Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Obama sends 2013 budget to Congress, GOP pounces

    Copies of the White House budget are delivered to the House Monday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)On Monday morning, President Obama sent to Congress his federal budget for fiscal year 2013, a non-binding blue print of the White House's spending priorities that calls for raising taxes on the wealthy, cutting spending in certain areas of government and increasing the budgets of infrastructure projects and job training programs.

    If implemented, the White House says that the plan would decrease the federal deficit by $4 trillion within the next decade, although it leaves the federal government with a budget shortfall of $901 billion by the end of fiscal year 2013. Obama introduced his budget in a speech at the Northern Virginia Community College near Washington, D.C.

    "The main idea in the budget is this: At a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track," Obama said. "Part of our job is to bring down our deficit, and if Congress adopts this budget, then along with the cuts that we' already made, we'll be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by 2022."

    "The last thing we need is for Washington to stand in the way of America's comeback," he went on to say, calling on Congress to extend a payroll tax cut, which expires at the end of this month, "without drama, without delay."

    The Budget Control Act, passed by Congress last August to end the damaging stand-off over the debt ceiling, cut discretionary spending by $900 billion over the next decade. That all but forced the White House to make major cuts to discretionary spending across the board -- including agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration -- in today's budget proposal.

    The plan unveiled Monday also includes $360 billion in cuts to federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Most of those cuts come from reduced payments to providers, including drug companies. By contrast, a plan put forward last year by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), and embraced by much of his party, calls for a broader restructuring of Medicare; many analysts say cuts in the Ryan plan would fall more heavily on future beneficiaries.

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  • In CPAC keynote speech, Sarah Palin urges a long, competitive primary season

    Sarah Palin (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

    Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Sarah Palin encouraged conservative activists to keep the Republican primary season going, saying the competition will "strengthen" the GOP nominee in November.

    "We're hearing now, we've all heard from these experts, that we've gotta name our nominee right now," the one-time vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. said. "As if competition weakens our nominee! In America, we believe that competition strengthens us. Competition will lead us to victory in 2012."

    Her speech closed the three-day conference in Washington, D.C., where Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich spoke Friday. Immediately before Palin delivered her remarks, conference organizers announced that Romney had won a non-binding straw poll conducted among attendees, beating Santorum by seven percentage points.

    But while Palin defended a prolonged primary season, she also cautioned against taking party infighting too far.

    "The far left and their media allies can't beat us on the issues, so instead, they'll destroy our records. They'll smear our reputations. They'll even attack our families," Palin said. "Let's not do the job for them, okay Republicans?"

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  • Mitt Romney wins CPAC straw poll

    Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP))

    Mitt Romney won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday with 38 percent of the vote, 7 points ahead of Rick Santorum, who placed second.

    The straw poll is essentially an in-house election for the Republican Party's most conservative activists, the several thousand people who attended CPAC. It is not a scientific survey--its results cannot be extrapolated to national public opinion, even among the subset of conservatives.

    Since the conference began holding the straw poll in 1976, CPAC attendees have chosen only two candidates who would later become the Republican presidential nominee: Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and George W. Bush in 2000.

    But the win is still a much-needed sign of strength among conservatives for Romney, who has struggled to gain the support of his party's base.

    Newt Gingrich came in third with 15 percent, followed by Ron Paul, who received 12 percent.

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  • "We intend to change Washington, not accommodate it," Newt Gingrich told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday in the nation's capital.

    Comparing his accomplishments as Speaker of the House to those of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, Gingrich did not veer far from the stump speech he has delivered almost daily for months in states across the country. He outlined his proposals to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, as well as the financial regulatory laws known as Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley; to eliminate Obama's White House "czars"; to require those receiving unemployment benefits to sign up for a work training program; to replace the Environmental Protection Agency with an "Environmental Solutions Agency"; and to roll back "40 percent" of Obama's policies in his first day in office.

    Before Gingrich took the stage, a black and white, action-flickesque picture flashed on the screen, showing the candidate flanked by his surrogates, including Chuck Norris, Herman Cain and Rick Perry. Gingrich later referred to the assembled conservatives--who looked a bit like the cast of Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables"--as a "conservative Dream Team."

    Read More »from Newt Gingrich’s CPAC speech: ‘We intend to change Washington, not accommodate it.’
  • Conservative bloggers hold a private CPAC party, ‘insiders’ need not apply

    WASHINGTON -- Conservative political bloggers are having the equivalent of a midlife crisis. A recent explosion of right-leaning groups and publications that pay bloggers--much like liberals have done for years--has left some of the old-schoolers wondering if their trade is worth the effort.

    For years, they have toiled at their home computers after long days spent working full-time jobs, writing on behalf of Republican candidates and battling online with their counterparts on the left. Most of them don't live near the East Coast power cities of New York and Washington. They spend their own money traveling across the country to attend political conferences and even hit the campaign trail on their own dime, loading gigabytes of video onto their sites.

    So, on the first night of the Conservative Political Action Conference, while the VIPs held a pricey reception at a Marriott hotel in northwest Washington, many of these rogue scribes held their own party. You probably weren't invited. Which was the point.

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  • Painting himself as a social conservative, a business executive and a Washington outsider, Mitt Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday in Washington that his experience outside of the federal government is his strongest attribute in the 2012 presidential campaign.

    "I happen to be the only candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat, who has never worked a day in Washington," Romney said. "I don't have old scores to settle or decades of cloakroom deals that I have to defend."

    The speech was Romney's chance to make his case to the base of the Republican Party. He linked his political ideology to the nation's founding documents, saying, "We conservatives aren't just proud to cling to our guns and our religion. We are also proud to cling to our Constitution."

    Romney emphasized his experience in the private-equity firm Bain Capital, arguing that his ability to slim down businesses could be applied to Washington.

    "In business, if you're not fiscally conservative, you're bankrupt," he said. "I mean, I spent 25 years balancing budgets, eliminating waste, and, by the way, keeping as far away from government as humanly possible. I did some of the very things conservatism is designed for--I started new businesses and turned around broken ones. And I am not ashamed to say that I was successful in doing it."

    He went on to say, "I served in government, but I didn't inhale--I'm still a business guy. And I can't wait to get my hands on Washington."

    Romney cast himself as a champion of social conservatism during his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. "Less than a year after I took office, the state's supreme court inexplicably found a right to same-sex marriage in the constitution, written by John Adams," Romney said. "I presume he'd be surprised."

    By barring out-of-state gay couples from getting married in the state, "On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage," Romney said. He added, "When I am President, I will defend the Defense of Marriage Act and I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman."

    Romney added that he "vetoed a bill that would have opened the door to cloning and embryo farming," fought abstinence education, and "vetoed a bill that would have allowed young girls to gain access to abortion-inducing drugs."

    "I fought against long odds in a deep blue state," Romney said. "But I was a severely conservative Republican governor."

    At the same conference four years ago, Romney announced that he was ending his first bid for the White House.

    Read More »from Mitt Romney’s CPAC speech: I kept Massachusetts ‘from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage’
  • Fresh off his three-state election night sweep, Rick Santorum spoke to CPAC on Friday morning. "As conservatives and tea party folks, we are not just wings of the Republican Party," he said. "We are the Republican Party."

    Santorum criticized the Obama administration's health care regulation that would require Catholic hospitals and universities to provide birth control and morning-after pills to their employees as part of their health care coverage.

    "It's not about contraception," Santorum said. "It's about economic liberty; it's about freedom of speech; it's about freedom of religion. It's about government control of your lives and it's got to stop."

    Responding to Mitt Romney's criticism that he is a Washington insider, Santorum said his tenure in the House and Senate were part of his qualifications for the presidency. "Some say experience is bad in this election," he said. "I don't think so. I think knowing the people who are the conservative leaders, knowing the people who have worked in the vineyards for decades, knowing the people who bring the ideas and the breath and the blood spring of ideas to conservatism is important."

    Echoing a theme that he has expressed for months on the campaign trail, Santorum suggested that nominating Romney would amount to a "hollow victory" for conservatism.

    Read More »from Rick Santorum’s CPAC speech: ‘It’s not about contraception. … It’s about government control of your lives.’
  • Liberal group says ‘over 500′ demonstrators will protest CPAC Friday

    A Washington-based liberal group called This is Our DC announced Friday morning it plans to join with "Occupy DC, unemployed, community groups, faith leaders [and] labor workers" to bring more than 500 demonstrators to the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference (CPAC) on Friday at noon.

    From the press release:

    We are ridiculing this radical, ruinous annual political carnival of the 1% and its new poster boy Mitt Romney. CPAC has engineered and maintained tax loopholes for corporations and the richest 1% that have killed the American Dream for the 99%.

    In addition to hundreds of protesters, Woodley Road, NW will be filled with special carnival characters symbolizing corporate greed and excess including, the Brooklyn "corporate" Tax Dodgers, Presidential Candidate Wal-Mart, and a giant Red Elephant manipulated by millionaires.

    For weeks, liberal protesters affiliated with Occupy DC and labor unions have planned to demonstrate outside the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the conference is being held through Saturday.

    Read More »from Liberal group says ‘over 500′ demonstrators will protest CPAC Friday
  • CPAC braces for possible ‘Occupy’ infiltration

    Occupy DC supporter Joseph Moehrl, 23, waves an American flag at a recent demonstration (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

    WASHINGTON--If liberal demonstrators try to crash this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, the largest annual gathering of conservatives, attendees here say they'll be ready.

    For weeks before the conference, conservative activists donned old jeans and hooded sweatshirts and went "undercover" at Occupy DC's downtown encampment. They sat in on meetings where Occupiers discussed plans to disrupt CPAC. Each day, the infiltrators posted what they heard to a private Google group of CPAC attendees and bloggers. Those who attended the meetings said they heard plans to cause "mayhem" at the upcoming conference and even threats of physical violence. Lachlan Markay of the conservative Heritage Foundation documented the reports and now conference attendees and organizers say they have made preparations to absorb any demonstrations.

    At the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where the conference is running until Saturday, security agents are stationed across the campus. Each entrance is manned by guards wearing ear-pieces, with others outside near the metro station.

    "Let's just say we've adapted to everything," CPAC Security Director Floyd Resnick told Yahoo News Thursday, adding that he was not able to provide details about the conference security. Mark Indre, a spokesman for the hotel, confirmed that Marriott was taking security precautions.

    In the hotel lobby Thursday, the room buzzed with conversations about how attendees would react if Occupiers arrived. Often a prime target of liberal protestors, online publisher Andrew Breitbart said he was excited about a possible clash with Occupiers during the conference.

    "Screw them," Brietbart told Yahoo News in an interview in the hotel lobby. "I hate these people. They are the most evil, vicious people in the world."

    Breitbart has no personal security guards--if you don't count his entourage of bloggers and fans who would spring to action if anything went down--but he said he's not worried about his safety.

    "I'm omnipotent," he declared.

    Read More »from CPAC braces for possible ‘Occupy’ infiltration
  • Romney campaign creates oppo-banner for Santorum, the front-runner’s latest threat

    Mitt Romney seems to be finally paying attention to Rick Santorum, since the former Pennsylvania senator staged a three-state election sweep Tuesday. The Romney camp has designed a Santorum-specific banner graphic, (seen above), that will grace future anti-Santorum news releases issued from the campaign press shop.

    The image reinforces Romney's line of attack against Santorum, highlighting Santorum's support of earmarks during his tenure in Congress and the lobbyist work he did after leaving public life in 2007.

    Historically, Romney's team has created these banners only when a candidate becomes a threat: First it was Rick Perry, who the campaign branded as a "Career Politician."Newt Gingrich received the honor, too, with an image of him sharing a loveseat with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi next to the words "Unreliable Leader."

    Santorum should be flattered. The move suggests that, in the eyes of Romney's campaign, he's the new insurgent candidate to beat.

    See the Perry and Gingrich banners after the jump:

    Read More »from Romney campaign creates oppo-banner for Santorum, the front-runner’s latest threat

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