Posts Tagged Massachusetts

Republicans Blast President Obama For… Taking A Vacation

Republicans Blast President Obama For… Taking A Vacation

August 9th, 2013 4:08 pm Allison Brito

Obamas vacation

As Congress slips into recess and retreats to their home districts, the president is also preparing to depart for the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard with the first family for a ten day vacation.

Of course, conservatives will again attack Obama for being a lackadaisical leader who takes a vacation “every five minutes.” These criticisms coming from the right ignore that President Obama has taken fewer vacation days than his predecessor and other presidents before him.

Before President Obama left for a separate family vacation back in 2010, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly invited Washington Times columnist and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley on the show to give her input. “He’s actually shoehorning the job of the presidency into his busy schedule of going on vacation.” Crowley continued, “Is he ever working?”

O’Reilly actually called out Crowley for not criticizing President George W. Bush on the same issue. Crowley admitted that we all want a president to have down time to “clear his mind,” yet she came back and charged, “However, Obama is taking a vacation every five minutes. He’s blowing off steam almost every day.”

Crowley later claimed, “Bush took two vacations a year, in August and at Christmas time. That was it.”

Vacations have become a contentious partisan issue, with presidents of the opposite party always being criticized for taking too much time off.  However, Monica Crowley is grievously wrong about President Bush’s vacation time and is vastly downplaying his getaways from the White House.

According to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who has been tracking presidents’ vacation time for two decades now, at a similar point in his presidency, George W. Bush had taken 399 days off compared to Obama’s 87.

CBS News reported in 2011, “To be fair, a presidential vacation away from the White House is not the same as a vacation for the average person. The president is still in contact with his advisers and on call for any emergency.”

The Washington Times also condemned the President’s elitist vacation. “The Government Accountability Institute calculates that Mr. Obama spends twice as much time at leisure than on policy briefings. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering the policies. Nevertheless, we’re paying a lot for a debt to pleasure.” The editorial continues, “Nobody begrudges a president a little time off, but we’re paying $2 million for a comfortable holiday on Cape Cod, the Massachusetts summer retreat of the wealthy elites.”

A separate Washington Times article criticizes the Obamas for closing a major roadway – a measure the Secret Service requires. For anyone who is familiar with Martha’s Vineyard, the Obamas are hardly the only family — or famous family — who take to the popular vacation spot in the summer months. Traffic and other disturbances are something the locals are used to this time of year, with or without the Obamas.

 Republicans Blast President Obama For… Taking A Vacation.


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Romney: ‘This Is Why They Call Me Turnaround Mitty From Comeback City’ | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


Romney: ‘This Is Why They Call Me Turnaround Mitty From Comeback City’

OCTOBER 8, 2012

LEXINGTON, VA—Speaking at a rally on Monday, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told supporters his dramatic resurgence in the polls following last week’s debate had once again proved that he deserves his well-known moniker, Turnaround Mitty from Comeback City. “Since as far back as I can remember, folks have been calling me Turnaround Mitty from Comeback City, and just like in Detroit, Massachusetts, and Salt Lake, Turnaround Mitty from Comeback City has pulled through,” said Romney, adding that “the ol’ T.M.F.C.C. has struck again.” “There were many who doubted me, but everyone on the Nitty-Gritty Mitty Committee knew that Turnaround Mitty from Comeback City would one day be sitting pretty.” The candidate added that rebounds such as this one also explain why his close friends like to call him the Salt Lake Sultan of Surge.

 Romney: ‘This Is Why They Call Me Turnaround Mitty From Comeback City’ | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.


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Mitt Romney has moved from being the conservative GOP primary winner to a far more moderate former governor of Massachusetts. – Slate Magazine


Which Mitt Romney Do You Trust Most?

Is he a cold-hearted conservative or a moderate Republican from Massachusetts? How can we know?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during the Presidential Debate.

Which Mitt Romney would show up at the Oval Office if he wins the presidency? Conservative Mitt or Moderate Mitt?

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


Three weeks ago Mitt Romney was confronted with a secretly recorded video in which he dismissed President Obama’s supporters—the now famous 47 percent—as congenital moochers who were addicted to government because they took no personal responsibility for themselves. Now he disavows the remarks. “I was completely wrong,” he told Fox News on Thursday.

So, in the wake of his impressive debate performance and barely a month before the election, undecided voters are asked to play another round of “Where’s Willard?”  Is Mitt Romney the man in that secret video, who thinks ill of almost half the country he hopes to govern? Or is he the man we met in Colorado, an agile master of facts, policies, and economics who seems perfectly personable and maybe even friendly? Or is he someone else altogether?

 The president’s aides say, “Look at the secret video! There he is!” They want you to find the real Romney among the chafing dishes, clinking cutlery, and pricey suits. (A new Obama video says “He said it, he meant it.”) Don’t be fooled by the man on the debate stage, they say. That’s just a mask. To make this case, the president must rely on a conceit that often gets applied to him. Conservatives have argued since 2004 that Obama’s essential liberal desires are always roiling beneath a careful facade. These Republicans sit at the border on night watch, waiting for the moment when a window opens exposing Obama’s inner radical. When they see it, they sound the alarm. Last week, that meant pointing to a video of Obama alternating the intonation of his voice during a speech in front of a predominantly black audience in 2007.  

Romney’s allies argue that the debate, not the video, revealed the real man. “He has finally shed the duct tape of the primaries,” says GOP strategist Mike Murphy of Romney’s debate performance. Romney took the stage more like the man who won the governorship in the blue state of Massachusetts than the man who won the GOP nomination.

But finding the essential Romney isn’t so simple. The experiment itself is flawed. Voters are being asked to detect the truth from two different acts of artifice. One is a set-piece performance recorded by the television networks. The other was a set-piece performance captured by a member of the catering staff. Both are performances. Like all politicians, Romney was playing to the crowd in both cases. The question is not which one represents the true Romney, but which crowd will he play to when he’s in office.  

The essential character of Mitt Romney matters because we can never have a policy debate detailed enough to see exactly how his values will play out when the hard choices need to be made. Both candidates agree that the federal government must be rebalanced between the services people expect and the taxes they are willing to pay for those services. So who do you trust?

We can certainly try to look at policies. In the debate, Romney and Obama traded accusations about their Medicare ideas. Romney believes the free market can lower costs and retain quality. President Obama believes that costs can be cut through government nudges of the free market.

How do we know who has the better policy? We can look at studies and try to follow their reasoning. Sometimes there aren’t enough studies or the candidates don’t want to answer our follow-up questions. With Mitt Romney, in particular, on the questions of taxes and Medicare, his goals are so grand as to be either fantastical or untestable. If they don’t work out as planned, his aides say, he’ll tweak them.  So even when we want to talk about policy, we find ourselves circling back to the same place: Trust me.

Since President Obama has been in office we’ve seen how “trust me” works in practice. Voters can make their own individual assessment of whether President Obama has kept their trust or not. They don’t have to look for secret windows into his soul. But with Mitt Romney it’s not so easy. It would be nice if we could force the challenger to offer a budget as a qualification for running for president (perhaps the Commission on Presidential Debates could get on that?), but until we do, the essential question is how will Mitt Romney behave when he’s staring at the hard choices in the Oval Office. Will he be a moderate of the center-right as he appeared to be on the debate stage or will he be the ruthless realist of that video? It depends on which Willard Mitt Romney shows up.

 Mitt Romney has moved from being the conservative GOP primary winner to a far more moderate former governor of Massachusetts. – Slate Magazine.


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Ivan Bial: Trickle down didn’t work before. Why now, Willard? – South Florida


Ivan Bial: Trickle down didn’t work before. Why now, Willard?


Ivan Bial

September 5, 2012

When President Reagan took office the U.S. was a creditor nation, when he left office we were a debtor nation. 

When President G. W. Bush took office we had a surplus, and a robust economy, when he left office the debit bulged into the trillions, unemployment skyrocketed. Think about this he tricked us into the war in Iraq when we should have gone into Afghanistan, both wars were not paid for, the Medicare prescription drug plan also unpaid for, leave no child behind, unpaid for and several other debit busting unpaid for programs.

What do President Reagan, President G. W. Bush and Gov. Romney have in common? The three believe in “Trickle Down” Economics and no restrictions on financial institutions. 

Willard while you want to reward your wealthy friends and PAC contributors with increased tax breaks; you increase the tax burden on seniors, the middle class and cripple the poor. 

Willard, while a one term governor, your drove unemployment up, making Massachusetts the 47 state in unemployment claims. You created the model for the Affordable Healthcare Act, supported woman’s rights, increased spending for schools, which now you run away from, and you claim you balanced the budget when you had no choice since it’s a Massachusetts constitutional requirement. Fact is your poll numbers were so poor you did ran away from a second term rather than face an embarrassing defeat. 

Willard we tried “Trickle Down” and no restrictions on financial institutions.  IT DOES NOT WORK.

 Ivan Bial: Trickle down didn’t work before. Why now, Willard? – South Florida


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New GOP plan, same as old GOP plan –

SUNDAY, SEP 2, 2012 09:00 AM CDT

New GOP plan, same as old GOP plan

Romney’s strategy to address our current jobs crisis recycles, nearly word for word, the plans of the past


New GOP plan, same as old GOP plan

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at a campaign event in Bow, N.H., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Credit: AP/Charles Dharapak)

This originally appeared on Next New Deal.

I’ve been watching the 2012 Republican National Convention, trying to get a sense of what the conservative diagnosis is for our weak economy and what they’d do in response. Is it the bizarro stimulus of raising interest rates, balancing the budget, and forcing foreclosures? Is there a secret housing plan? Or will it be a program of Reactionary Keynesianism, with an expanded military, massive tax cuts for the rich, and a SuperDuperCommittee to recommend tax expenditures that will go nowhere?



Next New Deal


I take these arguments seriously — I actually really enjoy making maps to help explore them. One argument worth bringing up is the idea that they are just proposing to do the policies they want all the time anyway — the policies they wanted in 2008, or 2006, or 2004 — but are pretending there’s a reason it would be extra important given our current recession.

So on August 30th, 2012, with unemployment at 8.3 percent and with a serious long-term unemployment problem, Mitt Romney gives the RNC acceptance speech. He outlines a plan to create 12 million jobs in the next four years. As Jared Bernstein pointed out, that’s what Moody’s says will be created anyway. But forget that. How will Mitt Romney do this? He has a five point plan (numbers in [brackets] here and in the rest of the post are added by me):

And unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has 5 steps.

[1] First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

[2] Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.

[3] Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

[4] Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.

[5] And fifth, we will champion SMALL businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.

So his plan focuses on domestic energy production, school choice, trade agreements, cutting spending, and reducing taxes and regulations. This must be a set of priorities reflecting our terrifying moment of mass unemployment, right?

Let’s flash back to September 4th, 2008, at the RNC where John McCain is giving his speech accepting the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Unemployment is 6.1 percent, though the Great Moderation is coming to an end; within a year it’ll be close to 10 percent. Two weeks later, as Lehman Brothers was collapsing, McCain would say ”the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” What were his recommendations for the economy in that nomination speech?

I know some of you have been left behind in the changing economy, and it often sees that your government hasn’t even noticed… That’s going to change on my watch…

[3] I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them…

[4] I will cut government spending. He will increase it…

[5] We all know that keeping taxes low helps small businesses grow and create new jobs…

[4] Reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs will let you keep more of your own money to save, spend, and invest as you see fit…

[2] Education — education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice…

[1] We’ll attack — we’ll attack the problem on every front. We’ll produce more energy at home.. Senator Obama thinks we can achieve energy independence without more drilling and without more nuclear power. But Americans know better than that.

It’s the same exact agenda. Specifically, the Romney agenda for job creation in 2012 is stuff that John McCain wanted to do anyway in 2008.

Let’s go back further. On September 2nd, 2004, George W. Bush is at the RNC, giving his speech accepting the nomination to run for a second term as President of the United States. Unemployment is 5.4 percent. A major housing bubble is kicking into high gear, and the country is debating the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and the future of the War on Terror. A few months later, people will be talking about a permanent Republican majority. What are some priorities for a second George W. Bush term in creating jobs?

To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business.

[5] To create jobs, my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making the tax relief permanent.

[1] To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

[3] To create jobs, we will expand trade and level the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe.

[5] And we must protect small-business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across our country. Another drag on our economy is the current tax code, which is a complicated mess…

[4]  To be fair, there are some things my opponent is for. He’s proposed more than $2 trillion in new federal spending so far, and that’s a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts.

It’s the same agenda, mentioned back to back almost in the same order. Bush mentioned No Child Left Behind several times, though I’m not sure if that matches up with the school choice of [2] in Romney’s economic plan for school choice, so I excluded [2]. It’s always time for cutting spending, more oil drilling, free trade, and lower taxes and regulation to fix the economy.

Let’s do one last one. January 31st, 2006, George W. Bush is giving his State of the Union address. Unemployment is 4.7 percent. With the economy healthy and growing (in Bush’s mind), now is the time to build on the strengths and address the weaknesses of the economy. What does he suggest?

Our economy is healthy and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations…

[5] Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly and make the tax cuts permanent.

[4] Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we’ve reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending. And last year you passed bills that cut this spending.

[3] Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow… With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out- produce or out-compete the American worker…

[1] Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.

Again, President Bush mentions No Child Left Behind, but I’m not sure whether it overlaps with [2].

But the same exact playbook is there in 2006, as it was in 2004 and 2008, and as it is in 2012. Domestic oil production, school choice, trade agreements, cut spending and reduce taxes and regulations — it’s been the conservative answer to times of deep economic stress, times of economic recovery, times of economic worries, and times of economic panic. Which is another way of saying that the Republicans have no plan for how to actually deal with this specific crisis we face.

 New GOP plan, same as old GOP plan –

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The presidency: So, Mitt, what do you really believe? | The Economist


So, Mitt, what do you really believe?

Too much about the Republican candidate for the presidency is far too mysterious

Aug 25th 2012



WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it (see article). And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth. After four years of soaring oratory and intermittent reforms, why not bring in a more businesslike figure who might start fixing the problems with America’s finances?


Details, details

But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper. The convention offers Mr Romney his best chance to say what he really believes.

There are some areas where Mr Romney has shuffled to the right unnecessarily. In America’s culture wars he has followed the Republican trend of adopting ever more socially conservative positions. He says he will appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court and back the existing federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). This goes down well with southern evangelicals, less so with independent voters: witness the furore over one (rapidly disowned) Republican’s ludicrous remarks about abortion and “legitimate rape” (see article). But the powers of the federal government are limited in this area; DOMA has not stopped a few states introducing gay marriage and many more recognising gay civil partnerships.

The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial. He has threatened to label China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. Even if it is unclear what would follow from that, risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless. Some of his anti-immigration policies won’t help, either. And his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).

Explore our interactive guide to the 2012
presidential election

Once again, it may be argued that this will not matter: previous presidents pandered to interest groups and embraced realpolitik in office. Besides, this election will be fought on the economy. This is where Manager Romney should be at his strongest. But he has yet to convince: sometimes, again, being needlessly extremist, more often evasive and vague.

In theory, Mr Romney has a detailed 59-point economic plan. In practice, it ignores virtually all the difficult or interesting questions (indeed, “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex). Mr Romney began by saying that he wanted to bring down the deficit; now he stresses lower tax rates. Both are admirable aims, but they could well be contradictory: so which is his primary objective? His running-mate, Paul Ryan, thinks the Republicans can lower tax rates without losing tax revenues, by closing loopholes. Again, a simpler tax system is a good idea, but no politician has yet dared to tackle the main exemptions. Unless Mr Romney specifies which boondoggles to axe, this looks meaningless and risky.

On the spending side, Mr Romney is promising both to slim Leviathan and to boost defence spending dramatically. So what is he going to cut? How is he going to trim the huge entitlement programmes? Which bits of Mr Ryan’s scheme does he agree with? It is a little odd that the number two has a plan and his boss doesn’t. And it is all very well promising to repeal Barack Obama’s health-care plan and the equally gargantuan Dodd-Frank act on financial regulation, but what exactly will Mr Romney replace them with—unless, of course, he thinks Wall Street was well-regulated before Lehman went bust?

Playing dumb is not an option

Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?

It is not too late for Mr Romney to show America’s voters that he is a man who can lead his party rather than be led by it. But he has a lot of questions to answer in Tampa.

 The presidency: So, Mitt, what do you really believe? | The Economist.


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AP Exclusive: Romney uses secretive data-mining




Aug. 24

·         Mitt Romney


FILE – In this Aug. 18, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets into his car to attend a fundraising event on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 in Nantucket, Mass. The unprecedented success of Romney to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans’ personal information _ including their purchasing history and church attendance _ to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

·         Mitt Romney


Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney walks into a fundraising event on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 in Minnetonka Beach, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


WASHINGTON (AP) — Building upon its fundraising prowess, Mitt Romney’s campaign began a secretive data-mining project this summer to trove through Americans’ personal information — including their purchasing history and church attendance — to identify new and likely wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned.

The project employs strategies similar to those the business world uses to influence the way Americans shop and think. Now they’re being used to sway presidential elections. The same personal data consumers give away — often unwittingly when they swipe their credit cards or log into Facebook — is now being used by the people who might one day occupy the White House.

For Romney’s data-mining project, which began as early as June, the Republican candidate quietly turned to a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led.

The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company’s efforts, which help Romney identify potentially wealthy and previously untapped Republican donors across the country. The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project’s overall success.

There are no records of payments to Buxton from Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee or a joint fundraising committee. Under federal law, companies cannot use corporate treasury funds or resources, such as proprietary data analysis, for in-kind contributions to federal campaigns.

The effort by Romney appears to be the first example of a political campaign using such extensive data analysis. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has long been known as data-savvy, but Romney’s project appears to take a page from the Fortune 500 business world and dig deeper into available consumer data.

Buxton said he’s working for the Romney campaign because he wants “to be on the winning team.”

He once worked with a former Romney business partner to provide insights, for example, about where Petco should open a new pet-supply store to maximize profits. In addition to Buxton, the data-mining project was described to the AP by a Romney fundraiser who spoke on condition of anonymity because the fundraiser did not want to face repercussions for describing internal campaign processes.

Businesses use those kinds of analytics firms to answer key questions for clients, such as where to build a retail store or where to mail pamphlets touting a new product. The analysis doesn’t directly bring in campaign contributions, but it generates the equivalent of sales leads for Romney’s campaign.

The project relies upon a sophisticated analysis by powerful computers of thousands of commercially available, expensive databases that are lawfully bought and sold behind the scenes by corporations, including details about credit accounts, families and children, voter registrations, charitable contributions, property tax records and survey responses. It combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic data analysis, which tries to ferret out Americans’ consumer behavior and habits.

An early test analyzed details of more than 2 million households near San Francisco and elsewhere on the West Coast and identified thousands of people who would be comfortably able and inclined to give Romney at least $2,500 or more.

An AP analysis this week determined that Romney’s campaign has made impressive inroads into even traditionally Democratic neighborhoods, collecting more than $350,000 this summer around San Francisco in contributions that averaged $400 each. High-dollar donors have been essential to Romney’s election effort, unlike Obama, who relies on more contributors giving smaller amounts.

Romney and the GOP have out-fundraised Obama’s re-election effort for the past three months.

The fate of the presidency may depend on who raises more money in the campaign, whose cost for the first time is approaching $2 billion. That figure includes hundreds of millions of dollars spent by super political action committees that accept unlimited and in some cases effectively anonymous contributions from millionaires, companies, labor groups and others to pay for television campaign advertisements across the nation.

Buxton confirmed that the data-mining project began with the help of Dick Boyce, Romney’s former Bain & Co. colleague, after Romney joined fundraising forces with the Republican National Committee. Buxton expressed such confidence in his business and analysis methods that, in nearly two decades of running his firm, he told AP he has always been able to answer essential questions for customers.

“I can look at data of any kind and say, ‘I want to know who that $100 donor could be,'” Buxton said. “We look at data of any kind.”

Obama’s campaign employs its own form of data analysis to lure potential supporters, via Facebook and Twitter, to fine-tune messages for supporters and potential donors. The Obama campaign declined to comment on its internal fundraising practices, although Buxton said it doesn’t work with Obama’s campaign.

Romney’s campaign has also been secretive about how it raises its money, and most fundraising events have been closed to the press. Unlike Obama, Romney’s campaign has declined to publicly identify the names of major fundraisers, known as bundlers, who have helped amass much of its money. Details of this project have not been made public until now.

Buxton is not listed as a vendor in any of the campaign’s finance reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, although some campaigns do not report expenses until the vendor sends them a bill.

When AP initially asked Buxton about its work for Romney, it declined to acknowledge that it helped raise money for the RNC, even as its own website displayed a prominent log-in page for “2012 presidential donor prospecting.” That web address contained the letters “RNC” — a common abbreviation for the Republican National Committee. After the AP’s continued questioning, the company replaced the “RNC” letters in the web address with a generic “campaign” the next day.

This is not Buxton’s first foray into politics: In 2006, the company produced 1,000 names for a Connecticut campaign to meet a write-in ballot requirement, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram then reported, and 900 of them signed up.

Few in Washington campaign circles recognized the work of Buxton, although it lists thousands of other clients in the public and private sector, including hospitals and local governments.

 AP Exclusive: Romney uses secretive data-mining.


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Romney invokes Massachusetts health law ahead of Republican convention – The Hill’s Healthwatch

Romney invokes Massachusetts health law ahead of Republican convention

By Elise Viebeck – 08/25/12


Mitt Romney is invoking his Massachusetts healthcare law in the lead-up to the Republican convention, alarming conservatives who argue it’s a losing issue for his campaign.

Romney’s new willingness to talk about the issue could be a sign that he thinks the Massachusetts law could help him in November.

“My healthcare plan I put in place in my state has everyone insured,” Romney told a CBS reporter on Thursday. In a second interview, he called the law an “important accomplishment” that is “working, by and large, pretty well.” 

Romney has consistently defended his healthcare overhaul, but has not made it a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. The law inspired parts of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which remains anathema to conservatives.

The convention in Tampa, which serves as a showcase for Romney’s career in business and politics, will almost certainly have to address the Massachusetts law in some way.

“He’ll have to strike a delicate balance on the Massachusetts law,” said Potomac Strategy Group President Matt Mackowiak. 

“It’s in his nature to defend something that he signed, but it’s not a winning issue. … The truth is, he doesn’t need to go there.” 

The Massachusetts law contained the same central elements as the federal healthcare reform plan, most notably an individual mandate to have health insurance.

Conservatives argue the federal mandate is a breathtaking expansion of federal power, and say Romney neutralizes criticism of the Affordable Care Act and, by extension, Obama, when he touts a law with a similar requirement.

The concern was central to arguments against Romney during the GOP primaries, but faded from view until August 8, when a Romney spokeswoman volunteered praise for the state law during a television interview. 

“There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their healthcare in President Obama’s economy,” Andrea Saul told Fox News. “If people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s healthcare plan, they would have had healthcare.” 

The backlash from conservative commentators was swift.

“Andrea Saul just gave the Obama campaign a big, fat, wet, kiss,” said radio host Laura Ingraham. Author Ann Coulter called Saul a “moron.” And Erick Erickson, who manages the blog site RedState, tweeted the comments may be remembered as “the moment Mitt Romney lost the election.” 

“The concern among conservatives is that there will be some kind of ‘Read my lips’ moment with Romney and healthcare,” said Republican strategist Keith Appell. 

The famous remark refers to a promise by then-candidate George H. W. Bush not to raise taxes. Bush ultimately did raise taxes in the White House.

“Since the primaries began, Romney has said he is against ‘Obamacare,’ that he’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment,” Appell said. 

“Those statements are what people are staking their activity and engagement on. It’s not Romney’s record that they’re staking it on.”

Romney’s recent healthcare comments recall his performance during primary debates, when, under fire from opponents about the Massachusetts system, he expressed pride in “caring about people.” 

“We have less than 1 percent of our kids [in Massachusetts] who are uninsured,” Romney told Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) in an October 2011 debate. “You have a million kids.” 

Several months later, Romney said he would be most prepared to debate Obama as a result of his experiences dealing with healthcare.

“I will be able to show that I have a passionate concern for people in this country,” he told a debate audience in January. 

Mackowiak wondered whether Romney’s recent comments reflect a desire to appear more relatable to voters. Polls show that Obama leads Romney in likability. 

“They’re trying to show compassion,” Mackowiak said of Romney’s campaign. 

“The problem is, the play for independents will be on the economy and the direction of the country … Romney may not want to appear as a sort of ‘careless Republican,’ but there are other ways to do that.”

 Romney invokes Massachusetts health law ahead of Republican convention – The Hill’s Healthwatch.


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World Leader Wondering Why He Just Met With The Former Governor Of Massachusetts | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


World Leader Wondering Why He Just Met With The Former Governor Of Massachusetts


WARSAW, POLAND—World leader and president of Poland Bronisław Komorowski was reportedly puzzled Tuesday as to why he had just met with a man who was apparently the governor of Massachusetts six years ago. “That person currently holds no position of power, so I’m not sure why I would have any sort of high-level talk with him,” Komorowski was overheard saying to his advisers, adding that as a head of state with a busy schedule he shouldn’t be taking meetings with just anyone. “Essentially, I just had an hourlong conversation with an unemployed American man.” According to sources, when reminded that the individual he had met also ran the Winter Olympics in 2002, Komorowski responded, “Who gives a shit?”

 World Leader Wondering Why He Just Met With The Former Governor Of Massachusetts | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.


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New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee? | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building


New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee?

by Josh Gellers, 08/07/12

Coffee, Close-Up, Bubbles

People aren’t the only ones getting a jolt from caffeine these days; in a new study published inMarine Pollution Bulletin, scientists found elevated concentrations of caffeine in the Pacific Ocean in areas off the coast of Oregon. With all those coffee drinkers in the Pacific Northwest, it should be no surprise that human waste containing caffeine would ultimately make its way through municipal water systems and out to sea – but how will the presence of caffeine in our oceans affect human health and natural ecosystems?




Plastic Garbage, Underwater, Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The precise impacts that exposure to caffeinated seas may have on humans are not well known. However, related research indicates that evidence of caffeine contamination serves as a good indicator for the presence of other potentially harmful pollutants that have found their way into our waterways, such as prescription medication and hormones. The effects on aquatic life are also not well understood, but lab studies have already demonstrated that higher levels of caffeine in the water have been shown to produce cellular stress in intertidal mussels.

The study showing abnormal levels of caffeine in the waters off the Oregon coast also suggested that the contaminants were predominantly coming from small-scale waste treatment systems such as household septic tanks, as opposed to large-scale wastewater treatment plants, which are regulated with much greater scrutiny. Such massive facilities are well-equipped to process the waste originating from cities in Oregon, which are comparatively smaller than major metropolitan hubs that have much more waste to contend with. For example, in Massachusetts, high levels of caffeine have been detected in Boston Harbor, likely the result of significantly greater quantities of wastewater that require treatment than those present in Oregon.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the effects of caffeine pollution on an ocean already marred by the presence of plastic garbage islands, how much research needs to be conducted before cities decide to embark upon ambitious ocean-cleansing efforts? Hopefully, leaders won’t need to convene over coffee to figure out the right course of action.

 New Study Suggests Pacific Ocean is Polluted With… Coffee? | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.


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