September 20, 2010
By Greg Bluestien
Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday he sees parallels between today’s tea party and his own campaign for the White House in 1976. But he doesn’t think the movement will be much of a factor beyond this fall’s elections.
The Georgia Democrat told The Associated Press he rode a wave of voter discontent to the presidency on the heels of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that felled President Richard Nixon, much like tea partyconservatives are now earning support by voicing anger at the nation’s economic woes.
“I was a candidate that was in some ways like the tea party candidate,” Carter said in an interview. “I was a complete outsider. I capitalized legitimately on the dissatisfaction that was permeating our society.”
“I think they’re going to be quite a major factor in November,” he said. “I think there’s already a process of absorbing them into the Republican Party. I think they will be much less of a factor in 2012 and in future years.”
The comments came the same day the former president’s new book, “White House Diary,” was released.
In the book, Carter said he pursued an overly aggressive agenda as president that may have confused voters and alienated lawmakers. But he said the tipping points that cost him the 1980 election were the Iran hostage crisis and the primary challenge by U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.
“Had we not had the hostage crisis, I would have won,” he said in the interview of his defeat to Republican Ronald Reagan, adding: “Had I not had Kennedy as my opponent, who sapped away a portion of the Democratic wing, I would have been re-elected.”
Carter said in the book that he is proud of his accomplishments during his presidency, but that pushing controversial decisions such as the end of U.S. control of the Panama Canal and working to normalize relations with Communist China cost him political support.
“I overburdened Congress with an array of controversial and politically costly requests. Looking back, I am struck by how many unpopular objectives we pursued,” he said, adding: “We were able to achieve a remarkable amount of what we set out to do, but ultimately the political cost—of my administration and for members of Congress—was very high.”
Carter, 85, compiled the book from thoughts and observations he dictated several times a day in tapes turned over to his secretary. Thirty years later, he condensed and annotated the diary with recent reflections. The book was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The former president said in the interview that he neglected his role as the party’s leader, opening a vacuum that cost some of his chief legislative supporters their jobs. He said there were 20 senators up for re-election in 1978 who voted for the Panama treaty—and only seven came back to the Senate the next year.
“One of the things I could have done better is I could have been a better leader of the Democratic Party. I didn’t feel comfortable,” he said.
Carter said he decided to publish the diary because it “may be my last chance to offer an assessment of my time in the White House,” he wrote.
August 5, 2010
The head of an eastern Pennsylvania amusement company has yanked a carnival game in which players shot foam darts at an image resembling President Barack Obama.
Irvin Good Jr. pulled the target-shooting game after receiving a complaint from a Massachusetts woman attending a fair in Roseto, about 65 miles north of Philadelphia. Good said Wednesday his company, Hellertown-based Goodtime Amusements, won’t offer the game again.
“It was just a big, big mistake in judgment, and I feel sorry about it,” he told The Associated Press. “I can’t take it back, but I can try to make it better.”
The game, dubbed “Alien Attack,” featured a large painted image of a black man wearing a belt buckle with the presidential seal and holding a scroll labeled “Health Bill.” Players could win prizes such as stuffed animals by hitting targets on the image’s head and heart.
The game was featured in late July at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Big Time Celebration, an annual fair that raises money for the Roman Catholic parish in Roseto.
Kathryn Chapman, 55, of Medford, Mass., who spent part of her childhood in Roseto and was in town for a family reunion, spotted the game and complained to Good.
“What is the message you are sending kids, that if your views don’t agree with somebody else’s, shoot them? I just found it incredibly disrespectful and violent,” Chapman said Wednesday. “And this was the president, the highest office in the country. It was absolutely appalling.”
Good said that he voted for Obama and that the game wasn’t meant to encourage violence against the president. He said the image was conceived and painted by a staffer.
“He just drew it up, and that’s the way it came out,” Good said. “We didn’t talk about it being political.”
Good said he has not been contacted by anyone in law enforcement regarding the game.
Goodtime Amusements has been in business for 26 years, operating carnival-themed fundraisers throughout the Allentown region. The Obama-themed game had been running since April. Good said he had received one other complaint about it before Chapman’s.
July 6, 2010
By: Matthew Perrone
Federal regulators have warned Pfizer Inc. for failing to promptly report complaints with its drugs that may have involved serious injury.
In a warning letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration cites a number of product complaints which were not reported to government regulators within the required 15 days.
In some cases, Pfizer ( PFE – news – people ) failed to report the adverse events all together, including reports of serious side effects with the cholesterol drug Lipitor and the antiseizure drug Lyrica.
FDA inspectors found the unreported complaints during a routine inspection at the company’s New York headquarters last summer. The problems outlined in the May 26 warning letter are not new. Inspectors cited the company for similar violations in 2004 and 2006.
Pfizer previously told regulators it would revamp its file tracking system and retrain employees, but the FDA states that those efforts “have been shown to be ineffective.”
Between March 2006 and July 2009 about 13 percent of the Pfizer’s adverse-event reports were submitted late, according to the FDA.
In one case, Pfizer repeatedly failed to meet the FDA’s deadline for reporting vision problems with Viagra, the blockbuster erectile dysfunction drug. Pfizer staffers classified seven such complaints as “non-serious,” even though Viagra has been associated with sudden vision loss.
Pfizer responded to the FDA’s citations in September, saying it has reduced late submissions since updating its computer systems in May 2009. But the FDA says that the company has not provided metrics to support that claim.
The warning letter demands that Pfizer submit a plan for correcting the problems within 15 business days.
Pfizer said in a statement it would work with the FDA to address the issues cited in the 12-page letter.
“We are committed to full compliance and timely and accurate submission of individual adverse-event reports,” states the company.
The FDA regularly issues warning letters to companies that do not follow regulations for manufacturing, marketing and testing. The letters are not legally binding, but the agency can take companies to court if they are ignored.