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Tag Archive: Romney


Obama has Romney to White House lunch

 

Obama meets Romney at White House

President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talk in the Oval Office following their lunch Thursday in Washington, D.C. (Pete Souza, The White House / November 29, 2012)

By JULIE PACE and STEVE PEOPLES Associated Press 

Washington—

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney met for lunch at the White House on Thursday, sitting down with an eye on overlapping interests rather than the sharp differences that defined their presidential contest.

In their first meeting since the election, Obama and the Republican nominee met in the White House’s private dining room, fulfilling a promise Obama made in his victory speech the night of Nov. 6.

Romney arrived at the White House early Thursday afternoon in a black SUV, walking into the West Wing alone. He left after staying at the White House for just over an hour.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama had no specific agenda for the meeting, but he said the president wanted to discuss Romney’s ideas for making government more efficient. Obama has proposed merging some functions of government related to business and has asked Congress for authority to undertake some executive branch reorganization.

“The president noted that Gov. Romney did a terrific job running the Olympics and that that skills set lends itself to ideas that could make the federal government work better, which is a passion of the president’s,” Carney said.

 

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Why Did Romney Lose?  Conservatives Blame Single women?

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If either of these women recently had tons of sex, they voted Obama
Photograph by Darren Hauck/Getty Images.

Now that the shock of losing has settled in, the conservative media has moved on to the important task of castigating the various demographics that broke for Obama, a reaction that can in no way be one of the reasons said demographics dislike Republicans. Since Obama won basically everyone but nonurban white men and their wives, there are a lot of different groups to hate on, but a clear front-runner in the Blame Game has emerged: single women, who gave 68 percent of their vote to Obama, compared to 53 percent of married women who voted for Romney.

There are many reasons for this divergence, including age, income, and racial differences between the single and married women, but right-wing media looks to be settling on a favorite explanation: Loose gals vote Obama. Unlike, say, Sean Hannity’s now evolving position on immigration, clearly morphing in order to somehow get his guys a few Latino votes, this impulse to label single women as sluts is certainly no one’s idea of voter outreach. But it does serve the dual purpose of demonizing Obama voters and reminding Fox News and rightwing talk radio audiences of their favorite porn narratives. Laura Ingraham, sitting in as host of The O’Reilly Factor last night, brought together a panel of church ladies to sneer at the unmarried and their wanton ways:

 

Watch video  here

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comThe overall narrative of the segment is, to paraphrase: Single women are so obsessed with birth control and abortion that they can’t be bothered to care about the economy or even take care of their kids. There were many jaw-droppers during the segment, but my favorite might be Gretchen Carlson saying that married women vote more on the economy, “because when you’re married, abortion is not really—or contraception for that matter—is not maybe a huge part of your life.” In Carlson’s bizarro world, only single women have sex and only married women have kids. (Contrary to any stereotypes trotted out on Fox News, married people have more sex than single people, so you really shouldn’t put “getting laid more” on your list of reasons to avoid the institution.)

Other right-wing pundits were even more crass. Andrea Tantaros accused single women of voting for no other reason than wanting “free” birth control. Rush Limbaugh was his usual delightful self on the topic of single women having sex that doesn’t involve him, saying that by being pro-choice, Obama treats women “like vaginas” and that Republicans need to “start our own abortion industry” to get women’s vote.

Reproductive rights do matter to female voters, as I’m the first to say. Some male voters, too, the ones who remember what conservatives apparently forget, which is that sex without making a baby every time is a winning proposition for men, too. But there’s no reason to assume that if Romney and Obama had the same views on contraception access and abortion rights, that Romney would have cleaned up those single female voters. Like married women, single women do vote on economic issues, of which the ability to control how many kids you have to feed is but one. Carlson gets close in the above segment to admitting this, but she frames it as single women being “dependent” on the government, completely ignoring government programs that married women are more likely to benefit from, such as the mortgage deduction or the new tax breaks for married couples.

None of these pundits even consider the possibility that it’s not just single women who think about reproductive rights when they vote, but that plenty of other Americans—some loyal viewers of Fox News, I would imagine—also vote on reproductive rights, specifically to take those rights away. Perhaps the real truth is that if everyone just gave up on the sex and gender wars and let people do their thing, it’s not the Republicans who would benefit.

 

 

 

Representations of the Women’s Movement Are Often Too Reductive

Much has been made about Obama’s victory and the female voting bloc that helped him get re-elected. Relevant meme after meme, like the one above, has sprouted across social media.

The gist: If you’re happy about Tuesday night’s victory, thank a woman. Women usually make up about 54 percent of the electorate, and this time they again turned out in higher numbers than men. Unsurprisingly, they also turned out in much higher numbers for Obama than for Romney. Some 55 percent of women voted for the former, while 44 percent chose the latter.Within the subset of women ages 18 to 29 — especially those who attended college during the Bush years, a group that will be voting solidly Democrat for the next 65 years – the numbers skew even more heavily towards Obama.

In other words, the GOP, at least as it now presents itself,doesn’t stand a chance. It didn’t Tuesday, and it won’t in 2016, no matter how deeply its victories cut in the South. Something’s gotta give.

Other contingencies were, of course, also crucial to Obama’s victory. Hispanics (Florida Hispanics too!), LGBTQ voters, youth in general, Black Americans, Asian-Americans, and pro-labor groups handily threw their support behind the president.

This makes Fox News crypt-keeper Charles Krauthammer’s claim that Obama doesn’t have a mandate all the more laughable. To quote Andrew Sullivan during his gleeful appearance on the Colbert Report, “There’s a black man in power who has nothing to lose!”

But here’s the thing about the women’s movement that gets lost sometimes, even on itself. The policies it promotes intersect with the needs of lots of other communities, and not only because of (the obvious) minority women. Health care, reproductive rights, gender equality, and non-discrimination policies are not only about women, though the latter are often implied to be the sole beneficiaries of such legislative gains.

Obama likes to call them “family” issues, but such rhetoric is annoying and offensive because it blatantly discriminates against single and unmarried people. For instance, why do we push for health care for partners in quasi-/post-nuclear-family constructs, instead of advocating for free health care for all? It’s also annoying and plain stupid, since two-thirds of single women voted for Obama both this past Tuesday and in 2008.

Another problem? When referring to “women,” the media tend to default to white, heterosexual, cis women, usually married. It should be noted that Romney captured 56 percent of the white women’s vote and 53 percent of married women’s vote.

So to be a bit more nuanced, these so-called “women’s issues” are often actually the issues of the middle class, labor, and other groups. The right wing’s determination to defund Planned Parenthood earlier this year, for instance, was not just an assault on the aforementioned default woman. Rather, you should see that the campaign spotlighted how Republican legislation often more pointedly affects people of color and low-income communities.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would have disproportionately impacted minority communities, worsening the already abhorrent disparities in healthcare coverage. When Texas tried unsuccessfully (at least as of yesterday) to cut off federal funding to their Women’s Health Program — not just Planned Parenthood, but also those “affiliated” with abortion providers — they were cutting off healthcare to 130,000 people, many of whom were poor Hispanic women…..

 

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Israelis prefer Romney (45%) to Obama (29%) for president, poll finds

Among Israeli right-wingers, challenger gets 58%; on the Israeli center-left, president gets 46%

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama answer a question during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (photo credit: AP/Pool-Win McNamee)

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama answer a question during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (photo credit: AP/Pool-Win McNamee)

If the US presidential elections were being decided by Israeli voters, Mitt Romney would be the clear winner.

A poll released Thursday found that 45% of Israelis would hypothetically vote for Romney, while 29% would choose Obama, and 26% don’t have a preference or don’t care.

The survey, conducted on Tuesday, interviewed 400 Israeli adults.

Among Israeli right-wingers — defined by the pollster as likely Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, and Shas voters, as well as Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews — 58% would vote for Romney, 19% for Obama and 23% did not express a preference.

Among Israelis from the center-left bloc — those who intend to vote for the Labor Party, Kadima, Yesh Atid, Meretz, or Atzmaut in Israel’s January elections — 35% would vote for Romney, 46% for Obama and 19% did not express a preference.

Among Israelis who have not yet decided on their Israeli political preferences, 45% would vote for Romney, 26% for Obama and 29% did not express a preference.

The research, conducted by Smith Consulting on behalf of Israel Radio, has a margin of error of 4.9%. The poll was mainly focused on Israeli electoral inclinations ahead of the January 22, 2013 general elections here, with the US election questions tagged on at the end.

In its questions on Israel, the survey confirmed a likely victory for Benjamin Netanyahu at the head of a Likud-Yisrael Beytenu coalition, with Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich the most popular of the many potential alternate candidates for prime minister. The poll did not include surveys about the possible breakaway Likud minister Moshe Kahlon.

Politics

Romney further impedes hurricane response, calls GOP hurricane governors

President Romney coordinating Hurricane Response (for GOP states only)

We had reported earlier that Mitt Romney, in an attempt to use Hurricane Sandy for his own political benefit, was “impeding” hurricane relief efforts.

It seems, sadly, that Romney didn’t learn his lesson.

He’s now in a full-blown Hurricane Sandy recovery mode, coordinating relief efforts with GOP governors, even though it’s not entirely clear what Romney knows about disaster relief, or how a presidential candidate who’s not in office can even offer any assistant at all, other than some of millions as a donation to the Red Cross. Romney has found that disaster “opportunity” he was looking for throughout the entire campaign.

Mitt Romney continues to interfere with Hurricane Sandy response in an effort to use Sandy as an “opportunity” to bolster his presidential bona fides.

.@andreamsaul: Gov. Romney has also been in touch with [VA] Governors Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie about storm preparation

Democratic Hurricane Victims Needs Not Apply

Interesting that Mitt Romney appears to only be calling Republican governors.  Oh that’s right, Mitt Romney doesn’t think of the 47% who live in the other half of the country.  But in all seriousness, if this weren’t a political stunt meant to make an “opportunity” out of national disaster, Mitt Romney wouldn’t be calling states based on the political affiliation of the governor – he’d be calling the worst hit states.

Though, it’s not entirely clear what candidate Romney knows about storm preparation, and how exactly candidate Romney can help those states.  In fact, Romney’s calls are taking up the time of governors who should be focusing on saving lives. Romney knows that.  So why is he calling them?  What did they discuss?  Did the campaign come up?

Romney Says Feds Shouldn’t Coordinate Disaster Relief. But Fed Candidates? Okay!

Not to mention, it’s interesting that Mitt Romney wants to close down FEMA, because he doesn’t think the federal government does a good job at disaster relief – it’s “immoral” to spend money on disaster relief when we’re running a deficit, Romney said – yet he thinks that he, as a federal candidate, can be quite helpful at disaster relief.

So, the federal government doesn’t matter for disaster relief, but federal candidates do.

How long until we see Romney in a FEMA jacket offering to help?  Can a Paul Ryan visit to another closed soup kitchen be far off?  (Followed by the inevitable attempt by Romney voters to destroy the hurricane relief center that Romney and Ryan visit.)

Here’s the latest shot of Hurricane Sandy from moments ago:

hurricane-sandy-latest-image

Hurricane Sandy latest image, from NOAA.

 Politics, Legislation and Economy News

 

 

 

 

Sununu suggests Powell’s endorsement of Obama is racial

Posted by Vanessa Williams

 

John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and surrogate for Mitt Romney, suggested during an interview with CNN Thursday night that Colin Powell endorsed President Obama because both are African American.

Piers Morgan asked Sununu to comment on the former secretary of state, who is a Republican, bucking his party to back Obama. “[F]rankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama?” Sununu said.

“What reason would that be?” Morgan pressed.

“Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being President of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

Early Friday, Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, e-mailed this statement from Sununu:

“Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should.”

Ryan did not respond to a question of why Sununu raised the issue of race in discussing Powell’s endorsement in the first place.

Powell announced Thursday morning that he was supporting Obama for reelection. The four-star general also endorsed Obama in 2008. Sununu’s response to the 2012 endorsement echoed the reaction to the 2008 endorsement offered by Rush Limbaugh four years ago. He wrote in an e-mail to Politico: “Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race. OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I’ll let you know what I come up with.”

Sununu has made other controversial statements during this year’s campaign. He angered some Obama supporters, particularly African Americans, for calling the president “lazy” after Obama performed badly in the first debate with Romney.

 

 

 

 

Colin Powell

Colin Powell (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

(CBS News) Former Secretary of State Colin Powell broke with the Republican party during the 2008 election, to endorse then-candidate Barack Obama for president, calling Obama a “transformational figure.”

With 12 days to go before the presidential election, Powell publicly endorsed President Obama for re-election on “CBS This Morning” Thursday

“I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012 and I’ll be voting for he and for Vice President Joe Biden next month.”

Powell explained his choice to Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell:

When he took over, the country was in very very difficult straits. We were in the one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression. The fiscal system was collapsing. Wall Street was in chaos, we had 800,000 jobs lost in that first month of the Obama administration and unemployment peaked a few months later at 10 percent. So we were in real trouble. The auto industry was collapsing, the housing was start[ing] to collapse and we were in very difficult straits. And I saw over the next several years, stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years, it’s starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising.”

 

Summarizing the past four years under Obama, Powell said “Generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude.” He acknowledged that problems remain, saying “The unemployment rate is too high, people are still hurting in housing but I see that we’re starting to rise up.”

Turning to foreign policy, Powell said he saw “the president get us of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars. And finally I think that the actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very very solid. And so, I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.”

Powell expressed his concern about Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s changing positions on international affairs. “The governor who was saying things at the debate on Monday night … was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier. I’m not quite sure which Gov. Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy.”

“One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal, same thing in Iraq. On almost every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Governor Romney agreed with the President with some nuances. But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign. And my concern … is that sometimes I don’t sense that he has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have.”

Powell also said that he has given close consideration to Romney’s domestic policies. “As I listen to what his proposals are especially with respect to dealing with respect to our most significant issue, the economy, it’s essentially let’s cut taxes and compensate for that with other things but that compensation does not cover all of the cuts intended or the new expenses associated with defense.”

Powell said that he did not give either candidate early notice of his endorsement, but that he has “the utmost respect for” and spoke to Gov. Romney several weeks ago, and speaks to President Obama regularly.

He added that with this endorsement, he “signed on for a long patrol with President Obama” and that he feels more comfortable with Obama’s stances on climate change, immigration, and education.

Powell also criticized congressional leaders for not living up to their responsibilities, mainly around resolving the approaching fiscal cliff.

“The major problem faced either by Gov. Romney or President Obama, whoever wins the election, is going to be what to do about the fiscal cliff we’re about to fly over,” Powell said.

“This is something that was put in place by Congress and while we’re talking about the two candidates for president let’s not forget that Congress bears a lot of responsibility for many of the problems that we have now. They’re the ones that write the appropriations bills. They’re the ones that pass the legislation for more spending and for the various entitlement programs that people have trouble with.”

Gen. Powell last joined “CBS This Morning” in June, and at the time remained noncommittal about his support for either candidate in the race for the White House. “Whatever judgement I have right now would be incomplete. I haven’t seen everything that Mitt Romney is going to do. I haven’t seen how our economy is going to play out,” he said in June.

And, despite his endorsement of a Democratic candidate in two presidential elections, Powell says he remains a Republican. “I think I’m a Republican of a more moderate mold,” he said before adding, “That’s something of a dying breed I’m sorry to say.”

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Bushies in Romneyworld

George W. Bush and Mitt Romney are shown. | AP Photo

Romney has brought on a cadre of Bush officials to serve as his senior policy advisers. | AP Photo

Mitt Romney’s running as far as he can from George W. Bush.

In all three presidential debates, Romney’s raced from the last Republican president’s policies — claiming he’s got new ideas for foreign policy, the deficit and energy.

But for all of Romney’s efforts to divorce himself from Bush, behind the scenes there’s one critical way he’s given the era a full embrace: its people.

(Also on POLITICO: Mitt’s ‘W’ problem)

Romney’s brought on a cadre of Bush officials to serve as his senior policy advisers, lead his presidential transition effort and help him raise millions to fuel his run — the pillars of his campaign and a potential administration.

“Really, no coach wants to send a team on the field with all rookies,” said veteran Republican fundraiser and strategist Fred Malek, who believes it’s important for Romney to distinguish himself from his predecessor. “And the best thing to have is a combination of people with great experience and a track record so long as the energy and new ideas that come from new people that have not yet come from deeply in the government. I think that’s really what Romney is looking to do and how the team shapes up to me.”

On foreign policy, where Romney clearly distinguished himself from Bush on Monday night, 17 of Romney’s 24 special advisers and the vast majority of his issue co-chairs worked in the Bush administration. Some of them are big names, like former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and State Department vet Paula Dobriansky.

His transition team, which would staff up a potential administration, is run by Bush alum Michael Leavitt, former Health and Human Services secretary; Josh Bolton, Bush’s chief of staff; Robert Zoellick, former World Bank president; and Emil Henry, who worked in Bush’s Treasury Department, have also been in on the planning.

When it comes to raising money, Bush stalwarts are on board, including political operative Karl Rove, who has delivered personal briefings and fundraising appeals for the main super PAC supporting Romney.

Bush-era stars like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Vice President Dick Cheney have headlined fundraisers and attended mega-donor strategy sessions.

For its part, the Romney campaign says that he makes his own political calculations.

“Mitt Romney has assembled a diverse group of highly respected policy thinkers,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in an email. “He fields their opinions, evaluates them and ultimately makes his own decisions on policy.”

But, that hasn’t stopped President Barack Obama from trying hard to link Romney as having old, misguided thinking from the Bush era. At the debate in Boca Raton, Fla., Obama closed the evening by saying that Romney “wants to take us back to those policies, a foreign policy that’s wrong and reckless.”

Democrats believe linking Romney with Bush can be effective on the campaign trail.

“There is still a holdover that George Bush unnecessarily got us into war and then prolonged it, and that foreign policy combined with a really weak domestic policy sort of created the hole that we’re in,” said Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.

Further, Rosen said that branding Romney with Bush is effective because he has “projected an old-fashioned view of the Soviet Union, of women, of education, of energy, and I think that continuing to tie him to sort of what are icons of the past helps Obama on his being a leader for the future.”

But, the Romney campaign’s strong ties to Bush are a strength, not a weakness, according to some Republican operatives.

“He’s had a stellar presidency when it comes to foreign policy and he kept our country safe, free from terrorist attacks,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “I think its something the president and Republicans should be very proud of.”

Romney isn’t alone in looking to administration vets for advice on policy issues.

Republican operative Ron Bonjean pointed to President Barack Obama’s use of former Clinton administration aides.

“Just like the advisers who worked for President Clinton that are helping Obama, it makes sense that people who used to work in the past administration would be lending their time and expertise to the campaign. They can be used as a great resource of information and many are respected for their policy acumen,” Bonjean said.

President Barack Obama has staffed the highest levels of his administration and campaign with several former Clinton advisers, including senior campaign adviser David Axelrod, former director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Summers and, in the foreign policy arena, current National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. And while Bush has been absent from the campaign trail, former President Bill Clinton has increasingly become a mainstay on the trail for Obama.

To be sure, Romney’s brain trust includes several advisers from the private sector and longtime confidants, including Bob White, Ron Kaufman, Beth Myers and finance director Spencer Zwick.

And, trying to steer the conversation to his platform is natural, according to Romney supporters.

“It’s time to look forward and not back, there is no question about that,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “As a matter of substance, it’s true; as a matter of politics, it’s got to be true.”

Other key Romney advisers on domestic and international economic policies and other policy areas include some of the most influential members of Bush’s team — though they haven’t always advocated the policies Romney is now pushing on the campaign trail.

Glenn Hubbard, who chaired Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 to 2003, is a top member of the Romney campaign’s economic policy team. Currently the dean of Columbia Business School, Hubbard also advised the GOP candidate in 2008 and is widely considered one of the top candidates to be Treasury Secretary or the next Federal Reserve chairman in a Romney administration.

Hubbard, who has been an active spokesman to the media on behalf of the Romney campaign throughout the 2012 cycle, has at times expressed policy views that seem to be at odds with Romney’s, including in the areas of carbon tax and mortgage refinancing. Hubbard declined to comment Monday evening about his future in a Romney administration.

Romney’s advisory roll also includes Greg Mankiw, a Harvard University economist who chaired Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2006. Mankiw served as a top economic counsel to Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and has been mentioned as a possible Romney pick to succeed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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Obama and Romney concur on war, assassination and reaction

By Bill Van Auken

In their debate on foreign policy Monday night, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney voiced nearly identical positions in support of war, illegal killings and imperialist intervention across the globe.

With just two weeks until the election, this third and final presidential debate made it clear that the US political establishment is laying the groundwork for new military interventions in the aftermath of November 6, and that the American people will have no means of expressing at the ballot box their opposition to an escalation of global militarism.

While both Obama and Romney threw in empty rhetoric about “nation-building at home” and bringing back “good jobs and rising take-home pay,” the overwhelming theme of this third debate was US imperialism’s determination to utilize its military superiority to counter the decline of American capitalism’s position in the world economy and offset the deepening crisis that began with the Wall Street meltdown of 2008.

In what can only be described as a degrading and filthy political spectacle, both the questions posed by the moderator and the answers provided by the candidates of the two major capitalist parties began with the premise that US imperialism has the unassailable right to defend its interests by inflicting death and destruction on anyone or any country that is deemed an obstacle.

No attempt was made to probe the broader interests of American capitalism underlying the wars, occupations and assassination campaigns that have dominated world affairs over the past decade. The impression was promoted that opposing these policies is beyond the pale of American politics, at once forbidden and futile.

At times, both men sounded more like Mafia dons than candidates for high office. In his first statement in the debate, Romney offered his congratulations to Obama for “taking out Osama bin Laden,” while lamenting that “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

For his part, Obama boasted that his policy in Libya had included “taking out” the country’s former leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, in order to achieve the goal of regime-change. Chiding Romney for questioning this policy, Obama insisted that he was determined to “make sure that Gaddafi didn’t stay there… we were going to make sure that we finished the job.” The result was the savage lynching of Gaddafi a year ago.

Among the most chilling parts of the debate were those related to Iran, with both candidates once again putting forward nearly identical policies of aggression and unconditional support for Israel in the event it launches an unprovoked war.

Obama boasted that his administration’s unilateral sanctions were “crippling their economy.” He noted approvingly: “Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy is in a shambles.”

That such policies mean suffering and deprivation for tens of millions of Iranian working people was clearly of no concern to anyone on the platform. Neither was there any questioning of the legality of this deliberate economic strangulation of another country, which represents an act of war and a gross violation of international law.

Obama stressed his readiness to order direct US military intervention, repeating the threat that his administration would not “take any options off the table” in dealing with Iran, and that “the clock is ticking” down to another US war of aggression.

Romney had nothing to add, outside of his insistence that he would have introduced even more punishing economic sanctions, and sooner than Obama had.

In the segment of the debate dealing with Syria, what emerged most clearly from the responses of both candidates is that, behind the pretense of concern over human rights and democracy, Washington is engaged in a campaign for regime-change, stoking a bloody sectarian civil war in order to advance its strategic interests in the region.

Romney stated this clearly, declaring the bloody conflict in Syria “an opportunity for us because Syria plays an important role in the Middle East, particularly right now.” He continued, “Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world… And so seeing Syria remove Assad is a very high priority for us.”

For his part, Obama insisted that Washington is playing “the leadership role” in the Syrian events and that “we’re doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syrian leadership and an effective transition so that we get Assad out.”

Needless to say, neither candidate was asked to clarify how Washington could be allied with Al Qaeda and other Islamist militias in the wars for regime-change in both Libya and Syria, while simultaneously claiming that these same forces represent the greatest threat to national security. Probing this contradiction is impermissible, as it would explode both the “war on terror” pretext for US global aggression over the past decade and the current pretense of promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East wars for regime-change.

Both candidates were once again in agreement on the question of drone assassinations, which are now being carried out on a regular basis in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, and have been used to carry out the extra-judicial murders of American citizens, such as the New Mexico-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his son.

“I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world,” declared Romney, effectively threatening millions with preemptive assassination. “I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology,” he added.

Among the unasked questions in Monday night’s debate was how Obama, who was swept into office on a wave of popular anger over the militarist aggression and attacks on democratic rights under his predecessor, George W. Bush, had come to head an administration that has continued and deepened these policies.

Posing such a question would have only underscored the inescapable conclusion flowing from the entire debate: the impossibility of opposing war and imperialist reaction within the framework of the capitalist two-party system.

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Romney Family Investment Ties To Voting Machine Company That Could Decide The Election Causing Concern

WILSON, NC - OCTOBER 18:  A voter displays the...

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

It’s 3:00 a.m. on November 7, 2012.

With the painfully close presidential election now down to who wins the battleground state of Ohio, no network dares to call the race and risk repeating the mistakes of 2000 when a few networks jumped the gun on picking a winner.

As the magic boards used by the networks go ‘up close and personal’ on every county in the Buckeye State, word begins to circulate that there might be a snafu with some electronic voting machines in a number of Cincinnati based precincts. There have already been complaints that broken machines were not being quickly replaced in precincts that tend to lean Democratic and now, word is coming in that there may be some software issues.

The network political departments get busy and, in short order, discover that the machines used in Hamilton County, Ohio—the county home of Cincinnati— are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national provider of voting systems in use in a wide variety of counties scattered throughout the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado and Ohio.

A quick Internet search reveals that there may be reason for concern.

A test conducted in 2007 by the Ohio Secretary of State revealed that five of the electronic voting systems the state was looking to use in the upcoming 2008 presidential election had failed badly, each easily susceptible to chicanery that could alter the results of an election.

As reported in the New York Times, “At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.”

We learn that one of the companies whose machines had failed was none other than Hart Intercivic.

With television time to fill and no ability to declare a winner so that the long night’s broadcast can be brought to a close, the staffs keep digging for relevant information to keep the attention of their viewers—and that is when it gets very real.

It turns out that Hart Intercivic is owned, in large part, by H.I.G. Capital—a large investment fund with billions of dollars under management—that was founded by a fellow named Tony Tamer. While is is unclear just how much H.I.G. owns of Hart Intercivic, we do learn that H.I.G. employees hold at least two of the five Hart Intercivic board seats.

 

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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Politics  :  Unethical – Fraud – Hypocrisy

Romney’s emotional story remembered very differently by friend of fallen SEAL

On the stump in Iowa Tuesday, Mitt Romney got emotional when he revealed that he met former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty at a holiday party some years ago. Doherty is one of the four Americans who were killed during the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. But Glen Doherty’s good friend Elf Ellefsen said that Doherty recalled Romney as “robotic,” and the meeting went much differently from what Romney retold in Iowa.

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On the stump in Iowa, Mitt Romney revealed that he met former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty at a holiday party some years ago. Doherty’s friend, Elf Ellefsen, says Doherty wouldn’t want Mitt using him for the campaign.

By Libby Denkmann

On the stump in Iowa Tuesday, Mitt Romney revealed that he met former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty at a holiday party some years ago. Doherty is one of four Americans killed during the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.

Romney’s story started out lighthearted, as he recounted how he and Ann mistook a holiday gathering across the street for their neighborhood party, and he ended up talking to Doherty. “He skied in some of the places I had. We had a lot of things in common,” Romney said of Doherty. Both men are from Massachusetts.

“He told me that he keeps going back to the Middle East. He cares very deeply about the people there. He served in the military there, went back from time to time to offer security services and so forth to people there. You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALS killed in Benghazi on September 11th.”

Romney was visibly emotional during the story, and the video of the speech was repeated throughout the day on network and cable news.

But one of Glen Doherty’s best friends remembered Doherty’s impression of this meeting much differently.

Elf Ellefsen met Glen Doherty skiing in Utah when he was 19, and the two men remained friends for more than 20 years.

“A guy living life wise beyond his years. Always trying to be progressive as well as do the right thing. Always challenging himself to his greatest ability,” Ellefsen remembered.

He last saw Doherty a week before the final mission to Libya. “I stayed in his house (in California), we paddled out in the ocean together, spent some good quality time.”

Ellefsen said Doherty recalled meeting Mitt Romney years ago, but the account was much different from what the Presidential candidate retold in Iowa.

According to Ellefsen, Romney introduced himself to Doherty four separate times during the gathering.

“He said it was very comical,” Ellefsen said, “Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”

Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic.

“He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”

Ellefsen described Glen Doherty as a humble, non-political guy, and said it was ironic for him to be used during a presidential campaign.

“Whether it be Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarian, it doesn’t make a difference. Because this guy is using our great friend, our humble, and honorable great friend…who is truly larger than life…He has become part of the soapbox routine for politics in a presidential race.”

Ellefsen said he understands why people would want to link themselves with Doherty. “Of all people to tie yourself to for advancement in life, it’s not surprising that Romney or anybody else would want to tie themselves to Glen Doherty. Because he was incredible. And I can honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was the greatest person I have ever met in my life.”

I asked Ellefsen what he thought of his friend’s story being used on the political stump:

“Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it. He probably wouldn’t do much about it. He probably wouldn’t say a whole lot about it. I think Glen would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”

Editor’s note:

While it’s unclear just what political, if any, motivations Ellefsen has, it is clear on his Facebook page that he’s upset about the U.S. government’s role in security overseas.

Ellefsen isn’t the only one perturbed by Romney’s speech. According to WHDH-TV in Boston, Doherty’s mother Barbara says Romney is using her son’s death for his political agenda.


Mitt Romney speaks in Iowa on Oct. 9. (Evan Vucci/AP)

[UPDATED: 2:40 p.m. ET] Mitt Romney’s campaign told ABC News it would stop citing the meeting with Glen Doherty.

The mother of Glen Doherty, a Navy SEAL who was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Libya, told a Boston TV station that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney shouldn’t politicize her son’s death.

Romney told an Iowa campaign audience on Tuesday about a chance encounter with a Navy SEAL during a Christmas party in San Diego, although he did not invoke Doherty by name. Romney owns a home in California and Doherty was stationed there, serving in the military. Romney cited the SEAL’s dedication to the Middle East and his commitment to foreign service as a way to draw a contrast with President Barack Obama’s response in the region, which Romney has criticized as lacking in leadership. As Yahoo News’s Holly Bailey reported:

Citing a CNN report that Doherty had been killed while trying to help others at the consulate, Romney expressed his admiration—and likened it to the leadership he says the country needs now in Washington.

“When he and his colleagues there heard that the consulate was under attack … they went there. They didn’t hunker down where they were in safety. They rushed there to go help,” Romney said. “This is the American way: We go where there’s trouble. We go where we’re needed. And right now we’re needed. Right now the American people need us.”

After Romney’s remarks, Barbara Doherty told Boston’s WHDH 7News that the GOP nominee shouldn’t invoke her son that way again.

“I don’t trust Romney,” she said. “He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama.”

Romney has amplified his criticisms of Obama’s foreign policy and defense record with a speech on Monday that fact-checkers and the Obama campaign said was rife with errors and policy reversals.

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