CPAC Kicks Off With Marco Rubio

Thousands of conservative activists converged Thursday on Washington for CPAC. But aside from a packed hotel ballroom and a few memorable applause lines, the throngs were noticeably subdued as the yearly conservative confab kicked off.

That may change Friday, when Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are scheduled to speak. But for a crowd of self-identified conservative activists that numbered about 10,000, there was no palpable sense of excitement and few outward signs of support for most of the presidential contenders.

“It’s been tough. A lot of people are still undecided, and they keep saying they need more information. There’s not a lot of excitement here yet,” said Joseph Lipp, who was handing out stickers for Santorum.

In a primary season that has thumbed its nose at many of the typically predictive events on the campaign calendar — Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll but finished sixth in Iowa — campaigns may have made a conscious decision not to invest heavily in CPAC. Continue Reading…

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Jan Brewer Brings A Earful Obama In Ariz

Governor at a book signing in Phoenix, Arizona...

Jan Brewer Brings A Earful Obama In Ariz: MESA, Ariz. – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer came to greet President Obama upon his arrival outside Phoenix Wednesday. What she got was a critique. Of her book.

The two leaders could be seen engaged in an intense conversation at the base of Air Force One’s steps. Both could be seen smiling, but speaking at the same time.

Asked moments later what the conversation was about, Brewer, a Republican, said, “He was a little disturbed about my book.”

Brewer recently published a book, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” something of a memoir of her years growing up, and defends her signing of Arizona’s controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which Obama opposes.

Obama was objecting to Brewer’s description of a meeting he and Brewer had at the White House, where she described Obama as lecturing her. In an interview in November Brewer described two tense meetings. The first took place before his commencement address at Arizona State University. “He did blow me off at ASU,” she said in the television interview in November. Continue Reading…

Mitch Daniels Can’t Save The Republican Party

White House Portrait of

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…

Republican Rebuttal To State Of The Union

White House Portrait of

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…

Could Open Marriage Claim Help Gingrich Win South Carolina

Could Open Marriage Claim Help Gingrich Win South Carolina: In the increasingly volatile race for the Republican presidential nomination, at least one analyst suggests that Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife’s claims about his infidelity will help power him to a win in the South Carolina primary.

Why? Because Gingrich was served “a fastball down the middle” on the matter at Thursday night’s debate and “just knocked it out of the park.” So says Matthew Dowd, the GOP strategist who was on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.

“This moment was a gift for Newt Gingrich,” Dowd said.

To recap: CNN’s John King wasted no time confronting Gingrich about allegations by Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne, to ABC News that he had asked for an “open marriage” during his affair with Callista Bisek, who would ultimately become his third wife.

Gingrich was ready. King had to know that he was giving the former House speaker the one thing he loves the most: the opportunity to expound upon the deficiencies of the mainstream media. And he did just that. He might have well been Claude Rains complaining about gambling in “Casablanca.”

“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office,” Gingrich said, his outrage dialed all the way to 11. “And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.” Continue Reading…

FACT CHECK History Flubs in Republican Debate

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…