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One Furious Scientist’s Blistering Response To An Ignorant Anti-Vaccination Meme

Addicting Info

The anti-vaccination movement, like climate-change denial, pitches opinion and folksy anecdotes against peer-reviewed science as if it were a fair fight. When a scientist came across this ridiculous anti-vaxxer meme on the internet, s/he couldn’t help but let rip with this awesome response.

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The only element of this argument I would dispute is ‘mum-led’, which smacks of sexism. This author has certainly seen a pretty even gender balance in the anti-vaccination movement, and across class and race too. The wave of anti-vaccination celebrities from Jim Carrey to Donald Trump is also un-nerving, given their public profile and ability to sway a mass audience.

While the sheer lunacy of the arguments put forth by anti-vaxxers might raise a laugh, the consequences are deadly serious. As the Washington Post reports:

Infectious diseases that we normally think of as rare in the United States are making a comeback. In recent years, pertussis — also known as whooping cough — has returned to the headlines. A measles outbreak that struck a Texas megachurch community late last summer sickened 21 people. And just recently, at least 16 people got sick during a measles outbreak in Ohio. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported 13 measles outbreaks so far in 2014 — the most since 1996.

That’s not to mention the rapidly escalating measles outbreak in Disneyland.

How did we get here?

In 1998, a rogue scientist named Andrew Wakefield released a paper which he claimed connected the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. No other scientist was ever able to match Wakefield’s findings, and in the coming years, it became known that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest. In 2010, an ethics review board found that he had falsified the data in his report, causing an immediate retraction of his original paper and revocation of his medical license.

But the damage was done.  If Wakefield’s paper hadn’t been published by a respected medical journal such as The Lancet (which was in financial dire straits at the time and made an economic rather than scientific decision to publish) it would never have gained such legitimacy; a legitimacy which allowed mainstream media outlets to run a fear campaign against the vaccine from which we have not recovered.

The mass opposition to the paper’s findings by the scientific community was spun to make Wakefield appear the ‘Lone Truther’, versus the sinister cabal of mad scientists.

It is little wonder that anxious parents the world over are having their heads turned.  This level of noise from public figures and institutions which should know better could hardly be expected to go without consequence.  But at some point, we have to stop flapping along with careerist chicken-licken types, and make our own calm, informed choices.  It is this simple:

Refusing to vaccinate your child places them and others at risk of deadly, life-altering and entirely avoidable diseases.  Please don’t do that to them, or us.

Help us get the word out!

10 things you need to know today: February 1, 2015

Christian Peterson / Getty Images

The Week

1.ISIS claims to execute Japanese hostage
In a video released Saturday, theIslamic State claimed it had beheaded journalist Kenji Goto, the second of two Japanese captives held by the militant group. ISIS initially demanded $200 million in exchange for Goto, then instead offered to swap him for a failed suicide bomber imprisoned in Jordan. Though the video’s authenticity has yet to be confirmed, President Obama tacitly acknowledged its veracity on Sunday by issuing a statement denouncing the “barbaric act.”Source: The New York Times, The Hill
2.Egypt frees jailed journalist Peter Greste
Egypt on Sunday said it freed Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste and would soon deport him to his native Australia. Greste was arrested in December 2013 and accused of publishing false news, sparking an international outcry from free press advocates who considered the charges bogus. Egypt has not said what it plans to do with two other Al Jazeerareporters, MohamedFahmy andBaher Mohamed, who were imprisoned along withGreste.Source: BBC
3.Today is Super Bowl Sunday
Super BowlXLIX kicks off Sunday night at 6:30 pm in Glendale, Arizona. The New England Patriots are a slight favorite over the defending champion SeattleSeahawks. Katy Perry willperform the halftime show with special guest Missy Elliot. And if football isn’t your thing, today is also Puppy Bowl XI.Source: USA Today
4.Italy elects new president
Italy’s parliament on Saturday elected SergioMattarella, a constitutional court judge, as the nation’s next president. The relatively smoothelection was a victory for Prime Minister MatteoRenzi, who backedMattarella’s candidacy to the largely ceremonial position. “First and foremost, my thoughts go to the difficulties and hopes of our citizens,”Mattarella, who will be sworn in Tuesday, said after his election.Source: Reuters
5.Ohio postpones all executions for 2015
Ohio on Friday postponed until next year all six executions scheduled for 2015 while the state looks for new lethal injection drugs. The statepreviously said it would change its death sentence protocol due to concerns that the drug cocktail used for executions could result in prolonged, painful deaths. The move comes one week after the Supreme Court said it wouldreview the execution protocols used by a number of states todetermine whether they are unconstitutional.Source: The Washington Post
6.Novak Djokovic wins record fifth Australian Open
NovakDjokovic on Sunday defeated Andy Murray in four sets — 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 —  to claim a record fifth Australian Open title. The top-ranked player in the world,Djokovic remained perfect in Australian Open finals while claiming his eighth Grand Slam. Murray, who has never won the event, settled for his fourth second place finish in Melbourne.Source: ESPN
7.Regulators recall 2.1 million vehicles over air bag issue
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Saturday announced the recall of 2.1 million vehicles whose air bags could spontaneously deploy. The recall covers models made by Toyota, Honda, and Fiat Chrysler. The automakers issued three earlier recalls over the airbag defect, but theNHTSA said those efforts did not entirely address the problem.Source: Bloomberg
8.Record-breaking balloon flight ends near Mexico
Two pilots on Saturday concluded a historic trip across the Pacific Ocean when their helium-propelled balloon landed off the coast of Mexico. The two men, American Troy Bradley and Russian LeonidTiukhtyaev, covered 6,646 miles in six days after departing from Japan, earning them world records for the longest and farthest trips ever made in a gas balloon. Though others have piloted balloons longer and farther, none have done so without the aid of burners.Source: CNN
9. Winter storm threatens to dump more snow across Northeast
One week after a massive blizzard buried parts of New England in more than two feet of snow, another winter storm is headed toward the region. The snowstorm is forecast to roll from the Midwest through the Northeast from Sunday into Monday, potentially affecting around 100 million people. Parts of the Midwest could see up to 18 inches of snow, while much of New York and New England are projected to see between six inches and a foot of powder.Source: Fox News, Accuweather
10.Developer of birth control pill dead at 91
CarlDjerassi, a chemist considered to be the father of the birth control pill, died Friday at his home in San Francisco. He was 91 years old. In 1951,Djerassi led a team that for the first time synthesized the hormonenorethindrone, a key ingredient in the first birth control pill.Source: The New York Times

10 Things You Need to Know Today: January 31, 2015

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The Week

1.Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016
In an 11 a.m. call on Friday with senior donors, Mitt Romney announced that despite heavy speculation that he would step into the 2016 race for president, he will not consider a bid after all. “I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” he said. The announcement prompted several top GOP donors to throw their support behind Jeb Bush instead.

Source: USA Today, The New York Times

2.African Union to send 7,500 troops to Nigeria to help fight Boko Haram
African Union leaders agreed during a two-day summit in Ethiopia to send 7,500 troops to help push back the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Boko Haram militants have killed thousands in the five years that they have expanded their reach through northeast Nigeria; and, insurgents have increased the frequency of their attacks in the leadup to Nigeria’sFeb. 14 elections.

Source: The Associated Press

3.CDC: Disneyland measles outbreak likely came from overseas
Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that the measles outbreak that started in California’s Disneyland likely came from overseas, probably brought either by a foreign tourist or an American returning home. So far, 94 people in eight states have become infected with the measles, and 67 of those cases are linked to Disneyland. The outbreak is “a wake-up call to make sure we keep measles from regaining a foothold in our country,” Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said, adding that the outbreak is occurring because some people aren’t vaccinated against the disease.

Source: NBC News

4.South African apartheid death squad leader to be freed on parole
South African apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, also known as “Prime Evil,” was granted parole on Friday. The ex-cop will be released from prison after serving more than 20 years for the torture and murder of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s. South Africa justice minister Michael Masutha said in a news conference that de Kock was released “in the interests of nation-building and reconciliation.” He added that de Kock has expressed remorse and helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

Source: The Guardian

5.U.S. economic growth slowed in fourth quarter of 2014
U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.6 percent annual rate in 2014’s fourth quarter, a sharp decline from the third quarter, when the U.S. economy posted its strongest growth in more than a decade with a 5 percent GDP reading. Economists had estimated that America’s economy grew by 3 percent during the last three months of 2014. “The consumer did the heavy lifting, and I don’t think there is any reason to expect that to change in the first half of this year, because of the enormous tailwind from lower gasoline prices,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, said.

Source: Reuters

6.Serena Williams defeats Maria Sharapova to win 6th Australian Open
Notching her sixth Australian Open victory and 19th Grand Slam title, Serena Williams powered through a nagging cough to defeat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (5) on Saturday. The top-ranked tennis star’s victory makes her the oldest winner of the Australian Open women’s title, at 33 years old. The win also moves Williams into second place for most major wins; she is now just three major titles away from tying Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22.

Source: The Associated Press

7.Most Americans support government action to stop climate change
A new poll from The New York Times found that a majority of Americans, including almost half of Republicans, support government action to stop climate change. Seventy-seven percent of Americans said the federal government “should be doing a substantial amount to combat climate change.” The poll, conducted in conjunction with Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future, surveyed 1,006 adults and found that two-thirds of the respondents said they were more likely to vote for presidential candidates whose campaign platforms included fighting climate change.

Source: The New York Times

8.Russia unexpectedly cuts interest rates
Weeks after hiking interest rates to an 11-year high, Russia unexpectedly cut them again on Friday. The central bank lowered the benchmark rate from 17 percent to 15 percent, which spiked ruble sales, driving it down 4 percent against the dollar. In 2014, the central bank raised the rate six times, and officials and business leaders had warned that the economy would crash unless the rates came down. Earlier in January, an aide to President Vladimir Putin called doing business “impossible” at the current interest rate.

Source: Bloomberg Business

9. George Zimmerman’s ex-girlfriend recants story, assault charges dropped
Prosecutors announced on Friday that they won’t file a formal charge in an assault case against George Zimmerman because his ex-girlfriend, Brittany Brunelle, recanted her story. Florida State Attorney Phil Archer said there were no other eyewitnesses to the alleged event, in which Brunelle originally stated that Zimmerman threw a wine bottle at her and destroyed her cellphone. Zimmerman was arrested three weeks ago, but three days after his arrest, Brunelle asked in a statement that prosecutors not file charges, adding that she was “under no pressure and had been offered no money” to make the statement.

Source: The Associated Press

10.Jay Z to buy music streaming service Aspiro for $56 million
Jay Z has purchased Scandinavian music streaming service Aspiro for $56 million. Project Panther Bidco Ltd., a company Jay Z controls, announcedon Friday that it was purchasing Aspiro, “an innovative, high-quality company with strong future growth potential.” The Norwegian media group Schibsted, Aspiro’s main shareholder, said it had accepted the offer, and Aspiro’s board is “united in recommending the bid.”

Mitt Romney Won’t Run in 2016 Presidential Election

Mitt Romney had expressed renewed interest this month in another presidential run, but his flirtation prompted a fierce backlash across Republican circles. Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told a group of supporters on Friday that he would not seek his party’s nomination for president in 2016.

Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, shared his decision on a conference call with a small group of advisers.

In a second call to a larger group of supporters, Mr. Romney said, “After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

Mr. Romney said he believed he could win the nomination, but he expressed concern about harming the party’s chances to retake the White House. “I did not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming the president,” he said.

He added that it was “unlikely” that he would change his mind.

Mr. Romney, who did not take questions and ended the call shortly after reading a prepared statement, said that his family had been gratified by the outpouring of support, but had decided that it was best for the Republican Party to step aside. Mr. Romney said he would have no leadership PAC and no exploratory committee.

By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mr. Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for other potential center-right candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Romney, 67, had expressed renewed interest in another presidential run to a group of donors earlier this month, roiling the nascent Republican race. Many of his loyal contributors, staff members and supporters had been reluctant to come out for one of his potential rivals until they knew Mr. Romney’s plans.

But his flirtation had also prompted a fierce backlash across Republican circles, and some of Mr. Romney’s former aides and donors have begun moving on to other candidates.

In a more than four-hour meeting last week, Mr. Romney’s top staff members and trusted advisers from 2012 relayed a sobering reality — they supported Mr. Romney and thought he would be the best president, but they did not necessarily encourage a third run.

One by one, loyal supporters talked about surveying their troops from 2012, and finding that the enthusiasm and support were just not there. Some Iowa precinct leaders were not coming back, and even in New Hampshire — where Mr. Romney had won the primary — the mood was described at best as “cautiously optimistic.” The situation with donors was also going to be an uphill climb.

Word of Mr. Romney’s decision sent waves through the Republican donor world early Friday, as Romney aides began to telegraph the news to donors and other staff members and strategists. Some donors immediately began calling representatives of other potential candidates, such as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, to discuss offering their support.

Mr. Romney’s announcement started a day of reckoning with his would-be rivals. He is scheduled to have dinner with Mr. Christie on Friday evening, according to two people with knowledge of his schedule, suggesting that Mr. Romney may be considering throwing his support, and that of his own political operation, to Mr. Christie. The two men are friendly, and Mr. Christie, along with Mr. Bush, was a main rival of Mr. Romney for the favor of the Republican establishment.

Mr. Bush offered his own warm words for Mr. Romney in a post on Facebook on Friday morning.

Mitt is a patriot and I join many in hoping his days of serving our nation and our party are not over,” Mr. Bush wrote. “I look forward to working with him.”

At 11 on Thursday night, a blast email was sent from a mittromney.com address, alerting supporters about a conference call on Friday morning.

“Please join me for an update call tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. EST, 8:00 a.m. PST,” wrote Mr. Romney, adding the dial-in information and concluding, “All the best, Mitt.”

In an appearance at Mississippi State University on Wednesday, Mr. Romney sounded themes that could have shaped another campaign. But he also lamented the nature of the political process and offered a dose of barely veiled self-criticism, discussing some of the shortcomings of his 2012 campaign and the lessons he learned from his loss to President Obama.

Mr. Romney’s decision will almost certainly bring an end to his decade-long quest to become president. He lost in the Republican primary in 2008 before becoming his party’s standard-bearer four years later.

Friday’s conference call seemed bittersweet for the Romney family. At one point, Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, came on the line and thanked the former aides for their steadfast support.

But luck was clearly not with Mr. Romney this time, even as he shared the news with his former staff members on his morning call. Mr. Romney’s voice fell off the line as the connection was suddenly dropped.

H/t: DB

10 things you need to know today: January 30, 2015

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Week

1.Obama calls for ending automatic spending limits in new budget
President Obama is calling for a 7 percent increase in military and domestic spending in his new budget proposal, the White House said Thursday. The spending plan, to be unveiled Monday, calls for ending four-year-old congressionally mandated spending caps known as “sequestration” now that budget deficits have returned to pre-Great-Recession levels. Republicans criticized the plan, saying its mix of new taxes and an end to automatic spending cuts would do nothing to solve long-term budget problems.

Source: The Washington Post, Reuters

2.Mitt Romney will reportedly announce his 2016 decision today
Mitt Romney (R) will announce his plans for the 2016 elections on Friday morning, according to multiple reports. Supporters of Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign received an email Thursday inviting them to join a call with Romney on Friday morning for “an update.” Sources have confirmed to Bloomberg that Romney is ready to announce a decision about a potential presidential bid in 2016.

Source: Politico, Bloomberg

3.Keystone pipeline clears a big hurdle
The GOP-led Senate on Thursday passed a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but Republicans were just short of the votes needed to override President Obama’s threatened veto. The bill must now be reconciled with a similar one passed by the House. Supporters say the project will create jobs; opponents say it’s not worth the environmental risk. Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Obama’s plan to veto the bill. The pipeline would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

Source: The Huffington Post, Fox News

4.Sinai attacks leave 32 dead
Militants simultaneously hit more than a dozen army and police targets in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, killing at least 25 soldiers and one policeman and wounding more than 60. Egyptian health officials raised the death toll to 32 on Friday. At least one car bomb and numerous mortar shells destroyed buildings at a military base, burying soldiers with debris. An army spokesman blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, but before the attack the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt tweeted a photo of militants carrying rocket-propelled grenades.

Source: The Associated Press

5.Google reports revenue growth, but not as much as expected
Google reported a 15 percent increase in revenue over the last quarter, falling shy of expectations. The average price for Google’s online ads fell by 3 percent, although some analysts had been hoping to see those prices rise. Google’s stock dipped on the news but rallied to close up by 0.1 percent, at $510.66 per share. Google has been battling to keep its advertising revenue strong as users of its online services shift to mobile devices, where ads sell for less.

Source: Reuters

6.McCain kicks out anti-war “scum” from Senate hearing
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain booted several protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink from a budget hearing after they approached a witness table and called former secretary of State Henry Kissinger a war criminal. “Get out of here, you low-life scum,” McCain told the protesters. Kissinger, who served under in the Nixon administration during the Vietnam war, was testifying along with his counterparts from the Clinton and Reagan administrations, Madeleine Albright and George P. Shultz.

Source: The Associated Press

7.Dartmouth bans drinking on campus
Dartmouth College on Thursday announced broad changes to cut down on dangerous behavior on campus, including bans on alcohol and pledging at fraternities and sororities. Students also will have to participate in a program aimed at preventing sexual violence. Dartmouth developed the plan, called Moving Dartmouth Forward, based on recommendations from a committee formed last spring. The initiative came after a former fraternity wrote an expose two years ago describing hazing and drinking at the Ivy League school.

Source: The Boston Globe

8.Jordan lets ISIS prisoner-swap deadline pass
Jordan let the Islamic State’s deadline for a prisoner exchange pass on Thursday, demanding proof that a captured Jordanian fighter pilot was alive before it would release imprisoned failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi. ISIS had said it would kill the pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and Japanese hostage Kenji Goto unless Jordan delivered al-Rishawi to the Syrian-Turkish border by sundown Thursday. “Rishawi is still in Jordan,” a government spokesman said, “and the exchange will happen once we receive the proof of life we ask for.”

Source: The New York Times

9. Texas executes killer with 67 IQ
Texas executed convicted murderer Robert Ladd on Thursday despite defense attorney’s claims that he shouldn’t be put to death because he was mentally disabled. “Anywhere else in the country, Mr. Ladd’s IQ of 67 would have meant a life sentence, not death,” defense attorney Brian Stull said this week. Ladd was convicted for beating Vicki Ann Garner, 38, to death with a hammer and then setting her body on fire. At the time, he was on parole for a 1980 stabbing and arson that killed three people.

Source: MSNBC

10.Obama taps former Procter & Gamble chief to run Veterans Affair
Secretary of State John Kerry said after meeting with Iraqi leaders on Monday that embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had pledged to form a new government. [Fox News, Reuters]

Senate Democrats Leave Door Open To Skip Netanyahu Speech

ASSOCIATED PRESS Susan Walsh

BuzzFeed

Only one senator asked by BuzzFeed News — Sen. Ben Cardin — said he’d definitely go.

WASHINGTON — When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress in March, it is unclear whether everybody invited will actually show up.

Democrats have criticized House Speaker John Boehner for circumventing the administration when he invited Netanyahu to speak, and the White House has already said Obama will not meet with him when he’s here.

BuzzFeed News asked several Senate Democrats whether they planned on skipping the speech or not. Most said they either hadn’t thought about it or they hadn’t decided. But there were no hard answers in the negative. Only one senator definitively said he would go.

Sen. Tim Kaine, who serves on both the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and recently traveled to Israel, said it’s “too early” to decide whether he’ll attend or not.

“It is not the norm to do this right before an election and it is being widely reported in the Israeli press as the U.S. expressing some kind of a preference,” Kaine said.

Sen. Chris Murphy expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’m sick about the fact that protocol has been violated, but you know, I’m always eager to hear what he has to say,” Sen. Chris Murphy said. “It’s not something that I have thought about one way or the other.”

A Democratic aide said their office was only informed of the scheduled date on Thursday and it was unclear if “anything’s been discussed at this point by anyone in the Senate.”

Netanyahu’s arrival will come at a tense time. He’s up for re-election in mid-March and many have said they are uncomfortable having him make a political speech to Congress so close to that vote. The U.S. is also in talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

Netanyahu is slated to address Congress on March 3.

When asked whether he’d attend, Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said he’d “figure that out later.”

Sen. Chris Coons, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, said, “I’ll be weighing what’s the best thing to do.”

“I remain hopeful that his address would be delayed until after their election,” the Delaware Democrat told BuzzFeed News.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein declined to comment. Sen. Ed Markey referred BuzzFeed News to his press office.

Sen. Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, was the lone senator who said he would attend no matter what.

“I’d be more than happy to meet with opposition leaders if they want to meet with us, give them opportunities, etcetera,” Cardin told BuzzFeed News. “But if the Prime Minister of Israel addresses a joint session of Congress, I would be there.”

Speaking at the Democrat retreat in Philadelphia Wednesday night, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned of the effects a visit from Netanyahu could have on the Iran talks.

“In terms of invitations to speak to Congress — the Prime Minister has spoken two times. The only person who has spoken more is Winston Churchill,” Pelosi said. “One of the times, my father was in the room; Dec. 26 — the day after Christmas — 1941, right when we were going into World War II. It’s a serious, big honor that we extend. That it should be extended two weeks before an election in a country, without collaboration among the leaders of Congress, and without collaboration with the White House, is not appropriate. It is not appropriate.”

Protester Grabs Mic At Muslim Event: ‘Islam Will Not Dominate’ Texas (VIDEO)

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Attribution: None

TPM LiveWire

And later on Thursday, a protester ran up to the podium during a press conference for the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and grabbed the microphone.

“Islam will never dominate the United States and by the grace of God, it will not dominate Texas,” she yelled.

Watch a video of the protester via the Texas Tribune:

Muslim Capitol Day participants were also met with hostility by state Rep. Molly White (R). Shewrote on Facebook Thursday that she told her staff to “ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws.”

White issued a statement later in the day and said she would “welcome all of my constituents who would like to come and visit our office in the Texas State Capitol.”

H/t Mediaite

Obama Mocks Mitt Romney For Being ‘Suddenly Deeply Concerned About Poverty’

BARACK OBAMA MITT ROMNEY DEBATE

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the end of the third and final presidential debate October 22, 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) | MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Thought the 2012 presidential campaign was over? Think again.

President Barack Obama didn’t have much to say about Mitt Romney’s rekindled aspirations for the White House when he delivered a flat, “No comment,” earlier this month. But apparently he couldn’t resist much longer, following reports that the former GOP candidate was weighing entering the ring in 2016 on a platform focused on lifting up the middle class and eliminating poverty.

Addressing House Democrats at their annual retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday night, Obama referred to one “former presidential candidate” who was “suddenly deeply concerned about poverty.”

“That’s great. Lets do something about it,” Obama said, according to a White House pool report.

Romney fired back on Twitter, by noting poverty levels under the Obama administration.

“Mr. Obama, wonder why my concern about poverty? The record number of poor in your term, and your record of failure to remedy,” Romney said.

Obama also said in Philadelphia that he had heard a Republican senator, who he did not name, was “suddenly shocked, shocked, that the 1 percent” was doing much better than the vast majority of Americans.

“I consider imitation the highest form of flattery,” Obama said of Republicans’ sudden embrace of populist rhetoric.

Three Republican senators considering bids for president — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida — spoke about the need to address income inequality at a summit organized by the Koch Brothers on Sunday.