Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Chris Christie says he may end up as Mitt Romney’s running mate

    Romney and Christie at a campaign event in New Hampshire in January. (Charles Dharapak/AP))

    Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, has been careful to say that he is not "campaigning" to become Mitt Romney's running mate, the 2012 vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. But he's certainly open to the possibility that he would accept the job.

    During a visit Monday to a high school in Plainsboro, N.J., Christie said he could be convinced to join the Republican presidential ticket.

    "He might be able to convince me," Christie said in reference to Romney, according to Matt Katz of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's a convincing guy."

    Just last week, Christie assured constituents that he would fulfill his entire term as governor, which ends January 2014.

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  • Marco Rubio (Jae C. Hong/AP)The Federal Election Commission announced Friday it had charged Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio with an $8,000 fine for accepting improper campaign donations during his 2010 Senate run. But should Rubio fans be worried it could hurt his chances to become Mitt Romney's running mate?

    If the long list of successful politicians who have faced similar troubles with the FEC is any indication, the answer is no.

    Rubio, who Politico first reported would pay the fine for accepting $210,000 in improper donations, joins a long list of notable lawmakers in the FEC Bad Boys Club. And some of their accounting mistakes make Rubio's troubles—part of a campaign that raised more than $21 million in all—look like a squabble over chump change.

    In 2010, for instance, the commission slapped now-Democratic Vice President Joseph Biden's presidential campaign with $219,000 in fines for accepting in-kind contributions that included a ride in a corporate jet and donations beyond the legal limit in 2007 and 2008. That's nearly 25 times greater than Rubio's fine, so it hardly seems likely that President Barack Obama's re-election campaign would make Rubio's FEC difficulties an issue if he's on the ticket. (An FEC audit of the Obama campaign earlier this month found that it had failed to report nearly $2 million in donations in 2008.)

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  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte campaigns with Mitt Romney—a tryout for VP?

    Mitt Romney and Kelly Ayotte together in Nashua in November 2011. (Winslow Townson/AP)

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to campaign Monday in New Hampshire with Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whose name has been tossed around as a possible running mate. Like past appearances with other possible VP contenders such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, today's event could be viewed as a tryout for the young senator.

    Ayotte, a New Hampshire native who endorsed Romney months before the primary there, has been coy about the prospects that she could be on the list to serve as Romney's number two this fall. She was an active surrogate for the former Massachusetts governor throughout the primary season.

    "We know that with his experience, he will make sure that we get our fiscal house in order in Washington, that we stop crushing all of us and our children with mountains of debt, and that we get Americans back to work," Ayotte said of Romney when she endorsed him in November.

    Events like these act as trial runs for hypothetical tickets, giving the staff of each camp the opportunity to gauge the chemistry between the candidates and test the public perception of the duo in public.

    In an interview with Fox News in November, Romney said he was considering her for the slot.

    "There are probably 15 names of people," Romney said in response to a question about his list of possible running mates, "including Kelly Ayotte."

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  • Student loan rate extension passed under threat of veto

    The House on Friday passed a Republican version of a bill that would extend the low 3.4 percent rate on government-subsidized student loans, despite pressure from conservative groups to oppose the measure and a veto threat from the White House.

    The Republican bill, which passed by a close vote of 215-195, would extend the low interest rate on student loans for one year. Unless Republicans and Democrats can agree on a final bill, the rate for federally subsidized student loans will double this year. Democrats support extending the rate but disagree with the way Republicans want to pay for it.

    To make up for the $5.9 billion shortfall that comes with an extension of the low rate, Republicans offered to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which was created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The White House issued a statement before the vote vowing to veto the Republican House version, guaranteeing that the debate over the legislation will continue.

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  • Student loan rate extension opposed by conservative groups like Club for Growth

    Pushing back on an aggressive campaign from Democrats and the White House for Congress to extend the temporary low interest rate for federally subsidized student loans, conservative groups are pressuring Republicans to kill the Interest Rate Reduction Act, which would keep the interest rate from doubling to 6.8 percent this year.

    The Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America, the advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, announced this week that any lawmaker who votes for the bill will be dinged on their annual congressional ratings. The score cards issued by these groups are meant to measure the members' conservativism based on key votes throughout the legislative year.

    "Decades of government intervention have driven tuition costs to record highs and continuing these subsidies is simply bad policy," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. "We urge members of Congress to oppose them."

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  • Conservative group to spend more than $6 million on anti-Obama ads in swing states

    Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group based in Washington, D.C., with chapters in 34 states, will unveil a strategic plan Thursday for a $6 million ad campaign opposing President Barack Obama.

    The campaign, which will focus on Obama's energy policy during his presidency, begins Friday with commercials airing in swing states Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico.

    The group earlier this year spent another $6.5 million on ads highlighting a government loan to Solyndra, a solar company that filed for bankruptcy after receiving $500 million in taxpayer funds. The new ad campaign shifts focus to federal energy initiatives in the so-called "stimulus" program that helped pay for projects abroad.

    "American taxpayers are paying to send their own jobs to foreign countries," the ad says.

    Americans for Prosperity was one of the lead organizers of the tea party movement. During the Republican presidential primaries, all of the candidates spoke at events sponsored by the group.

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  • Obama’s slow jam on ‘Jimmy Fallon’ mocked in RNC’s first pro-Romney ad

    The Republican National Committee is out with its first explicitly pro-Mitt Romney Web ad, which mocks President Obama for "slow jamming" Tuesday on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

    The video, entitled "A Tale of Two Leaders," intermingles clips of Obama's appearance on the show, in which Fallon calls Obama the "Preezy of the United Steezy" as the president stands in the background, with cuts from Romney's general election kick-off speech the same day.

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  • In the running mate spotlight, Marco Rubio shows off foreign policy chops

    WASHINGTON—It's not every day that Washingtonians have to fight for an open chair at the Brookings Institution for a Wednesday-afternoon foreign policy event. But since it was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio doing the talking, two days after a campaign trail appearance with Mitt Romney, the think tank had a barnstormer on its hands.

    Rubio, a young, charismatic Republican at the center of speculations over Romney's running mate, arrived onstage with Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a former Democratic vice presidential candidate, to show off his foreign policy chops.

    Because of this guessing game, almost every word Rubio utters in public from now until the moment Romney makes his choice will be dissected, prodded and scrutinized. Whether he likes it or not, events like these are the start of a long spring training.

    Every seat was filled, with reporters and onlookers lining the walls. An overflow space with the speech displayed on a screen was set up down the hallway. Thousands more tuned in on computer live streams. Due to a reported threat to Rubio this week, security agents stood on watch outside the building.

    In his speech, Rubio outlined an aggressive vision of American foreign policy, criticizing his colleagues on the left and the right for supporting a restrained future for the nation. He took great care not to draw many obvious and sharp contrasts with President Barack Obama, and pointed out where he disagreed with members of his own party on American action abroad.

    "I always start by reminding people that what happens all over the world is our business," Rubio said of those who ask him why America doesn't restrict itself to domestic affairs.

    Rubio went on to advocate for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons—a view he shares with the president—playing a stronger role in advocating free trade in the Western Hemisphere (except for his parents' native Cuba, where he supports the ongoing embargo), and intervening globally to further American interests, even if it means going it alone.

    "America has acted unilaterally in the past—and I believe it should continue to do so in the future—when necessity requires," he said. "But our preferred option since the U.S. became a global leader has been to work with others to achieve our goals."

    During a time in which American politicians restrict their attention largely to domestic issues in the aftermath of the last recession, Rubio stands out as a lawmaker openly willing to pour taxpayer resources into foreign projects and initiatives. He called foreign aid—which many Republican presidential candidates said should be cut during presidential debates last year—"a very cost-effective way" to advance American interests and touted the advancement of taxpayer-backed humanitarian missions.

    "Faced with historic deficits and a dangerous national debt, there has been increasing talk of reducing our foreign aid budget. But we need to remember that these international coalitions we have the opportunity to lead are not just economic or military ones," he said. "They can also be humanitarian ones as well. In every region of the world, we should always search for ways to use U.S. aid and humanitarian assistance to strengthen our influence, the effectiveness of our leadership, and the service of our interests and ideals."

    "I disagree with voices in my own party who argue we should not engage at all, who warn we should heed the words of John Quincy Adams not to go 'abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,'" he said.

    Near the end of his address, Rubio, who was reading his speech from papers on the lectern, paused and looked around.

    "I left the last page of my speech," he said, flipping through the papers and looking to Lieberman for some help. "Does anyone have my last page?"

    A man on the stage handed him the page, and Rubio went on to finish his address, quoting former British Prime Minister Tony Blair about how interventionism is part of America's "destiny."

    "This is why I need this page," he said smiling, adding later: "I couldn't memorize a Tony Blair quote."

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  • Newt Gingrich to officially drop out of presidential race

    Newt Gingrich will officially suspend his bid for the presidency Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Yahoo News has confirmed through sources close to the campaign.

    Gingrich, who was considered Romney's chief rival at the start of the official Republican primary season in January, won two states, South Carolina and Georgia. (He represented Georgia in Congress for two decades.) The former House Speaker said earlier this week he would reassess the future of his campaign based on his support in Delaware, a state he lost Tuesday in a landslide.

    The former House Speaker will continue to meet with supporters this week in North Carolina before ending his candidacy next week.

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  • Santorum and Romney to meet May 4, but endorsement may not come until later

    Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney (ABC News)Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney (ABC News)Rick Santorum plans to meet with Mitt Romney on Friday, May 4, although an official endorsement is not likely to immediately follow, Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley tells Yahoo News.

    Santorum, who defeated Romney in Iowa and in 10 other states during the Republican presidential primaries, was Romney's chief rival before he dropped out of the race earlier this month.

    Gidley said they were still working out the details of an endorsement, although Romney has predicted that he and Santorum will campaign together.

    The location of the meeting is still being determined.

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