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It has got to really irk the GOPers that President Obama has had a fairly successful record with his foreign policy…
Top Republicans are starting to weigh in on Muammar Qaddafi’s death and one consistent theme is quickly emerging: Barack who?
Mitt Romney, appearing on a radio program in Iowa, said it couldn’t come soon enough.
“I have seen those reports and if accurate I think the response is it’s about time,” he said. “This was a tyrant who has been killing his own people and of course is responsible for the lives of American citizens lost in the Lockerbie attack….I think people across the world recognize that the world is a better place without Muammar Qaddafi.”
Romney’s analysis of the Libya conflict has been nuanced. Back before the Arab Spring, Romney cited comments from Qaddafi praising Obama as evidence the president was weak on dictators. After operations against Qaddafi’s forces began in March, he announced his support for the intervention but later warned of “mission creep” and criticized President Obama for demanding the dictator’s ouster. “Now the president is saying we have to remove Qaddafi,” hesaid in New Hampshire in July. “Who’s going to own Libya if we get rid of the government there?”
In an e-mail to Politico’s Ben Smith, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom clarified Romney’s position and made absolutely clear that Obama did not deserve credit for Thursday’s news.
“Mitt Romney has responded to the situation in Libya as it has developed,” he said. “It is the president who has been completely unclear regarding what his intention was with respect to our military’s involvement in Libya.”
He added: “Mitt Romney supported the initial humanitarian mission-as articulated by President Obama-to enforce a no-fly zone. As the mission went on, however, it became clear that President Obama had no idea about his intentions in Libya and that’s when Mitt warned against mission muddle and mission creep. The fall from power and subsequent death of Qaddafi brings to end a brutal chapter in Libya’s history-but that does not validate the president’s approach to Libya. The credit goes to the people of Libya.”
Rick Perry hailed Qaddafi’s death, but also left out any mention of the president’s decision to attack the dictator’s forces from his comments.
“The death of Muammar el-Qaddafi is good news for the people of Libya,” he said in a statement. “It should bring the end of conflict there, and help them move closer to elections and a real democracy. The United States should work closely with Libya to ensure the transition is successful, and that a stable, peaceful nation emerges. The U.S. must also take an active role in ensuring the security of any remaining stockpiles of Qaddafi’s weapons. These weapons pose a real danger to the United States and our allies, and we cannot help secure them through simple observation.”
One prominent Republican went out of the way to give Europe credit instead. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told FOX News “Today’s not a day to point fingers” when asked about America’s role in Qaddafi’s death, before saying France and England were really the ones responsible for deposing the dictator. He later issued a statement thanking “American and NATO forces” for the victory.
Update: Ben Smith notes that a surprising number of Republicans aren’t even thanking US troops for the outcome.
I just discovered this guy JSmooth, and I am floored by his style of commentary.
His YouTube page has 113 videos of him doing much the same thing about various topics. In my opinion, this guy is a genius at what he does.
The Evangelical faction of the GOP will not look kindly upon his statement. There are efforts underway now by the Evangelicals to ban birth control completely. Rick Santorum is the person out front in this effort.
Mitt Romney will do one of two things: double down on this recent statement or flip it around and say he “misspoke”.
At a campaign event in Iowa today, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney was confronted by a woman in the audience about his support for so-called “personhood” laws that would define life as beginning at conception, effectivelyoutlawing common forms of birth control. “98% of American women, including me, use birth control,” she said, “so could you help me understand why you oppose the use of birth control?”
Romney answered simply, “I don’t” — a surprising departure from the rest of the field’s radicalized anti-contraception views. Romney explained that his support of birth control is not inconsistent with his anti-abortion stance because, “I believe life begins at conception and birth control prevents conception.”
As the woman pointed out, however, Romney studiously avoided commenting on the stickier side of this issue — whether he supports hormonal contraception (like birth control pills) that can also prevent eggs from being implanted, which many conservatives think is tantamount to abortion.
Romney was also less-than-straight about his pro-states’ rights approach to abortion. Although he claimed, “I would like to see the Supreme Court return this right to the states,” he has recently pledged to push for federal abortion restrictions.
Romney has a mixed record when it comes to supporting women’s access to safe, effective contraception. In an effort to pander to social conservatives powerful in the Republican base, Romney said he would expand a Bush-era rule that allows doctors to deny women access to contraceptives.
Over a month since the demonstrations began in New York’s Zuccotti Park, two demographic surveys of the movement and its supporters are now available online, both of them containing surprising, perhaps even counter-intuitive findings about the makeup of the movement and its supporters.
Survey One: Visitors to Occupy Wall Street Website
The first survey, the results of which appear in an academic paper written by Héctor Codero-Guzmán, PhD, a sociology professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), used visitors to the Occupy Wall Street movement’s website (www.occupywallst.org) on October 5th as its sample size. The paper was published online on the Occupy Wall Street website on Wednesday.
Among other striking findings, Codero-Guzmán discovered that 70 percent of the survey’s 1,619 respondents identified as politically independent, far-and-away the vast majority, compared to 27.3% Democrats and 2.4% self-identified Republicans.
“That finding surprised me based on what I had heard in previous conversations about the movement” said Codero-Guzmán in a telephone interview with TPM on Wednesday. “I wasn’t expecting many Republicans, but I was expecting more self-identified Democrats. In recent years, there’s been an increased interest in who political independents are and what political views are and what are their levels of interest in particular issues, which will only continue as the election cycle progresses.”
Other findings in the paper include:
Participation level: Relatively weak
Less than a quarter of the sample (24.2%) had participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests as of October 5, 2011. (But as Codero-Guzmán pointed out to TPM, the movement was still in its relative infancy at that stage.)
Age varies widely
64.2% of respondents were younger than 34 years of age, but one in three respondents was over 35 and one in five was 45 or older.
Wealth varies widely
A full 15.4% of the sample reported earning annual household income between $50,000 and $74,999. Another 13% of the sample reported over $75,000 , and 2% said they made over $150,000 annually, putting them in the top 10 percent of all American earners, according to theWall Street Journal’s calculator. That said, 47.5% of the sample said they earend less than $24,999 dollars a year and another quarter (24%) reported earning between $25,000 and $49,999 per year. A whopping 71.5% of the sample earns less than $50,000 per year.
92.1% of the sample reported “some college, a college degree, or a graduate degree.”
They have jobs
50.4% reported full-time employment, and “an additional 20.4% were employed part-time.”
“Dr. Cordero-Guzmán’s findings strongly reinforce what we’ve known all along: Occupy Wall Street is a post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics,” read a blog post on the paper posted on the Occupy Wall Street website Wednesday. “We are a movement of people empowerment, a collective realization that we ourselves have the power to create change from the bottom-up, because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians.”
Cordero-Guzmán told Idea Lab that he and Occupy Wall Street’s webmasters planned to release more findings of their initial data sample this week and would conduct future studies in the coming weeks with a much wider sample size.
“I can tell you about 6.3 million people visited the [Occupy Wall Street] website within the last 30 days,” said Cordero-Guzmán. Not bad for its first month of launch!
Survey Two: Face-to-Face With Protesters
The other demographic survey of the movement was an in-person questionnaire of some 198 protesters on the ground in Zuccotti Square, conducted by Fox News analyst Douglas Schoen’s polling outfit on October 10th and 11th.
The results were published online Tuesday and used to bolster a Wall Street Journal column by Schoen in which he maintained “the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.”
Still, a closer examination of the results of Schoen’s survey by The Wall Street Journal’s Aaron Rutkoff on Wednesday revealed some findings that Schoen glossed over or misconstrued to further his own perspective.
Participation split between veterans and rookies
Schoen’s survey found 48% reporting it was their “first time getting involved in a protest/rally/march etc.,” compared to 52 percent who said they had a “history of past participation,” about an even split.
Age varies widely
As Rutfkoff explained: “While 49% of protesters are under 30, more than 28% are 40 or older,” roughly coinciding with Cordero-Guzmán’s findings.
Some employment, but overall difficulty finding work
When it came to employment, Rutfkoff explained that “33%… are struggling in the labor market. That percentage is double the U.S. Labor Department’s broader measure of unemployment, which accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs.”
As for political leanings, Schoen’s survey recorded that the largest group of respondents, 33 percent, “do not identify with any political party,” followed by 32 percent that identified Democratic and zero respondents who identified Republican. A further 21 percent, again the largest cohesive group, said “both parties” were to blame for the “failure to address our problems.”
And although Schoen’s column maintained that “An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008,” his survey doesn’t exactly support that assertion. As Rutkoff found, ” according to the survey data, just 56% of protesters voted in 2008, and of those 74% voted for Obama. Crunching the numbers, it would appear that only 42% of the Zuccotti Park crowd has ever cast a presidential ballot for Obama.” Another 35 percent reported that they “somewhat approved” of President Obama’s job performance while 24 percent “somewhat disapproved” and 27 percent “strong disapproved.”
Overall, Rutkoff says, the survey indicates that “Zuccotti Park protesters are underemployed at twice the national rate, lukewarm to warm on Obama and broadly in favor of taxing the wealthy and encouraging a Tea Party-style populism on the left.”
Correction: This article originally misquoted Cordero-Guzmán’s statement about the visitors to the Occupy Wall Street website as 6.1 million unique visitors. In reality, there were 6.1 million visits to site in last month (since Sept. 18) and 4 million unique visitors. It has since been corrected.
The hostilities flaring between Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas have been steadily rising inside both camps and may signal a new, more combative phase in the Republican presidential campaign.
The harsh exchanges between the men at a debate in Las Vegas this week made clear the differences — in style and substance, background and belief — facing voters as they get closer to selecting the party’s nominee. Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry have been on a collision course for months, since Mr. Perry began considering a run for the presidency.
But the animosities began long ago, set off by a series of political encounters that began when the two men were governors — Mr. Romney in Massachusetts — fighting over the services of a political consultant.
The story of their political relationship starts with two ambitious men whose life stories led them to the statehouse. But the similarities in their careers have always been outweighed by the differences, and by the moments of personal and professional conflict.
Mr. Romney’s decision, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2006, to hire a consultant who was working for one of Mr. Perry’s political opponents left the Texas governor angry, aides said.
“I think that started the downhill decline in the relationship between the two of them,” a Texas Republican operative said on Wednesday, recalling the tension that existed at the time. “They have never been close.”
It was not long before Mr. Perry criticized Mr. Romney by name in his 2008 book about the history of the Boy Scouts. To Mr. Romney’s annoyance, Mr. Perry noted that the Scouts were blocked from participation in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, which Mr. Romney led.
“In the absence of an explanation,” Mr. Perry wrote, “it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the decision was made as a reaction to the protests of gay activist groups.”
Mr. Romney beat Mr. Perry to the national stage, mounting his first bid for the presidency in 2008. Mr. Perry’s decision to endorse Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, over his fellow governor, added to the insult that Mr. Romney felt, according to advisers. He has never forgotten the snub, according to people close to Mr. Romney.
Before Mr. Perry’s entry into the current presidential race, the two men might have found common ground in their desire to defeat President Obama.