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Christie: GOP should ‘show up’ for minority votes

In Political News, Republicans on November 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

PHILIP ELLIOTT, AP

 

Sun Nov 10, 3:45 PM UTC

 

English: Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie

English: Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday offered his Republican Party a prescription to win: show up.

 

Christie, fresh off a 22-percentage point win for re-election, said the GOP must go into Hispanic and black communities, talk with seniors and campaign in traditionally Democratic-leaning areas. It’s what helped him become the first New Jersey Republican in a quarter century to capture more than 50 percent of the vote.

 

It also has done nothing to tamp down chatter about a 2016 presidential bid, something many have encouraged.

 

“I know everybody is going to be speculating about what may come in my future and lots of other people’s future in our party. But the fact is, I am focused on being the governor of New Jersey and being the chairman of the Republican Governors Association,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday,” one of the four television news shows he appeared on Sunday. “And I think those two jobs will keep me pretty busy over the next year.”

 

It’s the year after that dominates conversations among Republican operatives, donors and rivals.

 

Asked directly whether he would serve all four years of his second term, which starts in 2014, Christie hedged: “Listen, who knows? I don’t know.”

 

Republicans are searching for a candidate who is true to the party’s beliefs, can appeal to voters in swing-voting states and can help the part win the presidency for the first time since 2004.

 

Christie’s win on Tuesday made him an appealing option.

 

“I got 61 percent of the vote in the state of New Jersey in a blue state that had just re-elected Barack Obama a year ago by 17 points,” Christie said. “That was nearly a 40-point turnaround between voting for a Democrat at the top of the ticket and voting for a Republican.”

 

Christie attributed his win to reaching out to traditionally Democratic demographic groups.

 

“Getting 51 percent of the Hispanic vote, I’m very proud of that,” he said. “Because I’ve worked hard with the Hispanic community to let them see how our policies can help their families. I’ve worked hard with the African American community. I’ve worked hard with seniors and students.”

 

Christie said the reason for his win was simple: better-than-average showing at the polls from minorities and Democrats.

 

“If you want to win a vote by that kind of margin, if you want to attract the majority of the Hispanic vote, if you want to nearly triple your African American vote, you need to show up, you need to go into those neighborhoods, you need to campaign in places,” Christie said.

 

Exit polls say Christie also carried one-third of Democrats and two-thirds of those who called themselves independents.

 

That’s not to say Christie is a natural fit for the GOP. He has favored an overhaul to the nation’s immigration laws that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. He is not opposed to some gun control measures. And he’s been critical of some of the tea party’s most popular figures in Washington.

 

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a 2012 presidential contender who is weighing another White House campaign, said voters would have to judge Christie’s record as he visits early nominating states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

 

“Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?” Perry said in an interview taped during a visit to Des Moines, Iowa. “We’ll have that discussion at the appropriate time.”

 

Christie spoke to “Fox News Sunday,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Christie and Perry appeared separately on ABC’s “This Week.”

 

Source: Associated Press

 

 

 

 

For Obama, a sudden struggle with personal appeal

In Barak Obama, General News, Political News on November 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear Pre...

Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear President Barack Obama’s speech and greet him afterward during his visit to FBI headquarters. White House photographer Pete Souza is to Obama’s left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JENNIFER AGIESTA, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign.

But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. And perhaps most concerning for the White House: an Associated Press analysis of public polling shows it has become more difficult over time for Obama to fully rebound from dents in his favorability ratings.

“It’s a slow cumulative effect,” Republican pollster David Winston said, adding that personal favorability “is a much harder number to move if it starts to go south.”

The public’s increasingly negative view of Obama may be less of a concern for his future given that he is barred from running for re-election. But the president still needs a strong connection with the public in order to rally Americans around his policy proposals and, in turn, to show Congress he remains politically relevant at a time when lame duck status is lurking.

The president’s advisers need only look at Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, to see the impact of a crumbling relationship with the public. Positive impressions of the Republican trailed off in the beginning of 2005 amid public frustration with the Iraq war and the government’s flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s favorability rating never recovered and he struggled to fulfill significant policy goals throughout the rest of his presidency.

A series of recent polls show Obama’s personal favorability now leaning negative, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week that found positive views of Obama at the lowest point of his presidency and down 6 points from earlier in October. The drop follows the 16-day government shutdown, the cascade of problems during his health care law’s rollout, and another flood of revelations about U.S. government spying.

White House officials blame the shutdown in particular for Obama’s falling favorability, given that it resulted in shuttering many federal services and furloughs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, while again highlighting the troubled ties between the president and Capitol Hill. But Obama aides note that the impact of the shutdown on congressional Republicans has been even worse, with both their personal and job performance ratings at record lows.

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Logo of the United States White House, especially in conjunction with offices like the Chief of Staff and Press Secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Everybody gets hurt when there’s dysfunction in Washington,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Throughout Obama’s presidency, his job approval and personal favorability ratings have generally risen and fallen in tandem. But his favorability numbers, which often reflect the public’s gut-level reaction to a politician, generally remained the more positive of the two measures.

That, the president’s supporters argue, made the public more likely to give him a chance even when they disagreed with his policies or the direction the country was headed. His strong likability was seen as a particular asset during his 2012 re-election campaign when most polls showed that voters saw him in a more favorable light than his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“For the president, it’s meant that people have cared about what he had to say because they liked him,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

The question for the White House now is whether that dynamic will hold if the public’s personal opinions of the president continue to sour. An Associated Press-GfK poll from early October found that 52 percent of Americans didn’t think Obama was very honest and were split on whether he was even likable.

The president’s favorability has taken hits during other points in his presidency. Most polling found the public’s impression soured in late summer 2011 around the first round of debt ceiling negotiations and again last summer in the midst of his presidential campaign.

Although Obama’s favorability improved somewhat after each hit, he never fully recovered, with each rating rebound peaking below earlier average favorability ratings.

For example, Obama began 2011 with majority favorable ratings in most polling. When the debt ceiling fight pushed his favorability below 50 percent in late 2011, he came back to an average right around 50 rather than above it. This latest battle has led to average ratings in the mid-40s, worse than he’s seen at any point previously.

Past presidents have also struggled to recover from dips in their favorability ratings.

Bush left office with majorities saying they had both a negative impression of him personally and disapproved of his job performance. And former President Bill Clinton’s favorability numbers never recovered after a fall in 1998 as the Monica Lewinsky story unfolded, though his job approval remained strong through his last days at the White House.

Republican President Ronald Reagan evoked the warmest reaction from the American public, leaving office with high job approval numbers, 63 percent according to Gallup polling in December 1988, and a majority holding a favorable impression of him personally.

Source: Associated Press

 

JJJ Plea Deal Includes “Significant Jail Time:” Report

In Democrats, General News, Political News on February 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm
English: Sandi Jackson and Jesse Jackson

English: Sandi Jackson and Jesse Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A reported plea deal is in the works for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and it involves “significant jail time.”

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reports the deal offered up by federal prosecutors is being considered by Jackson, who has been under investigation for months because of alleged misuse of campaign funds. Sneed reported in November that Jackson has been active in the probe against him and has told the feds everything he knows.
A source close to the investigation told Sneed this week that “significant” time in a federal prison is definitely part of the deal.
The deal comes after news broke Monday that federal investigators also are taking an independent look at the finances of Jackson’s wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson.
Sandi Jackson was asked by Illinois‘ State Board of Elections to explain a $69,000 discrepancy between her campaign finance reports and those of her husband. The former alderman told NBCChicago in December she blamed the conflict on clerical errors made by transitioning staff members and said amendments to her reports were being made.
Jackson resigned late last year as Illinois’ 2nd District Congressman amid a federal probe and after months away from his political duties as his staff said he battled bipolar depression.
Less than two months later, Sandi Jackson stepped down effective Jan. 15 as alderman for the 7th Ward.
Source: Chicago Suntimes

DC appeals court rules new contraception rule must be issued

In Catholic News, Health News, Political News on December 20, 2012 at 12:18 am
U.S Postage Stamp, 1957

U.S Postage Stamp, 1957 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Michelle Bauman

Religious freedom advocates applauded a federal appeals court’s decision to hold the government accountable for revising its controversial contraception mandate.

Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, called the decision “a win not just for Belmont Abbey and Wheaton, but for all religious non-profits challenging the mandate.”

“The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom,” he said in a Tuesday statement responding to the ruling.

On Dec. 18, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that it will hold the government responsible for following through on its promises to issue a proposed revision of the federal contraception mandate for objecting religious organizations by March 2013.

The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that may cause early abortions. Exemptions to the mandate were only granted to a small number of religious employers that meet the government’s requirements of existing to teach religious values and primarily hiring and serving members of their own faith.

After a wave of protest from non-exempt individuals and organizations, the government announced a one-year “safe harbor” to delay the enforcement of the mandate against objecting non-profit religious groups. It said that it would create an “accommodation” for their religious freedom during this time.

However, critics have said that the early suggestions put forth by the Obama administration are inadequate. And while the plan for an accommodation was announced in February, the government has not yet issued its formal proposal with the details of the new rule, and its promise to create one was not legally binding.

More than 40 lawsuits have been filed against the mandate, drawing split rulings from district courts. Among for-profit businesses that are not protected by the safe harbor period, four out of six have been granted a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate from being enforced against them.

Several lawsuits filed by religious non-profit groups – including Belmont Abbey and Wheaton Colleges – were dismissed by district courts as premature because of the government’s promise to amend the mandate.

However, a federal judge in New York determined on Dec. 6 that a case by the local archdiocese was mature despite the government’s promise, noting, “There is no ‘Trust us changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”

In making its Dec. 18 decision, the appeals court observed that the government had said during oral arguments that it would “never” enforce the mandate in its current form against morally objecting religious institutions.

“There will, the government said, be a different rule for entities like the appellants,” the court noted, “and we take that as a binding commitment.”

The judges also pointed to the government’s statement that it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the new rule by the end of March 2013 and would publish the Final Rule before August 2013.

“We take the government at its word and will hold it to it,” they said, ordering the Obama administration to report back every 60 days on the progress of the accommodation. The colleges’ lawsuit will be postponed during this time. The ruling was hailed by supporters of religious freedom around the country.

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor for The Catholic Association, applauded the court for fighting the “disinformation” surrounding the mandate and showing the serious threat to religious freedom facing religious employers.

Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life and a graduate of Wheaton College, called the decision “a first step toward halting the anti-life coercion in the healthcare law.”

Duncan, who argued the case before the appeals court, explained that the decision offers hope to all of the religious plaintiffs throughout the country.

“The court is not going to let the government slide by on non-binding promises to fix the problem down the road,” he said.
Source: Catholic News Agency

Obama says he ‘won’t compromise’ on taxes

In Barak Obama, Democrats, Political News on December 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Tax

By BEN FELLER, 

President Obama  warned Monday that he “won’t compromise” on his demands that the wealthiest Amereicans 

pay more in taxes, digging in on the chief sticking point between the White House and Republicans asthey seek a way to avert the “fiscal cliff.” 

Obama brought his pressure-Congress campaign to the heart of industrial America, ripping lines from his own reelection bid as the nation inched closer to a perilous economic cliff. He said the country couldn’t afford a”manufactured” crisis and pledged to cheering auto workers that he would fight to extend tax cuts for the middle

class before they expire at year’s end. 

“That’s a hit you can’t afford to take,” Obama declared. 

Obama’s campaign-style trip to Michigan came one day after he and House Speaker John Boehner met privately at the White House. While neither side would characterize the meeting, the mere fact that the two leaders talked face-to-face was seen as progress in negotiations to avoid a series of year-end tax hikes and spending cuts. 

Republicans have long opposed Obama’s call for higher tax rates on the wealthy, but some GOP lawmakers are suggesting the party relent on taxes in order to win concessions from the president on changes to benefit programs such as Medicare. Still, Boehner’s office indicatedMonday that the speaker wasn’t ready to take that step. 

“The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican offer,” said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman. He was referring to a GOP plan that offered $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade through reducing or eliminating unspecified tax breaks on upper-income earners, but not by raising tax rates. 

Source:  Associated Press.

August jobs report disappoints

In Barak Obama, Employment, General News, Political News on September 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

By  Jill Schlesinger

English: Graph of US Civilian Labor Participat...

English: Graph of US Civilian Labor Participaton Rate from 1948 to 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. economy added only 96,000 in jobs in August and the unemployment rateedged lower to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent. The report was disappointing for two reasons:

Job creation was lower than expected and the unemployment rate dropped only because eligible workers left the labor force.Coming on the heels of the two major parties’ conventions, the political stakes are high when it comes to jobs. Poll after poll show that voters are most concerned with the economy and the jobs markets and there are only two more monthly Labor Department reports due before the general election.

No president since the Great Depression has won re-election when the jobless rate was higher than 7.4 percent, the level at which Ronald Reagan won a landslide reelection in 1984.

Given the current pace of job creation this year (139,000 jobs per month), the unemployment rate will likely remain above 8 percent by Election Dayand probably by the end of the year as well.

unemployment

unemployment (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

During the past two weeks, the parties have released dueling narratives of the jobs situation:

Republicans claim that progress is too slow and Democrats say that while the improvement may not be ideal, the damage was too vast to be repaired in a normal time frame. Who’s right?

There is no doubt that the country has seen gains in the jobs crisis: The economy has added 3.8 million jobs since employment bottomed in February 2010. (4.3 million private jobs created were offset by just over a half a million government jobs lost). But the hole is deep: There are still 4.8 million fewer total non-farm jobs since before the recession started.

It’s the same story with the unemployment rate: It’s down from over 10 percent only a couple years ago, but has remained above 8 percent for over three years, the longest stretch since monthly records began in 1948. Just before the beginning of the recession, the rate was 5 percent and at the current rate of job creation, it will take approximately 3 to 4 years to return to that level.

The problem continues to be the tepid pace of economic growth (1.85 percent in the first half of the year and 1.7 percent in 2011), which has been too slow to prompt companies to hire. Economists say that the economy needs to grow by closer to 2.5 to 3 percent to put more people back to work.

Beyond the raw numbers on job creation and unemployment rate, another insidious problem is infecting the U.S. labor market: Middle class wages are shrinking.

The Pew Research Center recently released a report called “The Lost Decade of the Middle Class.” Pew’s definition of middle class is households with annual earnings ranging from $39,000 to $118,000 in 2011 dollars. In 2011, this middle-income tier included 51 percent of all adults, a drop from 61 percent in 1971.

Source: MoneyWatch

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