April 22nd, 2012
The Chicago Tribune /
April 21st, 2012
(CNN) -- Mitt Romney got another expected but key endorsement from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on Wednesday before heading to North Carolina to criticize President Barack Obama in the North Carolina city where Democrats will nominate Obama later this year for a second term.
Meanwhile, at appearances in Michigan and Ohio, Obama made some references that could easily be construed as jabs at his presumed Republican opponent's privileged upbringing and his position on the auto industry bailout.
Romney, speaking near the outdoor stadium in Charlotte where Obama will deliver his speech accepting the Democratic nomination in September, listed what he called failed administration policies that he said would not get mentioned by the president.
"He has failed by the measurements he set," said Romney. "You won't hear that at this convention, but you're going to hear it at ours, I'll tell you that."
In an apparent reference to polls that showed Obama was considered more likable, Romney cracked: "Even if you like Barack Obama, we can't afford Barack Obama."
Earlier, Romney echoed some of the less serious criticisms of Obama launched by the political right, complaining that the president plays golf too often.
"I scratch my head at the capacity of the president to take four hours off on such a regular basis to go golfing," Romney said in an interview on WLW radio in Ohio. "I remember how the Democrats used to be so critical of George W. Bush for playing occasional golf. He doesn't begin to play the kind of golf that Barack Obama has, but we don't hear much about that from the mainstream media."
Romney, who said on WTVN radio in Ohio that he intends to spend a day or two at the London Olympics this summer, still needs several hundred delegates to clinch the Republican nomination but his path cleared last week when conservative challenger Rick Santorum dropped out.
Obama's campaign has long considered Romney the likely opponent in November, and the president has started making references, both obvious and oblique, to the multimillionaire former Massachusetts governor in his speeches.
Talking about job training at a community college in Ohio, Obama criticized a House Republican budget plan embraced by Romney that would cut funding for programs to help young people go to college.
"Somebody gave me an education," Obama said in reference to his and the first lady's middle-class background. "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn't. But somebody gave us a chance."
An Obama campaign aide downplayed any potential reference to Romney, noting that the president has used the expression in the past.
In Dearborn, Michigan, the president defended his 2009 authorization of the massive auto bailout while indirectly smacking Romney for opposing the plan.
Standing on the same stage at the Henry Ford Museum where Romney announced his first bid for president in 2008, Obama told a crowd of some 600 enthusiastic supporters: "Change is the decision we made to rescue the American auto industry from collapse when some politicians said, 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.' "
Romney, who was born in Michigan and whose father was a former auto executive and governor of the state, opposed the bailout, saying a structured bankruptcy could have achieved the same result without the massive cost to the U.S. government. Moreover, he has argued the Obama administration made too many concessions to auto unions as part of the bailout.
The election campaign is intensifying now that it is essentially a two-man race. Romney has been rolling out endorsements this week in the aftermath of Santorum's departure from the Republican campaign.
Daniels, at one time considered a possible GOP contender, explained Wednesday on Fox News why he is backing Romney.
"He's already won our nomination. He earned it," the Indiana governor said. "He's proven himself the best nominee we can put forward, and I'm just happy to sign on and help."
In his own statement, Romney said Daniels shares his background in business and has "used the principles of the private sector in government."
"Indiana has been served well by his leadership based on fiscal discipline, smaller government, and a friendly environment for job creators," Romney said. "I am honored to have his support."
The Daniels endorsement followed similar public support for Romney on Tuesday from the top two Republicans in Congress as well as Republican governors from Pennsylvania and Wyoming, showing the party's intention to rally around their certain nominee and shift the focus of the campaign from the GOP primary race to November's election.
After his Ohio address, Obama planned to return to the fundraising circuit Wednesday with events in Michigan, where Romney was born.
One of the two planned events will be at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, the Obama campaign said. The Ford Museum was where Romney announced his first bid for president in 2008.
Wednesday's fundraisers come on the heels of the Obama campaign's announcement that it gathered $53 million last month, $8 million more than it took in during February.
A new poll Tuesday showed voters are willing to give Romney a fresh look now that he is the certain Republican nominee.
The CNN/ORC International poll showed that Romney's popularity is starting to rebound now that the divisiveness of the Republican primaries appears to be all but over.
According to the survey, 44% of people questioned said they have a favorable view of Romney, up 10 points from February, while 43% said they have an unfavorable opinion, down 11 points, and 13% were unsure.
The survey said 53% of Americans plan to give Romney a second look when the primaries are officially over, with 45% saying they already know enough about Romney to decide whether he would be a good president.
It also indicated that Romney's popularity still lags well behind Obama's: 56% have a favorable view of the president, with 42% saying they see Obama in a negative light.
"The Republican Party's favorable rating has also rebounded now that the nomination fight is all but over, from 35% in March to 41%," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That still puts the GOP several points behind the Democratic party's 46% rating, but it is an indication that the wounds have started to heal from the primary season."
Both House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday they back Romney's nomination. The statements a few hours apart were intended to show growing Republican support for Romney despite mistrust among some conservatives over his moderate policies when he was Massachusetts governor.
"I will be proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win," Boehner told reporters after he met with House Republicans to discuss the November election.
McConnell later told reporters he also is backing Romney, which is no surprise but represents a formal endorsement after the Kentucky senator previously said Romney would be the party's nominee and "an excellent candidate."
April 21st, 2012
CNSNEWS.COM/ By Terence P. Jeffrey
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April 21st, 2012
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been out of sight for a week, speaking only through Twitter messages and written statements while undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba.
The lack of any appearances on television has Venezuelans wondering about what his unusual silence might say about his struggle with cancer, and whether Chavez may be coping with a particularly tough phase of radiation therapy.
More than two dozen messages have appeared on Chavez's Twitter account since he left for Cuba on April 14. He has cheered on supporters with slogans such as "Let's continue building socialism!" In others, he has praised his military commanders, announced funding for local governments and vowed to survive and win re-election in October.
But he has seldom mentioned his cancer treatment.
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello reiterated on Friday that Chavez is expected to return to Venezuela soon.
"God willing, next week he'll be here again with us once he has finished the treatment," Cabello said in a televised speech. He insisted that even when Chavez is away in Cuba, "he leads just the same as if he were here in Venezuela."
"The commander's presence here isn't necessary, because just the same he's the commander of the revolution," Cabello said.
But even some of Chavez's supporters have been saying recently that they wonder what's going on with his health.
"It makes me sad, but my Comandante must not be as well as they say," said Guillermo Suarez, a street vendor selling sunglasses. "It's already been many days that we haven't seen him, heard him."
Chavez, who has been president since 1999, has long been a constant presence on Venezuelan television, often addressing the nation for several hours most days in addition to his marathon Sunday program "Hello, President." But recently there have been no episodes of "Hello, President," and Chavez said he expected his final rounds of radiation therapy, which began last month, to be rough.
Chavez has not discussed details of the radiation treatments, saying they have diminished his strength but have been going well. Last weekend, he decided not to attend the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, the sort of high-profile international event where he would previously have taken center stage. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro announced the decision on Chavez's behalf, saying he was skipping the summit on the advice of his doctors.
Chavez began radiation treatment in Cuba in late March after undergoing an operation in February that removed a second tumor from his pelvic region. The first was taken out last June. He has kept secret some details of his illness, including the type of cancer and the precise location of the tumors.
Doctors say common side effects of radiation therapy include fatigue and damage to areas exposed to the radiation beams, as well as nausea and diarrhea in cases such as Chavez's in which the pelvic area is treated.
Chavez also was away in Havana regularly last year while undergoing chemotherapy after the initial surgery.
During previous trips to Cuba, Chavez has periodically appeared on television, either in phone calls or appearances with his aides or daughters. He has given the appearance of continuing to work and keeping abreast of affairs at home.
Before his latest trip to Cuba, Chavez said he planned to stay away longer to allow for his last two rounds of radiation treatment, and obtained approval from lawmakers to leave the country for more than five days as required by the constitution.
In the past week, his Twitter messages have been read aloud by his Cabinet ministers at televised events. At one event Friday, Chavez's supporters responded with shouts of "Onward, Comandante!"
Without Chavez on the air, state television has instead shown a salsa concert, documentaries and a Mass. Such programs and newscasts are interspersed with a short segment showing a healthy Chavez embracing children in slow motion against a background of folk music.
Pro-Chavez lawmaker Dario Vivas dismissed concerns about Chavez keeping a lower profile, saying the president remains fully in charge and is regaining his health.
"The same people who complain that he talks a lot are the ones who get panicked when they don't hear him," Vivas said Friday outside an event at the National Assembly.
April 21st, 2012
Citing inflammatory language while expressing his displeasure with President Barack Obama, the military has uninvited rock star and conservative political activist Ted Nugent from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Army post’s Facebook page.
“After learning of opening act Ted Nugent’s recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation," it's Facebook posting says.
So far, the June 23 concert remains on the Fort Knox schedule, with REO Speedwagon and Styx listed as “co-headliners,” but army personnel said they will grant requests for refunds in light of their decision to nix the opening act.
The cancellation is the latest wrinkle in a controversy that has engulfed Nugent since last weekend when, speaking at an NRA convention, the rocker said that he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama is reelected in November.
Also referring to Obama and Democratic candidates in general, he told the NRA faithful: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Use of the violent metaphors earned Nugent a visit from Secret Service agents on Thursday. He said Friday on his website that he had with them a “good, solid professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence toward anyone.”
A spokesman for Fort Knox told TheBlaze.com that having Nugent perform “would be a conflict of interest since the military has the obligation to be apolitical.”
Such a claim, though, seems dubious when it comes to choosing entertainers, who oftentimes show their partisanship. At its website, for example, Fort Knox is touting an appearance this month by comedian Jay Phillips who is supportive of Obama through his Twitter activities. And Ludacris has performed at U.S. Army bases even after the 2008 release of his pro-Obama song “Politics As Usual,” which calls Hillary Clinton, who was running against Obama at the time, a “bitch” who is “irrelevant.” The ultra-partisan song also called President George W. Bush “mentally handicapped” and says that Sen. John McCain "don't belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed.”
Fort Knox personnel did not return calls or emails requesting clarification on their “obligation to be apolitical” in their entertainment selections.Facebook page have been running about 3-1 against the decision to boot Nugent from the concert.
“He is such a supporter of the troops. Such a shame that he was canceled for expressing his freedom of speech. This is America, if you have not forgot,” one commenter wrote.
“I thought that freedom of speech was one of the very same things that our military fought for. When Obama said he was going to change the military, he did. He made them cowards. Shame on you Fort Knox,” said another.
And on the flip side: “Anyone who threatens a U.S. president like that should not be allowed on a military installation. No matter which party he affiliates himself with. Good decision.”
Cr note to the writer: Paul Bond, after that last paragraph; you are such a miserably deficient little pussy! Had Nugent actually threatened the President, he would have been locked up, you snarky little leftist Weasel. "ahem" begging pardon to all of the others for the language....