Yes, there’s a Republican debate in New Hampshire tonight. But it’s June, and some gadgets are just too cool to ignore. From today’s New York Times:
The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks.
The effort includes secretive projects to create independent cellphone networks inside foreign countries, as well as one operation out of a spy novel in a fifth-floor shop on L Street in Washington, where a group of young entrepreneurs who look as if they could be in a garage band are fitting deceptively innocent-looking hardware into a prototype “Internet in a suitcase.”
Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet.
Now, about tonight’s CNN debate. This will be something of a debut for Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has avoided a high public profile – including appearances with fellow candidates.
Gallup says Romney’s support for the GOP nomination “increased significantly to 24 percent” in May – more evidence that he’s escaped the shadow of Sarah Palin.
Romney’s message tonight is sure to be about President Barack Obama and the economy. His campaign put out this YouTube video this morning:
In a similar vein, Politico.com this morning takes a look at Mitt Romney’s advantage when it comes to Matt Drudge and his Drudge Report:
A survey of the past 13 months of Drudge headlines found only one debatably negative reference to the 2002 Olympics CEO (“Bachmann Outraises Romney”) — and a survey of aides to his rivals found a rising level of frustration at what one described as “favoritism” by one of the most important, if also one of the quirkiest, referees.
“One of the mysteries of Drudge is how he continues to be such a mystery. Never clear how or why he leans for or against candidates. But there is a lot of behind-the-scenes, very quiet and secretive mojo that goes on,” said Mark McKinnon, who, as a top adviser to John McCain in 2008, watched with dismay as Drudge gave top billing to questions about the Arizona senator’s health.
Newt Gingrich and his crew-cut of a campaign will be the subject of much curiosity during this evening’s debate. One topic unlikely to come up will be Gingrich’s attitude toward gay rights.
His lesbian half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones, credits the former U.S. House speaker’s third wife, Callista, with softening Newt Gingrich’s position. From the Huffington Post:
She said Gingrich has gone to Green Bay Packers football games with a lesbian couple who are longtime friends of Callista, who hails from Wisconsin. The couple’s social circle includes Steve Gunderson, an openly gay former Republican congressman for whom Callista once worked.
And Gingrich recently attended a matinee of a play based on the true story of a child custody dispute between two former lesbian lovers, one of whom became an evangelical Christian and declared she was straight. That play, “She Said/She Said,” was a thesis project written by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones, who married Candace Gingrich in Boston in August 2009.
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, who will also participate in tonight’s New Hampshire debate, has stirred up dust this morning in a Bloomberg column by Jeffrey Goldberg — with his assertion that President Barack Obama was raised in Kenya:
“Most of the ancestors that I can trace were born here in the United States of America,” [Cain] said, hitting those last four words with a hammer. “And then it goes back to slavery. And I’m sure my ancestors go all the way back to Africa, but I feel more of an affinity for America than I do for Africa. I’m a black man in America.”
This statement came shortly before our discussion turned to another politician generally understood to be an African-American.
“Barack Obama is more of an international,” Cain said. “I think he’s out of the mainstream and always has been. Look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan, and when he was going to school he got a lot of fellowships, scholarships, he stayed in the academic environment for a long time. He spent most of his career as an intellectual.”
Obama was actually raised in Indonesia.
Democrats in the state Senate will convene next Monday to elect a new leader to replace state Sen. Robert Brown, who has left the chamber to make a bid for mayor of Macon. Steve Henson of Tucker is the only announced candidate we know of. But Emanuel Jones of Decatur is considered a possibility.
According to Democratic caucus chair Doug Stoner of Smyrna, the gathering will be in Room 341 of the state Capitol. The caucus will also vote on the position of whip, vacated by Henson.
2012 T-SPLOST supporters take note: Bill Byrne, the once and future candidate for chairman of the Cobb County Commission, has announced his opposition to the regional penny sales tax.
Byrne, who is running against incumbent Republican Tim Lee, sent out a weekend note announcing his opposition:
Cobb’s voters can endorse a Commission Chairman that supports this tax increase proposal or a Commission Chairman candidate that opposes this proposal. My campaign for Commission Chairman will work hard to defeat this T-SPLOST proposal and focus on reducing spending to balance the budget.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider