formidable organization here in New York City for our party’s primary and we return New York to the Republican column next November.”

Ulrich, 26 — something that might help with younger voters? — won his Council seat in a special election in February 2009 and defended it in November’s general election.

The young Queens lawmaker — who was eyed for, but turned down, a chance to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner — now serves as Minority Whip of the Council’s GOP delegation.

“As the debate over our nation’s future reaches a critical stage, I am certain that Governor Romney has the experience and ideas needed to get our country moving again,” he said in a statement.

“In 2009 and 2010 the Republican Party in New York City experienced remarkable gains in city, state and congressional elections. I am looking forward to working with Guy Molinari to build on those successes and elect Mitt Romney the next president of the United States.”

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Video: Former SEAL Member: On Scale of One to Ten OBL Mission Was Only a Two, Probably Three

Ok, ok. Obama took credit for not stopping the mission that successfully captured and ended the life of Osama Bin Ladin. The end result was a spectacular success. But a former SEAL Team Six member who authored a book recently about life in the SEALs, claims that on a scale from one to ten of SEAL training, the OBL mission was as low as a two or probably a three. It was that easy…

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Video: Interesting, Funny Ad From PA U.S. Senate Race

Political Wire Reports: A bizarre web video from Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Steve Welch (R) explores the possibility that Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and President Obama were “separated at birth.”

The spot’s highlights include a dramatic soundtrack, telegenic host, and fake experts in behavioral science, statistics, and body language.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoF3-UemPWQ&feature=channel_video_title

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Romney Under Siege: Newt to the Right; Obama to the Left; T-Paw to the Rescue

Reuters Reports: Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign scrambled on Monday to fight challenges on two fronts: fellow Republican Newt Gingrich’s momentum and new Democratic accusations of Romney’s frequent flip flopping on policies.

The former Massachusetts governor launched a media assault against President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, after Democrats released a biting new ad that accused the Republican of changing his policy positions with the political winds.

Romney also vowed to fight for every vote in New Hampshire, where he suffered a setback at the weekend when a leading newspaper endorsed Gingrich as a better choice for conservative voters.

Long a frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Obama in next year’s election, Romney has seen Gingrich catch up in national polls and threaten his dominance in New Hampshire, where the first primary is held on Jan 10.

His spokeswoman Andrea Saul pledged that Romney would fight for every vote in the state, where he has a double-digit poll lead.

“We’re going to go person to person, vote to vote, trying to earn every single vote in New Hampshire because Governor Romney knows that this is an important election and he wants to take his message directly to each voter,” Saul told MSNBC.

The Democratic National Committee put further pressure on Romney by launching elaborate video spots calling him “two men trapped within one body” for changing position on issues from immigration to climate change.

Romney’s campaign quickly organized at least a dozen media conference calls in which supporters said Obama was trying to distract from the sputtering economy, the issue expected to be at the center of the 2012 fight for the White House.

“Before the first vote in the Republican primary is even cast, the Democrats are blasting Mitt Romney and trying to tear him down and I think the reason for that is they don’t want to focus on their own failure,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said on one call.

The intense counterattack was a first by Romney’s team, which has largely focused on touting his record as a former governor and businessman more able than his rivals to defeat Obama and fix the economy.

“My sense is that Romney’s team likes it when Obama attacks him because it plays into the electability argument that Romney thinks is his greatest strength strategically,” said Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak

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Is Israel Preparing for Serious Escalation in the Region?

Aron Klein on his blog KleinOnline, reports the following: Multiple eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli military trucks in recent days transport and station large missiles at the periphery of Jerusalem and in locations inside the West Bank.

The descriptions of the projectiles are consistent with the Jewish state’s mid-to-long range Jericho ballistic missiles.

The missile movement, if confirmed, would be considered unusual.

One of the eyewitnesses was a member of the Palestinian Authority security services. He claimed to me that a large missile was stationed five days ago near Neve Yaacov, a Jewish neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. That neighborhood is adjacent to several Palestinian-inhabited towns.

Four other eyewitnesses, Israeli and Palestinian, reported seeing similar sights during the past week – large missiles being transported by the Israeli military at the periphery of Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Reached for comment, the spokesperson’s unit of the Israel Defense Forces could not confirm the information, referring me instead to Israel’s national police.

Mickey Rosenfeld, the national police spokesperson here, told me today he has no information on any such movements.

Apparently, I’m not the only reporter to receive such reports.

Rosenfeld said another foreign correspondent contacted him earlier today for comment on the same matter.

The PA security member, speaking on condition of anonymity, speculated the missiles were related to a possible Israeli offensive against Iran.  He commented that such missiles were offensive in nature, and usually not meant to serve as defensive posture.

While the possibility of an attack on Iran cannot be immediately discounted, there are several other scenarios that make some sense:

1) It’s possible such missile transport is part of an internal military drill or to test various locations for the future deployment of projectiles.

The drill, however, would not include test firings. Such testing is almost always conducted at a military base and usually involves one missile fired from one location.  Any such test is difficult to keep under wraps.

Earlier this month, the IDF did test fire a long-range ballistic missile, believed to be a Jericho III, at the country’s Palmachim Air & Space test center. Israel’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the test was successful, indicating the purpose of the launch was the testing of a new advanced propulsion system.

Jericho III’s are believed to be guided by radar and reportedly give Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania.

2) Any missile placement could be related to the unstable situation in Syria, including fears of a future NATO military campaign there that could have ramifications for Israel, such as firing of missiles into the Jewish state by Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Just yesterday, in an unprecedented move against a fellow Arab nation, the Arab League approved economic sanctions on Syria to pressure Damascus to end its suppression of an 8-month-old uprising against Assad’s regime.

Arab League diplomats, speaking last week to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that if Syria does not adhere to its demands for immediate reform, the organization will work to unify Syrian opposition groups into a coalition similar to that of Libya’s National Transitional Council.

A next step, the diplomats said, would be to recognize the opposition as the sole representative of the Syrian people in a move that would symbolically isolate the Assad’s regime.

The moves mimic the diplomatic initiatives taken to isolate Muammar Gadhafi’s regime before the NATO campaign in Libya.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned in an interview with a U.K. newspaper earlier this month that foreign intervention in Syria would cause an “earthquake” across the region and create another Afghanistan, while directly threatening the Jewish state.

Assad reportedly made similar comments in a meeting in early October with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu.

He was quoted stating, “If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv.”

Assad also reportedly warned that “all these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously.”

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South Carolina Lt. Gov Backs Gingrich; Supported Huck in 2008

The Political Ticker Reports: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich picked up the endorsement of former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer on Monday, giving him his most prominent surrogate to date in a state that Gingrich’s campaign has billed as its “southern firewall.”

“Speaker Newt Gingrich offers the best and most comprehensive plan to get America moving forward and that is why today I am announcing my full support for Speaker Gingrich … a true conservative, a true patriot, and true leader,” Bauer said in a statement.

The endorsement comes as Gingrich spends three days campaigning in the Palmetto State, hoping to position himself as the most credible conservative alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Bauer served two terms as lieutenant governor and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010. He is currently eyeing a Congressional bid in the state’s newly-created 7th District.

He backed Mike Huckabee during the 2008 presidential race and was a frequent presence at the former Arkansas governor’s side throughout the campaign.

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Jewish Congressman Frank 17′th Dem to Retire Blames Redistricting; Obama, NJDC Praise

Haaretz Reports: Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts says he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012. Frank spoke Monday at a news conference in his hometown of Newton.

Frank said he originally intended to run for one more term, but that his decision was partially due to the fact that the state’s new redistricting map will include many people he has never represented before.

Frank said he has had a “busy and stressful” four years dealing with financial reform after the recession. He says he plans to write and stay involved in public policy decisions.

The 71-year-old Frank, and a lifelong liberal, won a House seat in 1980…

President Barack Obama said in a statement that ‘this country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him.” He added: “Only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again.”

National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) President and CEO David A. Harris said in a statement that “for the last 30 years, Frank has been a leading voice for many Jewish communal concerns and a stalwart advocate for America’s middle class on Capitol Hill. Through his fierce advocacy for many Democratic and social justice causes, Frank truly represented the Jewish value of tikkun olam — repairing the world.”

According to Harris, “as we’ve experienced over the years, Frank has an unparalleled work ethic and a sense of humor to match. He leaves behind a strong legacy as one of America’s pioneering Jewish legislators in addition to the many pieces of legislation that bear his name.

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Texas Asks Supreme Court to Stop Pro-Dem Congressional Redistricting Plan

AP via Yahoo! Reports: The Supreme Court has been asked to stop a federal court from implementing a state redistricting map in Texas that could increase minority representation in the state Legislature.

The state’s attorney general, Greg Abbott, filed the request with the high court on Monday. The court-drawn map was drafted after minority groups challenged the original plan passed by the Republican-dominated state Legislature.

The map drawn by the San Antonio-based federal court could lead to greater minority representation and give Democrats a chance to add as many as a dozen seats in the Legislature. Abbott and other Republican leaders have denied that any of the legislature’s redistricting maps would diminish minority voting power.

The court-ordered map will remain in place until the legal fights are resolved.

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Report: Kuwait Cabinet Resigns!

Al Jazeera English Reports: Kuwait’s cabinet has resigned after protesters and opposition deputies demanded that the prime minister step down over allegations of corruption, state-run television has reported.

“The prime minister [Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah] has submitted his resignation to the emir,” Kuwait TV said, without specifying whether it had been accepted.

Earlier, opposition member Khaled al-Sultan said the cabinets’s resignation was accepted amid a bitter political dispute between the prime minister and opposition MPs.

“We are waiting for the appointment of a new prime minister before parliament is dissolved in order to be assured of fair elections,” the Sultan told reporters outside parliament.

Parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi said he had not been informed about a dissolution of parliament.

If it is confirmed that Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, has accepted the resignations, he may then also dissolve parliament before setting a date for new elections.

Several opposition MPs welcomed the resignation.

“I hope that the emir will please the Kuwaiti people by dissolving parliament … and forming a transitional cabinet to supervise the elections,” opposition MP Falah al-Sawwagh told reporters.

Multiple resignations

The announcement of the resignations came after the emir chaired an emergency meeting of the cabinet headed by the prime minister  to discuss the political crisis.

Sheikh Nasser, 71, had been due to be questioned in parliament by three opposition MPs on allegations of fraud, including charges that he transferred public funds into his overseas accounts.

The government has denied the charges.

The move also came ahead of a planned mass rally later on Monday by the opposition to press demands for the premier’s ousting.

Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, was appointed to the post in February 2006 and has since now resigned seven times because of political turmoil.

Parliament has been dissolved three times over the same period.

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Video: DNC Ad “Trapped” – Mitt Versus Mitt

Emily Friedman at ABC Reports: The Democratic National Committee released an ad that describes Mitt Romney as “two men trapped in one body.”

The 30 second ad, titled “Trapped,” will play in six markets, including Albuquerque, Raleigh-Durham, Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Milwaukee.

The DNC declined to specify how large of an ad buy this was or how much was spent on the spot.

The DNC accuses Romney of being “Two Mitts willing to say anything,” a reference to his change in stance on abortion.

Enjoy the video:

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