Tuesday, April 24, 2012



The Obama-Romney Education Plan

By James Freeman

Tuesday, 24 April 12

Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum warned that Mitt Romney might not present a "clear contrast" to President Obama in the general election. Judging by Monday's action on the campaign trail, Mr. Santorum had a point.

On a day when the White House urged Congress to increase student-loan subsidies, Mr. Romney had an opportunity to draw a sharp distinction between the expanding the Obama entitlement state and a plan focused on revival of the private economy. Mr. Romney rightly focused his attention on rising unemployment among recent college graduates, as well as the huge federal debt "they're going to have to pay off all their lives."

But instead of laying out plans to create jobs and reduce government spending, the former Massachusetts governor arrived at the same policy conclusion as Barack Obama. "Given the bleak job prospects that young Americans coming out of college face today," said Mr. Romney, "I encourage Congress to temporarily extend the current low rate on subsidized undergraduate Stafford loans. I also hope the president and Congress can pass the extension responsibly that offsets its cost in a way that doesn't harm the job prospects of young Americans."

House members who have been opposing the extension know it is anything but responsible. The Obama-Romney subsidy will keep rates as low as 3.4% for many student borrowers, not that far above the 3.1% rate that the Treasury pays to borrow for the long term. If interest rates spike, taxpayers could be losing on every single new loan, never mind the cost of defaults. And as for offsets, the White House and Senate Democrats favor a new tax on small businesses. If Mr. Romney can't provide a contrast to that idea, Republicans will know they're in for a very long campaign.

Friday, April 20, 2012



NRO Newsletters . . .
Morning Jolt
. . . with Jim Geraghty

April 20, 2012

Obama's Vacations: Fair Game!
The time allotted for my interview with Mitt Romney yesterday was limited, but I think it was spent well. This comment jumped out at me:

NRO: Are you following the GSA scandal? How pervasive is a culture of waste within the federal bureaucracy -- is it endemic or a few bad apples? How would a Romney administration go about changing habits and reducing tolerance for waste and excess? 

: I think the example starts at the top. People have to see that the president is not taking elaborate vacations and spending in a way that is inconsistent with the state of the overall economy and the state of the American family.

I believe that any place such as the GSA, where you find leaders who failed to properly oversee their people and to properly manage resources, those managers have to be replaced. At the GSA, you have leadership taking the Fifth, and that's a pretty clear indication that these folks have not done the job they should have in managing taxpayer dollars and providing transparency.

I can't tell you how pervasive this is in the various agencies of government. What I can tell you is that there is too much government, too many bureaucrats, and too little willingness to send programs back to the states.

I know there are a lot of folks who think that Obama's critics should lay off him for his golf and vacations, but obviously they resonate beyond conservatives -- witness the St. Louis television reporter asking about them -- and they illustrate a certain oddity in the way Obama governs.

Andrew Malcolm seemed to hit this nail best in a column from about a year ago:

What the White House issues are photos of a tieless, laughing Obama, feet up on the historic Oval Office desk, chatting on the phone system that he complains is so decrepit.

What the public sees, while it frets over stubborn unemployment and soaring gas prices, is a diffident Democrat who takes a 17-vehicle motorcade of SUVs and limos to be seen looking at clean-energy cars.

A pontificating president who suggests that one worried commuter buy a new car instead of complaining.

A guy who spent 745 million donated dollars to get into the White House complaining to visiting editors about losing his anonymity and being locked in the presidential bubble that provides service, luxury, power and security unimaginable to most.

To be sure, other presidents have played golf. Maybe not during three simultaneous wars with the awful accompanying human tolls.

Not likely working the putter the day after a colossal combined earthquake/tsunami natural disaster hit as close an ally as Japan. Or canceling a trip to the funeral of Poland's president and hitting the links.

It's one thing to urge Americans to vacation on the troubled Gulf coast last summer, while your wife flies off to Spain with a planeload of pals.

It's another to spend much of Earth Day in a 747 jumbo jet flying 2,300 miles cross-country back from a slew of multimillion-dollar West Coast fundraisers, as Obama did last week.

It's one thing to launch a war against Libya while packing up your wife, daughters, mother-in-law and her friend to tour South America.

It's another to wait nine whole days to bother explaining the unexpected combat to a puzzled nation. Or nearly two months to arrange an Oval Office address on the country's worst environmental disaster ever.

Malcolm concluded that "the public is left to focus on Obama's frequent vacations, golf outings, celebrity gatherings and proclivity to give a speech at the first whiff of trouble. With no real opposition, Chicago's Democrat pols care little about how insensitive things look. Any one of these apparent missteps is inconsequential. However, accumulated over his 118 weeks in office, they create the impression of carelessness at best or, worse, arrogance."

I think that little jabs about Obama's taxpayer-funded breaks and vacations are perfectly fine, because we know that sooner or later, Obama will react with an indignant, "I'm entitled to this!" response.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012



I have nothing but great admiration for Marco Rubio.  I hope and pray that he will continue to mature as a Senator and that he will play an important role in shaping the future of the United States.   HOWEVER, I also hope and pray that everyone who is pushing him as a Vice-Presidential candidate will STOP.  

My reason for opposing Marco Rubio as a candidate for the Vice-President is that he is NOT A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES within the meaning of that term as defined by the United States Supreme Court in Minor v Happersett.  

It would be very sad indeed if conservatives had to fight Marco Rubio's selection as Vice-President in the same way we are now fighting for the defeat of Barack Hussein Obama the Usurper.



(4 April 2012) With last night’s primary wins adding to Mitt Romney’s commanding lead over his Republican rivals, Paddy Power, Europe’s largest betting company, have today opened the betting on who will join him as the Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket.

Paddy Power make Florida Senator Mark Rubio the favourite to be the Republican Vice Presidential candidate at 2/1, followed by Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie and Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez who are considered to be his nearest rivals at odds of 5/1 and 11/2 respectively.

Also available in the betting are current Presidential candidates Rick Santorum at 20/1, Newt Gingrich at 40/1 with Ron Paul available at 50/1. Amongst the outsiders in the betting are Sarah Palin at 66/1, Donald Trump at 80/1 and Herman Cain at an unlikely 100/1

Paddy Power a spokesperson for Paddy Power said “Romney’s latest victories have put him in a very strong position and with his focus now turning to Obama I wouldn’t be surprised if he already had his running mate in mind.”

Republican Vice Presidential Candidate
2/1        Marco Rubio
5/1       Chris Christie
11/2      Susana Martinez
15/2      Rand Paul
9/1       Paul Ryan                
10/1      Bob McDonnell
20/1      Rick Santorum
20/1      Rob Portman
20/1      Nikki Haley
20/1      Mitch Daniels
20/1      John Thune
25/1      Tim Pawlenty
25/1      Jon Huntsman
25/1      Bobby Jindal
25/1      Condoleezza Rice
25/1      Kelly Ayotte
33/1      Haley Barbour
33/1      Jim DeMint
40/1      Newt Gingrich
50/1      Ron Paul
50/1      Meg Whitman
66/1      Rick Perry
66/1      Sarah Palin
66/1      Colin Powell
80/1      Michele Bachmann
80/1      Donald Trump
100/1    Herman Cain


All prices remain subject to fluctuation.

Paddy Power is Ireland’s largest bookmaker and a leading provider of gaming services in the UK, Australia and Ireland. Founded in 1988 Paddy Power is a publicly quoted company and is listed on both the Irish and London Stock Exchanges (www.paddypowerplc.com)




Appeals court fires back at Obama's comments on health care case

Jan Crawford
Supreme Court
(Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Updated 6:55 p.m. ET

(CBS News) In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.

The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."

Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented -- since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise -- despite the president's remarks that implied the contrary. The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.

The panel is hearing a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals. The issue arose when a lawyer for the Justice Department began arguing before the judges. Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith immediately interrupted, asking if DOJ agreed that the judiciary could strike down an unconstitutional law.

The DOJ lawyer, Dana Lydia Kaersvang, answered yes -- and mentioned Marbury v. Madison, the landmark case that firmly established the principle of judicial review more than 200 years ago, according to the lawyer in the courtroom.

Smith then became "very stern," the source said, suggesting it wasn't clear whether the president believes such a right exists. The other two judges on the panel, Emilio Garza and Leslie Southwick--both Republican appointees--remained silent, the source said.

Smith, a Reagan appointee, went on to say that comments from the president and others in the Executive Branch indicate they believe judges don't have the power to review laws and strike those that are unconstitutional, specifically referencing Mr. Obama's comments yesterday about judges being an "unelected group of people."

I've reached out to the White House for comment, and will update when we have more information.
UPDATE 6 p.m. ET: The White House is declining to comment on the 5th Circuit's order, but the president today did clarify his comments that it would be "unprecedented" for the Court to overturn laws passed by a democratically elected Congress. During a question-and-answer session after a luncheon speech in Washington, a journalist pointed out "that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence."

Mr. Obama suggested he meant that it would be "unprecedented" in the modern era for the Court to rule the law exceeded Congress' power to regulate an economic issue like health care.

"The point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it's precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress. And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this," Mr. Obama said.
"Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there. I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has," he said.

And now DOJ gets to write three single-spaced pages expounding on that. Due at high noon on Thursday.

UPDATE 6:55 p.m. ET: Audio from the 5th Circuit hearing, with Judge Smith's order to DOJ, is available here.

In the hearing, Judge Smith says the president's comments suggesting courts lack power to set aside federal laws "have troubled a number of people" and that the suggestion "is not a small matter."
The bottom line from Smith: A three-page letter with specifics. He asked DOJ to discuss "judicial review, as it relates to the specific statements of the president, in regard to Obamacare and to the authority of the federal courts to review that legislation."

"I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday -- that's about 48 hours from now -- a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, in regard to the recent statements by the president," Smith said. "What is the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review?"

Smith made his intentions clear minutes after the DOJ attorney began her argument, jumping in to ask: "Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?"

Kaersvang replies yes, and Smith continues: "I'm referring to statements by the president in past few days to the effect, and sure you've heard about them, that it is somehow inappropriate for what he termed 'unelected' judges to strike acts of Congress that have enjoyed -- he was referring to, of course, Obamacare -- to what he termed broad consensus in majorities in both houses of Congress."
In asking for the letter, Smith said: "I want to be sure you're telling us that the attorney general and the Department of Justice do recognize the authority of the federal courts, through unelected judges, to strike acts of Congress or portions thereof in appropriate cases."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care Reform

  • Jan Crawford
    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent.