Archive for "Mitt Romney"

The Calm Before the Real Storm?

Published by Joyce Jones on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm.

(Photo: NOAA via Getty Images)

What’s up with the Republican Party and hurricanes? After all the hand wringing and rearranging of events, Tampa has been largely spared the wrath of Isaac. Aside from the sweltering humidity and occasional rainstorm that is to some part of just another day in paradise, it’s a perfect day for a convention.

Meanwhile, Isaac is making its thunderous way toward Louisiana, and could hit New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was set to address the convention Wednesday night, has canceled his trip.

“There is no time for politics here in Louisiana,” he said at a Monday press conference.

Jindal had to scrap plans to attend the 2008 convention, too, thanks to Hurricane Gustav. In an act of solidarity and to not appear insensitive, the GOP delayed the start of its convention in Minneapolis.

Journalists are a jaded lot and on what was supposed to be the first day of this year’s confab, we find ourselves with a bit of time on our hands to speculate: Did the GOP jump the gun this year? And while understandable, it’s a move Republican leaders could regret.

Few people will likely ever erase from their memory the visual of Katrina’s thousands of mostly African-American victims stranded on rooftops, the football stadium and other places. And no matter how many thoughts and prayers everyone in Tampa sends to Louisiana on Wednesday or Thursday night, the visual of the party fêting itself  juxtaposed against victims of another potentially devastating storm  is also a sight many Americans won’t likely forget.

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Things That Make Me Say Hmmm

Published by Joyce Jones on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm.

(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Just last week Mitt Romney was simply aghast by what he called the negative tone of the presidential campaign and accused President Obama of taking things to a new low.

“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” he said at a campaign event in Ohio.

And then what does he turn around and do this week? Makes a birth certificate joke on Friday while campaigning in Michigan, the state where he grew up and hopes to put in play in November.

“Now I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born,” Romney said. “Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

The remark sounded an awful lot like it came straight out of the playbook of so-called birthers who’ve insisted that the president wasn’t born in the United States even after he publicly released  copies of his birth certificate. Romney’s campaign hastened to say that he believes Obama is an American citizen and it was just his way of expressing hometown pride.

But to some people it will seem more like his way of speaking in code to appeal to certain members of the GOP’s far-right base. The Obama campaign definitely sees it that way.

“Throughout this campaign, Gov. Romney has embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them. It’s one thing to give the stage in Tampa to Donald Trump, Sheriff Arpaio and Kris Kobach. But Gov. Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America,” said Obama for America national spokesman Ben LaBolt.

As if to underscore LaBolt’s point, radio host Rush Limbaugh applauded  the incident on his program, proclaiming Romney’s remarks “right on, right on, right on.”

Hmmmm …

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Tuesday at the White House

Published by Joyce Jones on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm.

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Remember when the Drudge Report was the first thing that the people who live and breathe politics turned to in the morning for the latest scoop? Now, it seems, not so much. At his daily briefing with reporters on Aug. 7, White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed a report on the web site that President Obama had told a supporter that Central Intelligence Agency chief Gen. David Petraeus will be rival Mitt Romney’s vice presidential choice.

“I can say with absolute confidence that such an assertion has never been uttered by the president,” Carney said, adding this warning to his questioner: “Be mindful of your sources.”

Carney, who frequently punts campaign-related questions to the campaign, also denounced a new Romney campaign ad that accuses the president of trying to “gut welfare reform” implemented by Bill Clinton that requires recipients to conduct serious job searches in exchange for benefits.

“This advertisement is categorically false, and it is blatantly dishonest,” Carney said.

But Carney was not so adamant when asked about a new television ad produced the Priorities USA super PAC that suggests Romney was responsible for the death of the wife of Joe Soptic, who lost his job and benefits after the steel mill he worked at was acquired and sold by Bain Capital.

“You know, I have not seen the ad, and I would refer you to the campaign or to the organization,” Carney said. “I can’t comment on an ad I haven’t seen.”

He may not like what he sees, however. A fact check has found that Soptic’s wife was employed and had access to health care coverage through her job when her husband lost his and she actually died in 2006, as Romney was nearing the end of his term as Massachusetts governor.

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Copycat

Published by Joyce Jones on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm.

President Obama’s re-election campaign released an ad over the weekend that featured Republican rival Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful” and a series of headlines that say Romney as governor of Massachusetts outsourced jobs and that he offshores his millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. In retaliation, and to steer attention from calls for Romney to disclose multiple tax returns and more details about his tenure at Bain Capital, his campaign on Monday released an online video with President Obama crooning the opening lyrics of the Al Green classic “Let’s Stay Together” and headlines that accuse the president of political cronyism.

By Monday afternoon, BMG Rights Management, which owns the rights to the Al Green song said, “Let’s not stay together” and claiming copyright infringement, forced the campaign to remove the video (“America the Beautiful” is in the public domain).

When will Team Romney learn?

The Republican, who was still in the midst of his primary battle, broke into song at a campaign event after Obama pretty much wowed the world with his singing ability during a January fundraiser at the Apollo Theater. It was like Romney’s competitive nature got the best of him and the result was not pretty. Instead of coming off as cheeky and charming like Obama, his performance was kind of embarrassing to watch. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul accused the president of mocking “America the Beautiful,” which this politi-chick finds laughably tone deaf.

At any rate, the Romney team has denied copyright infringement and has vowed to get its video back up.

“Our use was 100 percent proper, under fair use, and we plan to defend ourselves,” a campaign official said.

But they’ve got bigger fish to fry. People on both sides of the ideological aisle are still clamoring to know what’s in those tax returns and the exact nature of Romney’s role at Bain during his “retroactive retirement.”

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Obama Cares

Published by Joyce Jones on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm.

(Photo: Courtesy Sandra Brooks Green)

Like the hundreds of other supporters and volunteers who lined up today to hear President Obama speak at Green Run High School in Norfolk, Virginia, Sandra Brooks Green is feeling lucky in what has been the unluckiest of weeks. Just two days ago, she explained as tears rolled down her face, Green was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. But despite feeling overwhelmed by her diagnosis and trying to understand her treatment options, it was important for her to be there to show her support for a president whom she feels has supported her by pushing so hard to pass the Affordable Care Act.

“I came here primarily to support him and hope we’ll have him for another term,” said Green, who owns a hair salon and is earning an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland-University College.

Before Republicans came into power, Green says, her business thrived. But as is the case with many entrepreneurs, as her clients have suffered, she has experienced a trickle-down effect. But she is particularly bothered by the GOP’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, particularly Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who once considered health care reform in Massachusetts one of his signature achievements.

“The other party has put out negative information and that leads everyone to think it won’t work, it will cost more, they’ll run out of money,” she said. “It needs to be explained in layman’s terms” in digestible pieces.

Green believes the public’s divided views on the issue can be attributed to the fact that they simply don’t understand it. And they believe that having insurance coverage shouldn’t be mandated — until they are suddenly struck by illness, she said.

“That’s when it hits you,” Green added. “If I didn’t have insurance, I probably would never have been diagnosed.”

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Misadventures in Twitterverse

Published by Joyce Jones on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 10:19 am.

(Photo: Courtesy MSNBC)

Ah, Twitter. So alluring, yet so, so dangerous. Just ask Joe Williams, who may or may not be on his way out as the White House correspondent for the Capitol Hill newspaper Politico.

The veteran reporter was suspended indefinitely without pay last week after suggesting during an appearance on Martin Bashir’s MSNBC show that Republican Mitt Romney only feels comfortable with the “white folks at Fox and Friends.”

“That’s one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in some town hall settings, why he can’t relate to people other than that,” Williams told host Martin Bashir.  “But when he comes on Fox and Friends, they’re like him, they’re white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company.”

Yes, Williams was a bit frank, but plenty of other reporters have publicly commented on how Romney does indeed seem to vastly prefer Fox and shies away from appearing on other networks. But they framed it as more of a conservative thing than a white thing, which is not to say they weren’t thinking it.

A video of his comment was flagged by the conservative Web site Washington Free Beacon. Breitbart.com, the site founded by the late Andrew Breitbart, who tried to bring down former Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod, also posted the video.

The incident has prompted debate about whether racism played a role in the decision to suspend Williams because Politico’s newsroom is widely considered to be woefully lacking in diversity. But when they announced the suspension, founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei told the staff in a memo that, “Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams’s public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment” to his responsibility to be fair and unbiased.

On its own, the “white folks at Fox” comment likely would not have led to the suspension. But apparently Williams also has in the past tweeted some incendiary and politically incorrect messages, including one about a part of Romney’s anatomy that rhymes with politi-chick.

Twitter is so seductive and spontaneous a medium that it’s easy to get carried away in 140 characters or less. It’s kind of like that sexy bad boy mothers warn their daughters about. Even though you really want to, if you think about it, you know you can’t. And that’s the key, Twitterlings — you’ve got to think about it. Just ask Joe Williams.

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Between a Barack and a Hard Space

Published by Joyce Jones on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm.

  • (Photo: Face the Nation)

President Obama on Friday craftily announced a major shift on immigration policy, just a few hours after Republican rival Mitt Romney hit the road on his “Every Town Counts” bus tour. Former Republican National Committee chairman and BET.com commentator Michael Steele called it a “gotcha” move and his fellow GOPers complained over the weekend that it was purely “politics.” Maybe so, but as they well know, in an election this tight, every vote counts and both Obama and Romney will need every Latino one that they can get in November.

As Romney’s caravan rolled from state to state, he hoped to turn the media’s attention to his criticisms of Obama’s handling of the economy. Instead, they wanted to know if he would repeal the president’s executive order that prevents an estimated 800,000 young Latinos from being deported if they meet certain criteria and also enables them to work legally in the U.S.

So, where does he stand? The answer only Romney knows as he repeatedly dodged the question or gave vague responses.

“He has a great allergy to specifics and details,” conservative columnist and commentator Rich Lowry said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday. “And he actually said in an interview a little while ago that he thinks one of the things that hurt him in his 1994 race against Ted Kennedy was that he was too specific so it creates these targets for the other side.”

But Romney was very specific on his way to the nomination, suggesting that illegal immigrants “self-deport,” taking a very hard-line stance on immigration to win the hearts and votes of die-hard conservatives.

So now he’s stuck in part because those same conservatives don’t want to hear about comprehensive immigration reform. That’s why it also will be interesting to hear what Romney has to say when he addresses a conference of Latino elected officials later in the week.

The big question is: Will he say what he means or what he thinks Hispanics or conservatives want to hear? Unfortunately for Romney, he can’t have it both ways.

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Road Trip!

Published by Joyce Jones on Friday, June 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm.

(Photos: Courtesy Romney For President, Inc; Courtesy Democratic National Committee)

Mitt Romney is taking it old-school, embarking a five-day road trip Friday morning that may not set tongues wagging like his now-infamous family voyage to Canada when he strapped poor family dog Seamus to the roof of the station wagon, but could turn out to be rather interesting. That’s because the GOP White House hopeful has got some uninvited travel companions on what his campaign has dubbed the “Every Town Counts” tour.

The Democratic National Committee plans to hit each of the six battleground states where Romney aims to highlight how President Obama has allegedly ignored Americans’ “everyday concerns” and offered them “no hope for the future.” The DNC is calling its trip the “Middle Class Under the Bus” tour and each stop will “feature representatives from Massachusetts who will speak from firsthand knowledge about what Romney Economics meant for economic growth and the middle class” during the his tenure as governor.

And it’s not the only organization hitching its wagon to the event. MoveOn.org plans to send protesters to each of the sites where the GOP candidate is scheduled to deliver speeches and also is following the tour in its “Romneymobile,” an SUV tricked out with decals of his largest corporate sponsors and a fake dog strapped to the roof. The group is calling its version of the trip the “Every Millionaire Counts” tour.

Want to go along for the ride? ABC News has created a Google map to track “how he rolls.”

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Fired Up and Ready to Text?

Published by Joyce Jones on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm.

(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

The amount of money that teams Obama and Romney will raise to pummel each other along the campaign trail this year is going to be epic — and kind of scary. Already they’ve spent enough money on negative advertising to support a small developing nation. Even scarier is that the two campaigns have agreed that it’s a good idea to allow voters to text message campaign donations. And Monday night, the Federal Election Commission voted in favor of it.

The goal is to counter the impact of the big, bad super PACs that watchdog and other groups fear will be able to essentially buy the presidential and other federal elections because of the unrestricted amounts of money they can collect. Now ordinary Americans will be able play their part in the democratic process. And just like concertgoers wave lighters as they sway in unison along with songs that move them emotionally, a fired up campaign rally crowd can whip out their cell phones to make a donation.

“With billionaires and super PACs drowning out the voices of hardworking Americans, text message campaign contributions can enhance the role of small donors and, combined with public matching funds, could provide a megaphone for the masses,” said Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign.

At first, some people will be excited when they see a text message from Obama or Romney responding to their contributions. But dialers beware: those messages will grow more frequent and kind of weird with requests and reminders from the candidates’ surrogates talking about “midnight” deadlines, “help me celebrate my anniversary,” and “I want to see you at the convention.”

That’s when the thrill starts feeling more like spam.

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What’s Sauce for Romney Isn’t Sauce for Obama

Published by Joyce Jones on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 8:45 am.

(Photos from left: Joe Raedle/Getty Images,Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

By Joyce Jones

Last week Mitt Romney’s campaign sent a group of hecklers to disrupt a rally in Boston led by Obama senior campaign strategist David Axelrod to target the former Massachusetts governor’s jobs record. It was tit for tat, according to Romney, who made an unfounded claim that Team Obama has done the same at events hosted by his campaign.

“Most of the events I go to, or many of the events I go to, there are large groups of, if you will, Obama supporters there heckling me,” Romney told reporters. “And at some point you say, ‘You know what, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.’ If they’re going to be heckling us, why we’re not going to sit back and play by very different rules.”

But apparently the rules change when it comes to comparisons of the opponents’ job creation records. Romney frequently complains when the president points to the economic crisis his administration inherited from former President George W. Bush to tout his administration’s achievements in moving the nation’s economy from the brink of disaster. Romney said at a fundraiser in San Diego recently that Obama is “very good at finding other people to blame.”

Now that Obama’s campaign has shifted its focus from Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney once led and that he frequently cites as the reason he’s best qualified to reduce stubbornly high unemployment in the U.S., Team Romney is singing the same song.

“He inherited a $3 billion projected deficit,” Ed Gillespie, a senior advisor to Romney, said on Fox News Sunday, responding to the decline in job creation during Romney’s tenure as governor.

“When Mitt Romney arrived, Massachusetts was an economic basket house,” top aide Eric Fehrnstrom said on ABC’s This Week.

Axelrod called such remarks “breathtaking hypocrisy” in a conference call with reporters this week, and he has a point. But that didn’t stop Kerry Healey, Romney’s lieutenant governor, from evoking the double standard in an interview with CNN’s John King Tuesday night.

“What voters want to know is what direction are you moving,” she said.

But what she and the other surrogates really meant, it seems, is that what’s sauce for Romney isn’t sauce for Obama.

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