Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Romney’s VP list: ‘a pretty significant group of people’

    Mitt Romney (Carlos Osorio/AP)Mitt Romney is campaigning in Colorado Wednesday, where he told a local radio station that while the search for a vice presidential nominee is still in the early stages, the campaign is "looking at a pretty significant group of people" for the job.

    In the interview, with KOA News Radio in Denver, he also hinted at the possibility that he could announce his pick well before the party convention in August:

    Classically, people have made the decision on their running mate either during the convention or just in the few days before the convention, so that's probably the last point you'd think about doing it. It's also possible to go before that. There's no hard and fast rule about when the selection process has to be completed. But my chief of staff for my term of governor, Beth Myers, is overseeing a process. We're looking at a pretty significant group of people, and we've got a great group of Republican leaders and I want to take a very careful look, and I want to select someone who has the capacity to become president if that were necessary.

    Romney lost the Republican primary contest to Rick Santorum in Colorado, a state that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 general election.

    Listen to the full interview with Romney here.

    Read More »from Romney’s VP list: ‘a pretty significant group of people’
  • Gov. Bob McDonnell: Obama has edge on Romney in Virginia–for now

    Bob McDonnell (Jose Luis Magana/AP)Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, says President Barack Obama's campaign has a leg up on Romney in his state—for now.

    McDonnell made the comments during an interview published Wednesday in the Washington Examiner:

    Virginia Gov. McDonnell, one of Mitt Romney's earliest supporters, admitted Tuesday that the Republican presidential contender's ground game isn't close to matching that of President Obama in the Old Dominion, a state of vital importance to both campaigns.

    "The ground game's not there yet," McDonnell said Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters from The Washington Examiner.

    The Virginia governor said he believes Romney still has time to catch up and will make up for any disparity by contrasting the president's first-term record with Romney's vision for the country's future.

    Obama won Virginia in 2008, and the Commonwealth is considered one of the most important swing states in the November presidential election.

    McDonnell went on to tell the Examiner that Romney still needs time to bring people together after the Republican primaries.

    "He's still in that healing, unifying-the-party stage," he said. "Now he'll begin building the ground game."

    Read More »from Gov. Bob McDonnell: Obama has edge on Romney in Virginia–for now
  • Marco Rubio reminds supporters he is still paying off student loans

    Marco Rubio may be a senator—and a widely discussed pick to be Mitt Romney's running mate—but he still writes a check every month to pay down his student loan debt.

    After Senate Republicans blocked a vote to extend a low interest rate on federally subsidized student loans Tuesday, Rubio released a statement reminding supporters that he, too, is still paying off his education.

    "I think I am one of the only senators here who still has a student loan," Rubio, 40, said in a statement. "As someone with a student loan and with a state with so many people with student loans, I support a hundred percent making sure that the interest rates on student loans do not go up."

    Rubio's latest financial disclosure shows that the freshman senator took out loans of between $100,000 to $250,000 to finance his education in the 1990s. Rubio received his undergraduate degree at the public University of Florida and a law degree from the private, more expensive University of Miami.

    Rubio is not the first politician to mention student loans as an an ongoing financial burden. President Barack Obama and his wife just finished paying off their loans eight years ago while he was in the Illinois Legislature. Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy last year said he was still working to pay off his own educational debt.

    Read More »from Marco Rubio reminds supporters he is still paying off student loans
  • ‘The Tattoo Caucus’: Body art on Capitol Hill

    It's a must-read story: Roll Call congressional reporter John Stanton gets the scoop on members of Congress who sport tattoos under their crisp suits and shiny lapel pins.

    Apparently, there's a lot more body ink on Capitol Hill than you might think. Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Democrat of Illinois, are working on finishing half-sleeve tats on both arms.

    In what must have been a bear to report, Stanton writes:

    What do Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., soccer legend David Beckham and conservative godfather Barry Goldwater have in common?

    All three men have, on more than one occasion, subjected themselves to the exquisite pain of an artist putting ink to skin.

    Beckham has more tattoos than most rock stars, Goldwater had Native American tribal work done on his hand and, as for Chicagoland Democrat Jackson? He has two half-sleeves nearly done, complete with portraits of his family and boyhood hero Bruce Lee.

    "I believe in body art," Jackson said, explaining that he tries "to get a new tattoo every year." On tap for Jackson this year is a collage celebrating the centennial of his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.

    Tattoos are everywhere on Capitol Hill these days. Capitol Police officers have them. Reporters—including this one—do. Lula Davis, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's former right-hand floor aide, sported tattoos in the Capitol for years.

    The author of the piece is well-versed in body art. A man who doesn't fit the stereotype of a typical Capitol Hill reporter, Stanton has eight tattoos himself. Standing six feet, six inches tall with a shaved head and a long, dark goatee, he roams the halls of Congress carrying his notepad and recorder with skull rings on his fingers. While interviewing some of the nation's most powerful lawmakers, Stanton—who only wears black suits—is often seen with his sleeves rolled up, showing arms covered in ink. He worked as a nightclub bouncer from 2002-2009 while in the press corps, and still moonlights for heavy metal shows in Washington, D.C.'s U Street district.

    In other words, he's pretty much the perfect reporter to write the story. Read the whole thing.

    Read More »from ‘The Tattoo Caucus’: Body art on Capitol Hill
  • Mitt Romney (Charles Dharapak/AP)

    WASHINGTON—The Republican National Committee is making efforts to target Hispanic voters in key swing states in preparation for the November presidential election. And by their own admission, they're still working out some of the kinks.

    When asked during a meeting with reporters Tuesday how Republicans plan to convince Hispanics that their platform on immigration is better than the Democratic plan, RNC National Hispanic Outreach Coordinator Bettina Inclan declined to answer because, she said, Mitt Romney is "still deciding what his position on immigration is."

    "I think, as a candidate, to my understanding, that he's still deciding what his position on immigration is, so I can't talk about what his proposal is going to be," Inclan said. "He's talked about different issues. What we saw in the Republican primary is that there's a very diverse opinion on how to deal with immigration, so, I can't talk about something if I don't know what the position is."

    Listen to the audio of the exchange with Politico's Ginger Gibson here:

    During the Republican primary, Romney took a hard line on immigration, positioning himself to the right of most of his Republican opponents on the issue. The presumptive Republican nominee has outlined his position on his campaign website, promising to expand the availability of visas for high-skilled foreign workers, implement a robust program to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, increase border security and oppose any efforts to grant amnesty to those who enter the country illegally.

    Democrats seized on the quotes when they were posted on Twitter. Moments after Inclan's comments, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski walked back the remarks.

    "We never said the governor is still deciding on immigration, I want to make sure we are exponentially clear," Kukowski said. "We are going to be able to talk about Mitt Romney's position. Right now what we are here to talk about is what our outreach effort is going to be. I would ask that you give us a little time."

    Read More »from RNC Hispanic outreach director: Romney ‘still deciding what his position on immigration is’
  • Gary Johnson 2.0: the Libertarians’ new choice for president

    Gary Johnson (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

    Gary Johnson is back. You might remember him best as the scrappy long-shot Republican presidential candidate who made a "dog poop" joke from the far end of the debate stage in Florida last year. Perhaps his name rings a bell as the only Republican not named Ron Paul who supported marijuana decriminalization. Or maybe you recall that he's a superathlete and superthrifty: He climbed Mount Everest and vetoed more than 700 spending bills over his two terms as governor of New Mexico.

    In December, Johnson shook off his official affiliation with Republicans when he joined the Libertarian Party. Over the weekend, the organization nominated him as its candidate for president.

    And now that Johnson is no longer affiliated with the GOP, the usually soft-spoken, unassuming politician has come forward guns a-blazing.

    With a tougher tone and a sharper message delivery, the 59-year-old has re-emerged as a rabble-rousing attack dog. One of his pithier retorts: If he were put on a torture rack and told to endorse either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, he'd choose death.

    "Take this to the bank," Johnson said at his acceptance speech at the Libertarian Party convention in Las Vegas last weekend. "I would rather die."

    Although Johnson is not in a position to ascend to the presidency this year, early polls suggest he could play a spoiler role. A February Public Policy Polling survey showed Johnson polling at 7 percent nationally, with even higher levels of support in Western states like Montana and New Mexico, which means he could shift the states' Electoral College votes to Obama.

    Read More »from Gary Johnson 2.0: the Libertarians’ new choice for president
  • Rand Paul to speak at American Conservative Union conference in Chicago

    Rand Paul (Fred Watkins/AP)Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has agreed to speak at the American Conservative Union's regional Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago on June 8, Yahoo News has learned.

    Paul, the son of three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, will join New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann at the day-long conference.

    Elected in 2010 with robust support from the tea party, Paul represents the libertarian-leaning wing of the movement.

    "Senator Paul is among America's most strident advocates for small government and individual liberty in the United States Senate," said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas. "We are proud to welcome Senator Paul to Chicago this summer as conservatives take the fight for the future of our country directly to President Barack Obama's backyard."

    The conference, co-sponsored by The Heartland Institute and Right Nation, is the second regional gathering of conservative activists beyond ACU's  annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

    According to the latest schedule, businessman Foster Friess, who bankrolled the super PAC supporting Santorum's presidential campaign, will kick off the event after remarks from Cardenas, followed by speeches from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who is challenging Sen. Dick Lugar in a primary on Tuesday. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a possible vice presidential pick, has also been invited.

    When Paul was asked about the possibility that he will be chosen as a vice presidential running mate to Mitt Romney earlier this year, he said he would be "an honor" to be considered, although it is still too early to tell who is on Romney's list of prospective running mates.

    Read More »from Rand Paul to speak at American Conservative Union conference in Chicago
  • Marco Rubio (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)Although there are several months left before Mitt Romney's expected announcement of a running mate, the weekend was filled with speculation about his choice.

    Possible VP contenders including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte all weighed in on whether they would be chosen to run with Romney against President Barack Obama. Even Newt Gingrich, who dropped his own campaign for president just last week, chimed in.

    First up was Bush, who flatly dismissed any talk that he would run on the ticket, touting Rubio for the job instead.

    "I'm not going to be vice president," Bush told reporters in Naples, Fla., where he gave the commencement address at Ave Maria University on Saturday. "I'm an active supporter of Gov. Romney. I humbly suggest he seriously consider Marco Rubio."

    The next day, when Chris Wallace asked Rubio about his own future on "Fox News Sunday," the Florida senator deflected the question, saying: "There are multiple ways that someone can help our nominee, and I look forward to doing that."

    Read More »from Romney VP speculation fills the weekend with Jeb Bush, Rubio, Ayotte and Gingrich weighing in
  • If the selection of Mitt Romney's running mate were left up to Republican voters, right now the choice would be a tossup between Rick Santorum and Marco Rubio—but not by much.

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday night showed that Santorum led the pack in a list of 19 running mates, with 18 percent of Republican voters choosing him just slightly over Rubio, who received the support of 17 percent. Behind them, 13 percent liked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; the same number preferred former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

    With several months left before Romney will probably announce his running mate, polls like this are unlikely to influence the decision-making process.

    Thomson Reuters/Ipsos

    Read More »from Romney’s VP pick should be Santorum or Rubio, followed by Bush or Christie, poll says
  • Tenor of Santorum’s endorsement of Romney depends on Friday meeting, adviser says

    Rick Santorum plans to endorse Mitt Romney in the general election against President Barack Obama, that much is clear. The question is, how strongly will he support his former rival after months of brutal back-and-forth attacks during the Republican primary season?

    The answer could become more clear on Friday, when Santorum and Romney plan to meet for a private conversation in Pittsburgh, Pa. It will be the first time the two have met for an extended meeting since Santorum quit the race earlier this year.

    The two, who plan to meet alone, have much to discuss.

    "There are a lot of issues I know Rick Santorum wants to go over," Santorum strategist John Brabender told Yahoo News in an interview Thursday. Santorum's priorities include ensuring that manufacturing is "critical" to Romney's economic plan, "making sure how conservatives and tea party Republicans will be represented by the campaign" and confirming that any effort to repeal Obama's health care overhaul would not include insurance mandates of any kind.

    One issue they won't discuss is Santorum's leftover campaign debt, which Brabender said will be paid off without Romney's help.

    Before Santorum announced his exit from the race last month—when it appeared he could draw the primary well into May—there was little restraint in the battle of words between the two camps. Santorum  started calling Romney "the worst Republican in the country" to debate Obama on healthcare. At another time, Romney accused Santorum of preferring Obama as president "over a Republican."

    Tensions have presumably cooled over the past several weeks, but there is no expectation that the two will stand together in front of cameras after the meeting to sing each others' praises.

    "There will be nothing coming out of that that day as far as an endorsement," Brabender said, adding that the enthusiasm of Santorum's support would largely be determined by the meeting. When asked whether Santorum planned to refer to Romney as a "conservative" during the general election, Brabender echoed the words of Newt Gingrich, who on Wednesday offered his own, tepid support of the former Massachusetts governor.

    Read More »from Tenor of Santorum’s endorsement of Romney depends on Friday meeting, adviser says


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