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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PARTICIPATE IN A CANDIDATES DEBATE, LYNN UNIVERSITY, BOCA RATON, FLORIDA
OCTOBER 22, 2012
SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.,
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
BOB SCHIEFFER, MODERATOR
[*] SCHIEFFER: Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in Boca Raton, Florida. This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
This one’s on foreign policy. I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates or their aides.
SCHIEFFER: The audience has taken a vow of silence — no applause, no reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
(APPLAUSE)
Gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They’ve asked me to divide the evening into segments. I’ll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment.
Tonight’s debate, as both of you know, comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that President Kennedy told the world that the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, perhaps the closest we’ve ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad.
So let’s begin.
SCHIEFFER: The first segment is the challenge of a changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism. I’m going to put this into two segments so you’ll have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject. The first question, and it concerns Libya. The controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?
Governor Romney, you said this was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes.
SCHIEFFER: I’d like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that.
Governor Romney, you won the toss. You go first.
ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob. And thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening. Thank you to Lynn University for welcoming us here. And Mr. President, it’s good to be with you again. We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and it’s nice to maybe funny this time, not on purpose. We’ll see what happens.
This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world, and to America in particular, which is to see a — a complete change in the — the structure and the — the environment in the Middle East.
With the Arab Spring, came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life, and in economic life in the Middle East. But instead, we’ve seen in nation after nation, a number of disturbing events. Of course we see in Syria, 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in — in Libya, an attack apparently by, I think we know now, by terrorists of some kind against — against our people there, four people dead.
Our hearts and — and minds go out to them. Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali by al-Qaeda type individuals. We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.
But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is — it’s certainly not on the run.
ROMNEY: It’s certainly not hiding. This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries, and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to America, long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: Well, my first job as commander in chief, Bob, is to keep the American people safe. And that’s what we’ve done over the last four years.
We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.
In addition, we’re now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security. And that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. Now with respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm’s way; number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened, and number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed Americans and we would bring them to justice. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
But I think it’s important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to, without putting troops on the ground at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq, liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years. Got rid of a despot who had killed Americans and as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying America is our friend. We stand with them.
OBAMA: Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. And, you know, Governor Romney, I’m glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after Al Qaida, but I have to tell you that, you know, your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.

(more…)

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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.

MORE HERE

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HuffPost

By- Mike Sacks

Posted: 06/28/2012 10:10 am Updated: 06/28/2012 11:16 am

WASHINGTON — The individual health insurance mandate is constitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, upholding the central provision of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

The controlling opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the mandate as a tax, although concluded it was not valid as an exercise of Congress’ commerce clause power. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined in the outcome.

The decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius comes as something of a surprise after the generally hostile reception the law received during the six hours of oral arguments held over three days in March. But by siding with the court’s four Democratic appointees, Chief Justice Roberts avoided the delegitimizing taint of politics that surrounds a party-line vote while passing Obamacare’s fate back to the elected branches. GOP candidates and incumbents will surely spend the rest of the 2012 campaign season running against the Supreme Court and for repeal of the law.

Five justices concluded that the mandate, which requires virtually all Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, falls within Congress’ power under the Constitution to “lay and collect taxes.”

“The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause,” Roberts wrote. “That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage in it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”

Ginsburg, writing separately for the four liberals, said they would have upheld the mandate under the commerce clause too. “Unlike the market for almost any other product or service, the market for medical care is one in which all individuals inevitably participate,” she wrote. “Virtually every person residing in the United States, sooner or later, will visit a doctor or other health care professional.”

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined in a dissent.

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Bloomberg

By Michael C. Bender –  Jun 21, 2012 1:46 PM MT

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won’t undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

“This is one of those situations where you could have it both ways and there’s enough truth in it that it would resonate,” Stipanovich said. “It would be better if everybody was singing from the same hymnal.”

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Uploaded by      on Jun 14, 2012

Are you in? https://my.barackobama.com/twochoicesvid
President Obama was in Ohio today to deliver the first in a series of speeches that lay out the clear choice in this election between a vision that moves us forward and creates an economy built to last, and one that would send us backward to the failed policies of the past decade.

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MSNBC.com

By NBC’s Ali Weinberg

6/8/12

Swiss bank accounts. Money hidden in the Cayman Islands. Bain capital income.

The Obama campaign warned Thursday that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will have full access to those three pots of money and more unless he puts his investments in a federally-recognized blind trust.

Seizing on the Romney campaign’s announcement Wednesday that the candidate would only turn his holdings over to a federal trust if and when he becomes president, the Obama campaign claimed that Romney’s decision not to do so sooner underscores the point they’ve been trying to make about him: He’s wealthy, which makes him out of touch, and sometimes evasive about his wealth, which makes him untrustworthy.

Because Romney’s current blind trust isn’t recognized by federal standards, under which trusts are overseen by the Office of Government Ethics, it isn’t really “blind” because Romney’s personal attorney, with whom Romney can easily communicate, oversees it, Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt asserted today during a conference call with reporters.

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