January 31, 2012
By: Andrew Moran
Lake Jackson – Who says Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul is unelectable? In a hypothetical matchup, a new survey suggests that the libertarian-leaning representative is in a statistical tie with President Barack Obama.
The latest polls show that three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul will not win the state of Florida. Although Dr. Paul is hardly campaigning in the state, he is generally polling in double digits and is fighting for the third spot with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
A new article from the Christian Science Monitor pondered the likelihood that Paul could garner more delegates than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Santorum this week because he has focused his campaign in Maine and Nevada, which have their caucuses on Saturday.
A poll released Monday may give him momentum ahead of the caucuses in February.
According to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, in a hypothetical matchup between the Texas congressman and President Barack Obama, it would be too close to call. In the general election among national registered voters, Paul would garner 46 percent of the vote, while the incumbent president would have 49 percent.
However, the gap widens when the poll reflects swing-state registered voters in which the president gains 50 percent of the vote compared to Paul’s 43 percent.
October 11, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Philip Elliott
Republican presidential contender Ron Paul on Wednesday suggested that the United States could assassinate journalists the same way it targeted Americans with ties to al Qaeda.
The Texas congressman again criticized President Barack Obama for approving last week’s drone strikes in Yemen against a U.S. citizen who was tracked and executed based on secret intelligence that linked him to two failed terrorist attacks against the U.S.
An American-born propagandist also died in the bombing. Escalating his criticism, Paul told a National Press Club luncheon that if citizens do not protest the deaths, the country will start adding reporters to its list of threats that must be taken out.
“Can you imagine being put on a list because you’re a threat? What’s going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? … This is the way this works. It’s incrementalism,” Paul said.
“It’s slipping and sliding, let me tell you.”
Anwar al-Awlaki, the target of the U.S. drone attack, was one of the best-known al Qaeda figures after Osama bin Laden. American intelligence officials had linked him to two thwarted attacks on U.S.-bound planes, an airliner on Christmas 2009 and cargo planes last year. The second American killed in the drone attack, Samir Kahn, was the editor of Inspire, a slick online magazine aimed at al Qaeda sympathizers in the West.
Paul likened the pair to German officials who carried out the Holocaust but were still given trials.
“All the Nazi criminals were tried. They were taken to court and then executed,” Paul said. “The reason we do this is because we want to protect the rule of law.”
Paul, making his second run for the Republican presidential nomination, has built a die-hard following among the GOP’s libertarian wing and has worked to court anti-war conservatives.
October 7th, 2011
By: Bill Humbert
The skilled labor force in the United States has set our nation apart with its skills, productivity and ingenuity. However, our skilled labor force is currently under siege; and being ravished by a punishing economy. The question for many of those workers is “When will I find my next job?”
With approximately 20 million workers out of work (both those on unemployment and those no longer counted), people are very scared and some are pretty frustrated by their lack of work. What savings they once had is now long gone. They are fighting to keep houses that they purchased during better economic times; and many are receiving some sort of welfare for the first time in their lives.
Then they read about more and continuing lay-offs. It is easy to understand their desperation.
The fact is that there are places that need their skills, possibly in their own communities. The way to find those positions is to meet and talk with people in their community every day. Don’t wait until the position is posted on a job board. When the job is posted on a website, the competition increases by a hundredfold.
How do you find those jobs before everyone else? Go to your library and chat with the reference librarian about potential reference sources of local companies, especially those that may need your skills. If you are in manufacturing for instance, look at the Manufacturers Register for your state. This directory lists every manufacturing entity in your state. They may not have an open position listed anywhere (the best kind of company!!), but if you chat with them about your skills they may create one for you. I have seen that happen many times – and it even worked for me in construction in the early 1970′s.
Share leads that don’t interest you with other people. This is grass roots networking – and if you become known as a person who shares openings, someone will share one with you. Remember the saying “What goes around, comes around!” It is true.
As a nation of workers, we cannot control what the President or Congress does (other than vote at election time). During this time, we need to use our ingenuity to help ourselves. If we help each other one by one find a new job; it will benefit every other unemployed worker find a job. After a period of time, we will create a wave of new jobs just by starting one by one.
You can be successful and you will be successful because that is who we are.
October 5th, 2011
The Washington Post
By: David Nakamura and Paul Kane
There is a noticeably more aggressive, confrontational President Obama roaming the country these days, selling his jobs plan and attacking Republicans for standing in the way of progress by standing up only for the rich.
In Texas on Tuesday, the president went after a leading Republican by name: “Yesterday the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives,” Obama said. “I would like Mr. Cantor to come here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in, what exactly he is opposed to. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses or efforts to help our veterans?”
The emergence of this more pugnacious Obama has heartened Democrats, especially the most liberal ones, who spent the past few months dejected by what they saw as the president’s unwillingness to engage his opponents in political combat.
“We don’t see it as confrontation; we see it as leadership,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union. “We see the president exerting strong leadership to make the case to the country that everything we had to listen to during the debt debate was wrong.”
The president’s problems, even within his own party, remain formidable; only 58 percent of Democrats in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll believe that he will be reelected. Many supporters remain skeptical of his tendency to seek compromise with Republicans, and recently he angered some black supporters by urging them to stop complaining.
Still, in recent weeks, Obama has begun to blunt some of the criticism among Democrats that he is not up for the fight.
“The guy is mad,” said Peter Fenn, a longtime Democratic strategist. “I’d be mad, too. We went four months on the debt-ceiling nonsense. What positive result came of that? Zip.”
The new attack strategy is rooted in the political reality that Obama is 13 months from Election Day and faces a tough road. The poll shows that 61 percent of Americans disapprove of the way he is handling the economy.
Indeed, the only good news for Obama relates to his jobs plan and his Republican opposition. An even higher percentage of poll respondents, about 76 percent, say they disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the economy. Given that dubious advantage, the president may have few options other than to attack.
Obama used a Labor Day speech in Detroit to launch his new offensive against the GOP opposition. With him on Air Force One that day was Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who gave Obama the text of a rousing speech delivered by Harry S. Truman on Labor Day 1948, also in Detroit. Truman was another deeply unpopular Democratic president in the midst of an economic recession; he won another term in 1948 by attacking the Republicans, earning the nickname “Give ’Em Hell Harry.”
A month later, other parallels are emerging. Facing sharp criticism from Democrats who say he capitulated to Republicans during the summer’s acrimonious debt-ceiling negotiations, Obama has embarked on a nationwide barnstorming tour to promote his plan to create jobs and try to reverse his ebbing political fortunes.
October 4, 2011
The Daily Caller
By: Matthew Boyle
President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan.
According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.
At the time, the Associated Press reported that the stimulus grants included $68 million to build a demonstration model of an energy-efficient office building; $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment; $10 million for testing and evaluation of wind technology; and $45 million to research and test drive-train systems for wind turbines.
The lab’s mission is to handle U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs.
NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings.
“We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”
Amy Oliver of Colorado’s conservative Independence Institute said one way to look at these potential “green jobs” shortcomings is that the NREL is exaggerating its claims. Oliver told The Daily Caller that the government-funded lab has seen a surge in government funding in recent years.
“Their funding for 2008 was $328 million,” Oliver said in a phone interview. “In 2010 it was $536.5 million. They’ve had a 64 percent increase in their funding during the Obama administration.”
Oliver acknowledges that the $8 million NREL projects in savings is a significant amount, and told TheDC she was impressed to learn that its leadership would even consider cutting their budget. But, she says, while the saved $8 million doesn’t represent a real budget cut, it’s a better outcome than more spending.
Oliver also suggested that the NREL layoffs may indicate another failure of the Obama administration’s “green jobs” agenda. Candidate Obama pledged in 2008 that he would add 5 million green jobs to the economy, but Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. now say the White House has stretched what it defines as a “green job” in order to pad its numbers.
October 3, 2011
The Huffington Post
By: Sam Stein
President Barack Obama pushed Congress again on Monday to bring his American Jobs Act to a vote, promising to “put as much pressure” as he could on lawmakers to act with haste. But with growing recalcitrance among Republicans, resistance among some Democrats and an election season heating up, the prospects for quick action look increasingly slim.
The Democratic leadership is now taking more seriously the possibility that if components of the jobs plan are to be enacted, they’ll have to be attached to the recommendations produced by the congressional super committee in charge of finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.
On Monday, the president offered his customary insistence about passing his plan — which includes major tax cuts to encourage hiring, insurance for the unemployed, and money for infrastructure and school repair — in an expedient manner.
“It’s been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act, and as I’ve been saying on the road, I want it back. I’m ready to sign it,” he said. “My expectation is, now that we’re in the month of October, that we’ll schedule a vote before the end of this month. I’ll be talking to Senator Reid, [Senator] McConnell, as well as Speaker Boehner and [Representative] Nancy Pelosi, and insisting that we have a vote on this bill.”
In a background briefing with reporters before Obama spoke, senior administration officials laid out the case that legislative delay does more damage to the Republicans responsible for holding up the jobs bill than to the bill’s primary booster. A Fox News Poll released shortly thereafter appeared to underscore their premise. While 26 percent of respondents thought Obama had helped the economy and 45 percent thought he had hurt it, only 15 percent thought congressional Republicans had helped and 50 percent thought they had hurt the economy.
Still, legislative processes are rarely dictated by polling pressures. And while the president was publicly demanding a vote sometime in October, expectations have been adjusted a touch in private.
Those same senior administration officials said that the White House has been in talks with members of the super committee about both job creation legislation and their work in general. While the officials wouldn’t go too far into specifics, they noted that this past summer the president and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had discussed including infrastructure spending, payroll tax cut relief and the extension of unemployment insurance in their proposed “grand bargain.”
Obama has already asked the committee to find budget cuts to help cover the $447 billion cost of his jobs package. If he were to push the committee to include the jobs act itself as part of its recommendations, that would up the ante significantly more.
On the one hand, the jobs plan would be granted the same sort of procedural advantages (it can be neither filibustered nor amended) that the super committee’s debt and deficit reduction suggestions will receive. On the other, the idea could potentially alienate the committee’s six GOP members, who don’t want to be seen as providing the critical votes for the president’s chief jobs proposal. Seven of the 12 committee members must back the deficit recommendations before they can be sent to Congress.
A senior Democratic aide told The Huffington Post that the party is looking to find a “balanced approach to deficit reduction” that includes “efforts at job creation, most definitely including the president’s” jobs plan.
But a top Democratic operative who has been privy to debt and deficit reduction talks on the Hill said it was hardly a given that Obama’s jobs plan will find its way into the super committee’s recommendations, let alone receive a regular floor vote. That’s not because the provision themselves are disagreeable, but because the measures to cover their cost — namely, eliminating tax deductions for the wealthy, closing loopholes for corporate jet owners, and taxing subsidies for oil and gas companies — have no cross-party support.
“To put it in the super committee, you would need to have pay-for provisions as well,” the operative noted. “Not only can Republicans and Democrats not agree on those pay-fors; Democrats can’t agree on those pay-fors.”
October 3rd, 2011
By: Sho Chandra and Steve Matthews
Ninety-one percent of people in the U.S. labor force have a job. That may be the extent of the good news for these Americans, whose incomes tell a darker story.
Take-home pay, adjusted for prices, fell 0.3 percent in August, the third decrease in five months, and personal income dropped for the first time in two years, the Commerce Department reported last week. The declines followed news from the Census Bureau that median household income in 2010 fell to $49,445, the lowest in more than a decade, and the poverty rate jumped to 15.1 percent, a 17-year high.
Salary and benefit growth “has been going nowhere,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “One of the key reasons the recovery has stalled is that real incomes have fallen.”
While policy makers from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to President Barack Obama focus on cutting unemployment stuck near or above 9 percent since April 2009, the widespread stagnation in wages may offer a better explanation for the failure of economic growth to accelerate two years after the end of the recession. Workers’ ability to negotiate higher earnings won’t return until the job market strengthens, and flagging confidence has raised the risk that consumers may retrench.
Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings have fallen for six consecutive months, dropping 1.8 percent in August from a year earlier, a pace not seen since the 18-month economic slump ended in June 2009.
“Those who are employed are worried about their income and are seeing real purchasing power get squeezed, therefore they’re set to retrench a bit,” said Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas in New York, who has served on the Fed board’s forecasting team. “That’s the danger right now. It means the recovery remains very fragile.”
Companies including United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) say they have flexibility to hold down employee earnings, given uncertain demand and an excess supply of labor. Retailers such as Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) report that elevated food and fuel prices have cut into paychecks, restraining shoppers.
“The biggest issue is that labor income is soft at a time when we’re getting no offset” from other sources, said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. Unlike in the early part of the recovery, stock-market losses are eroding wealth and home prices continue to decline, he said.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures expiring in December dropped 0.4 percent to 1,121.20 at 9:54 a.m. in London, having earlier retreated 1.3 percent. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) has fallen 17 percent since this year’s high of 1363.61 on April 29. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities is down 31 percent from the pre-recession peak in July 2006.
Support from the government may shrink if Congress fails to extend payroll-tax cuts and unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the year, and limited access to borrowing means Americans have few means to fund their purchases, said Feroli, a former Fed economist.
“It’s hard to see where consumers are going to get a lot of wherewithal to sustain strong spending,” he said. “It’s certainly a concern that, rather than sluggish consumption growth, we see flat or declining consumption.”
The stalled labor market and stagnant wages are easing one source of concern for Fed officials watching inflation.
“The painfully high unemployment rate is consistent with considerable slack or excess capacity in the economy, which tends to constrain wage growth,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said during a Sept. 27 speech in Jacksonville, Florida.
“You are familiar with the term wage-price spiral. I don’t see any prospect of such a development in the foreseeable future, as long as unemployment remains high and longer-term inflation expectations remain well-anchored,” he said.
The worsening outlook for incomes will cause “continued pressure on home prices and on the stock market,” said Malcolm Polley, who oversees $1 billion as chief investment officer at Stewart Capital in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Corporate sales may be hurt as demand cools, and there may be more withdrawals from retirement plans and higher use of 401(k) loans, he said.
Sales at some luxury stores may be hurt because “at the margin, the upper end of the middle class will probably feel less inclined to spend extra money,” he said. Among chains catering to “the lower end of the earnings totem pole,” discounters including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Target Corp. (TGT) may fare better as shoppers trade down.
“Perception is reality from the standpoint of consumers and investors,” Polley said. “We need people to start feeling good about themselves.”
Bad Time to Buy
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index slumped in the week ended Sept. 25 to the second-lowest level on record as Americans grew more concerned with their financial situation. The share of households saying it was a bad time to buy goods and services was the highest in three years.
A record 91 percent of consumers expect that growth in their incomes will match or fall behind price gains in the coming year, according to participants in the September Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan sentiment survey, which dates back to 1978.
Until people see their wages or the labor market get better, they will be “spending on necessities, not desires,” said Chris G. Christopher, senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Tamra Loomis, a graphic designer and single mother of two boys, uses the Internet at her parents’ home, grows vegetables to trim grocery bills and takes advantage of coupons to shop. She makes $17 an hour and hasn’t had a raise since September 2008, three months after she started working at a sign company in Antioch, California, about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco.
The owner has twice denied her request for higher wages and in January cut the hours for her and the company’s other employee to 30 a week from 40, she said.
“My boss says because of the economy, things are tight, business is slow,” so “at this point, I’m paycheck to paycheck,” said Loomis, 32. “A lot of people aren’t hiring, and when they are, they offer even less than what I make. It’s really difficult.”
The jobless rate held at 9.1 percent in September for a third consecutive month, while payrolls grew by 50,000 after no change in August, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists ahead of Labor Department figures due Oct. 7.
The unemployment situation is a “national crisis,” Bernanke said in response to questions after a speech Sept. 28 in Cleveland. Obama is campaigning for congressional support of a $447 billion jobs program centered on rebuilding infrastructure and expanding payroll-tax breaks for workers and employers.
“It’s certainly easier to focus on the greater sources of distress,” BNP’s Coronado said, referring to officials’ concern about Americans who are out of work. “But the bigger bulk of economic momentum is going to be driven by people who are employed and how they feel about their prospects.”
Consumer spending rose at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter, less than half the 2.1 percent pace in January- March, the Commerce Department reported last week. Gross domestic product expanded less than 1 percent on average in January-June, the worst six months of the recovery.
“The economy isn’t growing fast enough to boost job growth to increase incomes,” said Omair Sharif, an economist at RBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “Most workers don’t have a lot of sway in demanding higher wages unless they have very specialized skills.”
‘Hold the Line’
Werner Enterprises Inc. (WERN), an Omaha, Nebraska-based truck operator, has “been able to hold the line on our salary, wages and benefits costs,” John Steele, chief financial officer, said on a Sept. 8 analyst conference call. In today’s “uncertain” economic environment, “there’s a little less pressure on driver pay than there was a couple of months ago.”
UPS, the Atlanta-based package-delivery company whose shipments make it an economic bellwether, has “a very reasonable contract in place that will show modest, below- inflation increases in wages” for drivers, Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn said on a July 26 teleconference. “We’ve got a good outlook for the cost structure.”
Employees cannot hope for more bargaining power anytime soon, said Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University in Washington and former chief economist at the Labor Department. Through August, the U.S. had recovered only about 1.89 million of the 8.75 million jobs lost as a result of the recession.
“There is so much slack, it will keep earnings from rising very much,” he said. “It will take most of this decade” to repair the damage “unless there is a big spurt in hiring.”
October 3rd, 2011
The New Yorker
By: Jane Mayer
In the spring of 2010, the conservative political strategist Ed Gillespie flew from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh, North Carolina, to spend a day laying the groundwork for REDMAP, a new project aimed at engineering a Republican takeover of state legislatures. Gillespie hoped to help his party get control of statehouses where congressional redistricting was pending, thereby leveraging victories in cheap local races into a means of shifting the balance of power in Washington. It was an ingenious plan, and Gillespie is a skilled tactician—he once ran the Republican National Committee—but REDMAP seemed like a long shot in North Carolina. Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and remained popular. The Republicans hadn’t controlled both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly for more than a century. (“Not since General Sherman,” a state politico joked to me.) That day in Raleigh, though, Gillespie had lunch with an ideal ally: James Arthur (Art) Pope, the chairman and C.E.O. of Variety Wholesalers, a discount-store conglomerate. The Raleigh News and Observer had called Pope, a conservative multimillionaire, the Knight of the Right. The REDMAP project offered Pope a new way to spend his money.
That fall, in the remote western corner of the state, John Snow, a retired Democratic judge who had represented the district in the State Senate for three terms, found himself subjected to one political attack after another. Snow, who often voted with the Republicans, was considered one of the most conservative Democrats in the General Assembly, and his record reflected the views of his constituents. His Republican opponent, Jim Davis—an orthodontist loosely allied with the Tea Party—had minimal political experience, and Snow, a former college football star, was expected to be reëlected easily. Yet somehow Davis seemed to have almost unlimited money with which to assail Snow.
Snow recalls, “I voted to help build a pier with an aquarium on the coast, as did every other member of the North Carolina House and Senate who voted.” But a television attack ad presented the “luxury pier” as Snow’s wasteful scheme. “We’ve lost jobs,” an actress said in the ad. “John Snow’s solution for our economy? ‘Go fish!’ ” A mass mailing, decorated with a cartoon pig, denounced the pier as one of Snow’s “pork projects.” It criticized Snow for “wasting our tax dollars,” citing his vote to “spend $218,000 on a Shakespeare festival,” but failing to note that this sum represented a budget cut for the program, which had been funded by the legislature since 1999.
In all, Snow says, he was the target of two dozen mass mailings, one of them reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad that became notorious during the 1988 Presidential campaign. It featured a photograph of Henry Lee McCollum, a menacing-looking African-American convict on death row, who, along with three other men, raped and murdered an eleven-year-old girl. After describing McCollum’s crimes in lurid detail, the mailing noted, “Thanks to arrogant State Senator John Snow, McCollum could soon be let off of death row.” Snow, in fact, supported the death penalty and had prosecuted murder cases. But, in 2009, he had helped pass a new state law, the Racial Justice Act, that enabled judges to reconsider a death sentence if a convict could prove that the jury’s verdict had been tainted by racism. The law was an attempt to address the overwhelming racial disparity in capital sentences.
“The attacks just went on and on,” Snow told me recently. “My opponents used fear tactics. I’m a moderate, but they tried to make me look liberal.” On Election Night, he lost by an agonizingly slim margin—fewer than two hundred votes.
After the election, the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, a nonpartisan, pro-business organization, revealed that two seemingly independent political groups had spent several hundred thousand dollars on ads against Snow—a huge amount in a poor, backwoods district. Art Pope was instrumental in funding and creating both groups, Real Jobs NC and Civitas Action. Real Jobs NC was responsible for the “Go fish!” ad and the mass mailing that attacked Snow’s “pork projects.” The racially charged ad was produced by the North Carolina Republican Party, and Pope says that he was not involved in its creation. But Pope and three members of his family gave the Davis campaign a four-thousand-dollar check each—the maximum individual donation allowed by state law.
Snow, whose defeat was first chronicled by the Institute for Southern Studies, a progressive nonprofit organization, told me, “It’s getting to the point where, in politics, money is the most important thing. They spent nearly a million dollars to win that seat. A lot of it was from corporations and outside groups related to Art Pope. He was their sugar daddy.”
Bob Phillips, the head of the North Carolina chapter of Common Cause, an organization that promotes campaign-finance reform, said that Snow’s loss signals a troubling trend in American politics. “John Snow raised a significant amount of money,” he said. “But it was exceeded by what outside groups spent in that race, mostly on commercials against John Snow.” Such lopsided campaigns will likely become more common, thanks to the Supreme Court, which, in a controversial ruling in January, 2010, struck down limits on corporate campaign spending. For the first time in more than a century, businesses and unions can spend unlimited sums to express support or opposition to candidates.
Phillips argues that the Court’s decision, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has been a “game changer,” especially in the realm of state politics. In swing states like North Carolina—which the Democrats consider so important that they have scheduled their 2012 National Convention there—an individual donor, particularly one with access to corporate funds, can play a significant, and sometimes decisive, role. “We didn’t have that before 2010,” Phillips says. “Citizens United opened up the door. Now a candidate can literally be outspent by independent groups. We saw it in North Carolina, and a lot of the money was traced back to Art Pope.”
September 30th, 2011
The Huffington Post
In his first domestic policy speech as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry is outlining his record as Texas governor and accusing rival Mitt Romney of governing Massachusetts the same way President Barack Obama governs the country.
The address, set for Friday at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, discusses Perry’s record on health care and the environment. But Perry offers few policy proposals, instead focusing on criticizing Obama, hitting Romney’s health care law and opening a more aggressive line of attack on Romney’s record on climate change.
“As Republican voters decide who is best suited to lead this country in a new direction by stopping the spending spree and scrapping Obamacare, I am confident they will choose a nominee who has governed on conservative principles, not one whose health care policies paved the way for Obamacare,” Perry says, according to prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.
Perry contrasts Romney’s plan with the medical malpractice reform he signed as governor of Texas, and argues that both Romney and Obama have governed more liberally than he has.
“What we are seeing in America today is a conservative awakening, a revival born out of a deep concern that liberals have used the machinery of the federal government to impose a nanny state that limits our freedom and that targets free enterprise,” he says.
“I knew when I got into this race I would have my hands full fighting President Obama’s big government agenda. I just didn’t think it would be in the Republican primary,” Perry adds.
The address signals that Perry plans to continue aggressively attacking his chief rival even as he faces some stumbling blocks in his own campaign. After a shaky debate performance, Perry admitted that he used “inappropriate” language when he called Republican rivals “heartless.” Perry was defending a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state universities if they meet certain criteria.
As part of the offensive, Perry is turning to Romney’s environmental record.
“In Texas, we’ve cleaned the air while creating jobs and adding millions in population. Another state – Massachusetts – was among the first states to implement its own cap-and-trade program which included limits on carbon emissions for power plants,” Perry says in his speech.
Perry also accuses Romney of relying on environmental advisers who went on to work in the Obama administration. Environmental Protection Agency official Gina McCarthy, who works on clean air regulations, helped Massachusetts develop a climate plan when Romney served as governor.
Romney never signed a cap-and-trade plan for Massachusetts, though he did encourage state efforts to protect the environment. Massachusetts participated in discussions about a Northeastern regional cap-and-trade system while Romney was governor, but Romney decided not to join it.
Perry’s speech comes as the presidential candidates face an important fundraising deadline Friday in the latest quarter of the campaign cycle.
The Hill reports that some influential members of the Republican party suggest that support for the Texas governor in Iowa is weakening.
A conference call Perry made earlier this week hints at Perry’s problems with the right.
“The first three issues he addressed were HPV, the Dream Act and the border fence,” [Former Iowa Republican Party Political Director Craig] Robinson sad. “That shows how damaging these debates have been to Perry. He’s explaining, and he hasn’t done a very good job of it.”
Later on Friday, Perry will head to New Hampshire for a town hall style meeting with voters.
September 27, 2011
By: Erica Werner
President Barack Obama is swiping at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing him as “a governor whose state is on fire, denying climate change.”
Obama also poked at the audience reactions at recent GOP presidential debates, singling out those who cheered at the prospect of someone dying because he didn’t have health insurance – and those who booed a gay service member.
The president said “that’s not reflective of who we are.”
He made the comments Sunday at a fundraiser at the Silicon Valley home of John Thompson, chairman of Symantec Corp.