Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • GOP gets social in Mass. Senate race with campaign Facebook app

    The National Republican Senatorial Committee plans to use the special Senate election in Massachusetts later this month as a testing ground for a new Get-Out-The-Vote app on Facebook that will make it easier for supporters to target friends who live in the state and encourage them to go to the polls.

    The race pits Republican candidate Gabriel Gomez against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey on June 25 to fill the seat vacated by Democrat John Kerry, who left the Senate earlier this year to become secretary of state.

    Here's how it works: Facebook users who connect with the app will see a screen showing an auto-generated list of their friends from Massachusetts, with text that asks these friends to support Gomez in the special election. They will also be able to send personal messages.

    Users will then be given the choice to share this image and Web page on their friends' walls or through private messages.

    One of the biggest challenges for parties in special elections is to remind—and

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  • Rand Paul says U.S. taxpayers are funding a ‘war on Christianity’

    Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    American taxpayers are paying for a "war on Christianity" at home and abroad, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said during a speech at a conservative conference Thursday.

    "There is a war on Christianity," Paul told an audience of mostly evangelical Christians and Jews during a luncheon at the annual Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington. "Not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide. And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it. You are being taxed to send money to countries that are not only intolerant of Christians, but openly hostile. Christians are imprisoned and threatened with death for their beliefs."

    Paul, who has said he's considering running for president in 2016, was referring to U.S. financial aid to foreign countries where Christian persecution occurs.

    Paul has long called for an end to foreign aid to particularly Muslim-majority countries Egypt, Pakistan and Libya, but he does not always frame his opposition in terms of

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  • Rubio: ‘I’m done’ if immigration bill includes gay couple amendment

    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a co-author and key proponent of the Senate immigration bill, said he will revoke his support if an amendment is added that allows gay Americans to petition for same-sex spouses living abroad to secure a green card.

    "If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done," Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. "I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."

    The amendment, introduced by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, would grant green cards to foreign partners of gay Americans. Leahy originally introduced the measure during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the bill, but he withdrew it under pressure from Republican lawmakers who said it would reduce the chance of the bill passing.

    The effort underway in Congress to overhaul the

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  • Frederick Douglass to be honored in Congress with statue

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers next week will honor Frederick Douglass, the early civil rights leader, orator and writer who escaped slavery in 1838, with a statue in the U.S. Capitol.

    A gift of the District of Columbia, the statue will be placed in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitors Center on Wednesday, June 19.

    "It's a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Americans and voices for freedom who ever lived," House Speaker John Boehner said.

    For those not in the capital area, the statue unveiling will be streamed live online.

  • Coburn questions DOJ on conference spending under sequestration

    Attorney General Eric Holder (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is demanding details from the Department of Justice about the agency's spending on, among other things, employee conferences under sequestration.

    In a letter obtained by Yahoo News that was sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, Coburn pointed to the DOJ's history of spending on conferences over the past few years—$58 million in fiscal year 2012, $90 million in 2010 and $47.8 million in 2008—and requested information on how much the agency plans to spend this year.

    In February, Holder warned that sequestration, which took effect in March and cut $1.6 billion from the DOJ budget, would put Americans at risk because of possible personnel furloughs.

    "This is something that is going to have an impact on the safety of this country," Holder told ABC News in February, during a discussion about the effect of sequestration. "And anybody that says otherwise is either lying or saying something that runs contrary to the facts."

    In response,

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  • Paul Ryan: ‘I will debate anybody’ who says immigration bill is ‘amnesty’

    Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Earlier this year, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul warned lawmakers not to trip over loaded phrases like "pathway to citizenship" and "amnesty" to describe the effort to overhaul immigration. Doing so, Paul said, would polarize the debate over reform—and he was right.

    Not surprisingly, opponents of the immigration bill regularly refer to it as an offer of amnesty to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, while proponents throw around the loosely defined term "pathway to citizenship" to see who is for it and, so, on their "side."

    Now that there's actually an immigration bill making its way through the Senate and a similar version coming in the House, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who support the effort are pushing back against opponents who use the A-word to frame the bill.

    On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has supported forms of immigration reform since he was a House staffer in the 1990s, declared that he would "debate anybody" who calls the current

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  • South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Sen. Lindsey Graham would propose censoring Americans' "snail" mail if he thought it would help protect national security, the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday. But for now, he says he doesn't think it's necessary.

    Faced with questions about the disclosure that the National Security Agency has been collecting phone and email records of citizens, Graham pointed to a World War II-era program in which the federal government censored mail. He said it was appropriate at the time and that he would support reinstating the program if it aided security efforts.

    "In World War II, the mentality of the public was that our whole way of life was at risk, we're all in. We censored the mail. When you wrote a letter overseas, it got censored. When a letter was written back from the battlefield to home, they looked at what was in the letter to make sure they were not tipping off the enemy," Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill. "If I thought

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  • Immigration bill expected to overcome early hurdles in the Senate

    Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, with House Speaker John Boehner in the background. (Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

    The Senate is expected to proceed toward a bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration system Tuesday, overcoming an early hurdle for what is expected to be a monthslong process.

    The chamber will take up a procedural vote that allows senators to begin voting on amendments to the immigration bill, crafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight and passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Republican leaders have signaled that they will join Democrats in supporting the motion.

    This initial Republican nod of approval, however, does not mean GOP lawmakers will vote for final passage. Over the coming weeks, Republicans and Democrats will propose their own changes to the bill. Many Republicans, including the bill's co-author, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have said they will reject final passage unless the chamber agrees to amendments that strengthen border security.

    Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who plans to support Tuesday's motion

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  • Cantor says House to investigate Edward Snowden over leaks

    House committees will soon begin a series of "serious" investigation into the former security contractor who leaked secret information about the National Security Agency's surveillance program, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Monday.

    During an interview on CBS' "This Morning," Cantor said there was still much unknown about the legality involving how 29-year-old former Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to the Guardian newspaper before fleeing for Hong Kong.

    "You have to sort of step back and ask yourself, there are legal avenues for an individual who is concerned about the violations of civil liberties to go about addressing those concerns through the inspector general process, coming forward, asking for whistle-blower protection, going to the courts, coming to Congress," Cantor said.

    Based on secret documents provided by Snowden, the Guardian revealed details about the NSA surveillance programs last week.

    Cantor added that House lawmakers

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  • Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS runs pro-immigration overhaul ad

    Crossroads GPS, an advocacy group backed by Karl Rove, former senior adviser to George W. Bush, is launching a $100,000 ad campaign urging conservatives to support an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

    The full-page print ad is signed by 53 business leaders and Republicans, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Edward Gillespie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Rove. It's the first ad the group has run on immigration this year.

    "Immigration reform presents an historic opportunity to strengthen our nation's security and prosperity for the future," the ad says in bold text near the top.

    There's a caveat to Crossroads GPS' support, however. In a statement released on Monday, Crossroads GPS CEO Steven Law said the current bill requires an "extreme makeover" that increases border security provisions and protects American workers. But abandoning talks over the bill would give President Barack Obama more decision-making power over the future of immigration policy,

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