Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Nancy Pelosi applauds Bobby Rush’s ‘courage’ for wearing a hoodie on House floor

    Rep. Booby Rush (C-SPAN)

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi applauded Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who was admonished Wednesday for wearing a "hoodie" sweatshirt during a speech in memory of Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was killed in February.

    "I think that Bobby Rush deserves a great deal of credit for the courage he had to go to the floor in a hoodie, knowing that he would be told he was out of order," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "He quickly left the floor, he wasn't contentious about it. But he made his point. He called attention to a situation in this country that needs to be addressed in a way a man in a suit and tie might not be able to do."

    Rush began a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning in a suit, but removed his jacket and pulled a hood over his head. He was asked to leave the floor shortly after, because he was in violation of House rules that forbid headgear in the chamber. The stunt was meant to draw attention to Martin, who was wearing a similar sweatshirt when he was shot.

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  • How Gingrich could still wreak havoc on the Republican convention

    Newt Gingrich (Julia Rendleman/AP)Until Mitt Romney secures 1,144 delegates, Newt Gingrich's aspiration to win the Republican nomination still has a fighting chance—it's a long shot—but there's still a tiny chance.

    Gingrich has acknowledged that it would be impossible for him to win a majority of the delegates through the traditional primary process, and he has shifted his strategy to convincing individual Republican delegates to withhold support for Romney. In the meantime, Gingrich has downsized his campaign by cutting one-third of his staff and has transitioned to a modified and cheaper travel schedule.

    The move, after a long stint of primary losses, is nothing short of a fourth-quarter Hail Mary pass. But there are rules set by the Republican National Committee that Gingrich could exploit to make it more difficult for Romney to stake his claim as the official nominee. The RNC, which oversees the primaries, is staying officially neutral as long as no candidate has reached the 1,144 delegates required. "Right now there are still a lot of delegates to be won and a lot of contests to be had, so we're focused on that," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski, noting that the organization could not comment on specific candidate strategies.

    In the event that 1,144 delegates pledge support for Romney during the primary season, it's all pretty much over. Gingrich can do very little to keep the contest going, and he has said that he will support Romney against President Barack Obama if this happens. If Gingrich and Santorum were to exit the race now, Romney would obviously sweep up those needed delegates with ease, but as long as they're around, the former Massachusetts governor must continue to pay to campaign for each one. And the harder it is on Romney, the longer Gingrich can stay in the race.

    [Related: Poll shows Obama out front of Romney and Santorum in key states]

    Of course, there are several hurdles that will probably keep Gingrich from realizing his new strategy: Other than the obvious barrier of failing to secure enough delegates, an RNC rule stipulates that every candidate must win a plurality of votes in at least five states to get their name on the ballot at the convention. Gingrich has not yet met that criteria—and it does not appear that he will—but loopholes exist that he can exploit to get around it.

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  • Gingrich cuts staff for lean march to convention

    Newt Gingrich campaigns in Maryland. ((Jose Luis Magana/AP)Newt Gingrich plans to continue what he says will be a campaign that won't end until the Republican convention in August, but he'll be making that journey with a much leaner staff. Key aides are stepping down, Yahoo News has learned, and multiple news outlets report that only two-thirds of his staff will press on with him.

    After coming in a distant third in several recent state contests behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Gingrich has acknowledged that he won't win by amassing the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. But he has resisted calls to drop out, resting his strategy on keeping Romney from reaching that number and hoping to fight for the nomination in a contested convention.

    [Related: Poll shows Obama ahead of Romney and Santorum in key states]

    "I think you'll then have one of the most interesting open conventions in American history," Gingrich said Tuesday during a stop in Annapolis, Md., according to reporters who were present. He said the question will be, "Who can best beat Barack Obama? And at that point, I think most Republicans would probably agree that I would probably do a better job debating Obama than any other candidate, and I think it becomes a very viable, very lively campaign."

    Gingrich has said that if Romney reaches enough delegates to clinch the nomination, he will suspend his campaign and support the candidate. But until then, Gingrich will base his strategy on what communications director Joe DeSantis told Politico was "a big-choice convention."

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  • Supreme Court health care hearing draws cheers from left and right

    Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court Tuesday. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

    WASHINGTON—As the second day of oral arguments over the federal health care law wrapped up in the Supreme Court building, outside, two camps formed in front of the white marble steps that lead to the court chambers.

    Earlier in the day, demonstrators for and against the health care law co-mingled outside, but by the time the justices had finished inside, picketers had parted ways, divided by a very apparent—albeit invisible—line. On the right, an older crowd of hundreds of marching tea party supporters chanted while hundreds more on the left side of the steps danced to the song "Celebrate Good Times."

    Walking in circles between the occasional George Washington lookalike in 18th-century garb, the tea party demonstrators waved yellow Gadsden flags while donning red shirts that read "Hands Off My Health Care!" The shirts came courtesy of the organizing group Americans for Prosperity. As country music blasted over the loudspeaker, they shouted the borrowed protest line, "Hey hey! Ho Ho! Obamacare has got to go!" and held up homemade signs that read "It's Not Working," "I'm Mad, Big Government, Remember in November," and "Don't Tread on Me!" In the very center of all this hoopla a man held a giant red octagonal sign that read "Stop Change Before It's Too Late" with a hammer and sickle. in the letter "C."

    On the other side, liberal supporters of the law huddled close to each other to hear a report from an ally who had watched the oral arguments. The signs they waved were more uniform than their counterparts, reading "Birth Control for Me" and "Protect the Law." As they craned their necks to hear a report about why the speaker thought the court would uphold the law, the conservatives kept celebrating.

    At around noon, most of the tea party supporters left the court for an AFP rally a few blocks down, where they met thousands of others in a park across the street from the Senate.

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  • Conservatives demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court Monday (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

    WASHINGTON—It's a frigid morning here outside the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill, as a few hundred early rising, sign-toting demonstrators march in circles below the white marble steps. Conservative and liberal groups have both set up P.A. systems along the sidewalk and are trying to outshout one another, while foot soldiers wave signs in front of them.

    "Protect our care, protect the law!" one man belts into his microphone.

    At the same time—and with the same cadence as though they're in unison—a woman chants, "Stop Obamacare, we love freedom!"

    Signs trot by demanding "Birth control for me" and "Keep your Ovaries off my Rosaries." One man is wearing a dress like the Statue of Liberty. The Black Eyed Peas play on the loudspeakers.

    And this is just the calm before the storm.

    Read More »from Demonstrators brave the cold on second day of Supreme Court hearings over health care law
  • Santorum open to serving as vice president

    If he fails to best Mitt Romney in the race for the party nomination, Rick Santorum would be open to serving as vice president, the former Pennsylvania senator told the Christian Broadcast Network on Monday.

    Here's a partial transcript of the interview with CBN's David Brody, which will air later this week:

    Brody: If he for some reason asks you to be the vice presidential candidate on his ticket? I know, after is all said and done. Would you even consider it?

    Santorum: Of course. I mean, look. I would do in this race as I always say, this is the most important race in our country's history. I'm going to do everything I can. I'm doing everything I can. I'm out there. In the last 10 months, I've had five days off. Two for Thanksgiving, and three for Christmas.

    I've been working every single day. My wife and my kids, we're just busting our tail, because we know their future and all of our children's future is at stake in this election. And I don't want to be the guy who has to sit with my granddaughter, 20 years from now, and tell stories about an America where people once were free. I don't want to have that conversation.

    Brody: So, you're keeping your options open.

    Santorum: I'll do whatever is necessary to help our country.

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  • D.C. unemployed paid to hold places in line outside the Supreme Court

    A woman waits outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    WASHINGTON—Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing overnight Monday, and Charles Medley will spend the whole time outdoors near the base of the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Why? He's hoping to hold a coveted place near the front of a line for access to the oral arguments over the federal health care law.

    But when the second day of arguments begins Tuesday morning, Medley won't actually be going inside. He's one of about 25 people camping out Monday—some paid just $5 an hour—to hold a place for somebody else interested in watching the health care hearings. Tickets for Supreme Court cases are granted on a first-come-first-serve basis, and because of the enormous popularity of this case, anyone without a special pass or media credential is required to wait for several hours or pay someone to do it for them.

    Prices for D.C. line-standers vary widely. Some say they make as much as $15 an hour, while others bring in a third of that. Most don't want to reveal who they're working for, or simply say they don't know to avoid divulging any details. The majority of the people getting paid to hold a spot are unemployed; some are homeless. However, there are actual businesses in the D.C. area that specialize in this, charging as much as $50 per hour to save your place.

    Medley, an out-of-work subcontractor who said he found out about the opportunity through a friend, arrived in front of the Supreme Court building at about 2:30 Sunday afternoon. He spent Sunday night outside shielding himself from a light rain, and will sleep on the street here until Wednesday morning, the final day of the hearings. He gets an hour and a half break for lunch each day—people rotate in and out to save spots—and he treks a half a mile to Union Station to use the restroom.

    "They're paying for us to stay here for three days," he said, surrounded by new friends perched on lawn chairs who were also holding spots for other people. "It's got to be something real important."

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  • Santorum uses Supreme Court health care hearing to knock Romney

    Rick Santorum speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

    WASHINGTON—On the first day of Supreme Court oral arguments over the federal health care law, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum criticized front-runner Mitt Romney for his support of a state government health care insurance mandate that President Barack Obama says was "the blueprint" for the federal law.

    With the court's white columns as a backdrop, Santorum chided Romney for not visiting Washington, D.C., during the oral arguments, saying that his absence shows how Romney is "uniquely unqualified" to argue against the federal health insurance overhaul passed in 2010.

    "There's one candidate who is uniquely disqualified to make the case," Santorum said, standing in front of a banner that read "Repeal ObamaRomneyCare." "It's the reason I'm here and he's not. It's the reason I talk about Obamacare and its impact on the economy and fundamental freedom, and Mitt Romney doesn't: because he can't. Because he supported government-run health care as governor of Massachusetts."

    [Related: Monday’s audio of the Supreme Court health care law oral arguments] 

    Santorum faced a hostile crowd—a majority of those demonstrating outside the court on Monday want it to uphold the law. As he spoke, dozens tried to shout him down, yelling "Health care is a right!" and "Protect our care! Protect the law."A young boy straddling his father's shoulders tried to show support for Santorum by shouting, "Rick! Rick! Rick!"

    Santorum ignored the protestors, saying that Romney would not be capable of repealing the law. Romney has vowed to do so if elected.

    Read More »from Santorum uses Supreme Court health care hearing to knock Romney
  • Herman Cain ad catapults a rabbit, blows it up with a gun. Any questions?

    Former presidential candidate Herman Cain is out with the latest ad for his new group Cain Solutions, and it might just be more bizarre than his last one.

    The ad shows a little girl—the same little girl who threw mud on a dying fish to make a point about President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan in a previous commercial—loading a bunny rabbit onto a catapult.

    "This is small business," the girl says as she places the bunny onto the catapult platform covered in hay. "This is small business under the current tax code."

    "Pull!" a man yells, and the machine launches the bunny into the air. The man aims a shotgun at the animal—now an animated bunny—and blasts it with the gun.

    "Any questions?" the girl asks, twice.

    Just watch:

    Read More »from Herman Cain ad catapults a rabbit, blows it up with a gun. Any questions?
  • Click photo to view more images. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)Click photo to view more images. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)WASHINGTON—By Saturday, a short queue had already formed on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court building, filled by people with hopes of snagging prime seats for what will likely be historic oral arguments debating the fate of President Barack Obama's health care law.

    Those few souls, who braved a weekend of rain for the hottest ticket in town, will be joined by thousands more over the next three days, as activists from far and wide descend on Washington, D.C.

    Tea parties, unions, liberal advocacy organizations, religious groups and nonaligned curiosity seekers are arriving outside the court, with rallies planned in front of the steps and in the nearby parks surrounding the building. Groups are busing thousands into the city from around the country for the three-day marathon. Demonstrations, counter-rallies and prayer vigils will be held each day under the watchful eye of security personnel and the discerning observations of hundreds of reporters from news agencies that have dispatched entire teams to cover the hearings.

    [RELATED: Health care reform case — What to expect]

    "It's going to be a circus," said Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, a Washington-based group that supports the health care law.

    The organization is part of the liberal Campaign for America's Future, which will showcase personal stories from those who say they have benefited from the provisions already enacted by the law—and what will happen to them if the law is repealed.

    "For us, this is an opportunity to tell the real story of the Affordable Care Act," Rome said. "This is going to be one of the most significant decisions in 100 years."

    Dozens of other groups plan to bring hundreds more to the steps of the court to show support for the law.

    Families USA, a liberal organization that focuses on health care policy, is arming its activists with talking points, a guide to the legal arguments backing the law and materials about the legal challenges. Members have even created what they call "The People's Amicus Brief," a petition to urge the court to uphold the law. Joined by other groups, Families USA has rented space in a building near the court's entrance that will serve as a media hub. Earlier this month, at least 100 people from liberal nonprofits met with White House officials to coordinate demonstration plans, the New York Times reported.

    The liberal groups will be met by thousands of conservative activists who will rally their opposition to the law. Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative group with chapters throughout the country, is bringing as many as 60 buses filled with demonstrators from Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and Connecticut. Twenty other conservative groups, including several tea party organizations, are teaming up with AFP to organize a "Hands Off Our Health Care" rally in a nearby park on Tuesday. Republican members of Congress as well as several other conservative leaders are scheduled to speak at the rally.

    [RELATED: Obama's health care law passed 2 years ago, but where are we now?]

    "This is one of the most important cases in a generation, and the White House is working contrary to the will of the American people," said Tim Phillips, president of AFP.  "That's why President Obama is doing everything possible to generate last-minute support for a law that we feel violates the Constitution."

    Read More »from ‘It’s going to be a circus’: Activists begin demonstrations outside Supreme Court over health care law

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