Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Mitt Romney invokes Rick Santorum in taped address to Values Voter Summit

    WASHINGTON—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney invoked his former challenger Rick Santorum on Friday when he addressed by taped audio message the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference organized by the socially conservative Family Research Council.

    "We need a president who shares our commitment to conservative principles and our respect for traditional values," Romney said in the video, which played near the end of the day's program. "We will uphold the sanctity of life, not abandon it or ignore it, and we will defend marriage, not try to redefine it."

    Reiterating a message he has often shared with evangelical and predominantly socially conservative audiences since the end of the Republican primaries, Romney touted a line Santorum used at nearly every stop on the campaign trail during his failed presidential run. Santorum has been a regular attendee of the Values Voter Summit's annual meeting.

    "We need a president who understands that we will not have a strong economy

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  • Paul Ryan emphasizes Romney’s character at social conservatives gathering

    WASHINGTON—Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Friday urged social conservatives gathered at the annual Values Voter Summit to support Mitt Romney, warning that another term for President Barack Obama could put the nation at risk "of becoming a poor country."

    "Under the current president, we are at risk of becoming a poor country, because he looks to government as the great benefactor in every life," Ryan said.

    While Ryan's visit was to stump for Romney, his speech, which mentioned Obama nearly twice as many times as Romney, seemed to focus more on the president than the challenger. Ryan slammed Obama for his support of national abortion access, his administration's mandate on religious organizations to offer contraception as part of employee health care plans and for the state of the economy after four years in office.

    At times, Ryan made his criticisms personal.

    "'We're all in this together,'" Ryan said, quoting one of Obama's oft-used speech lines. "It has a nice ring. For everyone who loves this country, it is not only true but obvious. Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born."

    Ryan's remarks were interrupted at least three times by groups of demonstrators who shouted, "Corporations are not people!" and an awkwardly long "What are you going to do about money in politics?" before being swiftly escorted out of the conference room. Meanwhile, conference attendees drowned out the voices of the protesters by chanting "USA! USA!"

    The crowd that Ryan addressed—a coalition of conservatives who place an emphasis on social issues like not having the government recognize gay marriage and curtailing abortion access—has remained one of Romney's most elusive bases of support during his campaign. During the Republican primaries, leaders of many of the groups represented at the conference endorsed Romney's challengers, primarily former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. On the same stage where Ryan spoke on Friday, a prominent pastor at last year's gathering called Romney's church "a cult," and the event featured another speaker who has said the First Amendment protection of freedom of religion does not apply to Mormons. Neither of those men is speaking at this year's conference. Romney also spoke at the 2011 gathering and decried the anti-Mormon remarks, but he is not scheduled to address the group again this year.

    During a speech at the National Press Club earlier this week, conference organizer Tony Perkins said he supported Romney over Obama, but that enthusiasm for the candidate among social conservatives was still "building."

    In his pitch to the crowd on Friday, Ryan made an extra effort to emphasize Romney's character.

    "He's solid and trustworthy, faithful and honorable," Ryan said of Romney. "Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he is a fine man, worthy of leading our country, and ready to lead the great turnaround we have spent four years waiting for."

    Read Ryan's full remarks here:

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  • WASHINGTON—Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, accused President Barack Obama of enforcing "Islamic speech codes" in the United States during an address here Friday.

    Speaking to the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of social conservatives, Bachmann was responding to a string of protests and violent attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates across northern Africa, the Mideast and Asia that were in part sparked by an Internet video mocking the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

    "Last October, many prominent Islamic organizations wrote a letter to the White House," Bachmann said, "where they urged our White House to do a complete purge from any federal training materials from references to the ideology of Islam to ensure that all trainers in our U.S. military, our FBI and other U.S. security agencies be retrained so they would be brainwashed in political correctness toward Islam. That's enforced Islamic speech codes here in the United

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  • House Republicans welcome Paul Ryan back to the chamber

    Paul Ryan (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON -- He didn't ride into the District on a white horse, but Paul Ryan got a hero's welcome from House Republicans when he returned to the Capitol chamber from the vice presidential campaign trail on Thursday.

    Still an active member of Congress, Ryan made a brief stop here to vote on a government spending bill, and his colleagues threw a pre-vote party to celebrate the rise of the young Wisconsin congressman. Dozens of House Republicans trickled in and out of a private room on the second floor of the Capitol for a quick visit with the candidate. He greeted each of them individually before posing for pictures and discussing each of their House races around the country, people who were in the room told Yahoo News.

    Ryan discussed what it was like having around-the-clock Secret Service protection, assured his colleagues that he was keeping healthy and eating well and joked about adjusting to not driving a car and being shuttled across the country since Mitt Romney added him to the

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  • House passes spending bill to avoid government shutdown

    House Republican Leaders (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    Returning to Washington for a brief session between their summer recess and fall campaign season, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a spending bill funding the government into the next year.

    The funding extension, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), keeps to the $1.047 trillion spending agreement reached between the parties and avoids a government shutdown until March 27, 2013, nearly five months after the November election. The federal government has continually relied on short-term funding extensions since 2009, the last time the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a traditional budget plan that set spending levels.

    "This bill is very restricted in its scope, does not contain extensive or controversial policy riders or funding levels that dramatically differ from current levels, and protects critical funding for our national defense," said House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, Republican of Kentucky. "The legislation reflects the bipartisan agreement made by the

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  • Paul Ryan and Chris Van Hollen (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who will play the role of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan during debate prep with Vice President Joe Biden, is still working on nailing the part.

    Between floor votes in the House Thursday, reporters asked Van Hollen for an update on the mock debates, but he was reluctant to dish details about the process.

    "I got my lines. I've got to work on my other..." Van Hollen said, his voice trailing off before he threw his arms in the air. "I've got to work on my gestures."

    Ryan is known to be physically expressive during floor speeches and on the campaign trail. Van Hollen has spent years serving with Ryan on the House Budget Committee, arguably making him one of the best Democrats to play the Republican vice presidential candidate in mock debates.

    When asked whether he has practiced with Biden, Van Hollen suggested the sessions were coming up soon.

    "We'll kick into higher gear in a little bit," he said, adding, "I've had a meeting with the vice president."

    Read More »from Chris Van Hollen on playing Paul Ryan in debate prep: ‘I’ve got to work on my gestures’
  • Pelosi urges continuing aid to Egypt, stops short of calling it an ‘ally’

    Nancy Pelosi (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back against calls within Congress to cut off foreign aid to Egypt after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier this week, but stopped short of calling Egypt an "ally" of the United States.

    "I think there has been a consensus that we cannot leave Egypt by the by. They're suggesting we should cut off assistance to Egypt," Pelosi, a California Democrat, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. "I don't agree with that."

    The federal government provided $1.3 billion in military aid to the country this year.

    Pelosi, who began the press conference by honoring the American foreign service workers killed this week in Libya, condemned the attacks and "the cowards who perpetrated" them.

    "The fact is that we really do have to help Egypt to go forward," she said. "I don't know about the word 'ally,' we'll see, but the fact is we have an interest in Egypt's success. Let's hope that we can do that as allies."

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  • Ryan’s in the House, but available by appointment only

    The sign on Paul Ryan's office door (Chris Moody/Yahoo News)

    WASHINGTON—Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is taking a break from the campaign trail to vote on a government funding bill at the Capitol and, for the time being, his office is open by appointment only.

    Just as the sign on Ryan's door in the Longworth House Office Building promised, a Ryan staffer greeted Yahoo News after a knock on the door Thursday afternoon. She said Ryan was planning to vote on the House floor on the continuing resolution bill but had no further information about his visit. When asked if Ryan would stop by his office to greet his staff, she repeated, "We have no further information at this time. Thank you," and closed the door.

    The added security is understandable given Ryan's new role as Mitt Romney's running mate—he also now has Secret Service protection wherever he goes—but the office closure is atypical of the way House offices operate under normal circumstances. The congressional office buildings that surround the U.S. Capitol are fully

    Read More »from Ryan’s in the House, but available by appointment only
  • Tony Perkins: Social conservative enthusiasm for Romney ‘building’

    Tony Perkins (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Enthusiasm among social conservatives for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is still "building," Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said during a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

    "I think it's building," Perkins, who endorsed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum during the Republican primaries but supports Romney now, said when asked about the level of support for Romney among social conservatives. "As anything you've got to get forward momentum, and I think that momentum is moving forward. We're not there yet, but I think what you see happening is the Obama administration is helping the enthusiasm level day by day."

    Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, is scheduled to speak at the FRC-sponsored Values Voter Summit this week, the same conference where a prominent pastor called Romney's Mormon faith a "cult" onstage in 2011. The pastor, Rev. Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas, is not on the list of speakers at this year's conference.

    Read More »from Tony Perkins: Social conservative enthusiasm for Romney ‘building’
  • Update: Todd Akin will not attend social conservative conference in D.C.

    See update at the bottom of this post.

    Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin will speak at a reception at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., later this week, conference organizers said Wednesday.

    "He will be there participating in one of our events and will be speaking at, I believe, our political action committee reception Friday afternoon," said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, the organization hosting the event.

    In August, Akin came under fire, and resisted calls from Republicans to end his Senate campaign, after he suggested during an interview that women who are raped cannot become pregnant. Akin later said that he "misspoke."

    Perkins was one of the few voices in social conservative circles who backed Akin after the National Republican Senatorial Committee and conservative political action committee groups announced they would pull financial support from his candidacy.

    "I did not agree with the characterization of his comments, or how he

    Read More »from Update: Todd Akin will not attend social conservative conference in D.C.

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