Mitt Romney

Romney and Santorum Rally with Corrupt Lobbyist Ralph Reed in Wisconsin

Tomorrow morning in Waukesha, WI, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, among others (Gov. Scott Walker is listed as an invited speaker), will rally with corrupt former lobbyist Ralph Reed and the state chapter of his Faith & Freedom Coalition, which Reed created to rehabilitate his image in the wake of his deep involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Here are the event details:
It is our distinct pleasure to invite you to the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Presidential Kick-Off, sponsored by the Wisconsin Faith & Freedom Coalition, to be held at the Country Springs Hotel on Saturday, March 31st in Waukesha, WI.  Come hear from CONFIRMED speakers Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Rick Santorum, and Speaker Newt Gingrich.
When Romney and Santorum – the standard–bearers of the GOP – appear on stage tomorrow with Reed, they’ll be embracing a corrupt hustler who has survived scandal after scandal by delivering cash and foot soldiers to Republican leaders (and not for the first time).
It wasn’t long ago that Ralph Reed was damaged goods in Republican circles, and for good reason. Reed came to national prominence as the first executive director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, beginning in 1989. However, by 1997 the groups finances were collapsing, the FEC had found that the group violated federal campaign finance laws in 1990, 1992, and 1994, and federal prosecutors were investigating allegations of financial misconduct made by the organization’s CFO. So Reed resigned and moved to Georgia to become a lobbyist.
In 1999, Abramoff hired Reed and ultimately paid him $1.3 million to generate opposition to legalizing video poker and a state-sponsored lottery in Alabama. The money came from the Choctaw Tribe, which runs a casino in nearby Mississippi. Reed used his extensive Religious Right contacts and engaged James Dobson and the Alabama Christian Coalition, which had a policy against being the “recipient of any funds direct or in-direct or any in-kind direct or indirect from gambling interests.” He funneled $850,000 to the group, but made sure to launder it through his longtime friend Grover Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform.
Before the wheels came off Jack Abramoff’s criminal lobbying enterprise, he described Reed to his business partner as “a bad version of us.” Abramoff, explaining the comment after being released from prison, said that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.” And Abramoff knows more than a thing or two about Reed. He gave Reed his first job after college and, along with Norquist, formed what some called the “triumvirate” at the College Republican National Committee.
After the Abramoff scandal broke, Reed claimed that he had “no direct knowledge of [Abramoff’s lobbying firm’s] clients or their interests,” but the Senate Indian Affairs Committee determined that Abramoff told Reed as early as 1999 that he was taking casino money. In an interview last year with Alan Colmes, Abramoff called Reed’s denial ridiculous:
Abramoff: It's ridiculous. I mean, even the tribes that had other business, 99% of their revenue came from gaming. But a lot of those tribes had nothing but gaming.
Colmes: So, in other words, Ralph Reed was saying "hey, I'll work with you but I don't want to be paid with gambling money, I'm too clean for that." But are you saying that conversation never happened?
Abramoff: No. Never happened. Ralph didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money and, frankly, that was his choice and I think it was a big mistake.
Reed went on to become the chair of the Georgia Republican Party in 2001 and ran for lieutenant governor in 2006. However, the Abramoff scandal had broken by then, and Reed “suffered an embarrassing defeat” in the primary. The New York Times described Reed as a “close associate of Jack Abramoff” whose “candidacy was viewed as a test of the effects of the Washington lobbying scandal on core Republican voters.”
In 2009, Reed founded the Faith & Freedom Coalition to help resurrect his image and stature in the movement. Faith & Freedom, which Reed described as a “21st Century version of the Christian Coalition on steroids,” is really just a Tea Party-stained version of the original, and much smaller despite the steroids.
However, Reed is an operator in the truest sense, and knows how to “tap dance” and “constantly ask for money” with the best of them. He has apparently earned, and I do mean earned, his way back into the good graces of Republican leaders. It’s unclear, however, how long Reed can go without another scandal.

Who's Sorry Now? The Republican Art of the Non-Apology

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Ralph Reed reached out to Rush Limbaugh via Twitter yesterday and accepted his apology. "Apology accepted. Let's move on," he said -- a magnanimous gesture had Rush Limbaugh actually apologized to Ralph Reed. Too bad that, despite the too quick headlines, Limbaugh not only hadn't apologized to Reed -- he hadn't really apologized to anyone at all.

Instead, Reed and Limbaugh, with the backing of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, started up the ole vast right-wing fake apology machine -- designed to temporarily quell a too hot controversy while at the same time not giving an inch.

Unfortunately for them, after too much use of the fake apology, people are catching on.

Although considered by some in the GOP to be a little too rough around the edges, Rush Limbaugh has always been considered a net asset to Republicans. Like fellow right-wing shock-jocks Glenn Beck and Bryan Fischer, he reaches a wide audience with toxic sludge that is ultimately helpful to the Republican Party, saying all the things that fire up the right-wing base, but that the politicians wouldn't want to be caught saying themselves. But Limbaugh has a peculiar kind of power -- no matter how outrageous his comments, members of the establishment Right tiptoe around him, afraid that his toxic words might one day be directed at them. George Will said it best: "They want to bomb Iran, but they're afraid of Rush Limbaugh."

The latest boot-up of the right-wing apology machine began when Limbaugh called Georgetown University law student and contraception coverage advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut," saying "She wants to be paid to have sex." And, as if contraception was sold by the gallon or the pound, he added, "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception."

President Obama immediately stepped up, calling Fluke to check in and encourage her after she had been smeared on national radio.

Rick Santorum, in contrast, called Limbaugh's comments "absurd," but then reasoned that "an entertainer can be absurd... He's in a very different business than I am."

Mitt Romney's response was flimsier and even more timid. Asked about it while shaking hands at a rally, he said that it was "not the language I would have used." Apparently, he had no problem with Limbaugh saying that birth control advocates want the government to pay for them to have sex. He would just use different words.

Finally, Limbaugh himself fake-apologized. "I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke," he said -- before blaming the left and going on to repeat his accusation that she was "discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress."

"I wouldn't have use those words" is the new "I apologize if anyone was offended."

Ms. Fluke did not accept Limbaugh's fake-apology. Ralph Reed, however, accepted it on her behalf. Republican leaders can't be responsible for everything that comes out of the mouths of every right-wing blowhard. But if they want to be president they can be expected to provide clear responses when comments like Limbaugh's are this outrageous, instead of hiding their heads in the sand hoping that the public exposure of these outrages will go away. How hard is it to say that women who advocate for insurance coverage for contraceptives should be heard and shouldn't be called prostitutes for stating their position on the topic? Is it really worth compromising basic decency to stay in the good graces of Rush Limbaugh?

The Republican Party is increasingly buoyed by a small base whose values are antithetical to those of most other Americans. If they want to survive politically, they are going to have to stand up and no longer be fake apologists for the likes of Rush Limbaugh.


Romney Adds Ashcroft to List of Extreme Advisers

More mainstays of the Republican establishment announced their endorsement of Mitt Romney over the weekend. However, it’s not just the current faces of the party like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator Tom Coburn who have tipped their hats; Romney is also registering the support of ghosts of GOP past: Bush Administration attorney general John Ashcroft.

Romney is apparently trying to court as many extremists to his campaign as possible – the addition of Ashcroft dovetails closely with the fringe views of his legal adviser, the rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

As attorney general, Ashcroft oversaw a relentless assault on Americans’ civil liberties. He approved warrantless wiretapping, secret military tribunals, racial profiling, aggressively implemented the PATRIOT Act, and created the “enemy combatant” status in an attempt to justify ignoring the Constitution in order to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without charges.

Many of Ashcroft’s longstanding views still sit squarely with current GOP priorities:

  • He singlehandedly sabotaged confirmation of judicial nominees he didn’t like and has helped pack the federal courts with extreme Right-Wing judges;
  • He perpetuates the War on Women and has sought to amend the Constitution and pass legislation that would eliminate a women’s right an abortion, even for rape and incest victims, and supported making common birth control methods illegal;
  • He opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, designed to protect vulnerable groups of Americans who have long experienced overt discrimination for reasons having nothing to do with their job qualifications; 
  • He opposed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would have amended federal law to recognize hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability;
  • He opposed school desegregation in Missouri;
  • He disregards the separation of church and state by helping funnel government funds to religious organizations that discriminate based on religion and led daily prayer and Bible study sessions at the Justice Department;
  • He helped rig the vote by investigating Republican claims of voter fraud while ignoring charges of voter disenfranchisement.

Ashcroft’s own words perfectly sum up his policy positions:

“There are voices in the Republican Party today who preach pragmatism, who champion conciliation, who counsel compromise. I stand here today to reject those deceptions. If ever there was a time to unfurl the banner of unabashed conservatism, it is now.” --April 10, 1998

If Mitt Romney shares Ashcroft’s extremist sentiments, he will be unable to unite the country should he win the nomination. Ashcroft’s open hostility to the Bill of Rights has no place in this campaign.

However, singing lessons are always welcome.



The full video is here.


Blinded by the Hate: The Real Problem With Judge Cebull's Email

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Earlier this week a Great Falls Tribune reporter found something startling in his inbox: a shockingly racist and misogynistic email forwarded from the most powerful federal judge in Montana, which "joked" that the president of the United States was the product of his mother having sex with a dog. The story soon became national news, with groups like ours calling on Judge Richard Cebull to resign. Cebull quickly apologized to the president and submitted himself to a formal ethics review, somewhat quelling the story. But the story is about more than one judge doing something wildly inappropriate and deeply disturbing. It's about a conservative movement in which the bile and animosity directed at the president -- and even his family -- are so poisonous that even someone who should know better easily confuses political criticism and sick personal attack. Come on: going after the president's late mother? Attempting to explain his email forward, Judge Cebull told the reporter, John S. Adams,

The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan. I didn't send it as racist, although that's what it is. Is sent it out because it's anti-Obama.

Judge Cebull is hardly alone in using the old "I'm not racist, but..." line. In fact, his email was the result of an entire movement built on "I'm not racist, but..." logic that equates disagreement with and dislike of the president with broad-based, racially charged smears. These smears, tacitly embraced by the GOP establishment, are more than personal shots at the president -- they're attacks on the millions of Americans who make up our growing and changing country. Mainstream conservatives have genuine objections to President Obama's priorities and policies. But since he started running for president, a parallel movement has sprung up trying to paint Obama as an outsider and an imposter -- in unmistakably racially charged terms. Too often, the two movements have intersected. The effort to paint Obama as a threatening foreigner sprung up around the right-wing fringe in the run-up to the 2008 election with the typically muddled conspiracy theory that painted him as both a secret Muslim and a member of an America-hating church. They soon coalesced in the birther movement, which even today is championed by a strong coalition of state legislators and a certain bombastic Arizona sheriff. But the birther movement, the "secret Muslim" meme and the idea that the president of the United States somehow hates his own country are no longer confined to the less visible right-wing fringe. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, until recently a frontrunner in the GOP presidential race, continually hammers on the president's otherness, most notably criticizing his "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior." Rick Santorum flatly claims that Obama does not have the Christian faith that he professes, and eagerly courted the endorsement of birther leader Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And before they dropped out, Rick Perry and Herman Cain couldn't resist flirting with birtherism. But perhaps more than either of these fringe-candidates-turned-frontrunners, Mitt Romney has been catering to the strain of conservatism that deliberately confuses policy disagreements with racially-charged personal animosity. Romney went in front of TV cameras to smilingly accept the endorsement of Donald Trump, whose own failed presidential campaign was based on demanding the president's readily available birth certificate. And Gov. Romney continually attacks Obama -- falsely -- for going around the world "apologizing for America." Judge Cebull needs to take responsibility for his own actions. And if the GOP has any aspirations of providing real leadership to this country, it needs to jettison the deeply personal vitriol being direct against Barack Obama and start talking about real issues. When a federal judge has seen so much racially-charged propaganda against the president of the United States that he can claim not to know the difference between genuine disagreement and offensive personal smears, something in our discourse has gone terribly awry.


Senate Rejects Blunt Amendment, Romney Disappointed?

In a 51-48 vote today, the Senate rejected an amendment to the transportation bill by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt that would have allowed employers to deny their employees health insurance coverage for any treatment for any reason.

“The Blunt amendment was not only astoundingly bad public policy, it represented a fundamental misreading of the First Amendment. If it became law, it would have put working Americans – regardless of their religious beliefs – at the mercy of the religious beliefs of their employers. That’s not religious liberty – in fact, it’s exactly the opposite,” said PFAW president Michael Keegan in a statement released earlier today.

The extremity of this amendment wasn’t lost on every member of the GOP. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) voted against the amendment, and even major presidential contender Mitt Romney opposed the bill:

“I’m not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”

But of course, after remembering that perpetuating the War on Women is one of the GOP’s primary tactics this year, he reversed course in record time:

“Of course I support the Blunt amendment. I thought he was talking about some state law that prevented people from getting contraception so I was simply — misunderstood the question and of course I support the Blunt amendment.”

The American people, and in particular the 20 million American Women whose reproductive health coverage would have been jeopardized by the Blunt Amendment, are quickly losing patience for the type of brazen politicking that puts pandering to the extreme right-wing over the legitimate needs of the country.


PFAW: Romney Needs to Make Up His Mind About Birth Control

Yesterday afternoon, presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a reporter that he would not support the Senate’s Blunt amendment, which would endanger access to reproductive care for as many as 20 million American women, saying, “Look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there." An hour later, his campaign told reporters that Romney does, in fact, support the Blunt amendment.

“It’s hardly a surprise to get a flip-flop from Mitt Romney, but such a quick turnabout on an issue critical to the lives of millions of women is staggering,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way.

“Romney is trying to have it both ways: saying he doesn’t want to get in the way of personal decisions about birth control, and then supporting a law that would do just that. The Blunt amendment would set American women back decades – and American women know that. In his lightning-fast flip-flop, Romney has shown once again that he’s more interested in catering to an extreme right-wing base than to the common-sense needs of the people he wants to lead.”


Santorum Says He Doesn’t Want to Impose His Values on the Rest of Us

On Meet the Press yesterday, David Gregory questioned GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum about the social issues – opposition to reproductive choice and gay rights – on which he has built his career. Stunningly, Santorum denied that he has focused on social issues and claimed, “There’s no evidence at all that I, that I want to impose those values on anybody else.”

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FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: It's so funny. I get the question all the time. Why are you talking so much about these social issues, as they, as, as people ask about me about the social issues.
MR. GREGORY: Senator, no, wait a minute.
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: Look, the...
MR. GREGORY: You talk about this stuff every week. And by the way, it's not just in this campaign.
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: No, I talk about, I talk...
MR. GREGORY: Sir, in this campaign you talk about it. And I've gone back years when you've been in public life and you have made this a centerpiece of your public life. So the notion that these are not deeply held views worthy of question and scrutiny, it's not just about the press.
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: Yeah, they, they are deeply held views, but they're not what I dominantly talk about, David. You're taking things that over a course of a 20-year career and pulling out quotes from difference speeches on, on issues that are fairly tangential, not what people care about mostly in America, and saying, "Oh, he wants to impose those values." Look at my record. I've never wanted to impose any of the things that you've just talked about. These are, these are my personal held religious beliefs, and in many forums that I, that, that are, in fact, religious, because I do speak in front of church groups and I do speak in these areas, I do talk about them. But there's no evidence at all that I, that I want to impose those values on anybody else.

This is, of course, a bunch of baloney. While Santorum has spent a lot of time in his presidential campaign talking up regressive tax policies, irresponsible deregulation and anti-environmentalism, the core of his brand has always been social conservatism. His campaign has consistently and explicitly distinguished his anti-choice, anti-gay record with Mitt Romney’s in order to successfully appeal to culture-warring voters.

Santorum has also never shied away from wanting to “impose” his far-right values on the rest of the country. In a 2005 interview with NPR, for instance, he railed against the libertarian wing of the Republican party, saying, “They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world.”

And here he is at a Republican debate in November discussing how our civil laws must “comport with God’s law”:

The former senator has said that states should be allowed to outlaw birth control and gay relationships, but supports the federal law banning recognition of legal same-sex marriages. He supports so-called “personhood” laws, which would not only outlaw all abortions regardless of circumstances, but would jeopardize legal access to contraception. He says that as president, he would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, putting the careers of openly gay members of the military at risk. Yet he says he doesn’t want to “impose” his far-right values on the rest of us.

Santorum’s interview on Meet the Press is far from the first time he’s claimed that he’s not overly interested in social issues. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch found a speech he gave in 2008 in which he claimed that it’s liberals who have made sex an issue on the campaign trail. For liberals, he said, politics “comes down to sex” and that the Democratic Party has become “the party of Woodstock.”:

And it’s just insidious. And it’s most of the time focused on the sexual issues. If you’re a hard-core free-market guy, they’re not going to call you “zealous”. They’re not going to call you “ultra-conservative”. They’re not going to do that to you.
It comes down to sex. That’s what it’s all about. It comes down to freedom, and it comes down to sex. If you have anything to with any of the sexual issues, and if you are on the wrong side of being able to do all of the sexual freedoms you want, you are a bad guy. And you’re dangerous because you are going to limit my freedom in an area that’s the most central to me. And that’s the way it’s looked at.
Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.
All of the things are about sexual freedom, and they hate to be called on them. They try to somehow or other tie this to the Founding Father’s vision of liberty, which is bizarre. It’s ridiculous.



Off the Deep End


A message to People For the American Way supporters from PFAW president Michael Keegan:

Fighting contraception. Stopping domestic violence protections. Extending tax cuts for the wealthy, while hiking taxes on the middle class. Welcoming white supremacists to a conference, but banning gay conservatives. The GOP has followed its extremist fringe off the deep end, leaving the rest of us back in the reality-based world befuddled. Their strategists warned them not to do this, but it appears that to the GOP, radical fringe issue positions are like catnip. In last night's Republican presidential debate in Arizona, the candidates even spent several minutes discussing which of them is least in favor of allowing rape victims to have access to emergency contraception.

Perhaps Bruce Bartlett, who was an economic policy official under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said it best on last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Discussing the obstacles to getting smart policies agreed upon and passed in government, he said, "the problem is purely political ... frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is." (Hint: he was not talking about the Democrats.)

Standing Up for Women's Health -- We all heard about the War on Women's Health last year, when Tea Party-empowered state legislatures passed a record slew of anti-choice laws -- like Arizona's ban on "race-based abortions" and Virginia's attempt to shut down most abortion clinics in the state. These state legislatures were joined by an enthusiastic right-wing Congress that attempted to defund the entire $317 million federal family program, tried to redefine "rape" and eagerly promoted lies about their favorite bogeyman, Planned Parenthood. Well, the War on Women's Health is back, and it looks to be more an all-out War on Women. PFAW members spoke out when Susan G. Komen for the Cure threatened to cut off funds for Planned Parenthood because of internal influences from right-wing staff and board members. We're currently fighting an amendment in the U.S. Senate that would give employers the power to deny any health care to their employees that they take "moral" issue with personally. And we continue to track closely dangerous and extreme state legislation like the recent bill passed by Virginia’s right-wing Assembly that would force women considering abortions -- even rape victims -- to undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasounds.

Exposing the GOP Candidates' Extremism -- PFAW's Right Wing Watch last week uncovered the audio recording of a speech Rick Santorum gave to students at Ave Maria University in 2008 in which he said Satan, the "Father of Lies" was focusing all his attention on the United States of America. He said that academia had long ago fallen to this Satanic attack, derided mainline Protestant churches as no longer Christian and said that we are involved in a "spiritual war," as opposed to a political or cultural war -- a war in which we could only assume people with opposing views to Santorum's are on the side of Satan. The story took off like wildfire in both the blogosphere and the mainstream news media. It became the dominant storyline of the GOP debate for the two days leading up to the last debate and even had right-wing pundits like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh, and politicians like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, asserting that Santorum's religious extremism is too much for a majority of Americans.

Fighting Judicial Obstruction -- A new PFAW fact sheet shows the extremity and unprecedented nature of Senate Republicans obstruction of judicial nominees, as well as its impact on Americans' access to justice. While a vacancy crisis persists on many of the nation's federal courts, our persistence is paying off and we're finally making headway in getting some of the president's qualified nominees confirmed. This month, the Senate confirmed Cathy Ann Bencivengo and Jesse Furman to U.S. District Courts in California and New York respectively, and Adalberto Jose Jordan to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, all of whom had been waiting months on the Senate calendar for a vote despite the fact that they came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without any opposition. But dozens of other qualified nominees, most of whom had little or no opposition in Committee, still await confirmation. We'll continue to hold Republicans accountable for their obstruction and keep the pressure on to confirm these judges as swiftly as possible, and one at a time if necessary.

Youth Spotlight: Young Elected Officials take on Citizens United v. FEC -- In state, city and municipal governing bodies in at least seven states, members of our affiliate PFAW Foundation's Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network have put forward resolutions that call for the end of corporate personhood and unlimited special interest money in politics. One of the first big victories in this coordinated national effort was that of Missoula, Montana Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken. After attending a session on Citizens United at the 2011 YEO National Convening, Councilwoman Wolken took a sample resolution and introduced a city-wide referendum calling for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that made it clear that corporations are not people. The referendum passed overwhelmingly, with over 75% of the vote, bringing an abundance of media attention to the issue and forcing leaders in Montana's state government to weigh-in as well.

As always, thank you for your support, without which none of our work would be possible.


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Michael Keegan



Republicans Debate Who is Least in Favor of Emergency Care for Rape Victims

In case we needed any more evidence that the former mainstream of the GOP has gone completely off the deep end, Republican presidential candidates spent several minutes at last night’s CNN debate discussing which of them is least in favor of allowing rape victims to have access to emergency contraception. Watch:

The exchange came at the heels of a week that was chock-full of shockingly regressive Republican attacks on women. PFAW’s Marge Baker summed last week up in the Huffington Post:

Just this week, we have seen not just the stunning spectacle of major presidential candidates coming out against birth control coverage, but Republicans in the Senate holding up domestic violence protections because they protect too many people; a potential vice presidential candidate pick poised to sign a law requiring women to receive medically unnecessary vaginal probes without their consent; a leading presidential candidate claiming that "emotions" will get in the way of women serving in combat; and a House committee holding a hearing on birth control access -- with a panel consisting entirely of men.

And that’s not to mention billionaire Santorum supporter Foster Friess’s saying he didn’t see why birth control was expensive because, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

The GOP candidates’ exchange over emergency contraception for rape victims took this tone-deafness to a new level of insensitivity. Does Mitt Romney really think he’ll appeal to female voters by attacking not just contraception but emergency care for rape victims?

It looks like not. TPM reports that since Romney started attacking birth control, he’s “suffered a precipitous drop in support among women voters.”

You don’t say.


"The Number One Reason to Vote"

Lawrence O'Donnell discusses the critical importance of the Supreme Court in this - and any - presidential election.

CPAC: Romney Prevented MA from Becoming the 'Las Vegas of Gay Marriage'

There is something truly remarkable about watching Mitt Romney address the audience at CPAC and lecture them about what it means to be a conservative as he tries to convince them that he has been a champion of conservative values throughout his political career ... leading to situations such as this where he takes credit for preventing Massachusetts "from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage":

GOP Presidential Candidates Should Denounce Bigotry of White Nationalist Featured at CPAC

People For the American Way today called on GOP presidential candidates to speak out against the inclusion of a white nationalist leader this week at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The conference—which will be addressed by Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and other GOP leaders— will be hosting Peter Brimelow, the founder of VDARE, a white nationalist website which frequently publishes the works of anti-Semitic and racist writers. Brimelow, an immigrant from Great Britain, has expressed fear of the loss of America’s white majority, blames non-white immigrants for social and economic problems and urges the Republican Party to give up on minority voters and focus on winning the white vote. He said that a New York City subway is the same as an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, “an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored.”

“It’s shocking that the CPAC would provide a platform for someone like Brimelow,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Responsible GOP leaders should speak out against the bigotry and hatred that Brimelow and VDARE push on a regular basis. That’s doubly true of anyone who aspires to the presidency of the United States. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum need to make it perfectly clear that they won’t be silent when they’re confronted with racism and anti-Semitism.”

VDARE has published the work of people like Robert Weissberg, who says that black and Hispanic students are responsible for problems in the American education system, Marcus Epstein, the Youth for Western Civilization leader who karate-chopped a black woman after calling her a n****r (and later pled guilty to assault), and J. Philippe Rushton of the eugenicist Pioneer Fund.

“The inclusion of Brimelow is all the more galling given the fact that another group, GOProud, was excluded from the conference simply for advocating equality for gay people,” said Keegan. “CPAC should make very clear that hatred has no place in our civic discourse.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists VDARE as a White Nationalist hate group and notes that “’s archives contain articles like ‘Freedom vs. Diversity,’ ‘Abolishing America,’ ‘Anarcho-Tyranny — Where Multiculturalism Leads’ and ‘Why Immigrants Kill.”


Religious Right to Romney: Safety Net Un-Biblical

When Mitt Romney stepped on his Florida primary victory message by declaring that he wasn’t concerned about the very poor – and that he’d patch any holes that just might be in their safety net – most observers thought his mistake was declaring disinterest in the poor. But to right-wing activists, Romney’s bigger problem was his support for any kind of social safety net.
The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack called Romney’s comments “unconservative,” saying that “The standard conservative argument is that a conservative economic agenda will help everyone.” 
“The safety net contributes to poverty,” declared Rush Limbaugh. “It does not solve it.” Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint told a reporter, “Those are the programs that are hurting, not just the poor, but our country.” 
Religious Right leaders added another touch: the safety net is un-Biblical. Yesterday, Liberty Counsel pushed out a statement promoting the Christian Reconstructionist notion that the Bible gives the government no role in addressing poverty:
Romney wrongly assumes that it is the role of government to provide more entitlements to help the poor. In fact, that is not the role of government. The historical biblical view of helping the poor is that they are best helped by individuals and the faith community. Government programs tend to enslave the poor in an endless cycle of poverty. The biblical model is that both, the giver and the recipient, are blessed. When government steps in between the giver and the recipient, the giver loses the blessing of giving and the recipient is often left in a worse, rather than better, position. Romney's statement that he would rely on government programs to help the poor indicates his intent to continue the same failed big government programs and policies….it is the duty of the church, the faith community, to look after the poor, the orphans, and the widows.
Longtime Religoius Right activist Gary Bauer made the same point in a USA Today column in January, arguing that “nowhere in the Bible are we told that government should take one man's money by force of law and give it to another man. Jesus' admonition was a personal command to share, not a command for Caesar to "spread the wealth around." 
There are, of course, alternative views about what the Bible has to say. President Obama, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this week, cited the Biblical principal that much will be expected of the person who has been given much. (Laughably, Obama has been criticized by Ralph Reed for discussing how his faith influenced his approach to policy-making.) Writing recently for Sojourner’s, an economically liberal evangelical group, Tim King called Bauer’s claims about scripture “false,” saying that biblical injunctions related to forgiveness of debts and the release of slaves are “forms of government mandated redistribution of wealth” and “laws concerned with justice not encouragements to charity.”

Romney Touts Support of Anti-Gay Activists

Mitt Romney’s campaign today unveiled its Social Conservatives Coalition along with a letter from nine Massachusetts activists defending Romney’s conservative credentials on abortion rights and gay rights while governor. As Jeremy Hooper noted, one of such activists includes Roberto Miranda, who claimed that Satan is behind marriage equality and directly tied advances for gay rights to the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Kyle reported back in 2006:

Satan has warred mightily against this region, and has effectively neutralized it through the influence of principalities of rationalism, humanism, intellectual pride and spiritual arrogance. Massachusetts, as well as all of New England, has become a cemetery of churches, a breeding ground for heretical doctrine, and intellectual furnace energizing attitudes of godlessness, rational arrogance and secularism It is no coincidence, of course, that something as dramatically distant from the Christian worldview as gay marriage would be originated in this region.

Is it exaggerated to see prophetic significance in the fact that on September 11, 2001 Boston served as the point of departure for the deadly forces that spread so much destruction and havoc in this nation and all over the world? What took place at the material level is now being carried out at the moral and spiritual level, as the virus of homosexuality and gay marriage begins to spread dramatically all over this nation and perhaps the world.

While it appears that the Romney campaign has no problem with aligning itself with someone who blames “the virus of homosexuality and gay marriage” for the 911 attacks, a member of Social Conservatives Coalition may upset one major Romney booster: Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Romney has campaigned with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen in Florida and the congresswoman even stars in a Romney Spanish-language ad.

But one of Romney’s Coalition leaders, Marili Cancio of the Christian Family Coalition, represents a group that has attacked Rep. Ros-Lehtinen for her advocacy of gay rights. Here’s what the Christian Family Coalition had to say about Rep. Ros-Lehtinen for co-sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act, attacking her as “an arrogant, anti-Family, homosexualist extremist” and a “corrupt politician”:

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) has embarrassed and ridiculed herself by tragically becoming the first Republican to co-sponsor on a socially destructive and totally undemocratic bill to repeal the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that respects marriage at the Federal level. This new fraudulent legislation seeks to impose homosexual so-called "marriage" on all fifty (50) states and thereby trample on the will of the American people and our nation's traditions and values.

Voters elected Rep. Ros-Lehtinen as a pro-Life, pro-Family Conservative, not as an arrogant, anti-Family, homosexualist extremist. Homosexual so-called "marriage" was never part of her campaign platform. She lied to and misled her own constituents, campaign donors and volunteers by corruptly kowtowing to the anti-social, extremist homosexualist agenda in exchange for who knows what.

This much we do know, in November 2008, 62% of Florida's voters, including those in her own congressional district, voted for a constitutional amendment protecting and defining civil marriage and all of its benefits as "the union of one man, one woman." Now, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen refuses to respect this law, she refuses to respect the will of the people, and she refuses to honor the moral values and ethical principles upon which she was elected to Congress! Shame on her!

There will be more to come for this public servant tragically gone astray! Voters will not allow arrogant, corrupt politicians to undermine with impunity the safety and welfare of their families and their community. This matter is far from over.

With Romney trying to shore up his social conservative backers, he may want to stay away from trumpeting the support of people who blame homosexuality for 9/11 and representatives of organizations who call one of his prominent endorsers a “homosexualist extremist.”

Romney's Faith Leaders Rip Gingrich's 'Despicable Behavior'

On Wednesday, Newt Gingrich held a conference call with faith leaders during which he declared that the push for marriage equality is an example of "the rise of paganism" while his supporters warned that failure to elect Gingrich would quite literally spell the end of America and Western Civilization.

On Thursday, the Mitt Romney campaign held its own conference call with its own faith leaders who ripped Gingrich for his arrogance, recklessness, and "despicable behavior":

The Mitt Romney campaign held a conference call this morning with social conservative Republicans in Florida, touting the former Massachusetts governor's integrity and values and contrasting him to Newt Gingrich. Leading the call were Pastor David Janney of Orlando Baptist Church, the largest church in Orlando, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon of Indialantic, and Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and a prominent advocate for religious freedom.

Pastor Janney said he's watched Romney being vetted and noted his marriage of 42 years, five children and 16 grandchildren: "When I look at his life I'm not concerned about being embarrassed or distracted by his personal issues."

Weldon said he was one of the members of congress who tried to oust Gingrich as U.S. House Speaker. "With Newt it was kind of like every day we didn't know what he was gonna say, we didn't know what he was going to be doing, he was just a little bit unpredictable," Weldon said. "It worries me the idea of him being in the oval office."


State Rep. Dennis Baxley, former leader of the Christian Coalition of Florida, also spoke on the call, saying Romney "shares our Christian values and will protect our religious freedom."

"When your choosing a leader it's about integrity. The hardest thing to maintain in any leader is those essential qualities of humility and purity. ... I'm very concerned about Newt Gingrich on that front." Baxley called Gingrich "very arrogant on his moral failure - calling the press despicable for covering him instead of humbly seeking the forgiveness of his former wife and others for his own despicable behavior."

Romney Blasts Obama's 'Assaults' on 'Life', 'Religion' and 'Marriage'

On a conference call last night with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mitt Romney laced into President Obama, arguing that he is leading an “assault on life,” an “assault on religion” and an “assault on marriage” as part of a larger “assault on American values.” With Gingrich quickly moving up the polls in Florida with the support of more conservative, evangelical voters, Romney used the conference call to pick up the same rhetoric used by unsuccessful candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann and dish out red meat to Religious Right voters.

Romney, once a stalwart defender of Roe v. Wade, said President Obama shows a “disregard for the sanctity of human life [that] is absolutely appalling” and is leading an “assault on life” by rescinding the Mexico City Gag Rule, which bars the government from funding NGOs that use their own finances for family planning which include abortion services or referrals. Romney also distorted Obama’s statement marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, claiming that the President thinks pregnant women “can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity,” when actually Obama concluded his statement by saying that “we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”

He went on to say that Obama is conducting an “assault on religion” through the administration’s opposition to employment discrimination on religious grounds and attempts to ensure that women cannot be refused birth control coverage in their insurance plans or medical procedures because of loopholes, calling it “an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.”

Romney concluded his diatribe by attacking a push for equal rights for gays and lesbians as an “assault on marriage,” and pledged to promote the Federal Marriage Amendment and stop Obama from paving “the path to same-sex marriage.”


Romney: I think he is detached from reality when he says that he wants to ‘reclaim American values.’ There has been in my view an assault on American values since the beginning of his administration. Clearly from the beginning the assault on life with his abandonment of the Mexico City Policy and with the Vice President being sent to China and saying we understand the one-child policy there and of course the abuses associated with that policy are alarming and disturbing, and then on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade just a couple of days ago he said that the wonderful thing about Roe v. Wade is that it provides an equal opportunity for girls to equal boys, meaning that they don’t have to have a child anymore, if they become pregnant they can get rid of the child and therefore have an equal opportunity. The disregard for the sanctity of human life is absolutely appalling.

Then of course there’s the assault on religion. I think a lot of people were surprised that he felt that the government should be able to determine who is and who is not a minister and fortunately the Supreme Court disagreed with him on that, but now he’s gone forward and said that religious institutions, universities, hospitals and so forth, religious institutions have to provide free contraceptives to all their employees, even if that religious institution is opposed to the use of contraception, as in the case of the Catholic Church. Even in that regard, fighting to eliminate the conscience clause for health care workers who wish not to provide abortion services or contraceptives in their workplace, in their hospital for instance. It’s an assault on religion unlike anything we have seen.

There’s been an assault on marriage. I think he is very aggressively trying to pave the path to same-sex marriage. I would unlike this president defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I would also propose and promote once again an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.

Santorum Accepts, Romney Declines Invitation to Religious Right Forum Hosted by Gingrich Campaign Co-Chair

To the surprise of nobody, Mitt Romney is ignoring an invitation to participate in the presidential candidate forum at Liberty Counsel’s Florida Awake! conference on Saturday. So far, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have accepted the invitation, while Ron Paul respectfully declined because he will be outside of Florida at the time. Romney has already skipped the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa and two Personhood USA forums, and his decision to skip the Liberty Counsel debate earned him a rebuke from Personhood USA, even though Romney at one point endorsed the group’s extreme anti-choice legislation. The slam from Personhood USA, a cosponsor of the forum, implied that he wouldn’t be a strong opponent of abortion rights:

Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senator Rick Santorum are confirmed to participate in Florida Awake! Congressman Ron Paul regretfully declined, as he is not scheduled to be campaigning in Florida at that time. The event is already sold out, with over 1800 tickets reserved.

Governor Romney, again expressly invited, has again neglected to notify organizers of his willingness or disinclination to participate.

"Following President Obama's statement celebrating the Roe v. Wade decision -- effectively celebrating the deliberate killing of 54 million innocent American citizens -- Personhood USA recognizes the urgency of ensuring that we know where our candidates stand," stated Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. "We need a president who values life, and will defend the innocent in word and in deed. We certainly don't need a candidate who cares nothing for the Sanctity of Life, nor one who will join President Obama in celebrating the deaths of millions.'

But Romney may have a not terrible reason for skipping the forum led by Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, as Staver is Co-Chair of the Gingrich Faith Leaders Coalition. Staver endorsed Gingrich earlier this month, calling him the “clear choice for conservatives.”

While Romney’s decision to not participate is nothing new, it is far more bizarre that Santorum would accept the invitation to a forum hosted and moderated by a Gingrich campaign leader.

Cass: Romney Must Renounce "Mormon Hostility to Christianity"

Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is an anti-gay, anti-Islam Religious Right activist who dedicates an inordinate amount of effort to attacking the faith of leaders like Barack Obama.

So it should come as no surprise that Cass is also anti-Mormon, as he is now saying that Mitt Romney's faith should be an important issue in evaluating "his fitness for office" and calling on Romney to "renounce the historic Mormon hostility to Christianity":

Mormonism has always been at odds with Christianity and openly denies the Trinity and the gospel of grace.

As a Bishop in the Mormon Church, Romney is free to believe its strange doctrines, practice their Masonic rituals, even wear their sacred underwear, but Romney's Mormon beliefs are not Christian.

Historically Mormons have hated and insulted Christians beginning with its founder, the polygamous Joseph Smith who said he wanted to be the Mohammed of the Americas.

Romney hopes Christians fall for the lie they believe the same things we do.

Mitt Romney, Presidential candidate and Mormon Bishop, in his 2007 speech regarding his Mormon faith sounded conciliatory towards other faiths. But his position is not consistent with the Mormon beliefs he adamantly affirmed in whole and from which he refused to distance himself. The Mormon faith has, from its inception, attacked all other religions, especially orthodox Christianity.

Romney's Mormon beliefs are not Christian. Mormonism's antipathy toward Christianity should not be so quickly forgotten. This is an important aspect of any evaluation the American voters make regarding his fitness for office.

If Romney wants the Christian vote, more than the Mormon dollars supporting his campaign, he must demonstrate real respect, not rhetoric. If he does not renounce the historic Mormon hostility to Christianity, then we must conclude that he agrees with his church's defamation of the past.

Beck: Republicans are 'Cowards" who Won't Even Call Obama a 'Socialist'

Earlier this month, Glenn Beck hosted David Barton for a discussion on the importance of the 2012 election.  During the segment, Beck admitted that he felt "powerless" and complained that the media was failing to hold our leaders accountable. 

Even the Republican candidates are "cowards," Beck asserted, and, as evidence of the fact that "no one is saying anything" about what is happening to this nation, he singled out Mitt Romney as he marveled that he has been unwilling to call President Obama a "socialist":

It's becoming spooky. There is so much power being concentrated and no one is saying anything. Even our Republican candidates are cowards; they won't call it out for what it is. I mean, Mitt Romney won't even say this guy, he's a socialist. Socialist? I'm so far past socialist - I left socialist territory with Barack Obama two years ago and he won't even say he's a socialist. So how do you possibly, how can we change things?

Fischer: A Mormon President Threatens the "Spiritual Health" of the Nation

Ever since Mitt Romney called out Bryan Fischer for his relentless bigotry at the Values Voter Summit, Fischer has been on a mission to ensure that Romney does not win the Republican nomination and has been increasingly willing to attack Romney's Mormon faith as part of this effort.

Yesterday, Fischer ramped it up a notch, declaring on his radio program that having a believer in a false religion in Mormonism inhabiting the White House would be a threat to the spiritual health of this nation:

[Mormonism] is not a Christian faith. It is, as Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas says, a false religion. So it's kind of a striking things and I know it concerns a number of spiritual leaders, and I count myself among them, is what this would mean for the spiritual health of the United States of America is a worshiper of a false god occupied the White House. You know, what that would mean for the spiritual future of America and what it might reveal about the spiritual weakness of America if the American people, particularly the so-called conservatives, the people of faith in America, would promote someone to the highest office in the land who is a follower of a counterfeit faith, a false religion.

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