The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful.
The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.
(Breitbart.tv) - Blake Griffin’s jaw-dropping one-handed jam over Kendrick Perkins sent Los Angeles Clippers fans into a frenzy, fired up his teammates, lit up the Twitterverse and burned the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Griffin had 22 points to go with Chris Paul’s 26 points and 14 assists in a 112-100 victory Monday night that snapped the Thunder’s four-game winning streak in a match-up of division leaders.
(FoxNews.com) - As President Obama prepares to raise the debt ceiling -- after the Senate waived its opposition last week -- $5 trillion hikes evidently are no longer "unpatriotic" as Obama said they were in 2008 while describing former President George W. Bush's $4 trillion increase over eight years.
The White House requested authority earlier this month to raise the debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion, up $1.2 trillion from last summer and more than $5 trillion from the statutory limit of $11.3 trillion set in October 2008 before Obama took office. The debt at the time Obama entered the White House was $10.6 trillion. The ceiling was raised to $12.1 trillion within a month of his inauguration.
GOP voters shifted from Republican districts in hopes of toppling Democrats
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) — It seems self-defeating: A Republican-crafted redistricting plan hurting Republicans’ election chances. But in two North Carolina districts, it’s true.
A Catch-22 of redistricting is that partisan map-drawers must weaken their party’s power in certain districts to strengthen their power in others. In North Carolina, GOP lawmakers followed a redistricting strategy that diluted Democratic strength in key congressional districts at the expense of other GOP-held seats, particularly the 3rd and 6th congressional districts.
Republicans have dominated the two districts for over 15 years, but political experts say that could change in an election season favorable to Democrats.
“In a good year for Democrats, where they have the wind in their sails because of some national momentum advantage, a strong Democrat could very easily defeat a mediocre or weak Republican in those two districts,” said John Davis, a Republican political consultant in Raleigh.
Michael Bitzer, associate professor of politics and history at Catawba College in Salisbury, said that a Southern conservative-leaning Democrat — in the mold of U.S. Reps. Heath Shuler or Mike McIntyre — could give Republicans a run for their money in either district.
“It would also take money from outside the district, most likely from the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], to pump enough money into that district to make it competitive and to make it an opportunity for the Democrats to pick up,” Bitzer said.
RALEIGH (By Rob Christensen, The Charlotte Observer) - After Pat McCrory lost his campaign for governor in 2008, he had to find a new job. He also got a second chance to impress conservative Republicans and make deeper statewide political connections.
McCrory got the new job, working for a major law firm. And he worked the rubber-chicken circuit tirelessly, building up political IOUs during the 2010 mid-term elections.
As a result, he's the first Republican since Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner in 1992 to have a clear path to the GOP gubernatorial nomination. McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, will announce his candidacy Tuesday night in Guilford County.
GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says rival Rick Santorum should take a look at the poll numbers, which show Gingrich beating him, and drop out.
“The longer conservatives stay split, the harder it’s going to be for us to [beat Romney],” Gingrich said on 'FOX and Friends' on Tuesday. “And I think that we risk not being able to beat Obama unless we get a conservative. I have to win the nomination.”
Santorum is sapping conservative votes from Gingrich, the former House speaker said.
(By Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters.org) - The ridiculous media hypocrisy concerning all the fuss over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wealth and income tax rate was perfectly demonstrated on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Monday.
After claiming that Romney's "tax issue is not remotely" past him, John Heilemann, the National Affairs editor for New York magazine, admitted that he never reported John Kerry's income tax rate during the 2004 campaign:
(Breitbart.tv) - Governor Bobby Jindal told "Fox & Friends": “It brought back memories... He grabs me by the arm, takes me aside. Here’s the strange thing: I thought he’d be angry about the oil spill, the lack of resources; I thought he’d get down there and say, 'Look governor, we’re going to do everything we can to work together.' Instead, he was upset he was going to look bad; he was worried about some routine letter we had already sent to his administration, nothing important."
(Breitbart.tv) - In the early days of his presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich made an emphatic denial of ever supporting a federal individual mandate for health insurance coverage. The video message, posted to his campaign website in May 2011, shows the former speaker talking directly to the camera saying that he has always opposed a federal mandate and that he fought ObamaCare's version for "two-and-a-half years."
Newly uncovered audio from May 2009 shows Gingrich describing the federal individual mandate pushed by his think-tank at the time of the crafting of ObamaCare. May 2009 would have fallen into the "two-and-a-half year window Mr. Gingrich says he was fighting against the ObamaCare federal mandate.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - It wouldn’t be a Florida presidential primary without Cuba playing a big part in the debate, and Newt Gingrich doesn’t fail to deliver on some red meat here. In a new ad that has gone out in both English and Spanish, the ad shows one Cuban-American warning that the US is “starting to look like the country my parents fled.” The language is actually harsher in Spanish than English:
(By Josh Feldman, Mediaite) - A new poll out from Florida shows Mitt Romney with a 15-point lead over Newt Gingrich, and on ABC’s 'This Week' today, Jake Tapper asked how Gingrich’s Florida numbers will end up impacting the rest of the race. George Will didn’t mince words, declaring right out that Gingrich does not have time on his side, and the more time he has, the more he talks, and the more he talks, the more he makes somewhat divisive remarks.
(By James Crugnale, Mediaite) - During an awkward exchange on CNN’s 'Early Start', Ashleigh Banfield grilled Louisiana Senator David Vitter over his prostitution scandal, and compared his affairs to those of Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich. “I want you to weigh in on Newt Gingrich and what it’s like for a politician having serious baggage trying to be elected,” she asked. “The good news is in America, it’s not up to CNN, it’s up to the American people and up to voters,” Vitter hit back, comparing Banfield to John King.
I’m not convinced that Erskine Bowles will run, or that he would necessarily get the nomination.
RALEIGH (By John Hood) – According to the available polling and several Democratic pros of my acquaintance, former UNC President and two-time Senate nominee Erskine Bowles would be the strongest challenger to Republican Pat McCrory in this fall’s gubernatorial race.
Bowles would instantly bring an impeccable personal reputation, stature as an experienced leader, credibility on fiscal matters, and financial resources to the contest.
But I’m not convinced that Bowles will run, or that he would necessarily get the nomination. To understand why, I think it is helpful to think of the Democrats of North Carolina as two distinct parties, the Insiders and the Outsiders.
Brubaker expects to introduce proposal in short session
RALEIGH (By Dan Way, Carolina Journal Online) — The senior chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee said he is prepared to introduce legislation this year to transform the state-owned North Carolina Zoo into a public-private partnership.
“I fully support the public-private partnership. It’s the only way the zoo’s going to move forward,” said state Rep. Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph. “We don’t have the money to do additional programs and expansion” through state funding alone.
Zoo Chief of Staff Mary Joan Pugh said greater funding possibilities exist under a public-private enterprise and that should help the zoo pursue goals of an exhibit featuring animals from the continent of Asia and building a long-sought hotel and conference center.
About 75 percent of the nation’s accredited zoos and aquariums already have switched to public-private partnerships.
(Breitbart.tv) - Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) walked right up to President Obama after this week's State of the Union address and let him know that Democrat Leader Harry Reid was standing in the way of the STOCK Act from reaching the floor for a vote. This was right after Obama had called for such legislation in his address.
Allen West: "This is a battlefield that we must stand upon and we need to let president Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida is not on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, and take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
(Breitbart.tv) - New audio excerpts from a conference call run by Newt Gingrich for his think tank, Center for Health Transformation, have surfaced. Earlier videos that have turned up over the past few weeks show Gingrich extolling the virtues of the individual mandate, but he has been able to distance himself from the remarks by saying he was wrong to support an individual mandate at the time of rival Mitt Romney's state version in Massachusetts.
However, this is the first example of Gingrich specifically endorsing President Barack Obama's federally mandated version which many conservatives believe is unconstitutional and Gingrich has described as "clearly unconstitutional."
(Breitbart.tv) - In last Thursday's debate in Jacksonville, FL Newt Gingrich specifically denied ever advocating for an individual mandate for health insurance on a federal level: "I didn't advocate federal mandates. I talked about it at a state level, finding a way -- which included an escape clause that people didn't have to buy it -- finding a way to try to have people have insurance, particularly for wealthy people who are simply free-riding on local hospitals."
But, newly discovered audio from a conference call in May 2009 shows that Mr. Gingrich praised the individual mandate put forth by President Obama.
AURORA, Ky. (Associated Press) – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday promised speedy work to begin replacing a bridge that partially collapsed when it was struck by a cargo ship too tall to pass beneath the structure.
Two spans of the Eggner Ferry Bridge at US 68 and Kentucky 80 were destroyed Thursday night by the Delta Mariner. No injuries were reported on the bridge or in the boat.
The ship was traveling upriver toward the Kentucky Lock and Dam when it hit the aging steel bridge, which was built in the 1930s and handles about 2,800 vehicles a day.
(By Eric Limer, Geekosystem) - 17-year-old Stacey Irvine of Castle Vale, Birmingham was living the dream until just recently; she’d been subsisting on a diet primarily composed of McDonald’s chicken nuggets, sometimes — but rarely — straying from the staple for some KFC or a piece of toast. Just recently, however, it all caught up to her when she had trouble breathing and collapsed. She was taken to the hospital where doctors found swollen blood vessels in her tongue and the prescense of anaemia and promptly loaded her up with vitamins. Considering she has had neither fruit nor vegetable — outside of ketchup, maybe — in 15 years, it’s a small miracle she didn’t also have scurvy.
MSNBC Analyst Compares AZ Governor To Segregation-Era Racist Screaming At Black Kids
(Breitbart.tv) - MSNBC analyst Melissa Harris-Perry appeared on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell Thursday night to discuss the confrontation between AZ Governor Jan Brewer and President Barack Obama that occurred Wednesday afternoon.
Not surprisingly, Harris-Perry is sure that racial animus motivated the Governor's behavior.
BIDEN: Even call centers, even call centers rushed over seas, hundreds of thousands. How many times you get the call, ‘I like to talk to you about your credit card’? Or that ad on TV, what is it? ‘Nancy, this is Nancy, can I talk to a supervisor?’ Right? Ok? Well, it’s a little overdone but the truth of the matter is these jobs now are paying about $19.50 an hour if memory serves me.
While at a jobs event in Rochester, New Hampshire: VP Joe Biden uses an Indian accent to imitate call service employees. (1/26/2012)
(By NBC's Frank Thorp) - A senior Democratic congressman likened Republican lawmakers to terrorists on Thursday for their insistence on tying approval of construction of a new oil pipeline to must-pass legislation.
California Rep. Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the coauthor of the 2009 cap-and-trade climate change bill, decried efforts by the GOP to force the Obama administration into approving a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.
"They want to use legislation as a way to act like terrorists. They hold things as hostage," Waxman said. "We almost couldn't fund the government because Republicans wanted to hold that idea hostage, we almost couldn't pay our debts because the Republicans wanted to hold that legislation hostage to their extreme agenda, and I wouldn't be surprised if they scuttled this conference by trying to hold us hostage."
(By Devin Dwyer, ABC News) - President Barack Obama today signaled an aggressive tact for his early re-election campaign, critiquing his Republican opponents by name and insisting he's ready to "fight with every fiber of my being" for a second term.
"How much do you want it?" ABC News' Diane Sawyer asked Obama during an exclusive interview in Las Vegas.
"Badly," the president said, "because I think the country needs it."
"Whoever wins the Republican primary is going to be a standard bearer for a vision of the country that I don't think reflects who we are," Obama said.
"I'm going to fight as hard as I can with every fiber of my being to make sure that we continue on a path that I think will restore the American dream," he said.
Obama pushed back against what he called Republicans' "rhetorical flourishes," including Newt Gingrich's oft-repeated contention that Obama is the "food stamp president."
"First of all, I don't put people on food stamps," Obama said. "People become eligible for food stamps. Second of all, the initial expansion of food-stamp eligibility happened under my Republican predecessor, not under me. No. 3, when you have a disastrous economic crash that results in 8 million people losing their jobs, more people are going to need more support from government."
(By Allahpundit, Hot Air) - Two highlights of the evening, both via BuzzFeed. Remind me again, what’s the evidence from this interminable debate series that Newt would totally OWN Obama in the debates this fall? He’s had two memorable moments, one attacking Juan Williams and the other attacking John King, neither of whom is actually running for president. All day long we heard about how angry he was on the stump about Romney’s Freddie Mac hypocrisy and his secret bank accounts and his richie-rich richness, and how Newt was spoiling for a fight. So what ended up happening? Romney neutralized him on the big immigration exchange at the beginning, and then it fell to Santorum — for the second debate in a row — to pick Romney apart on his core policy vulnerability. (He did a darned fine job of it too.) If you’re operating under the illusion that the election will turn on the presidential debates in October, kindly explain why Gingrich is somehow superior to Santorum. He wouldn’t even accept Blitzer’s invite to hit Romney on his Swiss bank account even though he’s been criticizing him on the trail for it for days. The hapless moderator/punching bag had to badger him into answering. Mystifying. Didn’t Newt realize that the primary was on the line tonight?
You’ll be pleased to know that Romney is now a 91 percent favorite to win Florida on InTrade as I write this, up from 74 percent earlier today. Stats guru Nate Silver thinks it’s possible that Romney wins by double digits, perhaps by as much as 20 points. And why not? After Santorum’s strong performance tonight, there are bound to be tepid Newt fans and true undecideds who prefer him as the anointed Not Romney and will start peeling away tomorrow. Who could blame them?
RALEIGH (By John Hood, Carolina Journal Online) – When North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue rocked the political establishment January 26 by announcing her plans not to run for reelection, she made history. Since the state constitution was changed to allow Jim Hunt to seek a second term in 1980, each North Carolina governor has served eight years at a time.
In addition to making history, Perdue’s announcement will make state and national politicians do a bit more work this week than originally planned. Potential rivals for the Democratic nomination will scramble to assess their chances and, if favorable, set up campaigns. Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, whom Perdue narrowly defeated in 2008, will have to reshape his 2012 strategy to account for a different opponent.
Even the groups for and against same-sex marriage will have to refashion their strategies for the May 8 referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment. They were assuming that the primary date would either be a low-turnout affair or, if the Republican presidential campaign remained unsettled, attract a GOP-leaning electorate. Now the prospect of a contested Democratic primary for governor changes the calculation.
(By Andrew Malcolm, Investors.com) - How embarrassing this must be for President Obama, whose major speech theme so far this campaign season has been that every single American, no matter how rich, should pay their "fair share" of taxes.
Because how unfair -- indeed, un-American -- it is for an office worker like, say, Warren Buffet's secretary to dutifully pay her taxes, while some well-to-do people with better educations and higher incomes end up paying a much smaller tax rate.
Or, worse, skipping their taxes altogether.
A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama's executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven't paid any share, let alone their fair share.
(By TIM MAK, Politico) - A passionate Joe Scarborough went on an extended rant about education reform Thursday, shouting down former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and accusing him of lying about the role Democrats have played in obstructing progress in the schools.
“The fact of the matter is, the system is broken and it has been the Democratic establishment over the past generation that’s been defending that broken status quo,” said Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
(The Smoking Gun) - Despite a heavy tax burden, Warren Buffett’s secretary last year was able to purchase a second home in Arizona, a residence complete with a swimming pool and a “professional PGA putting green,” according to real estate records.
Debra Bosanek, 55, and her husband Gerald bought the 2100-square-foot home in Surprise, a city outside Phoenix. The Bosaneks paid $144,000 for the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath property (the purchase was financed, in part, by a $115,200 mortgage).
The principal Bosanek residence is in Bellevue, Nebraska, several miles from Buffett’s corporate headquarters in Omaha. The couple’s 2568-square-foot home, built in 2000, also has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. But the modest property, which Sarpy County assessors last year valued at $217,716, offers no outdoor amenities for swimmers or golfers.
Bosanek, who last night attended the State of the Union speech, has become the face of President Barack Obama’s so-called Buffett Rule, which contends that the secretary of a wealthy individual should not pay a higher tax rate than their boss.
(By Liz Klimas, The Blaze) - Morning rush hour earlier this week in a Pennsylvania township was a bit scary — and confusing — for commuters as the watched a 2009 Kia drive at highway speeds on the I-81 snow-covered median.
Watch the footage shot on a cell phone (Warning: Some strong language):
(By Tiffany Gabbay, The Blaze) - Upon deplaning Air Force One for his fifth official visit to Arizona, President Barack Obama was greeted by Governor Jan Brewer.
According to KFYI, Brewer handed the president a handwritten letter, they spoke and at one point she pointed her finger at him. It seemed they were talking over each other, then Obama appeared to walk away from the governor while she was still talking.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Better get used to seeing this, because I 'guarantee' you it will come up in tonight’s debate:
After nearly a week on the defensive, CNN’s John King reports tonight that Newt Gingrich’s claim about offering witnesses to ABC News in his defense — to rebut the network’s interview with his second wife, Marianne Gingrich — was not true.
“Tonight, after persistent questioning by our staff, the Gingrich campaign concedes now Speaker Gingrich was wrong — both in his debate answer, and in our interview yesterday,” King said on tonight’s edition of John King USA. “Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says the only people the Gingrich campaign offered to ABC were his two daughters from his first marriage.”
(By Frances Martel, Mediaite) - Mitt Romney‘s tax returns provided at least one commentator plenty of fodder to feed his theory that the tax rates are unfair in this country: Al Sharpton, who invited on his program today Tea Party Congressman Rep. Tim Huelskamp for a spirited debate on social justice. It was the sort of debate where short questions were thrown in each other’s general direction but went, as ships passing in the night, equally unanswered. The two main questions: from Rev. Sharpton: “Is it fair?” after a number of statistics on tax rates that Rep. Huelskamp labeled untruths; and from Rep. Huelskamp: “What’s your income?”
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — U.S. Rep. Brad Miller says he will not seek re-election this year to the 13th Congressional District seat he's held since 2002.
Miller's office issued a statement Thursday morning saying he wants to avoid running against fellow Democrat David Price in a primary after the Republican-controlled Legislature drew them into the same district.
Miller says he does not have an agreement with Price to step down and run again in two years when Price is expected to retire.
Miller says he will continue to press hard for reform of the banking industry. He says he's also hopeful of getting legislation approved to provide compensation for victims of contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
Miller planned to meet with reporters later Thursday to discuss his decision.
WASHINGTON (WGHP) — North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue is set to announce Thursday that she will not seek reelection in 2012, according to the Washington Post.
Sources told the paper she labored over the decision over the past few months. Perdue, who turned 65 earlier this month, was set for a rematch of her 2008 race with former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory (R).
Perdue's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the report, names that are likely to be bandied about as possible Democratic replacements include Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Attorney General Roy Cooper, former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
(By Mark Finkelstein, NewsBusters.org) - It's one thing for Al Sharpton to spout racialized politics on his MSNBC show every evening. It's even another when one of his guests attacks Mitt Romney with the lamest of Rosa Parks/racism analogies.
But when MSNBC itself produces a promo featuring Sharpton lumping Republican tax policy with the racism that kept blacks in the back of the bus and denied women the vote, the network has taken a very ugly turn. Yet that's just what the latest "Lean Forward" Sharpton promo does.
(By Tina Korbe, Hot Air) - Today, at a GOP candidate forum hosted by the Spanish-language television network Univision, Newt Gingrich reiterated his plan to create a path to residency for illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for at least 20 years. He also criticized his competitor, Mitt Romney, who recently suggested illegal immigrants would self-deport for their own benefit. Gingrich painted the suggestion as absurd and claimed Romney lacks concern for the “humanity” of those who’ve lived in the United States. Washington Wire reports the money quote, which also cleverly links Romney to the out-of-touch Barack Obama:
“You have to live to in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million a year income for no work to have a fantasy this far from reality,” Mr. Gingrich said. “This is an Obama-level fantasy… He certainly shows no concern for the humanity of people who are already here.”
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Former Senator Norm Coleman joined the Mitt Romney campaign in September, but hasn’t made an impact until now — and Romney may have wished he hadn’t. In an interview Sunday for BioCentury, a health-industry roundtable forum, Coleman said that ObamaCare won’t ever be repealed “in its entirety,” and that “you can’t whole cloth throw it out.” Truth telling, bad messaging, or both?
In the 1980s, the candidate repeatedly insulted the president.
(By Elliott Abrams, National Review Online) - In the increasingly rough Republican campaign, no candidate has wrapped himself in the mantle of Ronald Reagan more often than Newt Gingrich. “I worked with President Reagan to change things in Washington,” “we helped defeat the Soviet empire,” and “I helped lead the effort to defeat Communism in the Congress” are typical claims by the former speaker of the House.
The claims are misleading at best. As a new member of Congress in the Reagan years — and I was an assistant secretary of state — Mr. Gingrich voted with the president regularly, but equally often spewed insulting rhetoric at Reagan, his top aides, and his policies to defeat Communism. Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong.
Republican leaders want to debate governor on key election issue in 2012
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) — Republican leaders in the General Assembly have challenged Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to a public debate on her proposal to restore three-fourths of a 1-cent sales tax increase.
“Governor, let’s have a joint appearance, a debate, and let’s give the people of North Carolina the opportunity to hear you articulate rationale for why increasing taxes is the right thing to do at this time,” said Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement released shortly after the press conference, House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, echoed Berger’s call for a debate.
“The governor has a very different vision of the role of government than do Sen. Berger and I, and the citizens of this state deserve an opportunity to clearly see the difference. I look forward to the opportunity to put those differences on display,” Tillis said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a wish list, not a to-do list.
President Barack Obama laid out an array of plans in his State of the Union speech as if his hands weren't so tied by political realities. There can be little more than wishful thinking behind his call to end oil industry subsidies — something he could not get through a Democratic Congress, much less today's divided Congress, much less in this election year.
And there was more recycling, in an even more forbidding climate than when the ideas were new: He pushed for an immigration overhaul that he couldn't get past Democrats, permanent college tuition tax credits that he asked for a year ago, and familiar discouragements for companies that move overseas.
A look at Obama's rhetoric Tuesday night and how it fits with the facts and political circumstances...
(By Alicia M. Cohn, The Hill) - Newt Gingrich said Nancy Pelosi is living in a fantasy world if she thinks she has dirt on him.
"She lives in a San Francisco environment of very strange fantasies and very strange understandings of reality," Gingrich said Wednesday as he laughed off the notion that the House minority leader could derail his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
"I have no idea what's in Nancy Pelosi's head," Gingrich said on NBC's "Today" show. "If she knows something, I have a simple challenge: Spit it out."
(By BYRON TAU, POLITICO.com) - President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address again rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test — the third lowest score of any State of the Union address since 1934.
The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics conducted an analysis on the last 70 State of the Union addresses and found that President Obama's three addresses have the lowest grade average of any modern president. "Obama's average grade-level score of 8.4 is more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors," they conclude.
"The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores," the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier explains.
Obama's use of simple language is in part a reflection of his audience: the American voter in an election year. And it's part of a larger trend in simpler State of the Union language as the speech as transitioned from a simple address to Congress into a prime-time televised event.
(By Tiffany Gabbay, The Blaze) - Another bombshell that could, potentially, derail former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential aspirations? That is the newest insinuation made against Gingrich — not by a former spouse or lover, but rather by another former House Speaker.
(By Jonathon M. Seidl, The Blaze) - It was a lighthearted moment during Tuesday’s State of the Union speech. President Obama, while talking about getting rid of old regulations, cracked a joke over spilled milk. And some are saying it didn’t go over too well.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has resorted to “extremism” with stifling, anti-growth policies and continually tries dividing Americans, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday in the formal Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address.
Eight months after deciding not pursue a bid for his party’s presidential nomination, Daniels used his nationally televised speech to lash out at Obama and cast the GOP as compassionate and eager to unchain the country’s economic potential.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Last night, I tweeted that I would read the State of the Union speech instead of watching it on TV, and give myself two hours of my life that would otherwise have been wasted. It turned out to be an easy read, since for the third year in a row, it was written at the eighth-grade level — but that wasn’t the only aspect of the speech that was oddly familiar. As the RNC shows in this clever video, not only did Barack Obama fail to provide a fresh look at fresh issues, he practically read the same speech from the last two years:
(By Nando Di Fino, Mediaite) - Sen. John Kerry, representing the state of Massachusetts, showed up at an event honoring the Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins on Monday sporting two black eyes and a swollen nose. Appropriately, Kerry suffered the injuries while playing the sport being honored:
“He’s totally fine,” Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith told ABC News, “Very ironically he busted his nose recently playing ice hockey, so the Bruins can certainly relate.”
BOSTON (AP) — President John F. Kennedy’s library is releasing 45 hours of privately recorded meetings and phone calls, providing a window into the final months of his life.
The tapes include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.
(NYTimes.com) - Newt Gingrich insists his fans will not be silenced.
Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, on Tuesday morning threatened not participate in any future debates with audiences that have been instructed to be silent. That was the case on Monday, when Brian Williams of NBC News asked the audience of about 500 people who assembled for a debate in Tampa to hold their applause until the commercial breaks.
In an interview with the morning show “Fox and Friends,” Mr. Gingrich said NBC’s rules amounted to stifling free speech. In what has become a standard line of attack for his anti-establishment campaign, Mr. Gingrich blamed the media for trying to silence a dissenting point of view.
(By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg) - Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.
With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.
“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Call this the Battle of Dueling Disclosures. Newt Gingrich made a lot of political hay in South Carolina by demanding that Mitt Romney release his tax returns, getting Romney to trip up twice in debates last week on the topic. When Romney finally decided to release his tax returns, he issued a demand that Gingrich release his contract with Freddie Mac, which Gingrich promptly did. Who got the better of that exchange? Last night, it was clearly Romney:
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - 'Are you ready for some … SOTU? A Tuesday night party?' Let’s face it — not even a foot-stomping intro from Hank Williams Jr would make a State of the Union speech interesting, let alone fun. It’s a party, with all of the wit, charm, spontaneity, and booze drained out of it.
Still, it’s a Major Political Event, and it offers a way to gain some perspective on time and performance. The RNC reminds everyone that three years ago, Barack Obama promised to have improved the economy — and that if he didn’t, his presidency would be a “one-term proposition.” The RNC wants to collect:
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Mitt Romney has released his tax returns for 2010 and 2011 (estimated) today, fulfilling a promise made this week after fumbling the issue last week in two debates. He gave the Washington Post an advance look at the returns yesterday, allowing the media to report the topline numbers before the debate and taking the steam out of the issue by the time Brian Williams first cleared his throat in Florida. The toplines contain no surprises at all:
Mitt Romney offered a partial snapshot of his vast personal fortune late Monday, disclosing income of $21.7 million in 2010 and $20.9 million last year — virtually all of it profits, dividends or interest from investments.
None came from wages, the primary source of income for most Americans. Instead,Romney and his wife, Ann, collected millions in capital gains from a profusion of investments, as well as stock dividends and interest payments. …
For 2011, Romney estimates that he will pay about $3.2 million, for an effective rate of 15.4 percent. That’s in line with his earlier estimates, but sharply lower than the rates paid by President Obama and Romney’s closest Republican rival, Newt Gingrich.
(By Tiffany Gabbay, Mediaite) - During a White House press briefing on Monday, Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Press Secretary Jay Carney if the White House displays a portrait of Saul Alinsky for its staff to look up to. Carney’s answer was less than direct, and would seem to hint that there just 'might' be something to the Alinsky portrait rumors.
“I wonder if you could clear something up,” Henry began.
“Newt Gingrich keeps saying on the campaign trail that the President’s vision comes from Saul Alinsky, the community organizer. I haven’t heard you asked about him but… Is there some kind of portrait of him hanging up in the White House that people look up to or is this BS?”
“Look,” Carney said. “The President’s background as a community organizer is well documented in his own books. His experience in that field contributed to who he is today. But his experiences abroad also included alot of other areas in his life. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
He added, “Have I said how much fun I had as a reporter covering Congress from 1996 to 1998? There was a certain bombast to it at the time. Lots of colorful things to cover.
(By Jonathon M. Seidl, Mediaite) - We already showed you the first bad-weather driving video of the year last week, where drivers in Seattle couldn’t seem to figure out how to navigate a snowy road. There were no accidents in that one. But the one you’re about to see — the second viral bad-weather driving video of the year — has several.
A Utah man captured several cars unsuccessfully trying to drive down a local road. And when snow, icy roads, and cars mix, the result is a cringe-worthy video.
(By Jon Bershad, Mediaite) - The conventional wisdom throughout the weekend was that the longer the fight between the GOP candidates goes on, the more it hurts the party. Well, Rush Limbaugh has never been one for conventional wisdom. Today, Limbaugh continued putting forth his feeling that it would be great to see the fight go all the way to the convention. But he noted the worry that many Republicans seemed to have about it, theorizing that they never thought they could beat President Obama, were only trying to get control of both the House and the Senate, and are in a “full-blown panic” now simply because they don’t think a Newt Gingrich nomination can do that for them.
(By Nando Di Fino, Mediaite) - Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was a guest on Fox Business Network’s 'Follow The Money' with Eric Bolling Monday night, and threw a few demeaning barbs in the direction of New Jersey governor — and Mitt Romney supporter — Chris Christie, classifying his remarks about Newt Gingrich being an embarrassment to the Republican Party as “a rookie mistake.” She then clarified:
“He played right into the media’s hands,” Palin said. “Chris played right into it and spewed that about Newt embarrassing the party. Sometimes, if your candidate loses in just one step along this path, as was the case when Romney lost to Newt the other night and of course, Romney is Chris Christie’s guy, you kind of get your panties in a wad and you may say things that you regret later.”
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - This isn’t a terribly new ad for Newt Gingrich; in fact, its title is “Decision Time in South Carolina,” but it’s only four days old and contains the Gingrich argument in a nutshell for Florida and the rest of the primary. The Corner calls it a good ad even if one doesn’t agree with the argument, but perhaps that’s, er, 'debatable' too:
There is only one candidate who can debate Barack Obama and win, stand up to the news media and win, and run against Barack Obama and win. His name is Newt.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of 'Roe v Wade'. Tomorrow is President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, but it’s also an anniversary of sorts, too. It will be 1000 days since the last time the Senate passed a full budget, and what better way to commemorate it than with a couple of videos? Speaker John Boehner’s office and the GOP have this movie-trailer style video, with a warning that the film and subject matter has been rated AA+ … by Standard & Poors:
(By Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters.org) - George Will on ABC's 'This Week' Sunday had a truly epic smack down on the perilously liberal editor of the perilously liberal magazine The Nation.
After Katrina vanden Heuvel waxed rhapsodic about President Obama at next week's State of the Union address laying out "a vision for a different economy, one that is not about crony capitalism, but is about a democratic capitalism that lifts all boats," Will struck back, "His slogan will be, what, 'No More Solyndras?'":
(By Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters.org) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Sunday told 'Meet the Press' host David Gregory, "Nobody in the elite media wants to cover" Barack Obama's Saul Alinsky roots.
This came in response to Gregory asking the former Speaker of the House if he can "win independent voters in a general election campaign" talking about Obama's ties to Alinsky and other "radical left-wingers":
On a per-mile basis, North Carolina is in the bottom five states in the nation in funding for highway construction and maintenance.
RALEIGH (By John Hood, Carolina Journal Online) – Among the factors inhibiting economic recovery in major areas of North Carolina is a lack of adequate, uncongested highway service. If policymakers could free up the traffic flow in these areas, they’d be more attractive places to create, relocate, or expand businesses.
But adding lanes, fixing bridges, and building new highways will cost money. There are really only three ways of obtaining the necessary funds: 1) redirect current highway revenues to higher-priority uses, 2) collect additional revenues by direct user fees (tolls), or 3) collect additional revenues by indirect user fees (higher gas and car taxes).
Ex-gov will get back law license; State Bar says he 'accepted responsibility'
RALEIGH (By Don Carrington, Carolina Journal Online) — Public records show that while former Gov. Mike Easley’s campaign organization has paid only $5,335 toward a $100,000 election law fine issued in October 2009, he has paid off a $494,000 mortgage loan for a Carteret County waterfront lot and borrowed several hundred thousand dollars against his Raleigh home since the fine was levied.
State law did not require Easley to pay the State Board of Elections fine from personal funds, but he publicly has accepted responsibility for filing false campaign reports. He eventually took a felony plea for failure to report aircraft travel donated by his friend, Raleigh businessman McQueen Campbell, and was forced to surrender his law license temporarily.
The State Bar has said it will restore the license at the end of 2012, and will not require Easley to pay any fines associated with his felony plea. It cited Easley’s claim to have accepted responsibility as a reason for letting him resume the practice of law.
(By Josh Feldman, Mediaite) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on 'Meet the Press' today to do damage control for Mitt Romney and to explain why Newt Gingrich would not be an ideal Republican nominee despite his strong victory in South Carolina last night. He claimed that Gingrich’s past actions have embarrassed the Republican party, and Mitt Romney was more suited to be the nominee because of his record and how he conducted himself in office as opposed to Gingrich.
“We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership of his own party, he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the party… The fact of the matter is I don’t need to regale the country with that entire list again except to say this. I’m not saying he will do it again in the future, but sometimes past is prologue.”
(By Josh Feldman, Mediaite) - One week ago, Mitt Romney was the inevitable GOP nominee, the impossible-to-defeat frontrunner who was going to take three states in a row and end the primary season earlier. As George Stephanopoulos put it, what a difference a week makes. Now Newt Gingrich is back in the spotlight, and many analysts are wondering where Romney could have gone wrong. George Will‘s take? Romney just has too much… Romney in him.
“We all thought going in that the big problem for Romney might be his Mormonism, it might be the Massachusetts health care plan. That’s not it. Mitt Romney’s problem is somehow his Romneyness. That is, the fact that people are just not connecting with him. Not just that he’s the first candidate we’ve ever had from the financial sector, which turns out to be a problem because finance is a, mysterious, and b, disliked, but there’s something about him that is not connecting.”
(By Jonathon M. Seidl, The Blaze) - If you follow politics, you’ve probably seen a lot of interviews where the interviewee refuses to answer the questions and instead spews only talking points. If those interviews frustrate you, get ready to pull out your hair when you see this one with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
In fact, the interview was so frustrating that interviewer and Fox host Brian Kilmeade was even caught rolling his eyes during it. We would give you some quotes, but all you need to know is this — When Kilmeade or fellow host Steve Doocy would ask a question, Wasserman Schultz either wouldn’t answer, or would respond with an attack on Mitt Romney. And then both proceeded to take some underhanded shots at each other. Really. It was that bad. And at one point it looked like Kilmeade was ready to end the whole thing and walk away.
See for yourself, and try not to scream (it’s safe to say both Republicans and Democrats will find this cringe-worthy):
Exclusive: Mitt Romney Campaign Calls On Newt Gingrich To Release House Ethics Records
(Breitbart.tv) - Governor Sununu called on Gingrich to release his sealed ethics investigation records because, "What Pelosi knows, Obama knows." Sununu claims that if Gingrich doesn't release these records they will be an October Surprise should he win the nomination.
(By Dashiell Bennett, The Atlantic Wire) - President Obama swung through New York City on a fundraising tour on Thursday that included an impromptu singing performance on the stage of the Apollo Theater. After mentioning that legendary crooner Al Green was in the house, Obama broke into a few quick bars of Green's hit "Let's Stay Together." Granted it was only one line, but politics aside, that's not a bad impression of the Reverend Green. As the president pointed out, he wasn't booed off the stage by the notoriously tough crowd and swept away by the theater's "Sandman."
As for the politics part--Obama reportedly raised more than $3 million for his reelection campaign in just one afternoon and evening. In addition to his Apollo visit, his four Manhattan stops yesterday included a $36,000-per-ticket appearance at the home of director Spike Lee.
President Obama could not have chosen more self-destructive adversaries.
(By Charles Krauthammer, National Review Online) - ‘Are you better off today than you were $4 trillion ago?” — Former presidential candidate Rick Perry
It’s the campaign line of the year, and while the author won’t be carrying it into the general election, the eventual nominee will.
The charge is straightforward: President Obama’s reckless spending has dangerously increased the national debt while leaving unemployment high and the economy stagnant. Concurrently, he has vastly increased the scope and reach of government with new entitlements and oppressive regulation, with higher taxes to come (to offset the unprecedented spending).
(By Allahpundit, Hot Air) - I don’t mind that he hasn’t released them half as much as I mind that his excuses are so feeble. He’s had five years to prepare a principled defense to this question. If, as Ed ably argued this morning, he opposes releasing them because he refuses to play the Democrats’ class-warfare game, just say that. He’ll get plenty of conservative support for telling the media to mind its own business, even though doing so will essentially challenge to them to dig deeper. But that’s not what he says; tonight, for the first time, he actually alluded to releasing returns for more than one year — just not until April, after the primaries will have been substantially decided. I don’t understand that logic at all. Basically he’s saying, “Yes, this is relevant and important enough that I should produce something, but only for general-election voters. Republican voters can go on wondering for another few months.” As it is, we’re left with Newt’s rebuttal: If Romney has nothing to hide and isn’t opposed in principle to releasing them, why not release them now? Does he think class-warfare attacks on his wealth by Gingrich would prove so effective that it would end up tipping the balance of power in the primaries? If that’s true then I 'really' want him to release them. If hating the rich is what the new GOP electorate is all about, let’s find out sooner rather than later.
Exit quotation from Jonah Goldberg: “Romney can’t answer questions about his tax returns at all… He’s terrible at it and he needs to get better, quickly.”
(By Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner) - President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted out this morning: "GM becomes top selling auto maker after POTUS invested in America. Meanwhile, Mitt was investing in the Cayman islands. #leadership?" Expect this to be a major theme of Obama's campaign. Hopefully Mitt Romney and his private equity past at Bain Capital will provide a clear contrast for voters about the future of this country.
Do we want to live in a capitalist country where entrepreneurs own businesses and consumers control them through the free market? Or do we want to live under a corporatist system where entrepreneurs own businesses, governments control the businesses, and corporations control the government. Think we don't live in a corporatist world under Obama already? Consider these headlines.
(By Allahpundit, Hot Air) - Via Mediaite. BuzzFeed cynically titles this exchange, “Gingrich Wins The GOP Debate In The First Five Minutes.” Really? He won a policy debate with the sort of paint-by-numbers media-bashing grandstanding that literally 'everyone' knew was coming? If that’s enough to win a Republican presidential debate these days, we’re in worse shape than I thought.
Let’s face it: The real winner of this debate is Mitt Romney for saying he’s lived in “the real streets of America.” Wait, what?
(By Philip Klein, Washington Examiner) - Today the Iowa state GOP announced that Rick Santorum beat Mitt Romney in this year's caucuses after all, but that they can't be totally sure because vote totals in eight precincts somehow went missing. Here's to hoping this results in a major rethinking of the caucus process, if not stripping Iowa of its first in the nation status altogether.
I've been a longtime critic of the outsized influence Iowa has in electing a president. Not only does it get showered with attention from candidates who voters in later states won't have a chance to support, but most of its population is apathetic about the process. Just roughly one out of every seven registered Republicans participated in this year's caucuses. And even in 2008, when there were hotly-contested races in both parties and record turnout, only 17 percent of registered Iowa voters took part.
News accounts of campaigning in Iowa provide a distorted picture of what's going on there, because there's a natural bias to quote voters who are knowledgeable and passionate. The reality is, there's a lot of apathy among most Iowans -- you'll even run into those at events who can't remember who they voted for just four years earlier.