November 2011

Nov 29, 2011

A Crude Hit to the Recovery

By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

The U.S. economy missed out on creating up to a quarter-million jobs this year because it lacked the infrastructure to capitalize on a rare divergence in global oil prices, a National Journal analysis shows. Simply put, American consumers paid a historically high premium for their gasoline. The economy suffered for it.

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Gingrich Says He’s ‘Conservative Alternative’ to Romney

By Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Newt Gingrich, who not long ago was urging his fellow Republican candidates to avoid tearing one another apart in pursuit of the party’s presidential nomination, took a new approach on Monday by explicitly declaring: “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate; I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney.” With his candidacy on the rise, Mr. Gingrich opened a three-day campaign visit to South Carolina and warned Republicans to be suspicious of candidates who “adopt radically different positions.” It was a fresh glimpse into the sharpening tenor of the nominating fight as the first round of voting begins in five weeks.

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Frank Won't Seek Re-Election

By Janet Hook and Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal

Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), an architect of last year's landmark financial-regulation overhaul, said Monday he wouldn't seek a 17th term, adding to a list of Democratic retirements that could hurt the party's already slim chances of retaking the House next year. The decision to leave Congress by Mr. Frank, the most high-profile Democrat to do so since 2010, will deprive liberals of one of their most outspoken champions and conservatives of a national political lightning rod.
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Democrats Take Aim at Romney in New Ad

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

The Democratic National Committee on Monday escalated its effort to define Mitt Romney, seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012, as a flip-flopper with a new ad in five battleground states. Called “Trapped,” it is styled as a parody of a sci-fi movie trailer for “the story of two men trapped in one body.”

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Congressman Barney Frank to Retire

With John Harwood, CNBC

CNBC's John Harwood has the details on Barney Frank's planned retirement from Congress.

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Battle of the Blemishes

By John Dickerson, Slate

The Republican presidential race is now dominated by giants: the giant flaws of the front-runners. With 36 days to go before the first votes are cast in Iowa, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich stand atop the field—familiar, formidable, and flawed. Romney has a history of shifting positions and supported the individual health care mandate. Gingrich has some of those same flaws plus a complicated personal history. The question for voters choosing between the two: Which candidate’s troubles are too big?

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Nov 28, 2011

Will demographic shifts save Obama in 2012?

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

The 2008 election was a reminder of the demographic forces that are changing America and potentially the political balance in the country. The most diverse electorate in the nation’s history added to the favorable winds that pushed President Obama to victory. He will need the assistance of those shifts even more in 2012 if he is to avoid defeat.

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‘Spreading the Wealth’ in Democrats’ Favor

By John Harwood, New York Times

Fighting from behind in the final days of the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain found a weapon in an unscripted encounter between his opponent, Senator Barack Obama, and a voter. “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama told Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber. Mr. McCain seized on the remark as evidence of Mr. Obama’s adherence to “socialism.”

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Newt Gingrich Inc.: How the GOP hopeful went from political flameout to fortune

By Karen Tumulty and Dan Eggen, Washington Post

Anyone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife must not live in Washington. Rarely, however, has reincarnation been so lucrative as it has for the man who now tops some polls for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich transfigured himself from a political flameout into a thriving business conglomerate. The power of the Gingrich brand fueled a for-profit collection of enterprises that generated close to $100 million in revenue over the past decade, said his longtime attorney Randy Evans.

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The supercommittee that wasn't

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

In retrospect, it should have been apparent from the start that an ad hoc committee of six Republicans and six Democrats, working in secret against a short deadline, probably wasn't the right place to make massive changes in tax and healthcare law. There was just too much distance between them. Republicans asked the six Democratic members, at various times, if they wouldn't like to abolish President Obama's healthcare law, or turn Medicare into a voucher system, or raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.

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Big Baby

By Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair

Forget Newt Gingrich’s $1.6 to $1.8 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac and his up-to-$500,000 line of credit at Tiffany & Co. Overlook the Greek cruise and the mass campaign-staff exodus. Pay no attention to his two messy divorces and his impeachment of a president over an extramarital affair while he was conducting an affair of his own. But, please, don’t forget the pacifier.

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Obama's Mini-Initiative: Shop "Small" on Saturday

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama is trying to persuade voters that he supports America's smallest businesses, one jar of blueberry jam at a time. Small is in. Small is sweet. Small, let's face it, is comprehensible. When global problems are so migraine-inducing, a Cabinet full of high-powered micro-shoppers could become bigger than the sum of its itsy-bitsy parts.

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