Archive for June, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS JAVIER COLON!

 

Michele Bachmann Says John Quincy Adams Was ‘One Of Our Founding Fathers,’ Flubs Slavery Remarks (VIDEO)

“So then, right before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Presentational, he turned to Ty Cobb and said, ‘Did you read the section that allows Jackie Robinson to join the Dodgers in 1947?’”

Sarah Palin unfettered

Al Sharpton To Herman Cain: ‘Jon Stewart Is A Comedian, Your Policies Are A Joke’ (VIDEO)

President Obama frames 2012 campaign

GOP governors huddle on 2012 race

 As a ‘Potential’ Presidential Candidate, Life Is Good

The spin wars are already in full effect — with most of the chatter centering on just how much cash former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will bring in.

Romney aides insist he will raise something short of $20 million, while his rivals argue that floating such a total is an attempt by the campaign to lower expectations. (Romney did raise more than $10 million in a single day last month.)

Regardless of Romney’s final total, it’s clear from conversations with Republican operatives closely monitoring the race that fundraising has been difficult, and that the candidates’ totals will come nowhere near what the top GOP candidates brought in over a similar period in 2007.

Although some GOP fundraisers and operatives blame the economy for the shortfall, others contend that the lack of a daunting Republican candidate and the fluidity in the Republican race has left donors skittish.

In the first fundraising quarter of 2007 — the last presidential race started earlier four years ago, so almost all of the major candidates were in and raising cash in the first three months of the year — Romney led the way with $23.4 million raised, a total that included $2.35 million of his own money.

While Romney’s total was eye-popping, it was far from the only big number put up by Republican candidates. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani brought in $16.6 million, while Arizona Sen. John McCain collected $13.1 million.

Combined, the three men raked in nearly $53 million in their first quarter of active fundraising.

While there is an active debate about how much Romney will actually have raised when numbers start trickling in, which is likely to happen Friday, there is almost no one within the party who thinks the top three cash-collectors in this race will come anywhere close to equaling that 2007 total.

And, it’s possible that the top three candidates combined won’t even equal the $36 million that then-Texas governor George W. Bush raised in his first quarter of active fundraising in 1999. (And Bush did that with $1,000 contribution limits; the individual limits are now $2,500.)

What gives?

Republican strategists and fundraisers put much of the blame for the sluggish fundraising pace on the continued struggles of the economy.

“It’s the slow economy,” said Eric Tanenblatt, a Georgia-based Romney fundraiser. “I saw it in the 2010 midterms. It’s much more difficult to raise money today then 2007.”

Added Brian Jones, a Republican consultant with the Black Rock Group: “A political donation is an investment you may never see a return on, and people are more reluctant to make that bet than they were four years ago.”

Not everyone agrees.

“The argument that, in a $15 trillion economy, there is no money doesn’t make sense,” said GOP consultant Rob Collins.

Dig slightly deeper and Republicans also acknowledge that the economy alone isn’t to blame for the slower-than-expected fundraising totals.

The most commonly cited reasons for the relative GOP money drought is the continued instability of — and unhappiness with — the Republican field.

“I think the weak numbers reflect an attention deficit disorder among GOP donors,” said one senior Republican strategist not aligned with any 2012 candidate. “It’s the video game effect: you’re about to lock on to a target, and suddenly you’re distracted by something new on the screen.”

The past three months have been filled with chaos, as Govs. Mitch Daniels (Ind.) and Haley Barbour (Miss.) as well as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee decided not to run.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to be moving toward the race and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin remains a potential candidate too.

The continued search for a candidate also seems to belie a lingering discontent with the field. Polling bears that out. In a new New York Times/CBS poll, roughly seven in 10 Republicans said they wish they had more choices in the GOP presidential field, and two-thirds said they were not excited about any of the candidates running.

Regardless of the reason, the pace of Republican fundraising may well be the story when all of the second-quarter reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 15 — particularly given that President Obama’s 2012 campaign has set a goal of $60 million raised in the quarterPalin struggles in Alaska: We’ve known for a while that Sarah Palin didn’t exactly leave the governorship of Alaska with a whole bunch of goodwill to her name.

But a new poll shows it’s even worse than previously though.

The Hays Research poll shows Obama would beat her in her home state. Obama takes 42 percent in the poll, compared to 36 percent for Palin.

Just 25 percent of voters said they were committed to voting for Palin — a sharp rebuke of the governor, who resigned after two and a half years at the helm. More recently, it was reported that Palin has bought a house in Arizona.

MONEY TALKER – THE $15 TO $20 MILLION MAN – Mitt Romney will raise less than $20 million in the second fundraising quarter of the year, outdistancing his Republican primary rivals but failing to send a message of overwhelming financial force. Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho confirmed to the Wall Street Journal on the record that Romney will have raised between $15 million and $20 million for the quarter, and the paper reports that he will be getting some additional help from the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore our Future. The Journal: “A separate political entity created by supporters of Mr. Romney is expected to report at least $10 million, according to people close to the committee … None of Mr. Romney’s rivals are expected to raise more than $10 million in the quarter, with the possible exception of Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will report garnering less than $5 million.” http://on.wsj.com/kGUcdo

FLASHBACK TO 2007: Romney raised more than $21 million for his presidential campaign in his first quarter as a declared candidate last time around. He’ll fall well short of that mark this time. Fairly or unfairly, that takes some of the pressure off lower-performing primary candidates; it also means that if President Obama hits his announced fundraising target of $60 million, he’ll leave even the GOP frontrunner far behind in the dust. Republicans are already buzzing about what Romney’s number might mean for a certain Western governor who’s thinking about getting into the race if the right organizational and financial support is available.

Opinion: Anti-abortion hopefuls should sign pledge – Marjorie Dannenfelser

LOOKING BACK AT ‘08

POPULAR VOTE         ELECTORAL COLLEGE      STATES

Obama – 69,456,897  52.9%       365           28 + DC and Nebraska’s 2nd District

McCain – 59,934,814  45.7%           173                22

There are a total of 538 electoral votes; a candidates needs 270 to win. For a Republican to defeat President Obama on November 6, 2012, he or she will need to get every single vote that John McCain received in 2008 plus a significant amount of the independent voters who went for Obama. Is that a real possibility? If the economy improves between now and say, mid-October 2012, probably not. If it doesn’t, and depending on who the Republican candidate is, there’s a reasonable chance of that scenario occurring. But, even if President Obama wins re-election, it will most likely be by a smaller margin than he had in ’08.

NEWS

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) unveils Senate Democrats’ jobs agenda this a.m. [Thursday]at the Economic Policy Institute: “We have now been playing entirely on the Republicans’ field for six months, and the recovery has only slowed. … We need to start asking ourselves an uncomfortable question: Are Republicans slowing down the recovery on purpose for political gain in 2012? … Republicans aren’t just opposing the president any more, they seem to be opposing the economic recovery itself. If the public comes to believe that Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy, it will backfire politically…In the Senate, we will unabashedly pursue a comprehensive jobs agenda in the weeks and months to come. This ‘Jobs First’ Agenda will include … : 1. A Highway Bill that will put people back to work building critical infrastructure. 2.A National Infrastructure Bank, which both labor and the Chamber of Commerce have strongly supported. 3. Incentives to create clean energy jobs. 4. Reforming America’s high-skilled immigration system. 5. We will also pursue the bipartisan Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act to get China to reform its currency exchange rate practices. 6. It could also include an extension of the employee payroll tax cut passed as part of the tax cut deal in December, and could be extended to the employer side … 7. We will also look at reforming, simplifying, and making permanent the research and development tax credit. … 8. Finally, we will look to renew the so-called 48C program, which provides tax credits for qualified investments in green energy projects.”

Good Thursday morning. DAVID AXELROD tells the Aspen Ideas Festival how he found out about the bin Laden raid: “I happened to be at the White House on April 30th, which was the day before the bin Laden mission. And I went to visit the president, because that evening was the White House Correspondents’ dinner, and I usually help out on the joke-writing. [laughter] But we had lunch together … He had just come back from Alabama – those terrible storms, tornadoes, the damage. And we spent a lot of time talking about that. We talked about some of the people he had spoken with, and how devastating it was, and how moving it was. And then he went to Cape Canaveral and he saw Gabby Giffords, and he talked at some length about how well she’s doing, and how incredible and miraculous it was – because he had seen her right after she had been shot. And then … a guy I recognized as a briefer … from the National Security Council came in … The president asked me to leave. I didn’t think much of it.

“I came back in. We’re doing the jokes, and we came to a joke about Tim Pawlenty … [The conceit was that Pawlenty would be better off if his middle name weren’t ‘bin Laden.’ Obama slyly complained that was too ‘yesterday,’ and suggested ‘Hosni.’] And I’m thinking: “Hosni – that’s not very funny.” [laughter] He got 365 electoral votes; I didn’t get any. So it was ‘Hosni.’ … Did not know [about the raid]. And I have to tell ya: Very few people in the White House did. And then the next night – I had done some stuff in the morning; I was tired and I went to sleep. We were in D.C., my wife and I. And she woke me up and said, ‘You better get up. I think they got bin Laden.’ And I, like, throw my covers up, look at my Blackberry. They said, ‘Turn on the TV.’ And so at that moment, I realized why we had to change the joke. [laughter] …

“I spoke to him afterwards. He knew very well what all the stakes were. By the way [turning to onstage interviewer Joe Klein], you said, ‘He took the riskier course.’ But his view was that in terms of our ability to identify bin Laden, and also the collateral damage in that community, that would have been [the problem with] the bombing strategy. … He could not have NOT known that there were political aspects to this, as well – I mean, we all remember the Carter example, and so on. And he was very resolute, felt he had made the right decision. One of the great qualities he has – and I’ve seen it, Joe, not just in the last two months or three months, but for two years – is he makes decisions and he lives with those decisions. And he is comfortable with the decisions that he makes. And he understands that they could go well, and they could go badly. But once he makes them, he doesn’t look back.”

–How Obama told the joke at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the night before the SEAL raid: “Tim Pawlenty? He seems all American. But have you heard his real middle name? Tim ‘Hosni’ Pawlenty? (Laughter.) What a shame. (Laughter.)”

–In Aspen, onstage interviewer Joe Klein also elicited this memory from Axe in his effort to “strip-mine your memoirs a little bit”: “During the campaign … we were in Massachusetts for an event. … The Yankees were playing the Red Sox that weekend. The guy who was running the fundraiser handed Obama a Red Sox cap. There were 5,000 people waiting: ‘We want you to wear this cap.’ And [then-Sen. Obama] said, ‘You’re insane. I’m not wearing this cap.’ So he went out and he said, ‘They want me to wear a Red Sox cap. And I had to tell them, “They had the wrong-colored Sox.” Everybody booed. And he said, ‘But when you’re playing the Yankees, I’m a Red Sox fan.’ And at that moment, I thought, ‘This guy could be president.'”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

The level of disrespect President Obama endures on a daily basis is unprecedented and unending Mark Halperin apologizes for Obama gaffe. While I’m not sure if Mark Halperin should lose his job over this sad incident – I happen to believe that he’s a very good political reporter – it’s clear that he has some personal issues with the president and those definitely need to be dealt with both personally and professionally.

The hallmark of most conservative ideology is that once you make up your mind about something, you never, ever change it, even in the face of education, overwhelming facts and proof. Michele Bachmann said on Monday in her announcement statement, “I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa.” Keep in mind, Bachmann moved to Minnesota when she was 13 and has never lived in Iowa again.Did you learn “everything you needed to know” by the time you were 13? I know I sure as hell didn’t!

Anyone waiting for more candidates to enter the Republican field will have to wait until the 2nd quarter fundraising numbers are released next month (the deadline is the 15th). If Mitt “Suge” Romney’s numbers swamp those of his opponents’, it could tell the undecided that entering now could be a waste of time. And, if President Obama hits or comes close to the targeted $60 million his campaign was going for, that could have an effect as well. 

FINALLY

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane and spectacular Fourth of July weekend!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Los Angeles Dodgers File For Bankruptcy

Michele Bachmann 2012 Presidential Campaign Launches With Iowa Announcement (VIDEO)

“Hey Sarah, how ya like me now?”

Iowa Caucus 2012: Romney, Bachmann Lead In Poll

   Mitt “Suge” Romney                         Michele “Kelly” Bachmann

Opposing Views of Jon Huntsman’s Campaign

Jon Huntsman fever: Catch it here

Buzzkill: The problem with Jon Huntsman Hype

Jon Huntsman Steps Into the Republican Vacuum

Rep. Michele Bachmann: She’s had her share of government aid  I don’t care how you respond to something like this Chris Wallace Asks Michele Bachmann: ‘Are You A Flake?’, but the fact that an interviewer on a national news program feels comfortable enough to ask you such a question is very telling. I just wish somebody, anybody had asked Donald ***** when he was ranting and raving about the president’s birthplace a few weeks ago, “What the hell (I cleaned it up) is wrong with you?”

THE BUZZ – First Des Moines Register poll of the cycle – “Romney, Bachmann lead Republican pack,” by DMR’s Jennifer Jacobs: “Two-time candidate Mitt Romney and tea party upstart Michele Bachmann are neck and neck leading the pack, and retired pizza chief Herman Cain is in third place in a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of likely participants in the state’s Republican presidential caucuses. …Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and business executive, claims 23 percent, and Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman and evangelical conservative, garners 22 percent. …

“Newt Gingrich … is tied in fourth place at 7 percent with the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul, a longtime Texas congressman. Pawlenty is at 6 percent; Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, 4 percent; and Jon Huntsman, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, 2 percent. ‘The surprise here is how quickly Michele Bachmann is catching on,’ said Jennifer Duffy, a political analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report of Washington, D.C. ‘To me, she’s the one to watch’ … The caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 6, 2012.” Story http://bit.ly/kJRU8E Candidate-by-candidate breakdown http://bit.ly/keRJ30 –Email du jour: “I know you’re a busy guy, so let me summarize the Des Moines Reg poll for you: over 1/3 of likely GOP caucus goers think either Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain should lead the free world. If this trajectory continues, Messina et al should just take the next 16 months off.”

THREAT OR HOT AIR – YOU MAKE THE CALL

“Our campaign is going to survive and I’m going to be in it all the way and I believe I can win it” – Newt Gingrich speaking at a Tea Party bus tour event Saturday in Indianola, Iowa.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN — “Obama looks to lock up big money: President’s team eyes those who can max out donations,” by Tribune’s Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold: “Presidential Partners asks supporters to commit $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint project of the president’s Chicago-based campaign and the Democratic National Committee. That would put Democratic contributors at the maximum they are allowed to give national party committees for the 2012 cycle — leaving them unable to donate to the party’s congressional fundraising entities. .. While Obama continues to woo supporters at inexpensive fundraisers, his meetings with high rollers … could undercut the image he has tried to craft. About 115 donors have signed up to be Presidential Partners, one of three major programs to offer special access to campaign officials in exchange for contributions. …

“Presidential Partners … are required to sign a pledge to give $75,800 during the next two years — contributing the maximum of $5,000 to the Obama campaign, $61,600 to the DNC and $9,200 to a joint committee controlled by the campaign that will funnel money to key battleground states. In exchange, they, like other major donors, will be invited to quarterly campaign briefings ‘The idea was to get people to commit to give the maximum they had the ability to give over the two-year cycle,’ said a member of the campaign’s national finance committee … ‘For a lot of people, it’s very simple: They fill out one form; they’re done. They’ve committed to the president and there are no more phone calls.’ The program is similar to the party’s National Advisory Board, which has donors give the Democratic National Committee the maximum allowed under law for four years. But Presidential Partners requires the extra commitment to the Obama campaign.”

You can say stuff like this Rick Santorum: ‘There Is No Such Thing As Global Warming,’ ‘Drill Everywhere’ when you’re running behind Ralph Nader, the Easter Bunny, Bigfoot and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas in every poll.

I guess Chris Wallace, son of Mike, got a phone call from the executive branch of FOX News after his interview with Michele Bachmann Sunday Fox host apologizes for Bachmann ‘flake’ question

With Michele Bachmann’s increased popularity comes fresh scrutiny

NEWS

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

Wow, a whole Sunday without Newt “3 Wives So Far” Newton on any of the morning news show. How the hell did this happen? Call out the Tiffany Guard – I want answers!

New York Gay Marriage Legalization Transformed National Debate: Legal Experts Slowly but surely, equality is sweeping across America.

TOP TALKER – MAUREEN DOWD, “Why Is He Bi? (Sigh): When you are President Everything, do you risk standing for nothing?”: “HE was born this way. Bi. Not bisexual. Not even bipartisan. Just binary. Our president likes to be on both sides at once. In Afghanistan, he wants to go but he wants to stay. He’s surging and withdrawing simultaneously. He’s leaving fewer troops than are needed for a counterinsurgency strategy and more troops than are needed for a counterterrorism strategy – and he seems to want both strategies at the same time. Our work is done but we have to still be there. Our work isn’t done but we can go. On Libya, President Obama wants to lead from behind. He’s engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi while telling Congress he’s not engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi. On the budget, he wants to cut spending and increase spending. On the environment, he wants to increase energy production but is reluctant to drill. On health care, he wants to get everybody covered but will not press for a universal system. On Wall Street, he assails fat cats, but at cocktail parties, he wants to collect some of their fat for his campaign. …

“For others, bipartisanship means transcending their own prior political identities. For President Obama, it means that he participates in all political identities. He does not seem deeply affiliated with any side except his own. He was elected on the idea of bold change, but now – except for the capture of Osama and his drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen – he plays it safe. He shirks politics as usual but gets all twisted up in politics. The man who was able to beat the Clintons in 2008 because the country wanted a break from Clintonian euphemism and casuistry is now breaking creative new ground in euphemism and casuistry. … With each equivocation, the man in the Oval Office shields his identity and cloaks who the real Barack Obama is. … On some of the most important issues facing this nation, it is time for the president to come out of the closet.” http://nyti.ms/lTkJ9G

Obama shifts from consensus to instincts on key calls

President Barack Obama jokes with military personnel along a tarmac rope line before boarding Air Force One at Pittsburgh International Airport in Pittsburgh, Pa., June 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

2011 NBA draft team grades

Byron Scott (left) and the Cavs used two of the top four picks to select Kyrie Irving (right) and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland, Minnesota and Washington are obvious, but several teams passed with flying colors on draft day, including a handful of contenders. Sam Amick dishes grades to all 30 teams. I’d pay BIG money to know what Byron Scott was thinking while Irving was speaking to the media.

For Derek Jeter, on His 37th Birthday

RANDOM THOUGHTS

How do you think Roger Ailes’, the boss of FOX News would react if, say, Sean Hannity came to him and said, “You know Roger, I actually agree with the president on _____________ and I’d like to say so on the air tonight?” Would a) his head explode?, b) he hand Hannity a specimen cup and ask for a urine sample?, c) he be rendered deaf, dumb and blind on the spot?, d) he take out a pistol and shoot Hannity in the testicles? or e) he pull out a “fatty”, light it, take a couple of puffs and pass it to Hannity?

To many hard-core Mormons, Jon Huntsman is a “MINO” – Mormon In Name Only.

Sarah Palin’s biggest and most persistent problem, if in fact she actually runs for president, is that the American people made up their minds about her in 2008 and nothing she’s done since then, including this film Palin documentary, has or will change anyone’s view or her. Either you love her or you hate her. It’s really that simple. (BTW, she’s not going to run).

What Newt “3 Wives So Far” Gingrich calls a campaign strategy, others call desperation.

I guess Justin Bieber appearing on the BET Awards Sunday was payback for Darrius Rucker appearing on the Country Music Awards a couple of years ago. Although, to be fair about it, Rucker was nominated for an award (Best New Artist) which he won, while to the best of my knowledge, Bieber wasn’t up for “Best Male Teen Idol with A Girl’s Hairstyle.”

Oh to be a fly-on-the-wall of the Lakers draft room last Thursday as the executives and  scouts who’d been told several weeks ago that their contracts wouldn’t be renewed for next season – whenever and if there is one – participated in their last official actions for the organization. Think there wasn’t at least one tense moment when owner-in-waiting Jim Buss (think a less-experienced Prince Charles waiting for his father to die) asked oh say, on the way out the door assistant GM Ronnie Lester his opinion of a player on the draft board.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

 

 

      

DEPARTURE

Back before ESPN became the self-proclaimed “World-Wide Leader” in television sports, CNN had themselves a pretty damn good nightly sports show. Hosted by Nick Charles and Fred Hickman, Sports Tonight was the show many sports fans relied on for national stories and highlights in the early days of cable TV. In addition to setting the standard for what ESPN’s Sports Center eventually became, Sports Tonight boasted a black and white anchor team long before that became the norm in national television.

Sadly, Nick Charles lost his battle with bladder cancer on Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was 64.

FINALLY

It may seem like every time you turn on your TV or computer, or pick up your morning paper or weekly newsmagazine, you hear or read the words, “This is a defining moment for the president” or something along those lines. And while that sentiment may appear overused, the coming week will be a defining moment for President Obama, much like the one Bill Clinton had in 1995 when he told Newt Gingrich during a fight over the budget that eventually led to a shutdown of the federal government, “I simply can’t do what you want me to do. I don’t believe in it and I don’t believe it’s right for the country. And even if it costs me the election, I am not going to do this.” At some point in the next few days, Barack Obama will face such a situation and how he responds to it will tell the American people and his opponents everything they need to know about him and where he stands on some very fundamental issues.

 

 

 

 

HAPPY 37TH BIRTHDAY CAPTAIN!

June 26, 2011

Yankee Captain and all-time career hits leader Derek Jeter

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011

Tea party dilemma: What to do about Mitt Romney

“Read my lips: Vote for me or as God is my witness, me and my five sons will don our ‘Magic Mormon Underpants’, down a quart of milk, mount our trusty steeds and ride into your city while playing Donny and Marie Osmond songs from our Bose portable stereos at a volume that will render you motionless except for the ability to write my name on your ballot.”

Romney dominates GOP cash dash

Paul Ryan budget becomes litmus test for GOP primaries

Michele Bachmann to tour early states

Some of Tim Pawlenty’s top aides working for little or no pay, source says

Huntsman’s Path : The New Yorker

Cain: We won’t ‘buy votes’ in Iowa GOP straw poll Translation: “We don’t have any money.”

Herman Cain calls reporters who quoted him ‘stupid’ and Jon Stewart a racist

Staff quit because I’m different, Gingrich says No Newtie, they quit because you’re a L.O.S.E.R.

Newt Gingrich Says He Won’t Participate In Ames Straw Poll, Citing Financial Limitations I want to see the list of stuff “Mr and Mrs Toad decide are too wacky to say to the press/public. I mean, the stuff he does say is so over the top “ree-dic-u-lous”, the stuff left unsaid has to be even better.

Column: Palin has no shot in 2012

NEWS

Obama, Boehner Held Secret Debt Ceiling Meeting At White House

Joe Biden: Debt Ceiling Talks Now Up To Obama, Congressional Leaders  

Why Eric Cantor won’t (can’t) make the budget deal

Obama takes lead in debt talks

MESSAGE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC WHIP

It’s been six months since Republicans took the House majority, when they pledged to focus on creating jobs and growing the economy. In that time they’ve only brought one jobs bill to the House Floor, which we passed this week. The patent reform bill that was passed is part of Democrats’ Make It In America agenda to support invention and innovation in our economy. Beyond this bill, however, Republicans still haven’t put forward a comprehensive jobs agenda. Instead, they have brought bills to the Floor that are more focused on their partisan agenda than on creating jobs.

In contrast, Democrats are continuing to focus on our Make It In America agenda, a plan to support job creation by providing an encouraging environment for businesses to innovate and make products here in the U.S., which will help more families Make It In America. This agenda is one that both Democrats and Republicans can, and have, supported. I hope Republicans will work with us to help get Americans back to work, grow the economy and enact a plan to reduce the deficit.

We also must continue to move forward with discussions so that we can quickly take action on a balanced deal that reduces our deficit, includes spending cuts and revenues, and ensures that we pay America’s bills. – STENY H. HOYER

Column: Republicans need to become a more diverse party Breaking News: The sun rose in the East today!

Bill Simmons: The Sports Guy’s draft diary for the 2011 NBA draft

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Nothing less than the future status of the Iowa Caucus system is at stake in the current Republican campaign. With presumed front-runner Mitt “Suge” Romney declining to participate in the Ames Straw Poll and Jon “Puffy” Huntsman deciding not to even run in the state because of his firm opposition to ethanol subsidies – a very unpopular stance in a Corn belt state – it will be interesting to see how things eventually shake out. If either Romney or Huntsman can win the party’s nomination without fully running or running at all in Iowa, the very lucrative straw poll and caucus system will be at great risk. And, don’t think for a moment that New Hampshire, desperate to keep their own lucrative status as the “first primary in the nation”, isn’t keeping a nervous eye on Iowa.

The Newt “3 Wives So Far” Gingrich Saga is getting funnier and funnier by the day – “Philosophically, I am very different from normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with,” Gingrich said in a speech this week to the Atlanta Press Club – and I don’t mean funny in a “Ha, ha, ha” kind of way.

She has no chance of being elected president, but do not underestimate Michelle “Kelly” Bachmann in the GOP primary campaign. She can do the one thing none of the rest of the current candidates except for Mitt “Suge” Romney and Jon “Puffy” Huntsman can – raise  money on a national basis – and, she can’t be accused of flip-flopping on her positions. 

I was talking to a buddy of mine about Newt Gingrich the other day and when he said, “Gingrich is quickly becoming a ‘white Jesse Jackson’”, my only thought was, “Wow, who does that insult the most?”

I’m trying to decide if I care what Al Gore thinks about President Obama…Nope.

When we live in a world where Florence and the Machine and Bruno Mars are the Friday concerts on GMA and TODAY respectively, you know we’re in a depression when it comes to popular music.

As a general rule, I’m against remakes, but the new ‘Footloose’ trailer actually intrigues me.

Every foreign player selected in the NBA draft Thursday is taking away a lucrative job from an American. I’m just saying…

FINALLY

Herman Cain makes Michael Steele look like Huey Newton.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2011

Jon Huntsman For President: 2012 Announcement Kicks Off Campaign (VIDEO)

“Hey, it’s that guy I used to work for in China. What’s his name again? O,o,o, something. Oh well, I’m off  to not being the GOP nominee next year.”

Newt Gingrich 2012 Campaign Finance Team Quits

“Where the f**k did everybody go?”

Tim Pawlenty to bring back ‘Obamneycare’

Harry Reid: Mitt Romney ‘doesn’t know who he is’

Huntsman bets on electability

Bachmann: Obama has ‘Failed the African American Community’

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War

NOT A GOOD HEADLINE – “The anatomy of gaming a straw poll” – Jmart pulls back the curtain on RLC intrigue: Jon Huntsman surprised the political world on Saturday when he came in second at the Republican Leadership conference straw poll in New Orleans. Now, POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin reports that a small group of New Orleans operatives helped work the event for Huntsman , even busing in non-Republicans to stack the vote. Jmart reveals an email invitation offering recipients the chance to “go to the conference, meet with an insider from a presidential campaign, participate in conference, participate in a straw poll, then head back to Lakeview harbor for refreshments. There is no cost involved and it does not matter what your party affiliation is. The whole thing should last between two to three hours.” Read on: http://politi.co/iPe43i

CASH SCRAMBLE BEGINS – THE MORMON PRIMARY: Both Huntsman and Mitt Romney are headed to Salt Lake City this week to compete for major LDS donors, and several Utah Republicans tell the Washington Post that “Huntsman and his supporters have been calling Romney donors and asking them to consider giving to Huntsman, too.” At the same time as he courts members of the conservative church, Huntsman’s also raising money off his support for civil unions. POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman reports: “[An] email from Charles T. Moran, a vice chair with the California Log Cabin Republicans and a political consultant, highlights Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye’s support for the LGBT community, adding as Utah’s governor he’s ‘talked the talk and walked the walk,’ and is ‘unique in his desire to have a fully inclusive campaign.'” http://wapo.st/jIdgkc

HUNTSMAN: St. Petersburg Times’ Adam C. Smith: “By this time in the 2008 presidential cycle both John McCain and Mitt Romney had lined up considerate political talent in Florida. This year is different. … The big exception is Jon Huntsman, who has opened up his national campaign headquarters in Orlando at the intersection of Church Street and Orange Ave. Along with a Floridian national campaign manager, Suzie Wiles, and Florida state director Nikki Jerger Lowery, he has brought on board some other respected political pros, including former state GOP executive director David Johnson, respected and tough to pronounce Marc Reichelderfer (a former Romney adviser), and Alex Castellanos Jr.” http://bit.ly/iJ61Om

BREAKING IN THE MONEY RACE – DEMS RIDE OBAMA COATTAILS – The three Democratic campaign committees outraised their GOP counterparts by nearly $5 million last month, bringing in a combined $18.4 million to the GOP’s $13.9 million. The strongest Democratic advantage came from the DNC, which raised $10.5 million with a lot of help from President Barack Obama, versus $6.2 million for the RNC. The Democratic war chest is now more than 50 percent larger than the GOP’s: Democratic committees have $29.6 million in the bank and Republican committees have $18.5 million. The debt contest is still a tossup: Republican committees owe $25.5 million. The DNC and DCCC owe a combined $20.1 million, but the DSCC has not yet disclosed its debt. The NRCC was the only Republican committee to out raise its Democratic rival, beating the DCCC by some $800,000.

TIM PAWLENTY visited POLITICO World Headquarters yesterday (Tuesday the 21st) for cookies, coffee, and conversation. Excerpts:

JONATHAN MARTIN: “Governor, you’re going up on TV, I understand, in Iowa. Why are you doing that ad? What do you think the impact of that will be, in [the] straw poll and also on caucuses?”

PAWLENTY: “Iowa caucuses are in February or in January. So, it’s six or seven months away. The straw poll is in 50 or so days. And so, this is part of our continuing process to get better known in Iowa and make our case to Iowa Republicans.” …

JMART: “And you expect to win the straw poll; right?”

PAWLENTY: “No, we haven’t said that. Where’d you come up with that?”

JMART: “Well, I’m just asking.” [Laughter.]

PAWLENTY: “No, we say that we need to do and want to do very well there, but we don’t necessarily -”

JMART: “What does that mean?”

PAWLENTY: ” Well, I think you want to be one of the top 10 finishers.”

JMART: “Come on.” [Laughter.]

PAWLENTY: “You know, we haven’t put a number on it, but I think we’ve got to do reasonably well. I don’t know that we have to win it, but we’ve got to do reasonably well, one of the top, you know, few finishers.” …

JOHN F. HARRIS: “What do you see as the biggest threat now … when you look at the lay of the land?” …

PAWLENTY : “[M]y view of the race is there are people who are well-known and kind of known commodities. There is … another group that’s going to be emerging, and I think for some of us there’s a lot of upside that’s not yet been captured and will be captured over the next eight months and that will be the tale of the tape going forward. … [E]verybody is going to say many of the same things on the key issues of the day, but there are very few candidates in the race who have actually done it. So, one of our themes, not our only theme, is going to be: You want leaders who are seasoned, tested, and have the fortitude and the persistence to drive these things to results, because anybody can get up and give a good speech, but have you actually done these things? So, on spending, on taxes, on healthcare reform, on school reform, on dealing with National Guard issues, dealing with immigration issues, dealing with economic issues, tax issues, job issues, there are very few people in the race that have even a direct record on most of these things. I do, and it’s a good one.”

PLAYBOOK: “Will we hear you say the word ‘Obomneycare’ in the future?”

PAWLENTY: “Yes. … [W]e were going to use the debate as an opportunity to introduce myself and my record in Minnesota. I’m not averse to having a debate with Mitt on health care or anything else. I mean, man, I’m an old hockey player — I’ve been in probably more fights than all of the guys on the stage combined. … I’ll probably use the word again. I might change it to something else, but you know, it will be the same or similar. I kind of like ‘Robamacare.'” [Laughter.] … The “I’m an old hockey player” line is already getting old. Pun fully intended.

JAMES HOHMANN: “Are you concerned that the conservative movement and the other Republican candidates are going wobbly on the war [in Afghanistan]?” …

PAWLENTY: “I wish I would have been able to answer that question in the debate because it only got asked to two or three people, and they took a different tack than I would have taken, and I don’t like the drift of the Republican Party to what appears to be a retreat or a move more towards isolationism. … I think we need to have enough capacity in or around Afghanistan going forward to be able to identify any threats to the national security interests of the United States and promptly defeat it. Now, that is going to require us to be there a while longer, but in the meantime we also got to build up their police and security forces so they can take on more of that load themselves, and I would then not draw down these troops according to any arbitrary deadline.

“I supported … President Obama’s surge of the troops, but I was very disappointed that he also simultaneously announced the withdrawal and deadline in the same speech, and of course he had to walk that back in the ensuing months because of the folly of it, but it reflects, I think, a political thinking on his part rather than allowing the conditions on the ground and a sharp definition of the mission to determine what we do next. So, I don’t think he should put arbitrary numbers and deadlines out there.”

NEWS

Obama Announces Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal In Speech To Nation

Democrats Largely Disappointed With Obama’s Afghanistan Announcement I’ll give the GOPers this much; they weren’t out there publicly tearing down ‘Dubya no matter how f***ed up his actions and policies were. I swear, with “friends” like this…

Obama Speech On Afghanistan Prompts Reaction From GOP Presidential Candidates Too bad none of them knows what the hell they’re talking about.

Mitch McConnell: GOP More Willing To Be Isolationist Because There’s A Democratic President (VIDEO) Well, duh! I’ll give “Mushmouth” credit for being honest if nothing else.

Eric Cantor Pulls Out Of Debt Ceiling Talks

“Could have kept my half black/half white ass in the Senate, written a few more books, have weekends off, but nooooooo, I just had to go and make history as the first African-American president in history.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Those who think that the GOP won’t eventually come up with a strong candidate to run against President Obama, should heed the words of Mitch McConnell ’12 could be ’80.

I wonder what the over/under is in Vegas on how long it takes “Mrs Toad #4” to file for divorce once “Mr Toad” drops out of the race. Officially that is, because the race actually ended for him several weeks ago whether he admits it or not.

Not having your website up and running and not having it on the podium when you announce your entry into the presidential race, the one day that you’re guaranteed to get press coverage, is the kind of mistake you make when you’re ad-libbing your way through things. Isn’t that right former Obama administration ambassador Jon Huntsman?

NBC may not be able to handle a transition in late-night, but the News Department has learned how to seamlessly move from one anchor to another. Brian Williams moved into the Nightly News chair after Tom Brokaw, Ann Curry has some people forgetting all about Meredith Vieira and, after a bit of awkwardness at the start of his run, David Gregory has put his stamp on Meet The Press after replacing the legendary Tim Russert.

It’s his and Mrs Toad #4’s money and they can spend it in any fashion or place their cold-blooded little heart’s desire. HOWEVER, if you’re running for president as a “fiscal conservative”, this kind of headline Newt Gingrich Tiffany’s Controversy Revived As Campaign Acknowledges Second Credit Line At Jewelry Store doesn’t help at all.

If you’ve ever wondered how some athletes go broke after making MILLIONS of dollars during their careers, here’s a clue: former Nugget and current Knick Carmelo “Mr La La Vasquez” Anthony recently sold his Denver area mansion for $6.2 million. This was $3.3 million below the original listing price last year and $6 million less than he paid for it in 2007.

 

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

Boehner: “Two Republicans, a Democrat and a black guy walk into a golf club…”

Huntsman, Former China Envoy, to Run Against Obama

Tim Pawlenty 2012 Campaign Taking ‘Field Of Dreams’ Approach

Republican candidates: GOP lacks a strong contender from the South

Texan Perry Sizes Up Roadblocks to GOP Bid

The Herman Cain Show, and let’s be brutally honest about this – that’s all it is and ever will be – rolls on In heated presser, Cain discusses the Fed, abortion and gun rights.

MATT BAI on Jon Huntsman, in next Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “‘Is It Always Like This?'”: “I first met [John] Weaver, a longtime professional and personal rival of Karl Rove, aboard John McCain’s Straight Talk Express in 2000. Weaver was one of McCain’s small coterie of adoptive little brothers, furtive and a bit mysterious but also creative and, over drinks at one or another hotel bar, surprisingly idealistic. … Political strategists are forever in search of the next big thing, some undiscovered talent who might someday be enshrined in marble – or at least make them household names the way Bush did for Rove or the way Obama did for David Axelrod. It was during his second go-around with McCain that Weaver met Governor Huntsman, who campaigned for McCain as one of his national chairmen. (The other was Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who is also running for president.) In Huntsman, Weaver saw another less doctrinaire candidate who could embody the same kind of bigness that had so captivated him in McCain. …

“A lot of political handicappers – particularly those on the left, who tend to view the Republican base as monolithic and somewhat medieval – doubt that Huntsman can even win enough delegates to earn himself a decent speaking slot at the convention. … Some of the more sober-minded Republican insiders in Washington and New Hampshire, though, persuaded me that by distancing himself from some of the party’s more populist influences, Huntsman was giving Republican and independent voters an option that could not be so easily dismissed. This judgment has little to do with data and more to do with what Huntsman calls the vacuum in the Republican field.

“Huntsman’s bet is that some critical mass of moderate Republicans and independents – and there are still plenty of both in New Hampshire – can be persuaded to rally around a less ideological candidate who isn’t going to get personal or shape-shift, even if they don’t love all of his positions. If he can instigate a McCainian uprising in New Hampshire, where the lack of a competitive Democratic race this year should make for a heavier turnout among independent voters on the Republican side than in either 2004 or 2008, the fuse might then burn right through South Carolina and Florida, where Mary Kaye grew up and where Huntsman has based his campaign. … Is he just trying to get a little experience in the arena, in advance of 2016? Is he hoping for a bank shot to the vice presidency? Does he just want to be heard? Huntsman laughs off such questions. ‘That would suppose we actually had some master plan,’ he says. ‘Who knows where you’re going to be in 2016? Who knows what your family’s going to look like, what your health’s going to be like, what the world’s going to look like? Those things are impossible to forecast or to plan around.'” http://nyti.ms/mLYEP6

POLITICO’S “MORNING SCORE” – 6/20/11 – 5 QUESTIONS ON 2012 – We’re getting one more announced presidential candidate, while even more line up in the wings. Here are a few of our top questions for the week ahead:

(1) How many times will Jon Huntsman mention Barack Obama in his announcement speech? (Tim Pawlenty said his name 11 times. Mitt Romney said it eight times.)
(2) Who is the most prominent non-Texan officeholder who will push for a Rick Perry presidential run?
(3) Will Tim Pawlenty attack Mitt Romney in any public appearances, without being prompted by an interviewer?
(4) When will her fellow congressional Republicans start sharing what they really think about Michele Bachmann?
(5) How will the White House respond if gay marriage becomes legal this week in New York?   

GOP magic trick: Making George W. Bush vanish

L-R Donald Rumsfield, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Rumsfield: “How the ‘f’ did I end up working for an idiot and Satan?” 

NEWS

THIS IS “MUST-SEE TV!”

Jon Stewart LIVE On Fox News, Tells Host ‘You’re Insane’ (VIDEO)

If Chris Wallace’s marching orders Sunday were to go out and defend the FOX News “brand” against Jon Stewart, he failed miserably. (My apology to the word “miserably”, but that’s the best I come up with to describe Wallace’s pitiful performance on his own show).

It’s Still the Economy, Stupid

Bill Clinton, the 42nd president has more than a dozen ideas on how to attack the jobs crisis.

Interesting Column Entry from Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback (6/20/11) on si.com:

 Vancouver must be addressed.

We all saw the ridiculous display in Vancouver on Wednesday night after the hometown Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. A scarier view into the future I haven’t seen in some time. The callousness of hundreds of people (it wasn’t 10 or 20 or 60; we’re talking hundreds of people taking the law into their hands and ransacking portions of a city) cannot be dismissed by saying, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of drunks who got carried away after a game.”

What possesses people to BURN police cars? To slash fire hoses so fires can’t be put out? To pose, smiling and laughing, in front of burning cars and smashed plate-glass windows? That’s what I found the most stunning Wednesday night. Video of the so-called normal people, 25ish fans, men/women, running to pose in front of a burning BMW, putting up thumbs-up signs, or victory signs, and smiling. Normal people think it’s cool. Average people, maybe out on a date night or whatever they were doing out on the street, probably with normal jobs and lives, running to pose in front of a burning car … What were they thinking? “Let me have a cool memory of the riots of 2011!”

It’s encouraging that scores of volunteers showed up all day Thursday to clean up the mess. That’s a hopeful sign. But those Wednesday night scenes left me as scared about our future as anything I’ve seen in a long time. Why do I get the feeling that the thing that disturbed Mr. King the most was seeing a bunch of white people rioting for no apparent reason? Change the venue to say, Miami and the crowd to predominantly African-American after the NBA Finals and I doubt very seriously that he’d write the same words.

Tweet of the Weekend

“Holy heaven. Maui is so pretty I want to take it out for drinks and get it pregnant.” – Actress Olivia Wilde who was attending the Maui Film Festival, where she received the Shining Star award.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

When you say something like John McCain: Illegal Immigrants Caused Arizona Wildfires without presenting a shred of supporting evidence – On Sunday, Tom Berglund, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman, told ABC News that there is no evidence that illegal immigrants had caused the Wallow fire. “Absolutely not, at this level,” Berglund said. “There’s no evidence that I’m aware, no evidence that’s been public, indicating such a thing.” – one has to wonder what the hell happened to John McCain in the last three years.

Some may call me naïve, but I get the feeling that if he didn’t have to give the Tea Party even cursory attention, House Speaker John Boehner would be more than willing to sit down with President Obama and other Democrats and craft an “adult” solution to raising the debt ceiling along with responsible spending cuts.

Poor Chris Wallace. I almost felt sorry for him Sunday. Almost being the key word. For me, the best and most telling part of the interview with Jon Stewart was when on more than one occasion, Stewart pointed out in poll after poll, FOX’s viewers are consistently deemed the most misinforme­d, and Wallace had no response other than a grimace.

When Herman “Godfather of Soul Pizza” says stuff like – “I’m driving my staff crazy, but I be the candidate, OK?” – as he did during a Saturday press conference in Minneapolis, I cringe as a black man and rejoice as a Democrat and wish I could  contribute enough money to keep his “show” on the road for as long as possible. He makes MC Michael Steele look downright presidential by comparison. “I be the candidate, OK?” That’s pure comedy gold, I tell you. Gold!

So, say you’re a former John Edwards or Anthony Weiner staffer. How do you handle that on your resume now?

I’m no comic-book geek nor was I one growing up, but even I know that Green Lantern ranks fairly low on the “Super-Hero” totem pole, so the fact that there’s a movie about him absolutely mystifies me. I mean, who really cares. Now, make a movie with Batgirl, Catwoman and Supergirl and I’m there in a flash. Get it? “In a flash.” Never mind.

Something tells me that we haven’t heard/read the last of the recently retired Shaquille O’Neal’s possible involvement in a bizarre  kidnapping and beating Man testifies gang beat him over Shaquille O’Neal sex tape case in Los Angeles.

Get ready for the media to try and turn US Open winner Rory McEllroy into the “next Tiger Woods.” 

CONGRATULATIONS!

KISHA COLLIER, 2011 FIDM GRADUATE

 

 

 

              

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011

Republican Presidential Campaigns: Outsiders vs. Insiders

KID GLOVES FOR MITT

Herman Cain campaigns in black and white

“And another thing: Barack Obama is only half-black!  Herman Cain is black through and through!”

Mitt Romney Refuses To Sign Pro-Life Pledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Right this way Mr Romney. Neckties are on your right, principles on your left.”

WATCH: Joe Scarborough’s EPIC Meltdown About Newt Gingrich This is funny. I’d LOVE to see Newtie on “Morning Joe” just for the hell of it.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Michele Bachmann Has Real Faith And That Gives Her Real Power She’s actually turning into Sarah Palin’s worst nightmare – a crazy woman being taken seriously.

Herman Cain: No ‘Special Precautions’ For Muslims In Government

  “And, I hate bean pies too!

Perry rouses New Orleans crowd as slow build to possible presidential campaign continues

Ron Paul Wins Straw Poll At 2011 Republican Leadership Conference

“Wait, wait, I’ve got lots more craziness for you!”

 Issue for Jon Huntsman: The family business

Jon “Puffy” Huntsman and Huntsman Corporation

Obama’s Twitter takeover

 Voter Registration Event – Saturday, June 18, 2011

36 new voters, 2 Vote By Mail voters, and 42 “I’m In” cards at the Universal City Metro Station (Los Angeles, CA).

NEWS

No gimmes at ‘golf summit’

Morning Joe: Why Crenshaw High School is getting it right

E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons dies at 69 [Updated: Bruce Springsteen issues statement]

Len Bias’ tragic death 25 years remains a seminal sports moment

NBA history in the late 1980s and early 90s, particularly in the Eastern Conference, would have been MUCH different with Len Bias on the Celtics.

Dan Patrick finds life after ESPN is sweet

Radio and TV sports personality Dan Patrick, center, and his crew, Todd Fritz, left, Andrew Perloff, Paul Pabst and Patrick O’Connor, at their studio in Milford, Conn. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / April 19, 2011

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Even if it’s proven that Jon Huntsman broke the law Was Jon Huntsman campaigning while he was still ambassador? it wouldn’t make sense for the Obama administration to bring charges against him because if they did, they would be signaling that they really do fear their former ambassador to China as a legitimate threat for next year.

The best/ironic thing about the president playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner is that for once, he can’t be criticized by Republicans for being out on the course.

I’m willing to do my part to keep Mitt “Suge” Romney unemployed.

Maybe it’s just the cynic in me,  but I guess in all his years in the business, particularly at ESPN, Dan Patrick never met a woman or person of color worth bringing into his inner circle. 

Tiger who?

I will never spend another dollar at Dodger Stadium as long as anyone named McCourt has anything to do with owning the team and or stadium. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Whatever happened to Cuba Gooding, Jr?

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

 “There, there John. You’re still the Speaker of the House…For now.”

 FINALLY

R.I.P. “BIG MAN”

Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011

THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE – 2012 I personally believe it’s going to come down to the economy and where it is a year from today, but exactly what are Republicans looking for – a “perfect” candidate? – among those who aren’t already in the race. Jon Huntsman WORKED for the president, Chris Christie is a corpulent, sweating first-term governor whose popularity at home is dropping faster than Anthony Weiner’s underpants, Rick Perry is a governor who openly and proudly flirted with the idea of his state seceding from the Union two years ago, Rudy Giuliani couldn’t win a primary if it was held in his own home and the most fawned over Republican politician in recent memory, Sarah Palin, is an ignorant quitter who, if she somehow actually won the GOP nomination, would run the funniest, and not in a good “ha, ha, ha” kind of way, (think “Oh my God, did she really say that out loud?”) campaign ever. If I were advising the GOP, and frankly, no one has asked me to, here’s what I’d tell them: “You people need to come to your senses, forget about his being a Mormon and having passed Romneycare, and throw everything you’ve got behind Mitt “Suge” Romney right now so he can spend the next 16 months gathering support and honing his economic message against President Obama.” Fortunately, for Democrats and America, they’re too stupid to do that and so, we’ll get to watch people like Michelle “Kelly” Bachmann, Herman “Godfather of Soul Pizza” Cain, Newt “3 Wives So Far” Gingrich, Ron “Senior Crazy” Paul, Tim “Mr Charisma” Pawlenty and Rick “Snowball’s Chance In Hell” Santorum crisscross America in their quest to lose to Barack Obama on November 6, 2012.

NEW MITT ROMNEY BUMPER STICKER: “RomneyCare – Good; ObamaCare – Bad”

GOP BUMPER STICKER – “Our Wars – Good for America; Obama’s Wars – Bad for America”

I assume that there have been worse presidential campaigns in the long history of American politics, but for the life of me, I can’t imagine one in recent times being as bad as Newton Leroy Gingrich’s current one Newt Gingrich Criticizes Departed Staffers, NBC News, For Bashing His Wife.

Joss Stone? Why in the world would anyone want to kidnap Joss Stone? I mean, sure, she’s not the greatest fake soul-singer in the world and she may or may not have slept with Raphael Saadiq, but when did either of those acts become a crime?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011

New Hampshire Debate: Mitt Romney Untouched By Rivals, Goes On Offense Against Obama

(L-R) Rick “Snowball’s Chance In Hell” Santorum, Michelle “Kelly” Bachmann, Newt “3 Wives So Far” Gingrich, Mitt “Suge” Romney, Ron “Senior Crazy” Paul, Tim “Mr. Charisma” Pawlenty, and Herman “Godfather of Soul Pizza” Cain

GOP rivals let Romney off easy

Gibbs: Debate looked like a ‘rerun’

How the candidates sliced Obama

GOP hopefuls recycle energy talking points

John King: The grunting moderator

Is Michele Bachmann now first-tier?

Darrell West: “With her strong performance, she made conservatives forget about Sarah Plain.”

Last night’s debate winners: Romney, Bachmann, and the Tea Party… Last night’s losers: Aplenty, Gingrich, and anyone who wanted a serious, substantive conversation on the economy… Recapping Osama’s economic talk with NBC’s Ann Curry… The president’s day in Puerto Rico… The Biden talks on debt ceiling/deficit restart on Capitol Hill at 2:00 pm ET… Presidential maybe Rick Perry in the spotlight in New York City… And the day after the debate, Romney and Gingrich are in NH, Santorum is in Iowa, and Huntsman (who didn’t participate in the debate) discusses foreign policy with Henry Kissinger in the Big Apple.

By NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenici Montana, and Ali Weinberg

*** Last night’s winners and losers: Although last night’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire turned out to be standard fare for an early debate — with no fireworks and no heated exchanges — we learned some things. One, Michele Bachmann announced she filed her paperwork to run for president (when is the last time that’s happened at a presidential debate? That’ll get copied in 2016, mark our words). Two, having previous presidential debating experience like Mitt Romney had certainly helps (though it didn’t end up benefiting John Edwards in ’08 in the long run, just at the very early debates). Three, if you try to pick a fight the day before the debate, as Tim Aplenty did, you better follow through (or face the post-game consequences). And four, the debate was a contest to prove who was the most anti-Obama, anti-government, and most pro-Tea Party (“Anyone on this stage would be a better president than Obama,” Romney said). Now on to last night’s winners and losers…

*** Practice makes perfect for Romney: The clearest individual winner was Romney. He performed as well as he did at any other debate in 2007-2008, which just goes to prove that practice makes perfect. He was confident and engaged. What’s more, he emerged relatively unscathed — receiving only fingernail scratches from Rick Santorum (on his authenticity on abortion) and Aplenty (more on that below). Yet as National Journal’s Reinhardt writes, he probably won’t get off as easily in upcoming debates. Perhaps most important for Romney, his message was better tailored to independent voters than the rest of the field (though it was striking that he decided not to criticize Osama’s views on NASA/space, given the industry’s importance in Florida). His most puzzling comment came when he seemed to argue against the Bush Doctrine regarding military involvement in places like Iraq and Afghanistan: “I also think we’ve learned that our troops shouldn’t go off and try to fight a war of independence for another nation — only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan’s independence from the Taliban.” Does he believe this about Iraq as well? If so, we didn’t hear that in ’07-’08. Also, Romney ducked answering the debt-ceiling question and no one followed up on it.

*** Bachmann: The most credible anti-Romney candidate? Another winner was Bachmann, who likely will continue to dominate the anti-Obama one-liners and rhetoric throughout the debate season. As soon as she appeared on stage and as soon as she announced that she filed her paperwork to run for president, the Herman Cain Experiment seemed to be over. She stumbled on the gay marriage answer and muddled her facts on a few issues, but her supporters won’t care about that. Just from watching last night’s debate, she has the potential to be the most credible anti-Romney in the GOP field, especially considering the order of the contests with Iowa first. Of course, that’s what Team Romney is hoping for. Indeed, last night’s debate played out almost exactly how we saw it playing out last week — Bachmann dominated the process of the debate and allowed Romney to “win” it.

*** We’re all Tea Partiers now: The other big winner was the Tea Party. Indeed, it sounded like all the candidates — even Romney — were reading off the Dick Armey, Freedom Works, and Americans for Prosperity script. So many of last night’s answers were about what the government SHOULDN’T be doing rather than what it SHOULD be doing (other than get out of the way). But that rhetoric raises this question: If the federal government should stay out of the way — and if the 10th Amendment is so cherished — why run for president? Why not stay governor of Massachusetts or Minnesota? One person who struggled a tad on the 10th Amendment talking point was Rick Santorum, even though he’s fully embraced much of the economic rhetoric. After all, it’s hard to legislate morality as Santorum wants to do when the GOP sounds more and more like the Libertarian Party. And that has to bring a smile to Ron Paul’s face. Bachmann is as much a social conservative as Santorum in her voting record, but notice her consistency on the 10th Amendment when it comes to gay marriage — a distinction from Santorum. Though, it was notable how she had to fix her answer three times.

*** The biggest loser: Aplenty: If there was one big loser last night, it was Pawlenty. Coming into the debate, no one raised the prospect of attacking Romney more than he did (with his “ObamneyCare” line). But when Pawlenty got into the batter’s box, he didn’t even swing; in fact, he struck out looking. After the debate in the spin room, his campaign dismissed that criticism, saying that Pawlenty didn’t give the answer news outlets were hoping he’d give. But there’s one problem with that explanation: It was the Pawlenty campaign that called SO MUCH attention and promotion to the candidate’s dig at Romney before the debate. Either the candidate doesn’t agree with his advisers on strategy or the campaign doesn’t agree on strategy; either way, that’s not a sign of a winning campaign. Seven months from now, Pawlenty could very well end up regretting this missed opportunity. And it underscores the early challenge for Pawlenty: The Minnesota Nice Guy wants to be the tough-talking Tea Party conservative, but he personally just may not be comfortable in that role.

*** Good Newt, Bad Newt: That brings us to Newt Gingrich. Oh, boy. A week after his campaign imploded, the former speaker delivered a very uneven performance, displaying both Good Newt and Bad Newt. Good Newt: his elegant argument on the space program. Bad Newt: his “loyalty oath” rant on Muslims serving in the U.S. government. “I just wanna go out on a limb here,” he said last night. “I am in favor of saying to people, ‘If you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period.’” More: “We did this in dealing with the Nazis, and we did this in dealing with the Communists. And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered, after a while, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country, and we have got to have the guts to stand up and say, ‘No’.” Unfortunately for Gingrich, that McCarthy-like line isn’t going to help him after his rough news last week.  

*** The absence of a serious, substantive discussion on the economy: The other big loser of the night was a serious, substantive discussion on the economy. After spending the last few weeks criticizing the Obama administration on this subject, not a single GOP presidential candidate offered a convincing plan on how to create jobs. We heard plenty about lower taxes and less regulation. The problem: Taxes are already at their lowest level since the 1950, and that hasn’t really jump-started the economy. Moreover, there was little regulation during the Bush administration, and that didn’t produce a wave of jobs between 2001 and 2009.

Huckabee: TPaw’s ‘overcoached’

Mike Huckabee surfaced on Laura Ingraham’s radio show today [Tuesday] for some post-debate analysis, in which he dissected Tim Pawlenty’s on-stage problems and swatted his old rival, Mitt Romney: “I would say that the number one thing, and I am going to go back to my friend Tim Pawlenty, is that he needs to get rid of some of his consultants. I saw this with Romney four years ago and I am seeing it with Pawlenty now. Overcoached. Overconsulted. Get rid of them.”

Newt Gingrich Charity Paid Cash To Gingrich For-Profit Business

Gingrich: ‘I feel liberated’ by shake-up

Jon Huntsman 2012 announcement countdown begins with video

Puerto Rico: Obama makes first presidential visit since John F. Kennedy

A NARRATIVE TAKES HOLD – BACHMANN BREAKS THROUGH – The Washington Post’s Dan Balz writes in an analysis that the Minnesota congresswoman has joined Romney and Tim Pawlenty in the ranks of candidates to be reckoned with, dubbing her “the only other clear winner Monday” beside Romney. Balz: “Bachmann showed stage presence and a flair for attracting attention to herself. She lacks the experience of Pawlenty, a two-term former governor, but she could become a real force in Iowa, the state Pawlenty knows he must win to be Romney’s chief challenger next year … Bachmann’s debate performance was just that, a good showing in a single event. For her, the question is what she does with it … The rest of the Republican field will struggle for attention. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has a campaign in deep trouble. Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) was overshadowed. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has his followers but not much more. [Herman] Cain also has some support but will have more trouble expanding it after Monday.” http://wapo.st/ihio7P

THEY REALLY LIKE HER – The second-day debate headlines tell the story: USA Today, “Debate showing elevates Bachmann to higher tier” … The Christian Science Monitor: “Is she the Mike Huckabee of 2012?” … The Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Debate score: Bachmann 1, Pawlenty 0” … The New York Times Caucus blog, “Bachmann used debate to widen her appeal” … Gallup notes that Bachmann starts her campaign with 62 percent name recognition among Republicans nationally: http://bit.ly/ile9Dy

HUNTSMAN GETS HUGE INSIDER PUSH : Several prominent Bush names are siding with Jon Huntsman, who formally announces his campaign Tuesday. A rooftop HPAC reception-fundraiser in D.C. tonight is sold out and over capacity. Juleanna Glover, one of the co-chairs, emails: “I’d asked some uncommitted heavy-hitter funder and policy types to come as my guests … but I had to disinvite them since there is just no more room (they’ll attend another event later this month). Without exception every GOP member, staffer, donor, policy wonk with whom I’ve spoken (except those on other presidential campaign payrolls of course!) wants to see Huntsman up-close and in action – the interest is profoundly intense.” Levels — Co-Chair: $1,000 (give or raise), Host: $250 (give or raise), Attend: $100, Young Professionals Attend: $50. Obama Campaign must link Huntsman Campaign to eight years of failed Bush 43 policies.

NEWS

Obama Says Biden Debt Ceiling Talks Making Progress Toward Budget Deal

“Nine of the 10 districts throughout the U.S. with the most people age 45-54 are represented by Republicans, including [Rep.] Fitzpatrick, a Bloomberg analysis of census data shows. Those would be among the first Americans to no longer have Medicare as an open-ended entitlement, and instead would be given money to buy private insurance when they’re eligible, under the plan…. So far, older Americans aren’t responding favorably to privatizing Medicare, polls show. Fifty-one percent of people age 50 and over oppose the Republican plan, while 29 percent support it, according to a May 25-30 survey by the Washington- based Pew Research Center. Even among Republicans, more people oppose the plan than like it.” –   Bloomberg, 6/13/11

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: ‘We [Dems] own the economy’

Music’s Racial Divide: An Industry Built on Black Talent Still Lacks Black Executives

Jada Pinkett Smith: The family ‘nucleus’

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared to be a changed man during the NBA playoffs

Weird Story of the Day

Shaq’s Alleged Sex Tape: Shaquille O’Neal At The Center Of A Robbery And Assault Case Involving An Alleged Sex Tape.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Tim Pawlenty might as well get it over with and close up shop now. If he couldn’t say “Obamneycare” to Mitt “Suge” Romney’s face during Monday night’s debate, how does anyone expect him to stand up to President Obama next year? Say goodnight Timmy.

I’ve heard of “advance sales”, but putting Shania Twain tickets for December 2012 now seems a bit much even for Vegas!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

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Newt Gingrich in 2012: How His Presidential Campaign Imploded

“Staff? I don’t need no stinkin’ staff not to be elected president! Hell, I can do that with one hand tied behind my back while ordering from Tiffany’s website”.

Newt Gingrich 2012 Reboot: Speech Comes As First Since Campaign Upheaval

Newt Gingrich: ‘I will endure the challenges’

Herman Cain: Obama Was Raised in Kenya

Tim Pawlenty jabs ‘Obamneycare’

“President Obama said that he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare,” Pawlenty said. “What I don’t understand is that they both continue to defend it.”

Previewing the New Hampshire debate

1) Who swings hardest at Mitt Romney?; (2) How will Newt Gingrich try to hit the reset button?; (3) Will anyone remember Tim Pawlenty?; (4) Can Michele Bachmann look presidential?; and (5) Will Herman Cain give serious answers to serious questions?

Mitt Romney underestimated

“Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man; no time to talk.”

QUOTATION OF THE DAY

“To have a major breakthrough in policy, you have to be able to stop and think.” – NEWT GINGRICH, on why he took a cruise to the Greek islands.

NEWS

What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths  

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads 

THE 2011 NBA CHAMPIONS

 

Dwyane Wade: My Life as an NBA Single Dad

 “My older son, Zaire (pictured), has grown up with basketball. My younger one, Zion, could take it or leave it, which is cool by me.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Overheard at the Playboy Jazz Festival Saturday: “Well, at least he [Weiner] was texting women.”

Republicans are this close to digging up Ronald Reagan and running his corpse in 2012.

Mitt Romney, who is running, and Jon Huntsman, who may, are both Mormons who hardcore religious conservatives (I’m aware that’s a tad bit redundant) in Iowa simply aren’t going to support or vote for in any large number. So, if that’s true, and both men and their camps seem to believe it is, why waste valuable time, money, staff and other resources taking part in non-binding “straw polls”? Frankly, I wish they had the guts to skip both Iowa and New Hampshire altogether if not for the delegate counts.

When, how and why did Newt Gingrich get such a reputation in the media as a “brilliant mind”?

I wonder what Anthony Weiner would do if his staff “Newt Gingriched” him and quit en masse.

Hey John Boehner and Eric Cantor, we’re [America] still waiting on that jobs bill you promised us! I’m just saying…

Soccer moms, NASCAR dads, what’s next as a campaign demographic – Parents with a job?

If you’re not Tivoing or DVRing Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live, you’re depriving yourself of the funniest shows in late-night television. Trust me on this. 

The Audi “Second Owner” TV ads are hee-larious.

Before Saturday, I thought the four luckiest people in show business history were Ringo Starr, the other two guys in the Black Eyed Peas and Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson, the tuba player in The Roots. However, after seeing the band close the Playboy Jazz Festival Saturday night and hearing quite possibly the greatest tuba solo in history – I’m not even joking a little bit – Bryson is off that list forever.

It’s beginning to look more and more that Giovanni Ramirez may be guilty of something, but not the March 31st beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow in a Dodger Stadium parking lot.

Kobe won two rings without Shaq, but D-Wade lost one without him. Ergo: Kobe is better than D-Wade. Right?

Come on Pookie, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert tweets about LeBron James, let it go.

Speaking of James…He doesn’t seem to be able to let it go either. LeBron James to Haters: Your Life Still Sucks!

Mavericks guard Jason Terry, attempting to motivate himself and his teammates, had an image of the NBA championship trophy tattooed on his right bicep before the Finals began. As you know, Dallas won the championship last night. Later today, I’ll be having an image of Halle Berry tattooed somewhere on my body.

FINALLY

Get well wishes to saxophonist Clarence “Big Man” Clemons of the E Street Band who recently suffered a stroke.