Emanuel Formally Announces Bid for Mayor

November 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Rahm Emanuel “formally kicked off his campaign for Chicago mayor today by saying he’s got the right combination of background, vision and grit to lead the city during tough times,” the Chicago Tribune reports.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

First Major Challenger To Steele Announces Bid

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis on Friday will become the first major candidate to announce a bid to chair the Republican National Committee.

In a letter being sent to national committee members, Anuzis says the decision to challenge incumbent chairman Michael Steele did not come easy, given his close relationship with Steele. But, he says, the only way for Republican to win back the White House is to get the RNC on the right path.

“The overriding challenge we face is winning back the Presidency in 2012 and we will not accomplish that objective unless there is dramatic change in the way the RNC does business,” Anuzis wrote to members. “We can’t rely on our wins in 2010 to carry us to success in 2012. We also can’t win in 2012 unless the RNC re-establishes itself as the powerful force that put us over the top in 2000 and 2004.”

Many members of the RNC are unhappy with the committee’s direction after two years under Steele’s leadership. But Anuzis said he wouldn’t dwell on any perceived gaffes as he makes his pitch to members.

“I’m not discussing or addressing the past two years. Steele’s record is the record and it speaks for itself. I am focusing on what is in the party’s best interest this next cycle,” Anuzis told The Hotline as he prepared to make his announcement public. “People like that I’m not bashing Steele, second guessing his policies or highlighting his mistakes. I don’t have to. They are known, well-documented and written about.”

Still, Anuzis’s pitch is heavily laden with references to some of Steele’s more controversial moves. “My agenda is very straightforward. I have no interest in running for office. I won’t be writing a book. It is not my goal to be famous,” Anuzis wrote, referring to a book Steele wrote that angered RNC members. Anuzis also pledged a “detailed review and supervision of how we allocate our resources,” a reference to Steele’s often strained relations with the party’s biggest donors.

The pitch also focuses on what might have been had the RNC been as big a player in the party’s get-out-the-vote operations as it had been in earlier years.

Hotline On Call

Clinton: Palestinians shouldn’t try for UN recognition, says talks need to resume, announces $150m more for Palestinians

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: With Israel announcing plans to build new housing units in East Jerusalem in the past week the Palestinians have reiterated their threat to seek UN recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state on their own in the absence of process in the Mideast peace talks.



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Political Punch

Mayor Tom Truex Announces Bid for Broward GOP Chair

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

by Javier Manjarres

Last night at the Southwest Broward Republican Organization(SWBRO), former Mayor of Davie Tom Truex formally announced that he would be seeking the Chairman’s position at the Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC). The election will be held next month, December 6th, to replace outgoing Chairwoman Cindy Guerra, who was voted into the position earlier this year- Guerra’s election was mired in controversy and further fueled the animosity between rival factions within the BREC.

Mayor Truex is a well respected Republican and considered to be a true conservative, unlike many ’moderate’ opportunists that are entrenched in the local GOP. Truax mentioned that the GOP needed to reach out and help all Republican candidates, and even went as far as to mention Senator George LeMieux-LeMieux is rumored to throw his hat in the ring  for Senate next year. Because of his Conservative bona fides, Truax will be able to garner the support of many BREC members that have long been disappointed with the direction of the local  party has gone in.

The Shark Tank

Israel announces East Jerusalem building plans as Netanyahu visits U.S.

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(Paul)

The Israeli government has announced that construction will proceed on more than 1,300 housing units in East Jerusalem. The announcement comes while Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is in the U.S. The U.S. has duly expressed its “disappointment.”

Our readers will recall how incensed the Obama administration became when, during Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, the Israeli Interior Minister unveiled plans to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem. The timing of that announcement apparently was mistake, for which the Israelis apologized. President Obama nonetheless took deep offense and attempted to humiliate Netanyahu when he visited the White House.

The timing of the latest announcement, which comes in advance of a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, surely was premeditated. Presumably, the timing was intended, at least in part, to demonstrate that Israel is not concerned about the prospect of additional attempts at bullying by Obama administration.

As I suggested last night in connection with Netanyahu’s statement to Biden about Iran, in the aftermath of the American voters’ rebuke to the Obama administration, the one-sided nature of Obama’s relationship with Netanyahu looks like it’s going to change.




Power Line

Fox News Pats Itself On The Back, Announces Promotions

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Fox News’s Deputy Bureau Chief Bryan Boughton on Thursday sent a memo to his staff congratulating them for “stellar performance” on Election Night and announcing promotions.

“Fox News had an amazing political season leading up to our stellar performance on election night,” Boughton writes in the memo obtained by Hotline On Call. “We averaged seven million viewers and put together comprehensive coverage throughout the day. Your work helped make this possible and you should be proud of your role in this amazing feat.”

With the 2010 election cycle behind them, Boughton writes that Fox News needs to be “moving forward” to “focus on our next major goal 2012.” He added that “it promises to be another amazing campaign to see who will reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and a renewed battle for control of Congress. … Some of the challenges will be the stories we cover others come as we continue to change the way Fox News operates.”

Boughton notes that FNC will be “rebuilding” their Master Control Center in order to make it possible to “transition to a tapeless newsroom.”

Boughton also announced a few staff promotions in the DC bureau.

Doug Rohrbeck, who is currently senior producer on “Special Report”, moves up to the Executive Producer slot.

Dave Shott will now manage Special Events coverage and FNC’s role in the pool reports.

Catherine Loper helms the newsroom team while Anita Siegfriedt jumps up to Senior White House producer of the White House unit.

And Peter Doocy, FNC anchor Steve Doocy’s son, will joins the DC bureau’s team of reporters.

Full memo after the jump.

Hotline On Call

Cantor announces run for House Speaker: His letter

November 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Cantor released the following letter announcing his intention to seek the Speaker’s Office.  The “governing document” referenced is available here.

The letter:

Dear Republican Colleague:

Congratulations on your election and for being a major part of a new Republican resurgence.  For the past two years, Democrats have refused to listen.  Now that we have been given a trust – we will not make that mistake.

I have long believed that success for the Republican Party is tied to success for America.  Thomas Jefferson once remarked that “governments are republican only in proportion as they embody the will of the people, and execute it.”

To that end, we must govern differently.  Not just differently than the Democrats, but differently from our previous majority.  And job number one is to focus on more jobs for more Americans and to shift the economy from stall to forward. It’s time to produce results.  Americans are asking for the opportunity to assume responsibility and get back to earning success.  I also believe we need to change the culture of Washington.  I believe that we must change the culture of spending that has prevailed for far too long.  And I believe we need to change our expectations of the Congress, the Leadership, the committees, and of each of us.

I have announced my intention to stand for election as Majority Leader because I am results oriented and I want to help lead that effort and bring about these changes.  I write not only to ask for your support, but also to outline some thoughts as to how we can seize the opportunity and make these changes.

Let us be under no illusion – many of those who cast their vote for Republicans yesterday have their share of doubts about whether we are up to the task of governing; about whether congressional Republicans have learned our lesson.

I harbor no such doubts.

For the past two years, House Republicans dedicated ourselves to developing alternative solutions grounded in the time-tested principles of fiscal responsibility and small-government.  On the stimulus, instead of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into non-stimulative government programs, we proposed to give private-sector job creators an incentive to hire by exempting small businesses from 20 percent of their tax liability.

On health care, instead of the government takeover known as ObamaCare, we provided solutions such as medical liability reform and allowing the purchase of health care coverage across state lines which would lower costs while enabling families and patients to keep the care they have if they choose.

To create real jobs, we offered a “no cost jobs plan” that would cut unemployment by, among other things, halting the deluge of President Obama’s tax increases and approving negotiated free-trade agreements.

And on the budget, we challenged President Obama to freeze spending at 2008 levels, offered hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts, and enacted an earmark moratorium within the House Republican Conference.

Our efforts culminated with the release of the “Pledge to America,” in September.

Faced with an administration and a Pelosi-led Congress intent on reorienting the role of government in America, time and again we stood up against them.  Now it is our responsibility to lead with the same conviction, vigor, and fight.  Joined by our new Members, I know that we are ready for that challenge.

Having crisscrossed the country over the past year, I have consistently heard Republican candidates speak passionately about jobs and getting people back to work.  They have inspired by articulating the case for constitutionally limited government that empowers individuals, families, local communities, entrepreneurs, and small business people.  Our candidates have stood proudly for traditional values and have fought to ensure that we do not sacrifice our national security to political correctness or to a desire to win the approval of foreign elites.

We now have the opportunity to turn our words into action and produce real results.  Like you, I am anxious to get started.

Most of us ran for Congress because we wanted to tackle the big problems facing our nation.  We came to Washington to eliminate the deficit, to tear down barriers to job creation, and to reform a government that has grown out of touch with the governed.

I don’t think any of us ran for Congress with the idea that we could finally provide a subsidy to this industry or that, or to this community or that.  Or that we would vote to continue the same federal programs and agencies that are failing our citizens and bankrupting our children and grandchildren.  And I know none of us ran with the idea that we should go to Washington to congratulate a collegiate basketball team for having a good season – or feel obligated that we needed to do so – even if we happened to be a fan.

Yet that is what we have been doing under the recent Democrat majority and even all too often under the previous Republican majority.  Our problems have grown too immense to waste any more time.  America stands at a crossroads, and the decisions we make at this very moment will determine the type of country that our children will live in.

That is why we will drain the swamp rather than learning to swim with the alligators.  How?

We start by rethinking how time is spent and about the types of legislation that will be considered on the House floor.  We start by identifying our top policy goals and committing to take concrete steps every single week to advance those goals.  And we hold each other accountable with this simple question: are the actions of the House, our committees, and our Conference consistent with our principles and do they advance the nation’s priorities

We will not be able to roll back the leviathan overnight or balance the budget tomorrow or defeat terrorism once and for all next week, and people realize that.  They understand how big the problems facing our country are, the obstacles that stand in our way, and the old, ingrained powers of Washington that will fight us every step of the way.  Yet, people expect that we will fight each and every day to address these problems and make progress in every battle.  We must not fall prey to the culture of Washington that exacerbates and creates problems.  To put it simply, we must do the job we said we would do.  We’ve talked the talk, now it is time to walk the walk.

I know we are ready.

In the attached document, Delivering on Our Commitment: A Majority to Limit Government and Create Jobs, I outline some thoughts on how we can begin that effort.  Included is a particular focus on a sustained effort on jobs, reducing government spending, putting in place a new standard for prioritizing legislation, and how we strengthen oversight.

In thinking about and preparing this plan, I found myself guided by one simple proposition which I believe will be instructive for our efforts over the next two years: “Are my efforts addressing job creation and the economy; are they reducing spending; and are they shrinking the size of the Federal Government while increasing and protecting liberty?  If not, why am I doing it?  Why are WE doing it?”

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, feedback, or suggestions you may have.  I know that by changing the culture and focusing on our priorities, ours will be a lasting and worthwhile legacy: that we will achieve what we said we came to accomplish, and in so doing, deliver on the type of conservative governance that has been promised.

Sincerely,

Eric Cantor

Liberty Pundits Blog

HHS Announces New ‘Early Innovators Grants’ To Help States Develop Technology For The Exchanges

October 29, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new round of grants this afternoon to help states expedite and simplify the process of developing IT systems for the new exchanges (the Travelocity-like market places that will help Americans find comprehensive insurance coverage). By the time the exchanges become operational in 2014, states should be able to use information technology to determine eligibly, enrollment, premium tax credits, cost-sharing assistance administration, and integrate the system with Medicaid and CHIP. Officials believe that sophisticated, yet “consumer friendly” IT systems are “critical to the success of the exchanges” and hope that the final product will look similar to the new HealthCare.gov website, where beneficiaries can compare different plans, identify if they’re eligible for government aid, and enroll in insurance.

But as Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn points out this morning, “states view the project “>as an enormous undertaking, requiring them to design a system, develop the information technology and put it into action in just three years amid tight budgets. In response, the Department of Health and Human Services is planning to ask five states to develop systems that can hopefully serve as prototypes for other states to replicate.” “The states have told us that they don’t all want to all have re-invent the wheel on each aspect of the exchange; they want to be able to re-use and leverage the work of their fellow states so that the resources are used more efficiently and effectively,” Joel Ario the Director of the Office of Insurance Exchanges at HHS said on a conference call attended by the Wonk Room.

The so-called “Early Innovators Grants” will be offered to five states or coalition of states “that demonstrate leadership in developing cutting-edge and cost-effective consumer-based technologies and models for insurance eligibility and enrollment for Exchanges” that “can be adopted and tailored by other States.”

“The benefits to the states are three-fold,” Ario said. “First, there are lower costs through the uses of shared models, second there is an improved implementation schedule, increased quality and reduced risk through the re-use, the peer-collaboration and the leveraging of lessons learned across the state boundaries. And finally, there is improved capacity for program evaluation because of the more uniform implementation theory,” he explained.

Last month, the federal government awarded exchange planning grants to 48 states and the District of Columbia and has announced that it will award “Establishment Grants” in February of 2011. “We’re looking for a lot of collaboration, we’re looking for states to lead….to really kind of provide the direction and progress that needs to be made early rather than later,” Henry Chao — the Chief Technology Officer at the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight — explained on the call, noting that states struggled to implement the IT requirements in Medicare Part D because they were given “very very short timeframes” “in terms of systems development.” “I think the lessons learned have really told us that we need to collaborate much more so upfront, not just with the states, but across the federal government, with other agencies.”

Wonk Room

Foursquare announces an “I Voted” badge

October 27, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

New York (CNN)-When pulling the lever on Election Day, Foursquare users can “check in” and receive a special badge the company announced on Wednesday.

Foursquare, a location-based mobile application that lets users “check in” to venues and compete for virtual badges, unveiled their “I Voted” badge.

A user unlocks the badge by checking in to one of any 107,000 polling places and writing “voted,” “vote” or “voting” in a shout (a message attached to a check in).

Foursquare is one of the fastest-growing social networks with over four million users.

“Every day we see new examples of Foursquare encouraging and reinforcing positive behaviors,” said Foursquare’s Eric Friedman in a statement. “We’re excited to harness the power of Foursquare to drive civic engagement through the ‘I Voted’ badge.”

Gowalla, a similar location based network, announced Monday an “I Voted” Pin that users receive when checking in to a polling station and telling their friends on Twitter or Facebook.


CNN Political Ticker

PBS Announces Election Night Coverage

October 25, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Playing it safe while watching the calls of “DEFUND!” roll in for its sister in government funding, NPR.

Gwen Ifill rounds out the analysts; maybe this time she’ll have a better grasp of American history.


Big Journalism

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