Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Ex-Democrat Artur Davis: Obama has lost his ‘halo’

    Former Rep. Artur Davis, who delivered a nominating speech for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, attacks him at the Republican National Convention. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

    TAMPA—Former congressman Artur Davis—once a Democratic rising star, now a Republican weapon—accused President Barack Obama late Tuesday of bamboozling voters four years ago with "flowery words" and charged that the incumbent has lost the "halo" his supporters thought he had in 2008.

    "America is a land of second chances, and I gather in this close race you have room for the estimated 6 million of us who know we got it wrong in 2008 and who want to fix it," Davis told delegates to the Republican National Convention.

    Davis, who seconded Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention that year, acidly quipped that "we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with styrofoam Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don't end well." He continued: "Maybe the Hollywood stars and the glamor blinded us a little: You thought it was the glare, some of us thought it was a halo."

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  • As Republicans nominate Romney, Ron Paul is a distant second

    Alternate delegates celebrate after Mitt Romney secures the votes needed to get the Republican Party’s nomination. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

    Mitt Romney was born in Michigan, served as governor of Massachusetts, vacations in New Hampshire (and France), saved the Olympics in Utah—but on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, it was Chris Christie's New Jersey that gave him the number of delegates to formally nominate him to take on President Barack Obama.

    The Garden State cast all 50 of its votes for Romney, putting him over the 1,144 needed to secure the nomination that had already essentially been his for months. The crowd gathered in Tampa cheered and called out "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as giant television screens over the convention stage showed photos of Romney.

    Romney won't formally be the nominee until he accepts the call in a prime-time speech on Thursday, but the state-by-state roll call vote gave him 2,061 delegates. Other Republicans picked up the remaining 202 delegates, with veteran Texas Rep. Ron Paul taking most of those not lining up behind the party establishment's pick. 

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  • Republican chief: Obama hasn’t even run a lemonade stand

    Arizona delegate Susan Davis puts her hand over her heart for the U.S. national anthem at the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention (Jason Reed/Reuters)

    Republicans gathered in Tampa to anoint Mitt Romney their nominee wasted no time Tuesday in going on the attack over the sour economy, with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus mockingly saying that President Barack Obama has never run so much as a lemonade stand.

    "Republicans believe America's greatness comes from the American people, not the federal government," Priebus said in his opening remarks. "But Barack Obama thinks the government is at the center of the economic universe."

    "Well how would he know? President Obama has never run a company. He hasn't even run a garage sale or seen the inside of a lemonade stand," Priebus said, to laughter and applause from the thousands of delegates and alternates on the floor of the convention.

    "So it is time, it is time for a president with real experience in the real economy. Mitt Romney will be that president," Priebus said.

    Romney has made his experience at the head of private equity firm Bain Capital the centerpiece of his argument that he will do

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  • Day Two of GOP Convention features Ann Romney, hurricane watch

    Members of the Texas delegation sing the U.S. national anthem at the start of the second session of the Republican National Convention (Mike Segar/Reuters)With more than 100,000 red, white and blue balloons hanging in nets from the rafters, and Ann Romney waiting in the wings to deliver a high-stakes prime-time speech, Republicans formally opened the second day of their presidential nominating convention on Tuesday.

    Ann Romney's remarks aimed to introduce—or reintroduce—Mitt Romney to millions of Americans. Top Romney aides say that as many as one in three voters has yet to really tune in the 2012 campaign. Her speech was expected to focus on the Romney family and its personal struggles, and it comes at a time when Americans tell pollsters they think President Barack Obama better understands their problems.

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will deliver the convention's keynote address, which will be a blunt political call to arms. Christie plans to indict Obama's leadership style and policies, and to argue that Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are better suited to rebuild the economy. The official theme of the convention is "We Built It," a knock at Obama's argument that entrepreneurs cannot succeed without government help--notably investments in education and infrastructure. (Democrats noted that both parties' conventions received nearly $20 million in taxpayer funding).

    The gathering reconvened after an abortive session on Monday, cut short by Tropical Storm Isaac, which strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday and bore down on the Gulf Coast seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area—especially New Orleans.

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  • Young Artur Davis was ‘political animal’: former professor

    Then-congressman Artur Davis standing on a balcony of the U.S. Capitol in March 2010. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis, who is poised to take a star turn with a featured speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, "didn't stand out for his academic prowess" as a Harvard undergraduate but had an "insatiable interest in political gossip and current events" and was clearly already a "political animal," a former professor recalled Tuesday.

    Middlebury College political science professor Matthew Dickinson taught Davis while both were at Harvard--Dickinson getting his Ph.D. and Davis as an undergraduate. Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama, became a Republican earlier this year, a conversion that has angered his former political comrades-in-arms. Dickinson shared some of his memories of the former congressman in a blog post.

    "It came as absolutely no surprise to me that he went into elective politics—it was clear that he was already a political animal," wrote Dickinson. "He was a smart student, but in a class of exceptionally bright undergraduates—(four went on to law school, one clerked for the Supreme Court, another served on Capitol Hill), he didn't stand out for his academic prowess. Instead, what I remember most about Artur is his insatiable interest in political gossip and current events."

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  • Obama to Americans in TS Isaac’s path: Don’t ‘tempt fate’

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Tropical Storm Isaac in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)President Barack Obama warned Gulf Coast residents in Isaac's path not to "tempt fate" by ignoring government warnings—including possible calls to evacuate—as he detailed his administration's preparations for the powerful tropical storm on Tuesday.

    "Now is not the time to tempt fate, now is not the time to dismiss official warnings" he said in a public statement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. "You need to take this seriously." His brief remarks underlined that he, too, was taking the storm seriously even as he embarked on a campaign swing through Iowa and Colorado.

    The president said he had received an update on preparations for Isaac with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb.

    Obama's remarks, delivered from behind a lectern with the official presidential seal arrayed beneath a portrait of George Washington, served as a reminder of the power of the

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  • Obama promises to help Gulf Coast governors with Tropical Storm Isaac

    A person braves the rain at Clarence Higgs Beach in Key West, Fla., as Tropical Storm Isaac hits the area on Sunday (Walter Michot/The Miami Herald via AP)

    President Barack Obama on Monday promised the governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi that they would have "the resources they need" to cope with Tropical Storm Isaac, on track to batter the Gulf Coast in the coming days, the White House said in a statement.

    Concerns about the storm led Republicans, gathered at their presidential nominating convention in Tampa, to hold only a short symbolic session.

    Obama got a briefing with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Director Rick Knabb of the National Hurricane Center, which has predicted that Isaac could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane later in the day.

    In concert with the Defense Department, FEMA has created "Incident Support Bases" with critical supplies in Jacksonville, Fla., and Montgomery, Ala.; they've also deployed personnel to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi "to work to make sure there are no unmet needs."

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  • Romney vows free-market defense as Republicans open convention

    Republican National Committee Chariman Reince Priebus gavels the 2012 Republican National Convention open in Tampa, Florida (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

    TAMPA , FLA.— As powerful tropical storm Isaac churned through the Gulf of Mexico, Republicans opened their abbreviated nominating convention on Monday with a knock at President Barack Obama's record on spending and a Hollywood-style video message from Mitt Romney.

    "In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense, and I intend to make it because I have lived it," the former Massachusetts governor vowed against a swelling musical score and images of farms, New York City, a rancher with cattle, children going to school and grinning veterans.

    "Though each of us comes from very different backgrounds, though each of us has chosen to walk a different path in life, we are united by one great overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America," he said.

    "I'm Mitt Romney, I believe in America, and I'm running for president of the United States," he said.

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  • Obama directs flags to half-staff for Neil Armstrong

    Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. (NASA/AP)

    President Barack Obama on Monday directed that American flags flying over all government buildings, military posts and naval vessels around the world be flown at half-staff "as a mark of respect for the memory of Neil Armstrong" on the day of his burial.

    Obama's order, announced in a presidential proclamation released by the White House, came two days after the former astronaut's family announced that he had died at age 82. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was a staunch defender of America's space program.

    Both the president and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, praised the former astronaut on Saturday.

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  • Romney stars in Obama camp’s ‘The Do-Over’

    Tampa - President Barack Obama's campaign may be tempted to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Mitt Romney before election day, but for now they'll settle for "Sirens, Etch-A-Sketches, Fire, Severely Conservative VP Choices, The Go Back Team, Press Quotes, And Romney Jogging."

    Team Obama has released a movie trailer-style digital video mocking Romney over media reports that the former Massachusetts governor plans to use his nominating convention in Tampa this week (Isaac Willing) to overhaul his image and win over skeptical voters. "A GOP Convention Reinvention. Some Material May Be Hilarious and/or Infuriating."

    The nearly two-minute digital short includes many favorite Democratic attacks on Romney -- charges that his Bain Capital destroyed jobs, "corporations are people, my friend" "I stand by what I said whatever it was," and of course the Etch-a-Sketch. And, yes, footage of Romney jogging.

    "On August 30th, Mitt Romney stars in 'The Do-Over,'" the narrator says, referring to the day when Romney is due to deliver his acceptance speech. "Rated 'N' for not gonna work."

    UPDATE 10:15 a.m.: The reviews are in from Team Romney. Thumbs down!

    "President Obama continues to prove he has little he can say about his indefensible record in office," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

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