Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Posted by Clint Henderson | September 19, 2012 - Fox News (blog)

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney standing firmly behind comments he made at a Boca Raton fundraiser back in May.. that were secretly recorded and distributed to liberal magazine Mother Jones. He says the views expressed in the video may not have been perfectly stated, but they do help define the philosophical choice voters will face. Mister Romney was on "Your World" with Neil Cavuto last night. He told Neil there is now a big contrast between two visions for our economic future. Meantime, he's pointing to new audio released late yesterday by of President Obama talking about "redistribution." Mister Romney said "There is a tape that came out where is the President is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree. I think a society based upon a government centered nation where government plays a larger role and redistributes money, [That's the..] wrong course for America."

The tape Mister Romney is referring to is audio released from 1998 from comments then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama made at Loyola University. You may remember President Obama made comments about "spreading the wealth around," back during the 2008 campaign.. The Obama campaign's Ben LaBolt responded to the tape with this statement:

"The Romney campaign is so desperate to change the subject that they've gone back to the failed playbook co-authored by Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Fourteen years ago, then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government - specifically citing city government agencies that he didn't think were working effectively. He believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard. Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn't believe that if you're a student who applies for a loan you're looking for a handout."

Obviously the campaign is in full swing!

Lots of new polling out today including from AP/GFK and from WSJ and NBC News. AP: Obama: 47% of likely voters and Romney 46%. WSJ/NBC: Obama 50% and Romney 45% (likely voters).

There is also fresh polling on Wisconsin.. newly acknowledged by the Obama campaign as a battleground state.. President Obama visits Saturday. That polling showing Obama with a lead there and a very close senate race.. perfect since we are talking with senate candidate Tommy Thompson.

There's also new polling from NYTimes/CBS/Quinnipiac on VA and CO. And there is a Washington Post poll from VA as well.


...1115EDT -- Briefing by Press Secy Jay Carney. LIVE


1200EDT -- Attends fundraiser at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Atlanta, GA. POOL TAPE


0930EDT -- Attends rally at Piedmont Precision Machine, Danville, VA. LIVE via LiveU

Lots of politics today!

In other news:

Chicago teachers voted to end their strike.

At 2pm we get a report from the Inspector General on Fast and Furious - William La Jeunesse and Mike Emanuel on that story.

France says it will close schools and embassies in 20 countries on Friday.. after a French magazine published cartoons of the the Muslim religious leader.

In Syria.. rebels claim they've seized control of an area near the Turkish border.

Susan Sarandon On Mitt Romney Video: 'I'm So Entertained' - Huffington Post

Susan Sarandon Mitt Romney Video Joy Behar

Democratic activist and Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon finds the undercover video of Mitt Romney quite entertaining, but says it doesn't reveal anything new about the GOP candidate's character.

Sarandon sat down with Joy Behar, another vocal liberal, on her show "Joy Behar: Say Anything!" to talk about the recently leaked undercover Romney video. In the recording, taken during a fundraiser in Boca Raton earlier this year, Romney commented on the "47 percent" who supposedly don't pay taxes, are "dependent on the government" and "believe they are victims." The video went viral online after it was posted on Mother Jones.

"I'm so entertained," Sarandon told Behar. "I'm very happy that he's so entertaining. I don't know if it's going to cost him. I think a lot of people agree with him in seeing things that way. I guess it'll mostly effect the swing voters. And I think it's an interesting few days on the campaign trail to see how he deals with that. But I don't think that was really new information."

"Well no, but it just made him look like Scrooge," Behar, whose show is broadcast on Al Gore's Current TV, interjected. "It made him look more Scrooge-like."

"But I think that's what he is," Sarandon responded. "But I don't think â€" listening to, you know, how he's dealing, where he wants to spend his money, that he was very interested in education or the elderly and I mean a lot of the people he's talking about pay taxes so I don't know what he's thinking."

Sarandon continued, "But a lot of people that also get Medicare pay taxes. All these programs aren't just for people that are goofing off. They're for people that we should be taking care of and I hope that I'm taking care of with Medicare and everything else."

The 65-year-old actress is an active Democrat, who has donated to the campaigns of Barack Obama, John Edwards and John Kerry. She has spoken at numerous political rallies, including the recent Madison, Wis., protest of Governor Scott Walker. She's also a big fan of Occupy Wall Street.

Sarandon is not the only media star to comment on the Romney video. The leaked footage has been in the headlines since Monday and made it to the late-night circuit on Tuesday.

David Letterman welcomed President Obama to "The Late Show" and asked him about his interpretation of Romney's remarks.

"Well, I don't know what he was referring to," Obama responded. "When I won in 2008, 47% voted for John McCain, they didn't vote for me. And what I said on Election Night was, 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voice. And I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president.'"

"One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country," Obama continued. "My expectation is, if you want to be president, you have to work for everybody, not just for some."

Also on HuffPost:

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Why is Mitt Romney borrowing $20 million? - Washington Post (blog)

Mitt Romney has a lot of money â€" both personally and for his campaign.

So why in the world would he need to borrow $20 million?

The answer lies in the complicated world of campaign finance, in which the rules limit how much money a candidate can accept from individual donors for both the primary election and the general election â€" and the money raised for each can only be spent in the corresponding election.

Candidates are only allowed to raise $2,500 from an individual donor for the primary and another $2,500 for the general election. For political action committees, the limit for each election is $5,000.

Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination long ago, but he didn’t officially accept it until Aug. 30. Up until that point, according to the law, he was not allowed to spend the funds he raised for the general election.

It appears what happened is that Romney ran out of primary funds at some point and was forced to borrow a significant chunk of change to get his campaign through August.

Romney’s problem appears to have resulted from his reliance on big donors, according to the Post’s Dan Eggen and Philip Rucker:

The loan from the Bank of Georgetown, first reported Tuesday night by National Review Online and confirmed by a senior campaign official, provides a telling glimpse into previously unknown money troubles within the Romney camp over the summer. Romney has relied heavily on wealthy donors but has had persistent difficulty raising money among grassroots donors, who could have helped buoy his finances during the long summer before the Republican convention in Tampa.

The cash shortfall seems to be a large reason Romney’s campaign didn’t launch a robust counter-offensive when the Obama campaign ran tens of millions of dollars worth of attack ads over the summer, much of it on Bain Capital. Instead, Romney relied on well-funded outside groups to run ads defending him.

Now that he’s in the general election, Romney can tap all of his money.

While Romney couldn’t use general election funds for the primary, it appears as though he can use them to pay down the debt from his $20 million primary loan. That loophole effectively allows a candidate to use general election funds for the primary â€" provided he or she can secure the credit, of course.

(Similarly, in the 2008 presidential race, Sen. John McCain paid down a primary loan using money from the general election that he accepted through the matching funds program. The matching funds program, which neither candidate is using this year, provided McCain a set amount of general election money in exchange for raising less money from individuals.)

Paying down the debt doesn’t seem to have been too much of a problem for Romney thus far. The campaign said Tuesday night that it has paid off nearly half of it and has $11 million in debt right now.

At the end of July, Romney’s campaign had $30 million in the bank, but when you factor in the national party committee and a joint fundraising committee, he had a $60-plus million edge on Obama, $186 million to $124 million.

Dan Eggen contributed to this report.

Mitt Romney Op-Ed In USA Today Promises Growth, No More 'Web Of ... - Huffington Post

Mitt Romney Op Ed
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/David McNew)

Still on damage patrol after the release of footage secretly recorded at a fundraiser, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney penned an op-ed Wednesday saying he would "create space" for Americans to better themselves rather than remaining dependent on government.

"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency," Romney wrote in USA Today. "My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility."

"My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom," he wrote. "Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."

Although he doesn't reference it specifically, the op-ed is a clear response to controversy over a video released Monday of Romney at a fundraiser earlier this year. The video, which was recorded without Romney's knowledge, shows him calling the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes "victims" and saying he will "never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

While it is true about 47 percent of Americans don't pay federal income taxes, nearly all pay other taxes on the federal, state and local levels. Many do not pay income taxes because they are elderly or too poor.

Since the release of that footage on Monday, Romney has attempted to spin it as an expression of his concern at the number of Americans impacted by the economy who need assistance from the government. He said during a Monday press conference his points were "not elegantly stated."

He also argued during a Tuesday interview on Fox News -- a point he repeated in his op-ed -- that people want to be working, going against his statement that about half of Americans do not want to take responsibility for their lives.

"When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn," he wrote in the op-ed.

Romney went on to say government "has a role to play" in aiding Americans who "do need help from the government," but that Obama is providing the wrong type of aid.

"My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things," he wrote. "Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty."

Read the full op-ed here.

Related on HuffPost:

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Why Romney and Ryan are going down - Baltimore Sun

Unemployment is still above 8 percent, job gains aren't even keeping up with population growth, the economy is barely moving forward. And yet, according to most polls, the Romney-Ryanticket is falling further and further behind. How can this be?

Because Republicans are failing the central test of electability. Instead of putting together the largest possible coalition of voters, they're relying largely on one slice of America -- middle-aged white men -- and alienating just about everyone else.

Start with Hispanics, whose electoral heft keeps growing as they become an ever-larger portion of the electorate. Hispanics now favor President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a larger margin than they did six months ago.

Why? In February's Republican primary debate, Mr. Romney dubbed Arizona's controversial immigration policy, which authorized police to demand proof of citizenship from anyone who looks Hispanic, a "model law" for the rest of the nation.

Follow @BaltSunLetters for the latest reader letters to The Sun.

Mr. Romney then attacked GOP rival Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And Mr. Romney advocates what he calls "self-deportation" -- making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.

As if all this weren't enough, the GOP has been pushing voter ID laws all over America, whose obvious aim is to intimidate Hispanic voters so they won't come to the polls. But they may be having the opposite effect -- emboldening the vast majority of ethnic Hispanics, who are American citizens, to vote in even greater numbers and lend even more support to Mr. Obama and other Democrats.

Or consider women, whose political and economic impact in America continues to grow. (Women are fast becoming better educated than men and the major breadwinners in American homes.) According to polls, the political gender gap is widening.

Why? It's not just GOP senatorial candidate Todd Akin's call to ban all abortions even in the case of "legitimate rape" (because he believes women's bodies somehow reject violent sperm). The GOP platform itself seeks to bar all abortions, with no exception for rape or incest. And on several occasions, Paul Ryan has voted in favor of exactly such legislation.

Meanwhile, Republican legislators in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Alabama have pushed bills requiring women seeking abortions to undergo invasive vaginal ultrasound tests. All told, more than 400 Republican bills that attack women's reproductive rights are pending in state legislatures.

Republicans have repeatedly voted against legislation giving women equal pay for the same work as men. Republicans in Wisconsin have even repealed a law designed to prevent employers from discriminating against women.

Or consider students, a significant and growing electoral force, who voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama in 2008. What are Republicans doing to woo them back?

Paul Ryan's budget plan -- approved by almost every House Republican and enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney -- would have allowed rates on student loans to double, adding an average of $1,000 a year to student debt loads. (Under mounting political pressure, House Republicans came up with just enough money to keep the loan program going safely past Election Day by raiding a fund established for preventive care in the new health care act.)

Now Mr. Romney wants to hand the federal student loan program over to the banks, which will charge even more. Earlier this year he argued that subsidized student loans were bad because they encouraged colleges to raise tuition, and suggested students ask their families for money.

Republicans have even managed to antagonize seniors by seeking to turn Medicare into vouchers whose value won't keep up with rising health-care costs, and seeking to cut $800 billion out of Medicaid (which many seniors rely on for nursing home care).

And, of course, they've come out against equal marriage rights for gay couples.

Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan and the GOP don't seem to know how to satisfy their middle-aged white male base without at the same time turning off everyone who's not white, male, straight or middle-aged. Unfortunately for Messrs. Romney and Ryan, the people they're turning off are the majority.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is the author of "Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it," a Knopf release now out in paperback.

Meet Marc Leder, host to Mitt Romney's '47%' fundraiser -

>>> mitt romney 's comments were made at this magnificent mansion in boca raton , florida, inside the home of a fellow expert in the business of private equity . but the owner isn't some dowdy numbers guy. no, he's apparently also a man with some exotic interests. joining us a michael isikoff , nbc news's national investigative correspondent. mike, why is it that in researching this character's break ground there are more stories about sex parties and jor jis than politics and fund-raising?

>> well, i think there was a notable party he had at his bridge hampton, long island mansion last year that got reported in the gossip pages. apparently it had scantily clad russian women dancing on platforms and people frolicking in the nude. i wasn't there, i can't vouch for any of this, martin, but i can tell you that mr. leader is a major player in the private equity world and has been a big fund-raiser for mitt romney , not only holding the fund-raiser at his house in boca raton last may, but he also has contributed over $225,000 to restore our future, which is the mitt romney super pac. so he's been a big player. he had a -- he worked with mitt romney back when mitt romney was in his bain capital days. so they have a long-standing relationship, and it is a bit ironic, i suppose, that it was this video at -- this fund-raiser at martin leader's home that is causing mitt romney so much damage.

>> indeed. nbc news's national investigative correspondent michael isikoff . thank you for your detailed explanation. the

Congressional Democrats seize on Romney video - San Francisco Chronicle

WASHINGTON (AP) â€" Democrats running for the House and Senate are pouncing on Mitt Romney's remarks that nearly half of all Americans think they are "victims" entitled to government help and that he doesn't worry about "those people."

"Mitt Romney and Dean Heller are reading from the same script when it comes to struggling middle-class families," said Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, who is seeking to unseat Heller in Nevada's competitive Senate race.

"It's a troubling and shocking position to take, especially for a man running for president of the United States," said Annie Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat hoping to oust Republican Rep. Charlie Bass in one of the country's most competitive House races. "Congressman Bass needs to make clear whether he supports this view and explain why he continues to campaign with a presidential candidate who is this out of touch with the American people."

Romney sent a ripple down-ballot when a secretly recorded video surfaced Monday of his remarks at a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. on May 17.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in the video. "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."

"My job is not to worry about those people," Romney added. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney has neither disavowed nor apologized for his remarks, instead casting his comment as evidence of a fundamental difference with President Barack Obama over the economy. The federal government, he said, should not "take from some to give to the others."

But the pile-on had begun, bolstering Obama's case that Romney does not represent a middle class struggling amid high unemployment and a sluggish economy.

Democratic candidates took their lead from Obama, who declared Tuesday night that the occupant of the Oval Office must "work for everyone, not just for some."

Democratic candidates already were using Romney's statements â€" made to a room of wealthy donors at a private fundraiser â€" to raise campaign cash.

The campaign of Lois Frankel, seeking an open House seat in a district that includes Boca Raton, Fla., blasted an email to supporters under the subject line "Seriously?" It asked recipients to donate because "the same people who saw Mitt behind closed doors right here in Boca" are planning to fund attack ads.

Some Republicans saw immediate peril in Romney's remarks, particularly those in tight races. Linda McMahon, the Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut, quickly disavowed Romney's remarks as her opponent, Rep. Chris Murphy, sought to tie her to Romney, releasing a statement talking about "the real McMahon-Romney agenda."

"I disagree with Gov. Romney's insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care," said McMahon, who has narrowed the race to succeed retiring independent Joe Lieberman. "I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be."

A bit farther north in New England, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown also quickly backed away from Romney: "That's not the way I view the world," he said.

But if early statements are any indication, Democrats are likely to continue to pound on Romney's statements in the days ahead.

Take Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat seeking Wisconsin's open Senate seat, who is running against former governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

"The fact that Mitt Romney said behind closed doors that he doesn't care about half the people of this country reveals who he is and what he believes," Baldwin said.