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Archive for April, 2012

Think Progress

By Rebecca Leber  on Apr 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Mitt Romney’s campaign has benefited from Big Oil and Big Coal’s backing, which have poured more than $16 million into ads attacking President Barack Obama’s energy policies. As a favor, Romney says he plans to open public lands and water to drilling while undoing safety and environmental protections.

Below, we take a side-by-side look at Obama and Romney’s policies and their divisions on fossil fuels, clean energy, public health, and pollution. Beneath the chart is a more detailed comparison of the candidates’ energy proposals and rhetoric.

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Chicago Sun-Times
By Lynn Sweet on April 20, 2012 7:49 AM |

Mitt Romney raised $12.6 million in March for his primary, his campaign said Friday. Watch for the number to quickly jump. Now that Romney is the all-but-certain nominee, he is starting to raise money jointly with the Republican National Committee, which will allow him, under federal law, to collect much bigger donations from individuals.

Romney’s campaign refuses to disclose their top bundlers, people who use their personal networks to help raise money. The gist I get from folks associated with the campaign–disclosure can only bring on endless stories about contributors. Better to take a hit about non-disclosure than deal with substantive stories about their donors and their connections.

Yet the Romney team and Republicans jump on negative stories–such as Solyndra– about big bundlers for President Barack Obama that can only exist because Obama makes public his top fund-raisers.

The Romney campaign in Boston also declines to allow a pool reporter into fund-raisers where Romney or Ann Romney makes remarks.

Obama evolved on fund-raising disclosure from his days as an Illinois senator, perhaps Romney will too.

below, from the Romney campaign…

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Think Progress

By Igor Volsky on Apr 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

Mitt Romney — who at an earlier point in his career had promised to advance the equality of gay and lesbian people — is scheduled to deliverthe Commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University on May 12, an Evangelical Christian college that refuses to recognize people or ideas that don’t adhere to its social conservative worldview.

The university — founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971 — seeks to impress on its students a “commitment to the Christian life” that “leads people to Jesus Christ as the Lord of the universe and their own personal Savior” and forbids openly gay enrollees. Students are required to abide by a strict Code of Conduct, which prohibits them from engaging in “[n]on-marital sexual relations,” drinking, smoking, watching R-rated movies, dancing, cursing or hugging for longer than three seconds. In 2009, the school attracted controversy after it revoked its recognition of a Democratic club, because “[t]he Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine.” The school condemned the party for supporting abortion rights, “same-sex marriage, hate crimes, LGBT rights, and socialism.”

To that end, Liberty is heavily invested in the anti-gay and ex-gay movement. The school withdrew from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2010 to protest the inclusion of a gay rights group and hosted a one-day symposium to address the consequences of being gay. The event offered sessions on “[u]nderstanding Same-sex Attractions and Their Consequences” and “Homosexual Rights and First Amendment Freedoms: Can They Truly Coexist?” Liberty University law professors Matt Barber and Judith Reisman have also linked gay and lesbian rights to “the pedophile movement,” while the school’s affiliates describe marriage equality as a “rebellion against God” and claim that gay people are more likely to commit suicide because they know “what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] is immoral.”

Significantly, this isn’t the first time Romney has embraced conservative Christian Evangelicals in an effort to endear himself to Republican voters. In 2007, he addressed Regent University, the school founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.

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Huffington Post

Posted: 04/18/2012 4:05 pm

By- Laura Bassett

Lilly Ledbetter, the woman who famously sued her employer after discovering she was being paid less than her male colleagues and who inspired the first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed upon entering office, fired back against likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney after he declined to say whether he would have signed the bill into law.

“It took me more than 20 years to get an answer for the injustices that I suffered as an unfairly paid worker, so I know what it’s like to wait for justice. I know what it’s like to fight for justice. But Mitt Romney told me and millions of other women that he couldn’t commit to fighting with us or for us,” Ledbetter told reporters Wednesday.

On National Equal Pay Day Tuesday, one day after Romney dodged a question about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party called the law a “handout to trial lawyers” that allows women to “sue their employers unnecessarily.”

“Romney and the New Hampshire Republican Party should also consider this isn’t just about women,” Ledbetter responded. “It’s all about families and their economic security. I know Obama believes in those values.”

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Think Progress

By Judd Legum  on Apr 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

In a CNBC interview with Larry Kudlow to air later tonight, Mitt Romney defends his decision to release only two years of tax returns — both filed after he decided to run for President — by claiming that 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry also released two years. From an advanced transcript:

KUDLOW: Why not release your tax returns? Why not go back 10 years?

Gov. ROMNEY: Well, we’ve had people run for president before, and they’ve released two years. John Kerry released two years of taxes.. I’ve released one already, put the estimate out for the next year. We’ll have two years of taxes..

In fact, John Kerry released not two years of returns, but 20. From an April 14, 2004 article by Byron York:

In addition to his 2003 returns, Kerry also released federal tax returns from the years 1999 to 2002 yesterday. There has been some dispute about returns for those years. Kerry has claimed that he had already released the returns — in January of this year, he said, “I released all my tax returns for 20 years. I have never not released my tax returns throughout my political career.” But aside from releasing details from his 2002 taxes — which showed a total income of $144,091 — it is not clear that Kerry has ever made public his returns from 1999 or 2000 or 2001 before now.

Thus far, Mitt Romney has only released one year of returns. Romney’s father, George Romney, released 12 years of returns, stating “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

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Apr 16 2012, 6:42 PM ET

The Atlantic

Matthew O’Brien

The last time we checked in on Mitt Romney’s tax plan, the numbers didn’t add up. Actually, there weren’t any numbers to add up. Instead, there was a not very plausible promise to make the numbers add up at a later date. At stake was that Romney only spelled out the taxes and not the tax deductions that he wanted to cut. Basically, he told us what was for dessert, but not for dinner. Because he promised that his plan would be “revenue neutral,” these numbers had to offset each other. But if Romney’s recent hot mic moment is any indication, they don’t. Not even close.
Let’s start with a quick four-step recap of Romney’s tax plan. First, he extends all of the Bush tax cuts. Second, he cuts income tax rates an additional 20 percent. Third, he undoes the tax hikes and credits from Obamacare and the stimulus. Finally, he eliminates the capital gains tax for all but the richest households. The first three parts of this plan shower high-earners with most of the money. The last part is a bit of a fig leaf for the rest of us. After all, the top 0.1% of households earn half of all capital gains. Exempting middle-class households from this tax certainly helps them, but there’s just not that much money there.
There are two important numbers to keep in mind when it comes to Romney’s tax plan: $480 billion and $900 billion. The former is how much the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reckons his plan would add to the deficit in 2015 alone in a world where the Bush tax cuts continue; the latter is the same for a world where the Bush tax cuts expire. Since Romney has pledged that his plan will be revenue neutral over the current baseline — that is, with the Bush tax cuts — that leaves him with a $480 billion hole to fill by closing loopholes or cutting spending.

Which brings us back to Romney’s recent run-in with a hot mic. During a more candid moment at a fundraising event, reporters overheard Romney lay out at least two loopholes he would consider closing: the mortgage interest deduction on second homes for high-earners and state income and property tax deductions. Let’s consider these in turn.

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Posted at  09:04 AM ET, 04/17/2012

The Washington Post

By

Despite recent signs that gas prices may be about to fall, the Obama team harbors very real fears that pain at the pump could very well deprive him of credit for the recovery. It could impose additional financial hardships on swing voters who might otherwise be inclined to accept the premise that things are improving.

So today, the White House will unveil a new proposal designed to reframe the debate. The Associated Press reports:

Under pressure to take action on rising gasoline prices, President Barack Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets, increase penalties for market manipulation and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.

The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. The measures seek to boost spending for Wall Street enforcement at a time when congressional Republicans are seeking to limit the reach of federal financial regulations.

Details in the link. The move seems like an effort to take hold of a gas-prices narrative that has mostly eluded the White House’s control. Previously, Obama and Dems had sought to deflect public anger over high gas prices by highlighting GOP protection of oil industry subsidies; by pointing out that Big Oil interests are pumping big money into ads attacking them; and by picking a sustained fight with the oil billionaire Koch brothers.
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Daily Kos

Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM PDT

by- Jed Lewison

Mitt Romney’s campaign explainswhy he doesn’t need to release any more tax returns than the one year’s worth he’s already disclosed:

Mitt Romney has been scrupulous about observing the requirements of the tax code. His income is reported and taxed in full compliance with U.S. law, and he has paid 100 percent of what he has owed. His good name means everything to him. Throughout his life in this and in other matters, he has conducted his personal and business affairs so as to be beyond reproach.

So far beyond reproach, in fact, that they don’t believe anyone has a right to see exactly just how far beyond reproach he went. But you can trust Mitt Romney isn’t a tax crook. His good name means everything to him, after all.

Sure, in 2008, Mitt Romney was willing to give John McCain 23 years worth of tax returns during the vice presidential vetting process. And sure, McCain ultimately picked Sarah Palin over Mitt Romney. But there’s nothing in those returns that would make Mitt look bad. How do we know? Because his campaign said so. Mitt Romney isn’t a tax crook. Period.

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