Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Activists converge on Washington for largest conservative conference in the country

    Rep. Michele Bachmann looks at a birthday cake for Ronald Reagan at CPAC 2011. (Alex Brandon/AP)

    It's February in Washington, which means it's time for the largest annual gathering of Republican activists: The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the ultimate hajj for anyone who ever hung a poster of William F. Buckley in their dorm room or read Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative for fun.

    Starting Thursday, thousands from around the country will gather at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in northwest Washington for three days of panels, strategy sessions and booze-filled after-parties. "As I like to say," CPAC's new director Christopher Malagisi told Yahoo News, "we're organizing the vast, right-wing conspiracy."

    News is made at CPAC almost every year: In 2008, Mitt Romney announced that he was ending his bid for the White House. Many of the movement's heaviest hitters are scheduled to attend this year, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and three of the four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination--Ron Paul is sticking to campaigning this year. This has major implications for the conference's much-ballyhooed presidential straw poll.

    Read More »from Activists converge on Washington for largest conservative conference in the country
  • Boehner vows to overturn Obama’s birth control coverage rule

    House Speaker John Boehner (Evan Vucci/AP)

    From the Republican presidential candidates to top GOP  lawmakers in Washington, party leaders are engaging in a full-court press against the Obama Administration's decision to force employers affiliated with religious groups to offer health care insurance plans to workers that cover birth control free of charge, even if the action contradicts the employer's religious beliefs.

    In a rare move for someone in his office, House Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, took to the floor of the chamber on Wednesday to discuss a legislative plan to overturn the decision. Calling the rule "an unambiguous attack" on faith-based groups, Boehner said the House would begin work on a bill immediately.

    "If the president does not reverse the department's attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people, and the Constitution that we're sworn to uphold and defend, must," Boehner, a Catholic, said. "The House will approach this matter fairly and deliberately through regular order and appropriate legislative channels."

    Boehner said that the chamber's Energy and Commerce committee will take the lead in drafting the legislation to overturn the decision.

    Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that certain faith-based groups would have one year to comply with the requirement, enacted when Congress passed a federal health care overhaul in 2010. "Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law," Sebelius said in the statement.

    Read More »from Boehner vows to overturn Obama’s birth control coverage rule
  • Rick Santorum (Jeff Roberson/AP)

    No delegates were at stake on Tuesday night, but Rick Santorum still scored three important--and surprisingly large--victories in the race for the Republican presidential nomination by winning caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and a primary in Missouri.

    "Conservatism is alive and well in Missouri and Minnesota," Santorum said when he took the stage, before the Colorado results had been announced, at his victory party in St. Charles, Mo. He called his wins "a victory for the voices of our party, conservatives and tea party people, who are out there every day in the vineyards."

    "I don't stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney," Santorum went on to say. "I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama."

    Romney, who had been discussed as the Republican Party's inevitable nominee after wins in Florida and Nevada last week, had his worst night of the 2012 presidential campaign.

    For the first time, there was a contest where Romney did not finish in first or second place. In Minnesota, Romney fell to third, behind Ron Paul. With 94 percent of the precincts reporting in Minnesota, Santorum led with 45 percent of the vote, followed by Paul with 27 percent, Romney with 17 percent and Newt Gingrich with 11 percent.

    Romney finished second in Missouri, but with only 25 percent of the vote--30 percentage points behind Santorum's 55 percent landslide.

    Voters in eight states have now made their preferences known in the Republican presidential campaign, and Santorum has won four of those contests: Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Romney, who still leads in the delegate race, has won three: New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada. Gingrich has won one, South Carolina.

    In Colorado, Santorum scored 40 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 35 percent, Gingrich with 13 percent and Paul with 12 percent.

    In a swipe at Romney's remarks last week about his concern for the middle class over the rich and the poor, Santorum said in his victory speech, "I care about the very rich and the very poor. I care about 100 percent of America."

    It was the first multi-state election night of the 2012 campaign. Colorado and Minnesota, which held caucuses, selected delegates to attend state conventions in the spring--the same process used in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

    Missouri, where Newt Gingrich was not able to secure a spot on the ballot, was an entirely different story, and a messier one. By state law, Missouri must hold its primary on a particular date in February. But this year, the national Republican Party mandated that--with the exception of four states that were allowed to vote in February--all others must hold their election in March or later. The Missouri legislature was not able to pass a law changing the primary date, so the state held the election anyway. But the primary is non-binding--meaningless in terms of delegate selection. There will be a Missouri caucus in April to determine who gets the state's delegates to the Republican national convention in August.

    Despite the zero delegates that will be awarded, Santorum will glean something from his victories. When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2008, he won in both Colorado and Minnesota; his performance Tuesday is certain to be compared to the results from four years ago.

    Yet even with two losses on Tuesday, Romney is having a much better year in 2012 than he had in 2008: It was four years ago Tuesday that Romney dropped his bid for the presidency.

    Read More »from Clean sweep for Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota & delegate-less primary in Missouri
  • ‘ShePAC’: Republican women get their own super PAC

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (Mary Ann Chastain/AP)

    Capitalizing on electoral victories among female Republicans since 2010, a era that former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed called "the year of the conservative woman," a new group is forming to spend millions on female candidates in 2012.

    Called "ShePAC," an acronym for "Support, Honor and Elect," the group is forming two political action committees to pour money into congressional and gubernatorial elections in support of Republican women. Organizers filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday to create a traditional PAC that donates to individual campaigns and a super PAC that can spend an unlimited amount on political ads so long as they do not coordinate with the campaigns.

    The group's official mission has several components: They are planning to make official endorsements of conservative women running for public office, engage in direct mail, advertising and social media campaigns to elect conservative women in 2012 and organize a get-out-the-vote effort among women for the presidential election in November.  The group hopes to raise $25 million this year.

    Read More »from ‘ShePAC’: Republican women get their own super PAC
  • Senior Obama campaign officials defend president’s embrace of super PAC

    President Barack Obama (Susan Walsh/AP)

    When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that private organizations, including corporations and unions, could spend unlimited amounts of money on political speech, President Obama decried the decision, warning that it amounted to a "threat to our democracy." Two years later, the Obama campaign has announced that with the president's blessing, it will support a pro-Obama super PAC--a creation of that very ruling--to receive unlimited donations from individuals, corporations and unions for the 2012 presidential campaign.

    "We made a decision, announced last night, that we're not going to allow for two sets of rules this election," a senior campaign official said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "A half billion dollars spent against the president's re-election by Republican super PACs is not something that we take lightly, and it ultimately led to our decision that we're not going to unilaterally disarm in this fight. Our message remains the same in terms of the type of things we're fighting for."

    "The president did sign off on this decision," the official, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

    In a statement sent to supporters Monday night, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said that while the president continues to oppose the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, the Obama campaign wants to "face the reality of the law as it currently stands" and will dispatch senior campaign and White House officials to events sponsored by Priorities USA, the group supporting Obama.

    Obama officials will appear publicly with super PAC organizers throughout the campaign season, but they will not make direct fundraising requests on behalf of the group. Also, the president and First Lady will not appear at any events sponsored by Priorities USA. (Romney has attended fundraising events for Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting his candidacy.)

    "With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules in this election, whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm," Messina said, echoing comments Obama made when Priorities USA was established last year by a group of the president's former aides. Messina noted that the campaign would comply with all laws and regulations governing super PACs.

    The Republican presidential candidates have benefited enormously from the effort of super PACs in the primary. Winning our Future, a group funded largely by Nevada casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has raised more than $12 million in support of Newt Gingrich. Restore Our Future brought in about $30 million in support of Romney in 2011.

    Obama's decision opens him up to charges that he is abandoning his position on campaign finance rules, an allegation his aides deny. On the Tuesday conference call, campaign officials insisted that embrace of the super PAC doesn't make the president a "flip-flopper" saying it "has absolutely nothing to do with the type of flip-flopping we're seeing from Mitt Romney."

    "There is a big difference between Mitt Romney's lack of core principles and the president deciding he's not going to fight with one hand behind his back," said one official.

    Monday's shift would not be the first time Obama's actions have not matched his rhetoric on campaign finance issues. While running for the presidency against Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008, Obama chose not to accept public campaign funds, a reversal that allowed him to raise an unlimited amount of money. Like the decision this week, his choice was one of pragmatism over principle--one that ultimately helped him win election to the White House.

    Read the full letter from Messina:

    Read More »from Senior Obama campaign officials defend president’s embrace of super PAC
  • Get ready for another fight in Congress over payroll taxes

    Members of the payroll tax conference meet on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)Congress has until Feb.29 to agree to extend the payroll tax cut, or the tax will rise 2 percentage points to the original rate of 6.2 percent. The president signed a two-month extension of the tax cut in December, as part of a deal that also extended unemployment insurance and avoided a reduction in Medicare fees for doctors.

    Republicans are split on whether to extend the tax cut, although the party's congressional leaders say a deal will be reached.

    Reducing the payroll tax cuts into revenues for Social Security, a consequence that Republicans point to as a reason for opposing the lower rate. Democrats argue that the tax cut boosts economic growth by allowing more spending in the marketplace.

    To find a deal, each party has dispatched a team of bargainers who are working to hash out a bill they think could pass a Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate. Extending the rates through the rest of 2012 will cost the government about $160 billion, and lawmakers are seeking a way to replace that revenue.

    Read More »from Get ready for another fight in Congress over payroll taxes
  • Heading into Minnesota, Romney focuses attacks on Santorum

    Mitt Romney reaches out to Rick Santorum during a Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla. (Paul Sancya/AP)

    Mitt Romney isn't letting up on Newt Gingrich this week, but in the days before the Minnesota Republican caucuses, his campaign has been taking aim at Rick Santorum as well.

    The Romney campaign sent reporters an in-depth, 1,537-word "Research Briefing" focused on Santorum on Sunday, knocking Santorum for supporting earmarks during his tenure in Congress and pointing to some of the more famous earmarks he voted for, like the Alaskan "Bridge to Nowhere." And on Monday, Romney put campaign surrogate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on a conference call with reporters to counter Santorum's claims to being the most conservative candidate in the primary race.

    "He clearly has been part of the big spending establishment in Congress and in the influence peddling industry that surrounds Congress," Pawlenty said of Santorum."To hold himself out now as somebody who is unquestionably conservative on these matters is just not supported by the facts. We wanted to call that out."

    Santorum did in fact support earmarks, and has defended his decision on the campaign trail. "Absolutely I had earmarks while I was in the United States Senate. Look at the Constitution. Who has the responsibility to spend money?" Santorum said while campaigning in Iowa in December. "Please go take a look at my earmarks. Are there things in there I'm proud of? You bet there are."

    Asked about Romney's decision to focus on Santorum, a spokesman for the former Pennsylvania senator's presidential campaign called the tactics "tired" and blasted Romney's record as "abysmal."

    "If Governor Romney is confident running on his record and his vision for the future, he would," Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told Yahoo News."But Gov. Romney does what he always does and directs his well-funded attack machine to destroy the opponent. Mitt Romney's act is tired, old and wearing thin with voters and I suspect at this point, with the media too. Romney never touts his own record — because it's abysmal."

    Read More »from Heading into Minnesota, Romney focuses attacks on Santorum
  • Tim Tebow: Politics could ‘be something in my future’

    Tim Tebow could run for public office someday, the Denver Broncos quarterback said in an interview over the weekend. But first he has to Tebow about it.

    "For me, it could be something in my future. It's something I'll have to think about and definitely pray about," Tebow said on the Golf Channel's "Feherty Live" Saturday night when asked whether he might transition to politics. "I have no idea right now, but yeah, possibly."

    "President Tim," said host David Feherty. "Now that's working for me."


    Read More »from Tim Tebow: Politics could ‘be something in my future’
  • Romney wins Nevada, Gingrich vows to stay in the race

    MItt Romney campaigns in Nevada. (Gerald Herbert/AP)

    Mitt Romney won Nevada's Republican caucuses on Saturday night, grabbing the largest chunk of the state's 28 delegates in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and racking up his second consecutive victory, after winning Florida in the same week.

    Speaking at his victory party at the Red Rocks Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Romney did not mention any of his Republican opponents by name, keeping his remarks focused on President Barack Obama. Romney repeated his vow to repeal the federal health care law, increase job growth and increase military spending.

    "This president began his presidency by apologizing for America," Romney said. "He should now be apologizing to America."

    Romney addressed Obama directly when he blamed the president for 36 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent--"the red line your own administration drew."

    "I will not just slow the growth of government. I will cut it," Romney said. "I will not just freeze the government's share of the economy. I will reduce it."

    With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Romney had 50 percent of the vote, Newt Gingrich had 21 percent, Ron Paul had 19 percent and Rick Santorum had 10 percent.

    Although Romney's victory is significant in percentage terms, the voter turnout for the caucuses was not substantial. Romney's total number of votes was only 16,486.

    Although each of the candidates visited Nevada, the voters in the state did not experience the heavy campaigning that went on during the prior four contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. Gingrich elected not to hold an election-night party in the state, opting instead for a post-election press conference, during which he vowed to press on with his campaign.

    "I think we will do better than John McCain did four years ago" in Nevada, Gingrich said. "We will get some delegates here."

    Calling himself the true conservative in the race, Gingrich compared himself to Republican titans who fended off moderate challengers in 1964 and 1980. "Reagan had this challenge with John Connally. Goldwater had this challenge with Nelson Rockefeller," Gingrich said, adding, "Reagan lost five straight primaries before he started winning in 1976."

    (Ronald Reagan did not, of course, win the Republican presidential nomination in 1976.)

    Entrance poll results suggest that Romney benefited from the large number of Republicans in the state who share his faith. About one in four voters were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to poll data analyzed by Langer Research Associates for ABC News.

    The number was roughly the same in 2008, when "Romney won 95 percent of Mormons in the 2008 caucuses," Gary Langer of ABC News reports.

    Four years ago, Romney won the state's Republican caucuses with 51 percent of the vote. For weeks, public-opinion polls have shown Romney with a comfortable 20-percentage-point lead in Nevada.

    "This is not the first time you've given me your vote of confidence," Romney said. "And this time, I'm gonna take it to the White House."

    The candidates now turn to the caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota on Tuesday.

    Read More »from Romney wins Nevada, Gingrich vows to stay in the race
  • Video: What it looks like to be hit by a riot police shield at Occupy D.C.

    WASHINGTON--The U.S. Park Police is clearing demonstrators from an Occupy camp this weekend, removing abandoned tents and closing parts of the small park to keep the protestors from sleeping overnight.

    The police have blocked off the streets surrounding the park and are in a standoff with the demonstrators who have remained.

    Yahoo News dropped by the camp at 15th and K streets NW with a camera, and was knocked off a park bench when a demonstrator nearby got a bit too close to--and maybe mouthy with--the cops. Thankfully for my spine, the ground was littered with hay and protest signs. They break a fall rather nicely, I can now attest.

    The video contains profane language.

    Read More »from Video: What it looks like to be hit by a riot police shield at Occupy D.C.


(1,514 Stories)