February 2012

Feb 27, 2012

Revenge of the 'super PACs'

By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Chalk up another win for the law of unintended consequences. When federal courts ruled in 2010 against restricting donations to political action committees, Republican strategists rejoiced. Here, they thought, was a way for the GOP's deep-pocketed donors to gain an advantage over President Obama's fundraising machine. But look what happened. "Super PACs," as the newly empowered political action committees are known, have mutated like election-year Godzillas, wreaking havoc in an increasingly bloody Republican primary campaign.

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Romney defends wealth, Santorum touts values

By Sam Youngman and Steve Holland, Reuters

In a tight race to win the Michigan primary, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney strongly defended his wealth on Sunday and challenged voters to support someone else if they did not like his success.
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Syria, Iran and the Obama Doctrine

By David Sanger, The New York Times

Arm the Syrian rebels! And, while we’re at it, give the Israelis the tools they need — bunker-busters, refueling aircraft — so that if they decide to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, they’ll get it right the first time. Both calls have resonated across Washington in recent days. The demand to level the playing field against the Syrian government — which is getting arms from Russia and Iran — came from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Talk of increasing the credibility of Israel’s threat to flatten Iran’s far-flung nuclear facilities has arisen in many quarters, from the Republican presidential candidates to think tanks that have charged that the Obama administration has not yet made “all options are on the table” a credible threat.

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Feb 24, 2012

Poll: Santorum Surges in Pennsylvania

By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal

Rick Santorum might not seem like a good candidate for a “favorite son” vote in Pennsylvania. After all, last time he ran in the state, Mr. Santorum was clobbered by 18 points in his 2006 Senate re-election race—one of the worst losses for a sitting senator in decades.
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Koran Burning in Afghanistan Fuels Bloody New Attacks on U.S. Forces

By Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal

The deaths of a pair of American soldiers in Afghanistan Thursday highlights the bloody intersection of two dangerous aspects of the long war there: the growing Afghan fury over the burning of Korans and the continued killings of Western troops by their Afghan counterparts. An Afghan soldier shot and killed the U.S. soldiers at an outpost in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province and then, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter, fled into the large crowd of demonstrators outside the base. They were protesting reports that American troops had burned copies of the Koran, the holiest text in Islam.
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Protests in Afghanistan over burnt Qurans (CNN)

What Happens if Mitt Romney Wins Michigan?

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

For the past week, much of the focus of the Republican presidential race has centered on the consequences Mitt Romney will face if he loses Michigan’s primary. After a debate in Arizona on Wednesday, the question should be: What will happen if he wins his home state? Polls in Michigan show a tight race between Romney and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.). Romney won Michigan four years ago, but there’s no guarantee he will do so again on Tuesday.
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"Cool" Obama Returns GOP Fire on Gas Prices

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama said Thursday in Miami that Republicans who want his job and others in Congress are not telling America the truth. Whether the president's complaints had merit was not the news. What was noteworthy was how the GOP assaults leveled at the president during the campaign -- and the pile-up of televised presidential debates -- are registering with Obama.
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Conventional Wisdom

By John Dickerson, Slate

Disney may be in Orlando, but in Republican Party politics, Tampa is the home of Fantasyland. That's where the GOP convention will be held the week of Aug. 27. As the Republican race appears more likely to stretch into spring (or beyond), journalists and political operatives have started to imagine make-believe scenarios for what might happen if GOP delegates show up with funny hats, pins, and suntan lotion but no confirmed nominee.
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Feb 22, 2012

Obama Readies Plan to Cut Corporate Tax Rate

By Richard Rubin and Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

The Obama administration will propose today reducing the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent along with removing tax breaks for companies to help offset lost revenue, an administration official said. The plan would eliminate dozens of tax breaks and reshape the current manufacturing deduction to reduce the tax rate on manufacturing to 25 percent, according to the official, who outlined the proposal on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t been released.
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Feb 23, 2012

Mitt Romney Attacks Put Rick Santorum on Defensive in GOP Presidential Debate

By Dan Balz and Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was thrown on the defensive here Wednesday night as rival Mitt Romney attacked the former senator over spending and earmarks and accused him of compiling an inconsistent and contradictory record. In the first GOP debate since he won a trio of states two weeks ago, Santorum fired back, accusing Romney of his own inconsistencies, but he struggled under repeated criticism to explain his record. The squabbling became so intense at times that the two talked past each other, with voices raised, each trying to gain the upper hand.
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Obama's Corporate Tax Plan Presages Election Debate

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama's corporate tax reform "framework" unveiled Wednesday is unlikely to become law in an election year, but a partisan and economically rooted debate about individual and business taxes will figure prominently before November. Two competing visions for fiscal rejuvenation after 2013 are guaranteed to clash when Obama and a GOP nominee finally face one another later this year.
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Afghanistan Protests: U.S. Embassy on Lock Down

With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

An accidental burning of Qurans led to Anti-U.S. protests.

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