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· Politico’s Paul Ryan Satire: The Joke’s on Them – A report this morning by Politico chief political correspondent Roger Simon includes this bombshell about Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan: Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.” The “stench” reference comes from a quote that Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party gave to the New York Times over the weekend: “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.” Needless to say, the political press and blogosphere have jumped on the story:
Times columnist Paul Krugman: Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing. Anyway, I like how Ryan is declaring independence: by using PowerPoint!
Tommy Christopher of press-gossip site Mediaite: Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles … Simon’s anecdote demonstrates that the Romney campaign’s toxic press is in Ryan’s head. In this electoral game of chicken, Ryan is already unbuckling his seatbelt and visualizing his roll onto the shoulder. Story Continued:
· 55 percent of small business owners would not start company today, blame Obama – Fifty-five percent of small business owners and manufacturers would not have started their businesses in today’s economy, according to a new poll that also reports 69 percent say President Obama’s regulatory policies have hurt their businesses. “There is far too much uncertainty, too many burdensome regulations and too few policymakers willing to put aside their egos and fulfill their responsibilities to the American people,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, which commissioned the poll along with the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “To fix this problem, we need immediate action on pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that put manufacturers in the United States in a position to compete and succeed in an ever-more competitive global economy.” The poll reports another ominous statistic for job creation: “67 percent say there is too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers.” Why? Because “President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers,” according to 69 percent of the business owners surveyed. Story Continued:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated for the first time on Wednesday that there was an explicit link between the Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack at the American diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans, including the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. She also said American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were working not only with Libya but also with other nations in the region to investigate the attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11. That indicated that the attack’s planning and execution might not have been the local, spontaneous eruption of violence that the administration had initially described.
Mrs. Clinton made her remarks at a special United Nations meeting on the political and security crisis in the swath of North Africa known as the Maghreb and the Sahel, a crisis that is particularly affecting northern Mali, which has been overrun by Islamic extremists since a military coup divided that country earlier this year. She said Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which originated in Algeria, was now using the region as a haven to support extremism and terrorist violence in countries like Libya. Story Continued:
· Romney Pulls Ahead – By Dick Morris on September 25, 2012: The published polling in this year’s presidential race is unusually inaccurate because this is the first election in which who votes determines how they vote. Obama’s massive leads among blacks, Latinos, young people, and single women vie with Romney’s margin among the elderly, married white women, and white men. Tell me your demographic and I’ll tell you who you’re voting for and I’ll be right at least two times out of three! Most pollsters are weighting their data on the assumption that the 2012 electorate will turn out in the same proportion as the 2008 voters did. But polling indicates a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the president among his core constituency. He’ll still carry them by heavy margins, but the turnout will likely lag behind the 2008 stats. (The 2008 turnout was totally unlike that in other years with all-time historic high turnouts among Obama’s main demographic groups). Specifically, most pollsters are using 2008 party preferences to weight their 2012 survey samples, reflecting a much larger Democratic preference than is now really the case. In my own polling, I found a lurch to the Democrats right after their convention, but subsequent research indicates that it has since petered out. Indeed, when one compares party identification in the August and September polls of this year in swing states, the Democratic Party identification is flat while the ranks of Republicans rose by an average of two points per state. Story Continued:
· Durable goods drop worst since recession – New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in August fell by the most in 3-1/2 years, pointing to a sharp slowdown in factory activity even as a gauge of planned business spending rebounded. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the economy was in the throes of a recession. Orders for July were revised down to show a 3.3 percent increase instead of the previously reported 4.1 percent gain. Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable goods — items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years — to fall 5 percent. Last month, the drop in orders reflected weak aircraft and automobiles demand. Boeing received only one aircraft order in August, down from 260 in July, according to information posted on the plane maker’s website. Transportation equipment tumbled 34.9 percent after racing ahead 13.1 percent in July. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1.6 percent after dropping 1.3 percent the prior month. Economists had expected this category to rise 0.3 percent after a previously reported 0.6 percent fall. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 1.1 percent, halting two straight months of hefty declines. That was above economists’ expectations for 0.5 percent gain. But shipments of these goods, which are used to calculate equipment and software spending in the gross domestic product report, fell 0.9 percent after declining 1.1 percent in July. The weakness suggested third-quarter economic growth would probably not improve much from the April-June’s 1.3 percent annual pace. Story Continued:
· Barney Frank: Pot brownie made me sleepy – Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he once tried a pot-infused brownie — and it made him sleepy. Frank is an advocate of legalizing and taxing marijuana, but he said Wednesday night that he does not regularly use the illegal drug. “No, I don’t,” Frank told CNN when asked if he smoked marijuana. “I smoke a cigar or two a day. I did have a brownie once. It made me sleepy.” Frank went on to say that he thought the drug should be legalized as an issue of fairness, pointing out the effects of marijuana paled relative to other activities, some of which were legal. “I think, frankly, it contributes a good deal to the sense of unfairness among young people who are told they shouldn’t do this because it’s got all these negative effects, but then see older people engaging in all kinds of things that probably have greater impact on people,” Frank said. And Frank railed against disproportionate law enforcement on drug crimes, likening it to New York City’s “stop and frisk” practice. “One of the best things we can do to reduce state expenditures in a way that does not hurt the quality of life is to stop going after people who use marijuana,” Frank said. Story Continued:
· Obama calls for a ‘new economic patriotism’ – As Mitt Romney and aides attacked President Obama over gloomy new economic statistics, Obama touted a new campaign theme Thursday: A “new economic patriotism” emphasizing the middle class. “During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism,” Obama told supporters at an outdoor amphitheater near the Virginia coast. “Well, you know what, it’s time for a new economic patriotism — and economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class.” The term is also the theme of a new Obama ad airing in battleground states, including Virginia. Aides to Romney — who also campaigned in the swing state of Virginia on Thursday — challenged Obama’s conduct of the economy by citing a new government report saying the economy grew by only 1.3% in the second quarter of this year. “Our economy needs to be reinvigorated,” Romney said in Springfield, Va. “And the president has laid out his plan — it’s a continuation of the old plan. We can’t afford four more years of the last four years.” Story Continued:
· U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates – Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya. Story Continued and to watch the video:
· Michael Tomasky on the GOP’s Self-Delusion Syndrome – With Obama’s lead in several swing states becoming insurmountable, the right has begun to panic—by denying reality altogether. What a fantastic last two weeks these have been. I don’t even mean Barack Obama solidifying his lead over Mitt Romney, although that’s perfectly fine. No, I mean the near-mathematically perfect joy of watching these smug and contemptible creatures of the right dodge and swerve and make excuses and, most of all, whine. There is no joy in the kingdom of man so great as the joy of seeing bullies and hucksters laid low, and watching people who have arrogantly spent years assuming they were right about the world living to see all those haughty assumptions die before their eyes. Watching them squirm is more fun than watching Romney and Paul Ryan flail away. Story Continued and to watch the video:
· Feds Arrest Producer Of Controversial Anti-Islam Film On Probation Violation Charge – The producer of the controversial anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” has been arrested for violating terms of his probation and is set for an appearance this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, is scheduled for an initial appearance before Judge Christina Snyder, who sentenced him in June 2010 following a bank fraud conviction. Investigators have not yet provided details about how Nakoula allegedly violated probation, but it seems clear that his involvement in the “Innocence of Muslim” production is central to the government’s new charge.
Nakoula (seen above) was sentenced to 21 months in prison to be followed by six months in a halfway house. Upon completion of the custodial term, he was placed on probation for five years. Included in his probation terms were prohibitions on his use of the Internet, unless he secured prior approval from his probation officer. Additionally, he was not to “use, for any purpose or in any manner, any name other than his/her true legal name or names without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer.” While producing “Innocence of Muslims,” Nakoula repeatedly used the alias “Sam Bacile” (and other variants) in communications, online postings, and dealings with cast and crew working on the film. As TSG reported earlier this month, Nakoula began cooperating with federal investigators following his arrest in the check-kiting scheme (during which he used a variety of aliases). In return for Nakoula’s cooperation, Department of Justice prosecutors provided Judge Snyder with a letter noting that his substantial assistance to authorities warranted a sentence reduction. Story Continued:
· New poll: Romney overtakes Obama on Terrorism – The foreign-policy results of the new Bloomberg National Poll haven’t gotten much attention yet, but the survey contains some bad news for the Obama campaign. According to the poll, Mitt Romney has a 48-42 advantage over Barack Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. Romney, in other words, has encroached on one of Obama’s signature strengths. What makes this result so surprising is that the president has consistently trounced Romney when it comes to counterterrorism. A Fox News poll earlier this month found that 49 percent of respondents trusted Obama to do a better job than Romney in protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, compared with 41 percent who put their faith in the Republican candidate. The president had a 51-40 advantage on handling terrorism in an ABC News/Washington Post poll around the same time, and a 50-35 edge on carrying out the war on terror in an Ipsos/Reuters poll in August. The Democrats’ rare national-security muscle was on full display at their convention, where speakers boasted about the administration’s successful raid against Osama bin Laden and targeted killings of al Qaeda leaders. The Bloomberg poll contains other grim findings for Obama — such as declining approval of the president’s diplomacy and a neck-and-neck battle between Obama and Romney on flashpoint campaign issues such as energy independence, Chinese trade practices, relations with Israel, and Iran’s nuclear program (61 percent of respondents were skeptical about Obama’s pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon). There are also bright spots for the president, like healthy skepticism about Romney’s promise to designate China a currency manipulator and Obama’s continued advantage over Romney on the question of which candidate would be better suited to handle a Mideast crisis. Significantly, Bloomberg’s survey, which was conducted from Sept. 21-24, is one of the first polls to come out since the wave of anti-American protests in the Middle East. The key question: Is Romney’s terrorism advantage an anomaly, or a sign that Obama is more vulnerable on national security after the unrest in the Middle East and the administration’s shifting account of the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi? Given that a separate poll this weeks shows Obama besting Romney on national security among likely voters in swing states, it may be too early to answer that question. Story Continued:
· Leno: ‘We Wasted Four Years Waiting For Obama To Do Something About The Economy’ – “I love how the politicians capitalize on this kind of thing,” teased Leno. “Like the minute the replacement refs were fired, President Obama said, ‘See, sometimes losing jobs can be a good thing. It’s a good thing.'” When the laughter subsided, Leno continued, “A new survey out today shows how much time we waste every day in our lives. For example, we waste seven minutes in line every time we go to get coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy. Every year, we waste a lot. We wasted a lot of time.” Yes we did. It’s about time media members began telling the nation that. Story Continued and watch the video: