Bill Clinton’s speech last night: reactions

Political Wire has reactions to Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention last night — all positive:

Bill Clinton gave an extraordinary speech at the Democratic National Convention last night.

Andrew Sullivan: “I never liked Clinton but it is now pure churlishness to cavil at his remarkable skills. He is able to reach middle class voters with clear argument, grasp of detail and narration of history that very few others can. If Obama has said that his main failing in this campaign is that he hasn’t told the story of the past few years well enough, then it is surely fitting that it was the husband of his former rival and former president Bill Clinton who finally told that story.”

Howard Kurtz: “Whether out of conviction or political convenience, Clinton demonstrated anew a skill that Obama barely possesses, to translate complex policy arguments into simple human terms. And his starpower also guaranteed maximum media attention on the evening after Michelle Obama drew praise for her highly personal speech.”

Chris Cillizza: “He was the explainer-in-chief without seeming too preachy. He was full of Southern aphorisms without being hokey. And, perhaps most importantly of all, Clinton was quite clearly having a very good time — and he let it show. He adlibbed. He played with the crowd. He smiled and laughed. And, yes, he went on a little too long. But, if you are a student of campaign politics — like we are — what you watched tonight was the work of someone with massive natural ability in the political arena.”

There’s more…

And some reactions collected by Andrew Sullivan:

Matt Latimer: Here’s why I think Bill Clinton’s speech was successful. For all of his tortured arguments and wonky, ponderous asides, Bill Clinton made a substantive case. He dealt with facts and statistics.  He made points and then explained why he made them.  He had details. Boy, did he have details. In short, he did what almost no one at the Republican convention tried to do, what few conventions bother to do anymore.  He treated the American people like thinking human beings.

Daniel Larison:  [H]e gave the sort of speech that Ryanmaniacs might have once imagined that Ryan would deliver and the sort that some Romney supporters still imagine Romney is capable of giving. Romney-Ryan was supposed to be the presidential ticket of the “data-driven” manager and his budget wonk sidekick, and between the absence of any significant policy discussion last week and what happened tonight that has lost all credibility.

Alex Castellanos claims the Clinton speech “will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama.”

Noah Millman: [W]hat I’m most impressed by is that Clinton really did seem like the elder statesman of the party. He’s replaced Ted Kennedy. This speech was “about him” only in the sense that you could never forget who was giving the speech. Clinton himself never became a distraction.

Jonathan Cohn pinpoints Clinton’s strongest arguments: You can take real issue with Clinton’s claim that Obama did all that he could to create jobs. You can’t really argue that Romney, who’s never put forward a plan for short-term job growth, would do more. You can quibble with Clinton’s suggestion that Obama has focused enough on the deficit. You can’t really suggest Romney, whose own budget plan is the stuff of fantasy, is more serious about it. You can disagree with Clinton’s argument that Obama has reached across the aisle. You can’t suggest, with a straight face, that Romney and the Republicans ever had the slightest interest in compromise.

There’s more…

Why vote for Barack Obama? Bill Clinton makes an eloquent case for Obama’s re-election

Bill Clinton makes the case for re-electing Barack Obama — via: Daily Beast, part 5 — ‘I Love Our Country So Much’:


Why vote for Barack Obama? Clinton really drilled it in during his last few minutes (as the TV producers breathed a sigh of relief). “If you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters—you should support Barack Obama.” The audience, at this point, was barely containable. “I love our country so much,” Clinton continued. “People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.” But betting against America has never been wise, he said. “We decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — the cause of forming a more perfect union,” Clinton yelled in a triumphant finish. “My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.” And as the audience jumped out of their seats, Obama came onto the stage to hug his most important supporter and close the second night of the Democratic National Convention.

*and the crowd went wild*

Live and learn — too bad the Republican voting base can’t figure out the second part.

Bill weighs in. via: barackobama

The significance of history on the future we all share

“Clinton will have a starring role at the Democratic National Convention. George W. Bush won’t even be at the Republican one – the first time a national party has not given the stage at its convention to its most recent occupant of the Oval Office who successfully ran for reelection. The GOP is counting on America’s notoriously short-term memory to blot out the last time the nation put a Republican into the Oval Office, on the reasonable assumption that such a memory might cause voters to avoid making the same mistake twice. As whoever-it-was once said, “fool me once …” (and then mangled the rest).”

Robert Reich: Erasing W

Bill Clinton: Romney’s welfare reform attack ad “not true” and “especially disappointing”

LGF reports that “President Bill Clinton is calling out Mitt Romney for his latest dishonest attack ad: Bill Clinton Slams Romney ‘Misleading’ Welfare Ad.”

“Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true.

“The act emerged after years of experiments at the state level, including my work as Governor of Arkansas beginning in 1980.  When I became President, I granted waivers from the old law to 44 states to implement welfare to work strategies before welfare reform passed.

“After the law was enacted, every state was required to design a plan to move people into the workforce, along with more funds to help pay for training, childcare and transportation. As a result, millions of people moved from welfare to work.

“The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment.  The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach.  The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act will not be waived.

“The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether.  We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.”

Another day, another lie for the Romneybot version 2.012.

Bill Clinton warns of dire consequences if SCOTUS invalidates the individual mandate


Bill Clinton gives a speech at the Cannes Lions international advertising festival in France on Thursday. (Lionel Cironneau / AP Photo)

The Daily Beast: Clinton says that if the Supreme Court decides to invalidate the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act there will be consequences which aren’t being reported:

  • Changing the health-care delivery system has already produced two years in a row of 4 percent inflation in health-care costs. This is the first time in 50 years that health-care costs have gone up so little. Killing the Affordable Care Act would let inflation loose again.
  • Some 2.6 million people ages 21 to 26, who now have insurance coverage for the first time because they can be carried under their parents’ policy, would lose it.
  • $1.3 billion dollars in insurance refunds have already been paid to businesses and individuals because now the law says 85 percent of your premium has to go to health care and not to profits and promotion. (California hasn’t reported yet, but will likely increase that figure to more than $1.5 billion.) Refunds would shrink.
  • If Republicans succeed in persuading the Supreme Court to repeal the individual mandate, somewhere between 12 million and 16 million Americans will be unable to get health insurance because of preexisting conditions.

“Clinton predicted that if the law is declared unconstitutional, Republicans will suffer a backlash when millions of Americans calculate what they have lost. Before the Affordable Care Act passed, two thirds of all the applications for bankruptcy were because of health-care emergencies, a consequence likely to return if health care inflation again rises precipitously.”

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 6.6.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

“But if people only watch the three big networks … a lot of people will assume that Obama really is just doing a great job and he just can’t get those crazy Republicans to help him out.” Mike Huckabee, commenting on what people would think of President Obama without Fox News

Romney should probably stop talking about the auto-industry rescue altogether — The Republican has repeatedly argued that GM and Chrysler should have relied on private funding to restructure and get back on their feet. That, of course, was impossible. In early 2009, the credit markets were frozen and there was no private funding available. (When a company called Bain Capital was approached, it refused to invest.) And so it appears that Romney is shifting once again, not only taking credit for a policy he attacked, but also saying taxpayer support “was fine,” after arguing for three years it wasn’t fine. The new twist is that Romney is on board with public support after, but not before, bankruptcy, but that doesn’t make sense, either — GM and Chrysler would have never survived the bankruptcy process without federal intervention. Romney could simply try the truth — he should admit, “I was wrong” — but that seems to be the only position he hasn’t tried yet. – Steve Benen

 
images: sandandglass

How things change! Emails show how Romney pushed Massachusetts health bill: Romneycare – The emails show the Republican governor was closely engaged in negotiating details of the bill, working with top Democratic state leaders and drafting early copies of opinion articles backing it. Mr. Romney and his aides, meanwhile, strongly defended the so-called individual mandate, a requirement that everyone in Massachusetts have or buy health insurance. And they privately discussed ideas that might be anathema to today’s GOP—including publicly shaming companies that didn’t provide enough health insurance to employees. – WSJ

This can’t be re-stated enough: if Romney wins, he’ll pay himself  $5 million — One of the perks of being a Republican president: Under his plan, Romney’s tax rate would fall from its current 14.7 percent to 13.1 percent, while under Obama’s tax plan, Romney would pay a 34.3 percent rate. The difference in these rates means about $5 million for Romney’s tax bill. By the way, Romney’s $5 million personal tax cut would add to the deficit. You know, because he’s a fiscal hawk and really, really cares about the deficit and debt. – Bob Cesca

Hey, struggling homeowners! Mitt Romney hates you.

Nobel-winning economist predicts Romney recession – Economist Joseph Stiglitz is hitting the media circuit to promote his new book.. Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, the Nobel Prize-winner and former World Bank chief claimed that if former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) is elected president in 2012, the risk of another recession will go up “significantly.” “The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession,” he said. – Raw Story

Lindsey Graham wants more wars – SO YES TO TAXES! Mr. Graham is openly talking about revenue increases to offset the costs. Even South Carolina’s ardently conservative House members, Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson and Jeff Duncan, said last week that they were ready to talk.  [...] “The debate on the debt is an opportunity to send the world a signal that we are going to remain the strongest military force in the world,” he said. “We’re saying, ‘We’re going to keep it, and we’re going to make it the No. 1 priority of a broke nation.’ ” To that end, his arguments grow increasingly complex, involving a near-term confrontation with Syria and what he is sure will be a military strike on Iran late this summer, “an air and sea campaign from hell,” he tells an audience in Sumter. A large screen at the Third Army command center in nearby Shaw Air Force Base seemed to back him up on that. It broadcast a multicolored map of Iran with its air defenses demarcated in loud, red circles. – NYTimes

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA ) blatantly lies about Obama giving TSA waivers to Muslims – on conservative talk radio Monday… Landry [blatantly lied about the Obama administration and an imaginary] Transportation Security Administration program that lets Muslim passengers through security without even so much as a sideways glance. [...] The TSA gives no waivers, special rights or exceptions based upon religious beliefs. The only people who get special treatment are those willing to pay for it by submitting to a pre-screening process. Minorities, such as Muslims, Sikhs and people who appear to be from the Middle East, have typically reported facing even greater scrutiny by TSA agents than other passengers. Rep. Landry appears to have invented the claim as a way of illustrating another imagined controversy: that Obama is secretly punishing people of his own faith because of his spiritual preference for Muslims. — Raw Story

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

“Nobody has seen a communist in over a decade.”Bill Clinton, quoted by The Hill, criticizing House Republicans for failing to reprimand Rep. Allen West (R-FL) who claimed as many as 80 Democrats in Congress are members of the Communist Party.

Michigan had sixth highest rate of growth in 2011: no wonder Romney keeps etch-a-sketching his earlier opinions on Detroit and letting it go bankrupt — New data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that Michigan, the home of the American auto-industry, had the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation in 2011. […] For comparison’s sake, the Michigan economy shrank by 9 percent in 2009. Now the state boasts the sixth highest rate of growth in the nation. An unprecedented turnaround that occurred in just two years. — Bob Cesca

Some Republicans are now willing to increase taxes, as Democrats have been pushing for all along (but only to preserve military spending) – In March, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) pointed out that a “vote to extend the Bush tax cuts in their entirety would, in essence, be the vote to lock in sequestration” by cutting down on revenue to offset government debt. The Times report today pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is unlikely to allow sequestration to be averted without a debt reduction package that includes increased government revenue. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) was more blunt speaking to the Times, noting that the Republicans that supported last August’s Budget Control Act — 28 in the Senate and 174 in the House — were given the choice of automatically-triggered military spending cuts or tax increases. Van Hollen said: The consistent pattern here is they have chosen to defend special interest tax breaks over defense spending. They made that choice.Think Progress

Tax cuts for the wealthy, austerity for the rest of us: pension cuts – “In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers,” the New York Times reports. Wall Street Journal: “Since the recession, dozens of state legislatures and city councils throughout the U.S. have scaled back benefits and jobs in an attempt to plug large budget holes. But unlike most efforts to rein in pension costs, the San Jose measure targets current workers and retirees rather than focusing only on workers that have yet to be hired.” – Political Wire  

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer charges GOP with Obstructionism – “It’s not ‘our way or the highway,’ it’s ‘our way or no highway.’ No jobs. No progress. No consensus. No agreement,” Hoyer said. “So what the Republican hardliners are doing, are saying, [is], ‘We won’t agree in conference, we won’t come to agreement, we won’t help create jobs in America … unless we get our way.’” — Roll Call News

[I]t seems Wisconsin Democrats have managed one significant, if largely symbolic, victory for the night by apparently reclaiming control of the Wisconsin state senate. There were four state senate recalls tonight. Dems needed one to flip control of the state’s upper house. Three of those the Republicans won handily. But they appear to have won the 21st district. […] 16 of the 33 seats are again up for election in 5 months. – TPM

Scott Walker steps right up into the pocket of those who got him there — Make no mistake. A star was born last night. You will now see Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, everywhere in the energetic precincts of the revived American right. He will be on the covers of their startlingly advertising-free little magazines. He will be the darling of every wingnut blogger in the extended monkeyhouse; poo will be flung high and far in celebration of him. He will have a high-profile speaking role in Tampa this August, and it is very likely that there are people in Iowa who already are booking house parties for the late autumn of 2015 in his honor. He will be a bigger presence on Fox News than are Brit Hume’s jowls or Shep Smith’s gradually swelling public rage. I will tell you what: Willard Romney better be damned glad that he’s already clinched the nomination, and that Walker didn’t win this recall a year ago. And, because they are a timid flock of ruminants, the rest of the elite political press corps will wander, sheeplike, in his general direction, grazing amid the unmitigated manure of his victory speech here last night. Oh, Lord, are we going to be hearing about what a “turning point” in Walker’s career that speech was. – Charles P. Pierce

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 6.5.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

“Forgive me for noting that conservatives seem to believe that the rich will work harder if we give them more, and the poor will work harder if we give them less.”E. J. Dionne


Making the superrich richer does not create jobs.

Romney’s tax plan would save him $5 million next year — To see where the presidential candidates stand on taxing the rich, just look at how they’d tax themselves. Under his own proposal, Mitt Romney would pay half what he would under President Barack Obama’s tax plan. For a man of Romney’s means, that could save almost $5 million a year. For Obama, not so loaded as Romney but still well-off, losing re-election could provide a tax windfall. He’d save as much as $90,000 a year if Romney’s plan were enacted rather than his own tax-the-rich vision. Two nonprofit research groups, the liberal-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice and conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, did the calculations, based on the most recent completed tax returns released by the candidates. Compared with what they owed in April, both men would be dinged in 2013 under Obama’s proposal, along with other wealthy taxpayers. They could expect savings under Romney, depending on which tax breaks the former Massachusetts governor decides to oppose. — NBC Politics / Raw Story

Massachusetts was 37th in job creation when Romney took office and 47th when he leftSenior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie had a similar exchange with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “When [Romney] took office it was No. 50 in job creation. Actually 51 if you count the District of Columbia,” Gillespie said. To his credit, Fox News’ Chris Wallace didn’t let Ed Gillespie get away with that claim either and corrected him that Massachusetts was 47th during the entire Romney governorship. Massachusetts ranked 37th when Mitt Romney took office. It ranked 47th when he left office. He actually made things worse. Not better. Massachusetts was never “30th in the nation.” Not when he took office or left office. – JM Ashby

Romney’s Solyndra slam at Obama backfires – A Lowell-based solar technology company that received $1.5 million in state loans when Mitt Romney was governor has filed for bankruptcy, opening the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to charges of hypocrisy. Konarka Technologies disclosed Friday that it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and would fire its 80-member staff and liquidate its assets. Romney has chided President Obama for investing $535 million in a different solar company that failed, and has insisted governments should not pick winners and losers in the private sector.  — The Boston Globe

Romney Takes Conservative Fire For Top Aide Michael Leavitt’s Support Of Obamacare Exchanges – The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Leavitt “strenuously backed the core piece of President Barack Obama’s health-care law and urged the states to move forward together in adopting health insurance exchanges.” And his stance hasn’t changed: “We believe that the exchanges are the solution to small business insurance market and that’s gotten us sideways with some conservatives,” Leavitt’s top aide Rich McKeown told Politico. “We’re troubled by it,” Dean Clancy, who runs health care advocacy for the Dick Armey-led conservative group FreedomWorks, told TPM Monday via email. “We’re very concerned. The tea party grassroots have always feared that Gov. Romney would be a weak standard bearer because of RomneyCare. This choice only reinforces those doubts. Tapping a high-profile ObamaCare profiteer is disturbing, there’s no way around it. … The tea party has been fighting exchanges in state after state.” – TPM

The emerging “face” of California’s GOP — litigious “birther” Orly Taitz, a Russian Israeli emigre who has appeared on national television with her claims that Obama faked his birth certificate. – Political Wire

The trifecta of wingnuttery! Racist, petty, and thin-skinned: A judge has tossed out a lawsuit World Net Daily brought against Esquire for a story making fun of the publication’s birtherism.

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

KRUGMAN: THE IRONY OF REAGAN AND OBAMA:  Obama may be defeated because he’s been constrained to be less Keynesian than Reagan or Bush  – “If you actually look at the actual track record of government spending, government employment, Reagan is the Keynesian and Obama — mostly because of political constraints, although a little bit of lack of conviction on the part of his own people — has been the anti-Keynesian,” Krugman said. “He’s been the one who’s been doing what Republicans say is the right answer.” Just over three years into Reagan’s first term, government jobs grew by 3.1 percent; at the same time during Obama’s tenure, they’ve been cut by 2.7 percent. Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been shed in recent years. Government jobs also grew under President George W. Bush, which helped keep unemployment down during most of his two terms. “After there was a recession under Ronald Reagan, government employment went way up. It went up after the recessions under the first George Bush and the second George Bush,” Obama said last month on the campaign trail. “So each time there was a recession with a Republican president, compensated — we compensated by making sure that government didn’t see a drastic reduction in employment. The only time government employment has gone down during a recession has been under me.” [...] “We’re actually practicing government austerity on a scale that we haven’t seen in 60 years. It’s not the president’s policy,” he said Sunday. “In effect, we’ve already got the policies that Republicans say they will impose if they take the election, and yet, of course, it may lead to the defeat of this president.” TPM


(Photo: Bill Luster, The Courier-Journal)

Bob McDonnell makes the case for Obama — Whether he knew it or not, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) made the case for the Obama Administration during an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley. At 5.6 percent, Virginia’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country, well below the national average of 8.2 percent. And the state’s governor concedes that President Obama has helped.  “The only thing I can say is he had nearly a trillion dollars in stimulus, and that was one-time spending,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told CNN’s Candy Crowley in response to a question about whether he believes Obama can take any credit for the strong economy in Virginia. “Did it help us in the short run with health care and education spending to balance the budget? Sure. Does it help us in the long term to really cut the unemployment rate? I’d say no.” – JM Ashby

Bill Clinton: a Romney presidency would be “calamitous” – Days after praising Mitt Romney’s “sterling” business career, ABC News reports Bill Clinton warned that a Romney presidency would be “calamitous for our country and the world.” Clinton, speaking at a fundraiser for President Obama in New York City, added that the incumbent has “the right economic policy and the right political approach,” while “the politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy.” – ABC News

Eliot Spitzer: U.S. needs ‘big, old-fashioned Keynesian stimulus’ – Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Monday that the United States needed to invest in the public sector, because the country’s current policies clearly were not revving up the economy. “One thing that could help is a big, old-fashioned Keynesian stimulus,” he said on his Current TV show Viewpoint. “First, realize we’ve tried the Republican approach,” Spitzer explained. “As Paul Krugman and others point out, taxes have been cut and government spending has fallen, once you adjust for population and inflation. In fact, it has not fallen this quickly since the demobilization after the Korean war. So it’s no surprise that public sector employment is way down.” He noted that now was a good time for the U.S. government to borrow more money, because of the extremely low interest rates. — Raw Story

Paycheck Fairness Act expected to fail today, but the GOP’s War on Women is still imaginary – Democrats will bring to the Senate floor on Tuesday the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that is supposed to help close the wage gap between men and women. […] The paycheck bill would bar companies from retaliating against workers who inquire about pay disparities and permit employees to sue for punitive damages if they find evidence of broad differences in compensation between male and female workers. Democrats say the measure would bolster reforms enacted with the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter pay law that expanded the statute of limitations for filing equal-pay lawsuits. […] Several business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and associations representing bankers, construction firms and retailers, issued a statement opposing the legislation, saying it would result in “unprecedented government control over how employees are paid at even the nation’s smallest employers.” — The Washington Post

Morning Bunker Report: Saturday 6.2.2012

WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————

Is Mormonism Different Than Other Religions? – I also don’t think Romney’s religion should be ruled entirely out of bounds for discussion. He is running in a party that explicitly states there is no solid separation of religion and politics. And the current president was pummeled mercilessly for the more radical teachings of his church in Chicago. And Obama was just a member of the congregation – not a former official in the church, like Romney, whose entire identity is bound up with a very particular religion. Mormonism, in other words, should not be tackled differently than any other faith; but neither can it be completely exempted from examination in this election. When a future president puts on white robes and enters a secret Temple on a Sunday, it will be as big a cultural shift as having a black man in the Oval Office. I think Romney should pre-empt bigoted attacks with his own account of how his faith affects his life and politics. Just as candidate Obama did. – Andrew Sullivan

Romney’s ENTIRE platform: If you vote out Obama, you’ll feel better – “This may be the most explicit version we’ve seen of the Romney camp’s intended message: if you’re angry or frustrated by your current circumstances, or about how things are going, vote the guy in charge out, and it will make you feel better. The game plan: to get swing voters to cast their vote almost entirely as an expression of frustration and disillusionment with the economic status quo, and by extension with Obama himself, without thinking too hard about the true nature of the alternative Romney is offering.” — Greg Sargent

The dog that caught the car: What if the Supreme Court actually overturns Obamacare? — In other words, Republicans are offering voters an implausibly rosy proposition: Enjoy the popular pieces of the Affordable Care Act but don’t worry about the unpopular components. […]As a short-term political posture, it has served them well. But now that the Supreme Court might give them what they want, they’re forced to deal with the reality of what it would mean. And that’s a huge wake-up call for the party, especially one without a clear leader to herd the cats as they figure out their next move. — TPM

Romney’s refusal to take on Trump a sign of his “strength” — Anonymous Romney advisers tell Buzzfeed how strategically clever and how tough they’ve been in taking the fight to Obama in an effort to appeal to red meat conservatives, with one example being the refusal to disavow Donald Trump.  As I noted here the other day, the story Team Romney is now telling is that standing up to Trump’s birtherism would represent surrender (a la John McCain) to the liberal media, and not doing so is actually a sign of his strength. —  Greg Sargent

More proof that Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is a complete and certifiable wackadoodle.

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Obama Wants to Break Republican “Fever” — “I believe that if we’re successful in this election — when we’re successful in this election — that the fever may break,” Obama said at a fundraiser in Minnesota. “Because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that.” Republicans may be more helpful on issues such as jobs, debt reduction and clean energy because they won’t be so concerned about defeating him at the polls, the president said. “My hope, my expectation, is that after the election — now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again — that we can start getting some cooperation again,” Obama said. [...] “2008 was a significant election, obviously. But John McCain believed in climate change. John believed in campaign-finance reform. He believed in immigration reform. There were some areas where you saw some overlap,” Obama said. “In this election, the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction.” – USA Today 

CHART: Bush Vs. Obama On Private And Public Sector Job Creation — Even with today’s disappointing and troubling jobs report, private sector job creation under President Obama has far exceeded private sector job creation under President Bush. 40 months into his presidential term, there are currently more private sector jobs in the economy than when Obama came into office. At the same point in President Bush’s term, the total number of private sector jobs was still down 1.7 percent from where it began. […] But there is one area of job creation where President Bush clearly outshines President Obama: the public sector. Public sector employment is now down 608,000 workers since January 2009, a 2.7 percent decline. At the same point in President Bush’s term, public sector employment was up 3.7 percent. – Think Progress

Because ONLY the rightwing media heard an endorsement an the adjective Bill Clinton used – President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign released a statement noting that Bill Clinton’s praise for Romney’s “sterling business record” did not constitute an endorsement of the Republican nominee. – Team Romney (Buzzfeed)

Clinton says his remarks on Romney were ‘twisted’ — Clinton used an appearance at a rally in Paterson, New Jersery to perform a bit of damage control. “I said, you know, Governor Romney had a good career in business and he was a governor, so he crosses the qualification threshold for him being president,” Clinton told the crowd. “But he shouldn’t be elected, because he is wrong on the economy and all these other issues.” “So today,” Clinton continued, “because I didn’t attack him personally and bash him, I wake up to read all these stories taking it out of context as if I had virtually endorsed him, which means the tea party has already won their first great victory: ‘We are supposed to hate each to disagree.’ That is wrong.” — Raw Story

Bill Clinton Slams Walker For ‘Divide And Conquer’ and ‘constant conflict’ In Wisconsin — “And now they look at Wisconsin, and they see America’s battleground between people who want to work together to solve problems, and people who want to divide and conquer — people who know that creative cooperation is working in America, and people who want constant conflict. And here’s what I want to tell you…I think I know a little bit about what would bring America back, what would bring economic recovery, what would enable us to have broadly shared prosperity. And I’ll tell you, if you go anywhere in America today, believe it or not, there are a lot of places that are already back. And they all have one thing in common. They’re dramatically different, but they all have one thing in common: They are involved in creative cooperation, not constant conflict.” — TPM

Romney Economics: Mitt Romney ran for governor of Massachusetts promising more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government. By the time Romney left office, state debt had increased, the size of government had grown, and Massachusetts had fallen behind almost every other state in job creation.  Other Republicans agree: Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.

The Clinton years: who’s closer to achieving similar results — Romney or Obama? (hint: not Romney)

I’m confused: does Romney and the Republican Party WANT us to remember the Clinton years and all the success that George W. Bush flushed down the toilet, or not?

http://factcheck.org/Images/image/FederalDeficit(1).jpg

graph: factcheck.org

Veterans of the Clinton administration warn that Romney’s love letters to the former president — who has appeared at fundraisers and in TV ads for Obama — could backfire with voters. “Maybe it’s a good one-liner for today, though I’m not sure that the public doesn’t see through it,” said John Podesta, who was a White House chief of staff under Clinton and co-chaired Obama’s transition team. “All it does is, in the long term, all it will do is elevate President Clinton’s views of the economy.” Clinton, Podesta noted, raised taxes in office, which administration veterans credit for boosting the ‘90s economy for which Romney claims to be nostalgic. “If he’d be for what Clinton was for, maybe that would help him,” Podesta said. “If [voters] think back to those days, and if they look at what Romney is proposing, it’s exactly the opposite of what Clinton did in office.” — POLITICO

Obama wants to let the Bush-era rates for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans expire at the end of 2012. With a few notable (and, within their party, increasingly marginalized) exceptions, Republicans have vehemently attacked this suggestion. According to the GOP’s line, to raise taxes on anyone now, even (or especially) the wealthy, would kill the recovery and cost jobs, depriving the Treasury of revenue and only making the deficit problem worse. “We don’t have deficits because Americans are taxed too little, we have deficits because Washington spends too much,” is House Speaker John Boehner’s standard line on the issue — a refrain that is echoed by virtually every other Republican on the national stage. If this anti-tax adamance — and the dire warnings of what life in a post-tax hike America would look like — sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Republicans issued the exact same warnings the last time a president proposed addressing exploding deficits (in part) through tax increases on the wealthy. […] Ultimately, Clinton and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill united behind a plan that would raise taxes on the top 1.2 percent of income earners and create a new 39 percent bracket for the wealthiest Americans.Salon.com 

My opinion: let’s remember what worked during the success of the Clinton years and repeat it — which obviously includes spending cuts paired with taking in more revenue for the government in the form of higher taxes for the wealthiest. I think we all already know how the economics of the Bush years worked out for us.

Mittens and Paul Ryan want to extend Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest, because “job creators.” They’ll pay for it (well, not really!) by cutting services and programs for the rest of us (the taxpayers, the poorest, the elderly). Anyone with half a brain knows the true job creators are the 99%, the rest of us. We either have enough disposable income to buy products and services or we don’t. End of story.

Morning Bunker Report: TGIF 5.18.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

Reasons why Congress is a complete failure – At a fundraiser, Mike Coffman (R-CO) said “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that,” Coffman said. “But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” After a short pause, which Elbert County Republican Chairman Scott Wills recalled as “deafening silence,” Coffman was met with applause, tentative at first. Later, Coffman told KUSA “I misspoke and I apologize” in a written statement. — TPM  (SORRY, HE DIDN’T “MISSPEAK”)| Note: Coffman’s on Twitter: @RepMikeCoffman

Mitt Romney has turned into Bill Clinton’s biggest booster. Seeking to attract Democrats and independents who supported the last Democratic president, Romney has taken to lavishing praise at every turn on Clinton’s boom-era ’90s policies while contrasting them unfavorably with President Barack Obama’s old-school, Big Government ways. […] Romney’s hope that Democrats and independents who supported Clinton will gravitate to his candidacy ignores the fact that Clinton is appearing at fundraisers for Obama and making a star turn in his TV advertisements, said Phil Singer… “It’s a particularly ineffective tactic when the Bill Clinton-Barack Obama fundraising roadshow is taking place in real time.” — POLITICO | image: politicaldirtylaundry

What credibility? Newt Gingrich said there are plans for [Romney and him] to appear together in Las Vegas at the end of the month. In June Gingrich said he will be raising money in Atlanta for Romney and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, with a Gingrich-Romney tandem appearance set for June 11. The embrace of Romney puts Gingrich in an awkward spot, said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock. If he were to start gushing about his former primary foe, it would look insincere. “I expect Gingrich is also concerned about his own credibility,” Bullock said. “There’s only so much you can recant.”  – ajc.com

The man who oversaw the economic collapse of our country is going to write a book about economic growth! In the three years since he left office, former President George W. Bush has largely stayed out of the political arena. But gingerly, the 43rd president is beginning to add his voice back into the national dialogue. A month ago, he spoke publicly in favor of one of his defining domestic legacies, the tax cuts that still divide the country. Two months from now, he plans to publish a book outlining strategies for economic growth. And on Tuesday, he made a rare return to Washington to promote freedom overseas. — NYTimes.com

Bush and Cheney convicted of war crimes by foreign tribunal… More to come? — To some, the conviction is a long overdue statement on the civil rights abuses that took place during the Bush administration in locations across the globe, including Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. …To others, this largely ceremonial statement by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission is only a formality and an empty gesture. …Transcripts of witness accounts and the charges are being sent to the United Nations and the Security Council with the hopes that other countries will follow their lead. — CultureMap Austin

And Here Comes the Gay Rumor — Whenever a character from a right-wing group with “Family” in the title opens his mouth, crazy tends to spray all over the place. Here’s Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute: “Actually, while I’m not sure about the claims by the various people who have reported that Obama has at least participated at times with them in homosexual acts, this [the president's pro-marriage equality announcement] certainly lends some credence.” DING! We might just have our Birther variant for 2012. The “Obama is Gay” conspiracy theory. – Bob Cesca

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday joked that he would “take a lot of credit for a man having landed on the moon” to point out the absurdity of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney taking responsibility for saving the U.S. auto industry. “So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” he told Cleveland’s WEWS-TV earlier this month even though he had penned a 2008 op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” warning that if a bailout was provided to the auto industry then “its demise will be virtually guaranteed.” “Whoa!” Biden exclaimed to crowd at car dealership in Martins Ferry, Ohio on Thursday. “And by the way, I’ll take a lot credit of for a man having landed on the moon. Because although I was in school, I rooted for it.” — Raw Story

The decade the GOP hopes you’ve forgotten — If there’s one aspect of the deficit reduction plan that President Obama outlined last week that congressional Republicans most object to, it’s probably his call for higher income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Specifically, Obama wants to let the Bush-era rates for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans expire at the end of 2012. With a few notable (and, within their party, increasingly marginalized) exceptions, Republicans have vehemently attacked this suggestion. According to the GOP’s line, to raise taxes on anyone now, even (or especially) the wealthy, would kill the recovery and cost jobs, depriving the Treasury of revenue and only making the deficit problem worse. “We don’t have deficits because Americans are taxed too little, we have deficits because Washington spends too much,” is House Speaker John Boehner’s standard line on the issue — a refrain that is echoed by virtually every other Republican on the national stage. If this anti-tax adamance — and the dire warnings of what life in a post-tax hike America would look like — sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Republicans issued the exact same warnings the last time a president proposed addressing exploding deficits (in part) through tax increases on the wealthy. […] Ultimately, Clinton and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill united behind a plan that would raise taxes on the top 1.2 percent of income earners and create a new 39 percent bracket for the wealthiest Americans. — Salon.com 

Geithner: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Why Debt Ceiling Debate Is Back — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown during a factory tour Thursday that he couldn’t understand why the debate over the federal debt limit is back again. “Because look at how much damage it caused the country last August. I mean, it was terribly damaging for the country. And the idea you can govern effectively at this time in American history — you know, we’re fighting wars. We’ve got a major financial crisis in Europe. We have all of these challenges for the rest of the country with political politicians threatening to default if we don’t adopt a partisan political agenda. It’s deeply irresponsible. There’s no basis for it.”PBS NewsHour

Rahm Emanuel ‘livid,’ not returning calls from Ricketts family  — “The Mayor was livid when he read that the Ricketts were going to launch a $10 million campaign against President Obama – with the type of racially motivated ads that are insulting to the president and the presidential campaign,” said the aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. “He is also livid with their blatant hypocrisy.” The aide also said Emanuel, who is Obama’s former chief of staff, has cut off communication with the family. “The Ricketts have tried to contact the mayor, but he’s said that he does not want to talk with them today, tomorrow or anytime soon,” the aide said. The Ricketts family is seeking taxpayer funding for the renovations. – The Washington Post

  • NOTE THIS HYPOCRISY: Ricketts’ SuperPAC is called “Ending Spending Political Action Fund.” But he’s seeking TAXPAYER FUNDING for renovations to Wrigley Field, home of his Chicago Cubs!

A Fox News poll released yesterday finds that voters would rather have President Obama pick the next Supreme Court justice than Republican candidate Mitt Romney by a 46 to 38 percent margin. Last November, Romney promised that, if elected, he would model his Supreme Court nominees after Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito, all of whom voted give wealthy corporations a nearly unlimited power to try to buy elections in Citizens United. By contrast, Justice Sotomayor, who was the only Obama appointee on the Court when Citizens United was decided, dissented from that decision.– Think Progress

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 5.6.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

BRYAN FISCHER of the American Family Association loudly and gleefully mocks Mitt Romney’s questionable masculinity — Fischer spearheaded the charge to oust openly-gay adviser Richard Grenell from the Romney campaign. Fischer: “Let me ask you this question, people have raised this question, if Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, coopted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership. I don’t think for one minute that Mitt Romney did not want this guy gone; he wanted this guy gone because there was not one word of defense, not a peep, from the Romney camp to defend him. They just went absolutely stone cold silent, they put a bag over Grenell’s head, they even asked him to organize this phone conference and they didn’t even let him speak at the conference that he organized.” — Bob Cesca

  • PANDER-MODE: The resignation of Richard Grenell, the recently appointed and openly gay foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, was as sudden as it was shocking. It was also yet another disturbing sign that the Romney campaign is still in pander mode when it comes to the anti-gay right. Which is exactly the wrong direction for the presumptive GOP nominee to be moving in. Because according to a wide variety of poll data, Republican voters, unlike most of the politicians vying for their support, largely support gay rights. — David Lampo

WEALTHY PEOPLE FACTOID: The Bluegrass Boondoggle gives a special tax break to millionaire horse owners, costing the government $126 million over 10 years. Though McConnell now decries wasteful spending, he publicly touted the millionaire-only earmark in 2008, and the GOP has done everything it can to preserve the tax break since. The House GOP budget, which gives massive tax breaks to the rich that Republicans say will be paid for by closing tax loopholes, doesn’t touch the Bluegrass Boondoggle. — On Derby Day, How Republicans Help Millionaire Horse Owners Pay Less In Taxes

MITT ROMNEY promises to create eleventeen million jobs (and everyone will have servants) — Incidentally, since Romney is proposing a complete return to Bush economic policies, it might be interesting to note the average rate of job creation during Bush’s first 7 years in the White House — that is, his record even if you ignore the catastrophe at the end. And that average monthly rate, from the BLS, was … drum roll … 66,000. – Paul Krugman

FAMILY VALUES and one Republican’s magic sperm — Back in 2010, conservative politician Bill Johnson (R-Ala.) was focused on running for the governor. Two years later, his wife claims he is moving to the other side of the world to fancy a different lifestyle. In a Sunday interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kathy Johnson told the newspaper that her husband has returned to the southwestern Pacific island where he made headlines in December 2011 for allegedly donating sperm to lesbian couples. “He is obsessed with this,” the former Miss America finalist told the Herald. “He doesn’t want to stop.” [...] In Sunday’s New Zealand Herald interview, Kathy told the paper that Bill had donated sperm to women wanting children at least 50 times over a handful of months. Former Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate ‘Obsessed’ With Sperm Donation

PAT ROBERTSON describes how God directed him to build the Christian Broadcasting Network (Unfortunately ‘God’ is what Robertson calls the next door neighbor’s evil dog, who talks to him whenever he’s in the backyard) — Pat Robertson delivered a speech as part of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” where he described how God directed him to create CBN during a gathering of people at Cape Henry, where Christopher Newport’s ships made landfall in 1607. — rightwingwatch.org

THE LIBERAL MEDIA Sunday Show lineup: Five shows and only one woman was invited to represent over half of humanity, and CBS’ Face the Nation wisely chose Michele Bachmann for that job. And ABC This Week has a very special guest, one who very rarely makes tv appearances, so get your Tivo ready: John McCain! — TPM

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

CAMPAIGN KICKOFF: It’s still about hope, it’s still about change — “Over and over again, they’ll tell you that American’s down now, and they’ll tell you who to blame, and ask if you’re better off that you were before the worst crisis in our lifetime,” Obama said. “We’ve seen that play before, but you know what, the real question. The question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children is not just about how we’re doing today, but how we’ll be doing tomorrow.” Obama also drew a sharp contrast with Mitt Romney, arguing that he is a stooge of Republicans in Congress, bent on cutting taxes for the rich and cutting spending on everyone else. “Republicans in Congress have found a nominee who is willing to rubber stamp this agenda,” Obama said, trying to tie Romney to the most unpopular institution in America. Mocking Romney’s declaration that corporations are people last year, Obama said, “I don’t care how many different ways you try to explain it, corporations aren’t people. People are people!” — Buzzfeed

  • OBAMA SAID Romney called it “tragic” to end the war in Iraq and doesn’t want a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan. “After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own,” Obama said. On Medicare, Obama said he would “never” allow it to become a voucher program, and defended his health care overhaul. And he explicitly made the election in part a referendum on the rights of women — from health insurance to birth control. “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose or getting rid of Planned Parenthood or taking away affordable access to birth control,” he said. “I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons…We are not turning back the clock…We are moving forward!” — Obama Kicks Off Campaign With a Roar

JOE BIDEN endorses same-sex marriage — Biden made his remarks during an appearance on Meet the Press, telling host David Gregory that he is “absolute comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women.” He added, however, that “the President sets the policy.” Biden has backed equal rights for the LGBT community throughout his career, but this is the first time he has publicly acknowledged his support of full marriage rights. — ThinkProgress

BILL CLINTON robo-calls in opposition to NC Amendment One –


image: Daily Kos

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.1.2012

——————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

ALWAYS CHOOSE wealthy parents — If you don’t come from a wealthy family with tens of thousands of disposable income, well, that’s a shame — no small business for you. Romney wants young people to “take a shot,” “go for it,” “take a risk,” “get the education,” and “start a business,” but only if the federal government has no role in creating those opportunities. In the 2012 campaign context, the point isn’t to mock Romney for being very wealthy or for having very wealthy parents. Rather, what matters here is that he’s opposed to using public institutions to help level the playing field for everyone else. — Steve Benen

MITT ROMNEY thinks you should read W. Cleon Skousen: conspiracy theorist, slavery apologist, tea party icon. – “Skousen quotes from an essay which argues that “one of the blessings of slavery” was that slaves’ marriages were fleeting, and suggests that being bought at auction improved slaves’ self worth. The real victims of slavery, he suggested, were the white owners. The book also referred to black children as “pickaninnies”—which prompted lawmakers in California to block the text from being used in classrooms. In Skousen’s book, the model Supreme Court decision was Dred Scott, which correctly demarcated the limits of federal power; Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in that case, was the model Supreme Court justice.” — Mother Jones

GOOD NEWS, Arizona lawmakers are on the verge of doing what no one else could — defeat the secret United Nations plot to lower poverty, eliminate radioactive waste, and improve the public health. Obvious, glaring threats to our way of life. Arizona lawmakers appear close to sending to Gov. Jan Brewer a tea party-backed bill that proponents say would stop a United Nations takeover conspiracy but that critics claim could end state and cities’ pollution-fighting efforts and even dismantle the state unemployment office. A final legislative vote is expected Monday on a bill that would outlaw government support of any of the 27 principles contained in the 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, also sometimes referred to as Agenda 21. — What’s Wrong With Arizona?

“REPRESENTATIVE PAUL D. RYAN strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds. At 6:30 every morning, he leads an adoring cast of young, conservative members of Congress through exercise sessions in front of a televised trainer barking out orders. For fun, Mr. Ryan noodles catfish, catching them barehanded with a fist down their throats. He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.” — Wow. Half-Wonk, Half-Jock. Half-Objectivist, Half-Catholic. Half-Punk, Half-Wall Street. Paul Ryan is like a projected fantasy of what every high school Young Republican wants to be when he grows up. No wonder GOPers and reporters alike are writing his name all over their notebooks. — The Man, the Legend, the Catfish Noodler

STEPHEN FINCHER (R-TN), ANOTHER TEA PARTY FRESHMAN barfed into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks, is accepting cash from bailed-out bankers. Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues. Republican freshmen have made clear their disdain for expanding government, and openly opposed a financial regulatory overhaul enacted by Democrats in 2010 before the newcomers arrived in Washington. [...] “I haven’t seen any of them putting forth legislation on breaking up the big banks or on other things that would genuinely prevent a bailout next time,” said Marcus Stanley, policy director of Americans for Financial Reform, a Washington- based umbrella group of organizations that supported the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and other financial regulations. — Bloomberg

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

Former President Clinton: Obama ‘Deserves to Be Re-Elected’ – “He’s got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before, on steroids, which will get you the same consequences you got before, on steroids,” Clinton said at a campaign event this weekend.

“I WOULD SUPPORT the president’s version of the DREAM Act…I think that Senator Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act would create a second class status for folks. And I understand that Speaker Boehner has said that he doesn’t expect that that issue will be addressed in this Congress…He said the DREAM Act would be a handout and has campaigned with Kris Kobach, who authored the Arizona and the Alabama laws…” — Los Angeles’ Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the Democratic convention later this year, criticized Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) work-in-progress version of the DREAM Act. — CBS NEWS | Video

WHILE OBAMA SAID it’s “entirely appropriate” to “remember what we as a country accomplished” in getting bin Laden, the President advised that people look at what Romney said in 2007 and ask him why he now says something different: OBAMA: As far as my personal role and what other folks would do, I just recommend that everybody take a look at people’s previous statements in terms of whether they thought it was appropriate to go into Pakistan and take out bin Laden. I assumed that people meant what they said when they said it, that’s been at least my practice. I said that we’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggested they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it. — Obama: ‘I Assumed’ He Meant It When He Said He Wouldn’t Get Bin Laden

THE REASON for all the dust that’s being thrown up is that, every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes.  Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use. However, Willard Romney is all a’flutter. (“My dear young chap, that simply is not done.”) There apparently were no clouds in the sky at which John McCain could yell, so he weighed in on the dreadful inappropriateness of it all. [...] In the present case, the president actually gave the order. Osama bin Laden is actually dead. And, having done what he did, the president is well within his rights to wonder out loud if Willard Romney would have made the same call, given what Romney said back in 2007, when he was just starting to run for president. And it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist. (Today in New Hampshire, while travelling around with Senator Kelly Ayotte, his latest vice-presidential beard, and demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.) — Charles P. Pierce

“I’VE KNOWN RICH PEOPLE, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar.” — Stephen King, “Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!”

DID PRESIDENT OBAMA’S re-election campaign take its new slogan from MSNBC? The campaign unveiled a new video with a new tagline on Monday morning. The slogan? “Forward.” The “Morning Joe” crew were among the many to notice that the slogan bears more than a passing resemblance to MSNBC’s nearly two-year-old branding line, “Lean Forward.” — Joe Scarborough: Obama’s New Slogan Taken From MSNBC

FACTOID: “BACKWARDS” has already been trademarked by the Republican Party.

TGIF morning’s 6 ambiguously interesting things

1) Democrats / President Obama

  • A snip from the documentary of Bill Clinton on Obama’s decisions re: Detroit and OBL:
  • Obama Pressures Congress on Oil Subsidies - In the most spirited defense yet of his record on energy policy, President Barack Obama today dismissed his critics as playing politics by promising cheap gas without real solutions, and asked his supporters to pressure Congress to end subsidies for oil companies. At an event in Largo, Md., Obama said people “running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed” have been “talking down new sources of energy” and have dismissed his plan to double vehicle mileage standards by 2025. “I guess they like gas guzzlers,” he said. Obama said he expects Congress to vote in the next few weeks on ending subsidies for oil companies. “It is time for this oil industry giveaway to end,” he said. “I guess you can stand up for the oil companies … or you can stand up for the American people.” The president said the $4 billion a year in oil industry subsidies could be redirected to other sources of energy.

2) The Republican War on Women

  • Dems Hammer PA Governor Over Ultrasound Comments - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) offered up some advice for women who don’t want to have a mandatory ultrasound before they terminate their pregnancy: Don’t look at it. Now Democrats are pouncing, holding up the line as evidence of the GOP’s continuing insensitivity toward women. The quote in question came after Corbett was asked at a press conference whether “making [women] watch” an ultrasound went “too far.” “I don’t know how you make anybody watch,” Corbett said. “You just have to close your eyes.”
  • Religious liberty not under attack in America, says majority – Another poll, another confirmation that the GOP’s narrative that their attack on women’s health is really all about religious liberty has sunk like a lead balloon. The Public Religion Research Institution asked a random sample of 1,007 adults 18 years of age or older whether religious liberty was under attack in the United States, and whether government-mandated birth control coverage was part of that threat. And the American public said, “are you kidding?” Washington, DC— On the heels of a months-long heated debate on religious liberty, a new national survey finds that a majority (56%) of Americans do NOT believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today. Roughly 4-in-10 (39%) believe religious liberty is under attack.
  • Bishops hold meeting, decide they still hate women’s health care – This week, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), led by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and the president of the bishops’ conference, met to decidewhether they still hate women’s health care. Guess what? They do! In a statement issued by the committee, the bishops insisted that they are “strongly unified and intensely focused” in their “opposition to the various threats to religious freedom.” Religious freedom, as we all know by now, means their right to demand that women be denied access to health care the bishops don’t like. The bishops then proceed to do some serious false-witness-bearing: This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. First, yes, this is about access to contraception. Second, no, it is not inexpensive. Third, no one is requiring the Church to provide it. And fourth, no one is forcing the Church to pay for it. But the lies don’t end there…

3) Your 2012 GOP presidential candidates

  • Romney Campaign Dings Santorum: No, Puerto Ricans Don’t Have To Stop Speaking Spanish – On Wednesday, Santorum told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero that islanders would have to be fully proficient in English, in order to genuine integrate into the main American culture — and he said, to comply with federal law — in order to be granted statehood if they wanted it.In fact, there is no federal law, either in the Constitution or current federal statutes, establishing English as a required official language of government business in order to qualify for statehood. (Though in the past, Congress did make such a requirement for statehood in 1811 for Louisiana, where French was widely spoken, and also in 1906 regarding the Native American languages spoken in areas of Oklahoma.) But the fact remains that Spanish is the primary language of Puerto Rico, and will continue to be so as a cultural fact for the foreseeable future.
  • The ‘Oops, Just Kidding’ Endorsement – Former Puerto Rican Sen. Oreste Ramos announced Thursday that he was rescinding his support for Santorum after the presidential candidate said Puerto Rico would have to adopt English as its primary language if the territory were to ever gain statehood. “Although such a requirement would be unconstitutional, and also would clash with our sociological and linguistic reality, as a question of principle I cannot back a person who holds that position,” Oreste said, according to the San Juan newspaper Vocero. “As a Puerto Rican and Spanish-speaking U.S. citizen, I consider the position of Mr. Santorum offensive.”
  • Stephen Colbert’s hilarious commentary on Santorum and Puerto Rico (and Santorum and everything else):
  • Rahm Emanuel to Romney: ‘If You Can’t Stand up to Rush, How Are You Going to Stand up to Russia?’ – “Now I’m not going to give advice to Republicans. They don’t take it and I don’t want to give it. They’ll make whatever decision they want to make,” Emanuel said at an event Thursday morning in Chicago. “You just take a look at the fortitude, the strength, the determination and the vision the president made on the auto industry and juxtapose it to Mitt Romney, who doesn’t have the fortitude, the strength or the character in my view to stand up to Rush Limbaugh. How can he stand up and make a decision to save 1.3 million manufacturing jobs? “That Oval Office requires vision. That Oval Office requires spine. That Oval Office requires determination and grit. Mitt Romney says, ‘Let it go.’ The president said the American workers are too important to let go, and he doubled down on the American workers. When a decision comes to the Oval Office, who’s got the fortitude, who’s got the grit, who’s got the determination and who’s got the back of the American people and middle-class families? And nothing coming into that Oval Office is easy. It’s not clear. And I think when you see the character, the fortitude and the strength measured up, and the determination to reject conventional wisdom and see around the corner what’s right for the American middle class, people who work every day, play by the rules, you’ll see the difference of the two individuals and their vision for America.”

4) The 21st Century Republican (tea)Party / New American Theocracy

  • Arizona Makes Another Attempt At Government Birtherism – Without saying as much, Arizona officials are working on yet another birther bill. This is the latest of several attempts by the state to try to prove the myth that Obama is not an American citizen. This time, an Arizona legislative committee is pushing a measure that would require presidential candidates to fill out an eligibility form before they can be put on Arizona’s ballot.
  • Arizona Birther Bill – The Birthers Are Strong in This One – I’m in sunny Arizona for a couple of days and, boy howdy, is the wingnut strong out here. The state legislature’s Government Reform Committee — yeah, that one had me on the floor, too — yesterday reported out a birther measure that was probably inspired by the comic stylings of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “investigation” of the president’s origins. [...] “Yesterday,” said Democratic state senator David Lujan, who was one of two votes on the committee against the measure, “I asked if this had anything to do with President Obama’s birth certificate, and they told me that Sheriff Joe’s investigation had given the idea added value. “It is frustrating. We have something like 250,000 people unemployed in Arizona, and we’re occupied with stuff like this. A lot of people, and not just Democrats, are just frustrated with the activities of the Tea Party folks. I don’t know what keeps them coming back like this. I really don’t. Not with everything else we should be addressing.”
  • WELL THIS IS SHOCKING: GOP frosh to back millionaires’ tax – Freshman Republican Rep. Rick Crawford will propose a surtax on millionaires Thursday morning, a crack in the steadfast GOP opposition to extracting more money from the nation’s top earners. The Arkansas Republican will unveil the plan during a local television interview Thursday morning, and plans to introduce legislation when the House returns next week, according to sources familiar with his thinking. Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.
  • BOEHNER’S DO-NOTHING HOUSE PLANS TO DO EVEN LESS: Staffers: House won’t pass highway bill this month – The House will not take up the Senate’s transportation bill and its own version won’t hit the floor until mid-April at the earliest, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aides told industry officials Thursday morning. Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are ramping up their pressure on the House after the Senate approved a two-year, $109 billion bill that garnered votes from nearly half of the Republican caucus. The general game plan over the next few weeks, as laid out by aides: continue rallying and gauging support for a five-year bill when members return to town next week. An extension of the current law, slated to expire April 1, would hit the floor sometime during the March 26 week.House members get a two-week break starting March 30 and don’t return to session until the week of April 16 — the earliest any other bill could come up for a vote, the aides said. || On Wednesday, Boehner said he “will take up the Senate bill “or something like it” this month.” Nope.

5) Misc

  • Natural Born Drillers – Paul Krugman – To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. [...] Thus Mitt Romney claims that gasoline prices are high not because of saber-rattling over Iran, but because President Obama won’t allow unrestricted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal tells readers that America as a whole could have a jobs boom, just like North Dakota, if only the environmentalists would get out of the way. The irony here is that these claims come just as events are confirming what everyone who did the math already knew, namely, that U.S. energy policy has very little effect either on oil prices or on overall U.S. employment. For the truth is that we’re already having a hydrocarbon boom, with U.S. oil and gas production rising and U.S. fuel imports dropping. If there were any truth to drill-here-drill-now, this boom should have yielded substantially lower gasoline prices and lots of new jobs. Predictably, however, it has done neither.

6) Rush “Shock Blob” Limbaugh

  • Guess who’s knocking on Rush Limbaugh’s door as his advertisers flee like rats from a sinking ship? – It’s the people behind the infamous GodHatesFags website — the Westboro Baptist Church, the most notorious gay-bashing group in America — and they’re ready to step in to keep the embattled Limbaugh on the air. “As a matter of fact, I can confirm that,” Westboro spokesman Steve Drain told Hatewatch today when asked if the church was seeking to advertise on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” “We’re preparing our first ad at this very moment, and we’ll have a 30-second radio spot ready to go by Friday.” Drain said he has been in contact with ad executives, but added that the Westboro spots will have to be produced before they are accepted or rejected. The radio ads would be posted as audio links Friday on the church’s websites, the Westboro spokesman said. [via: ABL]
  • Struggling Clear Channel And Rush Limbaugh’s $400 Million Payday – But the truth was that for days on his flagship station, WABC in New York, Limbaugh’s show had been stripped of key advertisers. Instead, the once robust revenue-generating program had turned into a feel-good forum where during commercial breaks WABC ran nonpaid public service announcements on behalf of the United Negro College Fund and New York Office of Emergency Management. That’s because WABC didn’t feel comfortable putting lots of advertisers on Limbaugh’s show, which up and down Madison Avenue had become poisonous in this wake of his misogynistic Fluke debacle.  So towards the end of his show on Tuesday, the nine-figure salary talk show host went to commercial break and a paid advertiser did pop up. And it was a new advertiser, a sponsor who apparently had signed on amidst the controversy. The sponsor’s name? The Holy Name Cemetery in New Jersey, which was advertising a “pre-planning open house weekend.” How fitting.