(CBS News) On the same day President Obama urged Congress to repeal oil subsidies, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign painting the president as anti-energy and pro-high gas prices.
The campaign by the pro-oil non-profit permitted to engage in political activity elevates the profile of the debate over energy by taking it directly to voters and consumers. The $3.6 million campaign hits the airwaves in eight states across the country, and organizers say it is just the first stage of a larger effort.
The 30-second television ad, called "Nine Dollar Gas," urges viewers to "tell Obama we can't afford his failing energy policies."
The AEA is a non-profit created by the Institute for Energy Research, a pro oil-and gas-industry research and advocacy organization. Its IRS designation is a 501c4, similar to several super PACs or organizations tied to Super PACs, the independent groups which have spent millions during the 2012 campaign.Continue »
Mr. Bush, the 41st president, urged Republicans to coalesce behind Romney. From his office in Houston, with Romney sitting at his side, Mr. Bush said "it's time for people to all get behind this good man."
"We've known Mitt for a very long time (and) he's the man to do this job and get on and win the presidency," Mr. Bush said.
The endorsement comes one day after Florida Senator Marco Rubio backed the former Massachusetts governor.Continue »
Despite praising Gingrich, Adelson, the Las Vegas casino mogul, said Gingrich is "at the end of his line," partly because he is unable to obtain the 1144 delegates necessary to secure the nomination.
"'Cause, I mean, mathematically he can't get anywhere near the numbers and it's not - is unlikely to be a brokered convention," Adelson said in a video posted on JewishJournal.com.
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $16.5 million to a pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future. The total equates to 87 percent of the $18.8 million the super PAC has raised, enabling Gingrich to say in the race despite winning only two states, including his home state of Georgia.
Adelson's comments come as the Gingrich campaign announced Tuesday that it was scaling back its schedule and cutting campaign staff by one-third.
At a nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, earlier this week, not knowing the microphone was on, Mr. Obama told outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to tell incoming president Vladimir Putin that he would have "more flexibility" after the presidential election.
The Republican presidential candidates quickly attacked the president for the remark. In an interview with CNN, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, "This is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight every cause for the world's worst actors, the idea that he has some more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed."
In his letter today, Boehner called the comments "troubling" and a "terrible signal" to the rest of the world worried about the proposed missile defense plan, which is primarily meant to shield the U.S. and allies from Iranian missiles. The Obama administration has modified the plan to accommodate some of Russia's concerns, but all issues have not been settled and the Russians want assurances that the missile defense shield would not be used against them.Continue »
Vice President Joe Biden was on the campaign trail in Iowa on Wednesday to promote the administration's actions to bolster manufacturing, and attack Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney in the process.
The vice president said electing a Republican from the field of contenders would bring progress in the country's manufacturing sector to "a screeching halt."
"Look, folks, conventional wisdom that manufacturing is dead in this country is dead wrong -- dead wrong -- and we've got to maintain this momentum," Biden told a reported crowd of 450 in Davenport, Iowa. "But if you'll forgive me for saying this, one thing that could bring this momentum to a screeching halt is turning over the keys of the White House to Santorum or Romney."Continue »
In a state home to millions of seniors, Vice President Joe Biden will knock the Republican presidential candidates for their plans for Medicare. In a speech today in Florida, the vice president will say the GOP plan is to "end Medicare as we know it."
"We believe in strengthening Medicare. They don't," Biden will say this afternoon at a retirement community in Coconut Beach, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks released by the campaign.
Biden's campaign speech comes the same week Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin released his budget proposal. The Democrats are using the Ryan plan, which has little chance of passing both bodies of Congress, to launch a coordinated attack to pin the Republicans with wanting to eliminate Medicare, the government health care plan for seniors.
The Ryan plan, which has been endorsed by Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, would offer seniors vouchers to purchase a a private insurance plan.
According to the excerpts, Biden will call out three of the four Republican presidential candidates for backing the Ryan plan.Continue »
(CBS News) Two years after the President Obama's landmark health care law was signed into law, the legislation continues to be a lightning rod in American politics. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments about the constitutionality of the law next week and and both political parties see a decision later this year as a key factor that could help determine whether Mr. Obama gets a second term.
In an interview with American Public Media's Marketplace, Mr. Obama knocked his potential Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, over the issue. The president said the former Massachusetts governor is "pretending" to disagree with the law.
Mr. Obama said the Democrats crafted the bill, which includes an individual health insurance mandate, because it "previously had support of Republicans -- including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different."
Romney, who says on the campaign trail that he would repeal the law "on day one," used the health care anniversary to defend himself and his Massachusetts law, which also includes a mandate. In an op-ed in USA Today, Romney said he opposes "a one-size-fits-all health care plan for the entire nation" and says each state should determine its own health care plan. As for the federal government's role, he said states it should allow people to purchase insurance across state lines and institute tort reform, including by capping the amount for some damages.Continue »
(CBS News) President Obama's health care law has been the subject of $262 million dollars worth of advertising since the bill passed two years ago, according to a new report.
An analysis by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) found that advertisements critical of the health care law have outnumbered supportive ads by a ratio of 3:1.
The analysis comes as the health care law continues to be an issue in the presidential election -- the Republican candidates have pledged to repeal the law. In addition, the two year anniversary of the passage of the bill is Friday and the Supreme Court is set to hear six hours of oral arguments over three days next week.
CMAG found that political ads were used in the lead up to the 2010 midterm elections and started to pick up again in the past six months ahead of the 2012 presidential election.Continue »
According to CBS News estimates, 2012 voter turnout is about 6 percent lower compared to the same contests in 2008. On a state-by-state basis, the 9.2 million votes so far in this primary is fewer than the 9.79 million in 2008.
Though some states have seen bumps in turnout from 2008 -- including the first three states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- voting has been down in several subsequent states compared to 2008.
Of course, some special factors could explain lower turnout: In Virginia, only two of the four candidates were on the ballot; Missouri was just a non-binding "beauty contest" primary; And Idaho held caucuses instead of a primary this year. On the flip side, Sen. John McCain had clinched the nomination by the time Mississippi and Alabama voted in 2008, and the longer-than-expected primary season this year likely led to increased voter participation in last Tuesday's contests -- and could lead to increased turnout in the states to come.
Despite the special circumstances, turnout has been down overall.
For example, in Florida's January 31 primary, 1.6 million Republicans voted, compared to 1.9 million in 2008, despite a greater number of registered Republican voters. Another way to put it: 41 percent of voters cast their vote in 2012, compared to 51 percent in the 2008 GOP Florida primary.Continue »
(CBS News) - The president got in the St. Patrick's Day spirit with a pint of Guinness at a local Irish pub in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Obama did not have to pay a cover charge at the Dubliner, a pub a short drive from the White House and just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The lively crowd toasted with the president, and he also posed for a photo with a 21-month old baby who was also at the Irish celebration.
(The president's mid-day pint with revelers decked out in Irish green can be seen in the video above.)
A bill that would exempt employers from providing health care coverage for employees' contraception is making its way through the Arizona legislature, while President Obama's rule mandating that employees of religious-affiliated institutions receive free contraception coverage moved forward Friday.
The Arizona bill enables any employer - not just religious-affiliated ones - to site religious beliefs for excluding all FDA-approved forms of contraception coverage for its employees.
To receive insurance coverage for contraception, a women would have to show proof to her employer that the contraception is for a medical reason other than preventing pregnancy.
An employee can then ask her boss for reimbursement for the cost of contraception, though the Arizona bill states the employee could pay an additional "administrative fee" for processing the reimbursement claim.
Glendale Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko, co-sponsor of the bill, told the Arizona Star, "I believe that we live in America. We don't live in the Soviet Union. And so government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something that's against their moral beliefs,"Continue »
(CBS News) In the weekly video addresses, the topic once again is the rising cost of gas prices.
In this campaign year, President Obama and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner used the weekly messages to frame the debate around higher prices at the pump. (To watch the president's address click on the video player above.)
The president said some of the reasons are out of his control, including instability in the Middle East and increased demand in growing economies in India and China. He said what he can attempt to control is market speculation, which he says is another reason for rising prices.
"For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense," Mr. Obama said. "And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations."
The Gallup poll released on Friday shows that 40 percent of Gingrich supporters said Romney was their second choice, compared to 39 percent who said Rick Santorum was their Gingrich alternative. The question has a 7 percent margin of error.
This poll refutes the repeated calls by Santorum supporters' that Newt Gingrich is filling the role of a spoiler and his determination to stay in the race is helping the former Massachusetts governor win the nomination.
In addition to polling Gingrich backers, Gallup reallocated votes based on their polling numbers with Gingrich out of the race and found that the outcome changes little. Romney would get 40 percent of the vote and Santorum would receive 33 percent, with a 3 percent margin of error. Gallup says that seven-point lead is similar to the lead Romney has among voters based on Gallup's recent polls, which shows Romney has 34 percent to Santorum's 28 percent.Continue »
(CBS News) In 17 minutes, a documentary-like campaign film sums up President Obama's first term as a successful yet challenging time that saved the U.S. from deeper crisis.
The film, "The Road We've Traveled," narrated by Tom Hanks, is a rallying cry for the president's re-election campaign. It highlights five "tough decisions" the president made during his first term: the economic stimulus, the auto bailout, health care reform, Iraq troop withdrawal and Osama bin Laden's killing.
The film seeks to remind voters how dire the economic forecast during the height of the recession was, and it sought to promote the president's decisions as actions that saved the United States from deeper economic woes.
It notes Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney's opposition to the auto bailout with a picture of his 2008 op-ed in The New York Times titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," where Romney opposed giving federal dollars to the American auto industry.
On the other hand, the film says the president's actions around the auto bailout are justified because of the recent profits made and jobs added by of the American car companies. Although he made several appearances in the movie, on the auto bailout, former President Bill Clinton said: "People have no earthly idea what would have happened" if the auto companies went out of business.Continue »
A confident Blagojevich told reporters outside his home Wednesday that he is "on the right side of the law" and is appealing his case. He said he has "great trust" in the outcome.
"This is a country governed by the rule of law," Blagojevich told the throng of reporters. "We have great trust in this appeal."
Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois legislature in 2009 after being arrested for allegations of corruption. Two trials resulted in his conviction on 18 criminal counts, including on charges accusing him of trying to sell President Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.Continue »