April 17th, 2012
(CNN) – Speaking to a right wing radio host Tuesday, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney repurposed a phrase from Hillary Clinton, citing a "vast left wing conspiracy" brewing in the media and liberal advocacy organizations to derail his campaign.
Romney was making an appearance on Breitbart TV and was asked by host Larry O'Connor whether he was ready to take on "the media and these nonprofits groups that are working together."
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"There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me," Romney said in response. "They're going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That's what people care about."
Romney's choice of words echoes Clinton's assertion in 1998 that a "vast right wing conspiracy" was behind the sexual harassment charges her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was facing at the time.
"I mean, look at the very people who are involved in this – they have popped up in other settings," Clinton, now the U.S. secretary of state, said on NBC's "Today" in 1998. "This is – the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president."
Romney said dealing with journalists, many of whom he said were biased, was a perpetual problem for Republicans.
"Many in the media are inclined to do the president's bidding and I know that's an uphill battle we fight with the media generally," Romney said, before praising O'Connor for offering a conservative voice.
The candidate said he was unfazed by the prospect of doing battle with the left's vast operation.
"Democrats know that given the president's record over the last three years they cannot run on that record," Romney said. "They will make this race about anything but the president's record and the economy."
April 17th, 2012
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as much for his folksy wisdom as his investing prowess, announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
In a letter to shareholders, Buffett, 81, said that he had been diagnosed with stage I prostate cancer.
“The good news is that I've been told by my doctors that my condition is not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way,” Buffett said in the letter.
Buffett said that he will begin a two-month treatment of daily radiation in mid-July. He said his travel will be restricted during that time but it will not otherwise change his daily routine.
In his typical conversational style, Buffett said that he feels great.
“I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change. Eventually, of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off,” he said.
Prostate cancer is common among older men, but usually isn’t life-threatening. In 2011, 240,890 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, and 33,720 men died of it.
Speculation has long swirled around who would take over for Buffett should he no longer be able to run Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett said in February that he had chosen someone to succeed him as chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, but he did not name that person.
Buffett told CNBC Tuesday his succession plan had not changed with the diagnosis.
Buffett has been in the news lately because of his call for the rich to pay more taxes. The so-called Buffett rule, which was rejected by the Senate Monday, came after he wrote an editorial in the New York Times asking lawmakers to stop coddling the rich.
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Msnbc.com correspondent Brian Alexander contributed to this story.
April 17th, 2012
The Los Angeles Times / By Seema Mehta
A Rick Santorum fundraising mailer that hit Iowa households Monday -- nearly a week after he dropped his presidential bid -- is raising eyebrows because it harshly attacks the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.
The mailer, first reported by the Des Moines Register, contains a letter signed by Santorum that says, "It truly frightens me to think what’ll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee."
"My friend, Republicans and conservatives will be crippled by a nominee who presents zero contrast with Barack Obama on the major issues of this election," the letter says, repeating an attack on Romney that Santorum made constantly on the campaign trail. "Any attempt by Mitt Romney to attack President Obama's positions on healthcare, energy policy, social issues, or the economy will be easily neutralized."
Santorum dropped out of the presidential race a week ago and has yet to endorse anyone. During a Monday evening phone call with supporters, when backers asked who they ought to vote for in upcoming primaries, Santorum urged them to vote their conscience and pointedly did not endorse Romney.
"As far as how you vote, that’s up to you," Santorum told thousands of supporters on the conference call. "I haven’t supported any candidate at this point, so that’s really up to you."
Alice Stewart, a Santorum spokeswoman, said the mailer was approved, paid for and sent before Santorum dropped out of the race.
April 17th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal / By ALLYSIA FINLEY
A string of new polls upholds the political theory that races tighten once parties settle on their nominees. However, the polls also turn the media narrative that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a problem with independents on its head. In fact, it looks like President Obama is the one struggling with unaffiliated voters.
Reuters/Ipsos has Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by four, whereas a month ago he was up by 11. What's more, the president's approval rating among independents dropped to 37% from 42% in March. In Gallup's daily tracker, Mr. Romney edges out the president by two points and by six among independents. Two weeks ago, the president held a four-point lead overall and an eight-point lead among independents.
Likewise, FOX News has Mr. Romney leading the president by two; last month he trailed by four. Critical to Mr. Romney's lead is his six-point advantage among independents. And unaffiliated voters are more likely to say the president's policies have hurt the economy than have helped it by a 12-point margin.
Regardless of whether independents like Barack Obama, they aren't yet sold on President Obama. That should provide some solace to Mr. Romney, whose unfavorables remain high.
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April 17th, 2012
The New York Times / By CHOE SANG-HUN
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Tuesday that it was abandoning an agreement in made in February with the United States, in which it promised to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests and long-range missile tests.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that it “resolutely and totally” rejected the United Nations Security Council’s condemnation of its failed rocket launching last week, and that it would continue to launch rockets to try to place satellites into orbit.
The ministry’s statement hinted, but did not make clear, that the North may now conduct a long-range missile or nuclear test.
No longer bound by the deal, “we have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures,” the ministry said in the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences.”
The United States had already suspended its side of the deal because of the rocket launching, including 240,000 tons of food aid the United States had promised to the North.
The collapse of the deal cost the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency a chance to send inspectors into the isolated country for the first time in three years. And analysts said it made further North Korean provocations more likely.
North Korea argued on Tuesday that Washington was the first to renege on the February deal, by suspending the promised food aid and pressing the Security Council to condemn the rocket launching. In the deal, Washington had promised not to have “hostile intent” against the North.
Analysts have long questioned the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea. Some analysts said on Tuesday that China may have broken a Security Council resolution by providing 16-wheel missile-launching vehicles that were seen in a military parade in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, on Sunday carrying a new type of missile.
Ted Parsons of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly pointed out similarities to a known Chinese vehicle: “The same windscreen design, the same four windscreen wiper configuration, the same door and handle design, a very similar grill area. almost the same front bumper lighting configuration, and the same design for the cabin steps.”
He added that the involvement of a Chinese vehicle builder “in North Korea’s missile program would require approval from the highest levels of the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army.”
James Hardy, another analyst at Jane’s Defense Weekly, said that if it is confirmed, China’s involvement would breach a 2009 Security Council resolution that bans countries from supplying North Korea with “any arms or related matériel, or providing financial transactions, technical training, services or assistance related to such arms.”
On Tuesday, North Korea rejected the Security Council sanction resolutions as “brigandish” and meant to hamper countries from defending themselves. “Justice should be protected by one’s own efforts,” the ministry statement said.