Mitch Daniels Can’t Save The Republican Party: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) gave a perfectly serviceable speech last night. It was a bit dull, maybe, but it wasn’t a wrenching exercise in self-humiliation. Which is to say, by the standards of post-SOTU responses, it was a stunning, historic success. But it was also a reminder of the difficulties Daniels, a fantasy-draft presidential pick for many Republicans, would face if he entered the campaign.“When President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave,” Daniels said, “he must know in his heart that this is not true.” And the reason for Daniels’ gloom was debt. We have too much of it. Much too much of it. And over and again, Daniels signaled that Republicans were not blameless in the rise of red ink. “The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight,” he said. “To make such action happen, we also must work, in ways we Republicans have not always practiced, to bring Americans together,” he admitted. Continue Reading…
Obama Pledges Economic Equality In SOTU Speech: US President Barack Obama has used his last State of the Union speech before the November election to paint himself as the champion of the middle class, by demanding higher taxes for millionaires and tight reins on Wall Street.
Taking advantage of the huge national platform of his annual speech to Congress, Mr Obama defiantly defended his record after three years in office and laid blame for many of the country’s woes at the feet of banks and an out-of-touch Congress.
He proposed sweeping changes in the tax code and new remedies for the US housing crisis as he made the case for reducing income inequality in America.
While the biggest proposals in Mr Obama’s election-year speech are considered unlikely to gain traction in a divided Congress, the White House believes the president can tap into voters’ resentment over the financial industry’s abuses and Washington’s dysfunction. Continue Reading…
Republican Rebuttal To State Of The Union: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered a pointed and pugnacious response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, in a speech likely to amplify the drumbeat of voices urging Daniels to wage a late presidential bid.
The term-limited Daniels, who ruled out a White House run last year, slammed Obama for promoting “pro-poverty” extremism and leading a “constant effort to divide us.”
A former budget director under George W. Bush, Daniels was chosen by Republican leaders as a respected and serious voice who could credibly position the party as the champion of business.
“As Republicans, our first concern is for those waiting tonight to begin or resume the climb up life’s ladder,” Daniels said. “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have-nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon-to-haves.”
Daniels also assailed the president for halting the Keystone XL pipeline project that would transport oil from Canada to Texas, equating the move to a “pro-poverty policy” — a line reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s accusations on the campaign trail that Obama is the “food stamp president”. Continue Reading…
The Economy And Politics To Dominate State Of The Union Address: President Barack Obama will make the domestic economy the centerpiece of his last State of the Union address before he seeks re-election in November.
The speech is expected to call for sweeping initiatives to bolster the U.S. manufacturing sector and the labor and housing markets, and seek broad reform of the tax code.
At the same time, Obama will undoubtedly be making a case that his shepherding of the economy for the past three years warrants another four-year term.
That case was made slightly easier for the president in recent months as the unemployment rate has unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level — 8.5% — since early in Obama’s term.
The economy — and the unemployment rate as its most widely watched gauge — is certain to be the central focus of the presidential campaign.
It’s unlikely any large initiatives will be approved by Congress in an election year, a point certainly not lost on the president. That should open the door for him to call for an array of big picture reforms without any realistic belief of their passage.
The speech will be delivered before a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. EST. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels will give the Republican response. (Watch it live on the FOX Business Network.)
Analysts believe Obama set the tone for tonight’s speech during an address in Kansas in December in which he described America being divided by economic inequalities.
Using populist themes that closely echoed the rallying cries of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Obama has suggested the U.S. economic playing field has grown uneven. In effect, the president has complained that the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. Continue Reading…
President Obama Sings Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’ At Apollo: President Barack Obama pulled out some unexpected singing chops during a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in New York City on Thursday night (January 19). The President belted out a line of Rev. Al Green’s soul staple “Let’s Stay Together”–Rev. Al Green was also in the audience–and joked about not being ushered off stage by the notorious Apollo Theater Sandman. “Don’t worry Rev I cannot sing like you, but I just wanted to show my appreciation”, the President said lightheartedly. Can a sing-off against Mitt Romney be that far off?
Earlier in the evening, Obama kept the fundraising alive by noshing at an intimate dinner of 45 guests at director Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lee Lewis’ home. The $35,800 per ticket dinner included notables Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon and former Knicks player Allan Houston. Continue Reading…
FACT CHECK History Flubs in Republican Debate: Mitt Romney perpetuated one unsubstantiated claim, about his record at Bain Capital, and more or less corrected himself on another, about President Barack Obama’s health care law, in the latest Republican presidential debate.
His rivals flubbed history, Newt Gingrich blaming a Democratic president for a jobless rate he never had, and Ron Paul painting an idyllic picture of life before Medicare that did not reflect deprivations of that time.
A look at some of the claims in the debate Thursday night and how they compare with the facts:
ROMNEY: “We started a number of businesses; four in particular created 120,000 jobs, as of today. We started those years ago. They’ve grown — grown well beyond the time I was there to 120,000 people that have been employed by those enterprises. … Those that have been documented to have lost jobs lost about 10,000 jobs. So (120,000 less 10,000) means that we created something over 100,000 jobs.”
THE FACTS: Romney now has acknowledged the negative side of the ledger from his years with Bain Capital, but hardly laid out the full story. His claim to have created more than 100,000 jobs in the private sector as a venture capitalist remains unsupported.
Romney mentioned four successful investments in companies that now employ some 120,000 people, having grown since he was involved in them a decade or ago or longer. From that, he subtracted the number of jobs that he said are known to have been lost at certain other companies.
What’s missing is anything close to a complete list of winners and losers — and the bottom line on jobs. Bain under Romney invested in scores of private companies that don’t have the obligation of big publicly traded corporations to disclose finances. Romney acknowledged that he was using current employment figures for the four companies, not the number of jobs they had when he left Bain Capital, yet took credit for them in his analysis.
GINGRICH: “Under Jimmy Carter, we had the wrong laws, the wrong regulations, the wrong leadership, and we killed jobs. We had inflation. We went to 10.8 percent unemployment. Under Ronald Reagan, we had the right job — the right laws, the right regulators, the right leadership. We created 16 million new jobs.”
FACT CHECK: Sure, inflation was bad and gas lines long, but under Carter’s presidency unemployment never topped 7.8 percent. The unemployment rate did reach 10.8 percent, but not until November 1982, nearly two years into Reagan’s first term. Continue Reading…