Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • Amid sagging poll numbers, Obama kicks off bus tour through key 2012 states

    (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/Getty Images)In the midst of what is shaping up to be one of the worst months of his presidency politically, President Obama will kick off a three-day bus tour through the Midwest today focused on job growth and the economy.

    The trip, which starts off with a town hall today in Cannon Falls, Minn., is aimed highlighting at economic development in rural areas and small business success stories--which he'll argue has been possible because of his administration's policies. But the larger focus of the trip is to rebut Republican criticism that Obama isn't focused on improving the economy and creating jobs amid near-record unemployment and fears of a double-dip recession.

    The tour comes as the latest Gallup Poll finds Obama's national approval has hit a new low. Just 39 percent of Americans polled approve of Obama's job performance—the lowest number of his presidency. His disapproval rating is at 54 percent, according to Gallup.

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  • Tim Pawlenty ends his bid for the presidency

    Pawlenty (Charlie Neibergall/AP)Tim Pawlenty is dropping his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination.

    The former Minnesota governor made the announcement in a conference call this morning with supporters and later confirmed it in an interview on ABC's "This Week." He's the first high-profile GOP candidate to drop out of the increasingly crowded race.

    The move came a day after he finished a distant third place in the Iowa straw poll Saturday--a contest that he had hoped would provide some desperately needed momentum for his campaign.

    "We needed to get some lift to continue on," Pawlenty told ABC. "That didn't happen. Obviously the pathway forward for me doesn't really exist, and so we're going to end the campaign."

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  • Michele Bachmann wins, Ron Paul a close second at Iowa straw poll

    Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, in Ames (Chip Somodevilla/AP)Michele Bachmann claimed a narrow victory over Ron Paul in Iowa's GOP presidential straw poll on Saturday, becoming the first woman to ever win the famed contest.

    With nearly 17,000 votes cast, the Minnesota congresswoman received 4,823 votes in Ames--narrowly beating Paul by just 152 votes.

    Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished in third place, with 2,293 votes--a disappointing finish for the 2012 hopeful who was counting on a good showing to give some much needed momentum to his campaign.

    Still, Pawlenty offered no signs that he is thinking about quitting the race, citing his third place finish as "progress." "We are just beginning and I'm looking forward to a great campaign," Pawlenty said in a statement.

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  • Rick Perry officially declares 2012 presidential bid

    Perry (Gerry Broome/AP)Rick Perry officially kicked off his long-expected bid for the 2012 GOP nomination Saturday, insisting the country's standing in the world is "in peril" because of President Obama's "rudderless leadership."

    Speaking at a conservative gathering in South Carolina, the Texas governor delivered a harsh critique of Obama, slamming his handling of foreign policy and accusing the president of leading the country off a cliff when it comes to federal spending.

    "How can a country fail so miserably to pay its bills?" Perry demanded, citing the nation's recent credit downgrade. "We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership . . .  A great country demands a better direction. A renewed nation needs a new president. It's time to get America working again."

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  • Questioner under fire for asking Bachmann what it means to be a ‘submissive’ wife

    Bachmann (Charlie Neibergall/AP)A moderator at last night's GOP presidential debate is coming under fire for questioning Michele Bachmann on what it means when she says she's a "submissive" wife and how it might affect her presidency.

    The Biblical phrase came up in a recent Washington Post profile of Bachmann's husband, Marcus, which reported the Minnesota lawmaker had told congregants at her church in 2006 that she'd pursued her degree in tax law only because her husband had told her to.

    "The Lord says: Be submissive, wives. You are to be submissive to your husbands," Bachmann said at the time, according to the Post. Her campaign hasn't disputed the remarks.

    On Thursday, the Washington Examiner's Byron York, a conservative columnist who was one of the moderators of the 2012 debate, asked Bachmann directly about that quote.

    "As president, would you be submissive to your husband?" he asked, a question that prompted the crowd to erupt in loud boos.

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  • Obama strategist threatens to fire staff who smear Mitt Romney

    David Axelrod (Brian Kersey/AP)President Obama's chief political strategist said staffers who attempt to smear rival Mitt Romney in the upcoming election risk being fired by the campaign.

    In an interview with MSNBC's Morning Joe, Obama strategist David Axelrod attempted to distance the president from a Politico story earlier this week that reported the Obama campaign is preparing to unleash a "ferocious personal assault" against Romney in coming months to paint him as "weird."

    "Anyone who purports to be a source within the Obama camp who used that term and some of the other terms that were in that story according to unnamed sources should be ripped out of whoever's Rolodex considers them sources," Axelrod insisted. "That doesn't reflect our thinking. We have real legitimate differences with Mitt Romney."

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  • Michele Bachmann gets her own ‘super PAC’

    Bachmann (Charlie Neibergall/AP)Mitt Romney isn't the only 2012 candidate who will be able to rely on financial support from a so-called super PAC as the GOP primary heats up.

    A North Carolina political operative has launched "Keep Conservatives United" to boost Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign.

    The committee, which filed late last month with the Federal Election Commission, can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash to boost Bachmann's bid, so long as it doesn't directly coordinate with the Minnesota lawmaker's campaign.

    Bob Harris, who founded the group, tells CNN's Gabriela Schwartz the PAC plans to run ads touting Bachmann's record while also criticizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will jump into the 2012 race this weekend.

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  • Romney gets feisty in Iowa, but hands rivals an opportunity in the process

    Romney (Charles Dharapak/AP)

    Few would have used the word "scrappy" to describe Mitt Romney four years ago, but in an appearance today at the Iowa State Fair, the former Massachusetts governor attempted to project a new, more confident image, as he mixed it up with several unfriendly fairgoers who challenged his position on entitlements and taxes.

    Yet, in the process, Romney may have helped his political opponents, delivering a sound bite that is sure to haunt his 2012 campaign.

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  • How Republicans will attack Rick Perry’s candidacy

    (David J. Phillip/AP)Rick Perry won't just hint he's running for president in a high-profile speech this Saturday in South Carolina, as his advisers had previously suggested. His spokesman confirms this afternoon the Texas governor will officially declare his bid for the GOP nomination.

    While he won't be on stage tonight, Perry's presence is sure to loom large as his fellow GOP hopefuls gather tonight for their first televised debate in Iowa.

    Perry had all but admitted he was running in an interview published earlier today with Time Magazine's Mark Halperin. "I'm kind of getting to the haul-in point" in focusing on a presidential candidacy, Perry told Halperin, "and the idea that this is what I'm supposed to be doing."

    The candidates on stage in Ames tonight may not go out of their way to mention Perry's name, but they are sure to be asked about Perry, whose possible presidential run has been hanging over the GOP field for months.

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  • Debate kicks off pivotal days in 2012 GOP primary

    GOP hopefuls at a June debate (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)The next 72 hours could be the most important days of the 2012 GOP presidential race so far.

    Tonight in Ames, the leading Republican contenders will gather for the first televised Iowa debate--an event that will mark Jon Huntsman's first face-off with his GOP rivals since joining the race in June.

    Two days from now, the focus will shift to the Ames straw poll, which will be the candidates' first real test of organizational strength and grassroots support. While the straw poll is not binding, and is at most an informal measure of enthusiasm for a given candidate among party activists, the event could still offer important clues to the political prowess of Michele Bachmann and the staying power of Tim Pawlenty--two candidates who are vying to be the alternative to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney.

    But the spotlight could potentially be stolen by two other high-profile Republicans who have the White House in their sights--and both of them would not have much difficulty proving themselves as alternatives to Romney.

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