Archive for August, 2012

Your morning jolt: David Koch favors gay marriage, says tax increases may be necessary

TAMPA – As the Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan jetted away, this bombshell was making the rounds, courtesy of Politico.com:

Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who is helping steer millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans, on Thursday [said] he disagrees with the GOP’s stance on gay marriage and believes the U.S. needs to consider raising taxes to balance the budget….

Koch said he thinks the U.S. military should withdraw from the Middle East and said the government should consider defense spending cuts, as well as possible tax increases to get its fiscal house in order — a stance anathema to many in the Republican Party.

“I think it’s essential to be able to achieve spending reductions and maybe it’s going to require some tax increases,” he said. “We got to come close to balancing the budget; otherwise, we’re in a terrible deep problem.”

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Whether you loved it or hated its message, cherish the …

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Clint Eastwood at the RNC: Brilliant, or just plain weird?

TAMPA – As the 82-year-old actor and director Clint Eastwood walked onto the stage, with the image of the Confederate veteran Josey Wales in the background, the stage at the Republican National Convention was set for a tour de force.

For 11 minutes, with only Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney between Dirty Harry and the end of the evening, Eastwood debated an invisible President Barack Obama:

But here’s the thing: Eastwood, while he clearly endorsed Romney, was channeling Ron Paul when it came to foreign policy. From Eastwood to the invisible Obama:

”You were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was okay. You thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how they did there, for the 10 years. But we did it….

“You mentioned something about a target date for bringing everybody home. And you give that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question: Why are you giving the …

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What Mitt Romney will say: ‘I wish President Obama had succeeded’

TAMPA – The Mitt Romney campaign says these paragraphs below are excerpts of tonight’s speech, in which he’ll accept the GOP nomination for president – but they look to be the bulk of his remarks.

Not many specifics, no direct attacks on President Barack Obama – he also gives Michelle Obama a mention. Some mention of his church life. The most personal revelation is his dad’s support for his mom when she ran for U.S. Senate in Michigan.

And he embraces his years at Bain. To wit:

Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.

When that hard fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans …

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DNC chair: ‘We’ll shoot President Obama out of a cannon’

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says her party is planning a gathering in Charlotte, N.C., next week that will have the common touch – and feature some peculiar fireworks.

From the chairman’s interview with Dara Kam, a writer for our sister paper, the Palm Beach Post:

“We made a decision that our convention was not going to be the invitation-only, exclusive, only the elite-need-apply affair that this one has been.

“Ours is going to be one that, when we finish on Thursday night, we’ll have shot President Obama out of a cannon into the fall campaign, and leave with an enthusiastic, fired-up, broad base of supporters who understand that he’s been fighting for the middle class.”

We would advise Democrats to aim carefully, and avoid pointing the president toward nearby South Carolina. No dorky helmet. And remember that capes are prone to tangling.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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John Boehner: Joe Biden-Paul Ryan debate will be ‘greatest show on the planet’

TAMPA — House Speaker John Boehner, touting GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s convention debut, told members of the Georgia delegation late this morning that Ryan’s upcoming debate with Vice President Joe Biden will be “the greatest show on the planet.”

We know this because, after five days, members of the press were allowed into a delegation meeting. All previous sessions had been ordered closed by state GOP Chairman Sue Everhart.

But intervention by state House Speaker David Ralston – Boehner was his guest at the event, and Ralston saw no reason to hide the fact – resulted in a handful of reporters being allowed entry. For the 13 minutes of Boehner’s remarks only.

Boehner opened his remarks with a nod toward Doug Collins, who won the GOP nomination for the new 9th District congressional seat, and Lee Anderson, the presumed GOP victor in the race to face down U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta.

Boehner also spoke about Mitt Romney, who accepts the …

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Tonight, Mitt Romney moves closer to his GOP base — literally

TAMPA — From an Associated Press article advancing GOP presidential nominee’s acceptance speech, sometime around 10:30 p.m. this evening:

When the big moment comes, he’ll be standing in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on a stage that organizers rebuilt overnight. They replaced what had been a standard stage at the front of the hall with a section that pushes the podium toward the center of the floor, so Romney will physically stand among the crowd as he speaks.

“It brings him a little bit closer,” campaign manager Matt Rhoades said of the new arrangement.

Before Romney speaks, a parade of people from his past will take to the podium to walk through different phases of his life: his time running the private equity firm Bain Capital, his years running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and his experiences as governor of Massachusetts.

Referred to inside the campaign as “character witnesses,” the speeches are designed to showcase the man who friends say inspires fierce …

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Ralph Reed: ‘There’s bigotry against Mormons. It’s on left.’

TAMPA — Ralph Reed, who has most definitely re-established himself as part of the GOP elite, dropped by earlier this week to talk about – among other things – religion and Mitt Romney.

The Republican presidential nominee will tonight take his Mormon faith front and center. Tonight’s invocation will be given by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

A longtime friend, who shared leadership roles in the Mormon church with Romney, will testify on his behalf.

Both Reed and I were struck by the fact that, for the first time in U.S. history, the presidential ticket of a major party will lack a Protestant. But Reed, who now heads up the Faith and Freedom Coalition, went deeper:

”What’s even more interesting is that you’re at a Republican convention that was founded specifically as a Northern, Protestant, anti-slavery party. Lincoln was critical to getting the Germans. That is why he got the nomination. A Republican couldn’t win without Pennsylvania …

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Two witnesses for the GOP prosecution in Tampa

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens address the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Wednesday. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens address the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Wednesday. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

TAMPA — A speech before a national political convention begins with a phone call and a surprisingly tight deadline. For Attorney General Sam Olens, that call came three weeks ago.

And it arrived with a slight twist: Olens would perform a rhetorical duet before delegates with his Florida counterpart, Pam Bondi.

Days of emailing and editing, some late-night tweaks and two dress rehearsals later, the bespectacled lawyer — who had been chairman of the Cobb County Commission only two years ago — stepped in front of thousands of delegates to the Republican National Convention and millions of TV viewers with his partner on Wednesday night.

“We know that the Constitution limits federal power, but President [Barack] Obama clearly believes those limits just get in his way. So he ignores them,” Olens began. “He …

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John Boehner to address Georgia delegates in closed session

Tampa — The final meeting of the Georgia delegation to the Republican National Convention will feature an early morning address from U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, courtesy of House Speaker David Ralston.

What Boehner says will be a mystery to the rest of us. State GOP Chairman Sue Everhart has ruled that the Thursday meeting – like all other meetings of the Georgia delegation this week – will remain closed to journalists.

GOP spokesman Chris Kelleher said press was being excluded “at the request of one of the guest speakers” – but he could not say which one. But don’t assume that either Boehner or Ralston is the cause of the exclusion.

Previous closures have been intended to shield from reporters the lack of unanimity for Mitt Romney within the delegation – with little success.

By the way, the Insider is entirely willing to accept audio clips that might be sent via smart phone from tomorrow’s breakfast.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Josh McKoon asks for AG investigation into Don Balfour

Tampa — State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, who was the only dissenting vote on a legislative ethics panel that this month levied a $5,000 fine on Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour, R-Snellville, said Wednesday he has asked Attorney General Sam Olens to consider a criminal investigation.

Olens, set to address the Republican National Convention this evening, confirmed receipt of McKoon’s request, but declined any further comment.

The Senate Ethics Committee faulted Balfour for billing the state for mileage while out of town on lobbyist-funded trips, and for failing to create a subcommittee to audit all senators’ reimbursement vouchers.

In a minority report, McKoon outlined why he thought Balfour was deserving of a harsher punishment. Read it here.

McKoon, a delegate at the Tampa said he sent Olens a copy of his minority report, plus a brief cover letter requesting the investigation.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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