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US Presidential Primaries

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Rutashubanyuma, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Attack on Mitt Romney's Mormon faith heightens Republican rivalry[/h] Presidential candidates clash over religion after evangelical pastor calls Mormonism a 'cult' in run-up to debate on Tuesday




    • Ewen MacAskill in Washington
    • guardian.co.uk, Sunday 9 October 2011 20.27 BST Article history
      [​IMG] Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate whose Mormon faith was branded a cult by US pastor Robert Jeffress. Photograph: James Leynse/ James Leynse/Corbis

      They have crossed swords over immigration, the economy and social security, but this weekend the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination clashed on religion, after the pastor of one of America's largest evangelical mega-churches challenged frontrunner Mitt Romney's Mormonism.
      Robert Jeffress was unrepentant on Sunday after portraying Mormonism as a cult and urging Republicans to vote instead for "a Christian candidate". Jeffress is a close ally of Romney's main rival, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas.
      Religion was always going to play a part in the Republican nominations for a presidential candidate to take on Barack Obama for the White House in November next year. But Jeffress has pushed the issue to the fore earlier than expected, with the first of the Republican nomination caucuses not scheduled until January 3 in Iowa.
      The faith row overshadowed a right-wing conference in Washington DC at the weekend in which all the Republican candidates spoke, as well as Jeffress. Issues such as the faltering economy, immigration and abortion were drowned out by discussion of Romney's faith.
      The main beneficiary of the row could be Perry, who once said that anyone who does not believe in Jesus will go to hell. He and Jeffress organised a day of prayer in Houston, Texas, in August that attracted about 30,000 people.
      Perry jumped to the top of the Republican polls after joining the race in August, but he slumped after two poor debate performances and he needs a fillip.
      Christian evangelicals make up an estimated 40% to 60% of Republicans likely to vote in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, which is scheduled to hold its primary on 21 January. A Washington Post poll in June found that 21% of Republican-leaning voters nationwide would be less likely to vote for a Mormon.
      In the 2008 Republican presidential race, the then candidate Mike Huckabee played the religion card, saying "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" He went on to beat Romney in Iowa, in spite of a huge investment of money and resources by Romney in the state.
      Perry's campaign team, distancing itself in public from Jeffress, said the Texas governor did not regard Mormonism as a cult and did not judge people's religion. "That is God's job," his campaign spokesman said.
      Other presidential candidates were outspoken about Jeffress. Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, told CBS on Sunday that no-one should judge another's religion. "I thought it was very unwise and very inappropriate," Gingrich said.
      Another contender, Herman Cain, the businessman enjoying a surge in the polls, told CBS: "I believe that they(Mormons) believe that they're Christians, based upon their definition. But getting into whether or not they are more Christian than another group, I don't think that's relevant to this campaign."But Jeffress stood by his comments. He said: "I do believe Mormons are good, moral people, but they have never been considered part of mainstream Christianity. Mormonism was invented 1,800 years after Jesus Christ and the founding of Christianity, and has its own founder, Joseph Smith, its own set of doctrines and its own book, the Book of Mormon. And that by definition is a theological cult, that's all I'm saying."
      He said he believed religion would play a part the battle for the Republican nomination and expressed a hope it would be discussed "in a sane, rational way".
      He insisted he had not discussed Mormonism with Perry before introducing him on the platform at the conference.
      Jeffress said that while he would choose a Christian over a non-Christian in the Republican race, he would probably vote for Romney if it was a choice between him and Obama.
      Romney, who also spoke at the conference on Saturday, denounced "poisonous language" and called for "civil and respectful debate" in comments aimed at another speaker, radio host Bryan Fischer – but that may also have been a warning shot to Perry.
      Fischer, a director of the American Family Association who has made anti-Mormon comments in the past as well as attacking gay people and Muslims, spoke after Romney. He said: "The next president of the United States needs to be a man … of sincere, authentic, genuine Christian faith." The row over religion comes on the eve of the Republican presidential debate scheduled for Tuesday. Perry needs a strong performance.
      In spite of his drop in the polls, his campaign last week posted its fund-raising figures for the third quarter, a formidable $17m that will help pay for a media blitz in the early caucus and primary states.

     
  2. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]How Barack Obama went from cool to cold[/h] Barack Obama's measured approach won him the White House. So why do supporters think he lacks the 'fierce urgency of now'?




    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG] 'Americans want their president to really need them. He doesn't': Barack Obama Photograph: guardian.co.uk

      In June 2002, during a budget crisis in Illinois, a state senator from Chicago's West Side, Rickey Hendon, made a desperate plea for a child-welfare facility in his constituency to be spared the axe. A junior senator from Chicago's South Side, Barack Obama, voted against him, insisting hard times call for hard choices.
      Ten minutes later Obama rose, calling for a similar project in his own constituency to be spared, and for compassion and understanding. Hendon was livid and challenged Obama on his double standards from the senate floor. Obama became livid too. As Hendon has told it, Obama approached him, "stuck his jagged, strained face into my space", and said: "You embarrassed me on the senate floor and if you ever do it again I will kick your ass."
      "What?" said an incredulous Hendon.
      "You heard me," Obama said. "And if you come back here by the telephones where the press can't see it, I will kick your ass right now."
      The two men vacated the senate floor and, depending on whom you believe, either traded blows or came close to it.
      This is a rare tale of Obama both directly facing down an opponent and losing his cool. But during the past year many of his supporters have wished he would show such flashes of anger, urgency and passion more often (if perhaps a bit more focused and less macho and juvenile). He campaigned on the promise to transcend the bipartisan divide; many of his supporters would like to see him stand his ground against his Republican opponents. Having praised his calm-headed eloquence, some would now like to see more passion.
      The presidency is not just the highest office in the land. It is in no small part a performance. To some extent Americans look to their president to articulate the mood and embody the aspirations of the nation, or at the very least that part of it that elected them. Presidents are not just judged on what they say and do but how they say and do it. It's not just what they achieve but how they are perceived, to the point where image trumps reality. Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling 17 times, ballooned the deficit, reduced tax loopholes and tax breaks. But he remains the darling of the Tea Party movement because he talked their talk, even if he didn't walk their walk.
      With his soaring rhetoric and impassioned oratory Obama performed brilliantly as a candidate. But in office he has come across as aloof at a time of acute economic pain and insufficiently combative when faced with an increasingly polarised political culture. The former academic is regularly accused of taking too professorial a tone: talking down to the public rather than to them.
      "Americans would like their president to be sick and needy," explains James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute and executive member of the Democratic Executive Committee. "Bill Clinton would shake literally tens of thousands of hands every Christmas. Each person he'd meet would say: 'I think he remembered me.' Obama doesn't like to do it. No real person would like to do it. And therefore he doesn't do it. And people resent that. They want their president to really need them. He doesn't. He's OK, he's relaxed, cool, calm. I'd love him to call me up like Clinton would … people like that, he doesn't need it."
      But come election day next year he will need them. And with his approval ratings languishing in the low 40s, it looks as though they might not be there for him.
      There are two particular areas where most commentators and the public feel that Obama has fallen short. The first is the economy. Poverty and repossessions are at a record high, the Dow keeps tanking, the deficit keeps growing and unemployment remains stuck at around 9%. Yet the man who recalled Martin Luther King's evocation of "the fierce urgency of now" on the campaign trail has struck few as being either fierce or urgent as the nation teeters on the brink of another recession.
      "You get the sense that this president, while intellectually engaged, is not emotionally engaged with what the American people are going through," says Michael Fletcher, the Washington Post's economics correspondent. "People want to feel there's someone out there fighting their corner even if that person doesn't win."
      Charlie Cook, one of Washington's premier political analysts, believes there's only so much Obama can do at this stage. "I think the problems are more objective," he says. "Yes, he tends to lecture and tends to be professorial. I think that's a problem, but I don't think it's the problem. I think eloquence only gets you so far. I think the emphasis was on going on television and trying to explain his agenda, to the point now where I think if the American people haven't hit the mute button their finger is very close to that button where they just don't listen any more. If things get better, we'll re-evaluate, but right now – we're not listening."
      Drew Westen, academic and author of The Political Brain, thinks they would listen if Obama changed the pitch. "What Americans really needed to hear from Barack Obama was not only I feel your pain, but also I feel your anger. And he's a person who just doesn't do anger. And if you can't be angry when Wall Street speculators just gambled away the livelihoods of eight million of your fellow citizens then there's something wrong with you."
      [​IMG] Man of action: George Bush. Photograph: AP The other area is that the Tea Party leads the opposition that is now calling the shots within the Republican party. Here, whether on negotiations about the debt ceiling or the budget, Obama generally starts talking tough only to draw a line in the sand, erase it and then keep conceding ground to his opponents until they get most of what they want. Westen believes the end result is to give a sense of a man of little conviction. "Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama – and by extension, the party he leads – believes on virtually any issue."
      Since his jobs speech in early September, he has taken to confronting Republicans more directly and using the bully pulpit to go over the head of Congress to rally the public behind tax hikes on the wealthy as part of a second wave of economic stimulus. It is unlikely he can have much effect on the economy between now and election day apart from persuading people that it was not his fault, but that of the intransigent Republicans. But Bush showed that, on some levels, intransigence works – even if nothing else did.
      "From the Bush White House you got a more consistent message," says Fletcher, who covered both administrations. "Maybe there was less intellectual honesty, but you got a consistent, firm, very clear message. When Obama speaks, the other side always has a point, both sides are to blame. It's almost as if he's observing his presidency from outside of his presidency."
      In 2008 this was to Obama's advantage. The fact that he was intellectual, consensual and measured contrasted well with the shortcomings of his predecessor. "One of the things that made Obama attractive to many Americans was a Bush hangover," explains Bruce Riedel, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution who has advised the last three presidents on issues relating to the Middle East and south Asia. "There was a sense we'd had too much shoot from the hip, or shoot from the lip, that that had got us into two wars and the economic depression that we're in. They wanted a more cerebral president who thought ahead rather than plunged in. Two years ago, that cerebral look seemed cool to many Americans. Two years later it seems cold. I think there are moments when Americans want a very black and white situation, and they want to cut to the chase, and Obama needs to reach beyond his natural personality to get there."
      [​IMG] Cold and calculating: Obama directs the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Photograph: Pete Souza Salim Muwakkil, a Chicago-based journalist, thinks in times of crisis Americans value impulsiveness in a leader. "Isn't that part of the American myth?" he asks. "We don't get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. We strike out when we see the wrong. Bush embodied that, Reagan had a bit of that. These times are calling even more for that kind of quality."
      This might be easier said than done. Not only does Obama have to perform the role of president, but also that of the first black one. Whatever detractors thought of Clinton or Bush Jr, they never accused them of not being born in the United States or secretly belonging to another faith. Part of his ostensible "post-racial" appeal as a candidate was the paradoxical claim that he did not scare white voters too much. Before the election Senate leader Harry Reid privately said his chances were good because he was a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one".
      If these were the criteria for success, would the US really want an angry black man with the codes to the nation's nuclear arsenal? Muwakkil, who has known Obama for several years, believes the president may have overcompensated. "I think he's brought an element of calm serenity to the office in a way that others have not done. In some ways it's the epitome of the cool style. Almost ironically it's a stereotype. It's like the pimp from Iceberg Slim. The guy who was not perturbed by anything. Murders would happen in his vicinity and he'd carry on as if nothing happened."
      At certain moments this style has paid off. When Osama bin Laden was assassinated, for example, Obama performed the commander-in-chief role in a manner that most Americans thought was pitch perfect. "You wanted cold, calculating; you got cold, calculating," says Riedel. "He coldly calculated the odds of whether Osama bin Laden would be in that villa – they were about 50/50. He coldly calculated that we would probably never get odds as good as 50/50 and so he went forward. It was a careful assessment of risk and opportunity."
      After a gunman opened fire in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this year, killing six and injuring several others, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, he managed to weave a more hopeful tapestry of the US's political future from the tragedy, leaving his detractors looking petty and insubstantial.
      Nevertheless, while he has mostly sung on the stump, he has stuttered in power. This inability to connect was exemplified last September during a televised town hall meeting when Velma Hart, a black woman – the demographic bedrock of Obama's electoral base – expressed her frustration with his presidency. "I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."
      Obama acknowledged hard times but went on to answer with a laundry list of achievements that failed to address the underlying tone of disillusionment in the question. A few months later Hart lost her job. "Here's the thing," she told me recently. "I didn't engage my president to hug and kiss me. But what I did think I'd be able to appreciate is the change he was talking about during the campaign. I want leadership and decisiveness and action that helps this country get better. That's what I want, because that benefits me, that benefits my circle, and that benefits my children."
      "Do you think he's decisive?" I asked her.
      "Ummm, sometimes … not always, no."

     
  3. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Mitt Romney's performance in Republican debate leaves rivals on sidelines[/h] In a debate that was dominated by the economy and short on policy detail, Romney's chief opponent Rick Perry failed to deliver

    • The GOP debate: economists' verdict




    • Ewen MacAskill in Washington
    • guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 October 2011 04.31 BST Article history
      Chris Christie, the much-courted Republican New Jersey governor who last week said he would not be running for president, endorses Mitt Romney Link to this video Mitt Romney consolidated his front-runner status on Tuesday night in the Republican presidential race, overshadowing his rivals in the latest debate which was dominated by the country's faltering economy.
      His main rival, the Texas governor Rick Perry, needed a strong performance after seeing his poll ratings drop sharply, the result of doing badly in the previous two debates. But he again failed to deliver.
      Republican strategists were scathing about Perry's inability to mount a comeback and his lack of fire. The veteran Alex Castellanos said Perry's team had complained he had been tired in the last debate because of having to stand for so long. This time he had been sitting down but was still lacklustre.
      "Next time he is going to have to get a mattress," Castellanos said on CNN of the Texas governor's sleepy performance.
      In a debate short on policy detail, Romney emerged as the most fluent and most at ease, a much more relaxed campaigner than he was during his failed bid for the Republican nomination in 2008.
      Romney's success in the debate came hours after he secured the much-prized endorsement of the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, who last week announced he would not be joining the race.
      In the debate organised by Bloomberg and the Washington Post in Dartmouth, New Hampshire, Romney made much of his experience as a businessman, claiming this provided him with the leadership qualities to help the US tackle unemployment and its lack of competitiveness.
      His refrain was that if he had only worked in politics he would not be in the race. It was because he had experience in business he felt he could help the country back to competitiveness and deal with 9.1% unemployment.
      "I'd be prepared to be a leader. You can't get the country to go in the right direction and get Washington to work if you don't have a president that's a leader. And three years ago we selected a person who'd never had any leadership experience, never worked in the private sector," Romney said.
      Perry has dropped from frontrunner in the polls in August and early September to third place behind Romney and the former businessman Herman Cain.
      Perry was near invisible during the first hour of the debate, dodging detailed questions about his economic policy, saying he was keeping it under wraps until he makes his first major economic speech on Friday. During the second hour he was a bit more visible, seeming less nervous and halting.
      At best Perry did himself no further harm, avoiding any gaffes or exposing weaknesses for his rivals to exploit.
      The only other of the eight candidates to make much of an impression was Cain, who has surged in the polls in recent weeks through a combination of humour and populist rightwing politics. But questions remain about his staying power.
      The remaining candidates were largely left on the sidelines: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Congressman Ron Paul, former diplomat Jon Huntsman, former senator Rick Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
      One of the most revealing parts of the debate was when the candidates were given an opportunity to put questions to their rivals. Most opted to challenge Romney, confirmation that they see him as the frontrunner needing to be pegged back. Cain, Gingrich and Perry all aimed their questions at him.
      Perry rehearsed what will be one of his main campaign themes, questioning Romney's record as a conservative, in part because of his former governorship of Massachusetts.
      "Governor Romney, your chief economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, who you know well, he said that Romneycare was Obamacare. And Romneycare has driven the cost of small-business insurance premiums up by 14% over the national average in Massachusetts," Perry said. The question builds on a tough negative advert the Perry camp has put out against Romney, accusing him of being a flip-flopper.
      Romney in the past was often apologetic about his health record, fearful of alienating the right, but no longer.
      "You know, the great thing about running for president is to get the chance also to talk about your experience as a governor. And I'm proud of the fact that we took on a major problem in my state," Romney said.
      The issue that has dominated the Republican race since the weekend, Romney's Mormonism – described by the pastor Robert Jeffress, an ally of Perry's, as a cult – was not discussed. Huntsman, also a Mormon, joked that he could not raise it since it was an economics debate.
      Earlier in the day Romney called on Perry to repudiate the pastor.

     
  4. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1] [​IMG] [/h]

    [h=1]GOP presidential economics debate in New Hampshire - as it happened[/h] Herman Cain took on Mitt Romney in the latest Republican presidential debate. Follow the mudslinging as it happened

    Mitt Romney's performance leaves others on the sidelines




    [​IMG] Republican presidential candidates at a debate hosted by Bloomberg in New Hampshire. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    7pm ET: Welcome to our live coverage of tonight's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire, in which the candidates will be encouraged to share their sexual fantasies and 2012 Oscar picks ... no, it's actually on the economy.
    In fact, the most important political event of the day happened several hours before this debate even started, when the Republican party's dream candidate – New Jersey governor Chris Christie – endorsed Mitt Romney for the presidential nomination.
    Although it's not a huge surprise, it is very good timing for Romney, who has been struggling to cement his place as the Republican frontrunner with pizza magnate Herman Cain surging in the latest opinion polls, while previous leading contenders Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann leak support.
    Now that's been decided, we have to go through the motions before Mitt Romney's inevitable presidential coronation. Tonight's debate is sponsored by Bloomberg – the financial media organisation, not the New York City mayor, although he does own it – and starts at 8pm ET, on the leafy grounds of Dartmouth College.
    The focus of the debate will be on the state of the economy. One suggestion: if you are having a drinking game based on buzzwords in tonight's debate, my advice is to avoid "tax cuts," otherwise you'll be legless by 8.17pm – which may be the best way of coping. Other terms to avoid: Obamacare; deficits; government; taxes; Texas; taxis; taxidermy; tacos; tracheostomy ... anything that sounds like "taxes" just to be safe.
    If you want to watch the debate live:
    In the US: the debate is showing on the Bloomberg Television channel, as well as Bloomberg Radio, and WBIN-TV if you are in New Hampshire.
    In the UK: Bloomberg Television is on Freesat channel 208, Sky channel 502 and Virgin Media channel 609.
    And of course the debate will be streamed live on Bloomberg.com.
    7.01pm: Mitt Romney might be the titular frontrunner but his status is under threat – this time from Herman Cain. As Texas governor Rick Perry has faded, his supporters appear to have switched to Cain, based on the recent polls.
    [​IMG] Coming up on the outside: Herman Cain. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP A new PPP poll in Iowa – site of the first contest – Cain gets 30% support, compared with 22% for Romney, 10% for Ron Paul, 9% for Rick Perry, 8% each for Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich and 5% for Rick Santorum:
    Cain's in a great position. But the top's proven to be a dangerous place in Iowa. Over the course of our last four polls in the state we've found four different leaders: Mike Huckabee, then Romney, then Perry, and now Cain.... It's a very fluid race with only 42% of voters saying they're strongly committed to their candidate.
    Nationally, another new poll of Republicans has Romney with 24% and Cain close behind with 16%, while Perry lags with 13%. Even in crucial and more mainstream states such as Virginia, the Cain bandwagon is rolling, tied with Romney at 21%, with Perry well behind with 11%.
    Can Cain capitalise on this surge? Probably not: he's currently on a book tour, which seems bizarre in the circumstances, and his financial backing is thin so far. He has only a tiny organisation and not much of it outside Iowa, apparently.
    Conclusion: Mitt Romney is a very lucky man.
    7.05pm: One of the more exciting sidelights of the recent GOP debates has been the crowd participation. Here are all the highlights in one handy video:
    Compilation of audience reactions at previous debates So there's cheers for death by capital punishment, cheers for deaths of the uninsured, and boos for a serving US soldier who happens to be gay. Charming.
    So who will get booed tonight? Babies? Puppies? Tax-Cut Jesus? It's just one of the exciting surprises in store tonight.
    7.07pm: Bloomberg has started its pre-game debate coverage – and oh dear, they have made the classic mistake of having an outdoor panel discussion allowing protesters and loud chanting in the background.
    Not quite as bad as the classic Jeremy Paxman-Newsnight Berlin Wall debacle but getting there.
    7.12pm: Who needs a good debate tonight? Why, Rick Perry. So bad was his last performance that so long as he doesn't drool on camera or trip over his own shoelaces tonight, it'll be an improvement.
    Painful to watch: Rick Perry debates himself to death The Washington Post – a co-sponsor of tonight's debate – has this delightful treasury of Perry's recent contributions.
    Here's the good news: Rick Perry's son says his dad has been getting more sleep.
    7.16pm: Who else needs a good debate? Jon Huntsman, because... well, in one poll out this week, precisely zero Republicans said they wanted him to be president. Yes, that's right: nil, out of 391 Republicans polled.
    Taxi for Mr Huntsman.
    7.24pm: I've never even seen a Godfather's Pizza in my travels throughout America but here's a feature on Herman Cain's tenure as chief executive of the second tier retaurant chain.
    Apparently some guy called Ronald did the heavy lifting while Herman gave speeches.
    7.28pm: This is a debate about economics – and since most people don't know their vector autoregression from their complementary cumulative distribution functions, help is at hand on this live blog.
    We'll be joined by the excellent Felix Salmon of Reuters – who usually blogs here – in the hope that he will say rude things about the implausible tax cutting proposals advanced by the Republican candidates tonight.
    7.33pm: Bonus points: first candidate tonight to somehow claim the mantle of Steve Jobs for some cock-eyed scheme.
    7.35pm: All the economics talk will probably get in the way of the serious issues in this election: such as whether or not Mormons are Christians.
    Mitt Romney is a Mormon – as is Jon Huntsman, not that anyone cares – and a conservative cleric who introduced Rick Perry before a speech made a meal out of that fact last Friday. Today, the Romney campaign called on Perry to repudiate the cleric, and the Perry camp refused ... and so on.
    Anyway, to help you judge the theological fine points, here's a photo gallery of 23 famous people who are also Mormon.
    7.53pm: You can watch a live video stream of the debate here. Just hit refresh now, and the video will show up at the top of the page.
    [​IMG] Republican presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry prepares for economics debate in Hanover, New Hampshire. Photograph: Pool/Getty Images 7.58pm: Now that Herman Cain is a serious contender, people are starting to look at some of his policies. And it's not pretty.
    Here's an interview of Cain on foreign policy: he doesn't want to know the names of any foreign leaders because he'll just find out before he meets them. And as we know, stuff that happens in foreign countries has no effect on America.
    Tonight we'll hear about his "9-9-9" tax plan, which involves cutting taxes and that's about it. Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan and Bush advisor, has a look and decides its nonsense:
    At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.
    Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain's tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
    8.04pm: Here we go – Charlie Rose is the moderator. "This debate is different," says Charlie. Mmm. That's because the candidates are sitting down. Radical.
    8.05pm: First question to Herman Cain – a sign of how he's shot up the polls. What would he do to save the economy? He has a bold solution - 9-9-9 – and cut the deficit to balance the budget. It's really that easy.
    8.07pm: America is sitting on a treasure trove, says Rick Perry. Change down the back of the sofa? No, energy.
    8.07pm: Mitt Romney's plan would be to be a leader. "The real course for America is to be a leader," says Mitt. "You have to stand by your principles." Mitt knows all about standing by his principles – he's stood by so many and kissed them goodbye over the years.
    8.11pm: Live video update: there isn't any live video, not on this page at least, as Bloomberg has disabled their embedding feature. How mean of them. You can watch it live on their website.
    8.16pm: Back to Rick Perry's plan: regulations are strangling American entrepreneurship. "Mitt's had six years to be working on a plan, I've had about six weeks," says Rick.
    Asked why America's banks are making big profits, Michele Bachmann immediately blames the federal government for mortgage lending. Uh.
    Bachmann and Newt Gingrich are blaming "the federal government", with Gingrich saying that Chris Dodd and Barney Frank should go to jail.
    Now Newt is on his anti-Ben Bernanke rant, wanting him sacked. True fact: Ben Bernanke was appointed as Federal Reserve chairman by dangerous left-wing radical George Bush.
    [​IMG] Republican presidential candidates prepare for a Bloomberg debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 8.20pm: What's up with Ron Paul's right eyebrow?
    8.21pm: "What happened is we became uncompetitive," says Rick Santorum. "I don't want to brag but Pennsylvania is the gas capital of the country." And Rick Santorum is big on gas.
    8.24pm: Felix Salmon doesn't disappoint in the rudeness stakes. "0% tax – beat that, BITCHES! #santorum"
    8.25pm: Now for some reason we have quickly skipped onto Medicare, which opens a route for Newt Gingrich to blather on about an email he got from someone about prostate cancer. And according to Michele Bachmann, Obamacare is going to kill "a beautiful fragile 85 year-old woman". Obviously, that would be awful.
    8.28pm: Asked about Cain's 9-9-9 plan, Jon Huntsman quips that when he first heard it, "I thought it was the price of a pizza". Gets a laugh, but really, does that make any sense?
    Cain gets a response: "9-9-9 has been well studied and well developed," according to him. But according to people who have actually looked at it, it's wishy-washy nonsense.
    [​IMG] Mitt Romney attempts to move his coffee cup using the Force. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 8.33pm: Finally, a question about the European debt crisis, to Mitt Romney, who bickers with the moderator about whether or not it's hypothetical. Romney says he would want to have input into Greece and then pressed on a Wall St bailout, says he supported the Bush bailout in 2008. Now that's interesting.
    Asked if he'd sack Bernanke, Romney says he'd replace him, and asked by who, namechecks Milton Friedman (long dead), along with economist Greg Mankiw, who isn't dead.
    8.38pm: Listening to this group of candidates, you'd never know that Republicans have actually been in the White House for 28 of the last 43 years. What have they been doing all this time?
    8.39pm: One-time Republican operative Mike Murphy tweets:
    My pitch for next debate segment; they have to give detailed comments on the items on the Bloomberg news crawl at bottom of screen.
    He's right, they are very annoying. "Financial regulators are seeking feedback on Volker rule," for example. Could they not have turned them off?
    8.40pm: Our guest commentator for tonight, Reuters financial guru Felix Salmon, has this commentary on the first half hour of the debate.
    In just the first 30 minutes of the debate, we've had the candidates falling over each other to demonize what's left of the sensible wing of the Republican party – people like Chris Dodd and Ben Bernanke. We've had Rick Santorum propose a 0% tax rate. And we've had Newt Gingrich come out with a passionate tirade against statistics. What we haven't had is any kind of substantive debate. Either between the candidates, or between the moderators and the candidates. This has been a series of set pieces, where questions are not answered and set-piece speeches are always preferred to anything which directly addresses the subject at hand.
    Most of the answers in this debate have come from an ideological cloud-cuckoo land, where we can start from scratch and create a brand-new Utopian fiscal and monetary policy simply by dint of having been elected president. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman have given hints that they live in the real world (albeit a real world where Milton Friedman can be risen from the grave), but in general this is a debate where the impossible is being fed to the fanatical, and those of us unlikely to vote in a Republican primary – including Charlie Rose and the rest of the questioners – are being studiously ignored.
    Ari Fleischer thinks that this is "a wonky debate"; he's wrong. Wonks deal in reality; these candidates are dealing in ideology. Which actually tells us nothing about how they would actually govern if elected president.
    8.42pm: Here's the view of our resident political blogger Ana Marie Cox:
    [​IMG] It's somewhat disappointing to see that Bloomberg opens its "economy debate" – it'll be different, they promised! – with questions about political gridlock and the optics of Wall Street executives not going to jail.
    On the latter, it might have been more productive, and certainly more provocative, to suggest which executives might deserve to be prosecuted, and for what crimes – Republicans might actually be on firmer ground dealing with specifics. Finding someone to prosecute is depressingly complicated.
    If the point of Cain's 999 plan was to gain cultural traction: mission accomplished. As far as actually being a feasible method for funding government: not really!
    8.44pm: And this is the verdict of our Washington bureau chief Ewen Macaskill:
    [​IMG] Mitt Romney is doing best so far, the most fluent of the candidates, selling himself on the basis of his experience as a businessman. The debate is being dominated by Romney and Herman Cain, former chief executive of Godfather Pizza.
    Rick Perry been largely quiet, beyond saying he is keeping his economic plans under wrap until an economic speech on Friday. The best joke has been Jon Huntsman saying he thought Cain's 9-9-9 economic was the price of one of Cain's pizzas.
    Cain seemed hurt, responded that his plan was well though-out. Dull, so too many issues coming up one on top of another without a chance to develop a theme or even a debate.
    I have to agre: they race through so many issues means that a debate never actually occurs. So far this is the most shapeless debate.
    [​IMG] Mitt Romney and Ron Paul answer letters from fans during a quiet moment in the debate 8.47pm: Newt Gingrich just can't stop showing off, can he? He is so obviously not running for president. but what exactly he is running for isn't clear. Most annoying man-child?
    8.52pm: Now Herman Cain is confronted with the realities of his 9-9-9 plan and how it would create a huge hole in the federal budget. "The problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect," says Cain. Ho ho ho.
    The moderator points out that the Cain 9-9-9 plan puts 9% sales tax on milk, bread and beer – "and pizza" quips someone (was it Huntsman?). Cain looks flummoxed, and says "I don't buy beer," which isn't helpful.
    8.55pm: Here's more from Felix Salmon, who believes Bachmann is finished as a credible candidate – if she ever was one:
    Michele Bachmann is toast. We know that not because every time she speaks she says something completely bonkers. Rather, we know that because every time she says something bonkers, everybody ignores her and simply moves on.
    When the subject of the debt ceiling came up and Bachmann proudly asserted that she was a "voice in the wilderness" agitating against raising it, no one asked her whether she was really advocating that the US default on its bonded debt, and what the consequences of that might be.
    When she came out with her infantile one-liner about turning Herman Cain's "9-9-9" plan upside down and discovering that "the devil's in the details" (999 is 666 upside-down, geddit?), there wasn't even an eye-roll, and the moderators simply moved on to someone saying something vaguely coherent.
    In a debate with more than its fair share of extremist soundbites, Bachmann is the crazy guy at the end of the subway car who everybody else is trying their best to ignore. It's the only thing they're doing which makes them seem sensible.
    8.56pm: A rare burst of sanity from Jon Huntsman, who suggests that a problem (in this case, China) might be more complex than some people think.
    Romney disagrees! "The Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank." Mitt Romney wants a trade war with China, how exciting. Apple will like that, won't they? No iPhones for you, Yankees.
    8.57pm: There we go, that's the whole China economy thing disposed of in four minutes. Next!
    9.00pm: No we're back on China. Rick Santorum: "Mitt, I don't want a trade war with China, I want to beat China."
    Now Santorum has a go at Herman Cain. "How many people here want a 9% sales tax in New Hampshire?" No one raises their hands. "There you go Herman, that's how many votes you'll get in New Hampshire."
    Yow. Rick Santorum won't shut up – I hate to say it but he's said the most interesting thing tonight.
    Now Charlie Rose wants to go to an ad break, and some music starts – but the producers have to fade it out because Herman Cain won't shut up now, shouting that this is what's wrong with politicians. "9-9-9 is a bold plan and the American people want a bold plan," shouts Herman.
    It's a bold plan that no-one has actually read and when they do they'll decide they don't want it.
    The discussion spills over into more follow-up about allowing an opt-out to Obamacare – and now Santorum and Huntsman are piling on Romney, explaining (in some detail) why Romney's plans to merely allow states to opt-out is dumb, because the large states like California and New York won't opt-out, and others that do like New Hampshire will have to pay up.
    Anyway, that's more like it.
    Finally, they manage to get the ad break in.
    [​IMG] Herman Cain: 9-9-9 and all that. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 9.04pm: And here's Ewen Macaskill on the second half-hour:
    [​IMG] Romney is creaming it. He has improved a lot since the 2007/8 Republican campaign when he seemed to have as much life as a wooden puppet. He has become smoother in the intervening years, more relaxed, more pointed. The improvement has become more marked since August when he has had to step up to the challenge posed by Perry. Having said that, even the improved Romney would still be one of the most boring candidates in US presidential history.
    9.12pm: Um, so in summary: word salad. It got exciting just then, when there was a brief uprising. Now it may be more fun: the candidates get to ask questions of the others.
    First up: Michele Bachmann, who ignores the idea that this is about the economy and goes straight at Rick Perry. "How can we ask you to not go down the Obama way?" asks Bachmann.
    Perry points out that Saint Ronald Reagan was a Democrat at one time also, as well as noting that Texas has the second lowest debt per capita in the US.
    Herman Cain again, banging on about his stupid 9-9-9 plan, asks Romney if he can name all 59 points in his own economic plan. Oh god he probably can.
    Phew, turns out Romney can't but he does slap down Cain, saying that simple answers aren't always the best ones.
    That hissing sound? It's the air going out of Herman Cain.
    9.17pm: Oh god, now Newt Gingrich mentions page 47 of Romney's plan and asks him something about capital gains thresholds. No I don't know either, but "I'm not worried about rich people," says Mitt.
    Huntsman asks Romney about his past career as a vulture fund capitalist. Unfair, says Mitt. "We started Staples … we started Bright Horizons childrens centres," says Romney, defending himself. That's interesting: Bright Horizons basically has a monopoly on childcare here in Washington DC.
    9.18pm: Ron Paul has a go at Herman Cain for objecting to Ron's "audit the Fed" policy. "You've got to be careful of stuff you get off the internet," says Herman Cain. "It's not my top priority. My top priority is 9-9-9," says Herman, who loves a soundbite.
    9.19pm: Now it's Rick Perry's turn to ask a question, and he returns to the dear old subject of Mitt Romney's healthcare reforms in Massachusetts. But Mitt's not having it and turns the tables by telling Perry that he has too many kids uninsured in Texas.
    Romney is doing very well here. Dammit, just give him the job and we can skip the rest of these debates.
    9.21pm: Romney has made another smart move – buying promoted tweets on Twitter.
    [​IMG] Mitt Romney has paid for the promoted tweet slot at the top of the #econdebate hashtag If you search on the #econdebate hashtag, his tweets appear on top.
    9.23pm: Herman Cain has been banging on about his 9-9-9 plan tonight. Here's Felix Salmon to deconstruct it. This won't take long.
    Herman Cain is the only candidate with a clear plan, even if it's utterly unworkable. 999 is to Cain what 911 was to Rudy Giuliani last time around. And that means he's become the epicenter of this debate: he's pushing his plan, and everybody else is arguing against it. Rick Santorum is even asking for a show of hands from the audience to make his point that people in New Hampshire might be skeptical that a 9% income tax would stay that low. It's a bit like arguing whether the people of New Hampshire believe that if we all got a free pony, it might die within a year or two.
    Rick Perry too, has a plan – but he cunningly hasn't revealed what it is. Apparently it's too large to fit within the margins of this blog, or even this debate – in fact, he's going to spend the next three days dripping it out to an eager and adoring public. No one else has a plan! He has a plan! And plan beats no plan, nicht wahr?
    So now we have a debate between Cain and Romney, trying to work out whether a specific but crazy plan might be preferable to an undefined but probably saner plan. And the rest of the field is waging a negative war against those two. Oh, and occaionally Obama. The one unbreakable rule of this debate is that everything Obama has done is, axiomatically, bad for the economy and bad for jobs, and that doing the opposite of what Obama did would surely have been good for the economy and good for jobs. None of this makes much if any logical sense. But then again, no one's going to win the nomination by making logical sense.
    9.27pm: Rick Santorum – who bizarrely has been rather impressive tonight, although it pains me to say so – zings Herman Cain. "Can we trust you with your lack of experience," asks Santorum. And Cain's answer is, yes, you've guessed it, something about 9-9-9.
    Strangely the thing that Cain doesn't mention is that his 9-9-9 plan has a value-added tax of 9% and a national sales tax of 9%, and is in fact only a temporary measure leading to a 30% national sales tax know as the Fair Tax. Simple, transparent? No.
    9.28pm: The ad breaks have the most annoying ads in the history of the universe, with small children giving patronising lectures about fiscal policy. Seriously.
    [​IMG] Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry during the Republican presidential debate. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 9.29pm: Michele Bachmann just told us that we should go to her website to find out what she really believes. So Felix Salmon did:
    In this post on her website, Bachmann states: "America's job creators and small business owners have lost economic liberty under the weight of $1.8 billion annually in compliance costs with government regulations. Together we sent $2.2 trillion in taxes to the federal government this year. By comparison, job creators spend nearly as much annually to comply with bureaucratic mandates."
    Yes, it really does seem that Michele Bachmann thinks $1.8 billion is "nearly as much" as $2.2 trillion. Instead of being, you know, about 1,200 times smaller.
    9.30pm: I've said it before and I'll say it again: Rick Perry needs to start using moisturiser.
    9.35pm: Now then Herman Cain, which past Fed chairman do you most admire? Oh come on! That's a softball. Everyone knows the answer is "Alan Greenspan".
    "Alan Greenspan," says Cain. Oh and he has two secret candidates to replace Ben Bernanke in 2014 when he steps down.
    "No, Greenspan was a disaster," says Ron Paul. And actually he's right: you want to blame someone for the current mess? Try Greenspan: his hand was on the tiller for 14 years.
    "Certainly Alan Greenspan ushered in the buggest bubble," says Ron Paul – correctly, who says he kind of liked Paul Volker (who was pushed out of the Fed by St Ronald Reagan, by the way) for his sound money policy.
    9.46pm: Twitter is proving to be more entertaining than this debate, which is draining life out of itself like one of the Dementors in Harry Potter. Matt DeLuca tweets:
    Hey Twitter I made a new drink – 1 part whiskey 1 part bitters 2 parts tears. I call it the Inevitable Romney 2012 candidacy
    9.46pm: "No one likes to see tax increases," says Mitt Romney. That's become a familiar Romney trope: "No one likes to see a bailout," came earlier. "No one likes to see the Spanish Inquisition."
    9.50pm: Now a question about the rich getting richer and the increase in Americans living in poverty. Is this acceptable, Rick Perry? "The reason why we have so many people living in poverty in this country is because we have a president who is a job killer," says Perry.
    But Rick Sanortum has a better idea: "It's the breakdown of the American family."
    This prompts some shouting in the audience, although it's not clear what's being said. Something about "gay in Iraq"?
    9.53pm: Finally: last questions – how can you relate to people's pain?
    Michele Bachmann: love is better than big government.
    Herman Cain: "I can understand people's pain because I was poor before I was poor."
    Newt Gingrich: "In recent years I have had relatives out of work."
    Ron Paul: the free market and liberty is better than the welfare state.
    Rick Santorum: jobs (really)
    After this the candidates just recite their talking points and ignore the pain stuff.
    10.03pm: Thank goodness that's over: an utterly meaningless mish-mash of a debate, not a thread, no detail, no real discussion. Not a single memorable moment or comment. Terrible questions and weak moderating: Charlie Rose let the candidates walk all over him at times, the other moderators asked too many questions. Utterly repetitive, in both questions and answers.
    Otherwise it was excellent.
    10.04pm: Here are the final thoughts of our guest guru Felix Salmon:

    The best, most compelling, and most passionate moment of this debate came when the candidates were given the opportunity to ask questions of each other, and John Huntsman eviscerated Mitt Romney as a strip-and-flip leveraged-buyout Wall Street plutocrat. Huntsman also gave the simplest and clearest final statement.
    But of course Huntsman is far too sensible to win the nomination, and the real question is whether Rick Perry could preserve a semblance of credibility on the fiscal front, faced with reasonably pointed and tough questions. And on that front he was blessed by being on a panel with the likes of Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain – next to those guys, anybody would seem sane.
    In all, this was a pretty dull and unenlightening debate: I doubt it's going to change anybody's fortunes at all. But I do hope that at some point a YouTube clip of Huntsman's attack on Romney will go viral. Because Romney is by far the most likely nominee at this point. And I doubt that Barack Obama will be able to bring himself to go for the jugular in that manner.
    10.29pm: Given the diet of mush in this debate, who won? Well, the best performer of the debate was, believe it or not, Rick Santorum.
    Santorum landed two sharp jobs, one each on Romney and Cain. He pointed out a flaw in Romney's glib stroke to abolish the Obama healthcare reforms – that some states wouldn't opt out, landing the rest with the bill. And he actually had a sharp question about Cain's much-touted 9-9-9 plan: that it involved a national sales tax, which most conservatives vehemently oppose.
    Bachmann also questioned the huge revenue hole that Cain's plan would produce, and she's right. Cain blew off both Sanorum and Bachmann – but the objections they raised may shine a light on the ludicrous nature of Cain's plan, which is really just a mystery wrapped in a soundbite. Cain was also forced to backpedal furiously on his support for the Tarp bailout.
    Jon Huntsman did well is short bursts, reopening Mitt Romney's old wound about his career at Bain Capital as an asset-stripper. Romney had a well-rehearsed answer but there's fertile territory there for other Republican (or Democratic) candidates to plough. Similarly, Romney's continued support for Wall Street bailouts – which he ummed and ahhed around – could get used against him.
    Perry didn't do anything either way, and since the clock is running out he needed a profile lift. He didn't get one here.
    The good news for Perry and possibly Cain is that this debate had a low profile. How many people in Iowa or South Carolina even have Bloomberg TV on cable is a good question, whether they could bother finding it is another. Plus, the baseball play-offs are on (Tigers are leading the Rangers 5-1 in the 7th innings), as well as a new episode of NCIS.
    Next stop is the debate next week, on Wednesday. That will be on CNN – which doesn't have a great track record in running debates but the greater visibility and wider range of topics must be an improvement.
    Good night and thank you for reading.
    10.36pm: A final thought: somewhere in Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty is howling at the moon, saying: "Why did I drop out? Why?"
     
  5. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Mitt Romney leads the charge as Mormonism moves into the American mainstream[/h] With two Mormons contending for the presidency and a growing media profile, the church has never been so popular – nor so closely scrutinised




    • [​IMG]
    • [​IMG] Mitt Romney on a campaign stop earlier this year in Utah, where the Mormon church is headquartered. Photograph: George Frey/Getty Images

      The stone-clad building stands on a busy intersection in the heart of Manhattan's Upper West Side. There is little to distinguish it from any other modern place of worship in New York: it has a simple design, subtly decorated windows and a modest spire – one topped by a golden statue of a trumpet-wielding angel. And that is the difference: the angel, unfamiliar to most Christians, is called Moroni.
      The building is the Manhattan temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known around the world as the Mormons. There are other temples scattered throughout New York, serving a growing community in the city of one of the world's youngest but fastest-spreading faiths. Normally associated with the desert mountains of Utah, where it has its headquarters, the church's 6 million-plus members are rapidly rising to prominence in America's consciousness: two Mormons are running for the Republican presidential nomination. Indeed, Mitt Romney is a frontrunner in that race and by 2013 the US could have a Mormon president.
      There are already 15 Mormons in Congress, including Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid. Rightwing media firebrand Glenn Beck is a Mormon. So is rock star Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, contending with Romney for the Republican nomination. Mormons run businesses such as hotel chain Marriott International, and shows about them – such as the HBO drama Big Love – are television hits. For a faith that has often been persecuted, Mormonism, it seems, has never been more American.
      "I am not only a New Yorker and a Mormon, but I am proud to be so. I have raised a family here," says David Buckner, a business consultant who worships at the Manhattan temple. For Buckner, 48, who has called New York home since 1995, the city and Mormonism are a perfect fit. "There is a deep respect for different religions here in New York. People are respectful of our mores and values."
      That is not true everywhere. Robert Jeffress, a leading conservative Baptist minister with links to Romney's rival for the nomination Rick Perry, recently launched a blistering attack on the faith, calling it a "cult" and saying it is "not Christianity". Others appear to view the emergence of Mormonism into everyday life with nervousness: a poll in June found one in five US voters would oppose a Mormon candidate for president.
      Nor is that a reflection of concern only on the religious right. Mormonism takes a strong view against gay marriage: it has provided financial backing for campaigns to stop same-sex couples getting full married rights, notably in California in 2008. The church's actions triggered nationwide protests by campaigners.
      Fred Karger, a gay Republican running at the back of the pack in the 2012 nomination race, has become a vocal critic of Mormonism. "My major concern with the Mormon faith is the basic tenet of obedience. If a President Romney got a call from the president of the LDS [Latter Day Saints], he has no choice but to obey. It is obedience over family and country," he says.
      That comment echoes criticisms levelled at President Kennedy, when his Catholicism – and theoretical obligation to the papacy – came under attack. But it also raises the questions of just what Mormons believe in and where the swiftly spreading religion comes from. "In general, a lot of Americans know very little about the Mormon faith," says David Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron.
      It began in the 1820s in upstate New York when the church's founder, Joseph Smith, claimed to have discovered a holy work, inscribed on a set of golden plates, called the Book of Mormon. It included an account of Jesus appearing in the US. Smith drew together a group of followers and, fleeing persecution, began a movement west before being killed by a mob in Illinois. His successors settled in Utah and continued the church's controversial acceptance of polygamy, allowing men to take multiple wives.
      The modern church, however, has long condemned plural marriages, though it continues with several practices at variance with other Christian faiths. For example, many members wear special underwear, known as "temple garments". The church also places special emphasis on converting the dead: because of their belief that families are eternal, Mormons feel a duty to posthumously baptise ancestors so that all may be together in heaven. That is why the church is behind a huge genealogical effort to collect family histories.
      Sometimes boundaries are overstepped in the tracing of ancestors. The church became embroiled in controversy after Holocaust victims were found on its databases. In 2009, it was discovered that Barack Obama's recently deceased mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, had been posthumously baptised.
      Of course, while to non-Mormons much of this can seem strange, the same could be said about many traditional practices of other faiths. What Mormonism is dealing with is not its beliefs, but its newness. Other religions' prophets lived hundreds or thousands of years ago and have become an accepted part of human culture. Mormonism was born in the industrial era. Its expansion is coming at a time of iPhones and the internet, and its entry into the mainstream is bound to involve scrutiny of its agenda.
      "The church is eager for it to be better known and a bigger player. They see that as part of their churchly mission," says Matthew Burbank, a political expert at the University of Utah.
      The LDS is also nothing if not media-savvy. It has launched an ad campaign to "normalise" its image, with portraits of people from diverse backgrounds under the slogan "I'm a Mormon". "There's a national conversation going on about Mormonism and we want to be a part of it," says LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins.
      But it is not hard to find Mormons in Manhattan. Take Natalie Hill, 30, a Broadway dancer. She does not drink or smoke, which the faith discourages, but that does not interfere with her enjoyment of New York; she even pens a blog called Mormon in Manhattan. "People are sometimes afraid of what they don't know," she says. "I am just like every other New Yorker, but I have a deep faith that roots me in where I come from."
      She is happy to confirm that she wears temple garments – though not when she is working. "I know people call them 'magic underpants', but I don't wear them on stage," she laughs.

     
  6. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Republican candidate hit by third allegation of harassing women[/h] Herman Cain, who was leading polls for presidential nomination, accused of 'unwanted behaviour' towards former employee




    • Ewen MacAskill in Washington
    • guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 2 November 2011 23.16 GMT Article history
      [​IMG] Herman Cain has seen his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination thrown into chaos by the allegations. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

      Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain suffered a new setback on Wednesday when a third woman complained about his alleged behaviour towards female staff.
      The fresh accusation came after a fraught day in which Cain, attempting to push ahead with a planned campaign schedule as normal, showed signs of stress, coming close to losing his temper with a pack of journalists pursuing him.
      Although the latest opinion poll puts him on 30%, well ahead of his nearest rival, Mitt Romney on 23%, in the battle for the party's presidential nomination, it was taken mainly before the row had developed. There is no evidence yet whether support for him has started to drain away.
      But the relentless drip of disclosures about alleged sexual harassment and his failure to stick to a single version of events has totally disrupted his campaign. He had hoped to spend three days in the Washington DC area getting across his message on jobs, health and other issues.
      However, he has been dogged by reporters since Politico reported on Sunday complaints from two women about his behaviour while working at the National Restaurant Association, where he was chief executive in the late 1990s. They apparently reached financial settlements in return for signing confidentiality agreements.
      A third former employee told the Associated Press on Wednesday she had also considered filing a complaint about what she described as his alleged aggressive and unwanted behaviour. The employee, who requested anonymity, claiming she feared retaliatory action, said Cain had invited her to his corporate apartment outside of work hours.
      The issue seems unlikely to die down quickly. A lawyer for one of the original two women, Joel Bennett, was scheduled to speak to his client on Wednesday night to discuss lodging a request with the restaurant association to release her from her promise to remain silent. Bennett has said his client does not agree with Cain's version of events.
      The woman may be unwilling to give up her anonymous status and direct Bennett not to pursue it. But if she does, Cain will face a dilemma.
      He will come under pressure to give his assent to the association to lift the settlement that binds the women to silence. He has so far declined to say whether he is prepared to do this.
      After a campaign event in Alexandria, Virginia, early on Wednesday, the normally genial campaigner turned on reporters, telling them not to bother asking about the sexual allegations. When a reporter shouted out a question, Cain said: "What did I say? Excuse me. Excuse me."
      Conservative writer Quin Hillyer, in an American Spectator blog, said: "Look, if you are running for president and you know that two such allegations (even if totally untrue) were lodged against you, you darn well ought to have not only been prepared to discuss them but also to pre-emptively air them out – and if there is truth to them, you have no business running for president."
      As well as searching for fresh details about Cain's alleged behaviour towards women, a media hunt is underway for the original source of the information to Politico to establish whether it was placed by one of his Republican rivals in a dirty tricks operation.
      Texas governor Rick Perry potentially stands most to gain if Cain, who appeals largely to the same rightwing conservative base, drops in the polls. But his campaign spokesman denied involvement by any of his staff.
      A Republican consultant, Chris Wilson, who is working for a committee supporting Perry, claimed on KTOK radio in Oklahoma on Wednesday that he witnessed an incident in a restaurant between Cain and a female employee but did not elaborate.
      Wilson, who worked at the restaurant association at the time, added that "if she comes out and talks about it, like I said, it'll probably be the end of his campaign."

     
  7. Eiyer

    Eiyer JF-Expert Member

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    Illuminati bado wanataka kumtumia Obama!
     
  8. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Herman Cain sexual harassment accuser 'received $45,000 payout'[/h] More allegations emerge as Cain's team back off from claim that Rick Perry strategist Curt Anderson had planted the story




    • Ewen MacAskill in Washington
    • guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 November 2011 19.38 GMT Article history
      [​IMG] Herman Cain had suggested earlier this week that the woman had received a payout of two to three months' salary. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

      Fresh allegations have surfaced in the Herman Cain sex row with a report that one of the women involved had received a payout of $45,000, substantially more than the Republican presidential candidate suggested she had.
      The report undermined attempts by Cain, the Republican frontrunner in the battle to take on Barack Obama for the White House next year, to divert attention from a scandal that has dominated the media all week.
      Politico first reported on Sunday that two female staff had complained about Cain's behaviour while working for him at the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s and that both had left after receiving financial settlements.
      Cain, who denies sexually harassing the women, on Monday said he could not recall any such settlements. He told journalists at the National Press Club in Washington: "As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any kind of settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is, I'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation."
      But he later amended this to say he recalled one but it had only been for two to three months' salary, though he changed this again to say perhaps it had been six months'.
      Politico said Thursday that one of the women had received $45,000, believed to be more than just a few months' salary. This comes after the New York Times reported the other woman had received $35,000.
      In another setback, Cain's team backed off its claim that rival Rick Perry's team had originally planted the story in a dirty tricks operation. Cain had blamed a Perry strategist, Curt Anderson, as the source.
      But Cain's team on Thursday was forced into a climbdown after Anderson denied it. Anderson said he had known nothing about the sexual allegations until he read about them on Politico.
      He added that he continued to have enormous respect for Cain and would not speak negatively about him either on or off the record.
      Mark Block, Cain's campaign chief, said: "Until we get all the facts, I'm just going to say that we accept what Mr Anderson has said, and we want to move on with the campaign."
      Anderson had worked for Cain as a consultant in a failed bid for the Senate in 2004. Cain's team claim he was briefed at the time about the sex harrassment allegations.
      Perry's team suggested that another rival, Mitt Romney, might have been the culprit, noting that one of Romney's big donors was in the restaurant industry.
      AP reported Wednesday that a third woman had come forward to say she had considered lodging a complaint against Cain's behaviour towards her at the restaurant association. Cain's camp described the report as "baseless".
      One of the women in the Politico report, who has opted for anonymity, is considering issuing a statement through her Washington-based lawyer, Joel Bennett. Bennett said he is planning to approach to restaurant association to see whether it will free her from a pledge of silence on the issue so her statement can be released.
      In Iowa, a conservative radio talkshow host, Steve Deace, suggested Cain was compromised. No polls have yet appeared indicating that Cain's support was crumbling but Deace is influential in the state, where the first of Republican contests is due to be held on 3 January.
      Deace claimed Cain had made inappropriate comments about two of his female staff.
      After three days of being in the media glare in Washington, Cain remained in the city on Thursday intent on adopting a lower profile. At least one campaign event has been cancelled, but he has not yet pulled out from a radio interview scheduled for Thursday evening.
      Cain, throughout his campaign for the Republican nomination, has kept his family strictly in the background but, following the pattern of candidates caught up in previous sex rows, he may field his wife Gloria for the first time in public, with negotiations underway for a possible television interview on Friday.
      The former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza is the surprise candidate of the Republican race so far, rising to the top of the polls in spite of having no political or foreign policy experience.

     
  9. trachomatis

    trachomatis JF-Expert Member

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    I support Herman Caiiiiiin!
     
  10. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]GOP set to embrace Mitt Romney as candidate who can beat Barack Obama[/h] The frontrunner exudes confidence as polls suggest he could seize the White House, reports Paul Harris in New Hampshire




    • Paul Harris in Exeter, New Hampshire
    • guardian.co.uk, Saturday 5 November 2011 23.23 GMT Article history
      [​IMG] A jubilant Mitt Romney is mobbed by media and supporters following his speech in Exeter, New Hampshire. Photograph: CJ Gunther/EPA

      Mitt Romney walked into the old Town Hall in the New Hampshire town of Exeter late last week already looking like an American president sent straight from Hollywood. He had the square jaw, the perfect smile and, walking beside him, his gorgeous blonde wife, Ann. He also had a speech that read like a horror movie and described an America in mortal peril of bankruptcy and social chaos.
      "If we keep spending like we are spending and borrowing like we are borrowing, at some point we can face what Greece faces," he told a room that was packed to overflowing.
      But Romney does not just look the part of president. In the race to be the Republicans' 2012 nominee, and challenge Barack Obama for the White House, Romney is riding high. And with Obama facing the challenge of a worsening economy and anaemic approval ratings, a growing number of commentators believe that the former governor of Massachusetts could be the next occupant of the Oval Office.
      He is the undoubted frontrunner in the Republican race, with the rest of the field scrabbling to be the sole "anti-Romney" candidate. One by one, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry looked likely contenders before their bubbles burst and support withered. Now the latest anti-Romney candidate, former pizza magnate Herman Cain, is mired in a sexual harassment scandal.
      With less than two months until Iowa and New Hampshire kick off the vital early contests, Romney is sitting pretty. More than a few of those 200 people inside the hall felt they just might be looking at their nominee: their great hope of making Obama a one-term president. "He has the money. He has the experience. Romney is the most well-rounded candidate," said Rene Bonnin, 63, a local retired naval worker.
      The 2011 version of Romney appears different to the man who failed to win the 2008 nomination. That Romney, whose team resurrected the unflattering nickname from his business days of "Sweaty Armpit Mitt", was a ditherer, uncertain and overly cautious. This Romney, while hardly the greatest politician of his day, is forceful, calm and heading a campaign that has shown quiet ruthlessness.
      His stump speech is a carefully crafted piece of work designed to scare more than inspire, but in America's current Age of Anxiety that is more than enough to sound effective. He acknowledges the struggles of America's middle class, the increasing rates of poverty and high unemployment. America is threatened, he says, and only he can stop it.
      "The concept of America needing a bailout is hard to think about. There is no nation big enough to save us," he told the Exeter crowd.
      Romney's campaign is based around his experience in the private sector and how he turned around Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. He has coupled this with a vehement anti-government agenda designed to appeal to the Tea Party activists who drove the party to victory in the 2010 midterm elections. In Exeter, he vowed to slash federal government by 10%, reduce foreign aid and end Obama's healthcare reforms.
      But, in such company as Bachmann, Cain and Perry, anti-government sentiments are common. What has made Romney so formidable is that – unlike his primary foes – he has been through this process before. What few scandals lie in Romney's past, such as once hiring a gardening firm that employed illegal immigrants, are old news. Romney's secret strength is that he has made no headlines. "He's been thoroughly vetted and other candidates have not," said Steve Mitchell, chairman of Republican polling firm Mitchell Research.
      But Romney's path still has obstacles. Many conservatives distrust him. Ryan Rhodes, founder of an Iowa Tea Party group, said: "Mitt Romney is still the east coast liberal he has always been. I am not going to campaign for him."
      His other problem is with the religious right. Many there distrust Romney's Mormon religion, seeing it as outside the bounds of mainstream Christian theology. Overall, this explains why Romney's support in national Republican polls rarely tops 25%.
      "A lot of people out there can't make up their minds about him yet," said Patrick Griffin, a political consultant to numerous Republican campaigns and now an expert at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St Anselm's College. But there is one thing nearly all Republicans agree on: what will be the main issue in the coming contest with Obama. "The economy," said Scott Filiauld, a 46-year-old owner of a local software firm. Even in Exeter, with its quaint main street lined with antique shops and prosperous-looking homes, the times are tough, with little optimism of a recovery any time soon.
      The economic facts do indeed paint a grim picture. Unemployment is stubbornly stuck around 9%. The number of Americans living in poverty is put at a staggering 46 million. Worst of all, the US could easily double-dip back into recession. Romney, like other Republicans, puts the blame on the vast American deficit and government spending. Obama pins the blame on previous governments deregulating Wall Street and the actions of big banks. But the unwritten rule of American politics is that the president is responsible for the state of the economy: good or bad, fairly or unfairly. "If you are the White House and looking at this economy, then you can't be happy," said Mitchell.
      Obama also faces a highly motivated and angry Republican base, coupled with a disenchanted wing of his own party. Current polls reveal the extent of his task. A CBS poll found that only 21% of Americans thought the country was going in the right direction. A survey from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut showed that 54% of respondents thought Obama did not deserve a second term.
      In a Gallup poll, Romney tied Obama on 47% nationally and was 1% up in swing states. One key thing to emerge from that last poll was that Romney was a better performer against Obama than Perry or Cain. "Romney is not every Republican's first choice but he is going to be an acceptable choice," said Griffin. The very things that can hurt Romney in this primary – his moderate policies as governor of Massachusetts – could help in a presidential election where it will be hard to paint him as an extremist. Romney is already the subject of Democratic attack ads seeking to paint him as uncaring and too pro-Wall Street. But to many experts that only shows how much they fear him.
      After Romney's speech in Exeter, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu urged the crowd to spread the word about the candidate. "Mitt Romney is the man this country needs to be the next president," he said. Then, as people rushed forward to grab autographs, the man who would be president tried to leave. It took him a full 20 minutes to get to a door just 10 paces away.

     
  11. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Herman Cain's popularity sinks after sexual harrassment allegations[/h] Republican presidential candidate denies claims relating to when he was head of the National Restaurant Association




    • Karen McVeigh
    • guardian.co.uk, Sunday 6 November 2011 22.34 GMT Article history
      [​IMG] Herman Cain has suffered a drop in popularity after being accused of sexual harrassment. Photograph: Donna Carson/Reuters

      The allegations of sexual harassment that have dogged Herman Cain for a week have taken their toll on his presidential campaign, according to a poll by Reuters/Ipsos.
      In the first sign that the claims, which date back to a decade ago when he was head of the National Restaurant Association, have begun to damage his election chances, the poll shows a drop in his popularity among Republicans from 66% a week ago to 57%.
      Among all registered voters, Cain's favourability declined 5 percentage points, from 37 to 32.
      A majority of respondents, 53%, believe the allegations, despite his denials. Among Republicans, 39% believed them to be true.
      "The most striking thing is that Herman Cain is actually seeing a fairly substantial decline in favourability ratings towards him, particularly among Republicans" said Chris Jackson from Ipsos.
      The Republican presidential candidate, who had been enjoying a surge in the polls which made him the latest challenger to frontrunner Mitt Romney, is struggling to draw a line under allegations that he sexually harassed at least three female employees when head of the association. Two women reportedly received financial settlements after the incidents.
      Cain has given conflicting accounts of the claims since they were first published by news website Politico last week. He denies the allegations.
      However, an attorney for one of the women has since rejected his denials and said Cain had subjected her to "inappropriate behaviours and unwanted advances."
      Cain, speaking to reporters on Saturday night after a debate in Texas, said he would not provide any more answers.
      But fellow Republicans urged him to get everything out in the open soon.
      GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, said he needed to "get the information out and get it out in total."
      "Legitimate questions have been raised and that information has to come forward", he said.
      Haley Barbour, Republican governor of Mississippi, also weighed in, suggesting that Cain needed to clear the air before moving on.
      "What he wants to do is get back on message," Barbour said, "and the way to do that is to get all the facts on the table and get it behind him."
      Fellow presidential candidate Ron Paul said that the media's coverage of the allegations were distracting voters from more important issues.
      "The media blew this way out of proportion" he said on Fox News Sunday.

     
  12. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Woman Accuses Cain of Groping; He Denies Charge
    [/h] [h=6]By JIM RUTENBERG and MICHAEL D. SHEAR[/h] [h=6]Published: November 7, 2011 [/h]
    [​IMG]



    Herman Cain said he would offer a formal defense Tuesday against allegations from a woman who said Mr. Cain made an unwanted and rough physical advance on her 14 years ago when he was the chief of the National Restaurant Association.

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Michael Appleton for The New York Times[/h] Sharon Bialek spoke about an incident with Herman Cain.



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    [h=6]Spencer Platt/Getty Images[/h] Ms. Bialek appeared at the Friars Club in New York on Monday to describe a 1997 encounter with Mr. Cain.


    The woman, Sharon Bialek, said Monday that Mr. Cain had made the advance after she asked him for employment help in 1997 after being fired from the association's education foundation.
    "There is not an ounce of truth in all of these accusations," Mr. Cain said in a jovial interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC, where the highly charged issue was discussed by the host in the mostly humorous terms typical of late night television. "That's why I'm willing to do a press conference tomorrow," Mr. Cain said, "to set the record straight."
    Calling himself "disgusted" by the allegations, Mr. Cain said that after sitting through Ms. Bialek's briefing, his wife, Gloria, said, "The things that woman described - that doesn't even sound like you and I've known you for forty-five years."
    Ms. Bialek reiterated the charges in a round of television appearances late Monday and early Tuesday and explained her decision to come forward, putting a public face and name to accusations against Mr. Cain, a presidential candidate.
    After taking her out for a night on the town in Washington, she said, he suggested she engage with him sexually in return for his assistance - seizing her inappropriately when they were alone in a car and running his hand up her skirt.
    "Mr. Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?' " she said.
    Sometimes emotional, at other times clearly nervous, Ms. Bialek said she decided to speak publicly to support the other women who have made accusations against Mr. Cain but who will not reveal their names, because of either fear or legal agreements to stay quiet.
    Mr. Cain's campaign immediately denied her account and said Mr. Cain had not harassed anyone, questioning the woman's motives.
    Ms. Bialek was the first accuser to publicly allege physical contact on Mr. Cain's part, challenging his descriptions of misunderstandings about jokes and his denials that he had harassed anyone.
    "I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean," she said.
    Her appearance on Monday propelled another accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct against Mr. Cain to center stage in the Republican presidential nominating contest.
    A new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal showed him continuing to run at the front of the Republican presidential pack.
    The latest accusation was met with further calls from some conservative leaders for Mr. Cain to explain himself more fully, and with a mix of chagrin and defiance from some of his supporters, who blamed the news media for fueling the controversy.
    Ms. Bialek, a Republican from Chicago, is the fourth woman known to have leveled an accusation of sexual harassment against Mr. Cain; she was the first to speak publicly about it, or even to share her identity, though she offered little corroboration beyond two affidavits from unnamed friends who said she told them about the encounter at the time.
    In announcing the news conference planned for Tuesday, the Cain campaign released a toughly worded statement saying the allegations were coming from "a woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy." It noted, "there is no record, nor even a complaint filed" on the alleged incident.
    It was the most forceful response yet by Mr. Cain to one of his accusers, and it followed vows that he would no longer speak about the matter. The decision to take on Ms. Bialek underscored the added weight she brought to her charge by telling her story in person.

    • 1
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    Reporting was contributed by Mike McIntire, Ashley Parker, Trip Gabriel and John Schwartz.

     
  13. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Woman Accuses Cain of Groping; He Denies Charge
    [/h] [h=6]By JIM RUTENBERG and MICHAEL D. SHEAR[/h] [h=6]Published: November 7, 2011 [/h]
    [​IMG]



    Herman Cain said he would offer a formal defense Tuesday against allegations from a woman who said Mr. Cain made an unwanted and rough physical advance on her 14 years ago when he was the chief of the National Restaurant Association.

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Michael Appleton for The New York Times[/h] Sharon Bialek spoke about an incident with Herman Cain.



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    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Spencer Platt/Getty Images[/h] Ms. Bialek appeared at the Friars Club in New York on Monday to describe a 1997 encounter with Mr. Cain.


    The woman, Sharon Bialek, said Monday that Mr. Cain had made the advance after she asked him for employment help in 1997 after being fired from the association’s education foundation.
    “There is not an ounce of truth in all of these accusations,” Mr. Cain said in a jovial interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC, where the highly charged issue was discussed by the host in the mostly humorous terms typical of late night television. “That’s why I’m willing to do a press conference tomorrow,” Mr. Cain said, “to set the record straight.”
    Calling himself “disgusted” by the allegations, Mr. Cain said that after sitting through Ms. Bialek’s briefing, his wife, Gloria, said, “The things that woman described — that doesn’t even sound like you and I’ve known you for forty-five years.”
    Ms. Bialek reiterated the charges in a round of television appearances late Monday and early Tuesday and explained her decision to come forward, putting a public face and name to accusations against Mr. Cain, a presidential candidate.
    After taking her out for a night on the town in Washington, she said, he suggested she engage with him sexually in return for his assistance — seizing her inappropriately when they were alone in a car and running his hand up her skirt.
    “Mr. Cain said, ‘You want a job, right?’ ” she said.
    Sometimes emotional, at other times clearly nervous, Ms. Bialek said she decided to speak publicly to support the other women who have made accusations against Mr. Cain but who will not reveal their names, because of either fear or legal agreements to stay quiet.
    Mr. Cain’s campaign immediately denied her account and said Mr. Cain had not harassed anyone, questioning the woman’s motives.
    Ms. Bialek was the first accuser to publicly allege physical contact on Mr. Cain’s part, challenging his descriptions of misunderstandings about jokes and his denials that he had harassed anyone.
    “I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean,” she said.
    Her appearance on Monday propelled another accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct against Mr. Cain to center stage in the Republican presidential nominating contest.
    A new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal showed him continuing to run at the front of the Republican presidential pack.
    The latest accusation was met with further calls from some conservative leaders for Mr. Cain to explain himself more fully, and with a mix of chagrin and defiance from some of his supporters, who blamed the news media for fueling the controversy.
    Ms. Bialek, a Republican from Chicago, is the fourth woman known to have leveled an accusation of sexual harassment against Mr. Cain; she was the first to speak publicly about it, or even to share her identity, though she offered little corroboration beyond two affidavits from unnamed friends who said she told them about the encounter at the time.
    In announcing the news conference planned for Tuesday, the Cain campaign released a toughly worded statement saying the allegations were coming from “a woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy.” It noted, “there is no record, nor even a complaint filed” on the alleged incident.
    It was the most forceful response yet by Mr. Cain to one of his accusers, and it followed vows that he would no longer speak about the matter. The decision to take on Ms. Bialek underscored the added weight she brought to her charge by telling her story in person.

    • 1
    • 2
    Next Page »
    Reporting was contributed by Mike McIntire, Ashley Parker, Trip Gabriel and John Schwartz.

     
  14. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]G.O.P. Field Attacks Obama Foreign Policy With Tough Talk on Iran[/h] [h=6]By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.[/h] [h=6]Published: November 7, 2011[/h]
    [​IMG]



    As United Nations inspectors prepare to unveil a new report on Iran's nuclear capabilities, some Republican presidential candidates have taken increasingly forceful tones on the issue, saying they would sanction or consider supporting an attack on Iran's nuclear program by either Israel or the United States.

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Rick Santorum, who was campaigning in Iowa last week, said that he would support a pre-emptive strike by Israel against an Iranian nuclear program.



    [h=6]Multimedia[/h]
    [​IMG] Interactive Feature
    [h=6] The Republican Presidential Field[/h] [h=6][/h]

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    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Gov. Rick Perry of Texas told CNN he would support Israeli efforts "up to and including military action."

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Michele Bachmann, who was also on the campaign trail in Iowa last week, has used strong language to refer to an Iranian threat to Israel.


    The party's hawkishness was evident last week as five major Republican rivals campaigned in Iowa. In an interview outside Des Moines, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was asked whether he would back a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program, and he then told CNN he would support Israeli efforts "up to and including military action."
    Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, described Iran as an "enemy" on Friday night in Des Moines at a dinner of almost 1,000 of the state's most important Republican activists. In an interview, Mr. Santorum said that he would "stand shoulder to shoulder" in support of Israel if it launched a pre-emptive attack and that he would also back direct American military support if requested by Israel.
    The issue holds particular resonance now amid numerous reports that United Nations inspectors will state this week that Iran has moved closer to being capable of building a nuclear weapon, and as Israel has been debating a more confrontational posture toward Iran.
    Broadly within the party, the focus reflects not only competition to be regarded as the strongest ally of Israel, but also a sense that projecting toughness on Iran may offer one of the few political openings on foreign policy that Republicans can use to attack President Obama. Republicans assert that he has been weak and too solicitous of the Iranian government, while administration officials believe they have orchestrated an array of sanctions and other efforts that have put great pressure on Iran.
    One candidate, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, flatly rejects a pre-emptive strike by American forces, absent "credible evidence" that Iran was planning an imminent attack on the United States, which Mr. Paul says would be highly unlikely. He says that the Iranian threat to the Middle East has also been overstated and that he favors better relations with that country.
    His spokesman, Jesse Benton, added that Mr. Paul "refused to condemn Israel's attacks against Iraq's nuclear facilities in the early 1980s and would not try to push Israel or tell them what to do."
    Two other candidates - Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Herman Cain - have in past interviews declined to state explicitly whether they could support a strike by the United States. But both have used strong words: Mr. Cain has suggested that he would equate an attack on Israel with an attack on the United States.
    And after a campaign appearance at Iowa State University on Thursday, Mrs. Bachmann warned, "Iran has stated once they gain a nuclear weapon they will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth."
    In a similar vein, when Mr. Perry was asked if he would approve a pre-emptive Israeli strike "even if it started a war in the region," he responded, "We cannot allow that madman to get his hands on a nuclear weapon, because we know what he will do with it."
    The comments by both candidates have their roots at least in part in a statement by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, six years ago that was translated as his saying Israel "should be wiped off the map."
    He did not say anything about using nuclear weapons, and Iran has denied seeking nuclear weaponry. The nature and meaning of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement has been hotly disputed ever since. Some officials say it shows that Iran's leadership wants to annihilate Israel, but other analysts say he was not calling for an attack or military action but for the collapse someday of Israel.
    Like the Obama administration, Mitt Romney, who leads the Republican field in many polls, would keep a military option "on the table" and use diplomatic and economic pressure. Mr. Romney also says he would order the "regular presence" of an aircraft carrier task force in the eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf.
    A spokesman added that Mr. Romney would seek "increased military coordination with and assistance to Israel in order to make clear to Iran that the military option is very much on the table, and increased Israeli preparation for a strike advances that policy."
    In response to a question four years ago, Mr. Romney said that if any military action were taken against Iran, "I don't anticipate that the kind of strategy we would pursue would be a ground-intensive, change-the-regime, change-the-government type of effort. I think it's more likely that other military actions would be in the nature of blockade or a bombardment or surgical strikes of one kind or another."
    In a recent foreign policy speech, former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah said he would consider using American force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And former Speaker Newt Gingrich said last Friday that while he would not "green-light" a pre-emptive Israeli strike - favoring instead efforts to replace the Iranian leadership - he also would not try to talk the Israelis down from such an attack.
    "I wouldn't," Mr. Gingrich said on CNN. "I mean, if the prime minister of Israel comes to the conclusion that the survival of his country's at stake, the idea that an American president's going to second guess him - you know, two nuclear weapons is a second holocaust."
     
  15. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]G.O.P. Field Attacks Obama Foreign Policy With Tough Talk on Iran[/h] [h=6]By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.[/h] [h=6]Published: November 7, 2011 [/h]
    [​IMG]



    As United Nations inspectors prepare to unveil a new report on Iran's nuclear capabilities, some Republican presidential candidates have taken increasingly forceful tones on the issue, saying they would sanction or consider supporting an attack on Iran's nuclear program by either Israel or the United States.

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Rick Santorum, who was campaigning in Iowa last week, said that he would support a pre-emptive strike by Israel against an Iranian nuclear program.



    [h=6]Multimedia[/h]
    [​IMG] Interactive Feature
    [h=6] The Republican Presidential Field[/h] [h=6] [/h]

    [h=3]Related[/h]

    [h=3]Blogs[/h] [​IMG]
    [h=3]The Caucus[/h] The latest on the 2012 election, President Obama, Congress and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.



    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Gov. Rick Perry of Texas told CNN he would support Israeli efforts "up to and including military action."

    Enlarge This Image
    [​IMG]
    [h=6]Daniel Acker for The New York Times[/h] Michele Bachmann, who was also on the campaign trail in Iowa last week, has used strong language to refer to an Iranian threat to Israel.


    The party's hawkishness was evident last week as five major Republican rivals campaigned in Iowa. In an interview outside Des Moines, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was asked whether he would back a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program, and he then told CNN he would support Israeli efforts "up to and including military action."
    Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, described Iran as an "enemy" on Friday night in Des Moines at a dinner of almost 1,000 of the state's most important Republican activists. In an interview, Mr. Santorum said that he would "stand shoulder to shoulder" in support of Israel if it launched a pre-emptive attack and that he would also back direct American military support if requested by Israel.
    The issue holds particular resonance now amid numerous reports that United Nations inspectors will state this week that Iran has moved closer to being capable of building a nuclear weapon, and as Israel has been debating a more confrontational posture toward Iran.
    Broadly within the party, the focus reflects not only competition to be regarded as the strongest ally of Israel, but also a sense that projecting toughness on Iran may offer one of the few political openings on foreign policy that Republicans can use to attack President Obama. Republicans assert that he has been weak and too solicitous of the Iranian government, while administration officials believe they have orchestrated an array of sanctions and other efforts that have put great pressure on Iran.
    One candidate, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, flatly rejects a pre-emptive strike by American forces, absent "credible evidence" that Iran was planning an imminent attack on the United States, which Mr. Paul says would be highly unlikely. He says that the Iranian threat to the Middle East has also been overstated and that he favors better relations with that country.
    His spokesman, Jesse Benton, added that Mr. Paul "refused to condemn Israel's attacks against Iraq's nuclear facilities in the early 1980s and would not try to push Israel or tell them what to do."
    Two other candidates - Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Herman Cain - have in past interviews declined to state explicitly whether they could support a strike by the United States. But both have used strong words: Mr. Cain has suggested that he would equate an attack on Israel with an attack on the United States.
    And after a campaign appearance at Iowa State University on Thursday, Mrs. Bachmann warned, "Iran has stated once they gain a nuclear weapon they will use it to wipe Israel off the face of the earth."
    In a similar vein, when Mr. Perry was asked if he would approve a pre-emptive Israeli strike "even if it started a war in the region," he responded, "We cannot allow that madman to get his hands on a nuclear weapon, because we know what he will do with it."
    The comments by both candidates have their roots at least in part in a statement by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, six years ago that was translated as his saying Israel "should be wiped off the map."
    He did not say anything about using nuclear weapons, and Iran has denied seeking nuclear weaponry. The nature and meaning of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement has been hotly disputed ever since. Some officials say it shows that Iran's leadership wants to annihilate Israel, but other analysts say he was not calling for an attack or military action but for the collapse someday of Israel.
    Like the Obama administration, Mitt Romney, who leads the Republican field in many polls, would keep a military option "on the table" and use diplomatic and economic pressure. Mr. Romney also says he would order the "regular presence" of an aircraft carrier task force in the eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf.
    A spokesman added that Mr. Romney would seek "increased military coordination with and assistance to Israel in order to make clear to Iran that the military option is very much on the table, and increased Israeli preparation for a strike advances that policy."
    In response to a question four years ago, Mr. Romney said that if any military action were taken against Iran, "I don't anticipate that the kind of strategy we would pursue would be a ground-intensive, change-the-regime, change-the-government type of effort. I think it's more likely that other military actions would be in the nature of blockade or a bombardment or surgical strikes of one kind or another."
    In a recent foreign policy speech, former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah said he would consider using American force to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. And former Speaker Newt Gingrich said last Friday that while he would not "green-light" a pre-emptive Israeli strike - favoring instead efforts to replace the Iranian leadership - he also would not try to talk the Israelis down from such an attack.

    "I wouldn't," Mr. Gingrich said on CNN. "I mean, if the prime minister of Israel comes to the conclusion that the survival of his country's at stake, the idea that an American president's going to second guess him - you know, two nuclear weapons is a second holocaust."
     
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    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]The Serious One[/h] [h=6]By DAVID BROOKS[/h] [h=6]Published: November 7, 2011[/h]
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    In the Marx Brothers movie that is the Republican presidential race, Mitt Romney is Zeppo. He doesn't spin out one-liners. He's not the rambunctious one. He's just the earnest, good-looking guy who wants to be appreciated.

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    But Romney continues to run an impressive presidential campaign. Last week, while the Twitterverse was entranced by Herman Cain, Romney delivered his most important speech yet. It was politically astute and substantively bold, a quality you don't automatically associate with the Romney campaign. Romney grasped the toughest issue - how to reform entitlements to avoid a fiscal catastrophe - and he sketched out a sophisticated way to address it.
    The speech was built around the theme that government should be simpler, smarter and smaller. First, he established his bona fides. Romney reminded his listeners that when he went to work at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, he inherited a $370 million deficit. He left behind a $100 million surplus that went into an endowment fund.
    Then he argued that over the decades government has become bloated and lethargic. In World War II, the Navy commissioned 1,000 ships a year and had 1,000 employees in the purchasing department. Today, Romney said, we commission nine ships a year but have 24,000 employees in the department.
    Romney then laid out a measured fiscal strategy, starting with a promise to bring federal spending down to 20 percent of gross domestic product, which is about the precrisis average. He then turned to entitlements.
    Over the past several months, Romney has been vague on this subject. The general view among the cognoscenti was that he was being cautious and careerist. Why risk angering voters with plans to cut Social Security and Medicare?
    But the fact is that you are not a serious presidential candidate in 2012 unless you have a specific method to reform these programs. Medicare costs are devouring the federal budget. The country can't wait another four years to address this problem.
    A few weeks ago, Romney seemed to realize this. He sent out senior policy aides and close advisers to harvest the best entitlement reform ideas from the conservative policy johnnies. The experts were impressed. The Romney campaign operates like a smooth-running White House, with a process to identify the core issues, cull ideas and present options to the candidate.
    In his speech, Romney proposed some sensible Social Security reforms: gradually raise the retirement age and slow the growth of benefits for richer retirees. His Medicare plan is more radical because the problems are more fundamental.
    Medicare's central problem is that it institutionalizes the fee-for-service payment system, which rewards providers for the quantity of services provided, regardless of quality, outcome or cost. (For a summary of the best conservative thinking on this, read Yuval Levin's essay "The Medicare Monster" in the Sept. 26 issue of The Weekly Standard.)
    True Medicare reform replaces the fee-for-service system with premium support. Government gives people money, rising slowly over time, to shop around for their own private insurance plans. The system would reward efficiency and quality, not just quantity. Competition between providers would unleash a wave of innovation.
    Romney proposed keeping Medicare just as it is for everybody currently in or close to the system. But he would slowly introduce a premium support system, with less-affluent beneficiaries receiving more support than more-affluent ones.
    Many reporters claimed that the Romney approach is similar to the Paul Ryan plan. It's actually closer to the plan that Pete Domenici, a former Republican senator, and Alice Rivlin, a former Clinton budget chief, devised. Romney would create a premium support system, but he would also give seniors the option of a government-run insurance plan that works a lot like the current fee-for-service Medicare.
    This is politically smart because Democrats cannot legitimately charge that Romney is "ending Medicare." But it is also substantively smart because, while people like me believe that intense competition among private insurers will lead to more innovation and cost reduction, we can't really be sure. The Romney approach sets up a prudent experiment. If real competition works, seniors will migrate toward that. If it doesn't, seniors will stay in Medicare and conservatives will have a lot of rethinking to do.
    Romney's plan still has some holes in it (how fast would premium supports grow?), but it exemplifies the sort of big reformist vision that should be at the center of a serious Republican campaign. The U.S. is beset by sclerotic institutions: health care, the tax code and the education system among them. To thrive, these institutions need a burst of creative reinvention. The point, as Levin writes, is not to talk gloom and austerity but to confidently set the stage for an avalanche of innovation.
    Romney is running in an atmosphere in which it is extremely difficult to remain serious and substantive. Yet he is doing it. Democrats should not underestimate him.
     
  17. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Votes Today May Be Political Barometer for the 2012 Election[/h] [h=6]By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE[/h] [h=6]Published: November 8, 2011[/h]
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    Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to render their judgments on mayoral candidates in some of the nation's largest cities and on contentious ballot measures that involve workers' rights, reproductive rights and voting rights.

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    While the issues are disparate, they could give an indication of the mood of the electorate ahead of the 2012 presidential race. But if turnout is low, as expected, it would give these votes limited value in forecasting the results a year from now.
    One of the fiercest Election Day battles, with national repercussions, will be in Ohio, where organized labor is pushing to repeal a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees, including police officers and firefighters. The anti-union law, Senate Bill 5, was the signal achievement of Gov. John R. Kasich and his Republican-led Legislature. If voters overturn the law, they could revive Democratic hopes for 2012 in that vital swing state. Supporters see the law as an important reform in curbing labor costs in an era of budget deficits.
    A Quinnipiac University poll on Oct. 25 found that Ohio voters supported, 57 percent to 32 percent, the repeal of Senate Bill 5.
    The fight over the measure has become a proxy for a fight about the economy and whether Republicans like Governor Kasich and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin - who made an antibargaining law the centerpiece of his legislative package - have gone too far in clamping down on spending and have actually prevented a rebound.
    Ohio voters will also consider a proposed state constitutional amendment, strongly backed by conservatives, to give people there the right to ignore the requirements of President Obama's health care law, passed in 2010.
    Whatever the outcomes, the state will be a major battleground in 2012.
    Another closely watched, potential bellwether election will be in Virginia, where voters could return Republicans to power in the State Senate. This would extend the party's control to the entire state government and help build Republican momentum in advance of next year's presidential election.
    Political analysts say there is a strong possibility that Republicans could win the five seats needed to take control in Virginia's 40-member Senate. Democrats now hold 22 seats, and Republicans hold 18.
    David Rexrode, executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, said Republicans had been united in their efforts, in part because of the work of Gov. Bob McDonnell but also because of dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama.
    "Regardless of whether we take back the Senate or not," Mr. Rexrode said, "the overarching message is it's going to be a rough year for the president to try to win Virginia's electoral votes next year."
    The state has been entirely in Republican hands only once since Reconstruction.
    "Ohio and Virginia will give a hint of something that matters," said Larry Sabato, director of the nonpartisan University of Virginia Center for Politics. "Democrats need re-energizing, and in Ohio, it's looking like labor will win, maybe substantially. That would give Democrats hope."
    A Republican victory in Virginia could throw into doubt whether Mr. Obama could recapture some of the other states he won in 2008, like North Carolina. It could also enhance the chances of Governor McDonnell's being picked as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Mr. Sabato said.
    A ferocious fight is under way in Mississippi over a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose the nation's most restrictive laws against abortion and birth control.
    The measure, S.B. 5, which defines "personhood" as starting from the moment of fertilization, declares a fertilized egg to be a legal person. It would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest; bar some birth-control methods, including IUDs and morning-after pills; and could limit in vitro fertilization treatments. The dynamics of the proposed amendment have been politically complicated: two candidates for governor have supported the measure, but several strong anti-abortion activists, as well as Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican who is leaving office because of term limits, have expressed skepticism about its wording, with some worried that it could backfire on conservatives' efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

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  18. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Votes Today May Be Political Barometer for the 2012 Election[/h] [h=6]By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE[/h] [h=6]Published: November 8, 2011[/h]
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    Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to render their judgments on mayoral candidates in some of the nation’s largest cities and on contentious ballot measures that involve workers’ rights, reproductive rights and voting rights.

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    While the issues are disparate, they could give an indication of the mood of the electorate ahead of the 2012 presidential race. But if turnout is low, as expected, it would give these votes limited value in forecasting the results a year from now.
    One of the fiercest Election Day battles, with national repercussions, will be in Ohio, where organized labor is pushing to repeal a law limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees, including police officers and firefighters. The anti-union law, Senate Bill 5, was the signal achievement of Gov. John R. Kasich and his Republican-led Legislature. If voters overturn the law, they could revive Democratic hopes for 2012 in that vital swing state. Supporters see the law as an important reform in curbing labor costs in an era of budget deficits.
    A Quinnipiac University poll on Oct. 25 found that Ohio voters supported, 57 percent to 32 percent, the repeal of Senate Bill 5.
    The fight over the measure has become a proxy for a fight about the economy and whether Republicans like Governor Kasich and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — who made an antibargaining law the centerpiece of his legislative package — have gone too far in clamping down on spending and have actually prevented a rebound.
    Ohio voters will also consider a proposed state constitutional amendment, strongly backed by conservatives, to give people there the right to ignore the requirements of President Obama’s health care law, passed in 2010.
    Whatever the outcomes, the state will be a major battleground in 2012.
    Another closely watched, potential bellwether election will be in Virginia, where voters could return Republicans to power in the State Senate. This would extend the party’s control to the entire state government and help build Republican momentum in advance of next year’s presidential election.
    Political analysts say there is a strong possibility that Republicans could win the five seats needed to take control in Virginia’s 40-member Senate. Democrats now hold 22 seats, and Republicans hold 18.
    David Rexrode, executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, said Republicans had been united in their efforts, in part because of the work of Gov. Bob McDonnell but also because of dissatisfaction with Mr. Obama.
    “Regardless of whether we take back the Senate or not,” Mr. Rexrode said, “the overarching message is it’s going to be a rough year for the president to try to win Virginia’s electoral votes next year.”
    The state has been entirely in Republican hands only once since Reconstruction.
    “Ohio and Virginia will give a hint of something that matters,” said Larry Sabato, director of the nonpartisan University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Democrats need re-energizing, and in Ohio, it’s looking like labor will win, maybe substantially. That would give Democrats hope.”
    A Republican victory in Virginia could throw into doubt whether Mr. Obama could recapture some of the other states he won in 2008, like North Carolina. It could also enhance the chances of Governor McDonnell’s being picked as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Mr. Sabato said.
    A ferocious fight is under way in Mississippi over a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose the nation’s most restrictive laws against abortion and birth control.
    The measure, S.B. 5, which defines “personhood” as starting from the moment of fertilization, declares a fertilized egg to be a legal person. It would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest; bar some birth-control methods, including IUDs and morning-after pills; and could limit in vitro fertilization treatments. The dynamics of the proposed amendment have been politically complicated: two candidates for governor have supported the measure, but several strong anti-abortion activists, as well as Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican who is leaving office because of term limits, have expressed skepticism about its wording, with some worried that it could backfire on conservatives’ efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

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  19. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

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    [h=1]Top Obama Aide Relinquishes Some Duties[/h] [h=6]By MARK LANDLER[/h] [h=6]Published: November 8, 2011 [/h]
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    This article is by Helene Cooper, Mark Landler and Jeff Zeleny.

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    WASHINGTON - A year before Election Day, President Obama has realigned the West Wing to consolidate power among his closest and most trusted campaign advisers, putting Pete Rouse, a confidant with decades of Capitol Hill experience, at the center of White House operations.
    Mr. Obama began the realignment a month ago, administration officials said, when he asked Mr. Rouse to write a strategic plan for the final year of his term with a focus on whether all corners of the administration were delivering a cohesive message. The president concluded that they were not and that Mr. Rouse could solve the problem by resuming some of the duties he had performed during the first two years of the administration, before the arrival of the current chief of staff, William M. Daley.
    On Monday, Mr. Daley announced during a staff meeting that he will turn over several major responsibilities, including some of the day-to-day management of the West Wing, to Mr. Rouse. Mr. Daley, friends, associates and administration officials say, has never been a detail-oriented manager, and he was in favor of the change.
    But the reshuffling also reflects two fundamental truths about Mr. Obama's struggle to run the White House and his re-election campaign when the economy remains disappointingly weak and Republicans have little interest in his proposals.
    First, it is extraordinarily difficult for any outsider to penetrate Mr. Obama's close-knit inner circle, which is dominated by David Plouffe, Valerie Jarrett, and other advisers who forged relationships during the 2008 campaign.
    And second, Mr. Daley was hired to do a job that no longer exists: finding common ground with Congressional Republicans, who have become the chief antagonists in Mr. Obama's re-election narrative.
    The realignment inside the West Wing is likely to have little strategic impact on the president's re-election bid, which is overseen by Jim Messina in the campaign headquarters in Chicago, and by Mr. Plouffe, a senior adviser and top political strategist to the president. But the elevation of Mr. Rouse is intended to improve the internal workings at the White House and to improve communication with Democrats on Capitol Hill, who were particularly irate about an interview with Politico in which Mr. Daley seemed to lump Congressional Democrats with Republicans as obstructionist.
    The relationship between Mr. Obama and Mr. Rouse, who keeps an extraordinarily low profile, goes back to Mr. Obama's arrival in Washington, in 2005. Mr. Rouse had been a trusted adviser to the Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle, and went to work as chief of staff to Mr. Obama, then a freshman senator.
    The fact that Mr. Rouse would take the job at the time reflected the high expectations for Mr. Obama's career, and Mr. Rouse has been one of Mr. Obama's most trusted confidants since. The president has repeatedly turned to him as a troubleshooter, including as interim chief of staff before Mr. Daley took over.
    In giving Mr. Rouse more duties, the president decided that he "wanted to make sure that everyone was rowing in the same direction," a senior administration official said Tuesday. "There has been some tension there."
    Aides said Mr. Rouse would serve in a role similar to a chief operating officer, who can carry out decisions without approval from other aides. Among other things, Mr. Rouse will coordinate the administration's message across its own departments and with Democrats and Capitol Hill. The reshuffling was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.
    One adviser said Mr. Rouse's knowledge of government, Capitol Hill and outside Democratic groups would allow him to be the "connective tissue," a role with which Mr. Daley has struggled because of his lack of deep relationships with members of Congress and a sense of the inner workings of the administration.
    "There was a sense that there wasn't the right glue on all of these issues," a senior administration official said.
    Mr. Daley took over as chief of staff in January vowing to turn around the insular culture of a White House where decisions were made by a handful of advisers, most of them from the 2008 campaign. A former banker and Clinton administration commerce secretary, Mr. Daley was supposed to reach out to business and Republicans in Congress, administration officials said. He said he would build a bridge between Mr. Obama and his cabinet, most of whom rarely interacted with the president.
    Mr. Daley helped oversee some successes, especially in foreign policy, such as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the American role in ousting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya.
    The economy's continued weakness is almost certainly a bigger problem for Mr. Obama than the West Wing organizational chart. Even with the reshuffling, Mr. Daley remains the chief of staff, with the corner office and presidential access that comes with the job, and will focus on setting the White House's major priorities. He will also serve as a liaison with the Obama campaign.
    Nonetheless, aides said Mr. Obama had been disappointed by his advisers' performance. Mr. Daley pushed particularly strongly for a deficit deal with Congressional Republicans this summer, a move that ended up looking naïve after Republicans again decided that they were not willing to raise taxes.
    But other officials - and Mr. Obama, who rose to national prominence calling for cross-partisan compromise - also supported pursuing such a deal. Still, the Politico interview two weeks ago incensed Mr. Obama and served as a public reminder that Mr. Daley has much less of a connection to Mr. Obama. Unlike many others in the White House, he does not owe his career to the 2008 campaign, in which Mr. Obama and his team - initially at least - took on the Democratic establishment.
    As chief of staff, officials say, Mr. Daley created a hierarchical structure that did not fit easily. About a month ago, he reinstituted an 8:30 a.m. meeting that he had once eliminated, in the hope of improving morale and better informing aides so they could do their jobs better.

    Mr. Daley also voiced his opposition to the president's re-election campaign being located in Chicago, according to people familiar with the discussions, but he was overruled.

    In the end, however, the change was less about Mr. Daley than it was about Mr. Obama and his longtime advisers, White House officials say.
    "They're going back to what they're comfortable with," said one senior Democratic strategist.
     
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    Herman Cain vows to fight on Republican candidate for presidential nomination will not pull out of race despite fresh allegations of sexual harassment reddit this Ewen MacAskill in Washington The Guardian, Wednesday 9 November 2011 Article history Herman Cain republican nomination Herman Cain has led many opinion polls in the race to be the Republican nominee to face President Barack Obama in next year's election. Photograph: Joshua Lott/Reuters The embattled Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has insisted he is not planning to pull out of the race despite a second woman coming forward to abandon anonymity and publicly accuse him of sexual harassment. The woman, Karen Kraushaar, a 55-year-old treasury official, said she wanted all four women making sexual harassment allegations to hold a joint press conference. Cain held a press conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, denying the allegations, in particular seamy details offered by Sharon Bialek, who accused him of forcing himself on her in a car in Washington. He said he did not remember either Bialek or the alleged incident. "I did not recognise the name, the face, the voice," he said. He faces an awkward event on Wednesday night: a nationally televised presidential debate in which he can only hope his rivals will not seek to exploit the allegations on air. After a week of silence, his Republican opponents have begun to raise the issue. Cain denies all allegations made by Bialek and Kraushaar, as well as two other women, who have so far opted to remain anonymous. "The charges and accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn't happen. They simply did not happen," he said. Cain, 65, the former chief executive of the National Restaurant Association and of Godfather's Pizza, had established himself as the surprise frontrunner in the Republican race to take on Barack Obama for the White House next year. But the mounting accusations have seen his poll lead beginning to erode. The press conference in Arizona was billed by his campaign team as an opportunity to clear the air. But Cain failed to put the issue to rest. His campaign began to lose any vestiges of dignity when Cain, responding to a reporter, agreed to take a lie-detector test. Although he said he did not recall Bialek, he admitted he remembered Kraushaar. Kraushaar, a public relations official at the treasury and an author of a children's book, tried to protect her anonymity last week, making allegations through her lawyer. But, after being outed by the media, she proposed joint action. "I am interested in a joint press conference for all the women, where we would all be together with our attorneys and all of these allegations could be reviewed as a collective body of evidence," she told the Washington Post. The sight of the four accusers sharing a platform is potentially damning for Cain's dwindling chances of keeping his campaign hopes alive. Kraushaar said she had left the National Restaurant Association because of concerns for her safety. "When you're in a work situation where you are being sexually harassed, you are in an extremely vulnerable position. You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself a job someplace where you will be safe," she said. Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist, who employed Kraushaar after she left Cain's staff, said Kraushaar had described him as a monster. The press conference saw his credibility begin to crumble further. Having last week blamed rival Rick Perry for planting the sexual harassment story, and others, he switched to another target, what he referred to as "the Democratic machine". But he admitted that he had no evidence. He said that Bialek was lying and attempted to discredit her, saying she had financial troubles and was a "troubled" character. Cain's version will be seriously undermined if the Capitol Hilton Hotel, where Bialek claims Cain booked her a room and upgraded it to a suite, can find the booking record more than a decade later and will make it public. With regard to Kraushaar, Cain said he could recall her and that she had complained of sexual harassment. The only incident he could recall was one in which he had compared her in height with his wife. She had complained and left the National Restaurant Association with a financial settlement. Cain said his wife, Gloria, was standing by him. A poll of Republican voters conducted after Bialek appeared on television with her grope allegation found 39% believed her, while 38 did not – 40% said they viewed him less favourably. In spite of that, voting intentions fell only by a small percentage, with those saying they would vote for him down from 24% to 21%. What is damaging for Cain is that his rivals, having maintained a tactful silence for over a week, have begun to discuss the claims in public. Jon Huntsman was the first to break ranks, but he is a fringe candidate. Mitt Romney, who remains the Republican front-runner though Cain has topped him in several recent polls, said on ABC: "These are serious allegations … and they're going to have to be addressed seriously. I don't have any counsel for Herman Cain or for his campaign, they have to take their own counsel on this. "Any time there is an accuser that comes forward with charges of this nature you recognise this is a very serious matter and it should be taken seriously."
     
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