American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer led the right-wing charge against Mitt Romney’s ousted foreign policy spokesman Ric Grennell, lambasting the presumed GOP nominee for hiring the openly-gay aide. When Grennell resigned under pressure from social conservatives this week, Fischer declared it a “huge win.”
But today, Fischer himself backtracked a bit. On his radio, the far-right activist noted what many liberals have, asking why voters should trust Romney to confront Russia or North Korea if he can’t even stand up to a “yokel” talk show host. Right Wing Watch flagged the clip:
FISCHER: If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted 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.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was quick to lash out at the Obama administration’s handling of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Yesterday, when reports circulated that U.S. embassy officials had communicated threats to Chen’s family, Romney blasted the administration, saying, “if the reports are true” then the episode was a “dark day for freedom.”
The situation on the ground in Beijing remains uncertain but newreports suggest that progress is being made by the State Department in reaching an agreement with Chinese authorities to permit Chen to take up a fellowship from an American University, “where he can be accompanied by his wife and two children,” reports State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. But while Romney was quick to attack the Obama administration while sensitive negotiations were underway yesterday between U.S. diplomats and Chinese authorities, the presumptive Republican nominee has never answered questions about whether his own family has profited from Chinese surveillance of its own citizenry.
In March, The New York Times revealed that a Bain-run fund, in which a Romney family blind trust had invested between $100,000 and $250,000, purchased Uniview Technologies in December. Uniview is a Chinese company that claims to be the biggest supplier of surveillance cameras to the Chinese government and produces “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that allow police to share images in real time and provide technology for an emergency command center in Tibet “that provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people’s peaceful life,” according to Uniview’s web site.
Security cameras played a central role in the house-arrest imposed on Chen Guangcheng’s family. After his escape to Beijing and the U.S. embassy, Chen reported that Chinese authorities installed seven video cameras and an electric fence at his house. However, it is not known whether Uniview supplied these cameras.
Yesterday, in a surprise call to a Congressional hearing, Chen told lawmakers, “I’m really afraid for my other family members’ lives” and “[n]ow those security officers in my house basically have said, ‘We want to see what else Chen Guangcheng can do.’”
With the news that Chinese authorities may permit Chen to leave China with his family, a political crisis may be averted. But Mitt Romney and his family’s investment of between $100,000 and $250,000 in Uniview Technologies should raise questions about Romney’s ties to a company that openly advertises its close ties to the Chinese government’s state security apparatus and the use of its technologies in “both peacetime and wartime.”
Veteran Challenges Romney On Oil At Town Hall: ‘Big Oil Is Taking Over!’ |
Mitt Romney hates regulation, and he’s not afraid to say it. At an event in Pennsylvania today, Romney was confronted by a veteran who asked him how he will make sure big oil doesn’t take over at the expense of smaller refineries. Addressing the Keystone Pipeline, the man said, “Big oil is taking over!” But Romney stood by his support for a free market with no regulation. “That pipeline from Canada?” Romney said, “If I’m President, we’ll build it if I have to build it myself.” Watch it:
With the June 12 special election to fill the Arizona House seat left open by the resignation of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) fast approaching, the Republican nominee Jesse Kelly has just launched a new attack ad against his Democratic opponent Ron Barber. In the ad and a newly revised section of his campaign website, Kelly highlights his commitment to protecting entitlements for America’s seniors — a commitment that stands in stark contrast to the positions he took in his unsuccessful campaign against Giffords back in 2010 and as recently as last month.
In the ad, Kelly makes a widely-debunkedclaim that ObamaCare will “cut $500 billion from Medicare.” The legislation aims to achieve $500 billion in Medicare savings, which will extend the life of the program and provide better care.
But after his disclaimer, Kelly and his grandfather Hank Allgyer say:
KELLY: I’m committed to protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”
ALLGYER: Don’t let Ron Barber cut my benefits, Jesse. I’ve earned them.
KELLY: Don’t worry, Grandpa. I won’t.
ALLGYER: I know you’ll protect us.
Watch the video:
On his website, Kelly says he supports “preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare” and does not support “privatizing, eliminating or phasing out these programs in any way.” He advocates actions to prevent Social Security from “going bankrupt” but lays out five principles that would seemingly prevent any real action to do that:
1. Any solution must be bipartisan
2. I will not vote for any solution that privatizes social security
3. I will not vote for any solution that raises taxes
4. I will not vote for any solution that cuts benefits
5. I will not vote for any solution that raises the retirement age
By ruling out changing the amount of money coming in to the Social Security fund (raising taxes) or the amount going out (cutting benefits or changing the retirement age), he seems to take virtually everything off the table. But he hasn’t always had this view.
And, the same article notes, in a 2010 debate, Kelly said the nation must take steps to reform, privatize, and phase out entitlements. “You need to fulfill your promises in the near future while phasing out future generations, taking steps to privatize, vouchers, everything,” he said. “It’s not an option of should it be done. It must be done.”
Kelly, a construction manager and Tea Party favorite, infamously hosted an M16 automatic weapons shooting campaign event to help supporters “get on target” to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office,” just months before a gunman went on a shooting spree at a Giffords community event in Tuscon, leaving six dead and a dozen wounded — including both Giffords and Barber. Giffords resigned her seat in January to focus on her recovery.
His issues page has since been changed to remove the phrase “The Second Amendment of the Constitution is not just about hunting. It is about the right of a free people to defend themselves.”
The Kelly website makes no mention of whether the nation has always been at war with Eastasia, but Kelly apparently does not think Arizona voters can remember all the way back to April 2012.
This morning, Mitt Romney claimed that his campaign selects spokespeople based on their capability, not their “sexual preference.” Nevertheless, the apparent benching and subsequent resignation of his openly gay foreign policy adviser Richard Grenell raises serious questions about whether Romney actually opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 1994, Romney infamously pandered to the Log Cabin Republicans of Massachusetts in a failed U.S. Senate run, promising to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and broaden it to include protections for housing and credit. He added that preventing discrimination against gays and lesbians should be a “mainstream concern.” In his coordination of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, he even followed through on this commitment by approving a nondiscrimination policy with sexual orientation protections and working with the local gay community to “enhance diversity in the Olympic workforce.” In 2007, however, Romney told Tim Russert on Meet The Press that he had changed his position on ENDA:
RUSSERT: You said that you would sponsor the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. Do you still support it?
ROMNEY: At the state level. I think it makes sense at the state level for states to put in provision of this.
RUSSERT: Now, you said you would sponsor it at the federal level.
ROMNEY: I would not support at the federal level, and I changed in that regard because I think that policy makes more sense to be evaluated or to be implemented at the state level. And let me describe why.
RUSSERT: So you did–you did change.
ROMNEY: Oh, Tim, if you’re looking for someone who’s never changed any positions on any policies, then I’m not your guy.
So it seems that Romney doesn’t believe people should be fired for being LGBT, he just doesn’t think it’s the job of the federal government to protect them. Perhaps his failure to confront to social conservatives over Grenell’s appointment demonstrates why he refuses to take a stronger position. In fact, Grenell may not have been the first employee Romney forced out of a job due to pressure about his sexual orientation. In 2004, then-Governor Romney’s administration asked Ardith Wieworka to resign as longtime head of the state’s Office of Child Care Services, and she strongly believed it was because she had married her lesbian partner. At the time, Romney was well into his transition away from supporting LGBT equality, testifying before the Senate in favor of a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The Log Cabin Republicans are calling on Romney to take a stronger position against LGBT discrimination, which may not be entirely in vain. However, the evidence suggests that even if Romney talks the talk, he won’t bother to walk the walk if it hinders his political prospects.
Yesterday Mitt Romney attacked President Obama over the administration’s handling of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Citing “very troubling developments,” Romney said yesterday was “a dark day for freedom and it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration.”
Last night on Fox News, Bill Kristol advised Romney to stand down on the Chen case, calling his attacks on Obama “foolish”:
KRISTOL: I’m happy to be critical of the Obama administration as anyone is, but I think this is fast moving story. And if I were advising Governor Romney, I’d say you don’t need to get in the middle of this story. If this turns out badly, and it would be a terrible thing, it will turn out badly. People will know. … To inject yourself into the middle of this way with a fast moving target I think is foolish. [...]
There is no need to butt into a fast moving story when the secretary of state is in Beijing with delicate negotiations and say it’s a day of shame for the Obama administration. Hillary Clinton is waking up right now. Let’s see if she can pull this off in the next 12 hours or so.
Watch the clip:
The State Department announced this morning that the U.S. had reached a deal with China, with Beijing saying Chen could apply to study abroad and Washington saying an American university has offered him a fellowship.
The American economy added 115,000 jobs in April, and while that number fell well short of expectations, it represents the 26th consecutive month of private sector job growth. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was quick to harp on the report, appearing on Fox & Friends just minutes after the release to say that the economy should be growing at a much faster pace. The economy should be adding more than 500,000 jobs a month, Romney said:
ROMNEY: We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.
Romney’s call for 500,000 jobs a month would certainly make for a faster economic recovery. That sort of growth, however, is hardly “normal,” as Romney claims. As the chart below shows, there have only been 16 months since 1939 — and only four in the last 50 years — in which the economy added 500,000 jobs or more:
It isn’t the first time Romney has made unreasonable claims about the economy. Romney released a tax plan in March that would reduce federal revenues by more than $6 trillion because of its massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Despite that number, Romney says his plan won’t add to the deficit, but economic analysis of the plan shows the economy would have to grow 6.8 percent a year for five years — significantly faster than it has in any five-year period in recent history. As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden and Seth Hanlon said at the time, Romney’s plan is “implausible, to say the least.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday despite leveling withering criticisms on him during the primary.
To her credit, however, the congresswoman is a much better surrogate for the presumed GOP nominee than Newt Gingrich — who said just yesterday that Romney “said things at time that weren’t true” — completely reversing many of her charges against Romney in an interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren last night:
BACHMANN NOW: “He’s standing full square behind the pro-life cause. He believes in life.” BACHMANN THEN: “He has been very inconsistent on his positions. He has been both sides of the abortion issue.”
Last week, the The Charlotte Observer endorsed Republican congressional candidate Jim Pendergraph, but quickly backtracked after the candidate joined notorious birther Sheriff Joe Arpaio on the campaign trail, and raised his own doubts about President Obama’s birthplace.
“I have reason to be suspicious,” he said of Obama’s birth certificate. “But I don’t know. I haven’t seen the facts. I think there’s a lot of smoke and generally when there’s smoke there’s got to be fire somewhere.”
The Observer, which originally praised Pendergraph as “conservative” was not pleased, publishing a scathing retraction of its support today for the North Carolina candidate:
After winning the Observer’s endorsement in his bid for Congress, he has done nothing but embarrass us and himself.
By buddying up to one of America’s more hateful egomaniacs and then joining with fringe “birthers” to question President Obama’s citizenship, Pendergraph has contradicted much of what he told the Observer’s editorial board in his endorsement interview last month. As a result, we have lost faith in him, and urge voters to consider Edwin Peacock or Ric Killian in the 9th Congressional District race.
The paper’s editorial board went on to say that it had originally thought Pendergraph was intelligent and reasonable and moderate, but that they don’t trust him now and are afraid he will “say whatever a given audience wants to hear, if it will help him get elected.”