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Ryan Grim

Posted: 08/30/2012 12:29 am Updated: 08/30/2012 11:52 am

TAMPA, Fla. — Paul Ryan pledged Wednesday that if he and his running mate Mitt Romney were elected president, they would usher in an ethic of responsibility. The Wisconsin congressman and GOP vice presidential candidate repeatedly chided President Barack Obama for blaming the jobs and housing crises on his predecessor, saying that his habit of “forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago -– isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?”

Ryan then noted that Obama, while campaigning for president, promised that a GM plant in Wisconsin would not shut down. “That plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight,” Ryan said.

Except Obama didn’t promise that. And the plant closed in December 2008 — while George W. Bush was president.

It was just one of several striking and demonstrably misleading elements of Ryan’s much-anticipated acceptance speech. And it comes just days after Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned, defending the campaign’s demonstrably false ads claiming Obama removed work requirements from welfare, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

Ryan, for his part, slammed the president for not supporting a deficit commission report without mentioning that he himself had voted against it, helping to kill it.

He also made a cornerstone of his argument the claim that Obama “funneled” $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. But he didn’t mention that his own budget plan relies on those very same savings.

Ryan also put responsibility for Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. government debt at Obama’s doorstep. But he didn’t mention that S&P itself, in explaining its downgrade, referred to the debt ceiling standoff. That process of raising the debt ceiling was only politicized in the last Congress, driven by House Republicans, led in the charge by Paul Ryan.

The credit rater also said it worried that Republicans would never agree to tax increases. “We have changed our assumption on [revenue] because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” S&P wrote.

Jodie Layton, a convention goer from Utah watching the Ryan speech, said she was blown away by the vice presidential candidate. But she said she was surprised to hear that after his speech about taking responsibility, he’d pinned a Bush-era plant closing on Obama.

“It closed in December 2008?” she asked, making sure she heard a HuffPost reporter’s question right. After a long pause, she said, “It’s happening a lot on both sides. It’s to be expected.”

Ryan has referenced the GM plant before, and his attack was debunked by the Detroit News, which called it inaccurate. “In fact, Obama made no such promise and the plant halted production in December 2008, when President George W. Bush was in office,” Detroit News reporter David Sherpardson wrote earlier this month. “Obama did speak at the plant in February 2008, and suggested that a government partnership with automakers could keep the plant open, but made no promises as Ryan suggested.”

After the speech, CNN’s political commentators focused mostly on Ryan’s misstatements, demonstrating the degree to which they were evident.

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The New York Times
By Jr.
Published: May 11, 2012

WASHINGTON —Mitt Romney’s recent declaration that Russia is America’s top geopolitical adversary drew raised eyebrows and worse from many Democrats, some Republicans and the Russians themselves, all of whom suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a cold war mind-set.

But his statement was not off the cuff — and it was not the first time Mr. Romney had stirred debate over his hawkish views on Russia. Interviews with Republican foreign policy experts close to his campaign and his writings on the subject show that his stance toward Russia reflects a broader foreign policy view that gives great weight to economic power and control of natural resources. It also exhibits Mr. Romney’s confidence that his private-sector experience would make him a better negotiator on national security issues than President Obama has been.

Mr. Romney’s views on Russia have set off disagreements among some of his foreign policy advisers. They put him in sync with the more conservative members of his party in Congress, who have similarly criticized Mr. Obama as being too accommodating to Russia, and generally reflect the posture of some neoconservatives.

But they have frequently put him at odds with members of the Republican foreign policy establishment, like Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who was defeated in a primary this week, and the party’s shrinking band of foreign policy “realists” — those who advocate a less ideological and more pragmatic view of relations with rival powers.

The Romney campaign has been critical of Mr. Obama’s record and positions on a variety of national security issues, including containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and confronting China’s rise. But many of the positions taken by Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have either been vague or not fundamentally different from those of the administration.

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Politicususa

By: Jason Easley

April 16, 2012

After Senate Republicans blocked the Buffett Rule, President Obama took them to task and continued riding a wave of fairness towards reelection.

After only one Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of the Buffett Rule, President Obama said in a statement,

Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class.

The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. America prospers when we’re all in it together and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.

The only Republican who voted with Democrats in favor of moving the bill forward was Susan Collins of Maine. All other Republicans, including those who are in close contests to keep their seats like Scott Brown, voted against increasing taxes on those who make over a million dollars per year.

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The Road We’ve Traveled is screening TONIGHT at 8pm ET.

You can view it live at: www.barackobama.com

Starting 8pm David Axelrod will also be answering questions live. To submit a question, just use the hashtag #RoadTraveled on twitter.

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GOP Seeks Big Changes In Federal Prison Sentences
NPR- by Carrie Johnson

January 31, 2012

Every year, federal judges sentence more than 80,000 criminals. Those punishments are supposed to be fair — and predictable. But seven years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court threw a wrench into the system by ruling that the guidelines that judges use to figure out a prison sentence are only suggestions.

Republicans in Congress say that has led to a lot of bad results. They’re calling for an overhaul of the sentencing system, with tough new mandatory prison terms to bring some order back into the process. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, brought up the subject at a recent hearing.

“A criminal committing a federal crime should receive similar punishment regardless of whether the crime was committed in Richmond, Va., or Richmond, Calif., and that’s why I am deeply concerned about what’s happening to federal sentencing,” Sensenbrenner said.

Since the Supreme Court acted in 2005 to make the sentencing guidelines advisory — not mandatory — Sensenbrenner said, judges in places like New York City have imposed sentences below the guideline ranges almost half the time. But judges only a few hours further north in New York are still following the guidelines.

Former prosecutor Matt Miner — who also served as GOP congressional aide — says that’s not justice.

The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.

– Douglas Berman, Ohio State University law professor

“We have a federal system. There should be consistency not just in the same courthouse and on the same floor, or district by district, but across the country, and we’re failing in that,” Miner says.

Douglas Berman, a law professor and sentencing expert at Ohio State University, said, “The way you make sure the guidelines get due respect is to make them respectable.”

A lot of people argue that ever since the Supreme Court weighed in, black men have it a lot worse.

Judge Patti Saris of Massachusetts leads the congressionally created U.S. Sentencing Commission. Saris spoke about the issue at a panel sponsored by the American Constitution Society and the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington earlier this month.

“The average sentence for a black male was 20 percent longer than that for a white male. … And I think what’s important to add there is that no one here is accusing judges of being racist,” Saris said.

So, then, what’s going on?

(more…)

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