Thursday ReadsPosted: January 26, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Arizona, Barack Obama, education, Florida primary, Freddie Mac, Gov. Jan Brewer, Mitt Romney, mortgage fraud, Newt Gingrich, religion, Republican debates, Rick Santorum, Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner 29 Comments
I hate to tell you this, but there is another Republican debate tonight at 8PM, hosted by CNN in Jacksonville, Florida. We’ll be live blogging, as always. Being the twisted individual I am, I’m still enjoying watching the Republicans commit mass suicide, so I’ll be listening and updating even if no one else shows up. But I hope some people do! Now let’s see what’s in the news today.
I missed this in the run up to the SOTU last night: Speaker tells members what not to wear
Just seconds after an emotional tribute to Arizona Democratic Rep Gabby Giffords in the House of Representatives Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner – who got a little choked up in the moment – suddenly felt the need to remind members that there’s a dress code on the House floor.
Boehner recovered his composure after embracing Giffords, who had just handed him her resignation letter. He looked around the chamber, and announced, “the chair would remind all members to be in proper business attire when you come to the floor of the House.”
Apparently enforcing the House dress code is one of the duties of Speaker that Boehner takes very seriously.
On Monday night, Boehner ran through some of basic rules of decorum on the floor, including the one about proper dress. “Members should wear appropriate attire however brief their presence might be,” the speaker said. And to the wardrobe offenders, Boehner said, “you know who you are.”
I know everyone has heard the news that Tim Geithner doesn’t expect President Obama to ask him to stay on as Treasury Secretary for a second term.
“He’s not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident,” Geithner said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. “I’m confident he’ll be president. But I’m also confident he’s going to have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury.”
Ralphb commented on the SOTU live blog that Geithner “looked like he’d been gut punched” when Obama spoke about making banks pay fees on “transactions to pay for mortgage relief/refinancing.” Apparently Geithner wasn’t clued in about that ahead of time.
I’m wondering if they’ve been leaving him out of some of the meetings since Confidence Men revealed that Geithner was dismissive of presidential orders. Check out the facial expressions and body language in the above photo taken after the speech (I made it big so you could see detail). To me that doesn’t look like a friendly greeting. What do you think?
According to Business Week (see above link) two possible candidates to replace Geithner are Catfood Commission co-chair Erskine Bowles and North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad–both horrible choices IMO.
Conrad, 63, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee who said a year ago he won’t seek another term, is “a serious budget hawk on the left, well-liked and respected,” Calabria said.
Bowles, 66, is the former co-leader of Obama’s commission that drafted a plan to reduce the federal government’s debt.
President Obama had another difficult interaction on Wednesday when he met wacky Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. From the Chicago Tribune:
During their brief encounter on the tarmac, intended to be a ceremonial welcome, Obama told Governor Jan Brewer that he disagreed with an account she had given of a meeting they had at the White House two years ago.
“He was a little disturbed about my book, ‘Scorpions for Breakfast,'” Brewer told reporters after the conversation. At one point during their chat, she pointed a finger at the president.
Brewer, who has differed with Obama over immigration policy in the past, handed him a letter asking him for a meeting to talk about Arizona’s economy when she greeted him. A White House official said the subject of the book came up after Brewer gave Obama the letter.
“The president said he’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book. The president looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona’s economy grow,” the official said.
I didn’t know she had written a book. In fact, I didn’t know she could read…. ABC News provides a little more detail on what the squabble was about.
Brewer complains in Scorpions for Breakfast that she and her staff were treated coldly by White House aides, prevented from taking pictures in the holding room outside the Oval Office and that their cell phones and cameras were “confiscated” by Secret Service.
“Too bad we weren’t illegal aliens, or we could have sued them,” she writes.
During her meeting with the president, Brewer said Obama was “condescending” and professorial, “lecturing” on his efforts to promote comprehensive immigration reform.
“It wasn’t long before I realized I was hearing the president’s stump speech,” she said. “Only I was supposed to listen without talking. Did he care to hear the view from the actual scene at the border? Did the opinions and observations of the people of Arizona mean anything to him? I didn’t think so.”
“He was patronizing,” she said. “Then it dawned on me: He’s treating me like the cop he had over for a beer after he bad-mouthed the Cambridge police, I thought. He thinks he can humor me and then get rid of me.”
After the interaction, Obama apparently walked away before Brewer finished giving him a piece of her mind (or what’s left of it), but she said she would “regroup.” I guess that means “get over it.”
In the run-up to tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have been lustily attacking each other. Romney must be doing something right, because he’s now running neck and neck with Newt (36% for Romney and 34% for Gingrich) after being behind the former Speaker by 9 points a couple of days ago. Santorum is trailing at 11% and Paul 9% CNN reports:
Gingrich…disparaged Romney’s personal wealth when asked about the former Massachusetts governor’s call for illegal immigrants to deport themselves.
“I think you have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic, you know, $20 million a year income with no work to have some fantasy this far from reality,” Gingrich said at a “Meet the Candidates” forum in Miami, later adding: “For Romney to believe that somebody’s grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self-deport, I mean this verges — this is an Obama-level fantasy.” [….]
Romney….said in the candidate forum, hosted by the Spanish-language network Univision, that such attacks were “unbecoming” for a presidential hopeful….”It’s very sad for a candidate to resort to that kind of epithet,” Romney said of the pulled ad. “There are differences between the candidates on these issues but we don’t attack each other with those kind of terrible terms.”
Newt Gingrich was heckled about his work for Freddie Mac at a rally in Coral Springs, Florida yesterday.
It was quite a scene as a scrum of journalists ignored the candidate and turned to Cara Jennings, who heckled Gingrich in the face of intimidation from his campaign workers, threats from nearby supporters, and the two police officers who showed up to flank her.
“Do you work for the people or Freddie Mac?” Jennings shouted at the former speaker, who was on a platform in a parking lot about 50 feet away.
“I work for the people,” Gingrich responded.
The woman kept shouting, and Gingrich implored her to give others a chance to hear him. But Jennings kept it up, and Gingrich continued engaging her.
Mitt Romney, feeling pressure over the low taxes he pays, tried to claim that his “real tax rate is closer to 45-50 percent.” Think Progress provides a transcript from Romney’s interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos:
RAMOS: You just released your tax returns. In 2010 you only paid 13 percent of taxes while most Americans paid much more than that. Is that fair?
ROMNEY: Well, actually, I released two years of taxes and I think the average is almost 15 percent. And then also, on top of that, I gave another more 15 percent to charity. When you add it together with all of the taxes and the charity, particularly in the last year, I think it reaches almost 40 percent that I gave back to the community. One of the reasons why we have a lower tax rate on capital gains is because capital gains are also being taxed at the corporate level. So as businesses earn profits, that’s taxed at 35 percent, then as they distribute those profits as dividends, that’s taxed at 15 percent more. So, all total, the tax rate is really closer to 45 or 50 percent.
RAMOS: But is it fair what you pay, 13 percent, while most pay much more than that?
ROMNEY: Well, again, I go back to the point that the, that the funds are being taxed twice at two different levels.
Sorry Mitt, but you’re not a corporation, and besides, as Think Progress points out, most corporations don’t pay 35 percent taxes–in fact many corporations pay no taxes. Romney constantly tells out and out, bald-face lies. Is that de rigueur for the Mormon church, or does he get a dispensation because of all the money he contributes to them?
Brainwashed cult member Rick Santorum, whose campaign is going nowhere in Florida, appeared at a Baptist church in Naples, Florida. He told the audience that “the left” uses college education to “indoctrinate” young people.
“It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college,” said the former Pennsylvania senator. “The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn’t one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right?”
He continued: “If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them. Because you know 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it.” [….]
“I’ll bet you there are people in this room who give money to colleges and universities who are undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology,” he said. “And you continue to give to these colleges and universities. Let me have a suggestion: Stop it.”
Santorum attended Penn State and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from Dickinson School of Law. But he’d rather have the proles stay uneducated so they’ll buy his crazy theocratic bullsh*t.
Santorum did have a license to practice law, but it has been suspended because he didn’t bother to pay his $70.00 per year fee to keep it active. He stopped paying in 1994 and was suspended in 2010. Maybe he decided being a lawyer was the devil’s work?
OK, that’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?
Awesome post BB, and you are right…the photo of Geithner and Obama looks like a photo of two boxers coming out to shake hands before a fight. And Timmah looks a bit like Beavis in that shot…just an observation.
I think Obama looks kind of disgusted, and Geithner’s mouth is a thin, downturned line. Obama doesn’t like disloyalty. I can’t believe he kept Geithner on for this long.
He should have fired the guy in year one. I imagine he got some political advice about the “admin in chaos” meme that would ensue if he had.
he should have gone long ago. 🙂
My guess is that GOP voters would love a “do over” this time around. It’s obvious that the Newt surge is another way of saying “Anybody But Romney” no matter how bad the alternative.
Mitt is a mess. He can’t seem to respond unless he is on script. Trying to convince the voters that he is “one of them” is one of the dumbest moves in political strategy yet.
Newt is another story. Working from the premise that he is “a great debater” is nonsense. He is unable to function without the sound of mindless applause and cheers sweeping over his “red meat” attacks. Without it he shrinks to the background.
And Rick Santorum is just plain nuts. Another idiot who when asked how he would counsel a daughter who had been raped, he responded with a Sharron Angle position of calling it a “blessing”. Unbelievable from any standpoint.
Though he continues to siphon off a few votes here and there, Ron Paul has about as much chance of winning the WH as I do.
This is their field of choice. A bombastic *sshole or a wimpy flip flopper.
Wow! The only thing that will get me to the polls this Fall is to vote for Elizabeth Warren. But if I were a Republican voter I probably would be staying home since I cannot foresee either of the two left standing contenders beckoning me off the couch.
Obama or not, this field is pathetic.
In the old internet echo chambers, people are talking themselves into being Newtie supporters every day. That “beat him up in debates” thing has become almost folk lore now.
I just don’t see the “debating skills.” Gingrich either gripes about the media or avoids answering questions. Obama would crush him.
As Charlie said, Obama would be singing Al Green tunes over Newt’s smoking hulk 😉
Charles Pierce is a national treasure:
Gotta get to work, but there was a really weird video of Jan Brewer on either Hardball or The Ed Show last night. She was in a studio and seemed to be there to discuss all of her accomplishments as governor. It appeared it was unscripted and at one point she just went blank and stopped talking on camera. It was as if she was on drugs – heavily medicated. Seriously, it was beyond pathetic – it was just embarrassing.
She had one of those blank, senior moments last year that was caught on video. Very strange. A deer in the headlights. Medication? Maybe.
Did Tipsy Arizona Governor wag finger in Presidents face?
Little partisan local media on the Obama-Brewer dustup. There’s a hilarious video of her debate performance where she outshined even Rick Perry 🙂
I agree that the choices are pathetic at best & frightening at worst. But, as in those cartoons of old, I have a devil on my shoulder who is whispering in my ear…..Bush in 2000. There are CROWDS of people attending the candidates’ rallies. There are crowds of people clapping and cheering at the debates. There are people glued to FOX & Rush’s radio show. The candidates may be crazy, but so are their supporters. And these are people that we work with, that live in our neighborhoods & may, in fact, be members of our families. Maybe the handful of remaining reasonable Republicans & independents will stay home on election day, but the Obama haters won’t, the Foxaholics won’t stay home, the crazy Christians won’t stay home. How many are there? We won’t know until all the votes are counted. Frankly, the possibility scares me.
Wow! I’m glad we have you to keep us informed about Florida. I hope you’ll join me tonight, Connie!
You betcha. Although there are more registered Dems in Florida than there are Repugs, our last 3 (probably more) govs have been Repugs. Of course, Medicare insurance fraud Scott only won by about 2.5 votes, he acts as if he won by a landslide. Recently, however, he’s been changing his tune a bit & offering to throw some money toward education & Everglades restoration. Gearing up for a second term, no doubt. And our legislature – nearly ALL Repugs.
Human suffering is built into the IPad
Just one reason why I’ll never buy an Apple product.
I’m not an Apple fan either. I wish it were only Apple but products for Dell, HP, and virtually everyone else is built in that Foxconn complex. It’s terrible and the US should call it out on human rights grounds.
Gingrich really screwed the pooch with the Latino vote. Rubio who said he intended to remain neutral [which means waiting to see what which the wind blows] came out in defense of Romney. Apparently, Gingrich had ads out in Spanish declaring Romney anti-immigrant. Rubio called the Gingrich campaign out, said the ads were inflammatory and disgraceful.
How about the whole primary being disgraceful???
I think Gingrich ought to be the first candidate for that moon colony. Blast him up, preferably without a space suit.
Honestly, what a circus! The longer this goes on the higher Obama’s approval numbers climb. Voters who said the country was going in the wrong direction last week are beginning to reverse themselves. This is the anything but Them vote.
The crazy season!
That photo of Obama and Geithner is certainly revealing, BB. Where’s the love gone? Geithner looks as if he’s about to be water boarded.
Romney *is* anti-immigrant though–more so than Gingrich. I don’t understand why any Latino would support Romney after the things he has said.
I think Romney was a Rubio contributor/supporter in his race against Orange Charlie Christ.
I think they’re both anti-immigrant. Uncle Newt said something to the effect that Spanish was only heard in ghettos. That certainly didn’t go over very well. But Romney apparently supported Rubio when he was first running–came into Florida and campaigned in Rubio’s behalf.
I’ve noticed the attacks against Gingrich by Republicans has really escalated. Joe Scarborough has just been going on and on about what a disaster Uncle Newt is.
Should be interesting. But I’d be surprised if any of the Republicans do well with Hispanics. Even though Obama has disappointed, he’s never come out publicly and blamed the immigrant community for all the ills in the country. Though he has deported illegals in record numbers.
Bad choices all around. Doesn’t matter what group you find yourself in. Ugh!
Cuban Americans are largely Republicans while Latinos are largely Democrats. The first Cubans who fled Castro’s takeover were the wealthy class. And something I hadn’t thought of before was mentioned on NPR yesterday when discussing Romney’s & Gingrich’s visits to Univision yesterday – the Cuban American community were angry at JFK for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion and carry that with them today. Of course, some of the younger generation of Cuban Americans who were born here have not followed their parents’ political beliefs. But Cuban Americans in general are a completely separate group from “Latinos” in the rest of the country.
Interesting, Connie. And yes, I’ve read about the Cuban reaction to the disaster with the Bay of Pigs. Memory is long, I guess. Rubio is first generation Cuban American isn’t he? Or was he born in Cuba? From what I’ve read he’s very popular among Republicans, seen as an up and coming political star. So his defense of Romney can’t hurt.
We shall see.
Yes, he’s 1st generation Cuban American, born in Miami. He’s a darling of The Tea Party, who helped him win his Senate seat. I tried to find specifics on his environmental voting record (he was Speaker of the FL House from 2006 – 08) but only found rankings from FL League of Conservation voters. One year was as low as 4% & most recent year is 44%.
I wish I could remember who (probably Jon Stewart) had videos of him singing the praises of SS & Medicare & then lambasting both when he ran for the Senate.
His name was kicked around early as a potential VP for the American Taliban nominee. He has continued to say he’s not interested. We will see. Obviously he could help bring some Cuban & Latino votes – at least those who don’t care where he or the nominee stand of the issues.
Son of NYC police commissioner charged with rape
The son is a TV talking head. Nice.
It’s another one of those allegations which is 3 months old when it’s made. I don’t believe it any less but it sure makes everything hard to prove. Being the police commissioners son and a TV celeb is not gonna help the accuser either.
That’s probably the reason she delayed reporting it–the guy and his father are both powerful.
“Newt Gingrich is a Saul Alinsky Republican” reads headline.
Drudge has been busy — according to links I’ve read.
Remember how the GOP & 0bowma went after Hillary Clinton because she did a paper on Saul Alinksky way back when she was in college?
Well apparently Newtie has been using textbook campaign Alinsky tactics.