Romney’s Bloody Sunday

PoliticusUSA: [Yesterday] was brutal for Romney. The Democratic National Committee put together a montage for you of mostly conservatives bashing Romney on the Sunday shows. It’s called ‘Romney’s Sorry Sunday’:

The video features criticism from Chris Wallace (Fox “news” Sunday), David Gregory (NBC Meet the Press), Brit Hume (Fox “news” Sunday), Bill Kristol (Fox “news” Sunday), John Dickerson (CBS Face The Nation), Candy Crowley (CNN State of the Union), and Jorge Ramos (ABC This Week).

I thought Dickerson’s observation was the most spot-on:

”I talked to a number of Republicans this week, one strategist who has been involved in a lot of these campaigns said when he saw that video it was the first time he thought he was seeing the real Romney. That’s a problem when your most troubled moment is the one people think is the most authentic moment.”

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.16.2012


George W. Bush finally endorses Romney at ornate elevator door-shutting ceremony — “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House. [...] Romney already had the support of Bush’s brother and parents; he’s already hired Bush’s former team to lead his campaign; and he’s already adopted most of the same policy priorities of the failed former president. The Republican National Committee conceded recently that a Romney presidency would be the same as Bush’s presidency, “just updated.” — Steve Benen & Wonkette | Note: Read that first sentence again — George W. Bush gave a speech on ‘human rights‘!!?! 

THAT’S SO BAIN! The Tampa Bay Times reports on yet another example of Mitt Romney’s “heads I win, tails you lose” business model: Millions of dollars in tax subsidies given to Bain-owned Dade Behring for creating jobs in Puerto Rico … after which the company shut down its Puerto Rico operations. [...] Romney says he supports tax incentives at the state level, but note that this involved federal dollars—dollars that went to a Bain-owned company for creating jobs even though the company destroyed the jobs. Adding insult to injury: Romney’s firm “earned” $342 million on it’s $30 million Dade Behring investment, a profit of more than one thousand percent, even though it ended up firing 850 Floridians. — Jed Lewison

John Boehner and fellow Republicans want to play another game of “government shutdown” over the debt limit – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wants Congress to raise the debt limit again later this year “without drama, pain and damage.” House Speaker John Boehner has other ideas. [...] “When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”Brian Beutler | TPM

  • There will be no compromise: any tax increases to the wealthy or cuts to the DoD are completely off the table.
  • Why are Republicans flirting with Debt Limit Debacle 2.0? — Protecting The Bush Tax Cuts: This is a generational imperative for the GOP. The 2001 and 2003 Bush cuts are key to the decades-long conservative goal of redistributing wealth further up the income ladder and rolling back the federal government’s role in providing social services. All of the cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and if President Obama wins in November, he’ll have a lot of leverage to demand that the Republicans own up to the results and allow the cuts for high-income earners to expire.  — Brian Beutler | TPM
  • Under the current baseline agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the debt-ceiling deal wherein Boehner claims he received “98 percent of what he wanted,” every bracket of the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of fiscal 2012. The only way any bracket, whether at the low-end or high-end, will be extended beyond fiscal 2012 is through an act of congress. If congress and the president simply do nothing, they will automatically expire. — Bob Cesca
  • Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY — “It is pretty galling for Speaker Boehner to be laying down demands for another debt-ceiling agreement when he won’t even abide by the last one. The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.”
  • Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-MD  — “The dollar for dollar limit, of course, led to the sequester, which none of us like. While it sounds good, the execution of that principle does not seem to be very disciplined. The Speaker, in my view, believes [in a broad, balanced approach] as well, [but] the Speaker’s party does not believe in balance. Mr. Boehner is responding to the same people who didn’t want the Export-Import Bank to pass. The Republicans are good at buying and lousy at paying. They borrowed a lot of money, as a result we owe a lot of money. They don’t believe that tax cuts need to be paid for so they give away revenues, they continue to spend money and inevitably deficits occur.”
  • The last GOP-led hostage crisis over the debt — It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War. It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom — in this case, debt reduction. It didn’t matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn’t matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades. This wasn’t just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn’t just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us. It’s the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.– Steve Benen

The Andrew Breitbart Fail-Train chugs along — Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released a new video today supposedly exposing voter fraud in North Carolina by highlighting non-citizens like Zbigniew Gorzkowski who have voted in recent elections. The problem: Gorzkowski is an American citizen. — Think Progress

Rove Group Drops $25 Million In A Single Month To Attack Obama — Crossroads GPS, a group backing Mitt Romney that is affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove, will spend $25 million this month on ads attacking President Obama on his spending record. The campaign will begin on Thursday with an $8 million ad buy that will run in 10 states. — Think Progress

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

The Obama Administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 over provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and same sex marriage. The House Armed Services Committee approved the $642 billion defense budget last week by a 56-5 vote. The budget is $8 billion over the military spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation would continue to prevent the Obama Administration from closing down Guantanamo Bay by prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States or a foreign country. “The Administration continues to strongly oppose these provisions, which intrude upon the Executive branch’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. — Raw Story 

Sen. John McCain wants campaign finance reform again, so guess where he goes for support:  McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership. [...] The Disclose Act introduced by the Whitehouse in March would require any group that spends $10,000 or more on election ads or other political activity to file a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. Reports would detail the nature of expenditures over $1,000 and reveal the names of donors who give $10,000 or more. The legislation would also require that outside group advertisements include “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimers listing the biggest donors. Forty-three Democrats have co-sponsored the legislation, but no Republican has endorsed it. —

The DNC responds to complaints about Scott Walker Recall Election June 5 — Following a report that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is “furious” with the Democratic National Committee for not pouring more money into the Scott Walker recall effort, DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will visit Wisconsin this month to campaign with Walker’s challenger — but there’s still no indication that the Wisconsinites can expect more help than that. [...] “We are confident that they will be here for us,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski when asked if the visit meant more monetary support from the DNC. — Buzzfeed

BREAKING NEWS: Despite the Republican Party, Congress passed a bill – The Senate approved legislation today that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank after rejecting five Republicans amendments, including a proposal to shut down the bank. The bill was approved 78-20 — with all 20 “no” votes cast by Republicans — and now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature. The House passed the measure last week 330-93.  [...] “This bank is one of the most powerful tools that we have for manufacturing jobs in America,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said on the Senate floor. “In fiscal 2011 alone, the bank supported nearly 290,000 export-created jobs in America.” — Roll Call News

Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows — Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance. It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all. I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success. — Greg Sargent | See also:  Op-ed of the day — Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem

Thursday morning’s 9 remotely interesting things

1) Obama ‘confident’ of keeping to Afghan pullout plan – President Barack Obama said he was “confident” the United States could stick to its Afghan drawdown timetable despite a week of deadly unrest over the burning of the Koran at a US base. “I feel confident that we can stay on a path that by the end of 2014, our troops will be out and will not be in a combat role and Afghans will have capacity, just as Iraqis, to secure their own country,” Obama told ABC News. Obama, criticized by Republican opponents for apologizing to Afghan people after US troops sent copies of the Koran to an incinerator at Bagram airbase, defended his decision, saying it was necessary to try to quell the violence.

  • Bush apologized for soldiers shooting the Koran in 2008 – Bush’s spokeswoman said Tuesday that the president apologized during a videoconference Monday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who told the president that the shooting of Islam’s holy book had disappointed and angered both the Iraqi people and their leaders. “He apologized for that in the sense that he said that we take it very seriously,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “We are concerned about the reaction. We wanted them to know that the president knew that this was wrong.”

2) Obama’s Most Dangerous GOP Opponent: Netanyahu – Some new details on the Israeli prime minister’s recruitment of US senators to push back against their own president and chairman of the JCOS: Netanyahu and his advisers briefed a group of senators and senior congressmen during the past two weeks on the Iranian issue, and asked them to pressure Obama on the matter. Last week, Netanyahu met a group of five senior senators over lunch, headed by Sen. John McCain, who ran four years ago against Obama for president. Netanyahu reportedly told the senators he was not interfering in U.S. politics and expected U.S. officials not to interfere in Israeli politics either. So Netanyahu gets McCain – the president’s last electoral opponent – to make the following public statement: “There should be no daylight between America and Israel in our assessment of the [Iranian] threat. Unfortunately there clearly is some.”

3) NPR’s NEW RULES — it says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report - NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of “he said, she said” journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being “fair to the truth,” which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute. Maintaining the “appearance of balance” isn’t good enough, NPR says. “If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side…” we have to say so. When we are spun, we don’t just report it. “We tell our audience…” This is spin! (The new policy is already having an effect.)

via: sandandglass

4) In case you didn’t believe that Romney will do / say anything and pander shamelessly to the far right for the GOP nomination - One day before a critical Senate vote that could loom large as a 2012 election issue, Mitt Romney came out for a congressional Republican measure designed to roll back the Obama administration’s requirement that employer health plans cover birth control. “Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told TPM. The Blunt amendment, which is scheduled for a Senate vote on Thursday, would permit employers to deny coverage of birth control or other services they deem morally objectionable.

  • Sen. Gillibrand blasts Blunt amendment: Employers shouldn’t dictate health decisions – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Wednesday slammed legislation that would allow employers to refuse to pay for health insurance coverage of specific services if it would be contrary to their religious beliefs or “moral” convictions. “When will my colleagues understand this very non-debatable fact, that the decision of whether a woman takes one medicine or another or what type of health care she should have access to should not be the decision of her boss?” Gillibrand said on the Senate floor.
via: sandandglass

5) China welcomes North Korea nuclear moratorium - North Korea’s key ally China on Thursday welcomed Pyongyang’s announcement that it will suspend its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment programme in return for US food aid. The deal — which came less than three months after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il — follows talks held in Beijing last week between the United States and North Korean negotiators. [...] “We welcome the improvement in relations between North Korea and the United States and their contributions to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei in a statement. “China is willing to work with relevant parties to continue to push forward the six-party talks process, and play a constructive role to realise long-term peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and north-east Asia.”

6) Twilight Of The RINOs? – It’s kind of pathetic for politicians who have spent decades exploiting the far right for political gain to complain now when those forces are becoming dominant in their party. That’s what you get for playing with fire. James Joyner has expressed the hope in several recent posts here at OTB that the Republican Party will return to sanity at some point. Even if it takes an election cycle or two, I hope he’s right because the one thing this country needs desperately is a strong two-party system populated by opposing parties that at least accept the idea that compromise is necessary. Right now, one of those parties has rejected that idea entirely and the current state of Congress is testament to the results of that attitude. But the blame for the current state of the Republican Party doesn’t just lie with Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum. It lies with the party leaders and conservative pundits who let them get away with what they’ve managed to do over the past five years.

7) We are not quite done yet with GOP “debates” - Mr. Huckabee will host his third presidential forum on Saturday, an executive for the Fox News Channel said on Tuesday.  Huckabee, Gasparino and Mrs. Mitch McConnell! I hope those unfortunate “Ohio residents” have their affairs in order, because if a just Judeo-Christian god is ever going to smite those among His followers who have profaned His honor, this event would seem a good place to start.

8) Good thing the issues of birth control, women’s healthcare coverage and abortion never came up this month – Only four women appearied as guests on the Sunday shows. Media Matters with the sad tally: A total of 56 guests were booked on the Sunday programs to discuss national affairs in February. Of those, 52 were men. (The newsmaker tally does not include guests invited to participate in roundtable discussions this month.) And of the four women booked this month, just one, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was associated with the Democratic Party, despite the fact Democrats currently control the White House and the Senate. “We complain about this all the time,” a Democratic aide told Media Matters.

9) YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: GOP lawmaker proposes tax breaks for mustaches – A mustachioed Republican congressman from Maryland is standing up for the rights of the men (and the women) who dare to have hair above their upper lip. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has introduced the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses Act — or STACHE Act — to give people with mustaches a $250 tax break each year. [...] “He sent it over to Ways and Means [committee] without any recommendation of any kind at all,” Wright told U.S. News and World Report on Tuesday. || Note: This is real. We have nothing at all going on right now, so why not fuck around, right? Doesn’t it cheer your heart to know that we pay the do-nothing GOP-led Congress a federal salary plus benefits — but NOW, better still, we’re paying this guy to actually tie up his time and the Ways and Means committee’s time with something like this? BOTH SIDES DO IT though, right?!?