I have a potpourri of great reads for you this morning, so let’s get started.
First up, people in the states impacted by Hurricane Sandy have barely begun to recover. CBS News/AP report that: The scale of post-Sandy challenge in NY, NJ is unprecedented.
Two major airports reopened and the New York Stock Exchange got back to business Wednesday, while across the river in New Jersey, National Guardsmen rushed to feed and rescue flood victims two days aftersuperstorm Sandy struck.
For the first time since the storm slammed the Northeast, killing at least 63 people and inflicting billions of dollars in damage, brilliant sunshine washed over the nation’s largest city — a striking sight after days of gray skies, rain and wind. The light gave officials and residents a true glimpse of destruction on a scale that the region has never seen before.
At the stock exchange, running on generator power, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a thumbs-up and rang the opening bell to whoops from traders on the floor. Trading resumed after the first two-day weather shutdown since the Blizzard of 1888.
New York’s subway system was still down, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said parts of it will begin running again on Thursday. And he said some commuter rail service between the city and its suburbs would resume on Wednesday afternoon.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie and his new BFF Barack Obama toured the devastation. From The New York Times: An Unlikely Political Pair, United by a Disaster.
President Obama toured the storm-tossed boardwalks of New Jersey’s ravaged coastline on Wednesday, in a vivid display of big-government muscle and bipartisan harmony that confronted Mitt Romney with a vexing challenge just as he returned to the campaign trail in Florida.
The scene of Mr. Obama greeting his onetime political antagonist Gov. Chris Christie in Atlantic City was a striking departure from what has become an increasingly bitter campaign, marked by sharp divisions between Mr. Romney’s more limited view of the federal role and Mr. Obama’s more expansive vision. The president placed a hand on Mr. Christie’s back and guided him to Marine One, where the two men shared a grim flight over shattered sea walls, burning houses and a submerged roller coaster.
Speaking to storm victims at a community center in the hard-hit town of Brigantine, Mr. Obama said, “We are going to be here for the long haul.” Mr. Christie thanked the president for his visit, saying, “It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey.”
The tableau of bipartisan cooperation, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s highly visible role in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has put Mr. Romney in an awkward position…
As for Mitt Romney, he was getting hammered by the media in Ohio for two ads in which he falsely implied that Chrysler and GM were planning to ship American jobs to China. It looks to me as if Romney has given up the ghost in Ohio, because he headed to Florida yesterday, where a new Quinnipiac poll shows Obama leading by one point.
And last night the NYT editorial board slammed Romney for “cross[ing] a red line.”
When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.
Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth.
I think Romney may have finally sunk his campaign with those lying ads about the auto bailout. I wonder if that has contributed to polls that show Obama widening his leads in Michigan and Wisconsin?
In the Nebraska Senate Race, Bob Kerrey has been moving up in the polls, and last night Omaha.com broke some exciting news that could put him over the top: Chuck Hagel to endorse Bob Kerrey.
A spokesman with Kerrey’s campaign says Hagel – a former Nebraska U.S. Senator and a Republican – will back Kerrey in his race against Republican Deb Fischer.
Hagel’s endorsement comes as polls have shown the race between Kerrey and Fischer tightening down the home stretch.
Hagel’s backing could go a long way with independents. And, it clearly underscores Kerrey’s contention that he is the person in the race who can win Republican and Democratic support.
If Kerry, Claire McCaskill, Tammy Baldwin, and Elizabeth Warren, and perhaps Joe Donnelly can win their races, the Democrats should at least hold their majority in the Senate.
In Massachusetts, Liz Warren began making her final arguments.
As both Massachusetts Senate candidates deliver their final messages to voters, Warren is drawing on one major advantage she has in the state: demographics. According to the Secretary of State, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Massachusetts by a more than a three to one margin. As the race remains close, Warren and her supporters are using a partisan argument to rally the Democratic base, and encourage activists to turn out the vote on Warren’s behalf. Elect Brown, Warren and her supporters argue, and Republicans will control the U.S. Senate.
Introducing Warren to a crowd of volunteers and activists at Warren’s Haverhill field office on Wednesday, Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said he came from a Halloween party. “Everyone was dressed up in really scary costumes, so I was going to dress up as (Republican Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell,” he said, to laughter. “Because can you think of anything scarier than (Republican House Speaker) John Boehner in the House of Representatives or Mitch McConnell in the Senate?”
“There’s only one vote that counts and that’s the vote about which party is going to control the United States Senate,” Fiorentini continued. “We know which way Scott Brown is going to vote.”
Warren also released a great new ad that may serve as a closing argument: For All Our Families.
Right now in Indiana Joe Donnelly is leading Richard Mourdock by 7 percentage points.
I’ll end with a couple of powerful long reads.
From Truthout: What Does Romney’s Campaign of Lies Say About Our Country? Here’s the first paragraph:
Last week Mitt Romney delivered possibly the most dishonest presidential campaign speech in American history. It contains lie after lie, distortion after distortion, and trick after trick. The fact that a person capable of giving such a speech has reached this level suggests that it may be too late to salvage the country. Our institutions may be corrupted beyond repair.
Please check it out.
At Alternet, Matthew Fleisher writes: Why I Infiltrated One of the Most Secretive and Powerful Republican Organizations in the Country. This one is really long, but well worth reading. Here’s the teaser:
The Lincoln Club is the real deal. And if they have their way, Citizens United is just the beginning of their political ambitions for the country.
That’s it for me. I hope you found something to your liking. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?
I just came across this in The Daily Beast and had to share.
Mitt Romney held a high-dollar fundraiser Thursday night at the home of John Paulson, the controversial hedge-fund billionaire who made a fortune shorting the housing market and subprime mortgages in 2007.
New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis told The Daily Beast the fundraiser, at Paulson’s posh townhouse at 9 East 86th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was a “big-dollar event” for wealthy donors like himself “fighting for the soul of America.” The Romney campaign did not return requests for information about the fundraiser—which was not listed on the candidate’s public schedule. Paulson’s publicist, Armel Leslie, also did not return calls seeking comment.
A neighbor who witnessed the event from across the street described it to The Daily Beast as a large crowd of “older white people, mostly men,” who started showing up around 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Around 8 p.m., sirens started blaring as more and more people started to show. There was security at the door as well as a police car on the street.
Then things became quiet until the sirens started up at 9:30 p.m. An SUV tried to block 86th Street, but New York drivers characteristically went around it. Then, as the security stood in the street, Romney emerged from the townhouse, “looking tall and neat.” He took off his suit jacket and climbed into the SUV.
The Daily Beast says this is a departure for Romney, since Paulson is one of the people who caused the economic crisis and who made obscene profits from it–Paulson made 3.7 billion on foreclosures. But I googled and found that Paulson also hosted a ritzy fundraiser for Romney at his (Paulson’s) Southhampton home last summer.
Interestingly, Paulson and fellow hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (another big Romney donor) also made big bucks from the auto industry bailout, according to a February article by Greg Palast.
Gov. Romney…asserted that the Obama Administration’s support for General Motors was a, “payoff for the auto workers union.” However, union workers in GM’s former auto parts division, Delphi, the unit taken over by Romney’s funders, did not fare so well. The speculators eliminated every single union job from the parts factories once manned by 25,200 UAW members.
The two hedge fund operators turned a breathtaking three-thousand percent profit on a relatively negligible investment by using hardball tactics against the US Treasury and their own employees.
Under the control of the speculators, Delphi, which had 45 plants in the US and Canada, is now reduced to just four factories with only 1,500 hourly workers, none of them UAW members, despite the union agreeing to cut contract wages by two thirds.
It wasn’t supposed to be quite so bad. The Obama Administration and GM had arranged for a private equity investor to provide half a billion dollars in new capital for Delphi, but that would have cut the pay-out to Singer and Paulson. The speculators blocked the Obama-GM plan, taking the entire government bail-out hostage. Even the Wall Street Journal’s Dealmaker column was outraged, accusing Paul Singer of treating the auto company, “like a third world country.”
Romney and Paulson both graduated from Harvard Business School and each went to work for The Boston Consulting Group soon after. I don’t know if they were at Harvard and BCG at the same time, but it seems possible. Wikipedia has a list of famous people who came out of BCG, including Jeffrey Immelt and Benjamin Netanyahu. These are truly Romney’s people.
As I’ve written a number of times, Barack Obama was Wall Street’s candidate in 2008, but Mitt Romney IS Wall Street. Just reading about these guys scares the sh%t out of me!
I admit I didn’t watch a single Superbowl ad. I didn’t watch the halftime show either. I just can’t stand to. I did hear that there was an ad with Clint Eastwood in it, and I decided to watch it after I heard that Karl Rove was “offended” by it. From Raw Story:
Fox News host Jon Scott on Monday told Rove that Democrats were celebrating the ad as evidence of the effectiveness of President Barack Obama’s bold decision to bailout the auto companies instead of letting them go under.
“This is a sign of what happens when you have government getting in bed with big business like the bailout of the auto companies,” Rove complained. “The leadership of the auto companies feel they need to do something to repay their political patrons.”
“I was, frankly, offended by it,” he added. “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood. I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics. And the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising.”
As the article points out, Rove’s old boss Dubya provided General Motors with $17.4 billion in government loans before Obama was President. Was he offended by that?
We’ve actually reached the point where Republicans are “offended” by improvement in the U.S. economy and are doing everything in their power to bring it down again. As for Clint Eastwood, who is a registered Republican, I thank him for not only doing the ad but also for standing up for LGBT rights.