Tag Archives: Mitt Romney 2012

Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known

Sheldon Adelson

Although casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson probably makes 150 million a day in casino revenues, to the average person, that is a huge sum of money to spend supporting a candidate…

The Huffington Post

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and help the GOP take control of Congress. According to two GOP fundraisers with close ties to the Las Vegas billionaire, he made good on that promise — and then some. Adelson ultimately upped the ante, spending closer to a previously unreported $150 million, the fundraisers said.

Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.

This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.

During the election, Adelson told Politico that the Justice Department investigation, and the way he felt treated by prosecutors, was a primary motivation for his investment in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates. He put his money where his mouth was. The two GOP fundraisers, both with strong ties to Adelson, said that the casino mogul dished out close to $150 million, including between $30 million and $40 million to the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and at least $15 million to grassroots efforts with financial links to Charles and David Koch. Among other major beneficiaries of Adelson’s largess were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which received almost $5 million from Adelson, and the Republican Jewish Coalition, which got the bulk of its $6.5 million budget from him, the fundraisers said.

All of these are non-profit groups, which — unlike the super PACs that raked in $54 million in funds from Adelson and his wife — are not currently required to disclose their donors. Adelson’s public spending spree, larger than any other donor’s in the last election, was made possible by two high court rulings in early 2010 that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to write unlimited checks to outside groups for political ads and other activities backing candidates

The two fundraisers who provided information to The Huffington Post represented separate groups that each received seven-figure checks this year from Adelson. The fundraisers learned details of Adelson’s spending plans about a month prior to the election: one heard of them in a talk with the casino owner himself, while the other didn’t indicate if his information came from Adelson or a top aide to the billionaire. Both requested anonymity to protect their ties to Adelson and because they were not authorized to speak publicly about his giving.

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Crash Course on Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy Successes

Today I researched  President Obama’s foreign policy achievements in the last four years, in order to  prepare for  watching the debate tonight.  The entire debate will be on Foreign Policy.   This relevant article appeared in the Huffington Post on 07/06/2012.  

Here’s what I found…

The Huffington Post 

[...]

By any reasonable standard, Obama’s first-term foreign policy record is nothing short of astounding. On issue after issue, Obama has shown a steady — indeed, steely — resolve that has earned him major kudos from foreign policy specialists in both parties. Consider, for example, the following:

    • Two major U.S. land wars, both started by George W. Bush, are winding down. Obama, to the consternation of his base, pushed for a major “troop surge” in Afghanistan, but he alsostared down his top generals and resisted their demand for a prolonged counterinsurgency and nation-building campaign. The Taliban is reeling, and the American pull-back, starting this summer, is real. Obama also resisted pressure to reverse the Iraqi withdrawal and wisely brought in members of the Bush-era negotiating team to help seal and bless the deal.
    • Obama boldly intervened in Libya to oust dictator Muammar Gadaffi and to protect Western oil supplies, and he did it with minimal financial cost and no U.S. troop casualties. Moreover, in contrast to his predecessor, he didn’t act unilaterally but weighed in behind Europe and NATO. Republicans who charged the president with reckless “adventurism” have ended up with egg on their face. In fact, respect for multilateralism is back — and under Obama, it’s no longer just the “soft” option.
    • Obama has forged the closest American defense ties with Israel of any recent U.S. president, including Bush, while continuing to push for Israeli concessions on a Palestinian homeland. Obama has moved deftly, even winning strong support from the Israeli public, which says it wants its leaders to consult with Obama before taking future military action.Support from American Jews, despite concerns over friction between the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister, is holding steady.
  • Obama has also made China a key strategic priority, confronting Beijing on human rights, trade warfare, and economic spying, while bolstering America’s military presence in the Pacific. Donald Trump may think America is getting snookered but most Americans, it turns out, see Obama’s actions as judicious. In fact, leading foreign policy conservatives, includingRobert Kagan, who was a national security adviser to John McCain, and has periodically advised Romney himself, have strongly praised Obama’s entire Asia policy.

Some of Obama’s strongest foreign policy critics, in fact, aren’t on the right but on the left, which is disappointed that Obama hasn’t closed the base at Guantanamo, has eagerly embraced “drone” warfare, and has denied more Freedom of Information Act requests than his predecessor. But such criticism — while justified in some areas — is short-sighted overall. Obama has initiated some seismic shifts in national security doctrine that have a real chance of reducing the prospect of global war. Most notably:

    • Obama has quietly but forcefully revised the Pentagon’s long-standing “two-war” strategythat required an enormous conventional force structure supported by hundreds of American military bases. Under a new Obama plan, the number of soldiers in the Army and the Marines will decline by a remarkable 10-15 percent over the next decade, and a possible36 percent over the long haul. And base closures, already on the increase, will accelerate. The Obama shift means, in effect, that the U.S. is no longer contemplating a protracted land war on its own.
  • Just as dramatic are the significant steps that Obamas has taken to reduce the threat of nuclear war by shrinking American and Russian nuclear weapons arsenals to their lowest levels ever. The arms reduction process actually started under the first George Bush, but Obama is proposing to take it much further, tackling the more difficult deep-cuts, especially in tactical weapons, all the while working with Russia to force smaller nuclear states to slow or eliminate their own weapons programs.

What does Romney have to offer, by contrast? A return to Bush-era neo-conservativism managed by the same people who brought us the Iraq war, and who see any retreat from American unilateralism as a sign of military weakness. They include former Bush State department officialsEliot Cohen and John Bolton, who’ve been pushing Romney to attack Obama for abandoning Israel and for crippling America’s nuclear and conventional war capabilities. They’re also suggesting that Obama is weakening the United States in the face of threats from Iran and failing to intervene decisively to bring down the regime in Syria.

Fortunately, much of the foreign policy establishment, including Republicans like former Secretary of State James Baker, aren’t biting. In fact, there’s even growing concern over Romney’s call for a huge increase in U.S. defense spending over and above what the Pentagon under Obama is seeking. Romney’s spending hike would cost the Treasury an additional $2.1 trillion, undermining the GOP’s ostensible commitment to deficit-reduction, without necessarily enhancing U.S. defense capabilities.

How much does foreign policy matter? In the end, in a close race, it could matter a lot. One foreign policy expert, Bruce Jentleson, has noted that 8-10 percent or more of U.S. voters consistently say that foreign policy drives their vote. And the fact is, even those voters who say they’re mostly concerned about their “pocketbook” still form powerful impressions about candidates and their leadership abilities based on more than their records as economic “stewards.” These days, most voters know that America lives in a global world and that domestic and foreign policy are related, even if they’re not always sure how. It’s really up to the president to show how his handling of the trade deficit, increases in defense spending, or the threat of war can directly affect whether the economy grows or stagnates.

Some Obama successes, like his adroit handling of China, are inextricably tied to future jobs growth, in part through the recapturing of American jobs via “in-sourcing,” It makes no sense not to make this connection more explicit. Other foreign policy accomplishments could help the president with specific voter groups, including disillusioned youth and veterans, both of whom are showing strong signs of defection. Obama’s nuclear and conventional force reductions, for example, could galvanize his peace supporters but, as long-term deficit-busting measures, could appeal more widely, too.

In short, Obama seems to have a real opening on foreign and defense policy, which is something of a rarity for a Democratic presidential candidate. But he needs to seize this advantage now, before Karl Rove & Co. begin launching the kind of national security attack campaign that helped derail John Kerry’s bid for the White House in 2004. Developing a broader reelection narrative will allow voters to appreciate just how much is at stake in the election this November. It will also sharply contrast the two candidates’ leadership abilities and their fundamentally different visions for how America should confront the deeply intertwined global and domestic challenges of the 21st century.

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New Obama Ad Goes After Mitt Romney On Big Bird

 

Obama Ad Big Bird

Politics 2012…

The Huffington Post

The Obama campaign is out with a new TV ad, going after one of Mitt Romney’s most memorable lines from last week’s presidential debate: his desire to cut funding for PBS and its beloved Big Bird.

Since the debate — which Romney was widely acknowledged to have won — President Barack Obama has been campaigning around the country, saying his GOP challenger “plans to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s bringing the hammer down on Sesame Street.”

Elmo, you better make a run for it!” joked Obama last week at a campaign event.

The latest tongue-in-cheek ad shows pictures of notoriously corrupt financial figures — Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski — and states there is an “evil genius” who towered over them.

“One man has the guts to speak his name,” says the narrator, with the ad then flashing to Romney saying “Big Bird” repeatedly — followed by Big Bird cheerfully saying his own name.

“Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about it, it’s Sesame Street,” adds the narrator.

The ad ends with a cute shot of Big Bird in his nest, with his teddy bear, sleeping: “Mitt Romney, taking on our enemies no matter where they nest.”

Continue reading below the video…

 

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Why the Poor Pay No Federal Income Tax: A Wee Tutorial

I’ll try to put the Mitt Romney tape fiasco into perspective:

Mitt Romney had to call an impromptu news conference late this evening to explain his remarks in the following video:

Here is a portion of the press conference video in which he makes no apologies for his remarks:

Mother Jones – Kevin Drum

Is it true, as Mitt Romney says, that 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income tax? Yes! That’s mostly because they’re either poor, elderly, or take advantage of tax credits for low-income workers. Details here.  But why do these people pay no income tax? Ezra Klein breaks it down into Twitter-sized chunks:

  • Rs have spent years cutting income taxes and increasing things like the Child Tax Credit. This means fewer people pay income taxes.
  • So whenever you hear a stat like “47% don’t pay income taxes,” remember: Reagan and Bush helped build that.
  • These tax cuts for the poor were partly in order to make further tax cuts for the rich political palatable.
  • But now that fewer people pay income taxes as a result of GOP policies, they’re being called lazy and dependent.
  • And thus the GOP’s tax cuts are being used to make a case that the rich are overtaxed and that the less-rich are becoming dependent.
  • Which thus leads to a policy agenda of tax cuts for the rich and cuts to social services for the non-rich.

Yep, that’s about it. Also worth noting: the poor often pay higher state tax rates than the rich. Add in payroll taxes and excise taxes, instead of cherry picking only a single tax, and it turns out that the poor and the working class end up paying a fair chunk of their income in taxes. Not as big a chunk as the rich, it’s true, but then, it strikes most of us as perfectly fair that the poor should pay lower tax rates than the rich. I wonder if this strikes Romney as fair too?

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Romney Adviser: ‘Real Americans’ Don’t Care About Candidate’s Afghanistan Policy

Mitt RomneyThis is the weirdest campaign that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

The inmates have truly taken over the asylum…

The Huffington Post

Watch video here…

A senior adviser to Mitt Romney declined to provide more specific details on the presumptive GOP nominee’s plan for Afghanistan on Thursday, saying it was a distraction from what “real Americans want to talk about.”

The Romney campaign has said the former Massachusetts governor “supports the 2014 timetable as a realistic timetable and a residual force post-2014″ in Afghanistan, but he would not have announced the withdrawal timeline publicly, as President Barack Obama did. But as Josh Rogin at The Cable notes, “details remain sketchy” on what Romney would do beyond the timeline.

Top senators are equally flummoxed. None of them who talked to Rogin were able to explain what Romney’s policy was.

On MSNBC on Thursday, Romney Senior Communications Adviser Tara Wall was asked about Rogin’s article and whether Romney should have a more specific policy on Afghanistan before his upcoming trips to Israel and London. Wall replied that these “attacks” were a distraction from the more important issues of jobs and the economy:

I’m not going to get into the details of that. I’m here to talk about again, once again, the jobs situation, the economy, the growth that we need and what this governor is planning on doing in that regard and what this president has failed to do. [...]These are the issues we need to be talking about. And we need to be talking about how this president has failed to address that, has failed to talk about that and continues to malign small business. Those are the things that I’m here to talk about, that I think we need to continue to focus on, that this campaign will focus on. […]

Unfortunately it’s disappointing that the attacks, these recent attacks on all these issues outside of what the issues are relative to Mitt Romney are diverting away from what real Americans want to talk about. And real Americans want to talk about getting back to work.

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Ann Romney: ‘We’ve Given All You People Need To Know’ About Family Finances

Ann Romney

The unmitigated gall of this “privileged” woman is rather unpleasant, in my view.  The “all you people…” part is what’s so damned unacceptable here…

The Huffington Post

Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.

“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” she said. “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.”

Ann Romney told ABC News she thinks the Obama campaign’s attacks on her husband have been “beneath the dignity of the presidency.” And she said people will decide whom to vote for based on whether their lives would be better under Mitt Romney than President Barack Obama.

She said that ultimately she believes voters are “going to fire the coach.”

CORRECTION: The original version of this article omitted the word “people” from Ann Romney’s quote.

See video here…

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Romney responds to NAACP booing: ‘If they want more stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy’

The consensus among the talking heads on MSNBC and elsewhere about Mitt Romney’s speech at the NAACP Conference on Wednesday is that he said what he said intentionally to get the crowd to boo at him.

Many politicians and news pundits were reluctant to say that Romney’s remarks to intentionally solicited the boos, but his response at a fundraiser later that night seemed to confirm their suspicions…

The Rachel Maddow Show

Mitt Romney had this remarkable message for the members of the NAACP who booed him when he told them he’d repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy—more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free.

Rachel Maddow reported on Romney’s remarks tonight, which he made at a fundraiser in Hamilton, Montana.

Romney has been accused of hoping to get booed during his speech at the NAACP in order to drum up right-wing support, and as Maddow pointed out, these latest comments lend support to that theory.

“It seemed like Mitt Romney wanted to get booed at the NAACP this morning,” Maddow said. “He wanted to wear that around his neck like a badge of courage. It looks like he is not wasting any time in doing so.”

And later on The Last Word, Goldie Taylor of The Grio had a more visceral response to Romney’s comments.

“That tells me all I need to know now about Mitt Romney, who at first I believed is just disconnected,” Taylor said. “Now I know his problem is much bigger than that.”

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THE $71 MILLION PLAN: Kochs, Rove & Casino Billionaire Team Up To Beat Dems

If these guys are looking for a repeat of the cash infused Wisconsin recall election, they need to know they have a much tougher opponent to deal with this time.  True Democracy cannot be purchased…and true Americans would not attempt to do so.

The Huffington Post

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth makes him one of the world’s richest men, is on a check-writing spree that will soon bring his total political contributions in this election cycle to at least $71 million, according to sources familiar with his spending. That money is spread across the spectrum of GOP super PACs, which are required to disclose donors, and nonprofits, which are not.

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, along with other family donations, have already reached $36 million, including $10 million to the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future that was reported this week. But two GOP fundraisers familiar with his plans say that Adelson has given or pledged at least $35 million more to three conservative nonprofit groups: the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, another with ties to billionaires Charles and David Koch and a third with links to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Adelson, 78, is a staunch supporter of the Israeli right and a strong foe of American unions. In recent years, Adelson has been a major financier of GOP-allied groups, but has emerged this year as the consummate super donor in the wake of 2010 court rulings that permitted corporations, unions and individuals to supply unlimited amounts of money, sometimes anonymously, to independent groups that can advocate directly for candidates.

Adelson has told friends that he might give as much as $100 million in donations this year in support of GOP candidates and conservative issues. That target now seems easily within reach and could be surpassed, say the two GOP fundraisers with ties to the casino magnate.

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Eric Fehrnstrom: Auto Bailout Was Mitt Romney’s Idea

Come on Mitt, you seem to want to claim everything the POTUS has done to help the economy, but you call him a miserable failure.  Which is it?

The Huffington Post

Top Mitt Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom claimed that President Obama’s auto bailout was the GOP presidential hopeful’s idea.

Fehrnstrom said Obama followed Romney’s course to help the auto industry during an appearance at a Saturday roundtable discussion hosted by the The Washington Post.

“His position on the bailout was exactly what President Obama followed,” Fehrnstrom said. “He said, ‘If you want to save the auto industry, just don’t write them a check. That will seal their doom. What they need to do is go through a managed bankruptcy process.’”

“The only economic success that President Obama has had is because he followed Mitt Romney’s advice,” Fehrnstrom added.

Fehrnstrom made headlines back in late March for saying that Romney’s GOP primary positions were as erasable as a drawing on an Etch a Sketch. Fehrnstrom’s Saturday comments marked a different drawing on the auto bailout than what Romney penned in a November 2008 New York Times op-ed.

Headlined “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” the piece closed with these words:

“In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check,” Romney wrote.

According to The Hill, Fehrnstrom pointed to that segment of the op-ed, noting that auto companies are now profitable because of how they cut costs through a“managed bankruptcy.”

“It is exactly what Mitt Romney told them to do,” Fehrnstrom said.

Over the course of the 2012 campaign, President Barack Obama’s campaign has highlighted the successes of his administration’s 2009 auto bailout, headed by the 1.4 million jobs that were saved in the process. In a March 2012 ad entitled “Made In America,” Obama’s campaign did not forget Romney’s ’08 stance.

“When a million jobs were on the line, every Republican candidate turned their back, even said, ‘Let Detroit go Bankrupt,’” the ad said.

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Romney’s Etch A Sketch Campaign Begins

EAn "Etch A Sketch " is for sale at FAO Schwarz in New York City on March 22, 2012. French electrician André Cassagnes created the toy in the late 1950s as the "L'Ecran Magique," and with the Ohio Art Company launched it in the US on July 12, 1960. The iconic toy has found its way to US presidential politics. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney received backing from major Republican figures March 21 after a big win in Illinois, but an aide's gaffe reinforced qualms about his campaign. Asked on CNN whether the primary had pushed Romney too far to the right for general election voters, advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes." "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again." AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)veryone knew this would happen with the Etch-A-Sketch candidate.  It was just a matter of time.

New York Magazine

Two constituencies that President Obama is holding onto about as strongly now as he did four years ago are voters under 30 and Latinos. In what is probably not a coincidence, these two constituencies are the targets for the first two major Mitt Romney Etch A Sketch pivots of the general election. After having repeatedly denounced any need for the federal government to subsidize tuition costs during the primary, Romney has now endorsed Obama’s call for extending lower rates for federally-subsidized loans. Romney says he supports the measures “in part because of the extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market.” Apparently, he has been informed of the poor job market since wrapping up the nomination, when he was still advising graduates concerned about debt to acquire a high-paying job.

On immigration, Romney is making the turn a little more slowly, as you’d expect, given the sensitivities involved in holding together his base. Romney has deputized Marco Rubio to craft “his” own version of the Dream Act, a somewhat more restrictive version of the reform that Republicans in Congress killed and Romney opposed in the primary, when he positioned himself on the party’s right on immigration. Romney is “studying” Rubio’s bill.

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