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Neel Kashkari endorsed by Romney, Wilson & Issa

Struggling in the polls, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari rolled out some high-profile endorsements Monday clearly aimed at shoring up his bona fides among the GOP rank and file.

Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official and asset manager from Laguna Beach, announced his endorsement by Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former California Governor Pete Wilson, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Vista.

“Democrats’ big-government policies have hurt the middle class and reduced opportunity for Americans across the country, and that’s the reason it’s so important to elect leaders like Neel Kashkari who understand how to jumpstart the private sector, fix our schools and get people working again,” Romney said in the news release. “Republicans in California and across the nation must unite behind candidates who will fight for our Party’s principles of fiscal responsibility and hard work – and I believe Neel is that candidate. He has demonstrated courage and steady leadership in tough times, and his resilience and focus is exactly what we need leading California today.”

Wilson called Kashkari “the right candidate with the right message to challenge Gov. Brown, support Republican candidates up and down the ticket, and help us grow the Party in the long term. California needs new, fiscally conservative leadership in Sacramento to strengthen our state’s economy, and that’s the reason I urge Republicans across the state to join me in supporting Neel this June.”

And Issa said “Sacramento Democrats have a disastrous record of passing job-killing laws and regulations that have destroyed the middle class; it’s clearly time for new leadership to help restore the strength of our private sector and put people back to work. I’m pleased to endorse Neel because he is an honest, hard-working person who is clearly committed to public service, and I believe he’s the right candidate to lead the Republican ticket in California this November.”

A Field Poll released earlier this month showed Kashkari, who entered the race in January, trailing far behind the generally more conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, while both are being pummeled by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. And just last week, a private poll found Kashkari trailing even fellow Republican Glenn Champ, a registered sex offender who’s running a religiously oriented campaign.

But Kashkari has had more fundraising success than any of his Republican rivals, and said earlier this month that he intends to launch targeted television ads and direct mail as vote-by-mail ballots go out starting May 5.

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Watch Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC today

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today addressed the American Conservative Union’s 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Of course, I left the race disappointed that we didn’t win. But I also left honored and humbled to have represented values we believe in and to speak for so many good and decent people. We’ve lost races before, and in the past, those setbacks prepared us for larger victories. It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon.”

“Romney was so shocked and exhausted on election night, his address to CPAC today felt like the real concession speech,” Ari Shapiro, who covered the presidential campaign for National Public Radio, posted on Facebook today. Shapiro will be talking about that later today on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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The Obama-Romney lunch at the White House

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. (Well, maybe not a fly, given President Obama’s moves.)

Here’s the official readout from the White House:

This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

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3 things to remember about Romney’s binders

All joking aside, there are three points about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment at Wednesday’s debate that shouldn’t get lost in all the fuss over the Internet meme.

1.) He didn’t actually answer the question.
Audience member Katherine Fenton asked, “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” In response, Romney talked about going the extra mile to find women to serve in his Massachusetts gubernatorial cabinet; about providing flexible work schedules so women can meet their family obligations (as if men don’t have those too?); and about strengthening the economy to create more jobs. He said nothing about pay inequity.

2.) The binders thing isn’t entirely true.
The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project was compiling this information and reached out to the gubernatorial candidates before Romney was even elected – they went to him, not vice versa. The Globe also reports:

Midway through his four-year term, 42 percent of his 33 new appointments were women, according to a study done by the UMass Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy using some of the data collected by MassGAP.

But over the next two years, women made up only 25 percent of the 64 new appointments Romney made. By the end of his term, the number of women in high-ranking positions was slightly lower than it was before Romney took office.

3.) Regardless of who went to whom, he made an amazing admission.
Romney said:

“An important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.”

“And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men.’ They said, ‘Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ And I said, ‘Well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?’”

It sounds as if Romney set a policy in which he took gender into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group in employment, as a means of countering the effects of a history of discrimination.

There’s a name for that: affirmative action. But he was panned for his affirmative action record as Massachusetts’s governor, and it’s not a concept that’s popular with a lot of conservatives.

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‘Mood meter’ says Obama won debate on Twitter

President Barack Obama kept Twitter users happier than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney through most of last night’s debate, according to a Silicon Valley company’s analysis.

NetBase, a Mountain View-based firm that “delivers the enterprise social intelligence platform that global enterprises use to monitor, understand, and engage with customers in real time,” has created a Mood Meter: a dial updated every 10 minutes that captures and measures sentiment expressed by Twitter users about the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Here’s a screen-grab from a short while ago:

NetBase Mood Meter screen grab

NetBase’s natural language processing engine analyzes each tweet about the candidates using its technology that understands how humans speak, including profanity and slang, according to the company’s news release. So the dials represent a moment in time, a cumulative group of tweet sentiment over the past 10 minutes – a real-time look into Tweeters’ opinions.

Here’s how it stacked up during last night’s debate:

NetBase mood meter

Keep in mind that this only surveys those who are actively Tweeting – a younger-skewed demographic – and not the entire debate audience.

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Tech leaders like Romney, think Obama will win

Technology leaders President Obama will be re-elected, but think Republican nominee Mitt Romney would give a bigger boost to the technology economy, according to a new survey.

The DLA Piper Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found, among other things:

    76 percent of tech leaders expect President Obama to be re-elected
    64 percent believe Romney would be better for the technology economy
    64 percent see an increased threat of regulation for the private equity and venture capital

DLA Piper, a global law firm, distributed its survey in late September and early October to senior executives and advisors in the technology industry, including CEOs, CFOs and other company officers at tech companies, as well as to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and consultants. The study was released today in conjunction with DLA Piper’s Global Technology Leaders Summit taking place at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park.

Sixty percent of business leaders are skeptical that a second term for the Obama administration would have a positive impact on the technology sector. The partisan tables have turned since the 2008 election, when nearly 60 percent of tech executives believed that then-Senator Barack Obama would have a more positive impact on technology development and investment than his GOP opponent, U.S. Sen. John McCain.

“Regardless of the election’s outcome, it seems clear that what technology leaders want out of Washington is greater clarity on regulation and tax policy. Those themes surfaced prominently in our latest version of the survey,” Peter Astiz, global co-head of the Technology Sector at DLA Piper, said in a news release.

The survey found 78 percent of respondents believe that the presidential campaign dialogue surrounding private equity – namely, attacks upon Romney’s record at Bain Capital – has damaged the reputation of the private equity and venture capital industry, and 65 percent expressed concern that this focus could likely lead to new regulation of the industry.

Most respondents – 60 percent – think letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire would negatively impact tech-sector investments; 33 percent think the tax cuts’ expiration would have no direct impact on the tech sector’s growth.