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Barbara Lee attacks Romney on Obama’s behalf

Rep. Barbara Lee went on the attack against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney behalf of President Obama’s re-election campaign Tuesday, blasting Romney’s business record at Bain Capital.

Lee, D-Oakland, said America doesn’t need a president who got rich by putting the concerns of other wealthy investors over those of workers.

“Like President Obama, I believe we need to restore middle class security and create an economy built to last,” she said on a conference call with reporters. “Unfortunately, Mitt Romney’s economic policies would do even more damage to the middle class.”

Lee touted Obama’s Recovery Act economic stimulus, which she said focused upon infrastructure, research and development, clean energy and environmental programs to create 500,000 jobs in California; she said her district saw $2 billion invested for private-sector job growth.

She said she’s not attacking Romney’s right to run a business as he sees fit, but rather she’s questioning whether “the lessons and values Romney drew from his time as a buyout specialist” suit him to lead the nation’s economic recovery. “We don’t want an economy where workers are left behind.”

Lee’s teleconference is being packaged as part of the Obama campaign’s focus on the story of GST Steel of Kansas City. Bain bought a controlling interest in GST in 1993 and GST went bankrupt in 2001, two years after Romney left day-to-day management of Bain. But he didn’t formally leave the company until 2001, and he did so then under a retirement agreement in which he has shared in Bain’s corporate buyout and investment profits ever since.

Here’s the Obama campaign’s ad, launched yesterday:

(A six-minute version is available here.)

“President Obama and his billion-dollar attack machine are desperately trying to distract from their own failed record of wasteful spending and crony capitalism by launching an attack on free enterprise,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said yesterday. “The President should be more concerned with helping the twenty-three million Americans who are struggling for work. Mitt Romney has the experience and pro-growth plan to promote job creation and get our economy back on track.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama, Barbara Lee, Mitt Romney, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

Dems disagree on Obama’s Afghanistan pact

The U.S-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement that President Barack Obama signed yesterday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai is drawing plaudits from congressional Democratic leaders, but not from some of the caucus’ more liberal members.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, issued this statement yesterday:

“The signing of the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement advances President Obama’s efforts to return the responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghan people. Many of us in Congress have been steadfast in expressing our opposition to an extended military presence in Afghanistan; this agreement moves us toward the day when all U.S. troops have been brought safely home.

“We have come to this moment because of the bravery of our troops and the sacrifices they and their families have been willing to make. In Afghanistan, and around the world, they have performed excellently.

“One year ago, with the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama sent a clear message that we will pursue those who intend to do our nation harm and will never lose focus on our responsibility to keep our nation safe.

“President Obama has reiterated his commitment to the security of the American people and to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly.”

But Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland – who was the lone vote against authorizing the Bush Administration’s use of force after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and who is a member of the Out of Afghanistan Caucus – issued this statement today:

“I had hoped that President Obama would have seized this opportunity to announce an expedited end to the war in Afghanistan. Instead of speeding the transition to a fully independent Afghanistan, the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership agreement is an open-ended commitment that could extend our presence at least another ten years. After ten long years of war, nearly two-thirds of Americans say the war is not worth fighting. It is past time for our policy to catch up with the American people. As it is widely acknowledged, there is no military solution in Afghanistan. We need to end the war now.”

From the other side of the aisle, here’s what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had to say yesterday:

“I am pleased that President Obama has returned to Afghanistan. Our troops and the American people deserve to hear from our President about what is at stake in this war. Success in Afghanistan is vital to our nation’s security. It would be a tragedy for Afghanistan and a strategic setback for America if the Taliban returned to power and once again created a sanctuary for terrorists. We tolerated such a sanctuary until we lost thousands on September 11, 2001. Many brave Americans have sacrificed everything so that we could win this fight for a more secure future. Let us honor the memory of the fallen, not only by keeping them in our daily thoughts but also by staying true to their commitment. We are united as one nation in our gratitude to our country’s heroes.”

Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Under: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Barbara Lee, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House | 1 Comment »

Romney names senior adviser for California

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s campaign announced this afternoon that Jeff Randle of Sacramento will be its senior adviser in California.

“Jeff Randle is one of California’s most respected and accomplished political leaders, and his expertise is critical as we work to highlight Mitt Romney’s vision for the Golden State,” Romney for President Political Director Rich Beeson said in the news release. “Jeff has more than 25 years of experience running and winning statewide elections. His insight and savvy will be invaluable as we work to defeat President Obama, elect Mitt Romney and fundamentally change the direction of our country.”

Jeff RandleIn the same release, Randle said he’s “honored to be part of what is an incredibly organized, focused and determined campaign team.

“The team reflects Mitt Romney’s leadership and mirrors his focus on building a winning organization that is primed to win the general election,” he said. “Mitt Romney is the right leader at a critical time in American history. I look forward to working together with Mitt and the team to win in November and bring real change to our great nation.”

Randle, 49, president and CEO of Randle Communications, most recently was a senior adviser to Meg Whitman’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Whitman early in her business career worked for Romney at Bain & Co., was a finance co-chair of Romney’s 2008 presidential primary bid, and co-hosted a Bay Area fundraiser for Romney last month.

Randle was Gov. Pete Wilson’s deputy chief of staff from 1991 to 1998 and was a member of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s political team from before the 2003 gubernatorial recall election through Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election.

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 2 Comments »

Stark jabs Romney with bill for welfare moms

Though embroiled in an ugly re-election campaign situation, Rep. Pete Stark remains a loyal fighter in the presidential campaign rhetoric wars.

Stark, D-Fremont, today announced he’s introducing the Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, which would amend the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare program to recognize the job of raising children age three or younger as work; low-income parents would be able to work, receive job training, search for work or raise their children until they are school-aged without fear of losing TANF support.

Current law doesn’t count low-income stay-at-home parents who are raising young children as meeting the necessary TANF work requirement, and bans states from counting these individuals toward that state’s work participation rate, which can result in financial penalties if not met.

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s campaign has been making hay of Obama advisor Hilary Rosen’s comment that the candidate’s wife, Ann Romney, stayed home to raise their five children and “never worked a day in her life” – mothering is work, the Romneys contend. However, MSNBC reported Sunday that Romney, during a campaign appearance in January in New Hampshire, touted his record as Massachusetts’ governor of increasing work requirements for welfare even for mothers of young children because he wanted them “to have the dignity of work.”

“Mitt Romney was for ObamaCare before he was against it. Then, he was for forcing low-income mothers into the workforce before he decided ‘all moms are working moms,’” Stark said in a news release. “I think we should take Mr. Romney at his most recent word and change our federal laws to recognize the importance and legitimacy of raising young children. That’s why I’ve introduced the WORK Act to provide low-income parents the option of staying home to raise young children without being pushed into poverty.”

The WORK Act’s 11 original cosponsors include Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.

This isn’t Stark’s first jab at a GOP presidential candidate this year. In January, he introduced the Narrowing Exceptions for Withholding Taxes Act – yes, the NEWT Act – as a hit at Newt Gingrich. H.R. 3840 would close a loophole that lets certain self-employed people, including lobbyists, lower their Medicare payroll tax liability by calling their earnings profits or dividends rather than wages – as Gingrich did in his 2010 tax returns.

Like the NEWT Act, the WORK Act will go absolutely nowhere in the Republican-dominated House.

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, Pete Stark, U.S. House | 6 Comments »

Romney rolls out California leadership team

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, completing a campaigning and fundraising swing through California today, announced his leadership team for the Golden State.

Former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian will serve as honorary statewide chairman, while the statewide chairs will be 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee and current HP CEO Meg Whitman; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista; Rep. Mary Bono-Mack, R-Palm Springs; Rep Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; congressional candidate and state Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark; and 2010 GOP U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina of Los Altos Hills. McCarthy’s and Fiorina’s endorsements were announced yesterday.

“It is an honor to have so much support from such distinguished leaders in California,” Romney said in a news release. “This is further proof that my pro-growth message is resonating with voters and that Californians want a conservative businessman to replace President Obama. I look forward to their counsel in my efforts to bring back jobs and restore fiscal sanity in Washington.”

Wilson said this election “is too important for our party to nominate a candidate without the real-world economic experience and proven track record that Mitt Romney has demonstrated throughout this campaign and throughout his life.”

“The members of his California Leadership Team have already been hard at work spreading his pro-growth message and working to ensure that President Obama is defeated in November,” Wilson added. “I am proud to be a part of this team and encourage my fellow Republicans to unite behind the one candidate we know can beat President Obama and create an economic climate that will bring jobs back to California.”

Romney did a campaign event yesterday morning in San Diego before holding fundraising events there and in Redwood City. Today, he’s doing fundraisers in Stockton, Irvine and Los Angeles, and will appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Five California polls conducted in the past seven weeks have shown Romney establishing a strong lead over his competitors Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

For additional Romney leadership team members, read on after the jump…
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Posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Mitt Romney, Republican Party, Republican politics | 6 Comments »

Mitt Romney to visit Bay Area in late March

His mind may be completely on tomorrow’s 11 “Super Tuesday” states, but Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be California dreamin’ before long.

Mitt RomneyThe former Massachusetts governor will be making a Northern California fundraising swing at the end of this month. A reception is scheduled for the evening of Monday, March 26 at Redwood City’s Hotel Sofitel San Francisco Bay, with tickets starting at $1,000; the legal maximum of $5,000 per couple buys a photo with the candidate. Sponsors are being asked to raise $10,000, and co-chairs $25,000.

He’s also scheduled to do a fundraising breakfast the next morning, Tuesday, March 27, at the Stockton home of real estate billionaire, San Diego Chargers owner and major Republican benefactor Alex Spanos. Organizer Bret de St. Jeor, a Modesto businessman and former state Senate candidate, said it’s $1,000 per person with room for about 500 guests, but tickets have been going fast.

“I know Mitt personally, I’ve known his family for quite a long time, and I was at an event a few weeks ago and he asked me if I would get involved for him in the Central Valley,” de St. Jeor said. “I really do believe in his ability, I do believe America needs someone like him.”

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, campaign finance, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »

Romney names Pete Wilson honorary CA chair

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today announced the endorsement of former California Gov. Pete Wilson, and named him the Romney campaign’s honorary California chairman.

“I’m honored to have Governor Pete Wilson’s support, because he’s one of California’s most accomplished leaders. As governor of California from 1991 to 1999, he led California from the depths of recession to prosperous economic recovery,” Romney said in a news release. “Taking office with an inherited revenue gap of over $14 million, he left his successor a surplus of over $12.5 million. Insisting on strict budget discipline and rehabilitation of the state’s then-hostile environment toward investment and job creation, Pete persuaded Democratic Legislative majorities to enact dramatic tax and regulatory relief especially helpful to small businesses.”

Wilson, in the same release, called Romney “an enthusiastic believer in American exceptionalism and has been a spectacular example of it: Mitt has been a success in creating American private sector jobs, a success as the rescuer of the Salt Lake City Olympic games, and as a public chief executive as the Republican governor in the challenging environment of heavily Democratic Massachusetts.”

“It is clear that he will be a success in the White House, as the strong leader America so desperately needs to reverse the unprecedented and utterly irresponsible borrowing, taxing and spending of the Obama administration,” Wilson said. “And as the most electable top of our ticket, his candidacy will attract the support of Republican, Independent and wise Democratic voters, and is rightly seen by down-ticket Republican candidates as the nominee most beneficial to them in their own races. He is the leader we need to rescue this great nation from the tragedy of a second Obama term that threatens grave and perhaps irreparable harm to both our economy and our national security. Mitt Romney will provide the leadership to create the confidence and certainty of judgment needed to stimulate investment that creates jobs rather than green taxpayer-funded bankruptcies. He will restore America’s strength and credibility, and win back respect for America from both our friends and our enemies.”

It should be interesting to see if this affects Romney’s chances with California’s significant Latino voter bloc, which certainly had no love for Wilson – his support of Proposition 187 of 1994 might’ve burned that bridge forever, as evidenced by Latino leaders’ reaction to Wilson’s support of Meg Whitman in 2010.

UPDATE @ 2:01 P.M.: “I think it will add to what has been a pretty consistently negative message from the Romney campaign to Latino voters in California and across the nation,” said UC-Irvine political science and Chicano/Latino studies professor Louis DeSipio, an expert in Latino politics and voting.

Most Latino voters old enough to remember Prop. 187 won’t feel good about Wilson, he said, and “in the interim he hasn’t endeared himself to Latinos with his work for Meg Whitman, for example.”

“To the extent that the Romney campaign reaches out to Latino organizations, I think this will be an added barrier for them,” DeSipio said.

UPDATE @ 3:11 P.M.: Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, said he thinks this means “that he’s getting really bad campaign advice.”

“Anybody on the ground in California who was hoping to peel away Latino voters in a general election wouldn’t put Pete Wilson front and center,” Vargas said. “To me it’s baffling. Meg Whitman learned what a mistake that was for her to do the same in 2010 when she ran for governor – it certainly didn’t work for her.”

Exit polls showed Whitman won only about a third of California’s Latino vote.

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Immigration, Mitt Romney | 3 Comments »

Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today announced the support of businessman and reality television star Donald Trump.

“I am humbled by the endorsements I have received from Republicans across the political spectrum. Donald Trump’s endorsement of me today sends a strong signal that he believes we have the best chance to make President Obama a one-term president,” Romney said in a news release “We share both a background in the private sector and a belief that Washington needs to get out of the way of small business. His support is a sign that business leaders are fed up with Washington and want someone with actual experience creating jobs and working in the real economy in the White House.”

Is that what it’s a sign of? I’m not so sure. Trump is more showman than businessman, and poll results released last month by the Pew Research Center and Washington Post showed that almost three times as many voters would view a Trump endorsement negatively (28 percent) as positively (8 percent) with 63 percent not caring at all.

Naturally, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was quick to roll out evidence that Trump wasn’t always so warmly inclined toward Romney.

For example, Trump said on the Fox News Channel last August – as Republicans warred with President Obama about raising the debt ceiling – that “Romney has been missing in action. He hasn’t done a damn.” Trump the same day noted he “wasn’t in love” with Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts’ governor: “He wasn’t popular; he was a one-term governor; he didn’t have high approval ratings.”

And way back in April, Trump had told CNN that Romney “is a basically small business guy. He was a hedge fund guy, a fund guy, he walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn’t create; he worked there. He would buy companies; he’d close companies; he’d get rid of jobs.”

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »

Four Californians on Romney’s Latino committee

Four of the 28 members of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s national Hispanic Steering Committee are from California.

“President Obama’s policies have been especially devastating to Hispanic families. Over 2.5 million Hispanics are unemployed today, with the unemployment rate at 11% for Hispanics,” Romney said in the news release. “President Obama does not understand that what makes our country great is our people, not the government. These leaders understand that for our economy to recover, we must free the entrepreneurial spirit that made this the greatest nation in the history of the Earth.”

At a glance, the committee looks pretty Florida-heavy, which isn’t surprising considering the death-match Romney and Newt Gingrich are fighting in that state’s winner-take-all primary next Tuesday.

But, among those serving on the committee are:

    Hector Barreto, who was named in 2001 by President George W. Bush to serve as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. He resigned in 2006 after an internal investigation revealed the SBA had distributed post-9/11 aid to businesses around the country that had neither requested nor needed it, and after criticisms of a slow response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. He now runs an Irvine-based international business consulting firm and general insurance agency.
    Allen Gutierrez of Mission Viejo, who during the Bush Administration was senior advisor to the SBA’s chief operating officer as well as senior advisor to the Office of International Trade. He’s founder and president of the MCA Group, which does federal and private-sector procurement, special events management and multicultural marketing; he’s also executive director of The Latino Coalition, a Los Angeles-based national organization – of which Barreto is board chairman – that represents Latino interests with senior executives of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.
    Aner Igelesias of Bradbury, president of the King Ranch Market supermarket chain and a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, the Unified Grocers Committee, the Mexican-American Grocers Association and the American Grocers Association.
    Hector Barajas of Sacramento, communications director for Revolvis Consulting and a political analyst for Univision and Telemundo. Barajas has served as spokesman for the California State Senate Republican Leader and Caucus, the California Victory 2008 campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the McCain/Palin 2008 and Bush/Cheney 2004 presidential campaigns.

See the entire list, after the jump…
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Posted on Friday, January 27th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney | 1 Comment »

How about ‘Romney-Huckabee 2012?’

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has recorded a commercial taking other Republican candidates to task for attacking Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital of downsizing companies:

http://youtu.be/36-WCEYVYQM

I post this less for its content than for what it may portend: I’ve been saying for a while now that Huckabee looks like a strong contender for the vice presidential slot on a Romney ticket.

Huckabee, 56, finished first in Iowa in 2008 – and with a stronger performance than Romney’s this year – due to his strong bona fides with evangelical Christian conservatives, exactly the electorate Romney will need to reassure with his vice-presidential pick. He’s been building his name recognition with a weekly show on Fox News and a syndicated radio show, and building his donor network through his PAC.

By staying out of the field this year, Huckabee has kept his hands clean: There aren’t any embarrassing campaign-trail quotes to dredge up, as there would be with Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann or any of the others who’ve repeatedly hit Romney in recent months. And compared to much of this year’s field, he’s a strong, charismatic campaigner who’s likely to remain gaffe-free.

Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2012
Under: 2012 presidential election, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney | 2 Comments »