CBS News has announced that ‘America’s Comeback Team’ Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan will make a joint appearance this evening on ’60 Minutes’ tonight. CBS News chief and host Bob Schieffer will conduct the interview.
The taping will take place in High Point, North Carolina and will air @7PM Eastern.
Let’s go Rom/Ry!
UPDATE – Here’s the interview, minus the part edited out where Ryan spoke about his mother on Social Security:
Voters are fired up and opening their pocketbooks for Romney and Ryan!
Since the V.P. reveal yesterday morning, in the last 24 hours, online fundraising has reached $3.5 MILLION. Facts from Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey:
I contacted a source close to the campaign, and got the details:
Donors: over 41,000
Average donation: $85
Website visits: 700,000
The campaign saw an interesting phenomenon after the Ryan announcement. Over 30% of the visits came from mobile devices, something the source tells me the campaign has never seen before in this cycle. It shows that the selection of Ryan may have some significant upside among younger voters who may relate more to Ryan than to Obama, Joe Biden, and the administration that has cratered job prospects for this demographic over the last three years.
UPDATE: A HOMECOMING RALLY for R&R will be held this evening in Waukesha, Wisconsin at 6:05 PM Central Time. (Earlier today, the two campaigned in Mooresville, N.C. and High Point, N.C.) That’s going to be some celebration! A possible livefeed may be found here. C-Span will also air live coverage (and possibly FOX News, CNN).
* Hat tip to Paulee, Bailey, and Will
UPDATE 2 – Check out the crowd!
Overflow crowd at Romney/Ryan event in Mooresville, N.C. today.
(Photo Eric Fehrnstrom)
As speculation increased on Mitt Romney’s V.P. choice, the press corps and additional reporters closely monitored potential candidates’ every movement and camped out at their homes. This photo of Paul Ryan’s house shows the surrounding wooded area where, on Friday August 10th, he would quietly slip out the back and through the trees… (Photo Alana Semuels/Los Angeles Times/Aug 11, 2012)
Inquiring minds want to know when Mitt Romney decided his running mate was Paul Ryan and how he kept it under wraps…
Wonder no more; here’s the tale (and what a tale it is!):
MANASSAS, Va. – The story could have been ripped straight from the pages of a Cold War-era spy novel: There were sunglasses and baseball caps, decoys and back routes through the woods.
As presidential candidate Mitt Romney settled on his running mate, Paul Ryan, his campaign over the course of 10 days went to extraordinary lengths to conceal the information and meetings between himself and Ryan from the eyes of an eager press corps.
The search began not long after Romney wrapped up the nomination. On Apr. 16, he announced that Beth Myers, his senior advisor and a longtime aide, would lead his VP search committee. “I had one directive,” Myers said in a briefing with reporters on Saturday evening. “That the candidates must be qualified to take office on day one.”
Working in a secure room at campaign headquarters in Boston, for the next six weeks Myers sought advice from others who had been given the same task in other campaigns: Dick Cheney (his daughter Liz Cheney was also included), and former Secty of State James Baker. By the beginning of May, a small circle of advisors had crafted a short list of ‘possibilities’. Myers won’t say how many were considered, only that “there was never an issue of too few candidates.” After a series of phone calls, Romney had spoken to everyone on the list. Not one refused to be considered for V.P.
Myers and her trusted advisors issued questionnaires to the candidates and tracked research, policy information, public records, etc. All documentation was secretly ensconced in individual safes at Boston campaign headquarters so nothing could be leaked. No photocopies were made. (Note: Just this past Friday, reporters leaving Romney’s campaign headquarters saw a worker wearing a ‘Shred-It’ shirt carry five bags out of the building.)
By mid-June preliminary reports were presented to Governor Romney. Since some issues needed further clarification, he met with several candidates to resolve questions. Myers said Romney talked to a lot of people, consulting with his senior advisors and others. “A lot of people,” Myers said. “He talked with a lot of people.”
On July 2, she gave Romney the completed folders and he began to consider the options before he left on his overseas trip.
By June, Myers was ready to interview the top candidates, and a retreat for top donors in Park City, Utah, provided cover. The short-listers were brought in ostensibly to talk policy with Republican financiers, but also were able to slip away for meetings with Myers.
While Romney was vacationing in Wolfeboro, N.H. during the week of July 4, Myers made the trip north with a few advisors with plans to review the final dossiers. Romney postponed a final decision until after his trip abroad at the end of July, and assembled his top advisors for a final “gut check.” Romney then informed Myers of his choice on Aug. 1.
“This is Mitt’s decision. He gave me direction every step of the way,” said Myers, who said she opted not to share her thoughts with Romney on the advice of an old mentor.
The same day, they placed a call from her office to Ryan to arrange a meeting for Sunday, Aug. 5. Romney had not yet extended an offer.
Operation V.P. now suddenly increased in intrigue and intricacy. The media was closely watching Romney, his advisors, potential candidates’ homes, and tracking any and all comings and goings.
“We gave a lot of thought on how to make this work undetected,” Myers said.
The plot thickens…
Four days later, Ryan traveled to Chicago from his hometown of Janesville, Wis., where he flew from to Hartford, Conn. — both locations chosen to avoid media attention. Having been instructed by the Romney campaign to “dress casually,” he wore jeans, a casual shirt, a baseball hat and sunglasses.
In Hartford, Myers’ 19-year-old son picked Ryan up at the airport in a rented SUV and brought him to her home in Brookline, Mass., about 100 miles away. [The SUV was driven directly into Myers’ garage so neighbors would be none the wiser.] A short time later, Romney himself arrived at the house, along with four of his top aides: Ed Gillespie, Matt Rhodes, Bob White, and Spencer Zwick.
While the group entertained itself in Myers’ home, Romney and Ryan met for an hour privately in the dining room. When they came out, Myers said, “It was all set.”
“We talked about the campaign and how it would be run and talked about how we’d work together if we get the White House. What the relationship would be, how we’d interact and be involved in important decisions, but we talked about our families, what this meant for them,” Romney told reporters traveling with him on the plane Saturday night.
After receiving the call to meet with Mitt, Ryan later said he had a hunch he was going to be asked to be the Governor’s running mate. He said accepting the offer was an easy decision because “we’ve got to save the country.” However, as news spread of the shootings at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, located in Ryan’s district, the new V.P. nominee didn’t have much time to think about how his life had just changed. The same day the campaign had decided to roll out the vice presidential pick in New Hampshire was the same day as the funeral service for the victims of the tragic shootings.
As Beth Myers recounted the story, she said this is where the operation got a little complicated:
America’s COMEBACK TEAM… Standing on the deck of battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA, GOP presidential candidate, fmr MA Gov Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave to the cheering crowd. Aug 11, 2012 (Photo – Mary Altaffer / AP)
Congressman Paul Ryan…
Welcome to the GOP presidential ticket!
This is such a great day for Americans! We need to just soak it in…
Many others recognize this historic day, as well. Here’s what they’re saying about Romney/Ryan…
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR SELECTION OF PAUL RYAN:
“A Good Pick” … “A Choice To Have A Real Debate” … “Interested In Bold Reforms To Save America”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: “I’m Excited. … He Has A Sound Knowledge Of Our Economy.” “I’m excited to learn of Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan to be his VP running mate. He has a sound knowledge of our economy.” (Twitter.com, 8/11/12)
Former Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA): “I Think It’s A Good Pick … He’s A Good Guy.” SESTAK: “I think it’s a good pick for both campaigns, actually. … I served with Paul Ryan. He’s a good guy. He is a good family man.” (Fox News’ “Fox And Friends,” 8/11/12)
Club For Growth President Chris Chocola: “This Pick Sends The Message That Governor Romney Is Interested In Bold Reforms To Save America From Fiscal Collapse.” (Club For Growth, 8/11/12)
Democratic Strategist Joe Trippi: “I Think This Is A Great Pick. … I Really Think It Is A Chance To Have A Real Debate The Country Needs To Have. … A Bold Choice.” TRIPPI: “I think this is a great pick. It is a pick I would have urged Romney to take. … I really think it is a chance to have a real debate the country needs to have. Regardless of who wins it, I think Ryan helps put the issues, a lot of these issues front and center. Will make the fight on both sides on cuts entitlements and the things we need to have. That’s why I really– I commend Romney on the pick. It was a bold choice.” (Fox News’ “Cavuto On Business,” 8/11/12)
Republican Strategist Ed Rogers: “The Selection Of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Means Mitt Romney Is Going To Run A Serious, Policy-Oriented Campaign That Highlights Differences With President Obama.” (The Washington Post, 8/11/12)
Republican Strategist Alex Castellanos: Mitt Romney “Picked A Vice President To Help Him Fix The Nation’s Business, The Economy.” “[Romney] didn’t pick a vice president to help him fix his campaign’s business. He picked a vice president to help him fix the nation’s business, the economy.” (Politico, 8/11/12)
Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile: “It May Allow Us To Have A Substantive Conversation In Terms Of The Challenges We Face Long-Term In Terms Of Getting Our Fiscal House In Order.” (CNN’s “Newsroom,” 8/11/12)
Republican Strategist Ed Rollins: “It’s A Bold Choice. Over Time It’s Going To Be An Extraordinary Choice.” ROLLINS: “I think that absolutely right. … It’s a bold choice. Over time it’s going to be an extraordinary choice.” (Fox News’ “Fox and Friends Saturday,” 8/11/12)
Democratic Strategist Carter Eskew: “But Here’s Why I Like The Pick Of Ryan. At Least He Has An Idea … Maybe, Too, Democrats Will Be Forced To Discuss Their Alternative In Greater Detail.” “But here’s why I like the pick of Ryan. At least he has an idea … Maybe we can finally have a real discussion of the Republican agenda. And maybe, too, Democrats will be forced to discuss their alternative in greater detail.” (The Washington Post, 8/11/12)
Get the idea that more than a few Democrats are sick of Obama’s lie and blame campaign strategy?
As you read further about R&R, listen to this inspiring music which reflects what so many are feeling today – ENTHUSIASM, JOY, and HOPE for our beleaguered, but beloved nation! From one of my favorite composers, American genius John Williams, here is Summon the Heroes. (Aptly named; crank it up!)
NJ Governor Chris Christie: “With Paul Ryan on the ticket this is a team that understands the economic stagnation our country has been facing the last four years and the urgency with which we need to change course. The Romney-Ryan team is uniquely positioned to make the tough choices necessary to confront our fiscal challenges and get results.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH): “Mitt Romney has made a great choice in Paul Ryan. He is an accomplished public servant and a leading voice on the most pressing issues facing our country. Paul is one of my best friends in Congress and someone I have worked closely with as a former colleague on the House Ways & Means Committee. Jane and I wish Paul and Janna and their kids the very best. As the Chairman of the Romney campaign in Ohio, I look forward to working with Paul to ensure that the Romney-Ryan ticket carries Ohio and is victorious in November. Most importantly, as a member of the Senate, I look forward to working closely with a Romney-Ryan Administration to restore fiscal sanity and enact pro-growth policies to create jobs.“
Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) Unable to locate full statement at this time. He’s campaigning today for Romney/Ryan in Derry, NH): Pawlenty says he is excited about the pick and called Ryan a “respected leader and a bold thinker” about changes needed for the country. He added that Ryan’s roots in Wisconsin will help Romney win that key swing state. He says he’ll do all he can to help Romney win the election.
Former Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice: “Paul Ryan is a bold and inspiring choice as Governor Romney’s running mate. Congressman Ryan shares the belief that American leadership is vital to a more peaceful and prosperous world. He will help to restore America at home so that we can lead again because he understands that America is an exceptional and indispensable nation on the world stage.”
Senator Marco Rubio: “Throughout his life, Mitt Romney has made great decisions, and choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is a truly inspired choice. I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot. Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation’s challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama and other Washington politicians trying to tear him down.
“The Romney-Ryan ticket is going to win in November because it offers the American people visionary leadership to recapture the free enterprise spirit that has empowered countless Americans to build businesses from scratch and live the American dream. I’m excited about the visionary change a Romney-Ryan team will bring to Washington, and I look forward to campaigning with them this fall.”
Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA): “Paul Ryan is a tremendous choice to serve as the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States. In selecting a bold, innovative thinker, Mitt Romney has ensured that his campaign—and ultimately his administration—will be led by individuals with courage, determination, judgment, and wisdom. With this great announcement, America is on its way back. The Romney-Ryan team will get our fiscal house in order, our economy back on track and Americans back to work.”
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA): “Paul is a good friend and one of the smartest guys I served with in Congress. He has the courage of his convictions, which is what our nation needs.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: “Gov. Romney showed today that he is determined to confront a host of growing crises that President Obama has ignored. Where the current President has simply refused to act, Gov. Romney has now pledged to lead. Paul Ryan is an excellent choice, and a confirmation that Gov. Romney is serious about strengthening America’s economic future, tackling the deficits and debt that have skyrocketed under President Obama, and returning to a path to solvency and security.
“Americans are looking for leadership that has been lacking on the most critical issues facing our country’s economic future. The Romney-Ryan team can return much-needed leadership from day one and help bring real recovery to our economy, reverse the damage of the Obama economy, and take a serious approach to the Obama debt and focus on growing jobs—not the size of the government.
“President Obama’s term has been marked by overwhelming national debt, a first-ever downgrade of America’s credit rating, high unemployment and a disappointing lack of leadership when it comes to addressing spending. It’s time to change that, and Gov. Romney and Chairman Ryan will be ready on day one to give America the leadership it deserves.”
President George W. Bush: “This is a strong pick. Governor Romney is serious about confronting the long-term challenges facing America, and Paul Ryan will help him solve the difficult issues that must be addressed for future generations.”
Senator John McCain (R-Az): “Governor Romney and Representative Ryan are the strongest team to return America to prosperity and to defend our interests abroad. Paul Ryan has proven that he is fully prepared to address our nation’s economic challenges, which have only worsened over the last four years under the Obama-Biden Administration. I look forward to working for the election of the Romney-Ryan team this fall.”
Governor Mitt Romney and his Vice Presidential running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan
If your home is anything like ours, discussions of late have centered on the Olympic Games and whom Governor Romney would choose as his VP running mate and the timing of the announcement. Well, speculation is over; almost. This piece is published prior to the official event of the announcement.
Congressman Paul Ryan is an outstanding choice for many different reasons. Those of us that have researched and written to promote Governor Romney for years know him to be a strong, proven conservative leader. Is there any doubt now about his conservative vision for this ticket? No! We know Governor Romney as a man of great courage; Congressman Paul Ryan too is known for bold, assertive leadership. (See YouTube below for a glimpse of how Rep. Ryan is likely to handle any debate with Mr. Biden)
For the next two weeks leading into the Republican National Convention, we will be bombarded with details of Paul Ryan’s politics, leadership, background, families, etc. What do we know of this great American?
Character / Reputation
Ryan is a fighter who will never back away from a good scrap involving truth and he will fiercely defend against any of the many Obama elitist soothsayers and hacks like Burton. He is a passionate conservative – brilliant, articulate, energetic, and hard working. Many conservatives believe Ryan typifies the future of the Republican Party.
Families / Interests
One television news report from last night stated Ryan has 67 cousins living in and around Janesville, WI (his birthplace and current hometown). He is 42 years old, born January 29, 1970 to Paul, Sr. (lawyer) and Elizabeth Ryan. He is the youngest of four children; siblings include his sister Janet and brothers Tobin and Stan. Ryan’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all died of heart attacks between the ages of 55 and 59 (his father died when Paul, Jr. was 16). He is of Irish and German ancestry.
The Paul & Janna Ryan Family
Paul Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, almost 12 years ago. They have three children, Liza, Charlie, and Sam. They are Roman Catholic.
Ryan is a fan of the Green Bay Packers, a fitness enthusiast, and a hunter who enjoys hunting with bow and arrows. If he is like my Cheesehead friend, Steve Miller, Ryan considers Wisconsin “God’s Country.”
Education / Political Career
Paul Ryan attended Joseph A. Craig High School and earned a BA at Miami University of Oxford, Ohio in economics and political science (he originally wanted to be an economist). He was first elected as a United States Congressman in 1998 at age 28 and is currently serving in the House in his seventh term. He is chairman of the Committee on the Budget and a member of the Committee on Ways & Means and the Subcommittee on Health.
Representative Ryan is an active and committed mentor to up and coming Republican leaders; he has been instrumental in guiding several individuals in their successful campaigns to elected office at the federal level. He is one of three founders of the Young Guns Program. Prior to his election to the House, he served as a speechwriter to several elected and appointed federal officials.
WASHINGTON — Representative Paul D. Ryan strolls the halls of Capitol Hill with the anarchist band Rage Against the Machine pounding through his earbuds.
At 6:30 every morning, he leads an adoring cast of young, conservative members of Congress through exercise sessions in front of a televised trainer barking out orders. For fun, Mr. Ryan noodles catfish, catching them barehanded with a fist down their throats.
He may be, as a friend described him, “a hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but Mr. Ryan, 42, of Wisconsin, has become perhaps the most influential policy maker in the Republican Party, its de facto head of economic policy, intent on a fundamental transformation of the federal government.
That is not bad for a man who was once just another minion on Capitol Hill, working for a research group, then for a member of Congress, and moonlighting as a waiter at the Hill hangout Tortilla Coast and as a personal trainer at a gym. Co-workers at the conservative policy group Empower America admonished him for hanging his workout clothes out to dry at work rather than laundering them.
“It’s amazing to all of us because Paul was just an ordinary guy,” said A. Mark Neuman, an old friend.
Rep. Ryan and Governor Romney
Late yesterday, Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol wrote in The Weekly Standard,
Romney and Ryan bonded as they barnstormed Wisconsin in the days leading up to the state’s decisive April 3 primary. Over the course of their travels together, Ryan went from a small role as the guy who introduced Romney at their first event,to someone who shared the stage with him, taking some of the questions and bantering easily with Romney. The expanded role, Ryan told TWS in May, was Romney’s idea. “He knows how I talk and what I say. And I’m pretty clear about that stuff. I think he’s comfortable with that.”
Thursday, August 9th, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal published its main opinion column titled, “Why Not Paul Ryan?” – A strong endorsement of Representative Ryan:
Beneath it all you can hear the murmurs of the ultimate Washington insult—that Mr. Ryan is too dangerous because he thinks politics is about things that matter. That dude really believes in something, and we certainly can’t have that.
The case for Mr. Ryan is that he best exemplifies the nature and stakes of this election. More than any other politician, the House Budget Chairman has defined those stakes well as a generational choice about the role of government and whether America will once again become a growth economy or sink into interest-group dominated decline.
Personalities aside, the larger strategic point is that Mr. Romney’s best chance for victory is to make this a big election over big issues. Mr. Obama and the Democrats want to make this a small election over small things—Mitt’s taxes, his wealth, Bain Capital. As the last two months have shown, Mr. Romney will lose that kind of election.
To win, Mr. Romney and the Republicans have to rise above those smaller issues and cast the choice as one about the overall direction and future of the country. Americans tell pollsters they are anxious and unhappy precisely because they instinctively know the country is troubled in ways it hasn’t been since the 1970s. They know the economy is growing too slowly to raise middle-class incomes, while the government is growing too fast to be affordable.
Above all, Americans are hungry for leadership. They want leaders willing to take on the hard issues, preferably without the rancor and polarization that have defined Mr. Obama’s Presidency. But they will reward leaders who succeed despite the rancor, as Wisconsin voters showed by their huge turnout in support of Governor Scott Walker this year.
Whatever doubts Americans may have about Mr. Romney’s empathy or background, more of them will turn out for him if they see a leader with a vision and plan worthy of the current difficult moment. This is the kind of candidate and message that voters need to see in the Republican convention this month and into the fall, and it is the message that Mr. Romney’s choice of a running mate should reinforce.
Watch how Rep. Paul Ryan completely dismantles ObamaCare in front of national leaders including President Obama and Vice President Biden; he leaves them virtually speechless:
A look at Governor Mitt Romney's campaign bus last week in Iowa.
Romney is kicking off a six state bus tour this Friday. (Photo Jennifer Jacobs/The Register)
Check the oil and gas ‘er up! Road trip!
Governor Mitt Romney will be back in his campaign bus this Friday to begin a six state Believe in America: Every Town Counts five-day bus tour.
The kick-off takes place where it all began for him last June – at beautiful Scamman Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire. It’s where Mitt and wife, Ann, served up crock-pots full of her homemade chili to a large crowd of supporters. It’s also where the Governor, under blue skies and a blustery breeze, stood on a crop harvester bed, surrounded with hay bales, and announced his presidential candidacy.
Besides New Hampshire, Romney’s bus tour will carry him over highways and byways in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan, giving him the opportunity to meet with and listen to families and business owners in small towns.
Romney’s press release hit the unemployment nail on the head:
“For three and a half years, President Obama has paid little attention to the everyday concerns of the American people,” Mitt Romney said. “President Obama has offered no hope for the future, and he has left American families to bear the burden of his failed policies. Too many American families have experienced a lost job, faced foreclosure, or been forced to spend their kids’ college savings just to make ends meet. These are not statistics – these are our fellow Americans. In America’s small towns, you don’t find despair — you find boundless optimism. We know we can make America better, and that is why I am running for president.”
Henry Gomez from Cleveland.com points out how Romney is aggressively making his presence felt on turf where Obama has recently been:
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Republican Mitt Romney will sandwich President Barack Obama’s campaign appearance in Cleveland this week with Ohio events of his own, the latest example of cutthroat “bracketing” in this year’s race for the White House.
Romney will attend a private fundraiser Wednesday in Cincinnati, the evening before Obama’s speech at Cuyahoga Community College.
Romney previously bracketed an Obama trip by sending his campaign bus to Lorain County Community College in April, when the president delivered a speech at the Elyria campus. The following day, Romney campaigned miles away at a hollowed-out drywall factory in Lorain. The Republican challenger also came to Euclid last month, two days after Obama officially kicked off his re-election bid in Columbus.
‘Believe In America: Every Town Counts’ bus tour
• Friday, June 15 – New Hampshire
• Saturday, June 16 – Pennsylvania
• Sunday, June 17 – Ohio
• Monday, June 18 – Wisconsin and Iowa
• Tuesday, June 19 – Michigan
Residents in these six states will get to experience how much Governor Romney cares about the plight of ordinary everyday Americans and how much he wants to help.
If you missed it, The Gov was on FOX & Friends this morning to talk with hosts Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade. It was a quick, great interview :
When Carlson asked Romney about Obama’s press tour, which was a ‘clean-up’ response to his “private sector is fine gaffe”, he mentioned Obama’s ignoring the effect Obamacare is having on small businesses, Obama’s outlandish characterization of the state of the private sector, and the fact that 15% of Americans are unemployed, under-employed, or stopped working.
Romney: “The President is really out of touch with what’s happening in America.”
Kilmeade: “He says that you’re out of touch. He says that you want to cut firefighters, and teachers – that you don’t understand what’s going on in these communities. What do you say to that, Governor?
Romney: “Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers, and firemen, and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters, or policemen. So, obviously, that’s completely absurd. He’s got a new idea, though, and that is another stimulus – and, to have the federal government send money to bail out cities and states. Didn’t work the first time; it certainly won’t work the second time.”
Look below the fold to see a few photos of that happy day when Governor Romney announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination. ——-> (more…)
Check out the first paragraph of Mark Halperin’s article today on Time.com:
Between the Lines
With five months until Election Day, Barack Obama faces a grim new reality: Republicans now believe Mitt Romney can win, and Democrats believe Obama can lose … Last week’s anemic job-creation and economic-growth data was sandwiched between two Bill Clinton specials: in one television interview, the 42nd President lauded Romney’s business record as “sterling”; in another, he veered from the Obama line on the extension of Bush-era tax cuts … The failure to unseat Wisconsin’s Republican governor Scott Walker in a recall election was another bad sign for Democrats since it will rev up conservatives nationwide, including the kind of millionaires who gave big bucks to Walker’s effort … Veteran Democratic strategists from previous presidential bids and on Capitol Hill now wonder if the Obama re-election crew is working with the right message … The White House remains on a rough political trajectory, with a potentially adverse Supreme Court decision on the Obama health care law looming, additional bad economic news from Europe coming and more worrisome polling pending … Another danger for the President: the media freak show. Stalking that circus’ center ring is Matt Drudge, whose caustic website continues to help drive the news cycle with an emphasis on negative, mocking items about Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and their wives. The latest sign of Drudge’s potency: Ed Klein, the author of the virulently anti-Obama book The Amateur, was barred from major TV appearances and mostly ignored by the mainstream media, but the book’s prominence on Drudge’s website propelled it to the No. 1 slot on the New York Times nonfiction list.
Governor Mitt Romney speaks with supporters of Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker before making phone calls on his behalf at a phone bank in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. March 31, 2012 (Photo Darren Hauck/Reuters)
Romney supporters are tuned in to today’s lively political action.
Primary elections in five states, and a recall election with national implications in another state, are spurring voters to the polls.
Governor Mitt Romney officially became the GOP presidential nominee last week and voters will award additional delegates in California (172 delegates), Montana (26 delegates), New Jersey (50 delegates), New Mexico (23 delegates), and South Dakota (28 delegates).
We encourage Romney supporters to cast their votes in The Five today and show The Gov a lot of love with a resounding across-the-board victory!
Eyes are on the contentious recall effort (which began last November) against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. After months of acrimony over needed public union restrictions, which Walker campaigned on and enacted, the rematch with Milwaukee’s Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett (who Walker bested in a GOP sweep of the state in 2010), will be determined by voters today in The Badger State.
A couple of months ago, Governor Romney, accompanied by Rep. Paul Ryan, expressed his support for Walker during stops in Wisconsin:
Mitt Romney used a Wednesday tele-town hall with Wisconsin voters to give a strong endorsement to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who is fighting off a recall effort led by Democrats.
“Gov. Walker is, in my opinion, an excellent governor,” Romney said, according to a report by ABC News.
“And I believe that he is right to stand up for the citizens of Wisconsin and to insist that those people who are working in the public sector unions have rights to affect their wages but that these benefits and retiree benefits have fallen out of line with the capacity of the state to pay them.”
“And so I support the governor in his effort to rein in the excesses that have permeated the public sector union and government negotiations over the years,” Romney said.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, also talked about other states that have passed legislation aimed at curbing collective bargaining.
“The state of Indiana, even my home state of Massachusetts, has reined in the collective bargaining excesses associated with retirement benefits for future retirees,” Romney said.
Governor Romney praised Gov Walker as he traveled through small towns and cities across Wisconsin. He also stopped by a phone bank in Fitchburg, WI, and made calls on the embattled Governor’s behalf.
Walker is proving that struggling states can turn their economies around, and that fiscal conservatism works.
Walker eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and balanced the budget without raising taxes. He did it by asking public employees to contribute, like the rest of us do, to their healthcare costs and pension funds—a move which prevented teachers, firemen, and police from being laid off. Unemployment in Wisconsin is below 7 percent for the first time since 2008, and joblessness there is now below the national average. Plus Wisconsin’s public employee retirement system is now fully funded. Unfunded pensions are a big deal in many states, and could cost taxpayers in many states millions in new taxes.
…[R]ecently polled Wisconsin voters … found overwhelming support for many of Walker’s policies:
72 percent favor asking public sector workers to increase their pension contributions from less than 1 percent to 6 percent of their salaries. 71 percent favor making government employees pay 12 percent of their own healthcare premiums instead of the previous 6 percent.
Police and firefighters were exempted from the pension and healthcare adjustments but 57 percent of taxpayers say they should not have been. 65 percent say public sector workers receive better pension and health care benefits than private sector workers.
When asked what state and local officials should do if pensions and health benefits are underfunded, 74 percent favor requiring government employees to pay more for their own healthcare and retirement benefits. In sharp contrast, 75 percent oppose cutting funding for programs like education and 74 percent oppose raising taxes to help fund government worker benefits.
● Second reason:
The recall election spells big trouble for unions, especially public employee unions.
When recall supporters first garnered nearly a million signatures in order to get on the ballot, the unions were ecstatic. They’ve poured millions into the state and bussed in thousands of volunteers, but as the issues in the race became clear, the union position came across as greedy and unreasonable. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told Politico that if Walker wins, it will be “a significant blow to the labor unions,” and will definitely embolden other Republican governors to take on labor unions in battles over collective bargaining. There’s a chance Democrats will win one of four state Senate recalls, which will give them control of the state Senate and a way to put the brakes on Walker. But no matter what happens in the Senate, Walker’s success has already sparked a round of recriminations between union leaders and top-level Democrats, who are avoiding the state. Obama endorsed Walker’s opponent the night he won the primary, but other than that has remained silent; the Democratic National Committee has refused to give the state party any money for the cause.
● Third reason:
The recall fight exposes the flaws in the Obama campaign strategy.
Here’s how Kelly Steele, a strategist for We Are Wisconsin, the leading union-backed anti-Walker coalition put it a few months ago to Politico: “Scott Walker lied his way into office, and has since launched unprecedented attacks on Wisconsin’s working families, dividing the state like never before,” Steele said in an E-mail. “This historic recall is a … victory for Wisconsinites united to take their government back from wealthy special interests who bought and paid for Scott Walker and are dictating the terms of his extreme agenda.”
Sound familiar? Might as well be a page out of an Obama speech about Mitt Romney. Instead of defending the public employees unions’ position, We Are Wisconsin’s website now has talking points about the GOP “war on women.” Good grief.
… The left in Wisconsin is pitching an angry, populist message to voters. So is Obama.
… Scott Walker is a canary in a coal mine. If he wins, we’ll know that at least one state’s voters now view budget-balancing as something reasonable that needs to be done right. And we’ll know how they feel about the unions’ intransigence and angry rhetoric on entitlement reform. We’ll all be watching that canary on June 5 to see if it flies.
Walker’s Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch, and three Republican state senators are also part of the recall election today. A fourth state senator targeted for recall resigned; a candidate from each party is vying for her empty seat. Democrats only need to win one seat to gain the majority in the State Senate.
Ten days ago, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (shrill Chair of the democratic National Committee) admitted the Wisconsin recall is a test run for the presidential election this fall. Sensing a possible defeat, Obama distanced himself from the brouhaha, but managed to chirp a tweet today.
The good news is Governor Walker is polling at about 7 points ahead of his opponent. Today’s results in The Badger State depends on which side has the best ground game and voter turn-out.
Best wishes today to both of these great guys!
● Romney supporters are invited to join us on MRC’s chat forum this evening’s exciting election results.
Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) answers a question as Governor Mitt Romney looks on during a Romney rally at an oil company in Milwaukee, WI. April 2, 2012 (Photo Steve Senne/AP)
The third segment of Running With Romney, a series of potential VP interviews by FOX News’ Bret Baier (Special Report) aired today. The spotlight was on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan:
At age 28, Ryan was elected to Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district but he quickly moved up to become the youngest chairman of the House Budget Committee in 2011. Speaking about his budget plan, Ryan says, “We knew that if we offered solutions, that they were going to demagogue those solutions. But we feel that we have a moral and a legal obligation, that if we don’t like the direction the president’s taking the country, we should do something about it.”
Republican strategist Mike Murphy noted a downside if Romney chooses Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, saying, “Paul Ryan budget genius, very important in the Congress, good guy, Romney’s close to him, talks to him a lot. The downside is you nominate Paul, one, you take a real player out of the Congress. And two, you’re going to re-litigate the Ryan plan which has policy advantages but some political baggage.”
Ryan reiterated what he has previously stated when asked about becoming Romney’s running mate. “If they ask me to consider it, then I’ll consider it. But that’s months away from that kind of decision being made as far as I know. I like my job. I think I can make a big difference doing what I’m doing.”
Part 3 – Congressman Paul Ryan
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