Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Mitt Romney on DNC ‘flip’ ad: ‘Bring it on.’

    HIALEAH, Fla.--Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney summed up his response to a new Democratic Party video accusing him of flip-flopping in three words: "Bring it on."

    "They want to throw the primary process to anybody but me. But bring it on," Romney said after a speech at a Latin food company warehouse west of Miami. "We're ready for them."

    The ad, released by the Democratic National Committee Monday, shows clips of Romney giving conflicting answers to several policy questions over the years, playing into the theme that he's an inconsistent candidate.

    "I don't know what the Democrats are so afraid of," Romney added.

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  • Newt Gingrich on drug laws, entitlements and campaigning: The Yahoo News interview

    Newt Gingrich greets supporters at a book signing in Naples, Fla. over the weekend. (AP)

    NAPLES, Fla. -- The staff at Books-a-Million didn't know what hit them.

    In preparation for a Saturday morning book signing with Newt Gingrich, the bookstore printed numbered cards for the first 500 people looking for an autograph from the former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate. The store gave out its first card at 8 a.m. on Black Friday--27 hours before Gingrich was scheduled to arrive--and ran out before he stepped in the door. After that, the Gingrich fans had to fend for themselves.

    Gingrich spent the two days after Thanksgiving on a campaign swing through Naples, Florida, a wealthy conservative stronghold in the Sunshine State that was, to say the least, extremely welcoming. He started with a Friday night speech to an overflow crowd at the Hilton Naples, where flocks of white-haired seniors who couldn't find a chair opted to sit on the floor for more than an hour watching the speech on a flat-screen TV. When the room filled up a half hour before the event, hundreds of people outside the hotel conference room crowded outside the door, waiting for the hotel staff to look away so they could try to sneak in.

    "It's a mob scene!" one woman yelled into her cell phone as she tried to push her way through a throng of pastel-clad retirees.

    Gingrich's face beamed as he walked through the front door into a packed hotel lobby.

    "I want to apologize to many of our friends who are out in the parking lot," Gingrich said when he took the stage. "This is frankly a much bigger crowd than we expected."

    After his speech, during which he took time to clarify his position on illegal immigration, Gingrich hopped over to a $1,000-per-person fundraiser at a city council member's home and then spent four hours the next morning at a Books-a-Million, where he brought in 650 people.

    After months in the middle tier, Gingrich is the latest presidential candidate not named Mitt to ascend to the top of national polls. And with just five weeks until the first caucus in Iowa, he may have the best chance at being there when it matters. On Sunday, the largest newspaper in New Hampshire, the Union Leader, endorsed Gingrich in the Republican primary.

    Although he has been in the public eye for years and seen his share of crowds, this kind of attention is new for Presidential Candidate Newt.

    After his marathon Books-a-Million autograph session on Saturday, I sat down with Gingrich in a quiet corner of the store where we talked about his run for the White House and a wide range of issues. He spoke candidly about federal drug policies ("I don't think actually locking up users is a very good thing," he said, suggesting instead an approach that would create an array of federal incentives for more effective treatment of drug use). He also explained his position on Cuba, whether he plans to request Secret Service protection and more.

    You can read the conversation, edited and condensed for clarity, below:

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  • CBS Radio: Barney Frank to retire

    Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank will retire after this term, a CBS News radio affiliate in Boston reports via Twitter:

    US Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will not seek reelection.

    Frank will hold a press conference in Newton, Massachusetts Monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss his decision.

    Frank was first elected to Congress in 1981.

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  • Union Leader endorses Newt Gingrich

    Union Leader

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received the coveted primary endorsement from New Hampshire's largest newspaper on Sunday, a major blow to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the polling front runner in the state.

    "We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," wrote Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of the Union Leader. "A lot of candidates say they're going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again."

    New Hampshire traditionally holds the first primary election in the nation, and several candidates have met with the paper's editorial board over the past few months in hopes of securing its influential endorsement. New Hampshire will hold its Republican primary election on January 10, 2012.

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  • NAPLES, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich pushed back against opponents who accused him him of supporting "amnesty" for illegal immigrants based on comments he made at a recent debate in Washington, DC, on immigration reform.

    Gingrich fielded criticism this week after arguing that some illegal immigrants with close ties to their community should not be deported.

    "Several of my friends were explicitly distorting what I said, even though they knew better," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Naples, Fla., on Friday. "So I think it takes a few days to clarify that in fact what they are saying isn't true."

    Under Gingrich's plan, which he has articulated before, the federal government would establish a system of local boards to determine whether illegal immigrants could be permitted to remain in the United States based on their ties to the community.

    "I propose that we take the World War II model of the selective service program," Gingrich said. "In World War II, local community citizens judged who ought to be drafted and who shouldn't . . . . It requires trusting citizens rather than bureaucrats. It's a jury system for local communities."

    Gingrich added that he thought that immigrants eligible to stay should have spent at least 25 years in the country, have close ties to a community and a family, but predicted that most would voluntarily leave.

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  • Obama’s Medicare chief to resign

    President Obama's Medicare chief Don Berwick will step down down next month, the Associated Press confirms:

    The point man for carrying out President Barack Obama's health care law will be stepping down after Republicans succeeded in blocking his confirmation by the Senate, an official said Wednesday.

    ...

    Berwick's Dec. 2 resignation was confirmed by a senior congressional official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement by the administration. He will be replaced by his principal deputy, Marilyn Tavenner, formerly Virginia's top health care official.

    Forty-two GOP senators — more than enough to derail Berwick's confirmation — had announced their opposition to his nomination months ago. That started a countdown on his temporary appointment, scheduled to run out at the end of the year.

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  • Illinois Republican wants to make Chicago area the 51st state

    Chicago (AP)

    A state Republican legislator has introduced a bill to the Illinois General Assembly to separate the Chicago's county from the state--effectively making the midwestern city the 51st state in the union.

    The bill, filed by State Rep. Bill Mitchell of Decatur Tuesday, would "enact legislation dividing Illinois and Cook County into separate states" because county residents "hold different and firmly seated views" on "politics, society, and economics" from people in the rest of the state. The bill's supporters point to higher tax rates and strict gun laws in the Chicago area and contend that the northern county is out of step with its Illinois neighbors.

    "These liberal policies are an insult to the traditional values of downstate families," Mitchell told the Decatur Tribune. "When I talk to constituents, one of the biggest things I hear is 'Chicago should be its own state . . . .Our voters' voices were drowned out by Chicago."

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  • Ron Paul receives 600 seconds of speaking time at CNN debate

    Paul, Perry and Romney (AP/Evan Vucci)

    After several public complaints from Ron Paul's presidential campaign and his supporters over lack of air time at debates, the Texas congressman received a higher percentage of speaking time at Tuesday's CNN presidential debate than in any recent contest this election cycle.

    In the first hour of the GOP debate in South Carolina on Nov. 13., Paul received just 89 seconds to share his views on television. On Tuesday, he had 600. (CBS gave him more time to speak in the last half hour, when the debate switched to online-only.)

    As a percentage, Paul spoke for 13.3 percent of the time, according to an analysis by Eric Ostermeier, a political research associate at the University of Minnesota. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led the pack for the first time with 16.1 percent of debate time, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 15.3 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in third with 14.5 percent.

    During the 10 minutes that he spoke at the CNN debate, Paul--whose views on national security set him apart from his fellow Republicans and even many leading Democrats--played the role of outlier, arguing against racial profiling, the Patriot Act, the wars abroad, military aid to Israel and the criminalization of drugs.

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  • Anti-Romney or pro-Gingrich?

    Or is that just the same thing?

    The Democratic National Committee blasted out this video Wednesday morning with clips from Tuesday night's CNN debate. It props up Newt Gingrich as much as it knocks down Mitt Romney. Take a look:

    Read More »from Anti-Romney or pro-Gingrich?
  • Sen. John Thune endorses Mitt Romney

    South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, who flirted with the idea of running for president earlier this year, announced Wednesday that he will endorse former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president and will co-chair the campaign's National Advisory Council.

    "Mitt Romney has shown throughout his life in the private sector, as leader of the Olympics, as governor, and in this campaign that he will not back down from difficult challenges," Thune said in a statement. "His plans to revitalize the private sector and restore our country's fiscal health are drawn from his 25-year career as a conservative businessman."

    Thune will join Romney on the campaign trail in Des Moines, Iowa later today.

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