• 12 years: Following the long-standing precedent set by past presidential candidates, President Obama and the First Lady, as well as Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, have released over a decade of tax returns to answer any questions Americans may have about their finances.
• Release the Returns
The Romney campaign says he has released as many returns as candidate John Kerry did in 2004, and cites Teresa Heinz Kerry’s refusal to release any of her tax returns. Neither is an apt comparison. John Kerry actually released returns from 1999 through 2003, and also released tax returns during his Senate runs. As for Teresa Heinz, Romney isn’t the wealthy spouse of a candidate, but the candidate himself. In 2008, John McCain released two years of returns, but he had been filling out financial disclosure forms for decades as a senator. Romney protests that he is not legally obliged to release any tax returns. Of course not. He is no longer in the realm of the private sector, though, where he can comply with the letter of the law with the Securities and Exchange Commission and leave it at that. Perceptions matter.
Romney may feel impatience with requirements that the political culture imposes on a presidential candidate that he feels are pointless (and inconvenient). But he’s a politician running for the highest office in the land, and his current posture is probably unsustainable. In all likelihood, he won’t be able to maintain a position that looks secretive and is a departure from campaign conventions.
• Top Romney Spokesperson Ed Gillespie Urged Kerry’s Presidential Campaign To Release More Tax Returns In 2004 – From an October 14, 2004 RNC press release: “Throughout history, presidential candidates have disclosed income tax information prior to Election Day. We believe Americans value disclosure and transparency in campaigns.”
Diversions, or: Don’t wanna release them:
• When all else fails, be a racist?: “I wish this president would learn how to be an American,” Romney surrogate John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, said at the beginning of the conference call. Sununu would later try to walkback the remark. Interviewed on the Paul Wescott Show, a New Hampshire radio station, Sununu stated “It’s not just that he doesn’t understand the private sector — he doesn’t understand America.” Sununu talking on Fox News this morning, “He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, and when he came to the U.S. worked as a community organizer — which is a socialized structure — and then got into politics in Chicago.”
• On Sununu: These are the sort of immature invectives that characterize the ultra-rightist operatives of the John Birch Society, the Tea Party, and the Ku Klux Klan. Yet they are emanating from the severely pursed lips of an establishment Republican speaking on behalf of the GOP nominee for president. It is an abhorrent display of racism and unpatriotic vilification.
• Romney says Obama’s policies are ‘extraordinarily foreign’: “Celebrating success instead of attacking it and denigrating making America strong. That’s the right course for the country. His course is extraordinarily foreign.” [Mitt Romney, Pennsylvania]
Under fire for Bain’s investments in companies that outsourced, Romney has tried to turn the tables by accusing Obama of outsourcing via stimulus funding and loan guarantees to clean-energy companies, an industry where a number of investors have donated to Obama’s campaign. Recently, Republicans have drummed up Fisker Automotive, a car company that received loan guarantees for design and engineering work in the United States.
Romney claimed on Monday that the White House approved $500 million in loan guarantees to the company in order to help Democratic investors in Fisker, among them Al Gore’s venture capital firm, and that ultimately the company used the money to create jobs assembling a new car in Finland. But Fisker says Romney is way off base and that the loans, a fraction of which they actually spent, went entirely to financing hundreds of jobs in California and Michigan, with more planned in Delaware. And, like Solyndra, the loan guarantees went through a Bush administration program. Fisker filed its application while Bush was still in office, though it was ultimately approved under Obama.
• Mitt Romney: Chairman, CEO, and Sole Shareholder—But Not Responsible? This was Mitt Romney’s explanation. Verbatim.
• Self loathing behind Limbaugh hatred of Obama
• Limbaugh: New Batman Film Is an Anti-Romney Conspiracy – Never mind that the character Bane was created in 1993. Wingers don’t need no steenkin’ facts!
• Bachmann’s ludicrous allegation that the Muslim Brotherhood has “penetrated” the United States government convinced anti-Islamist Egyptians that the U.S. is backing their domestic Islamist opponents. The source for Bachmann’s ravings is Frank Gaffney, a conspiracy theorist who claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government and that shari’a law is coming to the U.S.
• McCain Calls Bachmann’s Muslim Brotherhood Accusation ‘An Unwarranted And Unfounded Attack’ – “To say that the accusations made in both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be overly polite and diplomatic about it. It is far better, and more accurate, to talk straight: These allegations about Huma, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”
• Romney Meets With Leader of Radical Christian Group, Despite Extremism Exposed By Their New Hire
With the hiring of the right’s favorite Islamophobe, the Family Research Council’s extremism just got a little harder to ignore.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney met privately this week with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, he sought the counsel of a leader who, just days before, selected as his right-hand man a retired general known for his extreme contempt for Muslims.
Romney, hoping to draw the same kind of help organizing evangelical voters that Perkins gave former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum during the primaries, sought Perkins’ input on potential running mates and “family” issues, barely 24 hours after FRC announced the hiring of retired Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin as executive vice president, in charge of day-to-day operations. It’s a bold move, and one that makes FRC’s extremism just a little harder to ignore.
…by hiring Boykin, FRC has dramatically undermined its claim to be an advocate for religious liberty as well as its efforts to position itself in the mainstream of the conservative movement. While Perkins’ extremism has largely flown below the media’s radar, Boykin’s style is in-your-face intolerance.
Bush and Cheney – it’s like they never left:
• “I’m interested in politics. I’m a supporter of Mitt Romney. But, you know, he can do well without me.” – George W Bush, in a Hoover Institution interview. Also from that interview: “Eight years was awesome, and I was famous and I was powerful. But I have no desire for fame and power anymore,” he said. The whole deal is here.
• Dick Cheney’s re-emergence tour continued today with a visit to Capitol Hill to get Republicans “ginned up” to prevent automatic cuts to military spending that are supposed to take effect early next year. The big elephant in the room here is that Cheney himself oversaw drastic cuts to the DOD budget during his tenure as Defense Secretary and even pushed for cuts to expensive weapons programs.
• ROMNEY: We did speak, at some length, about foreign-policy matters
Late last month, a senior GOP operative told Reuters that, when faced with foreign policy questions, Mitt Romney’s “instinct is to call the Cheney-ites” — those whose views align with former Vice President Dick Cheney. Just a day later, the New York Times reported that a former Cheney adviser guided Romney’s “hard line” on China policy.
Cheney’s and Romney’s views on foreign policy line up on a host of issues — something put on stark display last week when the former vice president hosted a fundraiser for Romney at his Wyoming home. The disastrous policies of the Bush era apparently remain unpopular enough that the Romney campaign barred photographs of the candidate with his host, but not enough to keep Romney from taking advice from the controversial figure.
• Republicans in the Senate killed the DISCLOSE Act. Again – Why? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Perhaps Republicans want to shield the handful of billionaires willing to contribute nine figures to sway a close presidential election.” The election, he said, may be bought by “17 angry, old, white men.” The DISCLOSE Act is meant to pull back the curtain and reveal who’s donating $10,000 or more not only to super PACs but also to trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and these so-called “social welfare” non-profits that can spend limitless cash on campaigns as long as it’s less than half the organization’s total budget. [I've got to add, it's interesting that those disclosing LESS than 10k would, I suppose, still be disclosed? If there's another law that also protects the less wealthy from disclosure, I'd like to know about it, or is it only the very wealthy that are to be hidden?]
• Maddow: Billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson could face prosecution – Now, dueling probes of Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, are underway at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In short, it’s not looking good for Adelson. If investigators can prove Las Vegas Sands bribed a foreign official, it would be a clear and massive violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American companies from bribing foreign officials.
• Global bank HSBC enabled money laundering from Mexican drug cartels, funneled money to Iranian organizations despite government sanctions against the country, and was used by Saudi Arabian banks with ties to terrorist organizations, according to a Senate committee report released Monday.
• Investigators for an Arizona sheriff’s volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent. Members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse said in March that there was probable cause that Obama’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 was a computer-generated forgery. Now, Arpaio says investigators are positive it’s fraudulent.
• And now it’s Gypsies: Yesterday, the ACLU of Colorado sent a letter to Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson criticizing the department’s “Gypsy Scams” alert, and demanding that Robinson rescind it.
Healthcare and Reproductive Rights:
• South Carolina House overrides veto for rape crisis centers. The House voted unanimously to override Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of $454,000 to support rape crisis centers around the state. The 111-0 vote would restore the money to be disbursed to the 15 nonprofits that last year helped 5,000 victims. It was among few unanimous votes Tuesday to override Haley’s budget vetoes.
• A federal judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit in which Nebraska and six other states tried to block part of the federal health care law that requires contraception coverage. U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom of Lincoln dismissed the case Tuesday, saying the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the action challenging part of the Affordable Care Act.
• President Obama instructed officials last week to offer health insurance to seasonal federal firefighters, and today, the Office of Personnel Management began implementing this policy. Along with covering firefighters and their families, officials said that other agencies could request health coverage for other temporary disaster-relief workers. The new regulation takes immediate effect.
• On Monday, Minnesota announced it has signed a $41 million contract to implement the state health exchange required by the Affordable Care Act, joining at least 15 other states that are also moving forward to enact the ACA’s provisions. In contrast, Republican governors in conservative states, including Florida, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, are threatening to delay setting up health exchanges until after the presidential election, in case Mitt Romney wins and repeals Obamacare.
• Med Student Launches ‘Cooch Watch’ To Combat Virginia Attorney General’s Anti-Abortion Agenda – A group named “Cooch Watch” after Ken ‘The Cooch’ Cuccinelli just launched to fight back. They aim to stop the attorney general from forcing his will on Virginians. Medical student and former abortion clinic worker Stephanie Arnold is leading the group of about 10 women.
• Wisconsin – A Dane County judge on Tuesday permanently barred enforcement of the photo identification requirements of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying that it imposes too great a burden on voters in Wisconsin than the state constitution allows.