Saturday, January 28, 2012

GOP 2012 National - Gingrich Leads, Florida- Romney plus 9, 32% May Change Mind – Romney’s Help from Washington Guard, False Attacks Helping Gingrich.

With latest Polling in FL - 34% subject to changing mind - Anyone's Guess as to the outcome on the 31st - image: skydandingblog

The latest national Gallup polling taken over a rolling period of January 22 -26 shows Newt Gingrich leading Romney by 32 to 24% - with Santorum and Paul Tied at approximately 15 percent each. The latest Florida polling out of Quinnipiac University shows Romney with a 9 point advantage, but – the kicker, 32% may change their mind, and 6% are undecided – welcome to Iowa and South Carolina.

In both instances Romney had been the favorite, only to squeak out a loss in Iowa to Rick Santorum and to get hammered in South Carolina by Newt Gingrich. To date it has been a 4 man race, although Ron Paul has yet to pick up a state “win” – he is picking up delegates in proportional states (Real Clear Politics), with only 4 states weighing in (including Florida) – there’s a long road ahead for the four candidates, and one cannot anticipate any of them dropping out of the race, especially with remaining primaries offering 24 proportional primary/caucuses, rather than “winner” take all delegates. This will allow the primary to play out beyond the usual Beltway’s dream of hurrying up and choosing an nominee – a tactic that did not work out so well in the 2008 election.

The concerted attack on Gingrich by the Old Guard, in support of Mitt Romney’s campaign, has done more damage to Romney than anticipated. The claims have proven to be false, and some, such as Tom Delay, is a former Speaker who left the Speakership with a moniker of “Toxic” (The Sacramento Bee). He has come out “against” Newt Gingrich, along with Bob Dole, former Presidential candidate, and a host of Washington Insiders – the barrage began with headline after headline on the The Drudge Report leading some to believe that Matt Drudge's news aggregate is in “in the tank” for the Republican Old Guard.

Of course, it took only twenty four hours for the facts to come out, noting that the claims made against Gingrich were just a wee bit false. Not unlike Romney’s ad, running in Florida in Spanish, which in Saturday’s Debate, he claimed no knowledge, until the moderator, Wolf Blitzer of CNN played the ad, where it clearly states Romney’s approval. This resulted with the usual Egg on the Face of Romney.

Gingrich, for his part, has been hammered incessantly for everything imaginable by Romney (sans the kitchen sink, but you can be that’s next) and the appearance is – desperation. No matter how one spins it, that’s the way it is playing out nationwide. Gingrich on the other hand, embraces his grandiose themes, and has solid Conservative Credentials that can be proven. He’s not alone on that stage, given his protégé, Rick Santorum’s outstanding performance in the last Florida debate.

Although there are only 3 days left before the Florida contest, with media nationwide (through a January 27th AP release) touting Republican Insiders Rise Up to Cut Newt Gingrich Down to Sizes, the article closes with those rank and file Republican’s choosing Gingrich as they “refused to be bullied” by Washington (The Herald).

What about the Florida debate performances? True, both Romney and Gingrich, from this perspective had back to back horrid debate nights, allowing Santorum to capitalize and win the debates. That said, Gingrich, who was attempting to be “dignified” (interview Fox Greta Van Susteren), came off as somewhat flabbergasted, while Romney hammered home his right to be successful – and specifically centered around the fact that both men had mutual funds which contained stock in the much maligned Freddie Mac and Fannie May. What Gingrich might had pointed out instead was the fact that Romney is surrounded by lobbyists for the same firm - (Daily Caller) which would have been, in this opinion, just as damning for Romney as his help from the Washington Insiders.

That aside, it’s anyone’s ballgame in Florida, and should those 34% of undecideds (or more accurately those who might change their minds) change them for Gingrich or Santorum, Romney may end up third, or second, to a Gingrich or Santorum win – the state, a “winner take all” will award the 50 delegates to the winner, even if it is by one vote.
From there it is off to Nevada, where Washington Logic dictates that Romney will handily win – however, again, that logic so far has won him New Hampshire only, and that is using the same scorched earth campaign tactics- a one out of three record, is not exactly the road to the White House.

The next debate is scheduled for February 26th on CNN, followed by the March debates prior to Super Tuesday: one in GA on the 1st (CNN), and one on the 5th (NBC) at the Reagan Library.

Friday, January 27, 2012

CNN 2012 GOP Florida Debate Winner – Rick Santorum – Paul Strong - Romney, Gingrich Battle – Romney Reality Check on Health Care

Rick Get's His Groove On - Best Personal Debate Performance of the 2012 GOP Contest - image WSJ Blogs

The last debate before the Florida GOP Primary was held last night on CNN – with applause and crowd reaction allowed, unlike the debates held on the non-cable networks. From the beginning of the debate, when Rick Santorum gave the “short introduction” he proudly pointed to the fact that his 93 year old mother was in the audience and lived in Jacksonville – he was on target the balance of the debate, looking the least flustered, the most informed – on both domestic and foreign policy issues. It was, however, a fluff question poised to all candidates by Wolf Blitzer: “Why they felt their wife would make the best first lady” – which would stand to endear Santorum to the crucial women’s vote in the Sunshine State - (paraphrased) – “She’s my hero” - he went on to speak of his wife, in terms of her intellectual accomplishments, personal sacrifices, and dedication to both family and country. (Ron Paul spoke about his wife in the terms of a man who values his partner, and one could tell he was just as pleased as punch that she authored “The Ron Paul Cookbook”, Gingrich was magnanimous in saying anyone of the women would make an excellent First Lady, followed by his obvious pride in Callistas' many accomplishments, especially in the area of the arts, and literature. Finally, Mitt Romney spoke of his wife’s dedication to family, and the illnesses she is faced with, something which, was heartfelt, however, came off as very “John Edwards”.)

After an extended and contentious back and forth between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich over the ads running by PACS in their name as well as ads run directly by the campaign, Santorum stepped to the plate and scolded everyone, speaking to the time spent going over personal attacks, rather than allowing time for serious issues, he appeared at once Presidential and authoritative. He was the most effective in the debate attack, specifically when it came to Mitt Romney and the Massachusetts Health Care Model, which is, as Santorum said, a disaster and a mandate. It was from that point forward; one understood that Santorum had risen to the top of the heap, not from any push by any specific group, but by growth in strength in the debate forum. One could see Newt Gingrich, on more than one occasion, looking at Santorum with pride – it was Gingrich’s teachings and personal aid that brought Santorum to the political arena – and, although, at this point, Gingrich, (who obviously had a less than Gingrich night) remains the best in the debate forum, Santorum is closely on his heels, and if there is a win in Florida, and this is quite possible, it will only serve to make Santorum stronger.

Although CNN noted there was no clear winner in the debate, and suggests that Romney even benefited, it is difficult to buy into that line of reasoning, when one reviews the debate tapes.

Gingrich clearly has an off night, on the defense consistently due to an onslaught of attacks, not only by Mitt Romney’s PAC and Romney himself (of which they play fast and loose with the facts), but by former Washington DC foes, and members of the Elite who fear nothing more than a Gingrich nomination. Although Gingrich’s life is a public record, and the majority (personal life aside) that is absolutely defendable, it is to his credit that he continues to stand strong, given the continuous and most often false assertions made against the Speaker. Nancy Reagan, in an address in the mid-1990’s noted (paraphrased) that Goldwater, (who began the conservative movement,) passed the torch to Ronald Reagan, who then passed the torch to Newt Gingrich – Nancy Reagan would never have been so magnanimous to Gingrich had he not been held in high esteem – her reputation for cutting off ties to those who would speak ill of her husband, is legendary. Therefore, the obvious all-out assault on Gingrich by the Washington Elite, in order to further Mitt Romney, or perhaps Jeb Bush should Romney fail to get the nomination, would have made it difficult for a lesser man to withstand.

Romney was the attack dog, and sounded on the one hand petulant and on the other, consistently angry – as if overcompensating to reassert himself as front-runner, after having won the State of New Hampshire only.

Ron Paul’s performance in the debate has also improved, to the point, where is the most approachable of the candidates, and when one stays very clear of foreign policy (in a Republican debate) he does extremely well, last evening was one of his best performances as well.

Notes: Neither Santorum nor Paul invested in advertising in the Sunshine State, however, the two Debates alone, would have given them enough exposure, plus the grassroots work, to compensate for the negative ads run by both Gingrich and Romney – he is in a better position today to pull a surprise victory in Florida than he was in Iowa, where he was polling slightly lower, and came up within days to take the state from Mitt Romney.
Suggested: Watch the entire debate to gain one’s own perspective rather than the “talking points” offered by those who would form an opinion for each individual (and that includes this blog)

Notes on the debate and GOP race in general

As far as the Hispanic vote will go in Florida and the nation, of the two candidates running, Santorum and Gingrich have the most appeal, regardless of the “endorsements” that any one candidate may make, it is the candidate that speaks to the variety of situations and understands there are clear differences between the Cuban’s, the Puerto Rican’s, the Mexican’s, the Costa Rican’s, the Guatemalans, and so on. Without a well-grounded understanding of each group and the problems faced by each homeland – and a strong emphasis of family and faith- one cannot begin to seriously court this very crucial vote in Florida. Both Gingrich and Santorum appear to be the most heartfelt when it comes to immigration, with the most reasonable approach, as well as foreign policy. American’s of Spanish decent are, for the most part, conservative.

Santorum would be the first Italian-American, Catholic, to become the nominee of the GOP, and in winning the White House, would hold that Distinction. The great Geraldine Ferraro, to date, is the only Italian American to rise to the political height as a nominee in the general election (Vice Presidential Candidate).

On the absurdity of Newt Gingrich’s NASA Plan – Gingrich’s plan for NASA is neither as “crazy” nor a “burden on the taxpayer” as portrayed by his detractors. As bizarre as it may sound to build a colony on the moon, it sounded, in retrospect just as crazy in 1960 when one John F. Kennedy suggested that there would be a man on the moon! What is the twofold immediate result of the concept of NASA in conjunction with Private industry working on such a project: first, jobs, not only in Florida, but when one considers the aero-space industry, one must consider New England, given that from the very large, to the very small “mom and pop” machine shop would be hiring, those hundreds of thousands to millions of jobs, created, from the sciences to technology, would translate into taxpayers. At a proposed tax rate of 15% (just for example) and a government investment of 10% (just for example) it would be a win-win for both the United States, in terms of advancing technology and cutting the deficit while reducing the unemployment rolls, and raising the bar for those students who have no goals. In his outline in Florida, Speaker Gingrich was accused of bang off the wall, and many resent spending one red cent on this type of program, without clearly understanding the ramifications: large program, mostly funded by prevented industry, creates millions of jobs, and increases the revenue, thereby cutting down the deficit, and increasing education and technology. That is the realty; therefore, Gingrich remains, despite the attacks, despite the fear of technology and or misunderstanding by some, the most brilliant guy on the stage. Just to clarify one very salient point he mentioned that if he were elected, this would be something instituted in his second term. Therefore, he was not promising immediate results, rather, giving a sound solution for future job creative in an industry that has continued to deliver since the 1960’ (before if one considers the fledgling program under President Eisenhower.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Michael Steele: New GOP Entrant “Stupid”, Pollsters Asks The Question, People Answer – It’s That Simple

It’s the same old story, everyone wants a headline, and since there are so many polls, competition is getting tough, especially with a GOP field that is both contentious and solid – add to that mix, a Washington Elite fear of New Gingrich, and one gets the impression that those on the “right” including pollsters, who might take advantage of the situation, plant some doubt across the field and grab a headline. This is especially true of the Rasmussen Reports release yesterdayof a poll where 33% (34%) of “GOP voters say it would be good if new candidate enters the race”. Of course, when someone is asked a question, they tend to give an answer – it’s not a bad question, it’s just an odd question, considering the field began with eight candidate and has winnowed down to four. The problem with the four current candidates is obvious if one is in Washington and wants everything to remain the status quo.

Mitt Romney is imploding by now he should have been the front-runner, everyone said he would be the front-runner, from the pundits to the media, but that circumstance changed when Rick Santorum came out of nowhere to win Iowa by a handful of votes, (Romney at first was declared the winner), Romney won one of his home states (New Hampshire), and then Newt Gingrich, the most feared of all candidates by the same pundits, won by an historical margin in South Carolina. They are now in Florida where it appears the polls are either Romney or Gingrich neck and neck, or Gingrich leading Romney. It is the RNC’s worst nightmare, a candidate that will buck the system, and who is not perfect in the shinny, brand new toy at the age of 60, practically inhuman way one in that arena would expect. Perhaps that’s why Gingrich appeals to most of the electorate (even nationally), to Republican’s to Tea Party Leaner’s, to Independents and yes, to Democrats. Which, if one were rational and not so heavily vested in holding on to some “power”, would consider the perfect candidate?

Understandably, there are those who find the field weak, from the perspective of a Democrat operative, if one doesn’t’ say the most ridiculous things – then one isn’t doing one’s job.
Finally, someone with a bit of knowledge figured out that the four left standing, Paul, Gingrich, Romney and Santorum, are all just fine, and that any one of them (and by that this blog means any one of them) would be able to best the President and take back the White House. That individual may not sit well with country club Republican and pundits, but – in a word – tough.

In a piece by the Daily Caller Michael Steele, former Chair of the RNC, made some pretty smart points – (par usual), one, a late entrant would not be on the ballot in several states, (see Andrea Mitchell and insider knowledge that the Republican Elites will foist whoever they want on the rank and file at a brokered convention), and that the rank and file, would abandon the party if they felt that a candidate was being “foisted” on them.

No kidding, the Romney 24/7 shove down one’s throat coverage, has, if one wants to be realistic, pushed Romney down to a repeat performance of 2008 –which, those elites should have seen that coming – anyone with any sense of logistics understands that to win the White House, one must perform well in the South, and Romney just does not do it. If he somehow manages to squeak out a win in Florida, it is not predictive, due to the fact that a) it’s a big state with a 50% of the population from northern climes, and b) they have lost half their delegates in holding the primary earlier than allowed. Frankly, it might be, at this point, difficult for Romney to win Nevada.

That aside, the fact that the race continues is contrary to the notion that one must wrap it up early, get the nominee that’s approve by the Bush’s and the Coulter’s and the rest of whoever thinks they know better than the rank and file, is also outright stupid. The longer the race goes on, the more attention these nominees get, and if the battle goes on, it readies the eventual nominee for the assault coming from the left. To date, the one candidate that appears the least rattled by attacks and most sane when it comes to answering charges is one Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, by the way, is getting blamed for running ads (his super PAC) against poor Mittens Romney, when Romney’s PAC ads began in Iowa and decimated Gingrich – it’s the same scorched earth policy Romney employed in 2008 and was partially responsible for his campaign imploding by February of that year, and yet, the media ignores Romney and goes after Gingrich as if he were the anti-Christ of Republicans for answering false charges brought by an increasingly desperate Mitt Romney!

Therefore, let the chips fall where they may – for example this blog supports a Gingrich candidacy, for the following reasons: his baggage is old baggage, and it’s all public record, he is the smartest guy in the room, contrary to Matt Drudge and Ann Coulter, he hasn’t had a meltdown as predicted although they continue to try their best to help out Romney. Lastly, he got things done, in every field he choose, a Renaissance man, if one will, that was successful in Congress, until he bucked his own party, and then became so powerful that the Democrats had to trump up charges (all of which were dismissed, and he paid not a fine, but legal fees – he actually reimbursed the government then he fell on the sword and left the office (it is in the public record) Compare to Democrats Charles Rangles and Barney Frank – for how not to behave. Finally, someone who can literally unhinge the country club elitist of the RNC so badly has to be just right. It’s just an opinion of one conservative who has had to hold their nose and vote for candidates that were not perfect, in the sense that they were bound to lose the race – (Dole, McCain, perfect examples – who the Elites wanted versus anyone else who would have been a better choice.) One who wants someone who will turn on both parties when wrong, correct the media, reach across the aisle and get things done, and who's the smartest guy in the room. (This is worth repeating and repeating, and repeating)

Does this mean that if Rick Santorum or Ron Paul becomes the nominee that they will not have full support? Not one bit, however, coming from Massachusetts it may be difficult to cast a vote for the man who drove up the fees on every single service (from the DMV to fishing licenses to dog licenses), put into place a medical plan that drove personal premiums up over 60% in the last 5 years, and well, has positions that are not that much different than the current occupant – that vote may be hard to cast, if not impossible.
A third person entering the race, be it Jeb Bush, or pick anyone, would further drive the likely voter over the edge, and a third party candidate just might end up with a hefty amount of votes in protest.

Therefore, it’s not just stupid, it’s dangerous, as it would split the field and alienate the group that is not: the Beltway elites and pundits.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union – Obama Strong Delivery – More Government, Bigger Government, What Government Can Do For You. Analysis and Commentary on Full Text

Obama State of the Union 1 24 12 -

In what has to be one of the oddest State of the Union Addresses I have been privileged to either hear or see (yes radio then television) in the past 50 years, President Obama, to his credit, is able to deliver a lyrical and pointed speech, with a straight face, no less, that invites the listener to understand that the government will be doing everything and the private sector is just along for the rides. Jobs will be created, good union jobs, education needs to be expanded (again union jobs), and of course, the government is responsible for any successes in the business community since Obama took office, prior to that, it was Bush’s fault.

The fact that the Navy is investing in “green” industries might give one pause, as now one has the military vested in business at the behest of the President – does this differ from the usual civilian contractor – a bit – considering that a single industry, supported by the government, appears to be the sole resource for the Navy to invest. In the world of defense contracts, intense bidding (including underbidding) is the norm, with oftentimes a concern making billions (after all is it a government contract they are bidding on) and sometimes, pushing defense contract employees to play “MacGyver” in order to meet a slim budget.

It is the combination of government – invested in all phases of business, education, finance, and when one might be allowed to sneeze that may have set up the extremely tepid applause (with the exception of the hard-core progressive members of the Congress, who were extremely enthusiastic. It is a question of ideology – between those who feel that the Government must invest itself in every aspect of one’s life, or those who feel the Government should invest itself in the Constitution – returning power to the states and getting the heck out of the way – the later being the more popular at this point in time.

There has to be credit where credit is due – as the Republican “rebuttal” delivered by Governor Mitch McConnell of Indiana, noted: the President did get Bin Laden, and he also holds up an example of the family that is one to be applauded. (From a fashion perspective, the highlight of the evening was the arrival of the First Lady, who looked stunning, and has, for all intents and purposes, gone through a major transformation (as quite honestly, some first ladies are compelled - to change the hairstyle, style of dress, etc.), however, Michelle Obama, politics aside, made a grand entrance and looked lovely, a perfect complement to the President.) Then the Governor began to point out where the President left the track and took a sharp turn to the left, delivered in a monotone so uninspiring, it was difficult not to fall fast asleep and catch the balance on the 3 AM news.

(Note to Washington GOP Elite, who feel they should pick the GOP nominee: a) it won’t work, and b) it can’t be a Bush (won’t fly) or Mitch McConnell, in other words, regardless of who wins the nominee fairly and squarely, butt out, you’ll only screw it up out of some sense of entitlement and power that you can surely exercise somewhere else). The last thing the nation needs is yet another “national sleeping pill”.

As to the realty of the State of the Union, if things are getting better, then tell that to the millions of unemployed who do not have access to Union Jobs – (of course, there is the theory that one can more to a more balanced state – such as Texas!) –

The full text via CBS News, with areas in bold that refer to Government as the sole provider or “solution” and comments in parens.

“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought -- and several thousand gave their lives.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. (Applause.) For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. (Applause.) For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. (Applause.) Most of al Qaeda's top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban's momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America's Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. (Applause.) Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we're in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren't so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.

We can do this. I know we can, because we've done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. (Applause.) My grandfather, a veteran of Patton's Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.
The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share -- the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. (Applause.) What's at stake aren't Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.
Let's remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren't, and personal debt that kept piling up.
In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn't afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people's money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn't have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hardworking Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.

Those are the facts. But so are these: In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. (Applause.)
Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we've agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. And we've put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again. (Applause.)
The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we've come too far to turn back now. As long as I'm President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place. (Applause.)
No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last -- an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.
Now, this blueprint begins with American manufacturing.
On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world's number-one automaker. (Applause.) Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs. (Ford Alone took no U.S. Stimulus Money)
We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back. (Applause.)
What's happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can't bring every job back that's left our shore. But right now, it's getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. (Applause.) Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock's unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity. (Applause.)
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. (Applause.)
We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let's change it.
First, if you're a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn't get a tax deduction for doing it. (Applause.) That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. (Applause.)
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. (Applause.) From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America. (Applause.)
Third, if you're an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you're a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers. (Applause.)
So my message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away. (Applause.)
We're also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we're on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule. (Applause.) And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago. (Applause.)
I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don't play by the rules. We've brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration -- and it's made a difference. (Applause.) Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It's not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It's not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they're heavily subsidized. (COMMENT: The Green Industry, the Auto Industry, etc.)
Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. (Applause.) There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you -- America will always win. (Applause.)
I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can't find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that -- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. It's inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.
Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie's tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.
I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. (Applause.) My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers -- places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need. It is time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work. (Applause.)
These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.
For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we've convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning -- the first time that's happened in a generation.
But challenges remain. And we know how to solve them.
At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives. Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies -- just to make a difference.
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let's offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. (Applause.) And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren't helping kids learn. That's a bargain worth making. (Applause.)
We also know that when students don't walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state -- every state -- requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18. (Applause.) (Comment: Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education does consider firing bad teachers, which is not popular with the two Teachers Unions, that said, students currently enrolled as seniors in High Schools are 18, and they are, in some instances, encouraged to drop out and take a standardized test (GED) in order to go directly to college)
When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. (Applause.) (When the Omnibus Bill was passed, at the same time as the Health Care Act, the government inserted a slight paragraph taking over the Student Loan Industry, therefore, they could, since it is a government owned entity, actually raising the interest rate)
Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years. (Applause.)
Of course, it's not enough for us to increase student aid. We can't just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we'll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down. Laying this mandate at the foot of states that are in bankruptcy, will increase state taxes on those same middle class – see Massachusetts as a shining example
Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who've done just that. Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly. Some use better technology. The point is, it's possible. So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. (Applause.) Higher education can't be a luxury -- it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford. (Find a college that in not unionized, good luck)
Let's also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren't yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.
That doesn't make sense.
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That's why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That's why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. (Applause.) (fact check, there are fewer crossing because there are no jobs)
But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away. (Applause.)
You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. (Applause.) It means we should support everyone who's willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs. John F. Kennedy signed the equal pay act; of course, it has gone largely ignored by one entity in particular, the Federal Government
After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let's pass an agenda that helps them succeed.
Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. (Applause.) Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year. (Applause.)
Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Don't gut these investments in our budget. Don't let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.
And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I'm directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. (Applause.) Right now -- right now -- American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years. That's right -- eight years. Not only that -- last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years. (Applause.) (No mention of an immediate opportunity to build a pipeline with Canada?)
But with only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, oil isn't enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. (Applause.) A strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.
We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. (Applause.) And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I'm requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. (Applause.) Because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk. ( The EPA will stop these projects in their tracks)
The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don't have to choose between our environment and our economy. (Applause.) And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock -- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground. (Applause.)
Now, what's true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world's leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. (Solyndra?)
When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it's hiring workers like Bryan, who said, "I'm proud to be working in the industry of the future."
Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away. Some technologies don't pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. (Applause.) I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.
We've subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. (Applause.) It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs. (Applause.)
We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there's no reason why Congress shouldn't at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven't acted. Well, tonight, I will. I'm directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -- with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year. (Applause.)
Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here's a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs. (Applause.) (i.e. more regulation)
Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America's infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We've got crumbling roads and bridges; a power grid that wastes too much energy; an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.
During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.
In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we're no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home. (Applause.)
There's never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren't the only ones who were hurt. So were millions of innocent Americans who've seen their home values decline. And while government can't fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn't have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.
And that's why I'm sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates. (Applause.) No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won't add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust. (Applause.)
Let's never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom. No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.
We've all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn't afford them. That's why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. (Applause.) Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices -- these don't destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.
There's no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I've approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. (Applause.) I've ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don't make sense. We've already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years. We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk. (Laughter and applause.)
Now, I'm confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. (Applause.) Absolutely. But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago. (Applause.) I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean. I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men. (Applause.)
And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules. The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system's core purpose: Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.
So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you're no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers' deposits. You're required to write out a "living will" that details exactly how you'll pay the bills if you fail -- because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again. (Applause.) And if you're a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can't afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices -- those days are over. Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them. (Applause.)
We'll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people's investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there's no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That's bad for consumers, and it's bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count. (Government Oversight, more committees, etc.)
And tonight, I'm asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. (Applause.) This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy. But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.
Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. (Applause.) People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let's agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay. Let's get it done. (Applause.) ( One might point out that he is either referring to the Bush Tax Cut or Obama’s Social Security Tax Cut – which had a 12 month approval in the Congress, but was shut down by Harry Reid and the President
When it comes to the deficit, we've already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we're poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. (and GE Paid Zero)
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else -- like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both.
The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the Speaker this summer, I'm prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. (Applause)
Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you're earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up. (Applause.) You're the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You're the ones who need relief. ( 2006, 2008, 2010 Revisited)
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get a tax break I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference -- like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet. That's not right. Americans know that's not right. They know that this generation's success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That's how we'll reduce our deficit. That's an America built to last. (Applause.)
Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care. But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now: Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken.
Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?
The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn't come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco?
I've talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad -- and it seems to get worse every year.
Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let's take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow. (Applause.) Let's limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let's make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can't lobby Congress, and vice versa -- an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.
Some of what's broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything -- even routine business -- passed through the Senate. (Applause.) Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. (Applause.) For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days. (Applause.)
The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it's inefficient, outdated and remote. (Applause.) That's why I've asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy, so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people. (Applause.)
Has he been listening to the Republican Debates? Especially Ron Paul?
Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common-sense ideas.
I'm a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. (Applause.) That's why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and states. That's why we're getting rid of regulations that don't work. That's why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program. Abraham Lincoln was, historically, the President who suspended the Constitution, jailed newspaper editors, etc.)
On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.
The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress. With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there's nothing the United States of America can't achieve. (Applause.) That's the lesson we've learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.
Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can't escape the reach of the United States of America. (Applause.)
From this position of strength, we've begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Ten thousand of our troops have come home. Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America. (Applause.)
As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana'a to Tripoli. A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world's longest-serving dictators -- a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone. And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied. (Applause.)
How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it's ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings -- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.
And we will safeguard America's own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran's nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent. Sounding very much like Ron Paul
Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. (Applause.)
But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.
The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our ironclad commitment -- and I mean ironclad -- to Israel's security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history. (Applause.)
We've made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we've built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we've led against hunger and disease; from the blows we've dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back.
Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about. (Applause.) unless one reads newspapers and articles outside of the U.S.
That's not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. That's not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they've been in years. Yes, the world is changing. No, we can't control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs -- and as long as I'm President, I intend to keep it that way. (Applause.)
That's why, working with our military leaders, I've proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget. To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I've already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats. (Applause.)
Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. (Applause.) As they come home, we must serve them as well as they've served us. That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned -- which is why we've increased annual VA spending every year I've been President. (Applause.) And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.
With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we're providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets. Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I'm proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her. (Applause.) (Cops and Firefighters? Government, Unionized jobs, what about Doctors, Lawyers, Chemists?)
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who've been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn't matter if you're black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight. When you're marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you're in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn't matter. Just like it didn't matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates -- a man who was George Bush's defense secretary -- and Hillary Clinton -- a woman who ran against me for president.
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn't deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job -- the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other -- because you can't charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there's somebody behind you, watching your back.
So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I'm reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other's backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)”

To be fair, it is again, a question of differences in ideology, where on the one hand, the government takes credit for, and takes care of every single aspect of one’s life, without a way in which to pay for it, except increase the deficit. On the other hand, the overall applause was, for the most part tepid. If this is his opening salvo against his Republican Rivals, one can see why Ron Paul is besting the president in National polling.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Romney Tax Return (PDF) 2010 - Pays 6.2 Million Tax on $45 Million

There is certainly nothing wrong with Capitalism, nor the Free Market, and Mitt Romney, who claims to be a self-made man, has earned significant sums in order to pay significant taxes. The full tax return is available at Romney's Campaign Website. This is a 2010 release - there is also a 2011 estimated release available. What is not available are tax returns showing his income under his firm, Bain Capital. Romney is under no obligation to release his returns from Bain, however, it is that income that has comes under the most scrutiny during the campaign. Romney's tax state is not listed (or blocked) - if he had filed in Massachusetts, he would have had to provide proof of health insurance under the State's Mandated Health Care Program, and if he did not provide proof, would be assessed a fee equal to the state-run Commonwealth Care's policy, or for a family plan, approximately $400 per month. This fee is paid directly to the Massachusetts D.O.R., and if not paid, individuals face wage garnishment and or heavier fines. That would be his signature program from his Govenorship.

NBC FL 2012 Debate Winner: Santorum and Paul Steady, Gingrich Calm, Romney 2008 Redux, – NBC’s Mitchell: RNC will Not Allow Gingrich Win

The 2012 GOP Candidates - image the Daily Beast

The NBC 2012 Florida Debate was billed as a shootout between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – however, Gingrich did not shoot back – leaving those looking for “red meat” out of luck – the former Speaker, who to some appeared flustered by the Romney attacks (See: National Journal: Gingrich Lost His Crowd Pleasing Groove in Tampa” an article which belies the fact that the debate was held in a more controlled environment vis a vis NBC versus CNN) to Gingrich appearing more “Presidential” as a “Frontrunner” not “rising to the bait” and besting Romney (abridged see video below from NBC News Post Debate Analysis for exact verbiage).

From this perspective Gingrich appeared over cautious, professorial and not at all on the defensive, rather, almost bored with Romney, whose attacks were overlong as he hammered home Gingrich’s work with Freddie Mac (Gingrich released his contract with the mortgage giant yesterday), and charged him with “influence peddling”, which Gingrich, after a prolonged attack simply shook his head at Romney and noted that Romney had used the same tactics in 2008 with Huckabee and McCain and the American people saw through him. Gingrich brought up the fact that he is supported by former Congressman, J.C. Watts, who was the Conservative watchdog for both Freddie and Fannie during the time Romney refers to – and is a staunch supporter of Gingrich. To wit, Romney overstayed his attack, which is not unusual given his obvious frustration with his loss in Iowa to Santorum and his huge loss in S.C. to Gingrich – It was a panicked Romney that was on the podium last night.

Rick Santorum, however, calmly waited out both Romney’s long diatribe and Gingrich’s, short, pointed rebuttals, and came in with a focus on Obama – later in the debate he attacked both Romney and Gingrich, without either man answering the charges completely. Ron Paul, when given the time, was on point on economics, and to those who are more hawkish – “off the reservation” on national security. Case in point, both Paul and Santorum appeared as winners in the debate, along with Gingrich (depending, on if one is a moderate and or independent, or if one is seeking a “red-meat, rough and tumble” character in the office.”)

The fact that Gingrich is the smartest guy on the podium cannot be disputed, given the obvious attention paid to him by the post debate team at NBC, leaving one to believe they were watching an episode of the twilight zone, as the Republican Debate analysis gave Gingrich the nod as previously stated, and that included local NBC news affiliates airing footage that characterized Romney’s as a “billionaire who’s taxes will be released tomorrow, and Gingrich as one who was “calm” throughout, as if there was a cosmic shift in support of the speaker – not quite.

In the NBC post debate analysis, Andrea Mitchell brought up an interesting point, one which, if true, will mean the end of the modern Republican Party as it is known – an aid close to the Romney campaign indicated that the elite who control the party will not allow Gingrich to be the nominee. (he was credited with the failed bid for a second term by George H. Bush, hated by the moderate Bob Dole, who felt Gingrich was a competitor, and feel on the proverbial Republican Sword (he was not “ousted from the Speakership as implied), for not producing Congressional wins large enough to please those who would see an “insider” not Gingrich as Speaker.)

Apparently, the Republican elite plan to go to a brokered election should Romney fail in Florida and put up, of all people, Jeb Bush or a “Mitch Daniels”, going the route of the Democrats Super Delegate Convention that led to the election of Barack Obama. Therefore, those who run Washington and the GOP will throw a hissy fit if their chosen candidate “Mitt Romney” does not perform and will simply negate the votes of the people, and put in whomever they chose – a losing proposition no matter which way the wind blows and they know it. With no love lost on Republicans, Andrea Mitchell appears to know it as well, almost gleefully quoting the source.

As this blog is obviously supporting Speaker Gingrich, it was the “red meat” that was lacking, but with the knowledge that Gingrich is an astute politician and that he would appeal to the independent Florida vote, he would have been credited with a win, if it were not for the best debate performance to date by his protégé, Rick Santorum. Indeed, Ron Paul, who this blog strongly disagrees with on foreign policy issues, suggests that his performance outshone the speaker when, again, Paul was given a chance to weigh in – therefore a tie.

The next debate will be held on this Thursday, January 26t at 8PM on CNN The network offers an option to submit a question for a candidate in an on-site form here . the Florida primary will be held on January 31st, and Gingrich currently holds the lead in polling in both Florida and nationally (*See New York Times overview)

The Florida Primary - If Romney repeats his performance in this upcoming debate, one can be sure he will under perform in Florida and it is likely that given CNN in Jacksonville (on the Georgia Line), as the Debate arena, Gingrich should produce an even debate and will over- perform in the primary with the distinct possibility that Rick Santorum may pull second to Gingrich. (Given his debate performance) Ron Paul, made the decision not to heavily campaign in Florida, and will likely pull 4th – This depends on how much damage Romney’s debate performance, couple with the release of his tax returns, and his consistent negative campaigning, will do in the Sunshine State.

Final caveat, what one must understand is that this blog is centered in Massachusetts and as such, one might think that the blog should support Mitt Romney, however, one must be assured that after careful consideration, one has chosen to support the candidate that will best perform against the President, in both debates and with the general electorate, and one who has the history behind him to prove just that. One apparently little known tool available to all is the Library of Congress, where one can fact check all day long. It can be a slog, but it is worth knowing what the candidates supported, who they worked for and specifically what occurred during the time Gingrich was Speaker. The records are indisputable: the Speaker was under assault from the Democrats, who wanted (literally states) to “get even” with the Speaker, which was followed by Ethics charges, etc., all of which again, is available at The Library of Congress. During that time he worked in concert with the House and the White House, did indeed balance the budget, put forth the contract with America and reformed Welfare. One must look at the mettle of the man, regardless of the somewhat misleading charges brought by his opponents, (given facts), he had survived one of the most brutal assaults on a Speaker in the history of Congress, by both Democrats bitter over a loss, and Republican’s vying for power – he survived by accomplishing for the American people regardless of the personal loss he suffered. This not withstanding he is willing to do so again – which makes a tried, tested, and brilliant man this blogs choice. The chips should therefore, fall where they may, be it a Gingrich nominee, a Santorum Nominee, or a Paul nominee with no meddling from those in Washington or the GOP who think they know better than those who support them. (The rank and file).

NBC Post Debate Analysis

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The NBC Full Debate

Monday, January 23, 2012

Newt Gingrich Raises 1 Million in 24 Hours with Money bomb ups it to 2 Million. Mitt Romney is calling Massachusetts for Donations?

According to Newt Gingrich’s Facebook Page, the 1 Million Dollar Money Bomb to help defray the costs of the battle for Florida, was so successful that they upped the amount to $2 Million (or the amount suggested necessary to advertise in all Florida markets). Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s campaign is calling Massachusetts voters, several emails to this blog noted that this was the first time they had received calls for campaign donations from any Romney campaign, not in his quest for the Governor’s office, nor for the 2008 campaign. One individual, is not, however, supporting Romney rather Speaker Gingrich for the nomination, which is a rising sentiment among Massachusetts voters.

In addition, Romany as decided to release his 2010 income tax returns on Tuesday according to the National Journal Online After waffling this question in the debates prior to the South Carolina primary, it may behoove the former Massachusetts Governor to do what every candidate besides Ron Paul has done, release his returns.

This would put to bed any unanswered questions regarding Romney’s Tax returns and make it a non-issue – The real questions are his document dump upon leaving office in Massachusetts, something none of the campaigns left standing have, to date, brought to light.

There are two debates prior to the Florida primary on January 31st – via:

January 23, 20129pm ET/8pm CT and 9pm PT on NBC – Live Stream
Location: University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida
Sponsor: The Tampa Bay Times, NBC News, the National Journal and the Florida Council of 100
Participants: Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul
January 26, 20128pm ET on CNN
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Sponsor: CNN, CNN en Español, The Hispanic Leadership Network and The Republican Party of Florida
Participants: TBD

Newt Gingrich and the Mainstream Media – Press Complains that Gingrich gives them Access, while Romney and Obama limit and control Access - Analysis

Newt Gingrich surrounded by the Press image from the Pro-Romney Blog: via AFB Getty Images

It first started with an article from Politico entitled: “Newt Gingrich and the Press: Secret Pals” an article that first appeared January 20th and immediately made Drudge Headlines – the Headline of Course, changed a bit to ensure that Newt Gingrich held a double standard, by beating up the press, then embracing them. The article outlines how Gingrich is accessible to the press, to the point where he jokes with reporters, remembers birthdays and is always ready to answer a question. In other words, he is treating the press, (as the article explains) unlike both Republican Candidate Mitt Romney, who tightly controls the meetings with the press.

This article was followed by a similar article in the UK’s Daily Mail (also put on the Drudge Report with the Headline “Newt Eats the Press”, the actual title is just as misleading Newt Gingrich’s Big Slobbering Mutual Love Affair with the Elite Media.

The problem with both of these pieces are a) the fact that they are designed to alienate those who may have suspicions of the “elite” media and consider Newt Gingrich a hypocrite, for blasting the media on the one hand, and then playing nice on the other, and b) complaining because no other candidate gives them access!

How smart is Newt Gingrich when it comes to the media? That question is worth a one-word answer – Very. There is a difference, though many may not be aware, between the reporter and the editorial board or editor at the paper/news-outlet, for whom they are employed. A reporter may write a very accurate and comprehensive positive article on a given individual, however, it then goes through the editorial process, where it may end up three hundred and sixty degrees different.

There are several acquaintances of this blog that are employed by the “mainstream media”, and although they all are, to a man or woman, either independent or conservative, they are also holding onto one of the few jobs left in the media. They take their marching orders from the Editorial Board, and they know that what they actually write will not appear in print verbatim – or even resembling what they wrote. There are instances where, when complaints were made to an editorial board, that individual ended up on the unemployment line.

It is a collective mindset that has pervaded the us versus them, that does not take into account that not all reporters are “in the tank for the socialist/communist/Obama Machine, etc.” (Feel free to add an adjective), but there are more than a "handful" of just ordinary Joes and Jill’s trying desperately to hold onto a job in an industry that is seeing mostly downturns. (Which, blame the Internet all they want, but it is their editorial stance that has caused them to lose half their subscriber base.)

Therefore how refreshing to have an individual who approaches them with goodwill when they are, after all, just doing their jobs, and/or blasts them to smithereens (a la John King of CNN) when they do something ridiculous (i.e. opening the debate with a question regarding a year old personal story (first printed in a magazine article) that was re-aired on ABC the night of the debate, regarding Gingrich’s 2nd wife’s assertions that Gingrich was not so nice to her.)

Therefore, unlike other candidates and or Presidents for that matter, in this opinion not only is the former Speaker being smart, he’s being kind and he understands the relationship between those who have (the editorial boards, and eiders) and those who are hanging on by a thread (the rank and file reporters). It is much ado about nothing on the one hand, and on the other, much ado about everything – the everything: Gingrich will have access to the Press, and by establishing a bit of good will, will be able to get his message out – over the airways especially, but will also have the won the hearts and minds of those reporters assigned to cover his campaign. Also, consider that his is genuinely a genial type of guy. He is neither afraid of or intimidated by the press – that is something that is necessary in both a candidate and a President – so if he remembers someone’s birthday – or is eager to answer questions – it only proves one thing – he’s the smartest guy on the 2012 Campaign trail.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gingrich Wins South Carolina, all Important Republican Nominee Predictor By Double Digits – Praises all GOP Candidates In Classy, yet Fiery Speech

Newt Gingrich with his wife, Callista, at his side, delivers outstanding speech after S.C. Victory

GOP Presidential Candidate, Newt Gingrich, wont the Palmetto state yesterday by a commanding margin – with 99% of the precincts reporting in – Gingrich had a lead of 40% to Romney’s 28% (his closes opponent) (CNN News). Santorum finished 3rd, and Ron Paul 4th in this, the third contest of the GOP General Election contest.

Gingrich, in his acceptance speech, had kind words for all the GOP contenders, including Mitt Romney, and gave a fiery speech to the crowed ballroom. This is what is become known as “Classic Gingrich” – he has both the gravitas and the will to speak to a specific situation without missing a beat – making him one of the most, if not the most astute politicians today. In addition, in exit polling done by CNN, over 50% of those casting votes felt that Gingrich was in the best position to defeat President Obama in the fall.
Gingrich won across all categories, including Evangelicals, Men, Women, Urban, Suburban and Rural, making it a sweep – South Carolina, one might note, is considered the gateway to the south in terms of Presidential races, and has yet to vote for a candidate that did not win their respective political parties nomination – since 1980.

This has the establishment GOP a bit on the worried side, and according to the National Journal and several news accounts, the national GOP is prepared to go to a brokered convention, and oust Gingrich by virtue of nominating someone along the lines of a Jeb Bush. The fact that Gingrich will not play into the party line, and was blamed for George H. Bush’s defeat to Bill Clinton, is the main reason that the Party is prepared to pull this stunt if Gingrich is the rightful winner.

See Screenshot of Article above from National Journal

Should that happen the backlash of support for the RNC would take a nose dive – they do not have the power of the media behind them to protect them from the same situation that occurred at the Democrat Convention in 2008 when the rightful winner, Hillary Clinton, was outs ted in favor of Barack Obama through Super Delegates. That would, in any event, hasten the formation of a third party, possibly a third party that runs a candidate in 2012 – a Tea Party candidate is not out of the question. These are big “if’s”, and the “sources” that are telling news organizations that this option is a possibility may be opting for wishful thinking rather than reality.

At this point, with only three contests underway, Gingrich, Romney and Santorum have won a primary or caucus each – that said, going forward, with the momentum out of South Carolina, it is impossible to see Romney gaining more than the twelve states he won in 2008. It is the debate arena, and there is not one candidate better equipped in that venue than one Newt Gingrich.

What to do about Newt? The word from pundits is that Newt will be batter with the fact that he is unstable, there will be attacks on his character and especially questions regarding Freddie and Fannie, as well as his ouster by Republican’s from the Speakership and the host of ethics charges brought by the Democrats, also while he was speaker. This tactic, in the face of facts which are handily available to Gingrich, will, in all likelihood, fall flat. One need only speak to JC Watts, who will vouch, along with others, that Gig rich never lobbied the Congress on behalf of the Mortgage Organizations; in fact, he testified that they should be given zip. Additionally, as a consultant he personally earned approximately $35,000 annually, which is a pittance as far as consultant fees are concerned. The ousting by “Conservative” was truly an ousting by vindictive Republican’s tied to the Bush family.

There is a fabulous History Channel program that ran several months ago on Gingrich as Speaker, treating his rise from a “backbench “Congressman to the man who would be third in lien to the Presidency as Speaker. In this film, one learns that Gingrich was relentless in bringing about a Republican majority in Congress for the first time in decades. IN addition, and perhaps the most interesting, is the segment on the relationship with the Bush’s – during a time when George H.W. Bush, faced with huge deficits, was going to levy a large tax increase on the nation, Gingrich was invited for a “photo opp” with then President Bush, where the President and his advisors planned to announce that Gingrich was on board with the President’s plan. Gingrich reminded Bush that he had committed to “no new taxes” promptly left and headed straight to the Halls of Congress where he brokered a deal for a better package with the Congress, including both republicans and Democrats, and basically “stuck it to” George H.W. Bush – Bush lost the election, and there was no forgiveness from the elites for Newt Gingrich – it remains the same today.\

On the Ethics charges, there were the usual 80 plus charges brought against Gingrich, however, the only thing they could prove was that Gingrich neglected to sign off on one piece of paper – that was the charge he was convicted on – failure to sign off on a document.

In his entire Career (which is available in the Congressional Record, granted a slog if one is not into reading legislation for a decade plus, and or roll call votes, but worth it), Gingrich proved through the legislation he wrote and sponsored, through the votes he took and through the number of “grandiose” plans, such as welfare reform and balanced budgets” that he has what it takes to lead a herd of Republican’s, half of which wanted to destroy him vis a vis Bush – to do great things for the American people.

In other words, those who will attack Gingrich truly will have to bend the facts in order to achieve their gains, which will be easily disproven. Which is why, the idiots at the RNC who still harbor this grudge against the man who is best equipped to bring sanity back to our nation, may be prepared to pull a nuclear convention, and elect say, Jeb Bush?
It clearly is a subversion to the process of our Republic that the Republicans’ would even consider doing something so despicable – what should happen: the winner of the most states, and most delegates goes on to the main contest, regardless of whether that person is Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul – and let the chips fall where they may. After all, had the Democrats let the people have their say, Hillary Clinton would have been president, and chances are this entire GOP field would be a moot point, as one can imagine her decisions would have been far different that those of the President, and she would be looking forward to an easy run in 2012 and a second term.

Gingrich should do well in Florida which has changed from am moderate to a “Tea Party” Conservative mindset – should Florida fall to Newt Gingrich, and then Nevada (don’t discount), Super Tuesday should be divided between Gingrich and Romney with Romney taking a portion of the states, while Gingrich takes the balance. This sets the stage for a repeat of 2008, with Santorum the survivor (playing the role of Mike Huckabee).
There are two debates scheduled next week for Florida, one of which will take place on CNN networks, ahead of the January 31st Florida primary.

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