Hillary Clinton’s astroturf candidacy is in full swing in Iowa.
Her Tuesday morning visit to a coffee shop in LeClaire, Iowa was staged from beginning to end, according to Austin Bird, one of the men pictured sitting at the table with Mrs. Clinton.
Bird told Daily Mail Online that campaign staffer Troy Price called and asked him and two other young people to meet him Tuesday morning at a restaurant in Davenport, a nearby city.
Price then drove them to the coffee house to meet Clinton after vetting them for about a half-hour.
The three got the lion’s share of Mrs. Clinton’s time and participated in what breathless news reports described as a ’roundtable’ – the first of many in her brief Iowa campaign swing.
Bird himself is a frequent participant in Iowa Democratic Party events. He interned with President Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign, and was tapped to chauffeur Vice President Joe Biden in October 2014 when he visited Davenport.
‘What happened is, we were just asked to be there by Troy,’ Bird said Wednesday in a phone interview.
STAGED: Clinton sat to talk with three young Iowans at a coffee shop on Tuesday – all of whom were driven to the event by her Iowa campaign’s political director
NOT SO ORDINARY: Austin Bird is a Democratic Party insider who chauffeured Vice President Joe Biden around Davenport, Iowa in October during a pre-election campaign trip
‘We were asked to come to a meeting with Troy, the three of us, at the Village Inn.’
The other two, he confirmed, were University of Iowa College Democrats president Carter Bell and Planned Parenthood of the Heartland employee Sara Sedlacek.
‘It was supposed to be a strategy meeting,’ Bird recalled, ‘to get our thoughts about issues. But then all of a sudden he says, “Hey, we have Secretary Clinton coming in, would you like to go meet her?”‘
‘And then we got in a car – Troy’s car – and we went up to the coffee house, and we sat at a table and then Hillary just came up and talked with us.’
Bird said ‘we all were called.’
‘I mean, Troy asked us all to do – to go to a meeting with him. And we didn’t really know what it was about. I mean, he did. He knew.’
It’s unclear how many Iowans featured in photographs with Clinton that rocketed around the country on Tuesday were planted.
‘The mayor of LeClaire was there, and his wife was there,’ Bird said, recalling the scene at the coffee shop.
Price was executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party until a month ago. Clinton’s team tapped him last week to be its political director in Iowa.
He did not respond to a request for comment.
Bird is a government and community relations coordinator at Genesis Health System in Davenport, Iowa, according to his LinkedIn profile.
A coworker at Genesis said Wednesday that Bird is ‘basically a lobbyist in training. That’s what he wants to do.’
Bird disagreed, saying his role was ‘more public relations.’
ASTROTURF: Setting up faux events for news cameras is nothing new in politics, but Iowans take presidential contests seriously and could punish Clinton for the deception
He’s also an outspoken progressive whose Facebook wall shows he ordered a ‘Hillary For President’ bumper sticker 22 months ago. ‘Is it 2016 yet?’ he wrote in May 2013.
Clinton’s nascent campaign has carefully coordinated her image as a spontaneous, handshaking populist in her first days as a candidate, posing with Pennsylvanians at a gas station and venturing into an Ohio Chipotle restaurant for lunch.
When no one recognized the former first lady – she was wearing sunglasses – the campaign leaked information to The New York Times so its reporters could get security-camera footage to prove she had tried to mingle with voters.
THE FIXER: Bird said Troy Prince (pictured), who was executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party until he left last week ago to help Clinton’s statewide political effort, recruited him and others to attend the ‘spontaneous’ coffee meeting
Scripting supposedly off-the-cuff appearances is common in presidential politics but could hurt Clinton especially hard since her gonzo road-trip journey to America’s broad midwest is designed to counter her image as cold, calculating and politically venomous.
And planting party insiders in place of typical Iowans won’t go over well in the Hawkeye State, where pressing the flesh and collecting caucus votes is a quadrennial full-contact sport.
Clinton’s campaign has already taken heat for depicting at least three people in her campaign launch video as ‘everyday’ Americans who were actually partisans with political connections.
One was even a former campaign manager for Wendy Davis, the Texas Democrat who mounted a failed bid for Texas governor last year.
In LeClaire on Tuesday, Bloomberg and other outlets referred to Bird as a ‘student’ at St. Ambrose University, not as a hospital government-affairs staffer with Democratic party street-cred.
He does study at St. Ambrose – part-time.
But Bird’s ties to the party are deep enough that his Facebook wall includes a photo of him standing in front of Joe Biden’s limousine in Davenport.
‘I was driving the Vice President when he was in town in October,’ Bird noted in a Facebook comment.
Biden was not there on official government business, but for a campaign stop in support of Democrat Bruce Braley.
‘The Vice President will attend a grassroots event for Braley for Iowa with Representative David Loebsack,’ according to White House press guidance for his October 27, 2014 schedule.
Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.
Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.
Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry – and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions – Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.
“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion – and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.
Zarif, echoing previous comments, said the United States has promised an immediate termination of sanctions.
“Iran/5+1 Statement: ‘US will cease the application of ALL nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions.’ Is this gradual?” he wrote on Twitter.
He then suggested a correction: “Iran/P5+1 Statement: ‘The EU will TERMINATE the implementation of ALL nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions’. How about this?”
The pushback from Iran’s chief diplomat follows a pattern of similar accusations by senior Iranian political figures after the announcement of previous agreements.
Following the signing of an interim agreement with Iran aimed at scaling back its nuclear work, Iran accused the United States of lying about details of the agreement.
On Thursday evening, Zarif told reporters the latest agreement allows Iran to keep operating its nuclear program.
“None of those measures” that will move to scale back Iran’s program “include closing any of our facilities,” Zarif said. “We will continue enriching; we will continue research and development.”
“Our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility,” Zarif said. “We will have centrifuges installed in Fordow, but not enriching.”
The move to allow Iran to keep centrifuges at Fordow, a controversial onetime military site, has elicited concern that Tehran could ramp up its nuclear work with ease.
Zarif said that once a final agreement is made, “all U.S. nuclear related secondary sanctions will be terminated,” he said. “This, I think, would be a major step forward.”
Zarif also revealed that Iran will be allowed to sell “enriched uranium” in the international market place and will be “hopefully making some money” from it.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Department of Justice doesn’t have any plans to investigate allegations that veterans placed on secret waiting lists at VA hospitals died while waiting for care.
“Well, obviously these reports if they’re true are unacceptable, and the allegations are being taken very seriously by the administration. But I don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to anything that the Justice Department is doing,” Holder told reporters at a press conference.
“This is something on our radar screen at this point, but there is an investigation being done by the [VA] inspector general, and we’ll see what happens as a result of that inquiry and other information that comes to light in some form or fashion,” Holder added.
According to CNN, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for treatment at one VA hospital in Phoenix. Members of Congress have said in recent weeks that the inspector general investigation is inadequate and have called on the DOJ to launch its own investigation.
“Because these cases involve individuals working in their capacity as federal employees, and these incidents have occurred at federal facilities throughout the nation, I urge you to work with the state Attorneys General in Arizona and across the country to investigate these preventable deaths thoroughly, determine appropriate criminal charges, and prosecute the offenders accordingly,” Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican of Florida, wrote in a letter to Holder on May 1.
Holder’s announcement that the DOJ doesn’t currently have any plans to investigate the VA hospital scandal was made Tuesday afternoon at a press conference held to announce that the DOJ was filing a lawsuit against lenders under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which caps interest rates on student loans at 6 percent for members of the military.
“We are here to announce a landmark step forward in our effort to achieve justice for victims of improper lending practices–and to protect the men and women of America’s armed services from anyone who would take advantage of those who wear the uniform,” Holder said.
A great report from CBS News on the VA center in Chicago where nearly the exact same practices that are happening in Arizona is happening there. And the VA social worker, who says many employees are coming to her from all over the hospital, says it’s all about the administrators getting a bonus.
We heard it a hundred times before Obamacare was rammed through Congress. Barack Obama promised Americans that if you like your healthcare plan you can keep your plan.
It was all a lie. Period.
NBC is reporting that the Obama administration knew years ago that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance.
NBC Investigations reported:
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date – the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example – the policy would not be grandfathered.
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
The gall of these people!
Lies may be temporary, but the Internet is forever. NBC News issued a blockbuster report (only in as much as the outfit is well-known for its sycophantic coverage of Obama) and then tried to scrub some of the more unsavory bits from its website.
Only… there’s this thing called Google cache. Weasel Zippers grabbed the news article – which was taken down and replaced on the NBC site under a new url.
First, what a reader will find at the old url:
Then, NBC News’ “excuse” for why the link was changed. Surprise, surprise – a “glitch”:
EDITOR’S NOTE: A publishing glitch took down our story on policy cancellations under Obamacare. Republished here: nbcnews.to/1hoTtHH
12:52 AM – 29 Oct 2013
Obama administration knew millions could not keep their health…
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or…
142 Retweets – 29 favorites
IJReview investigative reporter SooperMexican captured the edits:
UPDATE: It appears that NBC News replaced the missing paragraph in yet another version. There is no explanation on the present article for the multiple edits; but just maybe NBC realized that it’s pointless and maybe even harmful to its image to redact the original published version.
UPDATE2: What one will find at the old (multiple-website-linked) url:
UPDATE3: The headline for this article was edited after publication, as well as the video and references to it.
NOTE: I’m aware that my blog partner Doug already posted a copy of this video here yesterday, but I felt it was just too important not to revisit in light of information just revealed to me via The Right Scoop. (See comments below)
So, the former IRS Commissioner claims he didn’t investigate the targeting of conservatives by his own agency. Hmmm… that’s a little strange considering the fact that a story just came out today stating: IRS Conducted Own Investigation Into Tea Party Targeting A Year Before IG And Still Withheld From Congress.
Now, are we to believe that the head of the IRS didn’t sanction this investigation, or even know it had occurred? That’s about as believable as the assertion that Barack Obama had nothing to do with the Benghazi stand-down orders, or that he, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Jay Carney didn’t repeatedly lie about the cause of the consulate attacks of 09/11/12.
Oh, and speaking of Obama, here’s another little tidbit of information concerning the IRS scandal which makes the president’s claim that he knew nothing about the agency targeting right-wing groups even less credible than it already was. According to Gateway Pundit, “Former IRS Chief Doug Shulman Met With Obama Four Times During His 118 Visits To White House.”
From the article:
Former IRS chief Doug Shulman told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday he never discussed IRS political targeting with the White House, despite 118 visits to the White House in the course of two years.
This is despite the fact that 132 different members of Congress contacted Shulman over a two year period starting in 2010 that the IRS was targeting conservative groups.
During that time Douglas Shulman visited the White House 118 times.
In 2010 Douglas Shulman met over 30 times at the White House with Nancy-Ann Min DeParle director of the White House Office of Health Reform. Shulman also met with Austan Goolsbee, Peter Orszag and Ezekiel Emanual, Rahm’s brother, at the White House.
Shulman also met with President Obama on September 21, 2009, June 6, 2011, December 2, 2011 and in June 5, 2012.
And finally, let’s not overlook the role that certain Congressional Democrats played in encouraging the IRS to go after conservatives as far back as the Tea Party-dominated 2010 election cycle.
Again, Gateway Pundit is right on top of things.
Starting in the fall of 2010, ten leading Democrats – Including, Max Baucus, Chuck Schumer, and Al Franken – wrote the IRS demanding that the agency crack down on conservative groups.
500 conservative and Christian groups were illegally targeted by the Obama IRS starting in 2010. For twenty-seven months the Obama IRS refused to approve any Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status while at the same time the Obama IRS approved dozens of progressive applications.
Now that the election is over, these same Democrats are feigning outrage that conservative groups were targeted by the IRS.
Hurricane Sandy victim, Scott McGrath of Staten Island, gives his opinion of FEMA and the Obama administration’s handling of the storm relief effort.
He blasts “phony” and “liar” Obama.
Via Your World with Neil Cavuto:
Could you imagine if Bush was president right now? The liberal media would be all over this. Scott McGrath would be on every channel.
Hat Tip Mara
The Right Scoop has more.
Sandy victim Scott McGrath who spoke directly to Obama right after the hurricane hammered Obama today saying that he’s a phony and a ‘straight out liar’. He said it’s been 2 months now and that no red tape has been cut.
He also says that even though they need the aid money from Congress, they shouldn’t lard it up with pork because tax payers will have to pay for it down the road. Love hearing that, especially from a Sandy victim. Also, he said Chuck Schumer is full of it after lambasting Republicans for not passing it with all the pork in it. This guy needs his own show!
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was set to face a grilling from Congress this week over the terrorist attacks in Benghazi when she started channeling the late poet Shel Silverstein.
“I have the measles and the mumps / A gash, a rash and purple bumps,” said Clinton, in effect, informing the House and Senate (with regrets!) that she was suffering too many maladies to testify as expected about the Sept. 11 attack in Libya.
America’s top diplomat was to provide her first public answers regarding the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Now that won’t happen.
Clinton’s story beggars belief: While traveling in Europe, she contracted a stomach virus . . . which made her dehydrated . . . which made her faint at home . . . which caused her to fall and hit her head . . . which gave her a nasty concussion.
So Clinton’s deputies will appear in her stead before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to explain the State Department’s failures.
That is not nearly enough.
We’ve chided the Obama administration in the past for its lack of transparency – but this looks like one of the most transparent dodges in the history of diplomacy.
And if Congress allows the secretary of state to wriggle free from scrutiny in the last days of her tenure (she may be gone from Foggy Bottom before the next round of congressional hearings in 2013), it will be a shame on that body as well.
So it’s clear that Clinton needs to testify.
And the Republicans, at least, seem to realize it.
“We still don’t have information from the Obama administration on what went so tragically wrong in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four patriotic Americans,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, when Clinton reported her noggin-bump. “This requires a public appearance by the secretary of state herself.”
Thursday’s hearing covers the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, the squad of DC luminaries who’ve been investigating the attack since October and who delivered their findings to Clinton yesterday.
The report may shed some light on the attack, but it behooves Clinton to explain why the administration spent weeks misleading the public by pinning blame for the strike on an obscure YouTube video.
No, she owes the public true accountability – not a paper press release from some former bureaucrats.
And that requires her to testify before Congress, before the public.
Nothing else will suffice.
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Last night’s GOP debate in South Carolina may be one that causes Ron Paul serious problems in the “honesty” department.
Mr. Paul’s truthfulness is being questioned after he told Fox News’ Brett Baier that he never said that he would not have given the order to go into Pakistan and kill Osama bin Laden.
There’s just one small problem with Paul’s denial, he did say it, several times.
Back in May of 2011, and featured here on The Blaze, Ron Paul said three times in a two minute discussion of the topic, that as President of the United States, he would not have ordered bin Laden killed in the manner that President Obama did.
Simon Conway was quite clear in his questions, first asking;
So President Ron Paul would therefore not have ordered the kill of bin Laden, which could have only have taken place by entering another sovereign nation?
And Dr. Paul was equally clear in his response:
I don’t think it was necessary. No.
Less than a minute later, Conway attempted to further clarify by again asking the congressman.
So President Ron Paul would not have ordered the kill of bin Laden, to take place, as it took place in Pakistan?
Ron Paul’s response was consistent with his two previous answers.
Not the way it took place, no. I mean he was unarmed, you know… and all these other arguments.
Watch the two minute excerpt as Simon Conway of WHO Radio in Iowa repeatedly asks the Texas Congressman whether he would have given the order to kill Osama bin Laden.
(H/T: Simon Conway of WHO)
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EXCERPT – Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says “If you have the inconsistency then you’re not defending liberty.” Paul has always been inconsistent. This inconsistency was noted by conservative commentator Mark Levin who says “Paul is poison. Hate America first crowd.”
A major reason is because the Texan advocates policies which are the exact opposite of his rhetoric. If you visit his website it indicates he supports many things he actually opposes.
With Ron Paul you always have to read the fine print. His speeches before conservative audiences are often impressive, but the reality is completely different. Some examples are:
* Paul is a registered Republican but expresses considerable disdain for the GOP. He says there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. In 1987 the Congressman said “I want to completely disassociate myself from Ronald Reagan,” and described his administration as a “dramatic failure.”
He accused George H.W. Bush of war crimes, and wanted to impeach George W. Bush because of the non-existent North American Union. He says Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is part of the “international conspiracy” and endorsed his primary opponent.
Paul refused to endorse Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, and was the only Republican to express approval when Democrats captured control of the House and Senate in 2006. If Paul is not nominated, he refuses to pledge support the 2012 GOP presidential candidate.
* The Congressman says he supports a strong national defense and emphasizes his military service. He was an Air Force gynecologist who never left the United States. Today he wants to cut $1 trillion out of the Pentagon budget. He would abandon NATO and abolish the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act.
He would give up America’s veto power in the UN Security Council as well as all military assistance to Israel. He would also ignore the major lesson from WW I and WW II, collective security. He would abandon our allies who paid 100% of the costs of Operation Desert Storm and have suffered 35% of all combat casualties in Afghanistan.
* The Texan says he is an advocate of free trade, but opposes practically every free trade agreement. As the Club for Growth notes, Paul “lives in a dream world if he thinks free trade will be realized absent agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. Paul himself argues that ‘tariffs are simply taxes on consumers,’ but by opposing these trade agreements, he is actively opposing a decrease in those taxes. While Paul’s rhetoric is soundly pro-free trade, his voting record mirrors those of Congress’s worst protectionists.”
* He claims to be a right to life champion, but his plan allows abortion on the state level. He is against taxpayer funded abortions but not self paid abortions in the states’ rights category.
* He claims to be against illegal immigration. He did vote for the 2006 Secure Fence Act and claims to support the Border Fence, but he also voted against it on numerous occasions and has repeatedly said it is not needed. He says sensors at the border are enough. He also says the military is not needed on the border, and the Border Patrol is sufficient.
The Border Patrol is not mentioned in the Constitution and he use to claim they were unconstitutional. On one hand Paul is arguing for complete sovereignty and isolationism, but on the other hand he is opposing the border fence.
* He also claims to be against amnesty but his book, Liberty Defined, advocates it. He claims to be against birthright citizenship but his book supports it. He also opposes the E-Verify system to check employment.
* He says we should not tell other countries what to do, but is always the first to criticize Israel.
* He describes himself as a fiscal conservative but he has voted for numerous pork barrel projects and was against the Constitutional Amendment for a line item veto. He says it is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to the president. Paul is one of only four Republicans who supports earmarks, and opposes the GOP Ryan plan to cut the deficit by $6.2 trillion over a decade.
* Ron Paul says he is for health care reform, but he opposes the GOP plan. Republicans believe excessive litigation increases health care costs and they advocate tort reform. Ron Paul is against it because it “damages the Constitution by denying states the right to decide their own local medical standards and legal rules.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Ten years ago, 19 hospitals in Philadelphia were in the business of delivering babies. Next month, only eight will remain.” This is because of “high expenses for malpractice insurance.” The result is that hospitals lose about “$2000 per delivery” and are being forced to close their OB units.
* He says the growth of entitlements are a major problem and admits they are insolvent, but opposed George Bush’s social security reforms. Paul wants to end social security, medicare and medicaid, but would not accept the Bush plan as a interim step to reduce costs.
* He has criticized welfare for decades but was one of of just four GOP Congressmen who voted against extending welfare reform in 2002. Most Americans are not fond of welfare but the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996″ was a GOP proposal signed by a reluctant Bill Clinton.
When Clinton added his signature the sign on his desk said “Welfare to Work,” and the promise came true. The act resulted in a large reduction in the number of people collecting welfare and that is why Republicans have supported its continuation.
* Paul says he is against gun control but advocates policies which would allow states to disarm their residents.
* He says he is against gay marriage, but voted against the amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The amendment would have outlawed gay marriage but not civil unions. At the 2007 Values Voter Debate Paul said, “True Christians believe marriage is a church function, not a state function. I don’t think you need a license to get married.” By that definition any liberal church would be free to perform gay marriages that would be recognized by the state.
* As a medical doctor he took the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and to “prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.” Nevertheless, Paul is at the forefront of the anti-vaccine movement which has had a serious impact.
Now the U.S. is struggling with a large number of cases of measles and other disease which were once thought to have been eradicated. According to the Centers for Disease Control, America is experiencing the largest outbreak in 15 years.
* His admirers claim he is the only truthful lawmaker on Capitol Hill, but he tells outrageous lies. Paul falsely claims 1) Israel created Hamas, 2) Palestinians are starving and confined to a “concentration camp,” 3) the United States financed Osama bin Laden during the first Afghan War, 4) the CIA is behind the sale of illegal drugs, and 5) there is an “international conspiracy” focused on the non-existent North American Union.
* Rep. Paul has won the presidential straw vote at the last two Conservative Political Action Conferences, but his 2011 rating from the liberal ACLU is 80%. They oppose all aspects of the War on Terror. Paul voted against the constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. He is against the death penalty, allowing silent school prayer, and school vouchers.
* Paul claims to be a champion of individual liberty but is the only lawmaker to oppose the 1964 Civil Right Act, and voted against the legislation on its 40th anniversary. This is the law which allows blacks to eat at the lunch counter and says they cannot be turned away from hotels.
Ron Paul is not a conservative or a “Constitutionalist.” He is a libertarian who…
Recently, Mitt Romney has been under scrutiny for a video unearthed from 2002 in which he states his views are ‘progressive’. Newt Gingrich was chastised for previous comments. If we want to be fair across the board, Rep. Ron Paul should have to answer for this video which shows him explaining why he can’t talk about the ‘truth’ behind 9/11.
In the video, which appears to be shot in October of 2011, Paul is interviewed by conspiracy theorist group We Are Change’‘. The lady asks Paul why he hasn’t come forward with the ‘truth’ over 9/11, in which he responds that he “can’t handle the controversy.”
He goes on to say, “I have the IMF the Federal Reserve to deal with, the IRS to deal with because, no, I just have more-too many things on my plate- because I just have too much to do.”
While this video doesn’t show Paul specifically stating that he is as a full-blown ‘Truther’, it does show him answering why he isn’t talking about the ‘truth’ behind it.
(h/t Verum Serum)
Click on the image above to watch the video.
Most people already know that Ron Paul refused to endorse John McCain in the 2008 general election. While I don’t necessarily agree with that decision, especially from a contender for the GOP nominee, I can certainly understand it. Lord knows I hated every nice thing I had to say about John McCain and wasn’t entirely pleased about pulling the lever for him (which is a dramatic understatement). Most people assume that Paul endorsed Libertarian candidate Bob Barr in 2008, which is partially true. However, that is not the entire story. Paul also endorsed three other candidates.
The first of those was Chuck Baldwin. I don’t really know a lot about Baldwin except that he has been on record early and often in support of the proposition that the South should have won the Civil War. This sort of thing would ordinarily disqualify most normal people from endorsing Chuck Baldwin, but Ron Paul is not most normal people. And given what most Ron Paul supporters seem willing to forgive, a little Confederate sympathy (or even a lot of Confederate sympathy) seems like small potatoes.
The second was Cynthia McKinney. Yes, you read that correctly, Ron Paul endorsed Cynthia McKinney in 2008. For those who do not know, Cynthia McKinney is a certifiably insane anti-American anti-Semitic lunatic. She first came to widespread public attention when she was arrested for punching out a member of the capitol police who tried to stop her when she wasn’t wearing her pin. Cynthia McKinney is so crazy that she got defeated in a primary by a guy who thought Guam might tip over and capsize. McKinney was once arrested by the Israelis while trying to give aid to Hamas and penned a bizarre anti-American and anti-Israeli screed. See more of her anti-Americanism here.
Now, I know that the above is not necessarily persuasive to the average Ron Paul fan – after all, if they were bothered by siding with terrorists, they’d have probably jumped off the Paul bandwagon already. What is perhaps more important is that Cynthia McKinney is also next door to being a communist in terms of her domestic policy. McKinney is an open and avowed enemy of free market capitalism, preferring instead Ghadaffi-style socialism. Seriously, she literally and openly favors dictatorial socialism. McKinney ran on the Green Party ticket, whose platform explicitly includes guaranteed open-ended welfare (at a living wage) for everyone regardless of their ability or willingness to work, among other quasi-communist and far-left economic policies.
The fourth and final candidate Ron Paul endorsed for President was Ralph Nader. Yes, the same Ralph Nader who was so far to the left on economic matters that he could see no difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. The same Ralph Nader who also longs for the day when the last vestiges of capitalism have died in America. Nader, you remember was the guy who made running as the Green Party candidate famous.
Why, you might ask, would Ron Paul, champion of economic freedom and limited government, endorse two avowed socialists for President? Well, you see, they signed a document:
Paul will offer this open endorsement to the four candidates because each has signed onto a policy statement that calls for “balancing budgets, bring troops home, personal liberties and investigating the Federal Reserve,” the Paul aide said.
You see, despite a lengthy and public history of supporting massive government expansion and infringement upon personal liberties, and despite running on a party platform that explicitly calls for the massive expansion of Government welfare, these people would clearly have been better at shrinking the government than the Republicans on the basis of signing this absurd pledge. To be fair, Paul was probably just following the Golden Rule here – after all, Paul had just spent the last two years being a truther in front of truthers and denying trutherism in front of the media, so he doubtless was extending the sort of blind eye towards Nader and McKinney’s insanity that he wished everyone else would turn towards his.
For whatever his failings as a Presidential candidate and conservative (and they were legion), no reasonable person would say that John McCain was worse than any of these clowns. It was one thing for Paul to not endorse McCain – but we have to ask what sort of person affirmatively supports anti-American avowed socialists and confederate sympathizers over a Republican? The answer: Someone who, like Howard Dean, hates Republicans and everything they stand for.
EXCERPT – So now it’s Ron Paul’s turn.
According to the latest polls, the diminutive Texas libertarian is poised to win the Iowa caucuses.
Obviously, this would be rough news for Newt Gingrich — who’s in third place and falling — and very good news for Mitt Romney, who has used Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and now Paul as blockers to fend off challenges from the various “not-Mitt” candidates of the moment. (Perry must feel particularly disoriented because he’s been both blocker and blockee.)
And give this to Paul: He most certainly is not Mitt.
Many of Paul’s defenders insist he is a champion — a lone voice, even — of the “true” Constitution and the “real” principles of the conservative movement. Moreover, they are determined to tell you that, often in e-mails written in ALL CAPS.
For the record, I like many of Paul’s positions on the role of the federal government. I find it charming that he’s making a big issue about the freedom to drink raw milk. I don’t believe his positions on states’ rights are racist. I think he goes way too far on the Federal Reserve. He sometimes sounds like he thinks Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is sapping our precious bodily fluids. But he’s also been prescient about the Fed’s unchecked power.
Or maybe it wasn’t prescience. Maybe it was paranoia. After all, if you worry about enough things, some of them are going to turn out to be accurate. When a hypochondriac is finally diagnosed with a disease after years of pointless worrying, it kind of takes the bite out of his I-told-you-so’s.
This is the point in the standard anti–Ron Paul column where I am supposed to denounce his many bad associations, his racist newsletters — which he didn’t write, he just let them go out with his name on them for years — his barmy national-security ideas, and his potted history of American foreign policy. And, should Paul go on to be a serious contender for the Republican nomination, I reserve my right to revisit all of that because — contrary to the claims of many of his supporters — Paul’s background hasn’t been scrutinized nearly enough.
But rather than get into all that, let’s take the idea of a President Paul as seriously as his supporters say we should — though the idea he could beat Obama in the general election strikes me as crazier than Joe Biden on angel dust.
Paul routinely says that he’s the only candidate who promises real change. For instance, he proposes…
EXCERPT – Thanks to glowing commentary from Ron Paul suppporters I have been called a coward, a traitor, a neocon, a nazi, that I’m sick and a ‘demeanor’ of the modern day Thomas Jefferson all because I said what a lot of Republicans are thinking but won’t say: Ron Paul is a Libertarian and not a Republican. (For the record, with due respect to the Congressman, Ron Paul couldn’t hold Thomas Jefferson’s quill pen.)
Congressman Paul turned his back on the GOP in 1987 and resigned. Instead of trying to fix the problems that he cites in his resignation, he bolts and runs. He then ran for President as a Libertarian in 1988.
Dr. Paul ran for Congress again in 1996, but instead of running as a Libertarian, chose to run as a Republican. (More about this race in a little bit….)
In 2008 Paul ran again for President as a member of the Republican party. He refused to endorse the eventual nominee John McCain, instead stating that he would’offer (his) open endorsement to the four candidates (of the Libertarian, Green, Constitution Parties and an independent) because each has signed onto a policy statement that calls for “balancing budgets, bring troops home, personal liberties and investigating the Federal Reserve.’ Those candidates were Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, the last two being somewhere to the left of Karl Marx. Paul held a conference at a National Press Club Conference on September 10, 2008 with all four of the candidates. He then told members of the conference that “we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.” He would later state that he would not endorse…
EXCERPT – Let me start this article by saying this: I confess from the start that this is a very, very passionate issue for me. I am not a fan of Ron Paul, and I respond with passion and sometimes vitriol at times when I am confronted with Paulites (my term for those who are devout Ron Paul supporters). I freely admit that I have an axe to grind here, but I deny that my agenda is a result of irrational or unhealthy dislike. In fact, I am going to argue that it is all that I like about Ron Paul that has made me so passionately opposed to him.
I am writing this article for one of two categories of Ron Paul supporters: The well-meaning folks who appreciate Ron Paul’s rhetoric regarding freedom and limited government. The other category of Ron Paul supporters, those who are consciously self-aware in their belief that America is a bad guy military bully, and needs to sit idly by in an isolationist sense as a matter of foreign policy, are not the target of this article. I disagree with them with every ounce of of breath in my body, but I have no hope that I might be able to persuade them. The latter group is aware of the things I am going to say in this article, and they do not care. I am hopeful that the former group will feel that the facts I present in this piece are new information, and warrant a change in their perspective.
I am an advocate of the freedom movement in this country. I believe, with Ron Paul, that the United States federal government has morphed into an eggregious behemoth, violating their own Constitutional jurisdiction on a daily basis. I believe that the federal government was created by the people, for the people, and that if we do not reign in their size and jurisdiction, it will one day represent the end of the Republic (fortunately, I have every confidence that we will be successful in that endeavor, incrementally). I have spent the last fifteen years studying economics and finance, and believe that Ron Paul has some wise things to say on the subject of a strong U.S. dollar. I am not a pure Austrian economist, as Paul is, but I was heavily influenced by many of their leaders when I first became obsessed with the subject, and believe there is a lot to be learned from Von Mises and some of the early Austrian economists.
But my love of freedom economics and my desire for a limited, Constitutionally constrained federal government has not caused me to jump on the Ron Paul bandwagon. In fact, and this is the most important line I will write in this article, it is my deep appreciation for where Ron Paul is right that has caused me to so emphatically reject him where he is wrong. Put differently, Ron Paul is his own worst enemy, and because I care so much for the freedom movement, I believe Ron Paul and his more extremist followers are doing irreparable harm to that very cause in our country. How could I possibly jump on that bandwagon?
I want to start my indictment of Ron Paul where I will surely end it: With the linking of Ron Paul to the American fanatical lunatic, Lew Rockwell. It is dangerous ground when one seeks to take down a person by simply associating him with someone else. As we all know, it is actually a logical fallacy of the first order. But Ron Paul is not merely “associated” with Lew Rockwell; he is Lew Rockwell. And he makes no attempt to deny this or cover it up.
I encourage those of you who are wondering what I am talking about to go spend some time at http://www.LewRockwell.com. It is one of the most insidious properties in the entire web universe. I believe that those of you who are in that camp of Ron Paul followers I am trying to reach may conclude that Ron Paul does not deserve to be linked to Lew, but I do not believe you will attempt to defend this man and his extremist and vile views. My challenge is this: Go spend ten minutes on Lew’s website every day for one month, and then decide if you have the stomach to support Ron Paul. In that month you are likely to hear that Winston Churchill was a worse war criminal than Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler. You will hear celebration that Tony Snow died of cancer (because he did, after all, support the Iraq war). You will find out that Lew believes the Constitution is a statist document. You will read that the men and women serving our military are despicable little immoral creatures, trained to kill innocent parties. I do not need to rhetorically beat up on Lew; he will be his own best accuser. The man is insane, and the only possible justification for someone supporting Ron Paul after becoming familiar with Lew Rockwell is that one just does not believe that the two are one and the same. But this is an irrefutable fact. Allow me to continue.
I became familiar with Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul in the mid-1990’s after being introduced to Murray Rothbard, the now deceased Austrian economist. Rothbard and my dad died around the same time, and I became fascinated with the intersection of Austrian economics and the freedom movement. I attended every Von Mises Institute conference I could find, and read every book their movement ever published. Ron Paul spoke at every one of these events, and…
Along with Rep. Ron Paul‘s (R-TX) ascent to the top of the polls in Iowa comes the obligatory media glare. Although not as flashy as the newsletter controversy, here’s a fascinating curio from Dr. Paul’s political closet: in a Christmastime appearance on Meet The Press in 2007, Paul said that Abraham Lincoln should never have started the Civil War, instead ending slavery by having the federal government purchase all of the slaves and set them free. Like many libertarian ideas, it’s appealing unless you think about it for five seconds.
Set aside the question of, if Ron Paul disagreed with starting the Civil War, why he didn’t just tell Lincoln himself. This is serious business.
The late, great Tim Russert asked Paul about remarks he made to The Washington Post. “I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. ‘According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery.’”
“Absolutely,” Paul replied. “Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn’t have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was that iron fist…”
“We’d still have slavery,” Russert interjected.
“Oh, come on,” Paul replied, dismissively. “Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I’m advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where the hatred lingered for 100 years? Every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn’t sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.”
Sure, it’s reasonable if you’re one of the people doing the buying, selling, and “phasing out.” Take a look around. We can’t even pass a payroll tax cut extension that benefits 160 million people. How long does Ron Paul think it would have taken to muster the political will to fund a slaveowner bailout that only benefited people who couldn’t even vote? The British bailout plan that Paul refers to freed 40,000 slaves, at a cost of £20 million, 40% of the government’s total annual expenditure. There were almost four million slaves in the US when the Civil War began.
As for that newsletter controversy, Ron Paul has consistently expressed regret over what he says was a mistake, and in the years I’ve been covering him, nothing I’ve seen or heard from him would lead me to believe that the ideas in those newsletters reflect his beliefs. Having said that, part of making up for a regrettable mistake is facing the music for as long as it plays. If people still have questions about it, Paul owes them answers, just as surely as he is owed the chance to give those answers.
Click on the image below to watch the clip from the Dec. 23, 2007 edition of Meet The Press:
More proof that Ron Paul is lying about his newsletters. In 1995 he talked about them on camera as if he did read/write them. Wow, how times have changed (h/t: HotAir)
I noticed yesterday that the USA Today had picked up on more evidence that Ron Paul is lying about his newsletters:
In 1996, Paul told The Dallas Morning News that his comment about black men in Washington came while writing about a 1992 study by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, a criminal justice think tank in Virginia.
Paul cited the study and wrote: “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
“These aren’t my figures,” Paul told the Morning News. “That is the assumption you can gather from the report.”
Nor did Paul dispute in 1996 his 1992 newsletter statement that said,”If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be.”
Now, Paul says he had nothing to do with the contents of the newsletters published in his name.
“Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20-something years, 22 years ago?” Paul said on CNN Wednesday. “I didn’t write them. I disavow them. That’s it.” Paul then removed his microphone and abruptly ended the interview.
This is what CNN should have asked Ron Paul yesterday before he walked out of their interview yesterday.
A tearful Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., has admitted to sending a provocative photo over Twitter to a woman in Seattle. He also admitted to having inappropriate online and telephone communication with several women.
“I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife, Huma,” Weiner said, adding that he will not resign.
Weiner said most of the contact took place before his marriage, but some has continued since his wedding in 2010. He said he has interacted with six women over the last three years.
Weiner addressed reporters Monday afternoon after new questionable photos purported to be of him were posted online Monday, including what appear to be bare chested self-portraits and one with a provocative tagline that he allegedly sent.
Andrew Breitbart, whose website BigGovernment.com published the photos, showed up at the press conference ended up speaking to reporters about his own role in the unfolding of the scandal.
Breitbart said it was a “coincidence” that he found himself in New York City at a hotel a few blocks away and decided to see what the congressman would say.
Breitbart’s website site claims that one of them was sent to a woman on May 4, 2011. Apparently, the congressman sent it from AnthonyWeiner@aol.com on his BlackBerry to an unnamed woman, according to the Daily Mail.
In the photo, a smirking Weiner is seen with his pet cats above the caption “Me and my pussys.”
The congressman, who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn, has been ridiculed after a lewd photo of a man’s underwear-clad crotch was tweeted to a 21-year-old co-ed from his Twitter account. Weiner initially claimed that his account was hacked but couldn’t confirm whether the photo was of him when repeatedly questioned by reporters.
Weiner is married to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton staffer Huma Abedin.
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BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com have reported throughout the morning about the emergence of new details in the Weinergate saga, after a young woman came forward with new information that tends to undermine severely the theory that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was the victim of a “prank” or a “hack.”
The following photograph, reminiscent of that posted by former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) on Craigslist earlier this year, was allegedly sent to the young woman on Friday, May 20, 2011 via a Yahoo! email address that she claims was an alternate alias for Rep. Weiner:
The array of images behind the shirtless congressman include several apparently identifying portraits, including a photograph that appears to be of Rep. Weiner with former President Bill Clinton (at above right, behind the left shoulder).
A Google search for the email address Rep. Weiner allegedly used on that occasion yields an invisible Yahoo! profile with images that appear to be a repository for some of Rep. Weiner’s personal photographs.
The profile automatically provides what appear to be the last three uploaded photographs in thumbnail form. Below is a screen grab taken yesterday from that page:
On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, Rep. Weiner sent an email to the young woman from that same Yahoo! email address that included the now-infamous grey underwear photograph (attached to the email as “package.JPG”):
Later that same day, apparently after receiving several images from the young woman, Rep. Weiner allegedly sent another photograph to her from the same Yahoo! email address.
That photograph (attached to the email as “ready.JPG”) is extremely graphic, and leaves nothing to the imagination.
Earlier this morning, BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com revealed that a woman had come forward with what she claims are intimate photographs, chats, and emails that she allegedly exchanged with Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
The following photograph was allegedly sent to the young woman from AnthonyWeiner@aol.com via BlackBerry on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, under the subject, “Me and the pussys” (note cats in background):
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Barack Obama told his audience today in El Paso that the border fence is basically complete.
Via FOX Nation:
“They wanted more agents on the border. Well, we now have more boots on the ground on the southwest border than at any time in our history. The Border Patrol has 20,000 agents – more than twice as many as there were in 2004, a build up that began under President Bush and that we have continued. They wanted a fence. Well, that fence is now basically complete.”
Today only 5%: of the US-Mexico border fence complete or 36.3 miles.
Maybe Barack Obama missed this funding drive by Arizona. They’re not raising money to build a border fence that’s already there.
Don’t expect the state-run media to report this.
Instead of visiting the Lone Star state to declare the place a disaster area following wild fires that burned more than two MILLION acres of land, destroyed more than 400 homes and took the lives of two brave firefighters, Barack Obama went to El Paso, where he delivered a rousing campaign-style speech about Immigration Reform.
Texas radio talk show host (and friend of The Blaze) Garth Maier of KTBB asked his audience how they felt about the topic of Immigration Reform.
As reported over the weekend on The Blaze, actress Eva Longoria may have inadvertently revealed the White House strategy that uses Immigration Reform as a tool for demonizing any elected official who is against The Dream Act (read – GOP), and targets them for removal in the 2012 election cycle.
Exactly one year ago today, President Barack Obama swept into the White House on winds of promised change. But a Newsmax look back at his first 365 days in office finds far fewer highlights than lowlights.
On the positive side, Obama no doubt raised the image of America abroad, as demonstrated by his selection as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and he drew praise by going to Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of some American soldiers killed in action.
He signed legislation in February to expand publicly funded insurance for children, reducing the number of uninsured youth by half.
He saw the Senate confirm his choice for the Supreme Court, (racist) Sonia Sotomayor, as the first Latino justice on the high court.
And he set a new record for getting Congress to vote a president’s way, clinching 96.7 percent of the votes on which he had clearly staked a position — breaking the record set by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, according to Congressional Quarterly.
Some would say that passage of the $787 billion stimulus package should also be viewed as an Obama success in that it may have staved off an even deeper economic meltdown.
But on the negative side, Obama’s first year has been marked by failures, gaffes, broken promises and other missteps, including:
* Within days of taking office, Obama broke his pledge not to raise any taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year by imposing a tax hike of 61 cents on a pack of cigarettes. According to Americans for Tax Reform, measures supported by the president would hike taxes by $2.1 trillion over 10 years.
* Just weeks after moving into the White House, Obama signed an executive order to shut down the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay and ordered it closed within a year. Nearly a year after he signed the order, the facility remains open.
* The administration decided to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other 9/11 terrorists in a civilian court in New York rather than in a military court, prompting critics to predict a “public show trial.”
* Obama traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in an effort to convince Olympics officials to stage the 2016 games in Chicago. They chose Rio de Janeiro instead.
* Obama also traveled to Copenhagen for the much-ballyhooed climate change conference, but the bid to forge a broad alliance against global warming fell short, and the Obama-favored cap-and-trade legislation appears to be dead in Congress.
* The president dithered for months before finally agreeing to send additional troops to Afghanistan, then drew criticism for setting a date for U.S. withdrawal. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that less than half of respondents approve of Obama’s handling of the war overall.
* Obama said he would end the war in Iraq. In the year since he took office, 473 more soldiers have died there and elsewhere, and troops remain in Iraq.
* Obama’s efforts to seek a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program have produced no results and the Islamic Republic appears more determined than ever to acquire nuclear weapons.
* Diplomacy has also failed to rein in North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
* When mass demonstrations against the Iranian government broke out in June, Obama angered and disappointed opponents of the regime by sidestepping any condemnation of Iran’s use of force against protesters, and said the Islamic Republic had time to regain “legitimacy” in the eyes of the Iranian people.
* Despite a campaign pledge to allow C-SPAN to televise congressional meetings, Obama and the Democrats have rebuffed a request from C-SPAN to air healthcare discussions and the final version of the healthcare bill will now be hammered out behind closed doors.
* Obama also pledged to usher in a new era of bipartisanship, then went more than six months without meeting with Republican leaders on healthcare.
* Obama stirred outrage when he appeared to bow to Saudi King Abdullah at a G-20 meeting in London, a move the Washington Times called an “extraordinary protocol violation.” Despite the criticism, the president also bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito during a November visit trip to Tokyo.
* Candidate Obama vowed that no lobbyists would work in his White House. President Obama waived that rule in June for Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, who was a registered lobbyist for a defense contractor. Other lobbyists serving in the Obama administration include Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, and Cecilia Munoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House.
* Obama angered ally Israel by calling for an end to new Jewish settlements in the West Bank, then backed down when Israel’s prime minister refused to halt new construction.
* The Obama White House launched an all-out attack on Fox News in an attempt to stifle opposition to its liberal policies, only to see ratings for the cable network soar.
* Obama had to accept ultimate responsibility when the so-called underwear bomber incident exposed serious gaps in the system for detecting and preventing terrorist plots.
* Security at the White House itself was shown to be porous when two uninvited guests crashed an event honoring the prime minister of India.
* Obama nominated former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Daschle withdrew his name amid a growing controversy over his failure to accurately report and pay income taxes.
* The confirmation of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor was stalled when it came to light that her husband had paid about $6,400 to settle numerous tax liens against his business dating to 1993.
* At his Senate confirmation hearings, it was revealed that Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner had not paid $35,000 in self-employment taxes for several years. He also deducted the cost of his children’s sleep-away camp as a dependent care expense, when only expenses for day care are eligible for the deduction.
* Annette Nazareth, who was nominated for Deputy Treasury Secretary to help Geithner, withdrew for undisclosed “personal reasons” following a month-long probe into her taxes and other matters.
* President-elect Obama designated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for appointment to the Commerce Secretary position. A month later, Richardson announced his decision to withdraw his nomination as a result of an investigation into improper business dealings in New Mexico.
* Obama appointed Van Jones to be the administration’s “green jobs” czar in March. But he became embroiled in controversy over his past political activities, including his 1990s association with a Marxist group and a public comment disparaging Congressional Republicans, and resigned in September.
* Nancy Killefer stepped down from consideration to become the government’s first chief performance officer when it was learned her past performance included failure to pay taxes for her household help.
* In July, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., was arrested at his home by Cambridge, Mass., police officer Sgt. James Crowley, who was responding to a report of a break-in, and charged with disorderly conduct. Obama created a furor by commenting that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” in arresting the African-American teacher. That led to the Obama-moderated “Beer Summit” between Gates and Crowley, which Townhall.com called “the most demeaning moment of any president in recent memory.”
* When the administration announced that the U.S. Census would be directed by the White House under the auspices of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Republicans warned that will politicize apportionment of House seats, redistricting, and distribution of federal aid.
* Obama appointed as his Secretary of Commerce Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who had voted in 1995 to abolish the Commerce Department. In the face of reports that the administration would move the Census, typically run by the Commerce Department, out of Gregg’s jurisdiction, he withdrew his name from consideration.
* When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown became the first head of government to visit the White House, Obama let word out that the bust of Churchill that Prime Minister Tony Blair had presented to the U.S. as a gift from the British people had been returned to the British Embassy.
* Obama also canceled a joint news conference with Brown and excluded British reporters from covering Obama’s press conference, an act the London Daily Telegraph called “rudeness personified towards Britain.”
* A month later he gave a gift to Queen Elizabeth: An iPod full of his own speeches.
* Obama eased travel and remittance restrictions on Cuba. But Fidel Castro later said Obama “misinterpreted” what his brother Raul had said. Cuba would not be willing to negotiate about human rights, Castro insisted.
* Obama and his staff vacillated on whether to prosecute those who carried out “enhanced interrogations,” first saying that CIA operatives carrying out orders were in the clear, then later saying it would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder to decide whether some officials should be prosecuted.
* The stock market hit a seven-year low, with the Dow dipping below 7,000, after Obama likened the market to political “tracking polls,” suggesting they’re unimportant.
* In the first appearance ever by a sitting president on late-night television, Obama remarked to Jay Leno that his bowling ability is “like Special Olympics, or something.” He soon issued an apology for his insensitive remark.
* Obama betrayed allies Poland and the Czech Republic by canceling plans to build a missile defense shield in those nations to guard against an attack from Iran. Obama reportedly wanted Russia’s help in resolving the nuclear weapons issue in Iran, but Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he would not “haggle” over Iran and the missile shield.
* In his inaugural address, Obama called on Americans to adopt a spirit of sacrifice. But the $49 million cost of his swearing-in ceremony was triple the cost of Bush’s first inaugural.
* Obama said in February that approval of his $787 billion stimulus package was urgent. Congress got its work done on a Friday, but Obama and his wife Michelle flew off on Air Force One to Chicago for the Valentine’s Day weekend and dined at a romantic restaurant before flying back to Washington on Monday to sign the bill.
* Obama promised workers at Caterpillar Inc. that his stimulus bill would save their jobs. Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens later said there would be more layoffs at the company.
* Obama pledged during his campaign to slash earmarks to no greater than 1994 levels, which would be 1,318, according to the Washington Times. Then he signed into law some 9,000 earmarks, totaling about $5 billion.
* Obama promised in February to crack down on executive pay for companies that take “exceptional” amounts of bailout money. But he did nothing to stop 73 executives from AIG, which has received $170 million in bailout funds, from taking home bonuses of up to $6.4 million.
* Obama’s promise of a public option in the healthcare reform plan — a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers — has died in the Senate. His plan to allow lower-cost drug imports into the U.S. was also defeated.
Looking at the high and low points of Obama’s first year, it is no surprise that his job approval rating has plummeted from around 70 percent when he took office to below 50 percent today. And the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 62 percent of Americans now say the country is on the wrong track, the most in 11 months.