Mitt’s ‘Out of Context’ attacks

This is going to be a tough campaign season. Both sides are going to level harsh attacks at one another, and many of us will become sick of it as the campaign season moves on.

President Obama has certainly gone negative as he makes Bain and Mitt Romney’s business record an issue, and Romney and the right wing super pacs are being very tough on Obama over the economy.

But it’s rather pathetic, and perhaps a little desperate, when a campaign takes a string of words completely out of context in order to distort what a candidate said. That’s what’s going on with the “you didn’t build that” line of attack against Obama, implying that he said entrepreneurs didn’t build their own business. When you read the entire context of what Obama said, he was clearly referring to the roads an bridges built by society. See the video above as well.

Hopefully we’ll see Obama address this on the stump in a mocking tone of how desperate Mitt has become.

  

Obama announces end to Iraq War

U.S. soldiers take a rest in the shade of armoured vehicles at a courtyard at Camp Liberty in Baghdad September 30, 2011. U.S troops are scheduled to pull out of the country by the end of this year, according to a 2008 security pact between the U.S. and Iraq. Picture taken September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ – Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY)

President Obama just announced in a news conference that all American troops in Iraq will be withdrawn by the end of the year, and the troops will be home for the holidays.

This was expected, but it’s still monumental. After spending trillions of dollars and suffering thousands of American casualties, we’re finally leaving Iraq.

The U.S. was open to keeping trainers in Iraq past the end of the year, but the Iraqi government would not grant immunity to American soldiers, so we told them to forget it.

  

Negotiations get tough on health care

Can Harry Reid get health care through the Senate? it will be a very tough battle, as Roll Call points out in this excellent article summarizing the current state of the negotiations. Reid seems to be feeling the pressure from the liberals in his caucus, as he’s instructed Finance Chairman Max Baucus to stop trying to please Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday strongly urged Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to drop a proposal to tax health benefits and stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill.

Reid, whose leadership is considered crucial if President Barack Obama is to deliver on his promise of enacting health care reform this year, offered the directive to Baucus through an intermediary after consulting with Senate Democratic leaders during Tuesday morning’s regularly scheduled leadership meeting. Baucus met with Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday afternoon to relay the information.

According to Democratic sources, Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes; Reid told Baucus that several in the Conference had serious concerns and that it wasn’t worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Finance Committee began looking at ways other than taxing health benefits to deliver a health care overhaul that costs less than $1 trillion and is deficit-neutral, as Baucus wants. Baucus’ office declined to comment, but Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a key member of Finance, confirmed as much late Tuesday.

“I would say there’s a search for alternatives,” Conrad told reporters. “There’s been feedback. There’s been additional questions in terms of getting the votes and public support.”

I’m surprised to hear Reid taking such a tough stand, but Democrats are fed up with the bi-partisan approach. Taxing benefits is a bad idea, and they need to look for other ways to fund this. I’m in favor of taxing soda and other crap that big companies sell and market to kids. Would it kill us to pay a little more for pop?

Naturally, any push by the Democrats to get this done with a public option and without the support of Republicans will also make it more difficult for moderate Democrats to support the bill, but it was encouraging to hear Ben Nelson praise Reid’s efforts. Nelson is always a tough vote.

“Harry is the leader, and people certainly pay attention to Harry’s advice and leadership,” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said. “I’m sure he’s going to find a way to sell what needs to be done. … He’s very good at that, and I hope he’s able to do it.”

  

Krugman likes Obama’s budget

Paul Krugman has been pretty tough on Barack Obama, but he’s very pleased with the budget.

Elections have consequences. President Obama’s new budget represents a huge break, not just with the policies of the past eight years, but with policy trends over the past 30 years. If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course.

The budget will, among other things, come as a huge relief to Democrats who were starting to feel a bit of postpartisan depression. The stimulus bill that Congress passed may have been too weak and too focused on tax cuts. The administration’s refusal to get tough on the banks may be deeply disappointing. But fears that Mr. Obama would sacrifice progressive priorities in his budget plans, and satisfy himself with fiddling around the edges of the tax system, have now been banished.

For this budget allocates $634 billion over the next decade for health reform. That’s not enough to pay for universal coverage, but it’s an impressive start. And Mr. Obama plans to pay for health reform, not just with higher taxes on the affluent, but by putting a halt to the creeping privatization of Medicare, eliminating overpayments to insurance companies.

On another front, it’s also heartening to see that the budget projects $645 billion in revenues from the sale of emission allowances. After years of denial and delay by its predecessor, the Obama administration is signaling that it’s ready to take on climate change.

And these new priorities are laid out in a document whose clarity and plausibility seem almost incredible to those of us who grew accustomed to reading Bush-era budgets, which insulted our intelligence on every page. This is budgeting we can believe in.

Krugman goes on to explain that cutting the deficit with this plan is definitely plausible. We’ll see how it plays out, but Obama seems to have support from the left.

  

President Barack Obama

Time to celebrate.

President Barack Obama

  

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