President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign today rolled out an ad featuring former President Bill Clinton:
“Clear Choice” will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney’s campaign launched its latest ad yesterday:
FactCheck.org hasn’t done an analysis of either ad yet, though it did post an extensive rundown on the competing claims about Medicare, including this observation:
A Romney campaign ad wrongly claims that “money you paid” for Medicare is being used to pay for Obama’s health care law. But the law doesn’t take money out of the existing hospital insurance trust fund. It cuts the future growth of spending. And in the future, seniors will still receive more in benefits than they paid in.
MoveOn activists are fanning out today in Bay Area cities including Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Rafael, Daly City, San Carlos, Livermore and Castro Valley to hand out “Romney-Ryan pink slips” symbolizing jobs they say would be lost if the GOP presidential ticket prevails.
“Romney’s and Ryan’s policies will destroy more than one million jobs in 2013 alone and will seriously undermine workers’ and women’s rights across the nation,” MoveOn organizer and council member Mary Swain of Castro Valley said in a news release.
“We want leaders who will create new jobs here in the U.S., reform our tax laws, and limit military spending in order to rebuild our struggling economy,” she said. “We have to do all in our power to save our social safety-net programs, like Social Security and Medicare, and bring the democratic process back to America.”
“Mitt Romney thinks that students should ‘borrow money’ from their parents to help pay for college or start a business, and under the Romney-Ryan budget, college aid would be cut for nearly 10 million students and the tax deduction for college tuition would be eliminated,” the Obama campaign said today in rolling out this ad. “President Obama, on the other hand, understands that a college education should be in reach for as many students as possible – and that’s why he has overhauled higher education financing by eliminating bank middlemen from college loans and used the savings to double funding for Pell Grants.”
The “Get Real” ad will air in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
“With every paycheck, Americans paid more and more into Medicare,” the Romney campaign said today in rolling out this ad. “Now, when you need it most, President Obama cut Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will strengthen Medicare and protect the commitments made to current seniors.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called Ryan “a reformer and a proven leader who will be a great partner to Governor Romney in his efforts to get our country, and our economy, back on track.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, today said Ryan “led House Republicans in voting to end the Medicare guarantee, which increases costs on seniors and weakens America’s great middle class in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, Big Oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas.”
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. – who many people think lost the 2008 election the day he named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate – said 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.”
Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina said Ryan “proposed an additional $250,000 tax cut for millionaires, and deep cuts in education from Head Start to college aid. His plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Ryan’s “command of economic policy and the federal budget will prove invaluable as Governor Romney fights to reform government, accelerate job growth and rein in the out-of-control spending that has been a hallmark of President Obama’s years in office. This courageous choice is the type of leadership American voters deserve. And, I believe it will ensure a victory for the Romney-Ryan ticket this November.”
Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green called Ryan “a right-wing extremist who wants to end Medicare. This is a major unforced error by Mitt Romney. It gives President Obama and Democrats a chance to draw a clear contrast in 2012 by promising not to cut one penny from Medicare or Social Security benefits. If Democrats win in a landslide, this was the game changer.”
Here’s the controversial ad that the Priorities USA PAC rolled out this week to attack Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on behalf of (but without “direct coordination” with) President Barack Obama:
The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org calls it “misleading on several counts,” not the least of which is that Joe Soptic’s wife five years after the steel plant closed (which was after Romney had gone to run the 2002 Winter Olympics – or did he?), and she didn’t even lose medical coverage then – she lost her own employer-sponsored coverage a year or two later, and lacked coverage after that.
That said, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul had conservative pundits such as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh smacking their heads yesterday when she said Soptic’s wife would’ve been OK had she lived in Massachusetts because she would’ve been covered by the “Romneycare” health insurance plan her boss put into place while governor – the basis for the national “Obamacare” plan her boss now rails against.
Here’s Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s new ad on welfare requirements:
Here’s the statement that former President Bill Clinton released this morning:
Governor Romney released an ad today alleging that the Obama administration had weakened the work requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. That is not true.
The act emerged after years of experiments at the state level, including my work as Governor of Arkansas beginning in 1980. When I became President, I granted waivers from the old law to 44 states to implement welfare to work strategies before welfare reform passed.
After the law was enacted, every state was required to design a plan to move people into the workforce, along with more funds to help pay for training, childcare and transportation. As a result, millions of people moved from welfare to work.
The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment. The Administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act, will not be waived.
The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether. We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.
But that letter does not unilaterally repeal or waive the law. Instead, it gives states the chance to make changes to their welfare programs and still be counted as meeting work participation requirements. It’s a leap to assume that governors and legislators will seek to return to “plain old welfare” and that the Obama administration will give them the go-ahead.
And, in 2005, Romney joined several other GOP governors in promoting “increased waiver authority.”
Mitt Romney’s financial disclosure showed he has an Individual Retirement Account worth somewhere between $20 million and $101 million – but the annual contribution limits for IRAs during most of Romney’s time at Bain Capital ranged from $2,000 to $30,000.
It would take about 666 years – no biblical meaning intended – for a $30,000 annual contribution to add up to $20 million, although IRA funds can be invested in certain ways.
And so Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, the Education and the Workforce Committee’s ranking Democrat; Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., the Ways and Means Committee’s ranking Democrat; and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the Budget Committee’s ranking Democrat, wrote a letter yesterday to the Treasury and Labor departments asking how this can be.
“The purpose for tax-preferred retirement accounts and plans are to encourage Americans to save for retirement,” they wrote. “The accounts and plans are clearly not intended to serve as tax shelters for wealthy individuals to shield vast sums of money. As you can imagine, given the sacrifices that middle-class families have made in recent years, we are alarmed to learn that wealthy taxpayers may be taking advantage of a tax subsidy that is designed to provide for retirement to instead accumulate massive amounts of tax-sheltered assets.”
Miller yesterday cited recent news reports indicating that Bain Capital allowed service partners and employees to co-invest in investment deals via tax-preferred retirement accounts and plans, providing in some cases a fourth of the total capital in the investment deals. It’s possible the investments made through these accounts and plans may have been assigned a nominal value that was significantly lower than the fair market value of the investments, creating an end-run around the annual contribution limits.
Today, the Romney campaign announced its Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders for Romney community.
“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have wonderful cultures that enrich all of America,” Romney said in the news release. “For generations, members of this community have contributed to our country, started new businesses and invented new products, and served with honor and distinction in the fight to protect freedom all around the world. I am honored to have the support of such great Asian Americans, and look forward to working with them to get our country on the right track again.”
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said she’s honored to be the effort’s national chairwoman.
“Having worked in previous presidential administrations, I know Governor Mitt Romney has the experience and the character to tackle the problems that are facing our nation,” she said in the news release. “Americans are suffering, and it will take new leadership to put this country on a path to prosperity and full employment.”
One of the seven national co-chairs is said Universal Health Care CEO Akshay Desai of Florida, who said he knows what it takes to make it in the private sector. “Mitt Romney is the change we so desperately need, and I look forward to having him in the White House.”
They have their work cut out for them. As I’d reported in my story, a poll conducted in April for three national Asian-American advocacy groups found Asian-Americans self-identified as Democrats rather than Republicans by more than 3-1. Seventy-three percent viewed President Obama favorably; 27 percent viewed Romney favorably.
Mitt Romney’s stumbles over the nation’s “special relationship” with Great Britain aside, it’s the American relationship with Israel that’s fueling a lot of the fire this week between the presidential campaigns.
Romney will be in Israel on Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Kadima Party Leader Shaul Mofaz, and Labor Party Leaders Shelly Yachimovich and Isaac Herzog. The Republican candidate, speaking this past Tuesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Reno, had trashed President Obama’s treatment of Israel.
“President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel’s leaders. He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. He has undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was. And even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel’s enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem,” Romney said. “The people of Israel deserve better than what they have received from the leader of the free world. And the chorus of accusations, threats, and insults at the United Nations should never again include the voice of the President of the United States.”
Romney’s campaign also Tuesday issued a policy paper saying he would make Israel the destination of his first foreign trip as president; within 100 days of taking office, reaffirm as a vital U.S. national interest the existence of Israel as a Jewish state; work closely with Israel to maintain its strategic military edge and increase military assistance; reject any measure that would frustrate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, while making clear to the Palestinians that the unilateral attempt to decide issues that are designated for final negotiations is unacceptable; and reduce assistance to the Palestinians if they continue to pursue United Nations recognition or form a unity government that includes Hamas.
Vice President Joe Biden shot back that same day.
“Governor Romney continues his long litany of untruths about our administration’s policies toward Israel. We’ve provided record levels of security assistance, funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system that intercepted nearly 80 percent of the rockets recently fired from Gaza, close collaboration on longer range missile defense systems, the largest joint military exercises in history, the most consistent and comprehensive exchanges ever between our top political, defense, security and intelligence officials,” Biden said. “And, contrary to Governor Romney’s outrageous accusation that the President joined in the chorus of insults levied against Israel at the United Nations, President Obama has stood up repeatedly, publicly and often alone against efforts to delegitimize Israel at the U.N. and around the world.”
The Center for Responsive Politics has updated its list of President Obama’s campaign “bundlers,” those who gather other people’s donations and deliver them to the campaign en masse. Here’s the list for California, down to the $100,000 mark:
Azita Raji, Belvedere – National Finance Committee vice-chair, Obama for America – $130,322
The center notes that Federal Election Commission regulations only require disclosure of funds bundled by registered lobbyists. In 2008, both Barack Obama and John McCain agreed to disclose any bundlers who raised over $50,000 for their campaigns. Obama’s re-election campaign is again disclosing those bundlers for the 2012 election, but Mitt Romney’s has refused.