John McCain

Obama Condemns Filibuster of His DC Circuit Court Nominee

President Obama specifically cites the obstruction of the three remaining Republican members of the "Gang of 14."

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/21/13

  • Wonkette: Montana Law Enforcement Will Protect You From Other Law Enforcement Because Freedom. 

Gaffney Says McCain and Boehner are 'Parroting the Muslim Brotherhood Line' by Condemning Bachmann's Witch Hunt

Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival, who recently led the “Lenin and Sharia” conference on the supposed links between Communism and radical Islamists, today joined Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio to once again defend Michele Bachmann’s anti-Muslim witch hunt. But before they could get to that, the two attacked conservative activist Grover Norquist, whom Gaffney has consistently demonized as a Muslim Brotherhood agent. Gaffney said that his ten part “Muslim Brotherhood in America” course proves that Norquist and his Brotherhood allies are copying the “kind of subversive, clandestine operations that the Communists ran in their heyday in this country”:

Gaffney: Cliff Kincaid, one of the things that jumps out at you as you look at this material in the course and Grover’s friends in the Islamist Brotherhood infrastructure in the United States is how closely it seems to track, almost maps perfectly really, to the kind of subversive, clandestine operations that the Communists ran in their heyday in this country. You’ve developed a tremendous expertise on that subject and I wonder what particularly in your own program about Lenin and Sharia, did you find much evidence of the connection being more than coincidental there?

Kincaid: We did, Frank. This is where Grover’s conduct leaves me almost speechless. I mean here’s a guy who did recognize during the Reagan years the Communist threat and who now seemingly can’t see that we’re up against a global Islamic terrorist threat operating through front groups. That’s exactly what the Communists did.

Later, Gaffney claimed that John McCain and John Boehner, who along with many other Republicans denounced Bachmann’s witch hunt, were “sort of parroting the Muslim Brotherhood line” by defending Huma Abedin from Bachmann’s attacks. Kincaid recommended the House restore the Internal Security Committee, which was originally called the House Un-American Activities Committee, and said that neither Abedin nor President Obama could pass a background check:

Gaffney: They’re not simply imitating what the Communists did, the Communists trained them in how to run what the Brotherhood calls civilization jihad. As you know this is not necessarily terrorism, at least at the moment it’s a pre-violent form of creating the conditions of the battlefield that will enable the violent kind of jihad ultimately to be very successful. Cliff, one other thing that I’m struck by that seems to be an important parallel and it brings us back to the Grover Norquist element here; we’ve also been hearing of course from John McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner lately, among others, sort of parroting the Muslim Brotherhood line on a number of issues, notably the revelations that the deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State, Huma Abedin, has extensive personal as well as family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Give us a sense of how this is a throwback to the earlier revelations, among others, by J. Edgar Hoover of what the Communists have done on the other side.

Kincaid: You would think that somebody like a McCain who is of course a war hero who came out of the Hanoi Hilton would understand the similarities between what the Communists have tried to do to us and now what the global Islamists are effectively doing to us. Yet we noticed, Frank, a couple years ago that he seemed to go haywire on this whole thing, after warning about the Muslim Brotherhood he suddenly shows in Washington at an event honoring Al Jazeera and then he shows up making these comments on the Senate Floor in criticism of the conservative members of the House who have raised concerns about security problems at the State Department and other agencies.

This is something that requires frankly the Congress to take a harder look; I wish we could go beyond just asking the inspectors general to look at this problem. We have long at America’s Survival advocated the return of the House and the Senate, but they can do it in the House, of the House Internal Security Committee to issue subpoenas, to bring in and require testimony from these people, to get to the bottom of it in public hearings as to the security problems in the State Department. Who gave Huma Abedin a security clearance? Does she in fact have one? We don’t even know that. I do know that I’ve taken a look at the standard form 86, 127 pages long that she was supposed to fill out and if she had filled it out, and let’s face it even the President couldn’t pass a basic background check, but if she had filled it out truthfully she wouldn’t be in that position today.

Gaffney: Amen, Cliff Kincaid, you are as always a great, great authority on these issues.

Top Romney Adviser Backs Bachmann Witch Hunt – PFAW Calls on Romney to Stand Up to McCarthyism

Washington, DC – As Mitt Romney leaves on a six-day international trip meant to bolster his foreign policy credentials, People For the American Way is calling on him to reject recent comments by his own foreign policy adviser, John Bolton.

Yesterday during an interview with anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, Bolton defended Rep. Michele Bachmann’s ongoing McCarthy-esque attacks on Muslim-Americans serving in the U.S. government. Bolton’s comments, first reported by PFAW’s Right Wing Watch, place him at odds with prominent Republicans including Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner, who have both repudiated Bachmann’s unfounded allegations about “deep penetration” of the U.S. government by the Muslim Brotherhood and her targeting of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin.

“Mitt Romney is traveling to Europe to prove that he has the foreign policy chops to be President,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “But first he needs to deal with a foreign policy problem of his own right here at home. Five members of Congress, led by Rep. Michele Bachmann, are targeting Muslim-American public servants in an old-fashioned witch hunt. Their dangerous and unfounded accusations are resonating halfway across around the world and undermining American diplomacy in the Middle East at a critical moment.

“Top Republicans like Speaker Boehner and Senator McCain have denounced Bachmann’s ‘dangerous’ efforts, and even her former campaign manager ripped her ‘outrageous and false charges,’” said Keegan. “Now one of Romney’s top foreign policy advisers is backing Bachmann’s witch hunt, but Romney hasn’t said a word.

“If Romney can't stand up to Michele Bachmann at home, how could he ever be a world leader?” asked Keegan. “Bachmann’s witch hunt is endangering the lives and livelihoods of hard-working Americans while undermining diplomacy abroad. Romney needs to take a stand on this basic issue at home or his foreign policy trip will be a failure before it ever gets going.”

# # #

Earlier this week, People For the American Way called on Boehner to remove Bachmann from the House Intelligence Committee, where she is privy to sensitive national security information.

Memo: Behind the Scenes, Silent Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, People For the American Way
Date: May 4, 2012

Subject: Behind the Scenes, Silent Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

Senate Republicans’ systematic obstruction of President Obama’s nominees to the federal courts is by now well known. The President’s confirmed nominees have on average waited four times as long between committee approval and a vote from the full Senate than did George W. Bush’s nominees at this point in his term. The vast majority of these, once the GOP’s obstruction options are exhausted, are confirmed overwhelmingly.

What is less well known – and largely hidden in behind-the-scenes Senate procedure – is that this systematic obstruction often begins long before a nominee has been sent from the Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor. In fact, Senate Republicans are routinely using procedural tactics to delay the consideration and approval of the President’s judicial nominees by the Judiciary Committee.

This silent obstruction adds another layer of gridlock to an already gridlocked process – and it does so away from the spotlight of the media and the scrutiny of constituents.

Pre-Committee: Withholding Blue Slips

Under procedures adopted by Chairman Leahy as a bipartisan courtesy to his fellow senators, the Judiciary Committee does not consider a judicial nominee until both of that nominee’s home-state senators have submitted a “blue slip” allowing the nominee to move forward. The submission of a blue slip does not imply support of the nominee – merely that the nomination should be considered by the Judiciary Committee.

Despite the serious implications of withholding a blue slip, senators can do so without giving a reason and even without a public announcement – making it impossible to know how often the practice occurs. But several recent incidents that have been publicized show just how willing some GOP senators are to prevent unquestionably qualified and mainstream nominees from even reaching a Senate hearing.

In Arizona, a two-year-old emergency vacancy remains unfilled despite the existence of a well-qualified nominee who has been waiting since June 2011 for a Senate hearing. Rosemary Márquez, President Obama’s nominee to the District Court based out of Tucson, was rated unanimously qualified by the American Bar Association and has the support of a large cross-section of Arizona’s legal community. But Sens. McCain and Kyl have held up Márquez’s nomination for ten months by refusing to submit blue slips to the Judiciary Committee.

Márquez is not alone. In February, the President nominated Elissa Cadish, a state district court judge in Nevada, to fill an empty seat on the U.S. District Court. Cadish is widely recognized as being qualified for the federal bench, including by a unanimous panel of the American Bar Association. But Sen. Dean Heller is withholding his blue slip anyway and thus blocking the Judiciary Committee from even considering her nomination.

Heller’s objection to Cadish is this: one month before the Supreme Court overturned decades of case law to hold that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, Cadish stated – accurately – that then-current case law did not recognize such a right. For a nominee for a lower federal court, who is expected to rely on Supreme Court precedent rather than create her own, it was a statement of fact, one that four members of the United States Supreme Court agreed with just a few weeks later. For Heller, it disqualifies her from even being considered for a federal judgeship.

Similarly, Eleventh Circuit nominee Jill Pryor is being kept from a Senate hearing by home-state Republican senators who have already acknowledged that she is qualified for a federal judgeship but want her in a different seat – one on the U.S. District Court. Georgia senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson have said that they’re fine with Pryor being a federal judge. Pryor’s skills and experience aren’t in doubt: she’s received a host of awards for her work in the courtroom and has been a leader in Georgia’s legal community. The senators’ beef is simply that they have someone else in mind for the Circuit Court seat the president nominated her to, and they seem willing to keep an emergency vacancy unfilled until they get their way.

All of these nominations are being held hostage by Republican senators who are silently filibustering them by refusing to consent to the Judiciary Committee’s even holding hearings on their merits.

In Committee: No-Shows and Routine Delays

Twice this year, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have prevented nominees from moving forward by simply not showing up at committee hearings and preventing a quorum. These “boycotts” kept the committee from holding votes on nominees who had already had hearings before the committee, further delaying already delayed nominations.

The walk-outs provided a more public accent to what was already routine obstruction by Judiciary Republicans. Committee rules allow the minority party to delay votes on nominees by requesting a one-week holdover, a provision designed to permit members who have questions about a particular nominee to get those questions answered. Under President Bush, such holdover requests were occasionally made to consider particular questions about particular nominees. Under President Obama, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have used this tactic routinely, holding over all but five of more than 150 nominees.


Senate Republicans have been using nearly every procedural tactic at their disposal to stall President Obama’s judicial nominees at every step in the nominations process. Very few of these maneuvers come with explanations, and those that do are often blown far out of proportion.

The result has been a record vacancy crisis in the federal courts, inexcusable delays for Americans seeking justice, and eroded trust in gridlocked Congress.

Media contact: Miranda Blue, (202) 467-4999,


Senate Flouts Corporate Lobbyists, Breaks Filibuster of Nominee

Today, in a 63-33 vote, the Senate broke a filibuster of the nomination of John McConnell to serve as a district court judge in Rhode Island. The attempted obstruction of a district court nominee was a top priority for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent enormous lobbying resources on sinking McConnell’s nomination. The Chamber objected to McConnell’s work as a public interest lawyer in Rhode Island, where he took on lead paint manufacturers and tobacco companies on behalf of consumers.

Right Plays the Race Card

Right-wing pundits and political leaders committed to the destruction of the Obama presidency have been openly fomenting racial resentment or tolerating those who do. In one breath, they accuse President Obama of being racist and in the next they and their media allies howl with indignation if their own racial rhetoric is challenged.

Senator Polliwog (aka Lindsey Graham) on Barack Obama, Michael Phelps, and North Carolina

Barack Obama claimed the state of North Carolina today, which hasn’t gone to a Democrat since Jimmy Carter. But before we could reflect on this historic triumph, we were reminded of something we read last week, which made us think of this:

Don’t worry. We can explain.

Senator Lindsey Graham, warming up a North Carolina audience for McCain, assured them that McCain would win: "He fits North Carolina like a glove…I’ll beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina." Whoops! Graham continued, "Don't let me down, because I can’t swim."

But rather than eating his words, we hope Graham will take the opportunity to learn to swim. Swimming is an important skill, especially for a man who could himself get washed away by a blue wave.

We’ve done him the favor of inquiring about beginner lessons in South Carolina. The Columbia YMCA has two very promising offerings:

Graham was right about one thing: McCain does fit North Carolina like a glove. We tried it ourselves, and the glove kept getting hung up on Asheville:

Sean Hannity Asks the Tough Questions about So-Called “Winner” of Presidential Election

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s historic election, the McCain campaign and RNC led a coordinated campaign to cast the integrity of the vote into doubt. They claimed ACORN was engaging in massive voter fraud. They claimed that Obama was receiving illegal foreign contributions. They claimed that the “liberal media” was skewing the polls in favor of Democrats.

In other words, they were writing themselves an insurance policy in the event of a contested election or narrow loss. But it wasn’t even close.

As a result, the anticipated barrage of conspiracy theories and false charges never materialized. Yet not everyone could just let it go.

Here’s the current poll on

(h/t: Bob Geiger)

Obama Wins Mandate on the Courts

A post-election memo from PFAW on how yesterday's results "delivered a sweeping mandate for President-elect Obama to appoint federal judges who are committed to core constitutional values."

McCain-Palin Pit Bulls Turn Feral

There's a long history in American politics of exploiting divisions and fanning bigotry to win elections. In recent decades those strategies were honed by Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. Now the torch has passed to Steve Schmidt, and he’s done just about everything possible to fan the flames.

Schmidt’s tactics and the right-wing echo chamber have convinced millions of Americans that the nation is about to elect someone who hates America and “pals around with terrorists.” Just take a look at this video of supporters outside a Palin rally:

In recent weeks, the right wing has grown even more frenzied as McCain and his allies pushed the ACORN voter fraud hoax. Not only is Obama a Manchurian candidate, the thinking goes, but his evildoer comrades at ACORN are trying to steal the election. It’s little wonder that some people are going berserk.

McCain, Palin, Schmidt, Limbaugh, Hannity and the rest of them have created something very powerful, but very ugly, and it’s grown too big for them to control. Here is just some of what happens when you train your pit bulls to fear and hate and attack, and then they get loose:

Obama lawn sign replaced by rebel flag

Obama sign burned on black family's front lawn

Anti-Obama Fury Spills Over Into Down-Ticket Contests: "Bomb Obama"

Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments

ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

Obama Called a Socialist and 'Un-American'

McCain supporters heckle early voters

Dead bear covered with Obama signs found at school

People For the American Way is tracking such incidents around the nation. If something happens in your community that people should know about, please get in touch.

Hate You Can Believe In: ACORN Deluged with Threatening and Racist Voicemails and Emails

It’s bad enough that the employees of ACORN have had to endure days of baseless and outlandish attacks by John McCain and the RNC. But after McCain outrageously claimed before a national audience on Wednesday night that ACORN was “maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy,” the group came under attack, literally. In the following days, ACORN’s Boston and Seattle offices were vandalized and at least one employee received a death threat.

And for nearly two weeks, ACORN offices across the nation have been subjected to an onslaught of racist and threatening voicemails and emails. We have secured copies of some of the most disturbing and offensive messages and have reproduced them below in order to show the very real consequences of the Right Wing’s overheated and misplaced “voter fraud” rhetoric.

Warning: the emails and voicemails below are highly explicit and have only been edited to remove personally identifying information. Please also note that, where relevant, the proper authorities have been notified.

Voicemail #1:  

“Hi, I was just calling to let you all know that Barack Obama needs to get hung. He's a fucking nigger, and he's a piece of shit. You guys are fraudulent, and you need to go to hell. All the niggers on oak trees. They're gonna get all hung honeys, they're gonna get assassinated, they're gonna get killed.”

Email #1: This email was received by the Cleveland office. The subject line was the name of a senior staffer who had recently appeared on TV to defend the group.

According to McClatchy, the email was traced back to a Facebook account featuring a McCain-Palin sign.

Email #2:

Voicemail #2:

"You liberal idiots. Dumb shits. Welfare bums. You guys just fucking come to our country, consume every natural resource there is, and make a lot of babies. That's all you guys do. And then suck up the welfare and expect everyone else to pay for your hospital bills for your kids. I just say let your kids die. That's the best move. Just let your children die. Forget about paying for hospital bills for them. I'm not gonna do it. You guys are lowlifes. And I hope you all die."

ACORN Hit by Threats and Vandalism in Wake of McCain Comments

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert released the following statement:

"On Wednesday night, John McCain outrageously claimed before a national television audience that ACORN was 'maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.' In the two days since, the community organizing group has suffered vandalism at its Boston and Seattle offices and has faced an onslaught of threats and hostile emails.

Right Wing Smear on ACORN Leads to Outrageous McCain Debate Claim

Media Uncritically Recites Right-Wing Talking Points, Turns A Blind Eye To Real Voter Suppression

People for the American Way (PFAW) will take out a full-page ad (PDF link) in The New York Times charging the right wing with misleading the public in the ACORN voter registration controversy. The ad also challenges the press for failing to examine the fabrications made against the voter registration group and turning a blind-eye toward the right wing's ongoing effort to disenfranchise voters.

Prop 8's Call to Extremism

A report examining Lou Engle, a leader in the right-wing fight to pass Proposition 8 in California, and his extremist brand of "Dominionist" Christianity.

McCain and Domestic Terrorism

Time for McCain to Look in the Mirror

Senator John McCain has been making a lot of baseless accusations lately, but he is the one with the troubling past. McCain and Marylin Shannon — a 2008 McCain delegate and former vice chair of the Oregon Republican Party — both appeared at an August, 1993 fundraiser for the far right Oregon Citizens Alliance. McCain appeared against the advice of Mark Hatfield, a GOP senator from Oregon, who feared that the group's extremist views would taint McCain.

Palin Remarks Distract from McCain Plan for Supreme Court

In response to Sarah Palin's remarks concerning the Supreme Court on Wednesday's episode of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

McCain Backers Use Supreme Court as Excuse for Cynical Hatchet Job

PFAW's Kolbert: We need a conversation about the Court and the Constitution, not more sleaze from the smearmongers of the Right

The Judicial Confirmation Network, a group of right-wing activists that mobilized support for the Bush administration's efforts to impose its political agenda on the federal judiciary, has launched a mud-slinging ad campaign that is ostensibly about the Supreme Court but does nothing to address the issues at stake for all Americans in the future of the judiciary.

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