Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Paul Ryan to headline ‘Mad Men’ themed dinner

    Wisconsin Republican and possible VP pick Paul Ryan will headline a "Mad Men"-themed gala dinner in Washington, D.C., Tuesday hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.

    The annual dinner, held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, is sold out, organizers said. Attendance at the event costs  $5,000-$40,000 per table or $250 for an individual seat.

    Ryan is scheduled to speak at the gala after hosting a roundtable discussion on behalf of Romney's presidential campaign in Raleigh, N.C., earlier that day.

    An after-party will follow the dinner, where the Old Fashioned is sure to be the drink of choice.

    Read More »from Paul Ryan to headline ‘Mad Men’ themed dinner
  • Condoleezza Rice coming to D.C. for super PAC fundraiser

    Condoleezza Rice (Nasser Shiyoukhi/AP)

    Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice will join a fundraiser later this month for a super PAC that supports Republican women, Yahoo News has learned.

    The event will raise money for "ShePAC," which works to elect conservative women to Congress, and is scheduled for June 25 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. It is the first time that Rice has participated in a Washington-area political fundraiser this election cycle.

    The group, which formed in February and is acronym for "Support, Honor and Elect," has invited nearly 50 female lawmakers and congressional candidates to attend. Rice is planning to give a foreign policy briefing before the reception, followed by a VIP reception and a general cocktail hour.

    "From football to foreign affairs, Secretary Rice brings an impressive level of passion to all of her interests," said ShePAC co-founders Teri Christoph, Suzanne Haik Terrell and Tim Crawford in a joint statement. "She will share her

    Read More »from Condoleezza Rice coming to D.C. for super PAC fundraiser
  • Republican super PAC slams Obama for going negative (as it goes negative itself)

    Welcome to that weird part of the election cycle where groups run negative campaign ads about negative campaign ads.

    [Related: Super PAC ad war 'going to be ugly,' Gingrich says]

    American Crossroads, one of the most well-funded Republican super PACs this election cycle, released a Web video Monday attacking President Barack Obama for going negative against challenger Mitt Romney so early in the election cycle.

    Entitled "Fear," the video opens with Obama's comments in years past that encouraged positive discourse and then quickly transitions to a lineup of reporters and commentators questioning the president's strategy against Romney. The ad is meant to suggest that Obama is intentionally dividing the country—at one point, an image of a street brawl flashes behind the words "Divide and Conquer"—and it ends with a shot of the words from the iconic "Hope" poster that transform into "Fear" amid a fiery inferno.

    [Related: Super PACs are a man's world]

    "If you don't have a record to run on," Obama is heard saying as the poster crackles in flames, "then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from."

    Of course, American Crossroads has also gone negative with ads already this election cycle, as has Romney's campaign.

    American Crossroads released the video online in conjunction with a copy of a "Fear" poster:

    Read More »from Republican super PAC slams Obama for going negative (as it goes negative itself)
  • Rob Portman (Jay LaPrete/AP)

    When Republicans need to get inside the brain of a Democrat, they call Rob Portman.

    "I don't know anybody who's done more debate coaching or surrogate work in debates than Rob Portman," Rick Lazio, the former New York congressman who ran against Hillary Clinton for Senate in 2000, told Yahoo News. Lazio asked Portman to play his opponent in that race, and he left shocked at how well Portman could transform himself into the former first lady.

    "No wig, no dress," Lazio said, "but otherwise very effective."

    For nearly 20 years, Republicans have turned to Portman, now a senator from Ohio and widely rumored to be near the top of Mitt Romney's list of preferred running mates, for help with debate preparation. The freshman senator has a natural talent for throwing himself into the role of the opposing candidate in mock debates. According to people who have seen Portman perform this feat, he nails it every time.

    Since 1996, when Bob Dole tapped Portman to channel Lamar Alexander in a practice debate, Portman has played the role of Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, and most recently, Barack Obama.

    "I don't try to imitate the president, per se," Portman told Yahoo News in an interview. "Just take the policy positions and some of the same rhetoric. It's a good way to learn what the other side is thinking and how they approach problems."

    Now, Mitt Romney is said to be considering whether Portman can move from the role of Democratic understudy to Republican vice presidential candidate. If Portman is selected to join Romney's ticket, this time he will have to speak in his own voice.

    'He became Barack Obama'

    John McCain was preparing for the second national presidential debate in October 2008. Under the rules for the contest, the candidates would sit on waist-high chairs but have the freedom to move around the floor. McCain's advisers were worried about the visual image of Obama, a younger man with a six-inch height advantage, dwarfing the septuagenarian. Portman was instructed to corner McCain on the stage and intimidate him.

    "He did it to the point of irritation," Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as McCain's chief economic policy director in 2008, told Yahoo News. "Which was the point."

    "He was not just the positions of Barack Obama -- he became Barack Obama," Holtz-Eakin said of Portman. "Physical mannerisms, parsing of his voice, everything. He's obviously the white guy from Cincinnati, but Obama has a particular set of vocal rhythms. Rob got all of that."

    Read More »from Potential Romney VP Rob Portman is a method actor of debate prep: ‘physical mannerisms, parsing of his voice, everything’
  • Super PACs are a man’s world: Report finds only 20 percent of donations are from women

    Sheldon Adelson and his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Glenn Pinkerton)

    About 80 percent of the money raised by super PACs looking to influence elections so far this year have come from men, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics.

    And of the remaining 20 percent donated by women, half of it came from one person.

    CBS News reports:

    According to the nonpartisan research group the Center for Responsive Politics, as of May 21, about 20 percent of donations to outside groups like super PACs in this election cycle have come from women (among the donations that could be broken down by gender). In dollars, that amounts to $31,165,706 -- however, that includes $15,000,000 in donations from just one person, Miriam Adelson. Adelson's husband, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is best known in this campaign season for single-handedly keeping Newt Gingrich's Republican primary bid alive with his super PAC donations.

    Read More »from Super PACs are a man’s world: Report finds only 20 percent of donations are from women
  • Obama on nudity, drag-racing and how to write: 20 details from Maraniss’ ‘Barack Obama: The Story’

    In the forthcoming biography "Barack Obama: The Story," due in bookstores June 19, David Maraniss tells the largely untold story of Obama's family, his life growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, his journey through college in California and New York, and his years as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

    Some of the details from the book have already been released, including sections about Obama's pot-smoking school days in Hawaii and stories about his early girlfriends, but the book, obtained by Yahoo News, is full of stories about Obama's past (even if Obama doesn't show up in the book until Page 165).

    Here are 20 details from Maraniss' book:


    1. Maraniss suggests that Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., may have abused Obama's mother.

    "There is no direct evidence that Obama hit Ann. She never talked about it to her son or family, and in retrospect always tried to give their brief relationship the rosiest interpretations. But as we shall see, Obama physically abused his next wife, another American with similar characteristics. This does not mean that he abused Ann, but it leads to that possibility."

    2. When Obama was 6 years old, he moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, to live with his mother and stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, in a home full of exotic animals.

    "The backyard was a sight to behold, Lolo's personal Indonesian zoo: Chickens, cockatoos, snakes, turtles, two biawaks (reptiles that resemble miniature crocodiles) in a pond, and a small ape named Tata that he brought back from a mapping assignment with the army in Papua."

    3. Obama's presidential ambitions stretched back to the third grade, when he wrote this paper for his class.

    My name is Barry Soetoro. I am a third-grade student at SD Asisi.

    My mom is my idol.

    My teacher is Ibu Fer. I have a lot of friends.

    I live near the school. I usually walk to the school with my mom, then go home by myself.

    Someday I want to be president. I love to visit all the places in Indonesia.

    Done.

    The eeeeeeeeend.

    Read More »from Obama on nudity, drag-racing and how to write: 20 details from Maraniss’ ‘Barack Obama: The Story’
  • Congressman hopes his deleted tweets will be more read than actual tweets

    While most politicians probably aren't eager to see their typos appear on the Sunlight Foundation's new "Politwoops" website, which archives errant tweets deleted from the Twitter pages of politicians, one lawmaker has found a way to game the system.

    Rep. Denny Rehberg, Republican from Montana, has begun intentionally deleting his tweets so they will show up on the site. It's an innovative effort to get the attention of political journalists visiting Politwoops, which debuted on Wednesday.

    "If you think mistakes on #Politwoops are bad," Rehberg wrote—and then deleted—on his Twitter page, "just wait until you see the new regulatory mistakes of the Obama Administration!"

    Here are a few of his other zingers:

    Read More »from Congressman hopes his deleted tweets will be more read than actual tweets
  • Gingrich on super PAC ad war: ‘It’s going to be a mess’

    Newt Gingrich (Evan Vucci/AP)Former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who during the Republican primaries found himself on the blunt end of brutal attack ads paid for by a super PAC supporting his rival Mitt Romney, predicted Thursday that the slew of negative ads from outside groups will be even worse in the general election.

    [Related: What $1B will get you in politics]

    "You watch this fall: Between the Obama super PACs and the Romney super PACs, the conservative super PACs, the liberal super PACs—it's going to be a mess," Gingrich said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," "and people are going to be sick of it and it's really unfortunate. It's not the way a great nation should govern itself."

    Gingrich has long been a vocal critic of campaign finance rules that cap the amount of money a candidate is allowed to raise from individual donors, a system, he says, that funnels money to less transparent organizations to pay for political speech. On the campaign trail earlier this year, Gingrich

    Read More »from Gingrich on super PAC ad war: ‘It’s going to be a mess’
  • Politwoops: Six months of #FAIL on Twitter, brought to you by America’s politicians

    If you're an elected lawmaker in the United States with a Twitter account, you'd better check twice before firing off that next post.

    While the rest of us can rest easy once we hit the delete button after we make a mistake, the Sunlight Foundation is now tracking and posting all deleted tweets from hundreds of politicians.

    The site is called "Politwoops," and no nationally elected leader is safe from its all-seeing eye.

    The Sunlight Foundation launched the website Wednesday with more than 3,000 errant tweets from the past six months. Whether a politico sends off a mundane typo or accidentally posts a picture of his genitalia to a college student while his wife is out of town, if he deletes a tweet, the Sunlight Foundation will capture it in almost real time and post a screenshot directly to the site.

    "The Politwoops archive serves as an illuminating rough draft of how politicians and campaigns hone their social media messaging and amend their record," said the Sunlight Foundation's Nicko Margolies when announcing the new site.

    And for those keeping track, in the race for the White House, President Barack Obama has deleted eight posts; Mitt Romney has scrapped just one.

    Here are some of our favorites so far:

    White House

    Read More »from Politwoops: Six months of #FAIL on Twitter, brought to you by America’s politicians
  • Sununu: John Thune ‘on the list’ for Romney’s veep pick

    John Thune (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

    In an interview with National Review's Robert Costa, Mitt Romney surrogate John H. Sununu left the door open for South Dakota Sen. John Thune's chances of being picked for vice president.

    "There's no question, in my mind, that he's on the list for consideration," Sununu, a former governor of New Hampshire, said.

    [Related: Gov. Bush 'will not be candidate for VP']

    Thune, who is a junior senator and a member of the Republican leadership team in the Senate, briefly entertained the idea of running for president himself last year, but made his decision to stay out of the race clear early.

    [Related: Daniels says he'd 'disconnect' the phone if Romney called]

    In a separate interview, Thune told Costa that if chosen, he is prepared to be vetted.

    "My life is an open book," he said. "I've run for office many times and everything that can be out there is out there. I'm not apprehensive about somebody taking a look."

    Read More »from Sununu: John Thune ‘on the list’ for Romney’s veep pick

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