January 2012

Jan 27, 2012

The True State of Our Union: Introduction

By Alexis Simendinger and Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics

Listening to Barack Obama’s lengthy State of the Union address in the same week the Republican presidential candidates held more debates in their incessant series was to visit two parallel universes. The economy is getting better. Nope, the economy is a disaster. We need to change the tax code so the rich pay “their fair share.” Oh, no: We need to change the tax code to starve Washington and put more money in all Americans' pockets. Business needs to be regulated. Business needs to be unfettered.
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Dole vs. Gingrich: The GOP Empire Strikes Back

By Major Garrett, National Journal

After arriving in Florida like a rolling ball of butcher knives, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is looking less edgy and more flabby by the hour. The last four polls in Florida now show Mitt Romney back ahead (the previous four had Gingrich up). That's at least in part because Republicans-–some conservative, some semiconservative, and some conveniently conservative–-are attacking Gingrich as a walking, talking party menace; a flu-like contagion who will lose the presidency and contaminate down-ballot Republicans with erratic extremism.
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Analysis: Romney is Fiery, Focused in Fla. Debate

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

Mitt Romney, forced to prove his resilience after a stinging loss in South Carolina, is showing why the so-called Republican establishment thinks he has the best discipline, organization and campaign smarts to challenge President Barack Obama this fall.
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Obama’s Brewer Encounter Sidetracks Message

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

President Barack Obama’s encounter with Arizona governor Jan Brewer yesterday on an airport tarmac in Phoenix sidetracked the administration’s effort to keep the media focused on the president’s message.
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Gingrich Regains National Lead Over Romney: Poll

By John Harwood, CNBC

Newt Gingrich has regained a national lead over Mitt Romney among Republican voters, who value a candidate’s positions on issues more than the ability to defeat President Obama in the fall, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
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Romney Fights Back

By John Dickerson, Slate

Mitt Romney may not drink, but he was loaded when he entered last night’s debate in Jacksonville, Fla. He went after Newt Gingrich immediately and relentlessly. He scolded him, rendered him momentarily mute, and took answers about other topics and turned them into attacks on Gingrich on key issues like excessive government spending. Romney didn't just have good answers, he looked like a man in command of himself. His new debate coach Brett O'Donnell should double his fees.
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Defense Budget Plan Doesn't Cut as Deeply as Pentagon Says

By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

Pentagon officials unveiled the outlines Thursday of what they called a pared-down defense budget, but their request increases baseline spending beyond the projected end of the Afghan war, even as they plan to reduce ground forces.
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Jan 26, 2012

In Run-Up to Somalia Raid, Secrecy and Business As Usual

By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

President Obama's business-as-usual demeanor as he delivered the State of the Union address on Tuesday evening masked a secret known only to him and a few others in the House chamber. Thousands of miles away, a strike team led by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 were completing a successful operation to free two Western aid workers, an American and a Dane, held by Somali kidnappers since October.
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Obama’s Message Put to Test Where Voters Struggle

By Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

President Barack Obama is testing his populist message on a trip through five electoral battleground states where he is trying to persuade voters to stick with him even as their economic prospects remain clouded. From the rescue of the U.S. auto industry to the housing crisis, Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan showcase the challenges on Obama’s path to re-election.
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President Obama speaks in Chandler, AZ (CNN)

Navy SEALs Rescue 2 Held Captive in Somalia

By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

American commandos dropped into Somalia on Tuesday night to rescue two aid workers who were held hostage, including an American, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
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Obama Returns to Familiar Theme in Case for 2nd Term

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

President Obama’s election-year State of the Union address on Tuesday echoed a theme that has run through his career: Government and citizens are responsible together for the common good, even as they celebrate individualism and free markets.
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Obama Team Sees Romney Damaging Self with Independents for Fall Campaign

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

President Obama’s political advisers have long been preparing for a general-election contest against Republican Mitt Romney. What they have seen of the former Massachusetts governor in the past 30 days makes them think he will enter a fall campaign, if he survives a turbulent nomination battle, significantly weakened by self-inflicted wounds and a major strategic mistake.
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