HANOVER, N.H.--When you hold a debate at a boardroom table, the business guys are going to do well. Mitt Romney and Herman Cain were the winners at the Bloomberg/Washington Post debate Tuesday night at Dartmouth College. The eight candidates sat "in the round," discussing only the economy, which gave Romney a chance to repeat with force the things he says every day on the campaign trail. He spoke confidently about his business career and experience. Cain was amiable, as always, and took every opportunity to mention his "9-9-9 plan." After this debate, it's fair to say this plan would be his answer to questions about trout fishing.
This was the first Republican debate after the Great Flirtations. There are no more saviors coming in the Republican Party--Chris Christie, who announced last week he would let this cup pass, endorsed Romney on Tuesday afternoon. If the alternatives to Romney don't perform better, Republicans should just get it over with and start learning to love him.Continue »
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday said he understood the anger expressed by the protestors on Wall Street - but said the real culprits who should be thrown from power are in Washington.
"If they want to really change things, the first person to fire is (Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben) Bernanke, who is a disastrous chairman of the Federal Reserve, the second person to fire is (Treasury Secretary Timothy) Geithner," Gingrich said in the Republican debate sponsored by Bloomberg and the Washington Post.
"If you want to put people in jail, I want to second what (Minnesota Rep.) Michele (Bachmann) said. You ought to start with (Massachusetts Rep.) Barney Frank and (former Connecticut Sen.) Chris Dodd," Gingrich said, referring to the pair of Democrats who authored last year's rewrite of Wall Street rules, known as Dodd-Frank.
"The fact is in both the Bush and Obama administrations, the fix has been in. And I think it perfectly reasonable for people to be angry. But let's be clear who put the fix in. The fix was put in by the federal government," Gingrich said. Bernanke worked in the White House as President George W. Bush's top economist before Mr. Bush tapped him to replace another Republican, Alan Greenspan, to lead the central bank.Continue »
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman mocked rival Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan at the Republican presidential debate Tuesday night, quipping, as "It's a catchy phrase, in fact I thought it was the price of a pizza."
"Here's what we need, something that's doable-doable-doable," Huntsman continued during the Bloomberg/Washington Post debate in New Hampshire.
He called for phasing out "all of the corporate welfare, all of the subsidies, because we can't afford it any longer, in a revenue-neutral fashion" and a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent.
Cain, the former Gofather's Pizza CEO who has shot to the top of polls of Republican presidential candidates, responded that his 9-9-9 tax plan - a proposal to replace the current tax code with a nine percent flat income tax, a nine percent corporate tax and a nine percent national sales tax - "will pass and it is not the price of pizza, because it has been well-studied and well-developed. It starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code."Continue »
Updated at 11 p.m. ET
Senate Republicans blocked President Obama's $447 billion jobs package on Tuesday, putting the brakes on a bill Mr. Obama has been vigorously promoting over the past month.
By around 7 p.m., the vote tally was 50 to 48, giving Republicans more than the 40 votes needed to filibuster the bill. Voting was kept open for another few hours to allow one more senator -- Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire -- to get back to Washington to cast a vote in favor of the legislation. With Shaheen's vote, Mr. Obama can at least claim a symbolic victory with a simple majority voting in favor of his legislation.
The final vote tally was 50 to 49, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote to "no" for technical reasons -- under Senate rules, casting his vote with the majority allows Reid to revive the bill at a later date if he wants.
Still, two Democrats -- Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana -- legitimately sided with Republicans.
"Trying to fix [the legislation] is going to be very difficult from my standpoint, because I don't think most want to see taxes raised to pay for new spending in Washington," Nelson said, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen reports.Continue »
Updated 12:56 p.m. ET
As President Obama's job creation proposal faces almost certain defeat in a first vote in the Senate tonight, the White House plans to challenge Republican AND Democratic opponents to explain their stands.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told CBS Radio News, "that goes for every member of Congress who votes against the American Jobs Act. The question for them is this: If not this what? What is their proposal to create jobs now?"
In a bid to firm up support in his own party, Mr. Obama endorsed a plan by Senate Democratic leaders to fund the bill with 5.6 percent surtax on people who earn more than a million dollars a year. That idea replaced the president's original proposal to limit tax deductions for those earning more than $250,000 annually and halt government subsidies for oil and gas companies.Continue »
According to the Washington Post, the blog was conceptualized by Redstate.org founder Erick Erickson, who collaborated on it with the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Josh Trevino and conservative filmmaker Mike Wilson.
The Tumblr claims to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes - the implication being that those associated with "Occupy Wall Street" are not also part of that 53 percent and do not pay federal income taxes. The "We are the 99 percent" refers to those not among the one percent of richest Americans.Continue »
The ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations against corporate greed began with no political affiliation, but in Washington, debate about the protests has cast them as a partisan struggle. Now the campaign arm of congressional Democrats is using the ongoing protest to build support for the party.
In an email to supporters, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Robby Mook notes that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week referred to the protesters as "mobs."
"Mobs? That must be what Republicans refer to as the middle class, or maybe the millions of unemployed Americans across the country," the email says. It asks Democratic supporters to "send a message" to Republican leadership and sign a DCCC petition to "help us reach 100,000 strong standing with #OccupyWallStreet protestors."Continue »
Updated: 12:54 p.m. ET
President Obama on Thursday called the "Occupy Wall Street" protests a reflection of a "broad-based frustration about how our financial system works" and pledged to continue fighting to protect American consumers.
The president, speaking at a press conference, said he had heard about and seen television reports on the recent protests on Wall Street, and noted that "I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel."
"We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression - huge collateral damage throughout the country, all across main street. And yet, you are still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to crack down on abusive practices that got us in the situation in the first place," Mr. Obama told reporters. "I think people are frustrated."Continue »
Vice President Joe Biden expressed empathy for the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors in New York and elsewhere who are pushing for a radical overhaul of U.S. institutions and government, saying the American system has run amok and is no longer fair for the vast majority of Americans.
Asked if he and President Obama stood in solidarity with protestors in lower Manhattan,Biden said it was a "really fair question" and then did not directly answer it.
"What is the core of that protest?" Biden asked rhetorically. "The core is the American people do not think the system is fair or on the level."Continue »
The Republicans hoping to unseat President Obama have been on the campaign trail for months. Democrats have now stopped trying to pretend they are not.
Just hours after Mr. Obama called out the Senate's top Republican for trying to derail his jobs plan, the chamber's top Democrat took surpise action to prevent Republicans from offering endless amendments aimed at embarrassing the president.
The Senate late Thursday approved a rule change -- known in Washington as "the nuclear option" -- that prevents the minority party from forcing votes on amendments to a bill that has already worked its way through the legislative process and is about to get a final tally.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to force such a vote on Mr. Obama's original $447 billion jobs proposal after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrats had signaled changes to the White House plan to make it more to their liking and the president had said he was comfortable with their changes.Continue »
President Obama said Thursday that he plans to take his message that the economy is weakening because of Republican obstructionism straight to the American people over the next year, though he denied that strategy is based on Harry Truman's famous 1948 victory after blaming a Republican Congress for doing nothing.
"If Congress does nothing, then it's not a matter of me running against them; I think the American people will run them out of town, because they are frustrated, and they know we need to do something big and something bold," Mr Obama told reporters in the East Room during a White House news conference.
"I would love nothing more than to not have to be out there campaigning because we were seeing constructive action here in Congress," Mr. Obama said when he was asked by CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante if was willing to negotiate with Republicans on his $447 billion jobs bill.Continue »
Updated 12:08 p.m. Eastern Time
President Obama called on Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill Monday, stating that "this is not a game."
"Our economy really needs a jolt right now," he said during a White House news conference.
Mr. Obama said the bill would guard against the economic threat posed by the European economic crisis and said independent economists overwhelmingly say it would help boost the struggling American economy. He said it was made up of proposals that both parties have traditionally supported.
"Any senator who is thinking about voting against this jobs bill when it comes up for a vote," he said, "needs to explain why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time for our families and for our businesses."Continue »
President Obama will embark on another bus tour later this month to sell his $447 billion jobs plan, a White House official confirms.
The president will travel through North Carolina and Virginia to continue his vigorous campaign on behalf of his American Jobs Act. Since unveiling the plan in early September, Mr. Obama has given a dozen speeches on the legislative package in seven states, including North Carolina and Virginia, according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.
More than half of the plan is tax cuts for working Americans and small businesses. It also includes spending initiatives in areas like infrastructure.
The president has stressed that it is entirely made up of ideas that have won bipartisan support in the past. However, Republicans in Congress say they're opposed to passing the bill in its entirety, and Democrats have been slow to offer full-throated support for the measure.Continue »
Updated: 3:36 p.m. ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday called for a five percent surtax on Americans making more than $1 million to pay for President Obama's jobs bill.
Reid, in a press conference with Senate Democrats, said he would bring the jobs bill to the floor within the next few days, upon completion of the China currency bill.
"We're going to propose to pay for this important jobs legislation by asking people who make more than a million dollars a year to pay five percent more to fund job creation to ensure this countries economic success," Reid told reporters. "We're going to move to have richest of the rich pay a little bit more."
The Nevada senator pointed out that Democrats are not the only people who support the idea of wealthy Americans paying more in taxes.
"It's interesting to note that independents, Democrats, Republicans and even the Tea Party agree that it's time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes," he said.
The man who inspired President Obama's millionaires' tax said he is willing to make his federal tax returns public -- if fellow rich guy Rupert Murdoch does the same.
That's right, billionaire investor Warren Buffett challenged the owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal to a financial-public relations duel of sorts.Continue »