What’s Up: September 24, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

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· Ann Romney’s plane makes emergency landing – A campaign plane carrying Ann Romney had to make an emergency landing in Colorado after the cabin filled with smoke, the Romney campaign said. “All OK. Thank goodness,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on Twitter. The Republican presidential nominee’s wife was headed to Los Angeles, but landed in Denver where emergency vehicles met the plane. Saul tweeted that an electrical fire was the cause. She said Ann and Mitt Romney, who was in Las Vegas for a campaign event, spoke by phone after the plane landed. Mrs. Romney was in Omaha earlier in the day. During a radio interview in Iowa yesterday, Romney lashed out at her husband’s conservative critics, telling them to “stop it” for sniping about the GOP presidential nominee’s recent travails, including remarks caught secretly on videotape. Story Continued:

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· Endeavour lands in L.A.: ‘Back home to stay’

clip_image007After celebratory low passes over Tucson, Houston and other points to the east, NASA’s retired space shuttle Endeavour arrived on its final flight here today, swooping over hordes of crowds looking for a last glimpse of the space icon. Thousands watched Friday from nearby rooftop buildings and along a bridge as the shuttle, strapped to the back of a modified jumbo jet, circled the city. Crowds also lined dozens of piers in San Francisco to get a look at the craft’s final aerial tour. Hitching a ride on top of a jumbo jet, the pair soared over the state Capitol, Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Sign and other icons en route to an afternoon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport where it is now being prepped for a slow-speed journey to its museum home next month. At the Santa Monica Pier, spectators pointed their cameras skyward and some chanted, “USA! USA!” as Endeavour swooped along the coast. “Even though it was a few seconds, it was a unique experience to witness history,” said Andrew Lerner, 23, of Santa Monica. Endeavour, the newest spacecraft in the mothballed space shuttle fleet, is destined for a final home as an exhibit at the California Science Center. There it will be a reminder not only of the nation’s space program but also of the prominent role aerospace forged in driving development of Southern California in the latter half of the 20th century. Story Continued:

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· Ryan gets boos at AARP conference – Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan received boos as he addressed the AARP convention here on Friday — perhaps his most unfriendly welcome on the 2012 campaign trail. Several members of the “Life@50+” Annual Convention crowd booed loudly as Ryan began remarks proclaiming, “Seniors are threatened by Obamacare.” “The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” Ryan went on as members continued to shout. “It weakens Medicare for today’s seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation. First, it funnels $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. Second, it puts 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare’s future.” Throughout the Wisconsin congressman’s nearly 30-minute speech, he rarely received applause and instead heard people yell “You lie!” and “No!” to many of his claims of what he and his running mate, Mitt Romney, would do if they make it to the White House. Story Continued:

· Barack Obama Knocks Mitt Romney Over 47 Percent Comments At Virginia Campaign Event – President Barack Obama is stepping up his attack on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s controversial 47 percent comments, taking his opponent to task over the issue in his first appearance on the stump since the video of Romney’s remarks at a private fundraiser was uncovered earlier this week. “I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims, who think that they’re not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives,” Obama said at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Va. “I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I see a lot of hard-working Virginians,” he added to loud cheers. Just a day before, Obama knocked Romney for his remarks at a forum with Spanish-language news network Univision and looped them into the narrative of the GOP nominee being out of touch with the American people. Story Continued:

· Mitt Romney PwC Letter Is Meaningless, Reid Fires Back – Mitt Romney on Friday released a letter from his tax accountant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, promising that Romney paid an “average annual effective federal rate” of 20.2 percent over 20 years. The number is being released instead of the tax returns themselves, and is being used to rebuff Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s charge that Romney didn’t pay taxes over a 10-year period. But it is a meaningless figure. According to the letter from PwC avowing the number, it is based on Romney’s adjusted gross income. That means that, for instance, if Romney made investment profit of $20 million, but had losses of, say, $19.9 million, his adjusted gross income would only be $100,000. Paying 20.2 percent of $100,000 would cost Romney just over $20,000. If Reid’s comment is interpreted strictly — that Romney paid literally $0 in taxes over 10 years — then the PwC letter undermines that charge. But if Romney paid only a very small amount — say, $20,000 on $20 million — it would be hard to award Reid many Pinocchios for calling that nothing. Story Continued:

· Rush Limbaugh Blames ‘Feminazis’ For Study Finding About Shrinkage In Male Genitalia – For whatever reason, Rush Limbaugh decided to discuss a study about male genitalia on his Friday radio show. According to Rush, the study, completed by researchers in Italy, found that the size of male genitalia has decreased over the past fifty years. “The study’s leaders claim to have bonafide research that says the average size of a penis is roughly 10 percent smaller than it was 50 years ago. And the researchers say air pollution is why,” Limbaugh said. Limbaugh said that he did not believe that air pollution and global warming could have such an impact. “I don’t buy this. I think it’s feminism. I think if it’s tied to the last fifty years, the average size of a member is ten percent smaller…it has to be the feminazis,” Limbaugh said. Story Continued:

· Why You’re a Lot Poorer Than You Thought You Were – You’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. According to a report by Sentier Research “real median annual household income… has fallen by 4.8 percent since the ‘economic recovery’ began in June 2009.” That’s worse than the 2.6 percent decline that took place during the recession itself. (between July 2007 to June 2009) All told–from the beginning of the slump in 2007 until today–median household income has dropped an eye watering 7.2 percent. (“Changes in Household Income During the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2012″, Sentier Research) Like I said, you’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. The Sentier Research report comes on the heels of a similar report from the Fed which was released in June showing that middle class families saw a nearly 40 percent decline in their net worth between the years 2007 to 2010. The Fed’s 80-page tri-annual Survey of Consumer Finances, points to the Great Recession as the putative cause of the overall decline in wealth, but the Fed’s lopsided policies could be as easily blamed. Low interest rates, lax lending standards and outright fraud generated asset-price bubbles that wiped out 2 decades of economic gains for working people in the US. Story Continued:

· NUMBERS DON’T LIE: THE REAL OBAMANOMICS – Unemployment, jobs numbers, pay, home ownership raise alarms — Twenty years ago, when Democrats tried to oust an incumbent Republican president from office, they questioned his economic stewardship. Vice presidential candidate Al Gore famously bellowed: “Everything that ought to be down is up, and everything that should be up is down!” Republicans are trying to fire an incumbent Democrat president amid the worst economic recovery since the Depression. And the economic news is not getting better for Barack Obama as the race heads into the final lap. This was not the case on the eve of the 1992 election, when economic reports revealed both GDP and payrolls were in fact growing at a robust clip following a comparably mild recession. Still, Gore indicted the record of President George H.W. Bush with stat after stat – stale as they were – showing lackluster economic performance. He zeroed in jobs and incomes to show indicators that were wrongly down, and unemployment and the federal deficit to highlight what was errantly up. Applying Gore’s test to Obama’s economic record produces far worse results. Here’s a breakdown: When Obama entered office in January 2009, total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 133.56 million, according to the Labor Department. Last month it totaled 133.30 million – a net decrease of more than 260,000 jobs. Considering the recession ended more than three years ago, any employment shortfall is unusual; but economists call the Obama jobs gap downright shocking. In 2009, real median household income was $52,195, according to the Census Bureau’s annual survey. Last year it dropped to $50,054 – the lowest level since 1989. When it comes to pay raises, those Americans who are working aren’t just running in place, they’re going backwards – by decades. When Obama stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009, consumer confidence was 61.2 percent. In August, the index stood at 60.6 percent. At this point in a recovery, economists say confidence should be soaring. But consumers remain unusually glum about the economic outlook. In January 2009, the jobless rate was 7.8 percent. Last month, unemployment stood at an even higher 8.1 percent, marking the 43rd consecutive month above 8 percent – the longest stretch since the Depression. In Obama’s first year in office, the share of impoverished Americans stood at 14.3 percent, the Census says. In 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15.0 percent – the highest in almost two decades. The share of African-Americans in poverty was nearly double that level. In January 2009, the federal budget gap was reported to be $485 billion.

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· Why The Polls Understate Romney Vote – Republicans are getting depressed under an avalanche of polling suggesting that an Obama victory is in the offing. They, in fact, suggest no such thing! Here’s why: 1. All of the polling out there uses some variant of the 2008 election turnout as its model for weighting respondents and this overstates the Democratic vote by a huge margin. In English, this means that when you do a poll you ask people if they are likely to vote. But any telephone survey always has too few blacks, Latinos, and young people and too many elderly in its sample. That’s because some don’t have landlines or are rarely at home or don’t speak English well enough to be interviewed or don’t have time to talk. Elderly are overstated because they tend to be home and to have time. So you need to increase the weight given to interviews with young people, blacks and Latinos and count those with seniors a bit less. Normally, this task is not difficult. Over the years, the black, Latino, young, and elderly proportion of the electorate has been fairly constant from election to election, except for a gradual increase in the Hispanic vote. You just need to look back at the last election to weight your polling numbers for this one. But 2008 was no ordinary election. Blacks, for example, usually cast only 11% of the vote, but, in 2008, they made up 14% of the vote. Latinos increased their share of the vote by 1.5% and college kids almost doubled their vote share. Almost all pollsters are using the 2008 turnout models in weighting their samples. Rasmussen, more accurately, uses a mixture of 2008 and 2004 turnouts in determining his sample. That’s why his data usually is better for Romney. But polling indicates a widespread lack of enthusiasm among Obama’s core demographic support due to high unemployment, disappointment with his policies and performance, and the lack of novelty in voting for a black candidate now that he has already served as president. If you adjust virtually any of the published polls to reflect the 2004 vote, not the 2008 vote, they show the race either tied or Romney ahead, a view much closer to reality. 2. Almost all of the published polls show Obama getting less than 50% of the vote and less than 50% job approval. A majority of the voters either support Romney or are undecided in almost every poll. But the fact is that the undecided vote always goes against the incumbent. In 1980 (the last time an incumbent Democrat was beaten), for example, the Gallup Poll of October 27th had Carter ahead by 45-39. Their survey on November 2nd showed Reagan catching up and leading by three points. In the actual voting, the Republican won by nine. The undecided vote broke sharply — and unanimously — for the challenger. An undecided voter has really decided not to back the incumbent. He just won’t focus on the race until later in the game. So, when the published poll shows Obama ahead by, say, 48-45, he’s really probably losing by 52-48! Add these two factors together and the polls that are out there are all misleading. Any professional pollster (those consultants hired by candidates not by media outlets) would publish two findings for each poll — one using 2004 turnout modeling and the other using 2008 modeling. This would indicate just how dependent on an unusually high turnout of his base the Obama camp really is. Story Continued:

· Paulson: Why Did The White House Take So Long To Admit Libya Attack Was Terrorism? – After the deadly attack on the United States Embassy in Libya, it was apparent to many that the attack was premeditated and designed to kill Americans – not to protest an amateur-made movie that mocked Islam and disrespected Mohammad. The militant 9-11 attackers totally achieved their goal by leaving the United States Embassy in shambles with charred and blood-stained walls as well as a trail of death. Yet the current administration in the United States government insisted otherwise. President Barack Obama, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney led the way by denouncing those who dared state the obvious version of what had happened in Benghazi, Libya – that it was about terrorism and not about the anti-Mohammad film. Finally, a week later, the obvious has been addressed by Jay Carney at the White House and Mathew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who both now admit that the deadly acts against United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Steven and three other Americans were indeed an act of terrorism, obviously committed on 9-11. With Americans watching the nearing of the date September 11, 2012 on the calendar for weeks – if not months – and dreading the stark reality that something disastrous may happen to innocent Americans again, the president and his political cronies refused to believe what happened. Story Continued:

· Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative – Sources say the attack on the Libyan ambassador was pre-meditated, with the possible collaboration of a Libyan politician. Eli Lake on the continuing collapse of the official U.S. line. Ten days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House’s official story about the incident appears to be falling apart. In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” Now there is mounting evidence that the White House’s initial portrayal of the attacks as a mere outgrowth of protest was incorrect—or, at the very least, incomplete. The administration’s story itself has recently begun to shift, with Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, telling Congress on Wednesday that the attackers may have had links to al Qaeda and Carney characterizing the incident as a “terrorist attack.” (Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday that she was putting together a panel to look into the incident.) But other indications that the White House’s early narrative was faulty are also beginning to emerge. One current U.S. intelligence officer working on the investigation into the incident told The Daily Beast that the attackers had staked out and monitored the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the attack, a move that suggests pre-planning. Story Continued:

· Permanent Spin – For nine days, the Obama administration made a case that virtually everyone understood was untrue: that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was a random, spontaneous act of individuals upset about an online video—an unpredictable attack on a well-protected compound that had nothing do to with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

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These claims were wrong. Every one of them. But the White House pushed them hard. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on five Sunday talk shows on September 16. A “hateful video” triggered a “spontaneous protest outside of our consulate in Benghazi” that “spun from there into something much, much more violent,” she said on Face the Nation. “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.” On This Week, Rice said the consulate was well secured. “The security personnel that the State Department thought were required were in place,” she said, adding: “We had substantial presence with our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi. Tragically two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function, and indeed there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.” White House press secretary Jay Carney not only denied that the attacks had anything to do with the anniversary of 9/11 but scolded reporters who, citing the administration’s own pre-9/11 boasts about its security preparations for the anniversary, made the connection. “I think that you’re conveniently conflating two things,” Carney snapped, “which is the anniversary of 9/11 and the incidents that took place, which are under investigation.” Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Intelligence officials understood immediately that the attacks took place on 9/11 for a reason. The ambassador, in a country that faces a growing al Qaeda threat, had virtually no security. The two contractors killed in the attacks were not part of the ambassador’s security detail, and there were not, in fact, “many other colleagues” working security with them. The nature of the attack itself, a four-hour battle that took place in two waves, indicated some level of planning. “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Libyan president Mohammad el-Megarif told National Public Radio. When a reporter asked Senator Carl Levin, one of the most partisan Democrats in the upper chamber, if the attack was planned, Levin said it was. “I think there’s evidence of that. There’s been evidence of that,” he responded, adding: “The attack looked like it was planned and premeditated, sure.” Levin made his comments after a briefing from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Story Continued:

· Romney Can Still Overcome Obama’s Dishonest, Divisive Campaign – He can get by his ’47 percent’ problem and beat Obama by outlining how he will get America back to work. The problem for Mitt Romney right now is that he has put his entire candidacy at risk to the point where he may not even qualify for the dismissive equation of Barack Obama that Marco Rubio formulated for the Republican faithful: “Our problem is not that he’s a bad person. Our problem is that he’s a bad president.” Is Romney also “not a bad person, just a bad candidate”? With his “47 percent” remarks at a Republican fundraiser in May, he has given his opponent evidence to initiate a new line of attack. Voters can forgive a candidate who stumbles in the heat of an election, trapped by “gotcha” questions from journalists, being quoted out of context in cunning TV attack commercials, and in the Twitter age, failing to appreciate that nothing that is said is secret anymore. We all know the game, and Romney has demonstrated that he is not perfect at this game. The same can be said of President Obama. As a candidate, he ran a brilliantly smooth and targeted campaign four years ago, but even he misspoke, as they say, in what he thought was a private meeting of San Francisco liberals. When the polls suggested he wasn’t appealing to rural voters, his response was to blame them for not seeing how different he was from the likes of Bill Clinton and George Bush, who had let them down. “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” he said. “It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.” This week, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, dismissed the condescension as something from the mythic past, not to be compared to the furor over Romney’s “47 percent” remark. Yet even now, fully armored and protected by four years of 24/7 press scrutiny and an army of verbal bodyguards, the president stumbles. “You didn’t build that” still rankles the millions of taxpayers who have concluded that in making their way they’ve not had much help from the government and a lot of hindrance. Story Continued:

· Chris Wallace Asks Obama Adviser ‘President Has Time for Whoopi Goldberg But Not World Leaders?’ Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday asked senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs an absolutely delicious question about the current White House resident’s schedule. During a Fox News Sunday interview, the host said, “The President has blocked out time to appear on The View on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopi Goldberg but he doesn’t have time for world leaders?” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for commentary) Story Continued with the video:

· CNN finds, returns journal belonging to late U.S. ambassador – Three days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded. CNN notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family’s request provided it to them via a third party. The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book. CORRECTION An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when CNN found the journal belonging to late Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found three days after the fatal attack on the Benghazi consulate. For CNN, the ambassador’s writings served as tips about the situation in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular. CNN took the newsworthy tips and corroborated them with other sources. A source familiar with Stevens’ thinking told CNN earlier this week that, in the months leading up to his death, the late ambassador worried about what he called the security threats in Benghazi and a rise in Islamic extremism. Stevens died on September 11, along with three other Americans, when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi came under attack amid a large protest about a U.S.-made film that mocked the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The California-born Stevens joined the Peace Corps and attended law school before joining the Foreign Service, the career diplomatic corps, in 1991, according to his State Department biography. He spent most of his career in the Middle East and North Africa, including postings to Israel, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, in addition to serving as the deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Libya from 2007 to 2009, during the rule of Moammar Gadhafi, according to the State Department. In May, one year after arriving aboard a cargo ship to work with those involved in the upstart rebellion, Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya. Story Continued with the video:

· Messina: Forget The Tied National Polls, We’re Winning – Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on Saturday that despite national tracking polls showing the president and Romney tied, Obama is still winning. “In all the battleground states, we continue to see all our pathways there,” he told the White House pool at an Obama fundraiser in Milwaukee. “We’re either tied or in the lead in every battleground state 45 days out.” Messina, who drove from Chicago to Wisconsin to be with Obama on his first trip to a state that appears to have come into play when Paul Ryan was selected to be Romney’s running mate, predicted that the national polling will get even closer, but that the president’s lead will hold in key swing states. “I think you will see a tightening in the national polls going forward,” he said. “What I care way more about it Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. In those states, I feel our pathways to victory are there. There are two different campaigns, one in the battlegrounds and one everywhere else. That’s why the national polls aren’t relevant to this campaign.” In Wisconsin, Messina said the GOP is stronger than they are nationally, but maintained that the Obama campaign still has an edge:

“This is one where … because of the recall election, they test drove their car whereas in other states they haven’t. It would make sense they’re strong here, as are we. They are stronger than McCain was in ’08, no question, on the ground. But we continue to have a strategic advantage” because of more field offices and infrastructure. Story Continued:

· At Black Caucus dinner, Michelle Obama urges members to get out the vote – Michelle Obama used a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Saturday night to urge delegates to register voters and encourage African Americans to turn out in November’s election. Speaking in Washington at the foundation’s annual Phoenix dinner, the first lady likened turning out the vote to the civil rights struggles of previous eras. “Make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time,” Obama told the audience at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. “Marching door-to-door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the polls every single election.” That effort, she said, “is the movement of our era — protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election but for the next generation and generations to come.” Obama did not refer explicitly to voter-ID laws that that have been passed or proposed in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, but she warned against being dissuaded from voting. “We cannot let anyone discourage us from casting our ballots,” she said. “We cannot let anyone make us feel unwelcome in the voting booth. It is up to us to make sure that in every election, every voice is heard and every vote is counted. That means making sure our laws preserve that right.” Story Continued:

· Biden on cheerleaders: ‘The stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.’Vice President Joe Biden may have stuck his foot in his mouth again on Friday, using an awkward off-the-cuff phrase to compliment high school cheerleaders during a campaign stop. According to a pool report from Biden’s stop at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., the vice president arrived to talk to “about 100 students in their sports uniforms waiting for him in a semi-circle.” “He cradled a football under his arm as he spoke,” the pool report, written by The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel, reads. “He began by asking which teams were represented — football, soccer, lacrosse and cross-country. Any others? He asked. ‘Cheerleaders,’ a group of girls shouted.” “Guess what, the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college,” Biden said. “You think, I’m joking, they’re almost all gymnasts, the stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.” Story Continued:

· For Obama, pushing ‘change’ is tougher this time around – Change, President Obama’s most basic rationale for reelection, remains his toughest sell. Throughout the campaign, in high-profile speeches and private remarks, Obama has sought to maintain the theme that powered his 2008 bid for the White House, arguing that a vote for him is a vote for a new day in Washington. He has said his reelection will “break the fever” of partisanship in Washington. He’s told voters that “only you can break the stalemate” that has crippled the divided government. On Saturday, he raised the idea by pointing out that members of Congress had just left town for the campaign season without resolving many disputed issues of taxes and government spending. Story Continued:

· Is that where the deficit’s hiding? Obama whips out massive wad of cash to pay for sausages at deli

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Wherever Barack Obama goes, he is accompanied by a huge entourage of aides, Secret Service and campaign staff. But when the President goes shopping, he still has to handle his own cash, as he showed on Saturday when he bought sausages from a Wisconsin store following a campaign stop in key swing state. Mr Obama pulled out a wad of bills that looked almost large enough to make a dent in the national debt as he browsed for pork treats alongside Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.

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After his visit to Usinger’s Famous Sausage, the President was given a bratwurst hot dog in a pretzel roll with spicy mustard by a local deli worker. The commander-in-chief appeared to enjoy his meaty snack, giving an emphatic thumbs-up to supporters and photographers as he chowed down on the delicacy. Story Continued:

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· MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ‘INFILTRATED’ U.S. GOV’T – Lt. Gen. Boykin: Radical Islamist group deep inside defense, national security. The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has successfully penetrated both political parties and the delicate areas of defense and national security. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, told WND’s Greg Corombos that people with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are in vital positions within every significant area of the U.S. government. He specifically cited high security clearances for such people in the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. Boykin said Republicans proved their weakness on the issue by roundly condemning Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for sounding the alarm on this issue and specifically wondering about the Brotherhood ties of Huma Abedin, a top assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also slammed the sequestration plan that has the military on course for an additional $500 billion in cuts over the next decade, saying that will weaken every branch of the service and that a naive rationale is behind it all. Gen. Boykin said President Obama and other leftists have a vision where the U.S. takes a smaller role on the world stage so they think our military will not need to maintain its current size and won’t be pumping money into the Middle East. The general said that’s nonsense, pointing out that as long as oil and Israel are in the Middle East we’ll need to maintain a presence there. Story Continued:

· IRAN: WE MAY LAUNCH PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE ON ISRAEL – It could turn into a World War Three.’ Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state were preparing to attack it, a senior commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Sunday. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made the comments to Iran’s state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television, according to a report on the network’s website. “Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it,” Al-Alam said, paraphrasing the military commander. Hajizadeh said any attack on Iranian soil could trigger “World War Three.” Story Continued:

· David Brooks: Mitt Romney Is ‘The Least Popular Candidate In History’ – After a rocky week that saw plenty of conservatives break away from Mitt Romney, New York Times columnist David Brooks summed up the state of affairs on Sunday. Brooks was one of several panelists on NBC’s “Meet The Press” roundtable, which dove into some data surrounding Romney’s popularity. “Look at his high unfavorable ratings,” host David Gregory said. “At 50%. The highest of any candidate running in recent memory. This is an image problem that his philosophical statements in this speech in May to fundraisers only exacerbates.” Brooks did not mince words, calling Romney “the least popular candidate in history.” “He has to look at what the president’s weakness is,” Brooks said. “He’s never gonna win a popularity contest.” Brooks added that Romney “does not have the passion for the stuff he’s talking about.” “He’s a problem solver,” Brooks said. “I think he’s a non-ideological person running in an extremely ideological age, and he’s faking it.” Polls have brought grim results surrounding Romney’s favorability, with a late August ABC News/Washington Post survey drawing a 35 percent likability rating. Romney’s 47 percent comments added fuel to that fire. After his comments were leaked on Monday, Brooks conceded that he sees the GOP presidential hopeful as a “kind, decent man” running a “depressingly inept presidential campaign.” Story Continued with the video:

· Paul Ryan On Conservative Criticism Of Mitt Romney: It’s In Their Nature To Complain – GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hit back against conservative critics of the GOP ticket in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Saturday night. “A, we still have a ways to go. We still have a lot left that we’re planning on doing,” he said. “B, I think that’s just what conservatives do by nature. I think that’s just the nature of conservative punditry is to do that — to kind of complain — about any imperfection they might see.” It was a less harsh rebuke than that by Ann Romney, who told critics to “stop it,” but the criticism was still striking for the Wisconsin congressman, who has cultivated strong relationships with conservative pundits. The Romney-Ryan ticket has come under criticism from conservative pundits as the campaign tries to get past the damage done by the former Massachusetts governor’s leaked comments at a May fundraiser, where he said that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on government” and see themselves as “victims” because they don’t pay income tax. Peggy Noonan, from her perch at the Wall Street Journal, has called for an “intervention.” Michael Gerson of the Washington Post said the Republican ideology of the “makers” versus “takers” — a phrase Ryan coined — “offers nothing.” Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard called Romney’s remarks “arrogant and stupid.” Ryan said that Romney’s selection of himself for vice presidential nominee refuted the charge that Romney’s campaign has been too vague. Ryan described himself as “the guy with all the specifics, who’s put out all these solutions on the table. It shows you very clearly Mitt Romney’s not afraid of making big decisions, making tough decisions, putting specifics out there.” On criticism from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who said more of Ryan needs to “rub off” on Romney, Ryan said, “Look, Scott’s my friend. He’s just an advocate. He’s just always going to be going to bat for me like that.” Story Continued:

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