The time I tried to talk Billy Crystal out of a Jewish joke. Celebrities are impossible to control.
You may be wondering how in God’s name the Romney campaign allowed Clint Eastwood to have his way at last night’s GOP convention, and ad-lib an insane conversation with a chair.
The answer is likely one of two things:
First, because they so rarely have their support, Republicans may not fully get how fraught with peril letting celebrities speak at political events can be. By contrast, Democrats are used to working with Hollywood types at events — and know the degree to which egos must be managed, rhetorical flourishes controlled, and inane calamity anticipated.
So perhaps the Romney folks were simply caught off guard and miscalculated.
The other possibility is that they tried to appeal to Mr. Eastwood before he went on, and he was simply obstinate. “So what,” you might be saying. “Stand up, and tell him to do what you want!”
This makes perfect sense. And yet, it may not be as simple as you think. I did a brief turn as a celebrity handler on the Hillary Clinton campaign, and it is at times an impossible task.
It was October 26, 2007, and I was a campaign spokesman for Clinton, responsible for making sure a fundraising extravaganza in New York honoring the candidate’s birthday received favorable coverage.
received a frenzied call from campaign headquarters minutes before show-time, frantically informing me of a rumor that: 1) As part of his act that night as emcee, comedian Billy Crystal was planning to lampoon our rival Rudy Giuliani; and 2) Said joke apparently would have some sort of Jewish-related hook.
Knowing that a joke criticizing another candidate too harshly (with ethnic undertones, no less) would garner far more attention than any policy discussion the campaign might engage in that week, it was decided there was only one option: I would need to barge into the green room, immediately track down American’s favorite nebbish, and prevent a PR crisis.
Only, this wasn’t your mother’s Billy Crystal I would encounter backstage.
As if it wasn’t awkward enough having to confront a comic legend about his set-list moments before he took the stage, the inquiry was taking place in full view of the entire green room — where political luminaries like Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe availed themselves of carrot sticks and dip, and performers like Elvis Costello and the WallFlowers puffed away on cigarettes.
“Um, Billy, would you mind telling us the Rudy joke, just to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems?” I asked lightly, trying my best to keep it calm and cool.
After staring at me in silent disbelief for what seemed like the duration of Forget Paris, the comic legend finally responded, reciting the joke’s punch-line with a deliberate, peeved monotone: “This is the craziest thing that’s happened since Ann Coulter started keeping kosher.”
That didn’t seem so bad, I thought. “What’s the set-up?”
“What’s the set-up?” he barked back at me. “What? This conversation isn’t happening!”
“No, we just…”
“You’re asking me to run the set-up of my joke by you?”
At this point, he was seething.
As if to underscore the absurdity of the situation, Crystal repeated the question again, summoning equal parts rage and incredulity: “You are asking me what my set-up is?!”
Understandably annoyed that some shmuck from the campaign was asking him to run jokes by him minutes before a free performance, the perennial back-up Oscars host was now in my face, staring me down. “You want to get me angry right before I start the show?” (At that moment, I began to sympathize with the title character in Throw Momma From the Train.)
Fortunately, just as the avuncular pop culture icon began pacing, the only man in America who could possibly smooth the tension, cut in and saved the day.
“Hey man, serious question,” Bill Clinton said to me. “Is there a bathroom around here?”
Sensing my cue, I scurried out and headed to my seat, convinced I’d ruined the event, and that a week’s worth of bad press would rain down on the campaign and damage the candidate’s chances.
In the end, my fears were not realized: the event went fine, Crystal edited the joke (final version: “Did you hear Rudy Giuliani told New Hampshire voters he roots for the Red Sox now? This is the worst idea since his combover!”), and we evaded a week’s worth of sensational news stories about a prominent Clinton supporter attacking Giuliani with ethnic jokes.
The point? Stars have minds of their own and can be difficult to control. If getting a 5’6” comic to modify his remarks before an event was this tough, imagine trying to tell stubborn, old Dirty Harry to stick to the Teleprompter.
Blake Zeff, a former presidential campaign aide to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, is a BuzzFeed contributor. You can follow him on Twitter at @BlakeZeff.
Eastwood no longer has to talk to an empty chair .
“That was the weirdest thing I've ever seen at a political convention in my entire life … and it will be the weirdest thing I've ever seen if I live to be a hundred.
On the final night of the Republican convention, former members of Romney's Mormon flock tell stories about his compassion. Here's the video. “When it comes to loving our neighbor, we can talk about it or we can live it: The Romneys live it.”
Grover Norquist throws punches at “whiny Democrats” and social conservative “bigotry.” “You're the smartest man in Washington,” one fan gushes.
Tampa, Fla. — Grover Norquist is doing standup.
“I’m not French. I’m not bragging, its just a fact,” the president of Americans for Tax Reform cracked from the stage of The Improv in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
One hand thrust into his pants pocket, Norquist, let the laughter from his right-leaning audience die down, a content look on his face. French jokes always go over well with conservatives.
“When you’re married, you’re introduced to new things. Like abstinence,” he dead=panned to more laughter from the audience, which included both rank and file delegates and conservative figures like Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson.
Norquist, who has been a key figure in turning opposition to tax reforms from a tendency to an iron law of the Republican Party, has been the focus of increasingly intense criticism from Democrats — and some Republicans — as a confrontation or grand bargain on fiscal policy looms in Washington. Democrat’s view him as their Beltway archenemy. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Norquist’s no-tax pledge asked legislators to “outsource your principles and convictions.”
But here in Tampa, Norquist’s centrality to his party seems, if anything, enlarged by his notoriety. He’s everywhere, from morning to night, preaching his blunt gospel on any cable news show that will have him and asking detailed, slightly nasal questions about the intricacies of state politics of the delegates who constantly stop him to shake his hand. He visibly enjoys the attacks.
“Democrats whine because the pledge is a very effective tool,” Norquist told BuzzFeed. “They want to say it’s about me. It’s not. It’s about taxation.”
Here in Tampa, it is evidently some of both.
“I think you’re the smartest man in Washington,” one guest gushed to him Tuesday morning as he fielded questions on state tax policy at Armani’s restaurant, overlooking the bay.
Norquist’s central organizing tool is his famous Wednesday meeting, a gathering started in the 1990s to bring together and coordinate elements of the conservative movement; it’s referred to by some of its regulars as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Lunch. Norquist called a special meeting of it this week at Liberty Plaza, a small tent city conservative organizations erected in an empty lot near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“What are you working on right now?” Norquist demanded of his audience for the Wednesday breakfast, which he told them was for the purpose of updates from their far-flung bases to him, an undisputed if low-key leader. “What are you doing?”
Norquist has expanded those lunches into a national phenomena, with 64 groups in 48 states holding their own off-the-record versions; this week’s meeting featured dozens of attendees from across the country.
A few blocks away at the cramped office the Democratic Party is using for rapid response, Norquist’s name was mentioned with less warmth. The top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Chris Van Hollen, argued that the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate is an endorsement of Norquist’s power.
Van Hollen and other Democrats have also made Norquist a bogeyman, and are now to linking Norquist’s name to Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s controversial budget.
“If you look at the Romney Ryan budget, it's a big salute to Grover Norquist over the American people,” Van Hollen told BuzzFeed.
At the same time, Norquist has also come under attack from within his own ranks for his positions on cultural issues. Hardline conservatives have bristled at his vocal support for inclusion of Muslims not only in America but within the conservative movement itself, accusing him (with no real evidence) of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
And his characteristically direct embrace of the gay community has ruffled feathers, particularly amongst opponents to marriage equality. He returns their criticism in kind, accused them of “bigotry” in an interview with BuzzFeed.
But for all the criticism heaped on him, its clear his standing within the ranks of the Republican Party hasn’t diminished — and may even be getting stronger.
“All they’ve done is just raise his visibility, which is just fine,” Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price said.
“He’s been a boon to fiscal responsibility in this country,” the Georgia Republican argued.
“He’s not the issue … I think he’s still very effective at what he does,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said.
Democrats “try to make him the issue … [but] but he continues to go out there and fight for smaller government. That’s why he continues to be effective because his message is strong,” McCarthy argued.
As for attacks on Norquist from the right, McCarthy dismissed its impact on his standing, arguing that “one thing to know about Grover, he fights for things he believes in. That’s one of those things we respect in people who have the courage to for what you believe in and fight for. That’s why he continues to be strong.”
And here in Tampa, everyone sought Norquist out. From arch-conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to the director of conservative religious group pulpitfreedom.org ,and from Microsoft executives to actress-turned-conservative-activist Janine Turner, Republicans reported back to the fair, diminutive activist on their latest exploits. Conservative members of the British Parliament even turned up to provide an update on their efforts to reign in spending.
Norquist argues that he represents a “modern Reagan Republican Party … there’s lots of doors you can come through” as evidenced by the variety of organizations represented at the Wednesday meeting.
And Norquist, who also put in an appearance at the gay conservative group GOProud’s louche Homocon party, manages to hold his place while dispensing unusually sharp jabs at elements of his own party’s base.
“Attacking me for not sharing their bigotry says nothing about me. It’s a confession of their bigotry,” he said of his critics among social conservatives.
Moving onto politics, Norquist cautioned his “conservative friends” about questioning President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
“We’re about to nominate a guy who grew up in Utah and was the Governor of Massachusetts. He’s never technically lived in this country,” he said to applause from the crowd.
And some Republicans have begun to hedge their support for Norquist’s tax pledge, and his open backing of GOProud and the Muslim community has bred resentment amongst some conservatives.
As directly whether he worries his high profile and the target on his back have diminished his effectiveness, a clearly confident Norquist replied: “I have wisely chosen as political opponents a collection of cranks and idiots.”
You guessed it. Jon Voight. (It's Clint Eastwood, but Twitter missed the news .
“Gotham's reckoning,” or angry man in a puffy costume? The 13-foot Dark Knight Rises villain was at Bain HQ in Manhattan Thursday with labor rights organization United NY to demonstrate against Mitt Romney's economic policies.
Young Obama supporters took offense at the Republican's line that “college graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters.”
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell broke the news today: “I've been told the surprise guest is definitely a man.” Editor's Note: Everyone knows it's Clint Eastwood.
Nancy Reagan at the 1984 Republican National Convention.
The Congressman acknowledge most work would stop in December 2008, but also noted the accelerated closure timeline only applied to the SUVs built at the plant.
Paul Ryan: “Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?”
She thrills the hall, and stokes speculation. “Where she came from and what she achieved.”
TAMPA, Florida — The fact that Condoleezza Rice earned so many standing ovations during her speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night wasn't necessarily surprising: After all, the hall full of devoted partisans has been quick to its feet all week.
What made Rice's case unique was that she managed to do it without saying the words, "You did build that" — and without even mentioning President Obama's name.
Instead, the speech that left Republicans here in awe — and prompted renewed speculation about the former Secretary of State's political future — was one that embodied a big-tent, cross-time-zone version of the GOP, and left an impression not just on the delegates on the floor, but on the stragglers in the halls outside.
"She's incredible," gushed Andrea Smiley, a software product specialist from Rhode Island, who came to the convention with her husband. "Where she came from and what she's achieved is just amazing. I don't know what else to say."
Smiley described herself "on the fringe of political interest; I'm only involved because my husband is involved." Still, she saw something in Rice that moved her: "I hope she does run for something. I have a lot of respect for her, and I'd like to see her have a role in the party again."
The sentiment was echoed by Denise Furey, a financial analyst from Philadelphia, who said of the speech, "It was awesome. It's probably good that [Gov. Susana] Martinez was between her and Paul Ryan because she would have upstaged him."
As the TVs outside the convention hall filled with Ryan's face, Furey hastily added, "He's doing good, too."
Rice, who appeared to deliver her speech without the help of a teleprompter, devoted much of her address to big-picture themes like American leadership ("You cannot lead from behind"), and fiscal responsibility ("When a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny.")
But the most rousing lines had nothing to do with policy — and definitely not the hawkish foreign policy she shaped and defended as a member of the Bush administration — but rather her own personal narrative. And perhaps it was telling that the loudest, longest applause she got came when she mentioned the idea of her running for president.
"And on a personal note," Rice said toward the end, "A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham, the segregated city of the South where her parents can't take her to a movie theater or a restaurant. But they have her absolutely convinced that even if she can't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter, she can be President of the United States if she wanted to be — and she becomes Secretary of State."
As the crowd inside the convention center lept to their feet, the Twittersphere exploded with praise and speculation about Rice's suddenly rising star.
Paul Ryan hit President Obama tonight in his speech for failing to keep open a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. The plant, however effectively closed in December 2008 about a month before Obama took office. In this letter from June 2008 sent by Paul Ryan and the two Wisconsin Senators, Ryan asked the head of GM to reconsider closing the plant.
GOProud's executive director: “This event tonight was, in a way, a culmination of [a] three-year controversy with CPAC, and our allies showed up today to show their support. … [T]here are a significant number of influential people in the conservative movement who support us.”
Image by Scott Lamb/Buzzfeed
As Ann Romney finished speaking about her "real marriage" to the Republican nominee for president, Chris Barron — also in a real marriage, also to a man — welcomed the first guests to Homocon, last night's hot ticket party at the Republican National Convention thrown by the gay conservative group GOProud.
The Honey Pot , a gay bar in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, played host to Homocon. Go-go boys and ladies wearing "freedom is fabulous" T-shirts and disco ball party favors were features of the party, which was attended by conservative players Dana Loesch, S.E. Cupp, Grover Norquist, Will Cain, Margaret Hoover, Roger Stone, Roger Simon and Richard Grenell, along with more than 600 others — including more than a handful of members of the media covering the party.
As the event was winding down, Barron told BuzzFeed, "We’ve had a lot of people in a gay nightclub in downtown Tampa, with dancers and techno music. Disco balls everywhere. This isn’t a rubber-chicken dinner at some crappy restaurant. We’re authentic to who we are. We’re authentically gay and authentically conservative."
Although it's easy to point to the Republican Party platform and to the presidential ticket's positions on marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act as reasons why it's "impossible" to be gay and conservative — a regular refrain from LGBT Democrats — Barron and the others in GOProud don't even entertain such questions, focusing instead on making it a statement of fact that gay and lesbian people are an important and inherent part of the conservative movement.
"When people are talking about the platform and stuff —" Lisa De Pasquale, a board member of GOProud, took a look around the party and told BuzzFeed. "There are more people here than will ever read the Republican platform."
Just another night at the Republican National Convention.
Image by Scott Lamb/Buzzfeed
Contrasting with the Republican Party platform — and Romney — there was more of a "live and let live" libertarian attitude at the party, which was the biggest event that GOProud had held since it co-hosted a "Big Party" with Andrew Breitbart at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011.
Barron, who co-founded GOProud in 2009 with Jimmy LaSalvia as a more conservative alternative to the long-established Log Cabin Republicans, has a tendency to spout off — often intentionally — in his effort to draw attention to his issues. That tendency, along with a change in leadership at CPAC, led CPAC to decide that GOProud was not allowed to be a co-sponsor of the conference this year.
Watching the group at Homocon on Tuesday night — which included De Pasquale, who also is the former director of CPAC, passing out the disco balls — their message to CPAC came across loud and proud: We don't need you.
LaSalvia, talking with BuzzFeed at the party, said, "This event tonight was in a way a culmination of that three-year controversy with CPAC, and our allies showed up today to show their support. And what it demonstrated is that there are a significant number of influential people in the conservative movement who support us."
From Reddit "celebrity" Shitty_Watercolour.
While you're waiting for the next answer to be posted, read about how Reddit got Obama to do this.
Obama's verification photo... The Reddit way.
ormirian: Are you considering increasing funds to the space program?
PresidentObama: Making sure we stay at the forefront of space exploration is a big priority for my administration. The passing of Neil Armstrong this week is a reminder of the inspiration and wonder that our space program has provided in the past; the curiosity probe on mars is a reminder of what remains to be discovered. The key is to make sure that we invest in cutting edge research that can take us to the next level - so even as we continue work with the international space station, we are focused on a potential mission to a asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.
Chalian was fired after the Newsbusters caught him saying of Republicans, “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke. I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics. I have apologized to the Romney campaign, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gov. and Mrs. Romney. I also regret causing any distraction from the exceptional coverage of the Republican convention by Yahoo News and ABC News.
Snubbed by the University of Virginia, Obama takes his message a mile and half from campus . One campaign official estimated crowd would be 12,000, but only 7,500 show.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — President Barack Obama arrived here today on the final leg of his two-day college tour, pitching his message directly to the teenage and twentysomething constituency that fueled his campaign four years ago.
“Your generation is going to have push the generations in front of you to make sure they are making the right decisions,” Obama said. “Your generation will choose…the path we take as a country and it will effect your life in very personal and profound ways.”
That message hasn’t been an easy sell this summer. The campaign is battling widespread apathy, high unemployment and low job prospects for graduates, a marked contrast to the enthusiastic support and optimism Obama experienced in 2008.
In fact, the president wasn’t even allowed to hold the event at the University of Virginia. The school declined the campaign’s request to hold an event on its Charlottesville campus, citing costs, class cancellations, and logistical issues.
There were other signs of less than friendly terrain. A graffiti art message greeting ticket holders on an art installation outside the event read :“NO MORE DRONE KILLINGS,” a response to the president’s controversial targeted assassination program that has grown exponentially over the past four years. A few blocks away from the event, the anti-Obama film AMERICA 2016, was headlining at the local theater.
At another point, protesters apparently chanting about the debt interrupted the president’s speech. The crowd shouted down the protesters, and Obama laughed it off.
“I couldn’t hear what those young people were saying, it’s good they are getting involved,“ he said, adding, “Don’t just chant, you got to vote.”
The difference in atmosphere was a fact even the president seemed to acknowledge.
“Change isn’t possible you can’t make a difference, you were naïve last time when you had all that hope and change stuff,” Obama said, characterizing the Republican strategy as one to promote voter apathy. “What they do hope is that you get so discouraged you just stay home.”
Before the event, one Obama campaign official said it would likely be one of the president’s largest rallies of the campaign, estimating some 12,000 would show up.
The campaign later said that only 6500 showed up, then revised the final count to 7500, citing Fire Chief Charles Werner in a statement distributed by the campaign.
That being said, the president was greeted with roaring approval from his core fanatical supporters among the crowd.
“Oh My God! Obama I love you," screamed one woman in the back of the audience, while others seemed on the verge of fainting, star struck and heat stroked.
The trip was counter programming to the Republican Convention in Tampa., which, along with the Hurricane Isaac, has sucked up all the media oxygen.
"Pay a little attention to what’s happening in Tampa this week,” he said, getting boos from the crowd. “Don’t boo, vote!”
The Obama campaign touted what it claimed were the benefits that the administration has brought to Virginia, including a new college tax credit that effected 231,000 students, and over 2,000 Pell Grants to the University of Virginia alone, according to a campaign press release.
On Saturday, the campaign will begin its pre-convention roll out, with a cross country trip planned that will end with his arrival in Charlotte next week to accept his party’s nomination.
Production manager programs RNC stage to say “Will You Marry Me?” Spoiler: she said “Yes.”
Bradley Thompson surprised Laura Bowman, his girlfriend of three years, at the Republican National Convention. Thompson, 32, is a production manager for the RNC and Bowman, 27, is a production coordinator.
They live in Brooklyn and declined to say their political affiliations.
A novelist imagines two desperate political parties thinking far, far outside the box.
Image by John Gara/Buzzfeed
The meeting was well-attended, everyone from party bosses to major donors. All were grumpy and irritable and vaguely intoxicated, taking a sip with each complaint so that manners only deteriorated. The numbers were in. It was not good for their guy, Andrew Warner, the Republican nominee. With less than a month before the convention, the incumbent, President Raymond Bailey, had a thirteen point lead, a number that had journalists using words like “insurmountable,” “hopeless,” and "hideous rotting corpose."
Billy Hooker sulked. The corpse dig had made him groan, then chuckle, then throw a computer monitor at an intern. He assumed he'd been called to a Connecticut mansion in the middle of the night to be fired.
Hooker leaned his beefy elbows into his knees. He'd gotten even worse news: He was to stay on with the campaign and supervise the selection of a Vice-Presidential running mate, who would subsequently be assassinated.
He was not opposed to it, just ashamed that things had come to this. It was like masturbating to the nanny because you hadn't had sex in six months. His kids’ nanny was seventy-eight.
“We’re just brainstorming,” someone said.
“It’d be a game changer.”
“Nothing else has worked.”
Hooker’s right knee inexplicably began bouncing. Dell Wheaten, a GOP insider, handed over a scotch. “Look, Hook, no one’s blaming you for where we’re at.”
“Thirteen down,” another said.
“Fact is we can’t lose this election. Too much at stake. For all of us.”
“It’s our time.”
“Desperate times, desperate measures.”
“Nothing else has worked.”
It was true. Two Supreme Court justices would be dead or retired in a few years, and whoever was in office could shape the Court for decades. The country was in a recession, but there were indicators the economy was improving; whichever party won would be credited with the comeback. Not to mention the last election, like every election, left the losers wanting revenge. Hooker could smell the testosterone in the room.
“We don’t have a message,” Wheaten continued. “It’s just … Warner lacks the …”
“Balls,” someone called.
“Balls, yes, to get this won. We need a message voters can get behind.”
“What message is that?” Hooker asked.
“Underdog. Rising from the ashes. Bloody but unbowed. That’s a message we can ride all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Hooker sipped the scotch. “Who’d you have in mind?”
“Higgins from Alabama. Clifford from Wisconsin. Mitchell from California. Any one of them could swing this election.”
“By being shot?” Hooker asked.
“We’re just brainstorming.”
“Nothing else has worked.”
“But it can’t be done.”
“Anything can be done.”
“The Secret Service,” Hooker said.
“We checked. Never go for it with a sitting president or a nominee. But they’re willing to bend for a Veep.”
“And you think this will produce enough sympathy to swing the election?”
Dell Wheaten paced. “Let me tell you about a respectable member of the Republican Party back a few years. Went by the name Ronald Reagan.”
“In 1980, his approval ratings were awful. Americans hated him. Only reason he was elected was because they hated Jimmy Carter worse. After the assassination attempt, his ratings skyrocketed. Any legislation he backed, it got done.”
“This is different,” Hooker said.
“How’s it different?”
“That was real. You’re talking about faking an assassination.” The room fell silent; Hooker gulped. “You know that, right? The Reagan assassination wasn’t staged?”
“Hell it wasn’t.” The voice came from an old man who removed an oxygen mask to speak. Hooker was twelve when Reagan was shot. He barely remembered and did not intend to argue with people who may or may not have staged it, and who might die if the debate grew heated. The old man sucked more charisma. “This’ll work,” he heaved. “Put the three names in the hat. Mister Hooker, pick out a name.”
The names were written and the hat made its way to where Billy Hooker slugged scotch. He knew how it went. There was no backing out, not with the dirt they likely had on him. He had taken the job; he had to see it through. He reached for a slip of paper.
U.S. Senator Ross Mitchell was asleep when the phone rang. There was no time to shower. He put on his Yale sweatshirt, brushed his teeth and kissed his dog goodbye. This was it. There were rumors Warner would tap him as his running mate. He had risen from law school through the GOP rapidly, and now at age forty-five he had gotten the call. He was told to be at his offices on Geary Street in one hour, alone.
Billy Hooker and Dell Wheaten had taken the first flight out to give a man the best and worst news of his life. Mitchell opened the door and offered coffee when they arrived, but the men motioned toward the desk instead. They got down to business quick; they needed a favor, a sacrifice of sorts.
“For the good of the party,” Wheaten said, tossing a folder on the desk. It contained all the dirt on Mitchell, information he was afraid might surface once the vetting committee began: embezzlement, one of two affairs in which he had partaken, enough information to trigger a whole series of ‘gates’ – Phoenixgate, Coffeegate, Toyotathongate. One did not get to where he was, as quickly as he had, without bending rules. None of the information was public, but it appeared it was enough to scare off the Warner campaign.
“Flew all the way here to tell me I’m not getting the Vice President nod?” Mitchell closed the folder. “Who is then?”
“You are,” Hooker said.
“I don’t understand.”
“Mister Mitchell, how dedicated are you to this country?”
“My voting record speaks for itself. I’m a staunch supporter–”
“I don’t care about politics,” Wheaten interrupted. “If given the opportunity to lay down your life to ensure a moral, safe, conservative America, would you do it?”
“Is this about my lack of military service? I may not have served in the armed forces, but I have backed every referendum in support of our military. Most voters see me as hawkish.” Mitchell smacked a fist into his Yale sweatshirt. “And I bleed red, white and blue.”
“So you’d do it?” Hooker asked. “You’d take one?”
It was explained. Senator Mitchell’s face went from confusion, to a complicit smile, to wide eyes, and then despair. If he did not go along with the plan, everything in the folder would be made public, and his political career and reputation would be destroyed. It would all disappear if he abided, and he would be remembered as one of the great Republicans of his time.
“Bobby Kennedy,” Wheaten coaxed.
“Lincoln,” Hooker added.
“United States Senator Ross Norbert Mitchell.”
Mitchell fingered the folder. He was waiting for them to burst into laughter, letting him know it was a joke. But these men did not joke. This was real.
“Couldn’t it just be a flesh wound?”
“We’ve run the numbers,” Hooker said. “We don’t get the sympathy vote without a corpse.”
“What if we fake it? I get shot, you announce I’m dead, I live in South America under an alias?”
“Ten percent of American voters still think Elvis is alive,” Wheaten said. “Too many cameras these days, too many cynics. Public needs a body.”
“Agreed,” Mitchell said. “Just wish it didn’t have to be my body.”
Hooker walked behind the Senator. He rubbed his shoulders and leaned. “We’re at a crossroads in this country, Ross. Family values, immigration, foreign policy. We need this election. This country needs it. And your party needs you.”
“Couldn’t you assassinate someone else, then name me as the running mate?”
“It’s been decided. You’re the guy.”
Senator Mitchell had a history of Alzheimer’s in his family, affecting the Mitchell men around the age of seventy. That gave him twenty-five years before his mind and body crumbled. The last thing he wanted was to spend the next fifteen of those years in courts, or prison, and what was in the folder would accomplish that.
“Can I assume the financials are in place?”
“Your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be reaping the benefits of your sacrifice.”
“And my legacy?”
Wheaten produced another folder. “The Ross N. Mitchell International Airport, Ross N. Mitchell Boulevards in seven cities and counting, even a new Budweiser-Ikea-Ross N. Mitchell Arena in Virginia to house the Kings’ new NBA franchise.”
“No national monument?”
“Shit, Mitch, you’re taking a bullet, not freeing the slaves!” Hooker regretted losing his patience. “Tell you what — we’ll call in some favors. If no one finds a cure for cancer or lands on Mars this decade, we’ll see about that monument.”
“Son of a bitch,” Chief of Staff Jay Garrison said. “Bastards are going to steal another election.”
That was the sentiment at Democratic headquarters the morning after Republican nominee Andrew Warner announced Senator Ross Mitchell as his running mate. The Democrats called an emergency meeting to brief President Raymond Bailey on the rumors they were hearing.
“It’s a game changer,” Garrison told the President. An analyst dispersed pamphlets with fancy pie charts demonstrating how a potential assassination would alter the race.
“The Mitchell announcement will give Warner a slight bump. However, if Mitchell is assassinated between now and November, Warner will get the independent vote, the female vote, even the senior citizens.”
“Bullshit,” the President counseled.
“Everyone loves an underdog. This could be the strongest campaign message from either party in decades,” Garrison continued. “Let’s hear it, people. We need ideas.”
The room broke into debate – whether or not it could be done, if it could swing the election, if Mitchell knew about it and, if so, what type of severance package had the Republicans offered. The ideas came fast: Double-down in Florida, more negative ads, why not go to the press with this news?
“We could beat them to it.”
The suggestion came from one of the aides. Everyone waited to be disgusted by the insinuation, and when no one spoke up with disgust, no one wanted to be first to shoot the idea down. President Bailey never vetoed the prospect, which made it a viable suggestion, and Vice President Benjamin Walsh was summoned to the boardroom.
“We just want to hear where you stand,” Garrison began.
“Where I stand?”
“All I’m saying is their guy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. We owe it to the President, to this country, to talk it out.”
Vice President Walsh picked up one of the pamphlets with the fancy pie charts. “We have a sizeable lead. Won’t matter whether they shoot him or not.”
“The analysts say it matters a whole lot.”
“We can still beat them on the issues.”
“The issues don’t matter,” Garrison said. “They’re going for the heartstrings.”
“It’s an important election,” said President Bailey, speaking for the first time. “We’ve got a lot at stake in this thing: Family values, immigration, foreign policy.”
The room fell silent. Vice President Walsh took a seat, suddenly sensing the massiveness of the situation. “Mister President, are you planning to have me assassinated?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Ben, we go back.” The President checked his watch. “Someone else will handle the planning.”
Vice President Walsh walked to the President’s desk. “I served in Vietnam. I’ve spent two decades in Washington. I served six years on the Committee of Ways and Means, during which members of both parties recognized me as a leading voice on tax reform. Mister President, I am worth more alive to the United States of America than Senator Mitchell is dead.”
“We ran the numbers.” Anticipating the discussion, Garrison produced a pile of fresh pie charts. “As you say you are worth more alive than Senator Mitchell. But when it comes to the election, a Mitchell corpse is priceless.”
“But we oppose the death penalty.”
“The death penalty applies to convicted murderers,” Garrison said. “Clearly this is a different discussion.”
Vice President Walsh, one of the most respected men in Washington, fell to his knees and wept. “Mister President, please. This is gossip. The GOP would never kill a senator, even if it meant winning this election. We’re better than this, sir.”
President Bailey sighed, furious at having to make the call. It could very well be subterfuge. Campaigns were always leaking false news to throw off the opponent. If he gave the go ahead to assassinate Vice President Walsh and it turned out the Republicans were bluffing, he would be the laughingstock of the Beltway.
“Ben, get the hell up. I’d rather lose the election.” He helped Vice President Walsh to his feet. “And I happen to agree – they don’t have the guts to off Mitchell, that little twerp.”
As far as assassinations went, the Republicans performed flawlessly. A Hollywood production company handled the project. Mitchell hated his wife, tolerated the two mistresses, and barely knew the kids, so he only had to make a few phone calls to say his goodbyes rather than plan any exuberant vacations. The Secret Service intended to use the catastrophe to request a larger budget. Lips stayed sealed. It went down on the final night of the Republican Convention, when no major sporting events or television talent shows were being broadcast on competing networks; all of America tuned in. The bullet ripped through his neck — below his face, at a spot that would produce solid YouTube clips without being too gross for the major media, as agreed to in the contract — ensuring he was dead on arrival at the nearest hospital. To his credit, Senator Mitchell never recanted his involvement.
Reporters reported. The media tweeted. A nation mourned. Municipalities began plans to change names of boulevards and parks. And Republican nominee Andrew Warner’s approval rating skyrocketed, making up six points on President Bailey before the body was cold.
Democratic insiders were split. Some expressed shock their GOP counterparts went through with it, others claimed they knew it would happen all along. Everyone was stunned and irritated and bitter they had not acted on the information, huddling inside a nearby Hampton Inn for an emergency summit. They drafted a strategy and phoned Chief of Staff Garrison, relaying the instructions he was to pass on to President Bailey. The President received the memo along with the latest polls, calling his Vice President into a closed-door powwow.
Vice President Walsh was anxious. To assassinate him now would be far too coincidental. That meant they had something else in mind, a backup plan, and he feared the worst. The President held up several newspapers, each with a picture of the surging Republican nominee, Andrew Warner, who was now only four points down in the latest polls. The daily headlines recycled the same words: Comeback kid, gritty, underdog, and the contrite wordsmith, “still a pulse in this rank corpse yet.”
“See that?” the President chided. “Already calling him Little Orphan Andy. He’s got the momentum. He’s got the voters. He’s got the message.”
“They’ve suffered a terrible loss.”
“Independents, women, they all love him. But there’s one demographic he hasn’t reached. And that’s where you come in.”
“Oh dear, Mister President, what now?”
“We need the homosexual vote, Ben. Not just the homosexuals who side with us because we support gay marriage. We need all of them — the ones who don’t care about gay marriage because they’re smart enough to know better than to get married. And you owe me, Ben. They wanted to kill you — everyone from Garrison to the bosses right on down to the aides. I wouldn’t allow it.”
“I appreciate that.”
“In one hour, you’ll hold a press conference at which you’ll introduce American voters to your lover, who you’ve been hiding from your wife and children for years.”
“But I’m not gay, Mister President.”
“You’re not a rocket scientist either, but you’ve been drawing a $3 million salary from our friends at Raytheon for eighteen years. See, Walshy, politics is like acting. We’re hired to play roles, and then we move on to new roles. Don’t look at this as a lifestyle change. Look at it as a new role.”
“I won’t do it, Andy. I’m married.”
“You hate your wife. You haven’t lived at home in thirty years. Besides — and I’ve never told you this out of respect — but I've slept with her hundreds of times.”
“I have children, Andy.”
“To camouflage your lifestyle. The speechwriters will brief you on the language to use”
“Too soon after the assassination. It’ll seem like we’re faking it to win back voters.”
“Speechwriters thought of that,” the President said. “You’re coming out now because Senator Mitchell’s death made you realize life is short, how important it is to spend time with the ones we love, shit like that.” He pressed a button. “Send him in.”
The door opened. A man entered, early thirties, astonishing to look at. Both men, staunch heterosexuals, admired the way he crossed a room. He approached the Vice President and shook his hand.
“Nice to meet you, sir.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m your partner, sir. Nathan Kelly.”
“Congressman Kelly’s kid. From Idaho. She loaned him to us for the election,” the President said. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes for the party.”
“It’s an important election,” Nathan reminded the Vice President.
“Well, I’m sure you two have a lot of catching up to do.” The President stood and circled his desk. “Got a flight to catch for Chicago. Nathan, a pleasure.”
“Thank you, sir.”
He turned to Vice President Walsh. “Your party needs you, Ben. Your country needs you.
“But, Mister President, I’m not gay.”
“Good luck at the press conference. Really sell it out there. Don’t let the naysayers think we made a mistake not killing you when we had the chance.”
The Democrats’ ruse worked. President Bailey was elected to a second term by a narrow margin. Three months later he died a massive heart attack brought on by the stress of believing that his Chief of Staff was planning to have him shot in the groin to help pass gun control legislation. On April 1, 2013, Benjamin Jasper Walsh was sworn in as the first homosexual President of the United States of America. A national monument was erected in his honor. No one ever mentioned Senator Ross Mitchell, or the guy who cured cancer, again.
I've been walking around the RNC for the past few days checking out all the hot fashion looks! Check 'em out!
FAB: These ladies from Texas
Love how they totally own the "Texas look." I know denim skirts get a bad rap, these ladies are totally owning it. Fab!
Drab: This guy who carried a giant metal sign around the arena in circles
A giant metal sign is not a proper accessory!!!
FAB: THESE. SHOES.
I mean... how could I not fab these.
DRAB: Beanie Baby hat lady
You can't just attach a Beanie Baby to your hat!! That is not a thing!! (I do like the bird, though.)
Introducing his wife in a pre-taped segment, Romney jokes that Ann could take his place atop te Republican ticket — and that the press would like her better. Not bad!
I’m sorry I can’t be there with all of you in person but the truth is I don’t even think I was invited to this party. I keep reading about how this week is supposed to be my big moment but I only get to be in Tampa for one night. And then I looked at Ann’s schedule, and well the phrase ‘while the cat’s away the mice will play’ comes to mind? By the time I get to town, the delegates may have decided to nominate Ann instead. And wouldn’t that be interesting? And do you think if Ann were the nominee, the press would write stories about how my job is to humanize Ann? I don’t think so. But seriously, Ann and I have shared quite a journey since those high school days when we first fell in love. This week will be one we’ll never forget. So thank you for coming today and honoring my sweetheart. She’s just one of the extraordinary women here in Tampa and I salute all of you. Please join me in welcoming Ann now. Ladies and gentlemen, the next first lady of the United States, Ann Romney."
These two speeches were not meant to be back to back. Much less mashed up.
The best of her winning speech. An impossible act for Chris Christie to follow.
TAMPA, Florida — Ann Romney stole the spotlight at the Republican National Convention from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with an emotional and at times personal speech introducing herself and her family to the country, and especially to American women.
Mrs. Romney, who has at times helped her at times distant husband connect with his supporters, played a kind of two-step, Oprah Winfrey role — creating a bond of trust with her audience, and then trying to rub some of it off on her husband.
Her speech warmed the hall, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's attempt to follow it with colder arguments seemed discordant.
(The two speeches were not written to go in sequence: Romney had planned to close out the day on Monday with a speech heavy on love, while the rowdy Christie was to bring his combative tone an a day devoted to “We Built It” attacks on Obama, a schedule compressed by Hurricane Isaac.)
Romney devoted the first half of her speech to describing the recession-era plight of American women, adding a strong dose of maternal empathy.
"Sometimes I think that late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a great collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they'll make it through another one tomorrow," she said, before adding, "And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it?"
Romney spoke of her family's ordinary beginnings — eating lots of pasta and tuna fish as a young newlywed in school living in a basement apartment — of having a newborn with a husband in not one, but two, graduate programs.
She also offered a glimpse of the tensions, big and small, in a life together she said was not as "storybook" as is sometimes written, and began with an interfaith romance.
She continued, "It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right."
Then, in an Oprah-esque burst of enthusiasm, Romney exclaimed, "I love women!" raising her voice and elongating each word. The crowd gave her the second of a dozen standing ovations.
With the audience now firmly won over, Romney gently pivoted, transitioning her newly-proven credibility to her husband — like a heartfelt endorsement of a book she hoped to turn into a bestseller.
When Mrs. Romney declared that "You can trust Mitt," what she really was saying is "You trust me, so trust Mitt."
"He. will. not. fail," she said, as though from experience — justified later by "He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that [high school] dance."
Her objective — to convince viewers that her spouse was a better guy than he perhaps let on — was perhaps best encapsulated in a single line.
"This is important, I want you to hear what I'm going to say. Mitt doesn't like to talk about helping others, because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point."
When she finished — as the band launched into a rendition of The Temptations' classic MoTown hit, "My Girl" — Mitt emerged from backstage clapping, telling his wife "that was fabulous."
It was the perfect thing to wear to deliver a speech about “love.” But it didn't tell us much about Ann.
Tuesday morning Ann Romney said she didn't know what she was going to wear tonight to deliver her RNC speech.
"The verdict is still out on what I’m going to wear, which is amazing," she told the Wall Street Journal . The remark fit with her style on the campaign trail so far: she always looks put-together but her outfits retain a flavor of being casually pulled together in the morning without the help of a stylist, like the clothes of average people. But her look tonight — a crisp, bright tomato red dress paired with perfectly matched lipstick and coordinating gold jewelry — looked impossibly polished. She looked fabulous, but in a hyper-perfected in a way that many of her previous outfits haven't been. It was the kind of look that defined, style-wise, Michelle Obama's predecessors.
Before Michelle Obama, the de facto fancy outfit for a first lady, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush included, was an A-line Oscar de la Renta dress. One reason Michelle Obama received so much attention for her clothes from such an early stage of her husband's presidential campaign is that she bucked this trend in so many ways. She wore H&M and J. Crew dresses at the opposite end of the price spectrum. She loved clothes by lesser known designers, like Jason Wu (whose business her famous patronage has given a huge boost). And you never really know if she'll show up in an asymmetrical cardigan by a Japanese designer, a crisp Alexander McQueen blouse, or a J. Crew sweater set. Michelle's clothes are unpredictable enough to be wildly celebrated by the fashion world, yet for the most part safe enough to serve her just fine as first lady. Here, in the most unlikely of offices, was a true fashion cheerleader.
Ann Romney's wardrobe tends to benefit from the same down-to-earth spontaneity that governs Michelle Obama's clothing choices. While she plays it relatively safe in three-quarter sleeve jackets and long-sleeved blouses, she mixes prints, has fun with statement necklaces, and throws on a pair of jeans from time to time.
Ann's tomato RNC outfit was perfect, if not terribly interesting as a piece of fashion, and failed to embody the spontaneous spirit her wardrobe and even rhetoric is known for. It was almost painfully aware of how political wives can mess up the clothing thing from time to time. One of Ann's most controversial moments on the campaign trail may have been when she wore a $990 designer tee-shirt with a bird on it for a television appearance. Michelle Obama has faced her fare share of wardrobe criticism as well, for wearing what some thought was an aesthetically displeasing cardigan on election night in '08, and for wearing a British label (Alexander McQueen) to a state dinner honoring China.
Ann's outfit Tuesday night doesn't seem likely to garner that kind of criticism and for all we may ever know came from an American label. At most, she might be faulted for wearing expensive things. But the labels of her clothes aren't readily apparent, and the left-wing fashion industry isn't likely to send around press releases to announce that Ann wore a certain label's stuff, making the cost of her outfit more difficult to calculate. Her outfit was about as safe as giving a speech about "love." It was the sort of bland, sort of not bland sartorial equivalent of her enthusiastic delivery of the phrase, "I love you, women!" No one would disagree, but it's hardly personal.
“Do you even recognize the America they are talking about?”
TAMPA — Democratic turncoat Artur Davis addressed the Republican National Convention on Tuesday evening with a message for Democrats, asking them if they recognize his former party and calling on them to join the GOP.
"To those Democrats and independents whose minds are open to argument: listen closely to the Democratic Party that will gather in Charlotte and ask yourself if you ever hear your voice in the clamor," Davis said in a speech whose cadences and themes echoed, and aimed to rebut, elements of Obama's 2008 appeal. "Ask yourself if these Democrats still speak for you."
Davis was among Obama's earliest supporters in 2007 — he seconded Obama's nomination in 2008 —but since losing his bid for Governor of Alabama as a Democrat and then criticizing Obama sharply over his attacks on Bain Capital, Davis has emerged as a key Romney surrogate.
Republicans gave Davis a rave welcome at the convention, and gave him an even longer standing ovation as a send-off, while the Democratic National Committee has sought to brand him as a disgruntled opportunist.
When they say we have a duty to grow government even when we can't afford it, does it sound like compassion to you -- or recklessness?
When you hear the party that glorified Occupy Wall Street blast success; when you hear them minimize the genius of the men and women who make jobs out of nothing, is that what you teach your children about work?
When they tell you America is this unequal place where the powerful trample on the powerless, does that sound like the country your children or your spouse risked their lives for in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Do you even recognize the America they are talking about? And what can we say about a house that doesn't honor the pictures on its walls?
Rep. Kevin McCarthy thinks it's coming. But so far, the polls have hardly moved.
TAMPA — Eager for a momentum boost, Republicans on Tuesday said they are still hoping Mitt Romney will see a boost in public opinion polls from his selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate – even as the campaign is tempering expectations for a post-convention bump.
“I think that’s going to come after the convention,” Pennsylvania delegate Scott Thomas said of a Ryan effect on the polls. “That’s when he’s really going to be introduced.”
“Anytime you select a VP, you always get an excitement at the very beginning because it’s the new item on the ticket,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy in a roundtable with reporters Tuesday.
“Does it have a lasting effect? I think the answer is yes, that Paul gets a lasting effect.”
Historically, the mere act of adding a running mate to the ticket has catalyzed a three- or four-point increase in polls; in some years, numbers have jumped by more than ten points.
In 2008, John McCain’s campaign enjoyed an average 4-point increase in polls when Sarah Palin was added to the ticket, according to The Guardian; the largest boost since 1984 came from Al Gore in 1992, who moved polls for his running mate, Bill Clinton, by an average of 12 points.
But polls have indicated that Ryan has only helped Romney by about one percentage point—hardly the kind of boost that can swing a campaign outcome, or even one state.
When pressed by a reporter, McCarthy conceded there hasn’t been much of a boost from the selection Ryan, but said he thought that was because “the country doesn’t know him yet,” or because many voters have already made up their minds.
“This is a tough race,” he added. “This isn’t once that’s going to have big swings.”
On the convention floor, Republican delegates were certain the Ryan bump would come.
“I think that’s going to come after the convention,” Pennsylvania delegate Scott Thomas said of a Ryan effect on the polls. “That’s when he’s really going to be introduced.”
And some Republicans discounted the need for a polling boost now, predicting the “bump” will be evident in Romney’s Election-Day victory.
‘The bump in the polls is going to come on November 6, that is all I care about,” said Janis Holt, a delegate from Texas.
“Or November 7, when we wake up,” a fellow delegate from Texas, Vita Swarers, added.
Holt retorted, “I won’t wake up because I’ll be out all night celebrating!”
Still, the reality for campaigns is that these sorts of poll boosts – either from a vice presidential candidate selection, the nominating convention or the debates – are seen as key milestones in a campaign, a fact borne out by the Romney campaign’s decision to temper expectations for the post convention period.
Meanwhile, McCarthy, the third ranking member in the House and one of the Republicans’ biggest young talents, downplayed the need for the party to conduct specific outreach to blacks, Latinos and other groups his party has had trouble reaching.
“I come from California, which is much more diverse,” McCarthy said. “I realize that in Washington, within the Republican Party, we have to expand.”
Unlike other Republican leaders who have urged better outreach to minority, female and youth voters, McCarthy advocated a broader effort based on “unity.”
“I think the party needs to go unify the country around ‘American,’” McCarthy said.
But when asked what issues the party might reexamine to accomplish this, McCarthy did not give a specific example.
Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner noted the party’s “gender gap,” but said that women and minorities alike would be drawn to the Republican Party due to the economic downturn.
Maybe not so much in Nevada.
Within minutes of Mitt Romney officially winning the Republican nomination, the Facebook page for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a blunt reminder that it is “politically diverse.”
With a captive audience watching the keynote, Romney directs people to a fundraising page and a link to watch the address.
The unseated Maine delegates didn't get what they wanted, and the whole delegation walked out. Romney and Paul brass united in their irritation: They're “acting like three-year-old children.”
TAMPA, Fla. — The Maine delegation at the Republican National Convention walked out in protest today after failing to get 10 disputed delegates seated, a dramatic scene that threw a serious wrench into the tight script the Romney campaign had planned — and which spoiled months of work the Paul campaign put into training its delegates with the express goal of preventing them from causing a scene at the convention.
After instigating a shouting match on the floor — the unseated Maine delegates gathered in their section as people chanted "Seat them now!" — the group left their section and took the show out to the hallway, where they were mobbed by reporters and onlookers.
"This is what the administration's gonna do to our veterans, are our veterans going to get this kind of treatment under Mitt Romney?" shouted unseated delegate Matt McDonald. "I hope to God not."
Most of the delegates and would-be delegates wore matching white hats, and many had clothespins with tiny lobsters on them attached to their noses ("Something smells in Tampa!").
"This is a farce!" shouted Pete Harring, an older man with a grey ponytail and a thick Maine accent.
The delegates started "Remember the Maine!" and "Shame on Romney!" chants, which Romney supporters countered with a "Romney" chant in the hallway. Local police kept a watchful eye.
After a minute or two, the seated Paul delegates of Maine walked off the floor and joined their colleagues. One, Bryan Daugherty, was in tears. They were received by a mix of hostility — one older man kept trying to corner them, shouting "Romney-Ryan Romney-Ryan" — and satisfaction. "You did good," a man covered in "End the Fed" and "Don't Tread On Me" buttons said, patting the crying delegate on the back.
Eric Brakey, former state director for the Paul campaign in Maine, told reporters that he would focus on state and local races instead of the presidential race, and wouldn't comment when asked if he would vote Romney over Obama.
Before making their exit, the delegates huddled together to put their hands together like a sports team before the start of a game.
"Maine! We're going to walk out of here arm in arm," Daugherty yelled through his tears.
Then they filed outside and started another impromptu press conference, attacking the Romney campaign and the entire Republican establishment.
"We tried deal after deal," Mark Willis, the national committeeman from Maine, told reporters. "Now we can go home to Maine with our dignity and our respect."
Brent Tweed, the delegation chair, told reporters that "I think I objected pretty loudly but they just pretended they didn't hear it. It's ironic that they threw us out for following the rules."
In other words, this was exactly what both the Romney and Paul campaigns dreaded, a setback to a mutual understanding that a Republican victory in November, and a generous extended hand toward Paul and his young supporters, would best serve both sides.
“Their only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally,” Arizona Republican candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer said in a 2011 interview.
Arizona Republican candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer
TAMPA, Fla — An Arizona Republican candidate for the House accused “Middle Eastern” people of attempting to “mix” with illegal Mexican immigrants to the United States in an effort to “cause harm” to Americans.
In a 2011 interview with the conservative website westernfreepress.com (embedded below), Saucedo Mercer, who is running in tonight's Arizona primary and, if she wins, will likely square off against incumbent Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, discusses illegal immigration into the United States.
In the interview, the Republican notes that many illegal immigrants that have been caught by federal officials comes from areas other than Latin America — including the Middle East.
“If you know Middle Easterners, a lot of them look Mexican, or they look like a lot of people in South America — dark skin, dark hair brown eyes. And they mix. They mix in,” she said.
“And those people, their only goal in life is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally,” she added, arguing, “They have found prayer rugs, they have found copies of the Koran. So that tells you this is not just poor illegals who are trying to come to this country to try and find work.”
Saucedo Mercer has been endorsed by Gov. Jan Brewer, according to her website.
Saucedo Mercer also slammed progressives in the interview, arguing that “right now we have communism and people are calling it progressivism.” Her possible future opponent Grijalva is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Grijalva’s office, which produced a web video that includes her comments in it, slammed her statements.
"This is reckless hate speech, and I call on everyone who has endorsed Gabriela Mercer to withdraw their support immediately … her comments are reprehensible and deserve condemnation from every quarter,” Grijalva said in a statement Tuesday.
A spokesman for Saucedo Mercer did not immediately return a request for comment.
The full two part interview is below.
Two renegade board members in Montgomery County had refused to follow the Ohio Secretary of State's order regarding voting hours in the state. The two Democrats who sought weekend voting were removed today.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted speaks at an even in Montgomery County.
In a state where every vote could matter this November, the Republican Secretary of State has made it clear that the election is going to be run the way that he says it will be run.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has removed Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. for having "knowingly and willfully violated Ohio election law" — a directive Husted issued regarding voting hours. The pair said in a statement that they have not decided whether they will take any legal action to attempt to overturn the action, which they characterize as a "firing." Husted said they were "dismissed."
Husted's office had argued to a hearing examiner, who was appointed by Husted and recommended the removal on Monday, that the pair failed to follow a directive he had earlier issued that set voting hours for the county elections boards. The ">pair had voted to keep voting hours in Montgomery County open on weekends in the run-up to the election, hours that were outside of the listed hours in Husted's directive.
Lieberman, one of the board members, said in the statement, “I’m disappointed, but not surprised. [Secretary] Husted is trampling on the rights of voters in this state and he will target anyone who dares to stand up to his suppressive acts."
Ritchie said, "Husted has acted rashly every step of the way so today’s decision is unfortunate yet not unexpected. The losers here are the voters and our democracy. Voters want the polls open on weekends and evenings so give the people what they want."
Husted's Removal Letter
Shouting match erupts between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters as the convention unceremoniously votes on Rules, Credentials.
TAMPA — A shouting match erupted on the floor of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday afternoon as Chairman Reince Priebus called for a vote to unseat several Ron Paul delegates.
Loud cries of “Boo” and” Seat them now” filled the convention floor as repeated calls to contest a credentials committee report fell on deaf ears after it passed by a voice vote. A majority of the delegates from six states were required to call for a roll call vote on the credentials report, submitting their intent to do so in writing in advance. Despite Maine the delegates’ claims, no such support came from their colleagues from other states.
The boos disrupted the speech of Puerto Rico National Committeewoman Zori Fonalledas, who was set to announce the nomination of Speaker of the House John Boehner as permanent convention chairman.
Priebus repeatedly called on the crowd to silence themselves, as dozens of men wearing earpieces converged on the shouting Paul supporters — some delegates, and even more expressing their displeasure from the arena’s upper decks.
As Boehner moved to the report from the Committee on Rules and Order of Business, Paul supporters began shouting “Point of Order,” calling on the chair to recognize them for a motion. Boehner shouted over them, as other delegates tried to drown them out with chants of “U-S-A.”
The Rules Committee report, which was even more contentious than the credentials committee, but also passed by a close voice vote — as more and more chants filled the hall.
But opponents of the rules committee did submit the requisite 28 signatures on efforts to call a “minority report” to the floor — making the passed rules the new rules of the Republican Party.
Small business woman Sher Valenzuela, who is running for Lt. Governor in Delaware, is giving a primetime speech tonight at the “We Build It” themed day of the Republican convention. Valenzuela gave a PowerPoint-presentation she gave to the Wilmington Women In Business forum in May entirely focused on working with the government to get government grants and contracts to build your business.
Some of the highlights..
OK, it's almost entirely Jon Voight.
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