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Huff Post

Posted: 09/06/2012 10:26 pm

President Barack Obama delivered his Democratic National Convention speech at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday night.

Below, his prepared remarks as prepared for delivery.

Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud…but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow.  And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hope for.Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly.  Trivial things become big distractions.  Serious issues become sound bites.  And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising.  If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.

But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation.  Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.

On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor.  My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story:  the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away.  I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas.  And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table.  And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right.  They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan.  And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

“Deficit too high? Try another.”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in Milwaukee, Wis., on March 30, 2012, with House Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) looking on. (Steven Senne / AP)

Huff Post

Jon Ward

Posted: 08/07/2012 10:21 am Updated: 08/07/2012 10:54 am

Bill Kristol and Stephen Hayes caused a stir this week when they encouraged Mitt Romney to pick Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as his running mate.

The conservative Weekly Standard authors based their argument for Ryan on the premise that Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has endorsed the House Budget Committee chairman’s budget anyway, and is going to be attacked for it by President Barack Obama’s campaign no matter what.

“If Ryan’s budget is going to be a central part of the debate over the next three months, who better to explain and defend it than Paul Ryan?” Kristol and Hayes wrote.

Yuval Levin, a former White House policy adviser for President George W. Bush who has been one of the most authoritative conservative voices arguing in favor of fundamental reform of entitlement programs like Medicare, told The Huffington Post that he agrees with Kristol and Hayes.

“The fact is that you can’t choose whether to run on this or not anymore,” Levin said of the Ryan budget and of his Medicare reforms. “Obama will make [Romney] run on this because Democrats continue to think that they have a huge advantage by pushing the issue. And I think there’s going to be a kind of Medicare chapter of the Obama campaign that is going to be coming soon.”

A phone conversation with Paul Begala, a veteran Democratic strategist who is now raising funds and consulting for Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Obama, confirmed that Levin’s conjecture was correct.

Asked whether Romney will have to campaign on the Ryan budget reforms or whether he should stick to his current jobs and the economy script, Begala told HuffPost, “they will because we’re going to require them to.”

“I promise you the Ryan-Romney budget is going to be central to this discussion,” Begala said. “This is not like some crackpot theory from some long dead Russian immigrant. It is now the official budget of the Republican party of the House of Representatives. This is not like just some kind of fringe deal.”

Begala declined to comment on when Priorities USA plans to unleash their criticisms of the Ryan budget. They are most likely waiting to see if Romney picks Ryan as his running mate, in which case those attacks could be coming sooner than later.

Super PACs like Priorities USA are forbidden by law from coordinating their activities with the Obama campaign. So far this year, the group has worked to reinforce the Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s private equity career at Bain Capital.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined to preview strategic planning for the rest of the campaign, but said as far as they are concerned, Romney already is running on the Ryan budget.

“Governor Romney has not only fully embraced the Ryan budget, but he has introduced a budget plan that is a carbon copy — it makes seniors pay thousands of dollars more each year for their health care and severe cuts to programs essential to the middle class in order to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” LaBolt said. “Mitt Romney is campaigning on the flawed assumption that we can just cut our way to prosperity.”

HERE

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A woman in Ohio fills out a provisional ballot during the 2008 election. President Obama and Mitt Romney are trading charges over a lawsuit Democrats filed after the state’s early voting law was changed. (Chris Hondros, Getty Images / November 4, 2008)

Charges that the president aims to undermine service members’ rights are called ‘shameful.’

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
August 6, 2012, 6:02 a.m.

CHICAGO — A top advisor to President Obama‘s campaign lashed out at Mitt Romney on Sunday, arguing that the presumptive GOP nominee is misrepresenting a lawsuit Democrats filed in Ohio to equalize voting rights for all Ohioans.

The suit, which Romney has seized upon to argue that Obama is trying to undermine service members’ voting rights, calls for all Ohioans to be able to cast early votes up until the Monday before election day.

“What that lawsuit calls for is not to deprive the military of the right to vote in the final weekend of the campaign. Of course they should have that right. What that suit is about is whether the rest of Ohio should have the same right, and I think it’s shameful that Gov. Romney would hide behind our servicemen and women,” Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Until 2011, all Ohioans could cast early ballots as late as the Monday before election day. Last year, the Legislature instituted a Friday cutoff for all voters except members of the military and their families.

In mid-July, the Obama campaign and state and national Democratic groups filed suit, arguing that a two-tier voting system was unconstitutional and calling for all voters to be allowed to cast ballots until the day before election day. The suit does not call for reducing early voting access for service members.

On Saturday, Romney accused Obama of trying to undermine service members’ voting rights, and he argued that Ohio was within its rights to give service members special privileges.

“President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage,” Romney said in a statement Saturday. ” …. If I’m entrusted to be the commander in chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.”

The disagreement between the two camps hinges on the Constitution: Obama argues that all citizens must be afforded equal voting access, while Romney maintains that it is legal for active members of the military and their families to receive extra privileges.

“Making it easier for service men and women and their families to vote early is not only constitutional but commendable,” said Katie Biber, general counsel for the Romney campaign. “It is not a violation of the equal protection clause to give military voters special flexibility in early voting.”

A spokesman for the Obama campaign said Romney was trying to restrict access to the polls and was fabricating the notion that Democrats sought to restrict voting rights.

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By KASIE HUNT and KARIN LAUB  07/30/12 11:18 AM ET AP

JERUSALEM — Mitt Romney told Jewish donors Monday that their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians, outraging Palestinian leaders who suggested his comments were racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. His campaign later said his remarks were mischaracterized.

“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.

Romney said some economic histories have theorized that “culture makes all the difference.”

“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.” He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.

Palestinian reaction to Romney was swift and pointed.

“It is a racist statement and this man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people,” Erekat added. “He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”

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By STEPHEN BRAUN and JACK GILLUM Associated Press

Jul 25, 8:19 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney’s actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.

Those familiar with Romney’s discussions with his Bain partners said the contacts included several meetings in Boston, the company’s home base, but were limited to matters that did not affect the firm’s investments or other management decisions. Yet Romney continued to oversee his partnership stakes even as he disengaged from the firm, personally signing or approving a series of corporate and legal documents through the spring of 2001, according to financial reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

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Mitt Romney’s firm raised more than a third of its first investment fund from wealthy foreigners — who mostly used companies in Panama, then known for tax advantages and banking secrecy.

Los Angeles Times

By Joseph Tanfani, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold

July 19, 2012, 3:00 a.m.

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — When Mitt Romney launched Bain Capital in 1984, he struggled at first to raise enough money for the untested venture. Old-money families like the Rothschilds turned down the young Boston consultant.

So he and his partners tapped an eclectic roster of investors, raising more than
a third of their first $37-million investment fund from wealthy foreigners.

Most of the foreign investors’ money came through corporations registered in Panama, then known for tax advantages and unusual banking secrecy.

Previously unreported details, documented in Massachusetts corporate filings and other public records, show that Bain Capital was enmeshed in the largely opaque world of international high finance from its very inception.

The documents don’t indicate any wrongdoing, and experts say that such financial vehicles are common for wealthy foreign investors. But the new details come as President Obama has criticized Romney for profiting from Bain Capital’s own offshore investment entities, which are unavailable to most Americans.

The Romney campaign declined to comment on the specifics of Bain’s early investors. Romney has argued that his offshore investments are entirely proper, and that he has paid all the U.S. taxes that he owes. The offshore funds do provide tax advantages for foreign investors, allowing Bain to attract billions of dollars.

“The world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe,” Romney said in an interview this week with National Review Online.

The first outside investor in Bain was a leading London financier, Sir Jack Lyons, who made a $2.5-million investment through a Panama shell company set up by a Swiss money manager, further shielding his identity. Years later, Lyons was convicted in an unrelated stock fraud
scandal.

About $9 million came from rich Latin Americans, including powerful Salvadoran families living in Miami during their country’s brutal civil war.

That first investment fund — used to invest in start-up companies and leveraged buyouts — paid out a stunning 173% in average annual returns over a decade, according to a prospectus prepared by an outside bank. It was the start of the private equity powerhouse that ultimately fueled Romney’s political career. He now cites his experience at Bain as a chief qualification for the White House.

Romney faced unusual complications when he launched Bain Capital, a spinoff of Bain & Co., the Boston consulting firm he joined when he graduated from Harvard Business School.

At the time, U.S. officials were publicly accusing some exiles in Miami of funding right-wing death squads in El Salvador. Some family members of the first Bain Capital investors were later linked to groups responsible for killings, though no evidence indicates those relatives invested
in Bain or benefited from it.

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