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Posts Tagged ‘michele bachmann’

All against Cain: Upstart targeted in GOP debate

In News, Politics, Republican on October 19, 2011 at 9:02 am
Caricatures: GOP Presidential Debate Participants

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

By KASIE HUNT, AP

Republican presidential contenders attacked upstart Herman Cain‘s economic plan as a tax increase waiting to happen Tuesday night, moving swiftly in a fiery campaign debate to blunt the former businessman’s unlikely rise in the race for the party’s nomination.

Old animosities flared, too, as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry swapped criticism in unusually personal terms. “You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking,” Romney declared as the two men interrupted one another repeatedly in a disagreement over immigration, one of several vigorous clashes they had.

In a bow to Nevada voters, who will be among the first to choose among the candidates early next year, no one said he wanted to open a proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in a remote part of the state.

The fifth debate in six weeks ranged over familiar and contentious territory — from immigration and health care to the economy and energy, often in antagonistic terms. The candidates engaged each other more directly and sometimes more heatedly than in previous debates.

Romney’s Mormon faith also came up, and Perry said he disagreed with a pastor and political supporter who described the religion as a cult. “I can’t apologize any more than that,” the Texan said.

“That’s fine,” responded Romney.

But Cain’s unlikely rise from asterisk in the polls to contender was clearly on the minds of his rivals on stage in a hotel along the Las Vegas Strip.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota led the verbal assault moments after the debate began, saying his call for a 9 percent federal sales tax would only be the beginning, with the rate rising later.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania wasn’t nearly as gentle, citing one analysis that found that taxes would go up for 84 percent of the nation’s households if Cain’s proposal went into effect. “We’re talking about major increases in taxes,” he said, adding that a single person and a couple with children with the same income would pay the same tax under Cain’s proposal.

Undeterred, Cain insisted the charges were untrue. He said he was being criticized because lobbyists, accountants and others “want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million- word mess,” the current tax code.

Cain’s proposal is for a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

The former pizza company CEO is the latest and unlikeliest phenomenon in the race to pick a Republican rival for President Barack Obama. A black man in a party that draws few votes from Africans Americans, he had bumped along with little notice as Romney sought to fend off one fast-rising rival after another.

That all changed in the past few weeks, after Perry burst into the race and then fell back in the polls. However unlikely Cain’s rise, Tuesday night’s debate made clear that none of his rivals are willing to let him go unchallenged.

“Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out,” Perry said to Cain. “Go to New Hampshire where they don’t have a sales tax and you’re fixing to give them one,” he said, referring to the state that will hold the first primary early next year.

The debate was the fifth since Labor Day, and the last scheduled for nearly a month in a race that is fluid in more than one way.

While polls chart a series of rises and falls for various contenders — Romney remaining at or near the top — the schedule is far from set. Florida’s decision to move up its primary set off a scramble as Iowa maneuvered to make sure its caucuses are the first real test of the race and New Hampshire works to protect its half-century distinction as host to the first primary.

It was Perry who instigated the confrontation over immigration, saying that Romney had no credentials on the issue because he had once hired an illegal worker, the “height of hypocrisy.”

Romney denied the charge, saying he had hired a company to mow his lawn and did not know that it had an illegal immigrant on its payroll.

The two men talked over one another, and at one point, Romney placed his hand on Perry’s shoulder.

“It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick. And I understand that so you’re going to get testy,” he said.

As Perry continued to speak, Romney stopped him: “You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking, and I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you’ve got to let both people speak,” he said.

On a more substantive level, Perry said he opposed repealing the portion of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that says anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen.

Bachmann, Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas all sidestepped the question.

Cain found himself on the defensive on two others issues during the two-hour debate.

He apologized for earlier remarks about building an electric fence on the Mexico border that could kill people trying to cross illegally.

And he said he wouldn’t be willing to negotiate with terrorists, even though he suggested he might be in an interview earlier in the day.

Foreign policy took a secondary role in the debate, and the new strain of Republican isolationism quickly surfaced.

Paul said U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Korea — where they have been stationed for more than 50 years — and foreign aid to Israel cut.

Perry said it was “time to have a very serious discussion about defunding the United Nations.”

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman skipped this debate, saying he was boycotting the Nevada caucuses in a dispute over the primary and caucus calendar. He is campaigning exclusively in New Hampshire in hopes of a victory that can move him into the thick of the race.

Not only Republicans, but Obama was also critical of Cain’s economic plan during the day.

In an interview with ABC News, Obama said it would be a “huge burden” on middle-class and working families.

Source:  Associated Press.

 

 
 
 
 
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GOP candidates in SC vow to carry tea-party banner

In News, Republican, Tea Party on September 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, AP

Pledging fidelity to the Constitution and vowing to carry the tea party’s priorities to the White House, the Republicans chasing the GOP‘s presidential nomination pitched themselves Monday to their party’s libertarian activists as the strongest candidates to roll back four years of President Barack Obama’s tenure.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said the Obama administration flouted the Constitution to push a political agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota stridently called Obama’s policies “unconstitutional” at the same tea party-backed forum on Labor Day. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the third member of his party’s top tier, told a separate town hall-style audience earlier in the day that he has a better record on jobs than the president.

With Labor Day marking the unofficial start to the 2012 campaign, the contenders were painting themselves to the tea party during an afternoon forum with Sen. Jim DeMint in his home state — site of the first nominating contest in the South. The event was designed to probe the candidates on their views of spending, taxes and the Constitution — bedrock principles for the tea party activists whose rising clout is likely to shape the nominating process.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an administration who has gone further afield from the Constitution … than the Obama administration, not just with regulation, but with energy policy, with financial regulatory policy and, with the worst example, Obamacare,” Romney said, outlining conservatives’ broad indictment of Obama’s tenure.

It also was a prime opportunity for the candidates to level pointed — though, in many cases, familiar — criticism of Obama.

“The track record we have creating jobs, I’d put up against anyone running for president of the United States, particularly the current resident of the White House,” said Perry, whose late entry into the race threatens Romney’s one-time aura of inevitability with support from tea partyers.

And Bachmann sought to sustain her status as a movement darling and suitable alternative to Romney. Although she never engaged him directly, her remarks seemed centered on Romney.

Bachmann warned that Obama and Democrats’ health care legislation was taking away freedoms and giving Washington abject power.

“They will become a dictator over our lives,” she said of federal requirements included in the overhaul that requires Americans to have health insurance. Massachusetts requires a similar mandate.

“This is the foundation for socialized medicine. Make no mistake about it. It will change the face of this nation forever,” she warned.

After keeping the tea party at arm’s length most of this campaign, Romney appeared at two tea party-related events this holiday weekend, first in New Hampshire on Sunday and then Monday here. He slightly tweaked his pitch and acknowledged critics of Massachusetts’ health plan.

“Our bill dealt with 8 percent of our population, the people who weren’t insured,” Romney said.

“He dealt with 100 percent of American people. He said, `I’m going to change health care for all of you.’ It’s simply unconstitutional. It’s bad law. It’s bad medicine. … It has got to be stopped and I know it better than most.”

Aware of the tea party’s potential to pick the nominee, all candidates have tailored their pitches to appeal to the libertarian and grassroots activists.

Bachmann, a former federal tax lawyer, called the Constitution “that sacred document” and challenged Obama’s understanding of his powers under it. She cited Obama’s advisers, whom she called “czars,” the Justice Department’s decision not to appeal a court’s overturning of a federal marriage law, and his immigration policies.

“These are areas where we see unconstitutionality,” she said of Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate and former constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich played up the founding fathers’ writings on liberties during his appearance: “These rights are inalienable. That means no politician, no bureaucrat, no judge can take that away from you.”

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a favorite of the GOP’s libertarian wing, decried government largesse: “People were supposed to carry guns, not bureaucrats.” He also warned against a Washington that gives the Federal Reserve too much power, a favorite rallying cry for his steadfast supporters.

And pizza magnate Herman Cain of Georgia, who does well during these forums with amusing quips but hasn’t built a serious campaign organization, again was critical of Washington.

“The idea in Washington, D.C. … is if you reduce the growth, that’s a cut,” he said. “That’s not a cut. That’s deceiving the American people.”

Ahead of the forum, Perry spoke at a town hall-style meeting before heading home to Texas in a last-minute schedule change to monitor raging wildfires. He phoned DeMint to apologize for his schedule change; DeMint said Perry needed to be home.

Romney, who had initially planned to bypass the South Carolina forum, changed his schedule last week to join DeMint, whose backing he enjoyed during his first presidential bid.

While DeMint is tremendously popular here in his home state and with his party’s tea party faction, he isn’t rushing to publicly pick a favorite this time and has suggested he might not back a candidate in the primary.

That’s not to say wooing the tea party is without peril.

After Washington’s debt showdown this summer, an Associated Press-GfK poll found that 46 percent of adults had an unfavorable view of the tea party, compared with 36 percent just after last November’s election.

Source: Associated Press

 

 
 
 
 
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