Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Cain’s unorthodox web ad

    Like his campaign strategy, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's new Web ad is, well, different.

    The 56-second ad features a series of close-up shots of Cain's chief of staff, Mark Block, explaining why he decided to work for the candidate. As the spot wraps, Block takes a long drag on a cigarette and an image of a smiling Cain appears on the screen. The Krista Branch song "I am America" plays in the background.

    "I really believe that Herman Cain will put 'united' back in the United States of America," Block says. "And if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here."

    "We've run a campaign like no one's ever seen," he adds.

    The Daily Caller's Alex Pappas recently profiled Block, a veteran GOP aide who was once "banned from politics in Wisconsin" for violating election law and who reportedly "talked Herman Cain into running for president" in the first place.

    You can watch the full video here:

    The campaign first posted the ad on Oct. 19, but it was not discovered until now

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  • Perry unveils comprehensive tax plan

    Perry (Nati Harnik/AP)In an effort to reignite his presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry outlined his plan for a tax overhaul Tuesday, calling for a 20 percent "flat tax" on income and an 18 percent federal spending cap.

    Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Perry described what he calls a "Cut, Balance and Grow" plan that would allow for privately held Social Security accounts, replace the current tax code with a flat-rate tax, slash corporate taxes down to 20 percent and eliminate all inheritance taxes.

    "This simple 20 percent flat tax will allow Americans to file their taxes on a postcard, saving up to $483 billion in compliance costs," Perry writes. "By eliminating the dozens of carve-outs that make the current code so incomprehensible, we will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard and forms the foundation of a strong economy."

    Perry adds that initially, taxpayers will have a choice between paying the flat tax or their current tax rate.

    Under Perry's tax plan, Americans who earn less than $500,000 annually would continue to receive several current tax exemptions, and those receiving Social Security would no longer pay taxes on that income.

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  • Bachmann’s ex-staff in New Hampshire calls campaign ‘dishonest’ and ‘cruel’

    Bachmann (Jeff Chiu/AP)Two days after the New Hampshire-based staff for Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign resigned en masse, the ex-aides released a statement  affirming their departure and calling Bachmann's national campaign "rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel."

    "The manner in which some in the national team conducted themselves towards Team-NH was rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel," the letter reads. "But more concerning was how abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive some within the national team were towards many New Hampshire citizens."

    The shakeup was first reported by New Hampshire's WMUR-TV. Bachmann, a Republican representative from Minnesota, initially denied it and suggested the story had been fed to the media by one of her opponents' campaigns.

    "That is a shocking story to me," Bachmann said on Radio Iowa last Friday. "I don't know where that came from. We have called staff in New Hampshire to find out where that came from and the staff have said that isn't true, so I don't know if this is just a bad story that's being fed by a different candidate or campaign. I have no idea where this came from, but we've made calls and it's certainly not true."

    Read the full letter, which affirms the truth of the story, after the jump:

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  • Jindal wins re-election as presidential plans remain on hold

    Jindal (Jindal staff via AP)Bobby Jindal handily won a second term Saturday as governor of Louisiana. Jindal's landslide election will likely secure his place in politics for the coming four years--even though his reported interest in pursuing higher office remains on hold.

    "I will use every day, every hour of these next four years to make Louisiana the very best that we can be. I don't believe on resting on our past accomplishments. I don't believe in taking time off," Jindal told supporters following his win in the all-party blanket primary, which was absent any major Democratic opposition.

    Jindal burst onto the national political scene in 2007 by successfully moving from the U.S. House to the governorship in a competitive state and becoming the country's first Indian-American governor--all by the age of 36. GOP insiders immediately marked him as a rising star and discussed him as a future presidential candidate. But Jindal's reputation took a major hit in Feb. 2009 when he delivered an awkward and widely panned Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Many observers said that the reply effectively destroyed Jindal's shot at any higher office.

    And so it has--at least in the short term.

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  • Rove critiques Perry for comments about Obama’s birth certificate

    Fox News contributor Karl Rove critiqued Texas Gov. Rick Perry Monday for comments he made in a recent Parade Magazine interview suggesting that Perry wasn't sure if President Barack Obama was really born in the United States.

    Rove, a former George W. Bush adviser who has clashed with Perry for more than a decade, said the Republican presidential candidate made the comments to garner the support of businessman Donald Trump, who led a campaign that called on Obama to release his long-form birth certificate earlier this year.

    "You associate yourself with a nutty view like that, and you damage yourself," Rove said Monday morning on Fox News. "And I know he went and he's trying to cultivate--as all of them are--Donald Trump, in order to get his endorsement, but this is not the way to go about doing it, because it starts to marginalize you in the minds of some of the people whom you need in order to get the election.

    "There's a simple answer: yes, he was born in the United States, yes, he is eligible to serve, and don't associate yourself with sort of this nutty fringe group," he added.

    You can watch the video after the jump:

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  • Cain tries to clarify stance on abortion

    Cain addresses the crowd during a campaign stop in Detroit (AP)Businessman Herman Cain had to do some damage control this week, after an interview in which the presidential candidate made what appeared to be contradictory statements about the government and abortion.

    During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Wednesday, Cain said he he did not think a woman should be able to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest, but also said the government should not make the choice for her. When Morgan pressed for details about his views on the appropriate government role, Cain did not provide a clear answer.

    Cain appeared on Fox News Channel's America Live Friday to try and clear things up:

    "See he was asking me two questions, my position on abortion, on pro-life has been the same throughout this campaign and that is I am pro-life from conception and I don't believe in abortion. When he then tried to pigeon hole me on my granddaughter being there as a victim of rape then what would I do, the only point I was trying to make, a lot of families

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  • Obama announces full American military withdrawal from Iraq

    U.S. Army soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division board a C-17 aircraft at Baghdad International Airport as they begin their journey to the United States. (AP)

    President Barack Obama announced on Friday a nearly complete withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq by the end of the year.

    "Today, I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home from Iraq at the end of this year," Obama said. "After nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months our troops in Iraq--tens of thousands of them--will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home."

    Obama affirmed that he has been in talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that the Iraqi government supported the American withdrawal.

    "We are in full agreement about how to move forward," Obama said.

    Although it was extended several times, the timeline for withdrawal was originally drafted under former President George W. Bush and implementing it was a key campaign promise for Obama when he was running for president in 2007 and 2008.

    The military will keep about 160 servicemen and women in Baghdad to provide security for

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  • Senate rejects two more pieces of Obama’s jobs plan

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (AP)The Senate defeated two more pieces of President Obama's economic stimulus bill late Thursday night, despite a lengthy and concerted White House campaign urging Congress to pass the legislation.

    After failing to reach a consensus on the entire bill two weeks ago, Senate leaders opted for a piecemeal approach in an attempt to highlight parts of the bill that could garner bipartisan support.

    The first measure, a $35-billion Democratic bill that would have increased federal spending for states to hire teachers and emergency first responders, was rejected by a united Republican conference, two Democrats--Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana--and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent. To pay for the new spending, the measure would impose a 0.5 percent tax increase on all income above $1 million. The marginal tax hike would have taken effect starting in 2013.

    The bill required 60 votes to pass the chamber and sidestep the threat of a Republican filibuster, but only 50 senators voted for it.

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  • Alec Baldwin defends capitalism, banks at Occupy Wall Street protest

    Alec Baldwin visited the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City this week, where he found himself defending the very institutions the demonstrators are protesting: Banks, capitalism and the rich.

    "You have to have capital markets in this country," Baldwin said. "You can't not have strong capital markets in this country or this country is going to go down the tubes. ... Capitalism is worthwhile and capitalism demands the flow of money. ... You want the banks to do what the banks do."

    Baldwin said he wouldn't answer any questions, but quickly got into a discussion with a group of Ron Paul supporters who grilled him on the Federal Reserve.

    Watch the video here:

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  • Herman Cain has earned $250,000 in speaking fees this year

    Herman Cain knows how to turn a profit.

    The Atlanta-based businessman who spent several years as a motivational speaker before joining the presidential campaign trail still charges a $25,000 speaking fee for some of his public appearances, Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

    Cain is making money, alright. Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 17 that his campaign paid more than $65,000 to his personal publishing company to buy copies of his books and pamphlets. In an interview before his address to the Arizona GOP, he told me that he continues to give motivational speeches to corporations at $25,000 a pop even as he campaigns for President. "I'm still doing paid speeches," he confirmed. "But I have not raised my prices. This economy's on life support, so I'm very mindful of those companies that would like to have me come and speak. But I'm not gonna take advantage of my newfound popularity just to put more dollars in my pocket." Even so, Cain estimates that he has earned

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