Pawlenty slams Obama from Iowa

Pawlenty slams Obama from Iowa
By: Jonathan Martin
November 8, 2009 09:27 AM EST
DES MOINES – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty used his Iowa debut as a potential presidential candidate Saturday to excoriate President Obama and congressional Democrats for not doing more to address the still-wheezing economy.

“They should be focused like a laser on jobs, not acting like a manure-spreader in a wind storm,” Pawlenty told Iowa Republicans gathered in an exhibition hall at the state fairgrounds, criticizing Democrats for their efforts on healthcare and energy.

Noting that unemployment in October crested 10 percent, he mocked the Obama administration officials who earlier said that threshold would be breached only if Congress didn’t agree to the stimulus the White House called for, and received.

“As a senior aide to President Clinton once said: It’s the economy, stupid,” Pawlenty quipped, channeling the 1992 James Carville line. He proposed making some of the Bush-era tax cuts permanent and cutting the payroll tax and rates on small business and research and development to help bolster the economy.

Speaking for 30 minutes to a crowd of approximately 700 at a fundraising dinner for the Iowa GOP, the second-term governor touted the party’s victories in Tuesday’s gubernatorial races to argue that Republicans have begun to come back.

In the state whose first-in-the-nation caucuses have long made it a crucial stop for presidential hopefuls, Pawlenty took several shots at the Obama administration. Test-driving a new stump speech, he offered a reworking of the president’s signature call-and-response chant: “Are you fired up and ready to fight back?”

The polite Midwestern crowd, though, received Pawlenty with polite applause throughout his speech, saving their loudest ovation for toward the end of his remarks when he raised “the importance of thanking and acknowledging God.”

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan, responding to Pawlenty’s speech, said that “It’s not a question of focusing on the ‘economy stupid.’ It’s a question of not repeating the same stupid economic policies that got us into this mess to begin with.”

While Pawlenty exhorted the crowd to help re-take the governor’s mansion here and in other Midwestern states next year, the governor, who is not seeking re-election next year, also used much of his time before a crowd of likely 2012 caucus-goers to introduce himself. He described his blue-collar roots as the son of a truck driver from South St. Paul and touted his ability to win in an historically-liberal state.

Plainly hoping to offer himself up as regular guy, Pawlenty took the stage to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” (even though potential 2012 rival Mitt Romney is in fact a “governor’s son”), recalled his deer-hunting expedition into northern Minnesota earlier in the day (where he said he pioneered a new hunting technique, “shoot and release”), decried the bailouts and made sure the audience knew that he was essentially from the neighborhood.

“Minnesota and Iowa have a lot in common,” he observed. “We’re a state that if you drive across the Minnesota border into northern Iowa, you can’t tell that you’re in a different state in a lot of ways.”


In another moment of heartland solidarity, he said: “Some people call us fly-over country.”

Going further than perhaps some in the Midwestern crowd are used to, though, the governor also noted that he was joined at the dinner by his “red-hot, smoking wife,” Mary. 

Pawlenty’s visit came at a time when some Hawkeye State political insiders have begun fretting about the state’s relevance heading into the 2012 caucuses. With Sen. John McCain having won the GOP nomination despite a 4th-place finish here, the concern is that some presidential candidates may be tempted to de-emphasize or altogether skip the state.

“I think it’s a mistake to skip the caucuses and the reason why I think it’s a mistake because here is really grassroots democracy,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) in a brief interview Saturday night before the dinner.

And if the appeal of up-close, retail campaigning isn’t enough to lure candidates back, Grassley noted the state’s track record of launching candidates to the White House.

“In one generation, Iowa has elected two presidents, one Carter and the other Obama,” he said. Both, thought, are Democrats.

Pawlenty avoided any mention of the cherished caucuses during his remarks, but after briefly addressing reporters following the dinner he stopped before getting into his car to say he hoped they continued to play a vital role in the nominating process.

“I think that’s a great demonstration of grassroots democracy that allows people to come forward in an open, transparent, grassroots way,” he said. “And so I think it has served Iowa and it has served the nation well.”

Earlier in the day, Pawlenty went even further to demonstrate his personal commitment to the caucuses, taking a series of steps that underlined his clear interest in running for president. Fresh from his hunting trip, and still clad in a blaze orange hat, he met with longtime Iowa GOP strategist Dave Roederer at a downtown hotel here. Roerder was the state campaign chairman for President Bush’s re-election in 2004 and McCain’s 2008 bid.

Later, Pawlenty was the guest of honor at a small fundraiser for the Iowa GOP held at the home of Doug Reichardt, a prominent local insurance executive and Republican donor.

And the governor had sought to sit down with Grassley in the afternoon but the senator had a scheduling conflict.

Though Pawlenty certainly didn’t light the room ablaze with his presence, he seemed to strike solid and familiar chords with the Republicans in the room.

“I think he is the profile of the kind of candidate who could be very powerful in 2012,” said Bill Schikel, a former state representative from Mason City who is on the GOP’s state central committee. “It’s a combination of his presentation. It’s what he says and how he says it.”

Though some in the audience said privately that Pawlenty’s remarks lacked a spark, most Iowans were either pleasantly inscrutable or laudatory.

Frank Severnio, a Republican from just outside of Des Moines who approached Pawlenty after the dinner to offer his support, was the most blunt: “He’s a fresh face. We’ve been there with Romney and Huckabee.”

© 2009 Capitol News Company, LLC

Napolitano’s terrorist radar screen

Napolitano’s terrorist radar screen

Joseph Finlay

What kind of behavior and characteristics trigger scrutiny from The Department of Homeland Security and its head, Janet Napolitano? It seems that Major Hasan’s behavior raised no official eyebrows despite his outspoken views and possible links to radical extremism.  In a world of political correctness and irrational fear of even the appearance of profiling, did concern for not offending Hasan’s Muslim faith trump the numerous red flags that are littered in his deadly wake?

Despite subsequent apologies and denials to the contrary, The Dept of Homeland Security led by Janet Napolitano profiled conservative Americans as potential domestic terrorists:
“This was an assessment, not an accusation,” Napolitano continued. “It was limited to extremists those who seek to commit violence within the United States. And all this was meant to do was to give law enforcement what we call ‘situational awareness.'”
“The last thing I want to do is offend or castigate all veterans. To the contrary, let’s meet and clear the air,” she said.
A footnote in the report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” said that while there is no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are planning acts of violence, such acts could come from unnamed “rightwing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, abortion, increasing federal power and restrictions on firearms — and singled out returning war veterans as susceptible to recruitment. 
As we learned six months ago, the US government was willing to paint with a broad stroke  in  profiling American soldiers cycling in and out of Fort Hood and similar military installations as potential domestic terrorists.  Were they performing equal due diligence with Maj. Nadil Malik Hasan at the same time?  Seems that the “situational awareness” was tragically misplaced in this case.  Who was the more likely terrorist?

Page Printed from: at November 08, 2009 – 03:43:46 PM EST

Health care takeover roll call vote — and what GOP Rep. Joseph Cao got from Obama; Plus: Organizing for America hustles more money

Lead Story

Health care takeover roll call vote — and what GOP Rep. Joseph Cao got from Obama; Plus: Organizing for America hustles more money

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 8, 2009 01:10 AM

The final 220-215 roll call vote on passage of the House Dems’ government health care takeover bill is here.

And here is the 240-194 roll call vote on the Stupak amendment to extend the ban on federal abortion subsidies to Obamacare/Pelosicare.

Thanks to Doug Powers for filling in while I spoke at the Foundation for Life event in Sugar Land, Texas tonight. What an incredible juxtaposition it was — meeting and talking with the true agents of Hope and Change, the true guardians of innocent life, and the true advocates for women and children outside the Beltway as the Democrat majority inside the Beltway rammed the massive, job-killing, high-taxing, bureaucracy-multiplying, generational debt-piling health care monstrosity down America’s throat.

One Republican voted for Pelosicare: GOP Rep. Anh (Joseph) Cao of Louisiana.

Yes, he’s the one who took over corruptocrat Democrat William Jefferson’s seat. I had reservations about him on election night because of his soft-on-immigration views. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt. If he could stand strong on limited government and fiscal conservatism, it would be worth it.

Well, since he was elected, Cao has backed the S-CHIP expansion, the $108 billion IMF bailout, and the omni-waste spending bill. And he voted to rebuke GOP Rep. Joe Wilson for calling out President Obama on his health care lies.

That is a steep price to pay for Rep. William Jefferson’s removal.

Can’t the GOP do better?

For what it is worth, here is the cheap price the Democrats paid for Cao’s vote:

Louisiana Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao on Sunday morning released a statement after he voted as the only Republican in favor of the Democratic health care reform bill.

The health care reform bill, dubbed the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” (H.R. 3962), passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a 220 – 215 vote.

“Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana,” Cao said in a statement released by his office. “I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children.”

Cao wrote he obtained commitment from President Obama that he would work together to address the health care issues of Louisiana, including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. “I call on all my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.”

He obtained a “commitment from President Obama.”

You know what that’s worth: Nothing.


This email from President Obama hustling up money for Organizing for America arrived in the email box at 1:45am Eastern. He sure can work fast when he wants to:

This evening, at 11:15 p.m., the House of Representatives voted to pass their health insurance reform bill. Despite countless attempts over nearly a century, no chamber of Congress has ever before passed comprehensive health reform. This is history.

But you and millions of your fellow Organizing for America supporters didn’t just witness history tonight — you helped make it. Each “yes” vote was a brave stand, backed up by countless hours of knocking on doors, outreach in town halls and town squares, millions of signatures, and hundreds of thousands of calls. You stood up. You spoke up. And you were heard.

So this is a night to celebrate — but not to rest. Those who voted for reform deserve our thanks, and the next phase of this fight has already begun.

The final Senate bill hasn’t even been released yet, but the insurance companies are already pressing hard for a filibuster to bury it. OFA has built a massive neighborhood-by-neighborhood operation to bring people’s voices to Congress, and tonight we saw the results. But the coming days will put our efforts to the ultimate test. Winning will require each of us to give everything we can, starting right now.

Please donate $5 or whatever you can afford so we can finish this fight.

Tonight’s vote brought every American closer to the secure, affordable care we need. But it was also a watershed moment in how change is made.

Even after last year’s election, many insider lobbyists and partisan operatives really thought that the old formula of scare tactics, D.C. back-scratching and special-interest money would still be enough to block any idea they didn’t like. Now, they’re desperate. Because, tonight, you made it crystal clear: the old rules are changing — and the people will not be ignored.

In the final phases of last year’s election, I often reminded folks, “Don’t think for a minute that power concedes without a fight,” and it’s especially true today. But that’s okay — we’re not afraid of a fight. And as you continue to prove, when all of us work together, we have what it takes to win.

Please donate to OFA’s campaign to win this fight and ensure that real health reform reaches my desk by the end of this year:

Let’s keep making history,

President Barack Obama

Pelosi’s House narrowly passes Obamacare

Pelosi’s House narrowly passes Obamacare

November 8th, 2009

Associated Press

In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

United in opposition, minority Republicans cataloged their objections across hours of debate on the 1,990-page, $1.2 trillion legislation.

“We are going to have a complete government takeover of our health care system faster than you can say, ‘this is making me sick,’” jabbed Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., adding that Democrats were intent on passing “a jobs-killing, tax-hiking, deficit-exploding” bill.

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