Latest from The Spokesman-Review
In case you're wondering what exactly GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at a fundraiser in May about Barack Obama's supporters, here is the video clip, courtesy of Mother Jones:
Here is his explanation Monday night of how he could've used better words in his “off the cuff remarks”, but sticks by the message.
Feel free to weigh in, in the comments section.
Using a Tax Foundation map of the United States, David A. Graham of The Atlantic is reporting that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income tax. Idaho is among the 10 states with the highest amount of non-income-tax payers. In his now infamous comments re: non-payers, Mitt Romney said that states with the most non-payers are likely to vote for President Obama. But this map shows several GOP states among biggest non-payers. Graham's story here.
- Also: Easier Tax Foundation map to view (showing Idaho No. 10 at 39%) here
Question: Does that make Idaho a moocher?
Republican Rep. Raul Labrador told me Monday that he wants to help Mitt Romney as he appears on the most important Spanish-language media in the country Wednesday night, but won't do so if he can't get back to Capitol Hill in time for Thursday's votes. “I don't want to miss two vote series in a row,” Labrador said. The House convenes Thursday at 10 a.m. for morning business and noon for legislative business. Romney's hour-long interview on Univision is at 10 p.m. Wednesday. This morning, I took a look at the House floor schedule published by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor has scheduled 27 votes for Wednesday, including the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act, the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act, and the Border Security Information Improvement Act. Another measure would ban using public funds for party conventions and use the money for deficit reduction. Labrador said he would be OK with missing Wednesday's votes, as long as he could be back early Thursday/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
- Factoid: Congressman Labrador already missing almost twice as many roll-call votes as the congressional average.
- Democratic challenger Farris: Labrador missing too many votes/Dan Popkey, Statesman
Question: Should Congressman Raul Labrador miss 27 votes on Wednesday to campaign for Mitt Romney in Florida?
Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney faced the task of getting his campaign back on track Tuesday after a hidden camera caught him off guard, while President Barack Obama was kicking back in New York on David Letterman's couch and at a fundraiser with Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Romney plans no apology for stating that nearly half of Americans “believe that they are victims.” Instead, he is expected to respond to questions about the statement by reinforcing the message he delivered at a hastily called news conference Monday night, in which he said Obama favors “a government-centered society” with people dependent on public support. Romney advisers concede the video came at a bad time — seven weeks before Election Day and with early voting beginning in two dozen states by this weekend/AP. More here.
Question: Do you consider yourself to be a victim of some sort?
Mitt Romney's criticism of President Obama's handling of the attacks on American outposts in the Middle East does not appear to have resonated with voters, according to a new survey released Monday. While 26 percent of Americans approved of Romney's comments critical of the president's response to the attacks, which left four American foreign service officers dead, 48 percent of those surveyed disapproved and an additional 26 percent did not voice an opinion, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, 45 percent of those polled said they approved of the president's handling of the situation, versus 36 percent who disapproved/Justin Sink, The Hill. More here.
Question: Why did Romney fail to gain traction on Libya?
In a lengthy article last week, The Nation's Wayne Barrett outlines connections between Romney's work at Bain Capital and Monsanto. Barrett describes Monsanto as having a “dark history,” including “scandals involving PCBs, Agent Orange, bovine growth hormone, NutraSweet, IUD, genetically modified (GM) seed and herbicides, reaching back to the 1970s and ’80s.” Barrett quotes Monsanto spokeswoman Kelli Powers as saying, “Monsanto is a different company than the one” of the Bain period. I offer the piece because of Monsanto's considerable footprint in Idaho, most notably its elemental phosphorus mine at Soda Springs, which makes fertilizer for farmers across Idaho and internationally/Dan Popkey, Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: How much do Romney's ties to Bain Capital and Monsanto concern you?
Marc Johnson of The Johnson report sez Republican Mitt Romney would have been wise to heed the advice of Arthur Vandenberg, a Republican U.S. senator from Michigan who helped Harry Truman pass the Marshall Plan and believed “Politics stop at the water's edge.” More from Marc: “Romney has spent most of today cleaning up after a statement he issued too quickly and without all the facts as the awful events in Libya were spinning out of control late yesterday. His midnight statement condemning the Obama Administration is being widely regarded as an amazing piece of amateur hour time for someone who hopes to be Commander-in-Chief. Ronald Reagan’s gifted speechwriter Peggy Noonan said Romney wasn’t doing himself any favors with his hair trigger attack.” More here.
Question: Is a bipartisan approach to foreign policy in this day when the extremes of both parties push away from consensus and compromise?
Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey had an interesting report over the weekend on how freshman Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has been campaigning in Nevada and Colorado for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, joining former SBA chief Hector Barreto and Romney's Spanish-speaking son Craig to pitch Romney to Hispanic voters, including addressing Hispanic business groups and doing interviews with Spanish-language media. You can read Popkey's full report here, which also examines other to Idaho officials' close ties to the Romney campaign. Now, Labrador's Democratic opponent, Jimmy Farris, has issued a news release criticizing Labrador for the move, saying he's ignoring voters in his home state/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo of Congressman Raul Labrador)
Question: Anything wrong with Congressman Raul Labrador going to nearby states in search of votes among Hispanics for Mitt Romney?
Tropical Storm Isaac might be bad news in general for the Republican National Convention, but the storm clouds at least have a silver lining for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The storm is shortening the convention by one day, by knocking out all but the official opening from today's agenda. McMorris Rodgers was among the long list of people scheduled to speak from the podium tonight on the theme of “We can do better.”
Now, the Eastern Washington congresswoman won't be making that speech, but will be on the stage for the three remaining nights as the convention's “host.” This may sound a bit strange when one considers her district is pretty far from Florida — you can't get much farther without leaving the lower 48. When one throws a party, the “host” is usually the person whose house the party is at, or who is paying the bar tab at the restaurant, and neither of those descriptions fit.
“I wouldn't look at it from a geographic perspective, but from a national political perspective,” her spokesman Todd Winer said.
McMorris Rodgers has been involved in the Mitt Romney presidential campaign for months, and is currently campaign co-chairwoman for Washington state, campaign liaison to the House of Representatives, co-chairwoman of Farmers and Ranchers for Mitt and co-chairwoman of Women for Mitt.
The title of convention host is a new rule for this GOP national convention, Winer said. McMorris Rodgers, who had been slated for a seven-minute speech in the original game plan, will speak from three to five minutes at the beginning of each night's events, explaining who the speakers are and the evening's theme. (There's a different theme for each night.) . She'll be on the stage a fair amount, throughout the convention, Winer said.
For the complete “Order of Business” for the convention, click here.
OLYMPIA — Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be on Washington’s presidential ballot this fall because the Republican Party meets the rules for being a major party in the state, a Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled this morning.
Judge Thomas McPhee denied a request by the state Libertarian Party to keep Romney’s name off the ballot, which argued Republicans hadn’t complied with rules for nominating Dino Rossi as the official GOP nominee in the 2010 Senate race during their state convention that year.
Republicans were split between Rossi and Clint Didier, who was popular with Tea Party elements of the GOP, and didn’t get a chance to nominate either at their convention. When Rossi qualified for the general election in the Top 2 primary, the party’s State Central Committee endorsed him and all other Republican candidates who made it through the primary.
Political parties have control over selecting the candidates they will support, McPhee said in denying the motion to keep Romney’s name off the ballot. The state also has a valid argument that Republicans are a major party based on the results of the 2008 presidential election, he added.
The decision won’t be appealed, J. Mills, an attorney for the Libertarian Party, said. But it could make minor parties change their strategy for 2016… .
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is doing about everything she possibly can to make sure Mitt Romney gets elected.
She's his campaign co-chairwoman for Washington state. She's is the campaign liaison to the House of Representatives. She's a co-chairwoman of Farmers and Ranchers for Mitt. She's a co-chairwoman of Women for Mitt.
Later this month, she'll get to make a prime-time pitch for Romney at the Republican National Convention.
McMorris Rodgers is on the list of speakers announced today for the first day of the convention. She'll be following House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and preceeding Mike Huckabee, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Ann Romney. Announced theme for the night: We can do better.
The evening schedule starts at 7:45 p.m. Eastern, so that's 4:45 p.m. Pacific.
Earlier in the day, viewers can see the “roll call of the states” for president. That's when people in funny hats stand at a microphone and say things like “Madam Chairman, the great state of West Dakota, home of a buncha things you never heard of but we think are damn special so we're going to take this opportunity to list them all…cast their six and one-third votes for the next president of the United States Mitt Romney, 2 and one-third votes for the other next president of the United States Ron Paul, and one-third vote for the bartender at our Holiday Inn who made the best margaritas we ever had last night.”
I have never met Mitt Romney – or Barack Obama for that matter – but you sure wouldn’t know that by looking in my mail box. Yesterday I received, I’ve lost count honestly, what must be my 13th or 14th piece of mail from Mitt. On the same day I got a letter with Barack’s smiling face peeking through the envelope window assuring me that I could be a member in good standing of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). So far, by my count, Romney is winning the battle of my mail box based on the sheer volume of friendly, but still ominous mail he sends me. And I’m pleased to report we are becoming better and better friends as the bar fight currently passing for a presidential campaign soldiers on to November/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
Question: How much direct mail are you getting from the presidential candidates? Do you read the mailings?
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson rejects talk that he could spoil Mitt Romney’s chances in the Mountain West and says he won’t pick a lesser of two evils. “I don’t bash Obama, I don’t bash Romney,” Johnson said Monday before a meet-and-greet in the Old Spaghetti Factory in Boise. “I just think they’re both about status quo.” Johnson ticked off the differences, rapid-fire: “I don’t want to bomb Iran. I want to get out of Afghanistan and bring the troops home tomorrow. I really do believe in marriage equality, I think it’s a constitutionally guaranteed right. I want to abolish income tax, corporate tax, the IRS — replace it with a national consumption tax. I want to end the drug wars. I am promising to submit a balanced budget. There are really big differences between me and these other two cats”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Gary Johnson announcing his presidential candidacy)
Question: Does a Libertarian candidacy for president have any appeal to you?
Jon Stewart delivers a well-deserved smackdown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for passing on a Romney rumor.
Prominent Idaho Falls businessman Frank VanderSloot (pictured) gave more than $1 million toward a Super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney. He is a national campaign finance co-chair for the GOP presidential hopeful. For that, Barack Obama's re-election campaign added VanderSloot to a list of eight Romney mega-donors, and characterized VanderSloot as “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.” And a Democratic opposition research worker started digging around VanderSloot's history, including his divorces. Then both the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor slapped audits on him. The IRS wants to look at VanderSloot's 2008 and 2009 tax returns; the labor department is reviewing three temporary foreign workers VanderSloot employs at his Riverbend Ranch in southwestern Montana. So the Obama administration is harassing one of Romney's top contributors.This story couldn't look any more damning for Obama's re-election campaign, could it?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is this a matter of political harassment by the Obama administration — or something else?
Good morning, Netizens…
Cartoonist David Horsey asks some of the hard questions about Mitt Romney's Presidential candidacy.
The national news media is full of constant infighting between Obama and Mitt Romney, perhaps no more so than the endless bickering over Romney's tax returns. However if one looks closely enough, you will quickly see there are potentially more secrets buried inside the Romney other than his income taxes.
The most-essential question that bothers me is just who the hell is Mitt Romney? He took properly-conservative public positions as the Governor of Massachusetts on gay rights, abortion, healthcare and immigration, positions, some of which he seems to have tried to recently ignore. It is really difficult to get Romney to to clearly state his position on big government without lapsing into generalities and wasted airspace.
One thing is certain to me: he doesn't want to disclose all of his taxes. What is he hiding? It isn't just members of the Left Wing that are clamoring for full disclosure, either. The National Review, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and a long list of other Republican officeholders and conservative commentators are demanding access to Romney's tax records. The only member of the Right Wing who seemingly is urging him to stand his ground is Rush Limbaugh, if that counts for anything.
Of course, no tale of “The Mittman” would be complete without mentioning the list of his potential running mates. Some are saying he will have to find someone from within the ranks of the Mormon Church or face the wrath of his Bishop. Who might that be?
There are a lot of unanswered questions about just who the Mittman might be, once he takes off his costume.
- Mitt Romney
Today Mitt Romney got a nasty taste of what political life is like under a foreign media microscope. He must be wondering why he didn’t stay home. By the measure of world-wide Twitter trending (#Romneyshambles), not to mention the Brit papers, Romney’s visit to London has gone over there about as well as the Norman conquest. By one account Romney insulted all of England by wondering if the Brits are ready for prime time when it comes to hosting the Olympics; couldn’t seem to remember the name of the Ed Miliband the leader of Labour Party; disclosed (simply not done apparently) that he had met with the head of MI6, the super secret British intelligence service that prides itself on having almost no public profile, and misused some common English words that have considerably different meaning in the mother country/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP photo)
Question: How does Mitt recover from this pratfall?
This is a very unusual political video.
It's pro-Romney, although not from the Romney campaign. In fact, the Obama campaign might send it out on their Twitter feed for a few grins.
But the guy really likes Romney, and really doesn't like Obama. That, and he seems to be standing in the middle of a stream while playing his keyboard…
The presidential campaign is on its way to Idaho, with both the Republican and Democratic candidates planning major fundraisers in Sun Valley - within a two-day span. Mitt Romney has a $1,000-a-head reception scheduled for the Sun Valley area on Aug. 3, possibly followed by a high-dollar dinner; Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reported here on that event. And now it turns out that the Obama campaign will hold a high-dollar reception and dinner in Ketchum the previous day, Aug. 2, featuring Vice President Joe Biden.
The Sun Valley area is a target for national campaign fundraisers because of its high-dollar givers to both parties. Republicans have captured the lion's share of Idaho donations so far in the 2012 presidential campaign, with Idahoans donating $1.3 million so far to Republican candidates, and $287,229 to Democrats, according to the Federal Election Commission. Donations to Romney accounted for $970,147 of the GOP giving; 100 percent of the Democratic giving went to Obama.
For the Obama Idaho fundraiser with Biden, attendees can pay $250 just to attend the reception, $1,000 for preferred seating there, or $2,500 for a photo reception; supporters can become dinner co-hosts for $10,000 to $50,000. Romney's event will be his fifth Idaho fundraiser. Neither has announced any public events in conjunction with the fundraisers.
A poll purports to be able to tell whether you're likely to support Barack Obama or Mitt Romney by your preferences to things like movies, cars or pets.
Of course, it could just ask who you plan to vote for. But that wouldn't be any fun, would it?
With the Capitol in the background, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks about the Supreme Court's health care ruling Thursday in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Question: Who will the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare help more in November — President Barack Obama or GOP challenger Mitt Romney?
GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting Mitt Romney has at least one thing in common with President Barack Obama: He's treating the Puget Sound like an ATM machine.
Romney will make a stop somewhere in King County today for a fund-raiser. There are no public events and the Romney campaign has been closed mouthed about where the money even takes place. Even State Chairman Kirby Wilbur said over the weekend he hadn't been told where it would be.
Two days earlier and he could've had a really high-profile venue with a stop in Tacoma on Saturday at the GOP State Convention, fired up his supporters, won over some Ron Paul supporters with a good speech to the 1,500 or so Republicans in attendance. Oh, well.
One of the co-sponsors of today's fund-raiser is U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who was given a new campaign job Monday in advance of the event. She's already the state co-chairwoman of the Romney campaign as well as a Romney delegate to the national convention.
The new job: Campaign liaison to the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The campaign actually announced the new position for early this morning, way in advance of the fund-raiser, via press release with the expected quotes from Romney and McMorris Rodgers about how each is honored to be working with the other. It can be read in full here, for those who want the “full scoop.”
Obama was in Seattle last month, for two campaign fund-raising events and anyone who wanted a glimpse of something other than the motorcade had to buy a ticket. But there was news coverage of both events.
TACOMA – An axiom of academic politics is that they tend to be very nasty because very little is at stake.
The axiom can sometimes be applied to partisan or “real” politics, particularly at a time like this, when one major party is trying to get its president re-elected and the other has a nominee with all the delegates he needs to be the nominee. Why, then, would sensible people give up their weekends, travel scores or hundreds of miles, and argue over seemingly minute changes in obscure rules, like Saturday morning’s debate on whether would-be delegates to the national convention should speak for 30 seconds or 15 seconds when making the pitch to fellow partisans that they should have the privilege of traveling to Tampa, paying exorbitant rates for meals and hotel rooms?
Such rule changes may sound as esoteric as the old apocryphal debate on . . .
The most basic political position for either party is that of the Precinct Committee Officer, a job with no pay, limited authority, and the potential for significant demands on the office holder’s time.
In theory, Democrats and Republicans should each elect a PCO for each of Spokane County’s 314 precincts every two years, although in many years the parties often go begging for willing candidates, and when they find one, there’s no contest for the job.
Not this year. In 105 precincts, about a third of the county’s total, there will be contested elections. Almost all, 101 races, will be for Republican positions. In one precinct, a South Hill precinct near Roosevelt Elementary School, both parties have contested PCO races with two Democrats and three Republicans.
By comparison, less than a tenth of the precincts in King County have contested PCO races in the Aug. 7 election.
It’s a sign of the ongoing struggle between two factions of the local GOP,
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Mulloy Hansen had been a Mormon missionary in France for just a few months in early 1967 when he got word he was getting a new roommate and partner to seek converts in a working class section of Paris.
The 19-year-old Canadian teenager, who'd spent part of his life on a farm in Alberta, knew only a little about his new mission partner: He was the new leader for that district of the Mormon mission to France. He was a bit older, and had been in France about eight months longer. His father was a former Detroit auto executive who’d become a governor.
His new mission partner’s name: Mitt Romney. . .
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Idaho state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna has been named to a 19-member “Education Policy Advisory Group” by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “I am proud to announce the support of this impressive group of policy leaders who are devoted to expanding educational opportunities for students,” Romney said in a statement. “Our education system is failing too many of our kids, and I look forward to working closely with these leaders to chart a new course that emphasizes school choice and accountability, the importance of great teachers, and access to quality, affordable higher education.”
Luna is the only state school superintendent named to the group; the other members all either work for private education companies, think tanks, universities or the federal government. Among them are K-12 education co-chairs Nina Rees, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Knowledge Universe; and Martin West, a professor with the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rod Paige, former U.S. secretary of education, was named a “special advisor” with the group; Luna worked for Paige under the Bush Administration.
Luna, in a news release sent out by the Idaho Republican Party, said, “I am excited to work with Gov. Romney to improve education across the country. As governor, he showed how states can truly put students first and raise academic achievement for all children. We have worked toward the same goals in Idaho, passing the most comprehensive education reform in the country to ensure every student can graduate from high school and go on to postsecondary education without the need for remediation. Now, we must make this is possible for every child in every state.”
Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey points out that three members of the Bush Administration who are are advocates of for-profit education companies join Luna on the new advisory group, and also contributed to Luna's 2010 re-election campaign; you can read his report here. Click below for the full Idaho GOP news release; you can read Romney's full announcement here about his advisory group.
Ron Paul's presidential campaign manager, John Tate, on Thursday condemned the effort by Paul supporters to take over the Idaho Republican convention by capturing precinct committeeman posts in Tuesday's primary. Tate said the activity in Idaho — following a binding caucus that gave Mitt Romney 62 percent of the vote among 45,000 GOP voters — is not in keeping with the Paul campaign's practice of chasing delegates in other states with non-binding “beauty contests.” “In Idaho, isolated instances of grassroots activists working toward an ostensible ‘hostile takeover’ of the GOP are not sanctioned by the Ron Paul national campaign,” Tate said in a news release that came four days after an Idaho Statesman account of an effort led by Ryan Davidson, an Ada County GOP Central Committee member/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (SR file photo: Ron Paul works the crowd at the front of the ballroom at the Spokane Convention Center Feb. 17)
Mitt Romney is largely accepted as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but he's not the only candidate left in the race. Texas Rep. Ron Paul continues his quest for delegates. The three-time presidential candidate is committed to staying in the race until the Republican Party's convention in Tampa at the end of August. Paul is spending his time in two states with upcoming primaries. On Sunday, Paul will hold a Tea Party rally in Austin, Texas, which holds its primary on May 29. Before then, he is spending the week holding a series of rallies at or near college campuses in California, which holds its primary on June 5/Leigh Ann Caldwell, CBS News. More here.
Question: Are there still Ron Paulers out there who want their candidate to continue on to the end?
How much of an impact will culture-warrior and anti-gay obsessive Bryan Fischer, pictured, have on the election? Plenty, if you take the resignation today of Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman, to be a casualty of the American Family Radio host’s crusade against him. “I was kind of pleasantly surprised,” Fischer says of Grenell’s resignation, adding, “I think Governor Romney is going to be far more careful now.” Grenell, a former Bush aide, had just last month criticized the Obama administration in the Washington Blade for not doing enough for gays and lesbians. (Grenell also came under fire from liberals for a spate of sexist tweets.) On April 20, Fischer was the first to condemn Grenell, tweeting: “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead”/Irin Carmon, Salon. More here. (AP file photo)
Richard Grenell, an openly gay and longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman hired last month by Mitt Romney’s campaign, resigned abruptly on Tuesday after his appointment came under attack by antigay activists in the party. “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,” Matt Rhoades, the Romney campaign manager, said in a statement. “We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.” Mr. Grenell served four American ambassadors to the United Nations during the presidency of George W. Bush/Richard A. Oppel Jr., New York Times blog. More here.(2006 AP file photo: John Bolton, then United States Ambassador to the United Nations, center, confers with his spokesman Richard Grenell)