Whacked with yesterday’s woeful jobs report, President Obama traveled to Minnesota to jazz up voters and remind America of his current economic stimulus strategy. He pushed his going-nowhere-in-congress mortgage refinance redistributionist strategy. You know, the one he hyped in his last State of the Union address.
Well, yesterday Obama upped the ante.
To prove he’s a real solutions guy – someone who really thinks out of the box – he went a step further by proposing a groundbreaking new idea…
“Buy furnace thingamajigs.”
“I assume there are some folks here who could use $3,000 a year,” Obama said. “Let’s get that done right now. That means they’re — you know, if you got $3,000 a year extra, that helps you pay down your credit cards. That helps you go out and buy some things that your family needs. Which is good for business. Maybe somebody will be replacing some thingamajig for their furnace. They’ve been putting that off. but they got that extra money, they might just go out there and buy that thing.” ~ Barack Obama, June 1, 2012
Oh, yeah. That’s the solution. Let’s get that done right now.
Reminds me of another one of Obama’s brilliant ideas.
In the summer of 2008, while running for president, Obama revealed his energy plan for America. A plan where “we could save ALL the oil they’re talking about getting off drilling”:
“Inflate your tires.”
Looks like this isn’t going to be another one of Obama/Biden’s “summers of recovery.”
It’s going to be the whizbang summer of distraction with doohickeys, whatchamacallits, whoseamajiggers, and thingamabobs.
The U.S. Labor Department shared discouraging news this morning.
In the month of April only 115,000 jobs were added to our economy. Economists had projected an increase of 160,000-170,000 jobs. This is a worrisome downward development.
“The labor market data confirms that the economy gained little momentum over the past six to nine months,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho USA.
At the same time, April unemployment dropped from 8.2% to 8.1%.
More people have thrown in the towel and dropped out of the labor force. They gave up.
Statisticians don’t include the ‘giver-uppers’ number in their unemployment data. Get this… 342,000 Americans stopped looking for work last month. The labor participation rate is the lowest its been since 1981. That’s a new 30 year low of 64.3%.
We’ve got a new American demographic – job-search drop outs:
● Mitt Romney was a guest on FOX & Friends this morning. Along with the foreign policy topic of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng and the Richard Grenell resignation, host Gretchen Carlson asked Romney about the latest jobs report:
“We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.
… It’s a terrible and very disappointing report this morning.
The President, in his first year in office, said that he would hold unemployment below 8% and we’ve had 38 straight months unemployment above 8%. This is the longest period of high unemployment that we’ve seen since we started collecting these records back in 1948. It’s a terrible record and it shows that the President’s policies have simply not worked. It’s taken far too long for our economy to recover.”- Mitt Romney
Additional jobs report data:
● Long-term unemployment continues to be a problem. The average unemployed American has been without work for 39.1 weeks, or about nine months. Over 40 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months.
● There are 7.9 million people working part-time involuntarily.
John Silva, chief economist at Wells Fargo added his thought on our shrinking labor force dilemma: “If there are less people working, then your potential for what the economy can produce is reduced.”
Look at the 86 million invisible unemployed:
Fifty percent of kids coming out of college can’t find jobs or work equal to their skills. Home prices, factory orders, retail sales, and construction orders are down.
Veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler wrote this today:
But the trend is clearly downward. This is a huge setback for the president, and if things don’t improve soon, a very bad omen for his reelection prospects. They’ll spin the 8.1 percent number at the White House, but they know they have a problem.
At this point in a recovery, the economy should be pumping out jobs. Something is very wrong, and the president … has no idea what to do about it.
By Lisa Benson - May 3, 2012
…[I]f April is indicative of the new normal, and winter was a blip, we won’t erase the gap until the 2030s. Spin today’s numbers how you’d like, but that’s a future nobody should hope for. – Derek Thomson, senior editor, The Atlantic
They meet once a year in Washington D.C and attract lots of attention…
This year was no exception. The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) was privy to speeches from the two political figures the nation is focused on – President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
There was one exception, however. Yesterday, ahead of GOP primary election returns, Obama took an unusual turn in his speech… Previously rarely mentioning Mitt Romney by name, the President chose to deliver a stinging attack against Republicans and particularly, Mitt Romney.
Obama slammed The Gov for supporting Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan (which passed in the House last week) and the measures proposed therein to save Medicare and rein in spending. Obama claimed Romney and Ryan would see that mothers and young children wouldn’t get healthy food, college students would lose financial aid, the Dept. of Justice and FBI would be weakened, in certain parts of the country air traffic controllers would vanish, even weather forecasters would be harmed – that Governors would be tardy issuing hurricane warnings, and so on.
After his doomsday diatribe, Obama intoned, “This is not conjecture. I am not exaggerating. These are facts. And these are just the cuts that would happen the year after next.”
“One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency.”
“He said he’d be very supportive of this new budget and he even called it ‘marvelous’, which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget.” (Laughter.) “It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.” (Laughter.)
Obama further elaborated – calling the Romney/Ryan goal to stop wasteful spending a “Trojan horse – thinly-veiled social Darwinism.”
Obama’s speech reeked with the usual leftist M.O. – class warfare, scaring Americans, exaggerations, mischaracterizations, untruths, and dividing the electorate to score political points.
Obama has now clearly targeted Mitt Romney, the Ryan budget, Republicans, and our opportunity society.
The general election has begun.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan check out latest results in Wisconsin. April 3, 2012
(Photo/Zac Moffat - click on image to enlarge)
Today, it was Governor Mitt Romney’s turn at the ASNE lectern. Fresh after long days of campaigning in Wisconsin with Congressman Ryan (and victories last night in said state, Maryland, and D.C.) he delivered a riveting, powerhouse speech – highlighting Obama’s “Hide and Seek” campaign. It was characterized by a CNN politico as a very sobering, somber speech.
In the course of Governor Romney’s campaign-defining remarks, he underscored Obama’s lack of CANDOR with the American people, especially in light of Obama’s live mic incident with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev:
… “[I]nstead of answering those vital questions, President Obama came here yesterday and railed against arguments no one is making – and criticized policies no one is proposing. It’s one of his favorite strategies – setting up straw men to distract from his record.
And while I understand why the President doesn’t want to run on his record, he can’t run from his record either.
. . .
On what other issues will he state his true position only after the election is over?”
Here’s the transcript of Romney’s ASNE speech (you won’t want to skip over this):
Over the last ten months, I’ve come to know a good deal about some of the journalists who write for your newspapers.
We’ve aired our dirty laundry together – sometimes literally as well as figuratively. We’ve bathed hour upon hour in the fine diesel aroma of a campaign bus. And we’ve shared more birthdays and holidays with each other than with our families.
One of the reporters covering our campaign is Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times. For Maeve’s birthday, I got her a cake and sang her a birthday song. For my birthday, she was kind enough to remind me that I’m now old enough to qualify for Medicare.
In just the few years since my last campaign, the changes in your industry are striking. Then, I looked to Drudge or FOX or CNN online to see what stories were developing. Hours after a speech, it was being dissected on the Internet. Now, it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.
Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us. We identify with LBJ’s famous quip that if he were to walk on water, your headline would read: “President Can’t Swim.”
Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources. Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control. I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.
How your industry will change, I cannot predict. I subscribe to Yogi Berra’s dictum: “Forecasting is very difficult, especially when it involves the future.”
But I do know this: You will continue to find ways to provide the American people with reliable information that is vital to our lives and to our nation. And I am confident that the press will remain free. But further, I salute this organization and your various institutions in your effort to make it not only free, but also responsible, accurate, relevant, and integral to the functioning of our democracy.
Given the number and scale of our nation’s current challenges, the November election will have particular consequence. It will be a defining event. President Obama and I have very different visions for America, both of what it means to be an American today and what it will mean in the future.
Recently, President Obama has been ghoulishly grim regarding the capabilities of Americans while deflecting blame for our current condition from himself. While campaigning in San Francisco last week he declared “We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination…”
Yesterday, on NBC’s Meet The Press, David Gregory asked Obama’s top White House adviser David Plouffe this question: “The president on the campaign trail, at a fundraiser out west this week sounded pretty downcast. … Is the president in a funk? Or is this meant to send a message to the base?”
PLOUFFE: “He’s not in a funk at all. I was on that trip with him, David, out west, and he was highly energized.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 10/30/11)
Regardless of his personal mood, President Obama sounds discouraged about America. Here’s his full quote at his Oct 25th fundraiser in San Francisco:
‘We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.’” (Kate Andersen Brower, “Obama Says Most Millionaires Willing to Pay Higher Taxes, Urges Jobs Plan, Bloomberg, 10/29/11)
In September Obama said America “had gotten a little soft” and lost its “competitive edge.” Here’s the quote:
“‘There are a lot of things we can do,’ Obama then said. ‘The way I think about it is, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track.’” (David Jackson, “Obama: U.S. ‘Had Gotten A Little Soft’,” USA Today, 9/30/11)
President Obama: Our faith in America has been “shaken … over the last couple of decades.”
OBAMA: “Most of the people in this room, many of our parents, our grandparents — we grew up with a faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off … Over the last decade — over the last couple of decades, that faith was shaken. Seemed as if the world’s changed. The deck kept getting stacked against middle-class Americans, and nobody in Washington seemed willing or able to do anything about it.” (President Barack Obama, remarks in New York, NY, 9/21/11)
President Obama’s rhetoric brings to mind the “malaise” of the Carter administration…
President Carter’s infamous “Malaise” speech:
“We are losing our confidence in the future.” “We’ve always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own. Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy. … We always believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself called democracy, involved in the search for freedom, and that belief has always strengthened us in our purpose. But just as we are losing our confidence in the future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.” (President Jimmy Carter, remarks in Washington, DC, 7/15/79)
Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director, has issued this statement:
“President Obama continues to be down on America, saying we are ‘soft’ and have ‘lost our ambition.’ After three years of failed economic policies from this Administration, it is clear that the problem isn’t the American people – it’s President Obama. Mitt Romney believes in America and the strength of its people. After three years of high unemployment and economic stagnation, it is time to send a conservative businessman to the White House and get our economy moving again.”
America can’t take four more years of spookiness (the title of this video refers to Obama’s pals…):
President Obama’s administration shut out a reporter from the Boston Herald from his Wednesday fundraising event in Boston. You might think that it would be insane for a politician to treat an important blue-state newspaper like this with an election coming up relatively soon, but hey, you’re not the President of the United States so what do you know!?
In any regard, what is the reason the Boston Herald was treated so poorly? The Obama administration is angry that Mitt Romney’s op-ed “The Obama Misery Index Hits a Record High” was put on the front page. We’ve all suspected that Gov. Romney is the candidate President Obama fears most, but can there be any doubt now? President Obama just can’t get Mitt Romney out of his head.
Fortunately for truth-seekers everywhere, Gov. Romney fired back at President Obama for barring the Herald from full access to the presidential visit to Boston yesterday.
‘I know the president and the White House are very sensitive about anyone who talks about the failures in the economy,’ Romney said. ‘They’re in denial about putting people out of work and the under-employed. When the Herald speaks the truth, they lash out.’
‘I think the president’s campaign promises in too many cases have gone by the boards. The transparency pledge was the first to go,’ Romney said. ‘The inclination toward retribution and lashing out toward people who disagree with his economic posture is only the latest chapter.’
‘I think it’s very hard for a Republican administration to try and punish the media for a story they don’t like,’ Romney said. ‘And this is not in keeping with the First Amendment principles that have governed the White House.’
If you actually click on either of the Boston Herald articles, they both link to Mitt’s original op-ed that the administration seems to angry about, so all President Obama has achieved is to bring even more attention to Gov. Romney’s op-ed. I can’t wait to see how the President reacts when Gov. Romney actually releases the Obama Misery Index and the American People have a visual depiction of how terrible President Obama’s policies have been for our economy!
I love the way the latest Politico piece was presented. I saw something to the effect of “Mitt welcomes the President to Massachusetts” and was a little surprised. Much to my delight, they were referring to Mitt’s front page piece for the Boston Herald.
Just one day after we started promoting Mitt’s creation of the “Obama Misery Index”, Gov. Romney releases a front page article for the Boston Herald entitled “Obama Misery Index Hits a Record High”. I’m telling you all right now that this is going to be a huge part of the upcoming campaign (mostly the general election), so it’s best if we’re all familiar with it as soon as possible. [Remember, the Obama Misery Index is composed of unemployment, debt, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies].
When Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980, he hung the Misery Index around Jimmy Carter’s neck. It consisted of the sum total of unemployment and inflation. Today, we have a different set of ailments. Instead of unemployment coupled with inflation, we have a toxic blend of unemployment, debt, home foreclosures, and bankruptcies. Their sum total is what we can call the Obama Misery Index. It is at a record high; indeed, it makes even the malaise of the Carter years look like a boom. Unemployment has fallen, but it’s fallen to a level that is still, by any historical marker, a national disaster. To suggest it as an achievement is to engage in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously called “defining deviancy down.”
He stepped to the presidential pulpit, spoke for over an hour to Congress and the American people about our ‘Sputnik moment‘, and signed autographs on his way out.
In case you missed it, the full text and video of President Obama’s State of the Union speech may be found here (click on video in left-hand column). Pundits generally felt Obama fell short.
After Obama’s lacking-specifics speech, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI)delivered the official Republican response:
In an unprecedented one-two punch, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was selected by the Tea Party to present their response to Obama (delivered after Ryan’s address):
Some think the President hit it out of the ball park. Others overwhelmingly felt the president delivered flat platitudes:
Stephen Hayes (The Weekly Standard blogger and FOX News contributor) summed up the State of the Union Speech as meaningless:
“Overall, the speech was a lot like the Obama presidency: phony bipartisanship, too much spending, unconvincing rhetoric on fiscal restraint, and not enough attention to foreign policy and national security.”
A few other responses:
Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) – Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution. You believe in socialism. Press Release: It appears that the only thing President Obama has changed is his rhetoric. No matter how he tries to spin it, more spending has not and will not create jobs. The President’s proposal to freeze spending at record-high levels is unacceptable.
Michelle Malkin, conservative commentator via Twitter – I’m all for road maps. But pardon me if I’m wary when the person selling me his map helped drive the car into the ditch.
Brit Hume, Fox News commentator via Twitter – This speech didn’t suggest much (towards reducing the federal deficit) and it means he doesn’t intend to do much.
“President Obama knows where he wants to go, but he has no idea how to get there,” Romney said in a blog post in response to the State of the Union address.
“Under President Obama’s economic leadership, more Americans have lost their jobs than any time in modern history. The on-the-job economic education of the President has cost American families almost a trillion dollars in failed stimulus schemes and, unfortunately, he’s still failing the course. Rhetoric, however soaring, does not put pay checks in pay envelopes at the end of the week. You can’t build a high speed rail system fast enough to outrun the President’s misguided regulations, higher taxes or lack of focus on jobs. Hopefully he is learning. American families are depending on him.”
*Note: Romney will appear on Hannity tonight to respond further to the State of the Union speech. The program will air at 9:00 PM Eastern. By the way, we had so much fun at last night’s SOTU Bingo and chat party, that we’re going to have another chat party tonight during Romney’s speech. Don’t miss it!
What did YOU think of Obama’s State of the Union speech? The responses by Ryan and Bachmann?
On this day after feisty midterm elections, many of us are a little bleary-eyed after late-night return watching. This morning, Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives and have added more balance to the Senate. Some races are still being determined. How sweet it is!
What next? What will Obama say during his post-election press conference today? While we’re still catching our breath from yesterday, Mitt Romney has written a succinct op-ed offering advice to the president…
President Obama could have focused on solving the financial crisis. He did not. He could have endeavored to conquer the looming threats to our future. Instead, he added to them. Now that voters have rejected his first two years in office, the president should not waste this political crisis: He should seize his “Nixon to China” opportunity.
Government is a greater threat to America in 2010 than China was in 1972. Government is smothering the pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit that propelled our economy past those of older, larger nations. Ever higher taxes on small and big business, layers of red tape, onerous labor regulations, and punitive bureaucrats and lawsuits are suffocating U.S. economic vitality. So far, the president and his fellow travelers in Congress have made things worse: If Obama is serious about changing the way things are done in Washington, he must slay the job-killing beast Washington has become.
He must also choke off government’s voracious appetite. Under current law, the federal government’s share of the economy will grow from its 50-year average of 20.3 percent to 26.5 percent by the end of this decade; federal, state and local governments will then constitute more than 40 percent of the economy. At what point do we effectively become a socialist economy, with its associated low growth, low incomes and permanently high unemployment?
And at what point will lenders to our government insist on charging punishingly high interest rates, or stop buying U.S. debt altogether? Congressional Budget Office data indicate that government spending through the next decade will require $12.4 trillion in additional debt, bringing our total public indebtedness to $22.2 trillion by 2020 – about the size of our gross domestic product. America’s debt then will look a good deal like Greece’s debt does today.
Obama’s first instinct is to blame all this on his predecessor’s tax policies. But the $22.2 trillion figure already assumes that Obama will raise taxes on annual incomes higher than $250,000, repealing the so-called Bush tax cuts for the rich. So the $12.4 trillion in new debt is entirely due to government spending and the president’s own tax policies. Spending, Mr. President, is what threatens America’s economy, not tax cuts.
To tame runaway government spending, the president should of course embrace the usual measures: freeze government employment; freeze growth in discretionary spending; veto every spending bill chocked with earmarks; work to regain an effective line-item veto; extinguish ineffective, wasteful programs. But these are just the start.
If the president is to become serious about spending, borrowing and deficits, he must subject government to the two budgeting rules employed by every well-run business and home.
Rule One: Start with the total, don’t end up with it. Decide from the outset the amount that the government will spend for the year. Don’t add up all the program requirements, departmental requests and political wish lists to calculate the total – that’s surrendering, not budgeting. The nation’s 50-year average annual tax burden has been 18 percent of GDP. That’s the right figure for total spending; it may take several years to rein in spending to that level, but it should be the target.
Rule Two: Go where the money is. With entitlement spending about half of all federal spending, the president has no choice but to address Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He should propose less costly progressive indexing for future Social Security beneficiaries – using the consumer price index inflator rather than the wage index for higher-income retirees. Medicaid should be granted in block to the states, giving them flexibility to meet the needs of poor residents in their own ways. Medicare will require reform of health care, making it more like a consumer market and less like a regulated utility. Medicare recipients should also be given better options for private coverage. Regardless of the reforms chosen, the entitlements budget should be subject to Rule One – set a total first and conform the programs to that level. Advocates of this course include the Brookings Institution on the left and the Heritage Foundation on the right.
Finally, don’t let the Bush tax cuts expire. Keeping them will yield revenue at 18.4 percent of GDP in 2020 – higher than the historic tax average. Lower taxes will propel growth, add jobs and produce a larger GDP that can accommodate our spending priorities. And don’t push defense below 4 percent of GDP; with today’s global threats and allies’ diminishing military capabilities, freedom will increasingly depend on American strength.
The president can turn his party’s losses Tuesday into a win for the country. It all depends on the course he sets.
I hope Obama is in the mood to take advice. If not, I know who should be our next president.
*Thanks to all who particpated in our election day chat. You helped make it a memorable day!
Since the BP oil rig explosion on April 20th, Obama’s schedule for the last 55 days has been grueling: hitting the golf course, enjoying White House celebrity events, basketball photo ops, partying with Mexican President Felipe Calderone at an over-the-top swanky state dinner, and going on vacation. Outcry from the public on his detached bumbling of the oil disaster finally forced him to the Oval Office last night to deliver a “battle plan” on how to end the BP debacle. It was 17 minutes of tough talk, military terminology, and promises. Will he deliver?
Hinting at ‘Cap and Trade’ (national energy tax), Obama’s speech lacked specifics and direction. Declaring that America is running out of areas to drill for oil, he failed to mention that deep-water drilling in the inter-continental shelf has been forced on us by his radical environmentalist friends. Shallow water drilling, land mass in the western United States, and ANWR are energy treasure troves being held hostage. Interesting that Obama didn’t mention the new figures his Administration released yesterday regarding the output of oil flowing into the gulf: a whopping 60,000 barrels per day (quite an increase over last week’s estimate of 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day). Never fear, however. More regulations are on the way. Obama has named Michael R. Bromwich (former Justice Dept. prosecutor and inspector general) to toughen up the Minerals Management Service. That ought to do the trick!
Outburst from one of Obama’s biggest fans that finally got the President’s attention (5/26/10):
Carville recently chanced upon Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen eating dinner with BP CEO Tony Hayward at a New Orleans restaurant, the senior White House aide says. Allen had called Carville after his first TV outburst to talk about the administration’s response, but Carville failed to return the call. When Allen asked why, Carville said he had been busy, the aide says (Carville did not reply to requests for comment). That does not sit well with administration officials who suggest that Carville’s readiness to go public with his criticism is not matched by his private willingness to offer concrete suggestions about what they could do differently.
Another surprise… Obama did not reveal that he was briefed early on on how bad the oil spill could be.
Daily Beast:Critics have bashed President Obama for being slow to seize the political initiative in combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely believed to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed—and deploying the Coast Guard—within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole.
Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.
Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman (MSNBC) analyze Obama’s speech, signaling the bloom is off the rose:
It’s amazing how many are now saying what Mitt Romney said regarding this devastating crisis. With lack of resources on the ground and in the water, local parishes in Louisiana and state officials in the Gulf are desperate for help of any kind. Obama’s refusal to rescind the Jones Act - a federal maritime law that mandates all goods be carried in U.S. waters by U.S.-flagged ships - has blocked much needed outside help and speaks volumes about Obama’s loyalties. And, he’s not budging on his Gulf oil drilling moratorium.
Obama’s ‘Battle Plan’ leaves much to be desired. He’s meeting with BP oil executives for the first time today – for an in-depth 20 minute meeting. Let’s hope our Commander-in-Chief reads Romney’s op-ed before he walks into the room.
To view interactive timeline demonstrating BP’s handling of the oil spill click here.
While Nancy Pelosi tests the ‘spring’ in her pole vaulting apparatus and packs her parachute, House Republicans converged yesterday evening (Jan 28, 2010) for a three-day strategy session at the Inner Harbor hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. President Obama will join them today to speak and participate in a question-and-answer session. No doubt, health care will be a priority topic.
FOX News anchor Patti Ann Brown talks with reporter Carl Cameron, Jan 28, 2010:
“You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”
Responding to Obama’s State of the Union speech and the President’s invitation that if anyone from either party has a better aproach to bring down health care premiums, House Republican Leader John Boehner revealed to reporters yesterday that he hasn’t been contacted by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel or any one on the President’s team in over a year:
“And so, we’re eager for the President to come to our retreat tomorrow. We’re going to have an honest conversation about America’s priorities and trying to find ways to find some common ground.”
NOTE: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that the House Republican health care plan will lower health care premiums by up to 10 percent and reduce the deficit by $68 billion over 10 years without imposing tax increases on small businesses and families. For more information on the GOP plan, go here.
“Republicans are emboldened. They think Obama has overshot the runway, and they’re going to stick with their strategy,” said Scott Reed, a Republican consultant.
As they left Washington for the three-day strategy session, Republican leaders did not seem to be in a frame of mind for compromising.
Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio said that Obama had “decided to just double-down on his job-killing agenda,” while ignoring the angry voter message behind recent Republican victories in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.
“There was nothing last night in the president’s speech to indicate that there was any willingness to sit down and work together,” he said of Obama’s State of the Union address Wednesday. Boehner added that Republicans would try to find common ground with Obama, “but we’re not going to roll over on our principles.”
Heading into this year’s congressional campaigns, Republican fundraising and recruitment have picked up. National opinion surveys show steady improvement in the party’s prospects. And independent analysts predict that Democrats could lose dozens of House seats and, possibly, majority control of the chamber in the first midterm election of Obama’s presidency.
Obama acknowledged the effectiveness of the opposition’s strategy, even as he took a swipe at Republican obstructionism.
For now, at least, Republicans have little incentive to cooperate. Only three of the 37 most competitive House races this year feature a Democratic challenge to a Republican incumbent, according to the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.
And Obama’s attempts to woo Republicans could be constrained by growing restiveness within the president’s own party. His pitch, during the State of the Union address, for building a new generation of nuclear power plants and possibly expanding offshore oil and gas drilling won immediate Republican approval but fell flat with Democratic liberals.
“It is in the president’s interests, politically and probably governmentally, to try to get some Republican cooperation and some Republican buy-in,” said former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).
Obama passed up opportunities during his first year that might have made it more costly for Republicans to oppose him.
For example, the administration bowed to a powerful Democratic special interest, the trial-lawyer lobby, and refused to make significant changes in medical liability as part of healthcare legislation. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a Republican proposal to limit medical malpractice costs would save taxpayers $54 billion over 10 years.
With elections ahead, a weakened Obama may find it more difficult to win Republican support for his agenda. But simply making a sustained attempt at bipartisan outreach could help put Democrats in a better position to attract swing votes this fall.
The Republican retreat, which runs through Saturday, is designed to help develop the party’s strategic plan for the midterm elections. Independent campaign analysts are forecasting significant Republican gains this November, with some predicting at least an outside chance for Republicans to knock Democrats from the majority.
Republicans “look forward to sharing with the president our better solutions for getting this economy moving again [and] putting our fiscal house in order. Our proposals for health care reform [and] energy will all be part of what we are describing as a conversation between the president and House Republicans,” Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the House Republican conference, said Wednesday.
Besides Obama, scheduled speakers at the Baltimore retreat include former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, newly elected Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell of Virginia and former House Republican Leader Dick Army, who chairs a conservative group that has aggressively opposed Obama’s agenda. Retired football coach Lou Holtz, a longtime Republican activist who gave a pep talk at the 2007 retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is the Friday night dinner speaker.
Gingrich, whose former aides are active in the Congressional Institute, also addressed last winter’s retreat, held at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. Other speakers there included 2012 Republican presidential possibilities Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty newly elected Republican National Chairman Michael S. Steele
Keep an eye out for a party-crashing parachuting Pelosi.