Daily Archives: 01/24/2012

Video: Obama Embraces Giffords on House Floor

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Jewish Congresswoman to Leave House Wednesday After Farewell Ceremony

Fox News: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle  Giffords will submit her formal letter of resignation from the House of  Representatives tomorrow, promising, in her letter, “I will recover and will  return.”

Giffords, who has represented Southern Arizona in the House for five years,  will submit letters of resignation tomorrow morning to House Speaker John  Boehner and Arizona Gov. Jan  Brewer. Her resignation will be effective at the end of the day  tomorrow.

Giffords’ ends her resignation letter with the words: “Every day I am working  hard. I will recover and will return and we will work together again for Arizona  and for all Americans.”

The complete text of her resignation letter as well as a pdf of the letter  will be released tomorrow after it is formally submitted.

Here is how the process is expected to unfold tomorrow:

Sometime between 9:45 and 10:30 a.m. (EST), Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi  will ask unanimous consent from her colleagues to speak out of order. Pelosi  then will discuss Giffords’ career in the House.

Following that, either Boehner or Republican Leader Eric  Cantor will make brief remarks about Giffords’ service followed by  Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

Then Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Giffords’ closest personal friend in the  House, will read the congresswoman’s letter of resignation from the well of the  House. Wasserman Schultz will be joined by Giffords and a bipartisan group of  Giffords’ colleagues.

Giffords then will hand her letter of resignation to the speaker.

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Top Black Congressman Says (Again): Blacks Would March on WH if Obama Were White

Right Scoop: The Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus is admitting that if Obama were white, they’d be marching on the White House to protest how horrible the economy is in the black community. But because Obama is black, he get’s a pass.

That pretty much sums it up. They use race to destroy Newt Gingrich and use it to protect Barack Hussein Obama.

This is EXACTLY what Allen West was talking about:

DAILY CALLER – Following his appearance at Republican Rep. Allen West’s Black Conservative Forum, Cleaver elaborated on his past comments about Obama’s image in the African American community, saying, “The point I was making is that black people hold the president in such high esteem, that they would not dare march on the White House even though unemployment is at 15 percent and higher and if there was a white president we would do that because we’ve had white presidents since George Washington.”

Cleaver continued, “The point was that if we had anybody else in the White House, with this level of unemployment, that you know, you would see a lot more African Americans, African American organizations and retro organizations speaking out against it. But because he is revered, you know, he gets I guess the benefit of, you know, understanding that the situation was terrible when he came in. So, we’re not doing that.”

The Missouri Democrat told TheDC that he personally resisted a proposed Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) “prayer” demonstration at the White House.

“I was resistant to a group of individuals who wanted to lock arms, surround the White House, with several thousand people during the ALC this past October and pray. I resisted it because I thought if we did that it would be interpreted as some kind of assault on the president, which I was not willing to launch,” he said.

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Video: Gingrich Tells CNN That ABC is Selling ‘Baloney’

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Watch LIVE State of the Union Address Via NBC Feed

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

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Christie Short Changes NJ State Pension Fund by $4.62 Billion

Star Ledger Reports: The state’s pension hole grew by $5.5 billion by the end of the 2011 budget year, largely because Christie followed in the tradition of his predecessors and failed to make a pension payment, an annual actuarial report on the pension funds shows.

Overall, the state has only 67 percent of the money it needs to meet its future pension obligation, and that figure is expected to worsen as the state phases in its full pension payment over the next seven years…

The state was supposed to pay about $3 billion into the pension fund this year, but will only be paying about $480 million. Next year, the state will only pay about $900 million of its $3 billion bill, records show.

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Israel Blasts the U.N.

Haaretz Via Forward Reports: “The Arab world is in flames and the Security Council is dealing with  construction permits in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Israel’s United  Nations envoy Ron Prossor said in a speech at the UN Security Council on  Tuesday.

Prosor used the Security Council’s monthly meeting on the situation in the  Middle East to direct harsh criticism at the body.

“The obsession with Israeli and the ignoring of countries where civilians are  tortured and killed undermines the credibility and calls into question the  relevance of the Security Council,” Prosor said.

“Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons represent the greatest threat to  peace and security in the world,” Prosor said. “The silence of the Security  Council will be very costly. You must act today. Tomorrow will be too late.”

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‘There is No Room in the New Egypt for Jews, Dead or Alive’

Rabbi Abraham Cooper Writes: It is clear that the heroes of Tahrir  Square and all the hopes that their struggle would lead their nation and the  entire Middle  East into a 21st century of change and freedom have been “democratically”  defeated by fanatics seeking to drive their nation’s value system back to the  12th century.

We got the message loud and clear: There is no room  in the new Egypt for Jews, dead or alive.

So we will mourn our loved ones from afar and pray  that the ‘new’ Egypt will honor in deed, if not word, its peace treaty with  Israel.

But the worldview of The Muslim Brotherhood,  Salafists and other religious extremists present a clear and present danger to  Egypt’s historic Coptic community, the region’s largest Christian minority.  Their churches and their faithful have already been targets of religious-fueled  terrorism. There are reports that thousands of Copts have already fled in wake  of the Islamist political tsunami. But there are millions of Copts, representing  at least 10% of Egypt’s population.

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Pro-Gingrich PAC Placed $6 Million Ad Buy in Florida

Winning Our Future, a super-PAC backing Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, has bought $6 million in Florida advertising, spokesman Rick Tyler told The Hill Tuesday afternoon.

The ad buy comes a day after the group received an additional $5 million from billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a friend of Gingrich. The money will allow the former Speaker to remain competitive on the airwaves in Florida, a state that costs approximately $8 million a week for advertising.

Gingrich badly trails Mitt Romney in cash on hand, but the support the group will provide will go a long way toward making up for that in the Sunshine State, where Gingrich has shot ahead of the former Massachusetts governor in recent polls.
The group will use that commercial air time to blast Romney on healthcare, tying him to President Obama on the issue.

A new ad shows clips of Romney talking about how an individual mandate in healthcare should be a national model and had worked in Massachusetts, and saying he was “glad” that Obama had included a healthcare exchange in his own plan.

“Romneycare sent costs spiraling out of control, hiking premiums, squeezing household budgets,” the ad’s narrator says. “Now, desperate to save his failing campaign, Romney promises to repeal Obamacare. How can we trust him?”

Romney had been the only presidential candidate on the air in the Sunshine State. And a super-PAC supporting his campaign has aired commercials targeting Gingrich. Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney group, made another big ad buy on Monday, CNN reported, purchasing $4.5 million in ad time on top of the $3.2 million they’ve already spent.

Read More at: The Hill

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LIVE (starting 9:00 pm): State Of The Union Address by President Obama


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Romney Launches ‘Prebuttal’ to Obama’s State of the Union

Republican contender Mitt Romney sought to get his White House campaign back on track on Tuesday by launching a “prebuttal” to US President Barack Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address.

Romney on Tuesday told a crowd of several hundred handpicked supporters that Obama’s policies have slowed the nation’s economic recovery.

He predicted Obama will use his State of the Union address to “offer a falsely rosy view of the economy” and “hiding the truth of high unemployment and foreclosure rates” in what Romney said would be the opening salvo of Obama’s own reelection effort.

“Tonight, the president will do what he does best.  He will give a nice speech with a lot of memorable phrases. But he won’t give you the hard numbers,” Romney said

He charged the president’s plans sound less like “built to last”—a phrase Obama will reportedly use to talk about solidifying the position of the middle class—and more like “doomed to fail.”

“What he’s proposing is more of the same: more taxes, more spending, and more regulation. And all of his proposals involve “big” government and “big” price tags,” he said.

Instead, Romney promised that should he be elected he would “have the courage to tell the American people how it is.”

Romney’s broadside at Obama has been widely taken as an attempt to break from his previous tepid campaign tactics, which have been described by some Republican detractors as “being the least objectionable candidate with the best haircut.”

Read Full story at : Arutz Sheva

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Storobin’s Independent State Senate Line Likely to Fail

Politicker Reports: Special election candidate David Storobin, who already has the Republican and Conservative lines in his campaign to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger, will likely be unsuccessful in his efforts to be on a third “School Choice Party” line, a Democratic source told Politicker.

The Democrat explained that 2,387 valid signatures were needed for an independent ballot line in this State Senate district — an awkward number as it’s calculated from the number of votes the district cast in the last gubernatorial election. Apparently Mr. Storobin fell several hundred signatures short of this goal.

Mr. Storobin’s bid to be on the School Choice line will still be successful if his signatures remain unchallenged, but the Democratic source suggested strongly that they will be challenged, additionally arguing that the lack of signatures shows a lack of organization for the aspiring State Senator.

“We wanted David Storobin’s name to appear with the School Choice emblem on the ballot so that the voters would know where David stands on that issue. We wouldn’t expect a whole lot of votes on the School Choice on the line, but it would be information for the voters,” School Choice Party Chair Gary Popkin said in an interview.

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Video: Exclusive Interview with State Senator & Homeland Security Chair Greg Ball

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Adelson’s $5M Won’t go Too Far in Florida

Jeremy Peters Notes: Florida is the most expensive state the Republican candidates have competed in so far. Of the 20 largest television markets in the country, three are in Florida: Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Orlando-Daytona Beach. So $5 million, which was enough to saturate the airwaves in South Carolina for a week, is going to buy less commercial time to compete in what is going to be a cacophonous political advertising blitz. Though that money does give Mr. Gingrich a loud, if somewhat smaller voice, in the fight. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have not yet committed any money for ads in Florida.

At this point, the best any candidate can hope for with advertising may be to neutralize his opponent’s message. Mr. Gingrich’s campaign is trying to avoid a situation similar to what it faced in Iowa, where a barrage of attack ads run by Restore Our Future helped push him into a fourth-place finish. With no super PAC backing and little money of his own, he was unable to fight back.

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Greg Ball Interview: Congresswoman Hayworth ‘Makes it Tough to NOT Run Against Her’

Much speculation has been out there whether Republican State Senator Greg Ball will challenge Congresswoman Nan Hayworth in a Republican Primary for NY-19. But in an exclusive interview with GestetnerUpdates.Com this morning, the State Senator had this to say:

“She makes it so tough to not run against her because she is disconnected from the District she represents. But this Senate seat decided the balance of power in the previous election and will be similarly important in the next election. So I am focused on reelection to the State Senate.”

When pressed again if he “is ruling out a run against her,” the state Senator said again: I am totally committed on reelection to the State Senate.”

Listen to full interview here

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EU Wants “Bold” Peace Bids by Palestinians, Israel

Reuters Reports: Negotiators from the two sides have held four meetings in Amman, Jordan, this month, but so far there has been no breakthrough that would permit resumption of the top level talks that were suspended in late 2010.

A fifth meeting is scheduled for Wednesday and without compromise, the initiative could grind to a halt.

The European Union wants Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to set aside his 2010 demand that Israel call a total halt to Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank before full talks resume.

Israel is being urged to make confidence-building moves, which could include the release of long-term prisoners and easier conditions for Palestinians in Israeli army-controlled areas of the West Bank.

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VIDEO: Gingrich Threatens to Skip Debates if Audiences Can’t Participate

H/T NYT:

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Stats of FL Jewish Vote in Recent History

Shmuel Rosner Writes: In 2008, 4% of Florida voters were Jewish (3% of all Floridians are Jewish according to PEW), and most of them voted for Obama (the exact percentage is not known). In 2004, 80% of Jewish Floridians voted for John Kerry, while 20% voted for George W. Bush, according to a Solomon Project analysis– the numbers should not be treated as accurate as the number of Jews in each of the polls on which such analysis is based is fairly small.

In 2000, according to this same analysis, 88% of the Jews of Florida voted for the Gore (and Lieberman) ticket, while 12% voted for Bush. In both 2000 and 2004, the Florida Jewish vote was tilted more toward the Democratic candidate than the general Jewish vote.

In 2008, 9% of all Democratic primary voters in Florida were Jewish (58% of them voted for Hillary Clinton, 26% for Obama). In 2004, 10% of Democratic primary voters were Jewish (we don’t know whom they voted for, but nationally most Democratic Jews – 81% – supported John Kerry). The percentage of Jews voting in Republican primaries is much smaller, in fact, very close to the percentage of Jews in the state (this in fact means that Jewish Republicans in Florida are very committed to voting, since they are able to reach the 3% mark even though the vast majority of Jews vote in the Democratic primaries).

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Romney vs Gingrich – A Crist vs Rubio Do-Over

Newsmax Reports: As Mitt Romney puts the South Carolina primary in his rear-view mirror and hits the accelerator in a bid to win Florida, he may discover himself crashing headlong into the bitter legacy of Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor who defected from the GOP and was soundly defeated for the U.S. Senate by Marco Rubio.

Romney’s “Charlie Crist” problem is this: Romney’s chief campaign strategist and several of his most senior campaign staff were Crist’s top political advisers — the same ones who crafted Crist’s moderate, ignore-the-tea-party strategy epitomized in Crist’s famous “hug” of President Barack Obama. That strategy led Crist, once the most popular Republican governor in the nation, to defeat.

Crist’s erstwhile political team was led by controversial GOP strategist Stuart Stevens. Stevens and partner Russ Schriefer are the principals in the high-profile Stevens & Schriefer Group consultant firm and are playing the lead role in crafting Romney’s primary and national campaign strategy.

According to the Stevens & Schriefer website, the firm had a long history with Crist, serving as chief strategists for his bids for education commissioner, attorney general, governor, and later for the U.S. Senate.

Other senior Crist political aides from his failed Senate campaign now hold key posts in Romney’s campaign. Amanda Henneberg, who had served as Crist’s press secretary, now is a spokeswoman with the Romney 2012 campaign. Likewise, Andrea Saul, who was Crist’s communications director, now is Romney’s press secretary.

The Stevens & Schriefer firm has played a central role in several GOP presidential campaigns, including Romney’s failed bid in 2008. It also holds a strong track record of winning campaigns, mainly for more moderate Republicans.

Read More at: Newsmax

 

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NJDC Hits Gingrich for Lying About US-Israel Military Exercise

The National Jewish Democratic Council writes: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich asserted that President Barack Obama’s administration canceled Austere Challenge 12, a joint U.S.-Israel military exercise. The truth, however, is otherwise, as documented by journalists.

[The Staff of] NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris [writes that he] said: “Once again in tonight’s Florida GOP debate, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has simply fabricated recent events surrounding the U.S.-Israel relationship while discussing the postponement of a planned joint military exercise between our two countries—all in a deeply unfortunate ploy to smear President Barack Obama’s outstanding pro-Israel record. The U.S.-Israel relationship is simply too important to play games with and flat-out lie about. Enough is enough; Mr. Gingrich and all of the GOP presidential candidates must cease fabricating and smearing the President’s Israel record immediately. The stakes are simply too great.”

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NV GOP Adds Feb 4th Late Eve Caucus Session to Avoid Shabbos Voting

AP Via The Republic Reports: Republican Party officials in Nevada have added a special evening caucus session Feb. 4 for Jewish voters marking the Sabbath, which will delay the results from the state’s fifth-in-the-nation presidential nominating contest by several hours.

The Clark County Republican Party said Monday it will hold the evening caucus to accommodate roughly 500 conservative Jewish voters observing the traditional weekly day of worship. The move comes after casino billionaire and Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson raised concerns about the Sabbath conflict.

County party spokeswoman Bobbie Haseley told The Associated Press that the move 12 days before the caucus has the blessing of state and national party officials.

The Republican National Committee referred questions to the Nevada GOP, which did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Caucus results from Clark County — the Silver State’s most populous county and home to Las Vegas and more than 70 percent of Nevada’s total population — aren’t expected to be released until after the 7 p.m. caucus at a school founded by Adelson and his wife. The majority owners of the world’s largest publicly traded casino company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., are highly active in Jewish causes worldwide.

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HuffPost: FL Poll Showing Romney Beating Obama Among Florida Jews ‘Appears Fabricated’

Sam Stein Reports: A report purporting to show potentially historic levels of support from Jewish voters for Mitt Romney in a general election matchup with Barack Obama appears to be either profoundly flawed or simply fabricated.

Last week, the website Miami Political Buzz Examiner published a story stating that the former Massachusetts governor was “a new political star (of David)” in Florida. A “newly released poll” conducted by the Florida Coalition of Independent Jewish Congregations (FCIJ), the article said, showed that 52 percent of the state’s “registered Jewish voters would support a Romney-led Republican presidential ticket.”

The results, wrote author Jay Schorr, would resemble a “sea change in Florida’s political landscape.” In late September, the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found that President Obama would beat Romney by a margin of 78 to 11 percent among Florida Jews.

While Schorr’s piece hadn’t spread widely around the Internet, it was picked up in some corners of the Jewish blogosphere. It was also sent to The Huffington Post by one shocked Floridian and one confounded Democratic operative, who worried that it would feed a narrative about the president having trouble garnering support from Jews.

A tiny scratch beneath the surface reveals multiple problems with the story. For starters, it was impossible to find anyone in Florida’s Jewish community who has actually heard of the Florida Coalition of Independent Jewish Congregations.

“No. I’m sorry, I have never heard of them,” said Carol Brick-Turin, director of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council, in a typical response to inquiries about the group.

A search of the IRS database of non-profit organizations turned up nothing on the FCIJ. Nor did a Lexis-Nexis search of records from the past five years or a search of corporate registrations in the state of Florida. A Google search only turned up Schorr’s article and links to it.

The Huffington Post reached out to Joe Berkofsky, managing director of communications at The Jewish Federations of North America to see if he knew of the organization. “Sorry,” he replied via email, “I have no knowledge of them.”

Schorr, who bills himself as a “nationally renowned, award-winning writer, producer and author,” has at least one book to his credit (“50 Ways to Look Busy At Work – Even When You’re Not”). He responded to a request for comment via email.

“The FCIJ,” he explained, “is a private organization comprised of both religious and secular individuals culled from Jewish houses of worship across Florida. While not a PAC, their agenda seems to be quite political. They are backed by some deep pockets and pretty much operate under the radar. I am not surprised they don’t have a website.”

As for the polling data, Schorr wrote that the numbers were “conducted for internal use” but had been “leaked” through “the Jewish grapevine down here on condition of anonymity.” Schorr acknowledged that he did not know the “statistical methodology” of the poll and wrote that the “margins of error, cross-tabs/contingency tables, etc. were not available for public consumption.”

But because his sources for the story were “impeccable,” he went with it. “The big mahkhers who conducted this poll wield political influence statewide and have a solid track record of polling on Jewish issues,” Schorr wrote.

This statement, naturally, left several other questions unanswered, including regarding why Schorr would run a poll without knowing its methodology and what other work the FCIJ has done. Schorr didn’t respond to a request for follow-up. He ended his first email by apologizing for being unable to “be of more assistance.”

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Atlanta Jewish Newspaper Publisher Resigns

Kansas City.Com Reports: The owner of a small Jewish publication in Atlanta is resigning over a column he wrote suggesting Israel might consider a hit on President Barack Obama.

Interim editor John McCurdy said Monday that Andrew Adler is relinquishing his day-to-day duties at The Atlanta Jewish Times.

Adler wrote Jan. 13 that Obama’s assassination could be one of Israel’s options in preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He was roundly condemned by national and local Jewish groups after larger media outlets reported on his column.

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What the Candidates Say About the Strait of Hormuz

Capital J Reports: Brian Williams asks what it means if the Iranians shut down the Strait of Hormuz.

Mitt Romney says it would be an act of war. (Much of the world’s oil passes through there.) He says Obama and his predecessors dangerously shrunk the Navy, hobbling U.S. efforts to keep the seas open.

Newt Gingrich agrees, but says Obama’s main fault is in cancelling a joint military exercise with Israel. (But Israel canceled it, according to every reliable report I’ve seen, and according to what the parties have told me.)

Ron Paul says the predicate for closing the strait is the “blockade” the U.S. has imposed, and that in itself is an act of war.

But there is no blockade. There are sanctions, but the point of the sanctions is to force Iran to discount its oil — not to shut down its trade. A blockade in that case would defeat its purpose.

Rick Santorum says consider the alternative: Iran’s nuclear program. He says Iran is Obama’s biggest failure. He likens it to ceding a country to Al Qaeda.

He accuses Obama of “believing” that Iran would be welcome into the community of nations once it gets a nuclear weapon. Not sure where he gets that — Obama has repeatedly said he’s dedicated to keeping Iran from getting nukes, and has done more than any of his predecessors to isolate the country.

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Little Jewish Support for Santorum in Florida

Forward Reports: Jewish Rick Santorum supporters? In two and a half days of talking to Jews  here, the Forward had found exactly none.

But then Santorum himself came to town. And though Santorum is known  for his emphasis on social issues, some of the biggest applause lines at the  Broward County rally on Sunday came when the candidate talked tough on Iran.  While establishment Jewish Republicans have been absent from the Santorum camp,  Jewish Santorum supporters at the rally seemed to represent an enthusiastic, if  not overwhelmingly numerous, grassroots bunch.

“He’s the only conservative,” said Mark Kleiman, a Jewish Santorum supporter. “Romney and Gingrich are liberals.”

The Coral Springs rally came one day after a poor showing by Santorum in  South Carolina’s primary, where he received just 17% of the vote. The victor  of the caucuses in Iowa, Santorum now trails both Romney and Gingrich in  Florida by double digits.

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