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Former Governor of Minnesota is out
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty told supporters this morning that he will end his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, according to Politico.
He finished a disappointing and distant third in yesterday's Iowa presidential straw poll, well behind his Minnesota rival, Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Click for all issue stances from Tim Pawlenty
Bachmann wins; Pawlenty loses
Click for all issue stances from the Iowa Straw Poll debate
Lead-up to Iowa Straw Poll tomorrow
The moderators of Thursday night's Republican debate are defending a question posed to presidential candidate Michele Bachmann regarding her past remarks that wives should be "submissive" to their husbands. The question elicited boos from the Iowa debate audience and has spurred a range of responses.
During the debate, moderator Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked Bachmann about her 2006 remarks that she studied tax law because her husband told her to, even though she hated the idea. Bachmann said at the time, "But the Lord said, 'Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.'"
York asked, "As president, would you be submissive to your husband?" Bachmann paused for a few moments before quipping, "thank you for that question, Byron." She then went on to offer up something of a non-answer. "Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September 10th. I'm in love with him. I'm so proud of him," she said. "And both he and I -- what submission means to us, if that's what your question is, it means respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful, godly man, and a great father. And he respects me as his wife. That's how we operate our marriage. We respect each other. We love each other."
On Fox News' "Fox and Friends" Friday morning, York defended his question, saying, "This is a serious and legitimate question about something she has said and believe me, if she progresses very far in the campaign process, she would have been asked this question." York said Bachmann handled it well.
Click for all issue stances from the Iowa Straw Poll debate
Texas Governor is in
Rick Perry, a staunch rightwinger with a Washington outsider's political resumé, will run for the Republican nomination for US president in 2012.
"He will make a definitive announcement on Saturday for the race," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said. Asked if Perry is indeed joining the race, Miner said "yes".
Perry is a social and religious conservative who can boast of a strong job-creation record in Texas. That could help him compete with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the party's pro-business wing and make him a formidable challenger in the November 2012 election. He is the longest serving governor in Texas history, taking over from George W Bush after he became president in 2000.
Analysts said Perry has the visibility and fund-raising network to make a successful entry into the race, even though it comes months after other leading contenders. A Perry candidacy could steal support from Michele Bachmann, a favourite of the conservative Tea Party movement, replacing her as Romney's top rival and potentially narrowing the gap between the party's establishment centre and rightwing activists.
Click for all issue stances from Gov. Rick Perry (R, TX) or his book, Fed Up!
Voting records updated for Senate members
OnTheIssues.org records key votes for Senate members; the latest set, from early 2011, sets the stage for coverage of the Senate challengers (first batch coming by Labor Day!) The recorded votes are linked below:
Click for all Senators' issues for all incumbents.
News updates up-and-running for 2012 contenders
OnTheIssues.org has updated our "Topics in the News" for the 2012 race. This coverage has been shut down since just after the 2008 election. It is now up-and-running for the 2012 contenders, focusing on the Republican primary. We have added some new topics and retired several outdated ones....
Click for all Topics in the News for 2012.
But seeks a Democratic primary challenger against Obama
Ralph Nader is back -- and this time he's looking for a Democrat to challenge President Obama in next year's 2012 primaries. The frequent third-party candidate tells The Daily Caller website that Obama's decision to sign the debt ceiling bill -- without tax hikes on the wealthy -- will only make it that much easier to find an opponent to Obama's left. "What [Obama] did this week is just going to energize that effort," Nader said. "I would guess that the chances of there being a challenge to Obama in the primary are almost 100 percent."
The only question, (Nader) said, is the stature of that opponent and whether it will be either "an ex-senator or an ex-governor" or "an intellectual leader or an environmental leader." In approximately a week and a half, there will be "another chapter of this effort," Nader predicted.
“It’s an initiative to scan the possibilities of people who may run,” Nader said in a phone interview. “My guess is that it’s almost 100 percent sure there’s going to be a primary challenge to Obama from somebody or somebodies — plural — in some states.” Nader’s effort follows comments over the weekend by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a liberal independent who caucuses with Democrats, that it would be a “good idea” for Obama to face a primary challenge in 2012. Sanders brusquely declined to talk Tuesday about his weekend remarks, saying only that he hadn’t heard from anyone in the White House about the comments.
Other liberal stalwarts on Capitol Hill acknowledged their frustration toward the president and his handling of the spending-and-debt debate. But they flatly ruled out supporting a primary challenge to the president. “We’re probably all going to vote for him. But it takes more than that to win,” said Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, where Obama won the 2008 caucuses. “I hope that the president rediscovers his progressive base before too long.” Harkin also said progressive forces in the Democratic Party should be more vocal.
Click for complete issue stances of Ralph Nader
Six 2012 Republican contenders tweet at the 2011 Twitter debate
The Twitter debate was certainly innovative and modern -- if somewhat challenging for voters to follow. Six GOP hopefuls tweeted, in 140 characters or less, their responses to moderator and audience questions. Their responses tended to overlap each other (i.e., they all tweeted at once), and it seemed that each candidate was usually unaware of what the others were tweeting. But maybe that's good -- it was definitely different!
Click for policy statements from the 2011 Twitter debate
Former Governor from Louisiana is in
Former Governor Charles Elson “Buddy” Roemer (R, LA) announced his candidacy for president at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Thursday afternoon. With the addition of the Former Louisiana Governor there are now 11 contenders in the 2012 presidential race.
In his announcement speech, Roemer said, “I run to prepare America to grow jobs again, beginning with the elimination of our tolerance for unfair foreign trade practices and the use of our own tax code to ship jobs overseas. I run to reveal and challenge the control of the special interest over our nation’s capital, and demonstrate the freedom to lead that can only come from refusing their money.”
Roemer is pledging that he'll take no money from political action committees and no donation more than $100. [Roemer this week moved his family to New Hampshire for the duration of the primary].
Roemer served four terms as a Democratic congressman from Louisiana then became governor of the state in 1988. He switched affiliations to the GOP in his third year as governor and lost re-election to a second term.
Click for all issue stances from Gov. Buddy Roemer (R, LA)
Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee also announces retirement
Rep. Ron Paul said he will concentrate on running for president and will not seek re-election to Congress, ending a 24-year career as one of the more colorful members of the House of Representatives.
The 75-year-old Republican said he will serve out his term through December 2012, whether his presidential campaign is successful or not. He has been criticized for running for Congress while seeking the presidency in the past.
Paul said the growing support for his 2012 presidential bid convinced him he should not divide his energies. He won a straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference held in New Orleans last month. "I think that you have more credibility if you run for only one office at a time," Paul said. He acknowledged that he may miss some House votes because of the presidential campaign, but that his staff would continue to provide constituent services.
Rep. Dale Kildee (D, MI) also announced his retirement, bringing the total number of announced retirements to thirteen (5 Republicans and 8 Democrats).
Click for all issue stances from Rep. Ron Paul (R, TX) and Rep. Dale Kildee (D, MI)
Voting records updated for House members running for president
OnTheIssues.org records key votes for House members; the latest set, from early 2011, affects three presidential contenders:
Michigan Representative is in; via a surprise announcement
Thaddeus McCotter, a Livonia congressman, announced to a Michigan rock festival crowd Saturday he's seeking the Republican nomination for president, saying the future of the country is not big government but self government.
McCotter laid out his principles of liberty, sovereignty, security and prosperity to a festival crowd of more than 400 people who were unsure about his presidential chances. "While it is a hard road ahead, we will have better days and we will start now," McCotter said.
Immediately after the speech, McCotter picked up his American flag themed guitar and jammed with the band for a song. McCotter, a lawyer and author who is serving his fifth term in Congress, is considered a long shot in the GOP nomination. He faces serious challenges in fundraising and national name recognition, compared to challengers like Michigan native, Mitt Romney, and tea party darling Michele Bachmann. But supporters say it will be his message of small government will resonate and his Michigan roots and manufacturing support will change the dialog in the campaign.
Click for all issue stances from Rep. Thad McCotter (R, MI)
Pundits claim TX Governor is in; TX Governor says nothing
The pundits declared this week that Texas Governor Rick Perry plans to announce for President sometime soon. Rick Perry himself has said nothing of the kind.
This sort of breathless over-analysis in the mainstream press is the reason OnTheIssues.org came to exist: the mainstream press cannot offer anything except the hair-splitting political parsing of Perry's every move and how each perturbation translates into another step forward or backward.
Voters don't care. Voters want to know, "Where does Perry stand on issues important to me?" OnTheIssues.org offers that information instead of the breathless, endless parsing.
Please ignore the mainstream press. All that their coverage does is hinder interested citizens from being able to google Rick Perry's actual issue stances. We commit to digging up his stances despite the mainstream press -- stay tuned here, and tell the mainstream press you want them to do their job and investigate Perry on the issues, not more "PerryWatch" political parsing!
Click for all issue stances from Gov. Rick Perry (R, TX)
Former Utah Governor is in
Republican Jon Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, entered his party's 2012 presidential race on Tuesday pledging to make the "hard decisions" to deal with America's debt.
"I'm a candidate for the office of President of the United States of America," Huntsman told supporters at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The site is where former President Ronald Reagan launched his bid for the White House in 1980. "For the first time in our history, we are passing down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman said. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is totally unacceptable and totally un-American."
Huntsman, 51, is one of the few Republican hopefuls who worries Obama's re-election team. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he upset the White House in April by quitting his job as ambassador in Beijing, a post he held since 2009, to return to home to plan his election campaign. If he picks up traction in opinion polls, Huntsman could be a rival to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the role of the moderate Republican candidate.
Click for all issue stances from Gov. Jon Huntsman (R, UT)
Ends several weeks of "Wienergate" sexting scandal
Rep. Anthony Weiner's admission that he tweeted and Facebook-messaged inappropriate photos of himself to at least six women is the latest sexting scandal among politicians and public figures. Disgraced Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., a married Republican, resigned in February after he reportedly sent a bare-chested image of himself to a woman on Craigslist.
Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation announcement: "Today I announce my resignation, so my colleagues can get back to work and my neighbors choose a new representative." He apologized again for causing a "distraction," to his colleagues, constituents and his wife, Huma Abedin.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo must schedule an election no later than 80 days from the date of the vacancy. New York's 9th District, which Weiner has represented since 1998, comprises heavily white, ethnic neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn. It has elected the congressman with comfortable margins but has been trending Republican: In 2000 the Democratic presidential nominee, Al Gore, got 67% of the vote, but the margin dropped to 56% for the party's 2004 nominee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. In 2008, Barack Obama won the district with 55% of the vote.
Click for complete records of Anthony Weiner (D, NY-9)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R, MN) announces for president at debate at St. Anselm's College
The strong performance by Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) — the only other clear winner Monday night — complicates Tim Pawlenty’s situation in Iowa. Herman Cain learned Monday night that one good debate, which he had in South Carolina, doesn’t begat a second.
Monday’s debate also highlighted more clearly the choices that face two prospective candidates, Sarah Palin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. No one can predict what kind of staying power Bachmann might have, but her emergence as the likely favorite of many tea party voters and social conservatives could accelerate Palin’s timetable.
* * *
Click for all issue stances from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R, MN) or St. Anselm NH debate
Former Senator from Pennsylvania is in
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R, PA) announced today his candidacy for president.
On May 21, radio talk show host Herman Cain announced his candidacy.
We use this opportunity to explain how OnTheIssue.org coverage begins, explaining why Santorum is covered immediately but Cain required over two weeks. We cover Senate votes and bill sponsorpships, including those of Sen. Santorum. Hence we have an immediate record available of his issue stances.
In the case of Herman Cain, we have no such record, and must build it ourselves, mostly by transcribing speeches. That process requires several weeks; the results are now posted from these debates:
Click for all issue stances from Herman Cain (R) or Sen. Rick Santorum (R, PA)
Former Governor of Massachusetts is in
Mitt Romney, the widely hailed frontrunner for the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination, has finally confirmed his candidacy and immediately criticised the faltering US economy. The former Massachusetts governor also repeated his pledge to dismantle President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, which are similar to those he introduced at state level in the mid-2000s but which, he argues, would ''bankrupt the nation''.
Launching his campaign on a New Hampshire farm, the 64-year-old Utah Mormon said that America's lagging economic indicators amounted to Mr Obama's own ''misery index''. ''Barack Obama has failed America,'' he told supporters. ''When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.'' With more than 16 million Americans out of work, the national debt climbing beyond $14 trillion and petrol prices at near-record highs, the US faced a bleak outlook, he said. ''These failing hopes make up President Obama's own misery index,'' he continued. ''It's never been higher. Mr President, you've had your chance.''
Click for all issue stances from Gov. Mitt Romney (R, MA)
Democratic House election victory in NY-26
The Democratic nominee won the special election in NY's 26th district last week and will be sworn in on June 1st. Democrats consider this race a belweather for the 2012 House races because it focused on ObamaCare and because the Democrat won in a traditionally conservative district. Republicans disagree. Analysis from both sides follows:
Corwin, a multimillionaire state assemblywoman, watched her lead evaporate after expressing support for a plan crafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to strip billions from Medicare and recast it as a voucher program. Corwin said she supported the Ryan plan as a way to ensure Medicare for future generations. Hochul quickly seized on Corwin's position and cast herself as the protector of Medicare in a district with a large population of voters over 55. Her television ads hammered the issue even as Corwin tried to shift her position, suggesting she'd favor changing the Ryan plan if elected. The race has drawn attention and more than $2 million from both national parties and several independent groups.
Ms. Hochul won a plurality (47%) of the votes, not a majority, getting only one percentage point more than Barack Obama as he was losing the district in 2008. Not exactly a compelling performance. Democrats won only because a third-party candidate—self-proclaimed tea partier Jack Davis—spent a reported $3 million of his own money. Absent Mr. Davis as a spoiler—he got 9% of the vote—Democrats would never have made a serious bid for this district, nor won if they did. Ironically, Mr. Davis ran for the same seat in the last three elections as a Democrat. This year he ran as a populist conservative.
Click for complete records of Kathy Hochul (D, NY-26) and her predecessor Chris Lee (R, NY-26)
Book excerpts and reviews from OnTheIssues.org
OnTheIssues.org excerpts political books for possible presidential contenders:
Former Governor of Minnesota is in
Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign rests on this question: Will Republican voters itching for confrontation with President Obama deliver their nomination to a man who tends toward soft-spoken and bland? The former Minnesota governor sought distance from the GOP field by casting himself as an everyman who would speak frankly to Americans about the gravity of the nation's challenges.
Charging that Obama has failed to tackle difficult issues like entitlement reform and warning that "the pain of the recent recession will pale in comparison to what's coming," Pawlenty chided the president for backing a "pork-filled stimulus bill" and financial bailouts for well connected businesses, and called his healthcare plan "an unmitigated disaster for our country."
"Someone has to stand up and finally level with the American people," Pawlenty told an audience of several hundred people in Iowa, which is likely to serve as a pivot point for his bid. "Someone has to lead. I will."
Click for all issue stances from Tim Pawlenty
Gov. Huckabee out; Gov. Mitch Daniels out
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won several Republican primaries in the 2008 presidential race, said Saturday that he will not make a run for the White House in 2012. "All the factors say go, but my heart says no," Huckabee told viewers at the end of his Fox News program. "My answer is clear and firm. I will not seek the Republican nomination for president this year. I'm going to gladly continue doing what I do."
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’s decision not to run for president in 2012, while deflating the hopes of many in the Republican establishment, has helped solidify what has been a fluid GOP field and brings more clarity to the challenges ahead for each of the leading contenders. Daniels, who had been deliberating for more than a year, joined a growing list of potential candidates who looked at the race and decided to take a pass
Click for all issue stances from Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels
Excerpts from Newt's biography Newt! Revolution
Newt Gingrich is entering the 2012 presidential race as a familiar face--a 20-year veteran of Congress who served a polarizing turn as House speaker before assuming a career as a prolific political commentator and author. But Gingrich, who officially announced his White House bid Wednesday, is bringing a decidedly different approach to this contest than he did to his previous stint in public office. In his speeches and campaign appearances, Gingrich is expected to lay out a political vision that intertwines fiscal and social conservatism, drawing from a newfound interest in religion he has infused into his work in recent years.
The strategy is aimed at shoring up Gingrich's standing with the party's social conservative wing, a constituency that regarded him with suspicion in the past, in part because of his three marriages and admission of an extramarital affair. But in recent years, the former speaker has made gains among evangelical leaders — the result of aggressively cultivating relationships with influential national figures and local pastors in key nominating states.
Last year, Gingrich helped secure seed money for a successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who approved same-sex marriage in the state. Gingrich is now hoping his network of conservative Christian leaders will help him win over evangelical voters, who play an outsize role in deciding the Republican presidential nominating contests in Iowa and South Carolina.
Click for all issue stances from Newt Gingrich
Senator Dean Heller replaces Senator John Ensign
Nevada's new U.S. senator, Dean Heller, was sworn in Monday to replace the embattled John Ensign, who resigned amid a Senate Ethics Committee investigation stemming from an extramarital affair he had with a campaign aide.
Heller, 50, was serving his third term in the House when Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval selected him to serve out the remainder of Ensign's term. The transition does little to change the political dynamic in the Senate, as Heller and Ensign shared similar views on most issues.
Heller was escorted to the front of the Senate chamber by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath as Heller's wife, Lynne, and their four children and son-in-law watched from the gallery.
Heller was already the favorite to win next year's GOP primary election for Ensign's seat when Sandoval made the appointment. On the Democratic side, Rep. Shelley Berkley has said she will run for the seat.
Click for policy statements from Senator-Appointee Dean Heller (R, NV) or Former Senator John Ensign (R, NV)
Rep. Ron Paul (R, CA) and Gov. Gary Johnson (R, NM) are both in
It looks like Ron Paul is running for president again--and libertarians everywhere have reason to cheer. After the big government conservatism of the George W. Bush era, their ideas seem finally ascendant-and now they have two standard-bearers competing for the Republican nomination in 2012. While the Paul family--recently dubbed "the libertarian Kennedys" by Politico--suck up the media oxygen, there is a comparatively little known but more electorally accomplished libertarian running for president--former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
It's a political high-water mark for a movement that is simultaneously watching the new film version of its ubertext, Atlas Shrugged, tank at the box office. After all, Tea Party rallies were infused with crowd-pleasing libertarian rhetoric. Paul Ryan's budget plan--with its proposed transformation of Medicare and Medicaid to a voucher-program--represents a long-time fantasy of libertarians about rolling back the welfare state. And while President Bush campaigned on a federal marriage amendment in 2004, polls show that young conservatives have decidedly inclusive attitudes toward gays and lesbians, even when it comes to the freedom to marry.
Click for policy statements from Rep. Ron Paul or Gov. Gary Johnson
Senator John Ensign (R, NV) resigns amid sex and money scandal
Embattled U.S. Sen. John Ensign will resign from office on Friday, opening the door for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to appoint Rep. Dean Heller to finish out the term. If Heller is appointed, it would give him a strategic leg up as an incumbent against his presumed opponent in the 2012 Senate race, Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley. Berkley is still expected to run.
Ensign's political star fell two years when he revealed he had an affair with a campaign aide, a scandal for which he remains under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. It's unclear whether the ongoing investigation played a role in Ensign's resignation, or whether he was stepping down early at the behest of the Nevada GOP in order to benefit Heller, the party's presumptive nominee for 2012.
[If Heller is appointed], that would trigger a special election for Heller's 2nd Congressional District seat, which "tea party" supporter Sharron Angle has announced her intention to seek. She narrowly lost a Senate race to Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010.
The senator's decision was met with a collective sigh of relief--and little surprise--in his home state, where Ensign's scandals have dominated headlines for nearly two years. [Ensign is accused of financially benefiting the campaign aide after having an affair with the campaign aide's wife].
"I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn-out proceedings or especially public hearings," Ensign said in a statement. "For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great." He also denied violating Senate rules or laws.
Click for policy statements from John Ensign (R, NV)
Book excerpts on the presidency
OnTheIssues.org covers books by and about presidential contenders, as well as Governors and Senators. This set of books provides analysis of Obama's presidency so far, in preparation for the 2012 race. There's also substantial retrospective on Bush's presidency, both from supporters and detractors. We consider these some of the most important books for political readers; with many more to follow before the 2012 race gets under way!
Click for issue stances for OnTheIssues.org's Archive.
Click for issues stances for Donald Trump or his and policy book
Out with Sarah. In with The Donald. GOP celebrities like Sarah Palin aren't getting much buzz. Mainstream candidates like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty aren't getting much traction. GOP activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina appear deeply intrigued by, and open to, a run by Donald Trump, the publicity-loving business tycoon and host of NBC's "The Apprentice," even as he perpetuates falsehoods about Obama's citizenship and questions the legitimacy of his presidency.
These Republican officials and activists stopped short of saying they see Trump as the eventual nominee. But they said their party is hungry for forceful, colorful figures to attack Obama and other Democrats on health care, spending and other issues. In Iowa at least, there's also widespread talk about two social conservatives: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who would be the first president elected directly from the House since James Garfield, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost his 2006 re-election bid by a landslide.
While these people certainly have talents, the party's establishment does not see them as the likeliest contenders to defeat Obama. Republicans traditionally pick party veterans who wait their turn and earn their nominations after years spent as governors, senators or vice presidents. But this field lacks a front-runner like Bob Dole in 1996 or George W. Bush in 2000. There's a political vacuum in the GOP, insiders say, and it's being filled by an unusually large and diverse number of White House hopefuls.
Palin's apparent fade and Trump's rise are arguably the most surprising events in recent weeks, as more establishment-oriented contenders, including former governors Romney of Massachusetts and Pawlenty of Minnesota, took formal steps toward full-fledged candidacies. A CNN nationwide poll of adult Republicans showed Trump tied for the presidential lead with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 19 percent each. Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, was third at 12 percent.
Click for Donald Trump's views on the issues and Trump's book, The America We Deserve
Formally launches re-election campaign
President Obama formally launched his reelection campaign Monday morning--illustrating his eagerness to start raising money for a race that could prove difficult but exposing himself to criticism for focusing on politics despite pressing crises at home and abroad.
The announcement--via an e-mail message and a Web video to supporters--makes Obama the first declared candidate in the 2012 presidential race. By filing his candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission, the president will be able to start raising campaign money immediately.
Obama’s formal entrance into the race comes as his potential challengers are playing a surprising waiting game. For the 2008 race, former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) announced his candidacy in December 2006, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) did the same two months later. The entries of those two prominent candidates effectively forced other contenders to start as well, and almost a dozen candidates, including Obama, were running by April 2007. This time, although former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) formed an exploratory committee last month and is virtually certain to run, as is Romney, none of the most prominent Republicans has made it official. And Republicans say the first member of their party to enter would face what Obama already has to deal with as president: the pundits, press and their opponents watching their every move.
Click for complete records of Pres. Obama; or our 2012 Presidential VoteMatch quiz.
First round of House bills by new Republican Congress
OnTheIssues.org covers bill sponsorships as well as Congressional voting records. This set of House bills are the first bills introduced by the new GOP-majority House of Representatives. Most have not yet come to the House floor for a vote; we will cover voting records later in the year. Click below for sponsors of each 2011 bill:
Click for issue stances for Members of the House.
Outline of newly-assigned House committees
When you see members of the U.S. House of Representatives on C-Span, they are usually on the "House floor", where final votes take place. But the real work of writing and editing bills takes place in House Committees. House Committee assignments were made in January and finalized in February; OnTheIssues.org includes on each House member's page their committee assignments. We summarize the committees with links to each member; some important committees are:
Click for issue stances for Members of the House. or Lists of Committee memberships
Excerpts from Newt's biography Newt! Revolution
Newt! Revolution was written in 1995, when Newt Gingrich's was the newly-elected Speaker of the House. He had just engineered the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, and had not yet fallen from power after struggles with Pres. Bill Clinton. Hence this book is a snapshot of Newt at the peak of his power. If Newt runs for President in 2012, as currently seems likely, this book will become a valuable indicator of his views before any post-Clinton lessons.
The book is important for two reasons in the 2012 presidential race: it pinpoints where Newt stands on the scale of conservatism; and demonstrates the consistency of his political views over time. Newt's 2009 book, Real Change, will be excerpted shortly, as will his 2011 book, "To Save America".
We have added Newt Gingrich to our early Presidential 2012 VoteMatch quiz, where you answer 20 questions and get matched issue-by-issue with the major candidates. All of the candidates for the Republican nomination discussed above are also included in the VoteMatch quiz.
This book is the second in our series of 2012 GOP presidential contenders. Also in preparation for the 2012 race, we cover retrospectives on the obama presidency from different political perspectives. Some of the other recently-excerpted books include:
Click for all issue stances from Newt Gingrich or his biography, Newt! Revolution
U.S. Army caught applying "psy-ops" illegally on Senators
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war– and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.
The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.
The list of targeted visitors was long. Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
According to the Defense Department’s own definition, psy-ops – the use of propaganda and psychological tactics to influence emotions and behaviors – are supposed to be used exclusively on "hostile foreign groups." Federal law forbids the military from practicing psy-ops on Americans, and each defense authorization bill comes with a "propaganda rider" that also prohibits such manipulation.
Click for issue stances for Members of the Senate or Mmebers of the House.
2012 Republican contenders speak at CPAC convention
For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., emerged as the potential presidential candidate that an active group of conservative activists want to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012. Paul won this year's Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a healthy margin. Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw vote in 2007, 2008 and 2009. 3,742 conference-goers voted in this years straw poll -- more than twice the number who participated in 2007.
Click for policy statements from the 2011 CPAC convention
Harman exits revolving door; Lee exits in sex scandal; 2 down; 433 to go.
Two members of Congress demonstrated today why voters should have an attitude of "Throw the bums out!". One Democrat and one Republican resigned from Congress, requiring special elections later in 2011 in New York and California.
Rep. Jane Harman (D, CA-36) is leaving Congress to go to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a nonpartisan research institution (a "think tank"). Harman is worth an estimated $300 million. She presumably quit Congress because the Democrats were no longer in control and millionaires don't like to toil away in the minority. Harman served all of 33 days of her 730 day commitment before announcing her departure.
Harman announced her resignation saying, "I'm just movin' down the street; I'm not leavin' this place." OnTheIssues.org considers that a restatement of the "revolving door" that members of Congress routinely claim to abhor when applied to others. It is difficult to believe that Harman was unaware of the Woodrow Wilson Center deal just three months ago at the time of her re-election, or just one month ago at her swearing-in, when she promised the people of her district to serve for two years.
Rep. Chris Lee (R, NY-26) has a more immediate crisis that forced his resignation -- a sex scandal. Lee abruptly resigned after a shirtless photo of himself, which he had e-mailed to a woman, was published on the Internet. Mr. Lee, who is married and has a son, replied to a personal ad that the woman had placed in the “Women for Men” section of Craigslist.
Mr. Lee’s office released a statement in which he asked for forgiveness. “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” he wrote. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”
Under New York law, it falls to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to call a special election to find a successor for Mr. Lee. The special election in California, which has to be called by Gov. Jerry Brown, will test California's new election system: all candidates run in the primary and the top two finishers regardless of party face each other in a runoff.
Click for issue stances for Harman and Lee or other remaining House members.
|State of the State speeches: Feb. 5, 2011|
To complement Obama's State of the Union speech, during January and February, Governors describe the "State of the State" to their legislatures. This is the second round of speech coverage; see our first round dated Jan. 16
|Chicago Mayoral race: early voting underway: Feb. 1, 2011|
Mayoral candidates Rahm Emanuel and Miguel del Valle kicked off the first day of early voting by casting ballots for themselves. Registered voters can cast ballots at any of the city's 51 early voting sites through Feb. 17. The elections board also allows "grace period" voting through Feb. 15 for individuals who are not already registered. Election Day is Feb. 22.
White House aides say President Obama has applied for an absentee ballot to vote for mayor in his hometown of Chicago.
Six candidates will appear on the February 22 ballot:
|Three Senators announce retirement: Jan. 23, 2011|
Q: Will the president find bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill? Joining me now, Senators Joe Lieberman, Kent Conrad, and from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison. All three have recently declared they will not be seeking re-election. Sen. Lieberman, what will you be listening to from the president at the State of the Union?
LIEBERMAN: Well, the president listened to the results of the election in November, and that's -- that's the right thing to do in America. Elections have consequences. And since then, he has really reconnected to the vital center of American politics and, I think, to the American people.
Q: Sen. Hutchison, do you think the president can convey that message of unity and confidence to move forward?
HUTCHISON: I think he can convey the message. But I think the question is, will there be a follow-through? Will he really get his regulatory commissions to cut back on the regulations that are hurting the growth of business? Will he agree to some changes in the Obamacare which is keeping people from hiring?
Q: Senator Conrad, what does Obama need to say?
CONRAD: Well, I think three things. 1) growing the economy and jobs. 2) the debt threat. That's got to be taken on. 3) reducing our dependence on foreign energy.
|State of the State speeches: Jan. 16, 2011|
During January and February, Governors describe the "State of the State" to their legislatures, and outline their agenda for the year. (Obama will do the same in late January as the "State of the Union").
Governors' State of the State speeches:
|Pres. Bush's book excerpted: Jan. 12, 2010|
This book is Bush's first public discussion of his presidency since leaving office. Hence it represents his preliminary presentation of his legacy as president. There is plenty of material here on which political critics will disagree; Bush only addresses some of them. Perhaps a future book by Bush will address more of the political criticisms -- books about Bush most certainly will!
The title of the book, "Decision Points", provides Bush's framework: he explains in detail how many of his major decisions as president came about, including some decisions prior to his presidency. This does provide details that were previously unknown (such as comparing his "call to run" for the presidency with Moses' call from God to lead, p. 60-61). But mostly it provides for justifications of his decisions, some of which are intensely unsatisfying. We'll group these justifications into three categories:
|U.S. Representative shot: Jan. 8, 2011|
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D, AZ-8) has undergone brain surgery after being shot through the head Saturday morning by a man who opened fire with a handgun when the Congresswoman was holding a public appearance in Tucson.
Six people were killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, a Giffords aide and a young girl, and 18 others were wounded in the shooting, authorities said.
Gov. Jan Brewer said she has ordered flags in Arizona to be flown at half staff. She called the shooting “an unbelievable tragedy’ for the people of Arizona. She called Giffords a friend.
* * *
On the House floor, on a day once scheduled to feature a polarizing vote to repeal last year's health care law, the only business was a four-page resolution memorializing Giffords. [The U.S. House will not introduce any other legislation this week, in tribute to Gifford.]
Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at her critics, saying it was a "blood libel" when some in the media and on the left said she'd contributed to an atmosphere of violence that may have pushed an Arizona gunman into shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Palin, who last March included Giffords' district on a map of Democrats she'd targeted for defeat - and marked by a rifle's crosshairs - noted that she'd decried violence while visiting the state the same month.
|Three new governors sworn in: Jan. 1, 2011|
Several states swear-in their new governors at midnight on January 1st.
|The new governors as of today include:||The outgoing governors are:|
|Gov. Susana Martinez (R); New Mexico's 27th governor and first female governor.||Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D, NM)|
|Gov. Rick Snyder (R); Michigan's 48th governor.||Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D, NM)|
|Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D); New York's 56th governor.||Former Gov. David Paterson (D, NY)|
|Jim DeMint's book excerpted: Dec. 26, 2010|
OnTheissues ends the 2010 election year by focusing on the 2012 election: This is the first in our series of books from the 2012 presidential prospects.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R, SC) can take as much credit for the Tea Party victories of 2010 as can Sarah Palin. She was the outsider; he was the Senate insider. Both will likely announce for the presidency in 2012.
We will excerpt books from all of the likely contenders in the 2012 GOP primary. In fact, having a book is a prerequisite for being a serious contender these days. We have in the works:
|Two final races decided: Dec. 10, 2010|
Outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an outspoken conservative who may run for president, deflected a question of whether he would criticize his liberal successor once he left office. When Pawlenty instead praised how former Gov. Jesse Ventura had withheld criticizing Pawlenty, Dayton smiled at Pawlenty and quipped: "I'll make it more difficult for him. Each governor does it differently."
Mr. Bishop, a Democrat who was first elected in 2002, told reporters on a conference call that he was grateful to “withstand a Category 5 storm against incumbents.” But he acknowledged he would have less influence in Congress going forward as a member of the minority party. Republicans swept to a majority in the House on Nov. 2, picking up a total of 63 seats.
|Karl Rove's book excerpted: Dec. 6, 2010|
In the off-season between elections, OnTheIssues.org excerpts political books. These provide analysis of past administrations and predictions for future races.
We begin the post-2010-election analysis series with Karl Rove's retrospective of the Bush presidency, called "Courage and Consequence", which was released last month.
We excerpt numerous other officeholders and political celebrities from the same book, and we always include an insightful book review.
|Final Election Results: Nov. 28, 2010|
Several elections have been contested by recounts, and one is still being fought in court. A summary of the contested results (in context :
|Donald Trump considering presidential run: Nov. 21, 2010|
In an interview on Fox News, The Donald said he is “seriously considering” a presidential run:
"I'm a Republican so if I did anything, I'd do it, I guess, as a Republican," Trump said. "I'm totally being serious because I can't stand what's happening to the country. First time I am being serious about it. I've been asked for years to do it. And I had no interest. This is the first time I am at least considering it. That doesn't say I'm going to do it ... but I am seriously considering it."Trump has reiterated similar comments on numerous talk-shows. It is not true, however, that this is his first time considering the presidency. He seriously considered running as the Reform Party candidate in 2000. At that time, he wrote a policy book, The America We Deserve, to deflect criticism that he has not considered the issues seriously.
We will add Trump this week to our early Presidential 2012 VoteMatch quiz, where you answer 20 questions and get matched issue-by-issue with the major candidates. Numerous other candidates considering the presidency in 2012 are also included in the VoteMatch quiz.
|Two new House members sworn in: Nov. 17, 2010|
|Two newly-elected Republican House members are to be sworn-in this week, because they won special elections; the rest of the new House members will await their swearing-in until January. These two new Republicans will vote in the upcoming lame-duck session; all other newly-elected members will not.|
|NY-29||Eric Massa (D) Resigned March 8||Tom Reed (R)|
|IN-3||Mark Souder (R) Resigned May 21||Marlin Stutzman (R)|
|In addition, four other new members won special elections earlier in 2010. These four new members are already sworn-in, and hence are also part of the lame-duck 111th Congress:|
|FL-19||Special Election April 13, 2010||Ted Deutch (D)|
|PA-12||Special Election May 18, 2010||Mark Critz (D)|
|HI-1||Special Election May 22, 2010||Charles Djou (R)|
|GA-9||Special Election June 8, 2010||Tom Graves (R)|
|Two new senators sworn in: Nov. 16, 2010|
Vice President Joe Biden swore in the two newest Democratic members of the Senate on Monday. [These two won special elections; the rest of the new Senators will await their swearing-in until January].
Joe Manchin, West Virginia’s governor, won a special election to serve out the final two years of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd’s term. “Bob Byrd would be proud.” Carte Goodwin, the West Virginia attorney Manchin appointed to temporarily fill Byrd’s seat in July, looked on.
Biden administered the oath of office in a separate ceremony for Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, the New Castle county executive who will fill out the remaining four years of Biden’s Senate term. Biden stepped down in January 2009 after he was elected vice president; his longtime aide, Ted Kaufman, was appointed to replace him.
|Still-Contested Election Results: Nov. 10, 2010|
There are eleven House races still undecided, or pending a recount outcome. In all eleven cases, a Democratic incumbent may potentially still lose to a Republican challenger. The still-pending House races are listed below, followed by Senate and Gubernatorial recounts:
|AZ-8||Gabrielle Giffords (D)||Jesse Kelly (R)|
|CA-11||Jerry McNerney (D)||David Harmer (R)|
|CA-20||Jim Costa (D)||Andy Vidak (R)|
|IL-8||Melissa Bean (D)||Joe Walsh (R)|
|KY-6||Ben Chandler (D)||Andy Barr (R)|
|NC-2||Bob Etheridge (D)||Renee Ellmers (R)|
|NY-1||Tim Bishop (D)||Randy Altschuler (R)|
|NY-25||Dan Maffei (D)||Ann Marie Buerkle (R)|
|TX-27||Solomon Ortiz (D)||Blake Farenthold (R)|
|VA-11||Gerry Connolly (D)||Keith Fimian (R)|
|WA-2||Rick Larsen (D)||John Koster (R)|
|Senate race still undergoing recount: (Lisa Murkowski is the apparent winner, but she ran as a write-in candidate so the results are still not yet official)|
|AK||Lisa Murkowski (I)||Joe Miller (R)|
|Gubernatorial races still undergoing recounts:|
|MN||Mark Dayton (D)||State Rep. Tom Emmer (R)|
|VT||State Sen. Peter Shumlin (D)||Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R)|
|Congressional Election Results: Nov. 8, 2010|
Ninety new House members were elected on Election Day. Republicans gained 65 House seats (66 GOP takeovers minus one Democratic takeover). The most interesting development of the year is the "revenge rematch": five Republicans (marked with asterisks* below) recaptured the Congressional seat they previously held.
|Gubernatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New House member of same party as incumbent:|
|Gubernatorial Election Results: Nov. 7, 2010|
The last contested results from Connecticut were finally reported on Friday; the Democrat won. Republicans gained 6 governor seats (twelve GOP takeovers minus six Democratic takeovers).
|Gubernatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New governor of same party as incumbent:|
|Incumbent Governor re-elected:|
|Senatorial Election Results: Nov. 5, 2010|
The Alaska Senate race is still contested but looks like Joe Miller will lose in a write-in recount. Republicans gained 6 Senate seats, resulting in the Democrats maintaining a Senate majority of 53-47.
|Senatorial races resulting in party turnover:|
|New Senator of same party as incumbent:|
|Incumbent Senator re-elected:|