Amid news of an Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday accused the Obama administration of "doing nothing" to protect America from a nuclear threat from Iran.
Santorum, in an appearance on CBS' "Early Show," targeted Vice President Joe Biden for having voted against a bill the former Pennsylvania senator introduced in 2006 - which imposed strict sanctions against Iran and supported a transition of its government -and claimed Biden "didn't realize that a threat of a nuclear Iran is the real issue here."
"If they get a nuclear weapon no one will be able to attack them, and they will be fermenting," Santorum said. "This administration is doing nothing to stop them."Continue »
HANOVER, N.H. -- Businessman Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan was the rhetorical focal point of the Republican presidential debate here on Tuesday, but it was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's clear-cut status as the man to beat that was the underlying takeaway from the latest GOP forum.
After surging from the back of the pack to second place in many state and national polls, Cain was seated next to Romney and made the most of his opportunity in the spotlight by repeatedly referring to his proposal to replace the federal tax code with a flat, 9 percent tax rate on corporate profits, personal income, and sales.Continue »
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 »
Romney, in a joint appearance on NBC's "Today" show with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - who announced his endorsement of Romney on Tuesday afternoon - argued that Perry would be "wise to repudiate the words of the pastor in every way he possibly can."
"I've heard worse in my life," he added. "I don't get real nervous about what people say. And I think this pastor could say something like that in his church, but in a political setting I think that's a mistake and the founders felt that way when they crafted the Constitution and said there would not be a religious test."
Christie added that religion "has no business in deciding who would be the President of the United States of America."Continue »
Updated 8:30 a.m. ET
HANOVER, N.H. -- After a two-hour debate on the economy, earnest GOP operatives headed straight to the spin room to tout the merits of their respective candidates.
As for Texas Gov. Rick Perry,he headed straight to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.
"Debates are not my strong suit," Perry told reporters after visiting with about 100 fraternity brothers gathered to see him at the house, a few blocks from the debate site on the campus of Dartmouth College. No keg stands were in view.Continue »
Presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry once again took aim at rival Mitt Romney's record on health care, but the former Massachusetts governor was ready with his comeback: At least "I care about people."
Romney is clearly a top-tier candidate in the Republican presidential primary, but he's failed to gain widespread support, in part because the Obama administration has said the health care plan Romney implemented in Massachusetts served as a model for Mr. Obama's federal health care overhaul.
When candidates were given a chance to ask each other questions in the Tuesday debate, hosted by the Washington Post and Bloomberg at Darmouth College, Perry zeroed in on Romney's biggest vulnerability. He pointed out that one of Romney's chief economic advisers, Glenn Hubbard, said "Romneycare" was equal to "Obamacare." He also said that the Massachusetts plan drove up premiums.
"How would you respond to this criticism of your signature legislative achievement?" Perry asked.Continue »
The Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP debate is in the books, which means it's time to take a look at who had a good night - and who didn't. Below, our take on the winners and losers from Tuesday's economy-focused face-off:
Mitt Romney: Another sterling debate performance from Romney, who once again looked far more presidential than anyone else onstage. During the portion of the debate in which the candidates asked each other questions, rivals like Herman Cain and Rick Perry took direct aim at him; Romney hit back hard at Perry, leaving him looking like a schoolboy with his hand caught in the candy jar, and suggested Cain's claim that Romney's economic plan was too complicated showed Cain didn't understand the complicated nature of the economy. When Romney asked his question, he directed a softball to Michele Bachmann - a show of strength in light of Bachmann's long odds at winning the nomination. Romney would be all too happy to see Bachmann stick around at least until to the Iowa caucuses, where she can split the conservative vote with Cain and Perry and give Romney the opening he needs to win the state.
Newt Gingrich: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich almost certainly isn't going to be president. But if, as many assume, his presidential campaign is now largely about keeping his name in the headlines in order to further his personal brand, Gingrich had a good night. He was able to get in a lot of Gingrichisms - a personal favorite was "I was just swapping emails today with Andy von Eschenbach..." - that reinforced the notion that Gingrich is the Republican Party's ideas man. Whether he deserves the mantle as the GOP's preeminent intellectual is certainly up for debate, but there's no question that pushing the notion can't hurt book sales. Another idea that won't hurt book sales: Fire the unpopular Fed chair and imprison Barney Frank.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday night he'd give just the middle class a tax cut on capital gains because he's "not worried about rich people," even as multiple Republicans have accused President Obama of fueling "class warfare" by proposing to tax the rich more heavily than other Americans.
In a Republican debate Tuesday, hosted by the Washington Post and Bloomberg at Dartmouth College, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asked Romney about one point in the former governor's economic plan -- a proposal to cut capital gains taxes for people making under $200,000. Gingrich pointed out that even Mr. Obama has proposed cutting taxes for higher earners.
"As a businessman, you know that you actually lose economic effectiveness if you limit capital gains tax cuts only to people who don't get capital gains," Gingrich said to Romney. "So, I'm curious, what was the rationale for setting an even lower base marker than Obama had?"
Romney responded that the middle class has been hit hardest by the economic downturn.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 1:58 p.m. ET
Hours before Perry was scheduled to meet his Republican rivals at a debate in New Hampshire, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, held a press conference to demand that the Texas governor use the forum to denounce a vanity license plate displaying the Confederate battle flag, which is under consideration for approval by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Debate sponsors have already announced that the forum will be dedicated to the economy.
His home state congresswoman's decision to make an issue of the Confederate flag comes less than two weeks after Perry faced accusations that he had failed to cover up a racially offensive term on rock outside his family's hunting lodge in Texas. Perry insists that his family moved quickly to efface the word.
Jackson Lee, who is African American, says blacks will also be offended by the a license plate that commemorates a regime that battled to save slavery.Continue »
On the heels of a Washington Post-Bloomberg News poll showing that voters believe Michele Bachmann would do the most damage to the U.S. economy of any of the presidential candidates the Minnesota congresswoman on Tuesday unveiled an 11-point blueprint for job creation that she says will "return America to a position of economic prominence in the world."
The plan, which Bachmann titled "American Jobs, Right Now," pulls together many of Bachmann's key economic talking points from the campaign trail into one document.
"My solutions are simple." Bachmann said in a press release. "We need to cut government spending, legalize America's God-given natural resources, and stop taxing investment and productivity."Continue »
Anita Perry, the wife of Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is a registered nurse but did not know in 2007 that her husband was going to sign a controversial executive order requiring all sixth grade girls to receive an HPV vaccine.
"I wish he'd talked to me first," Anita Perry said, in an interview with Parade Magazine for the October 23 issue.
"I thought he handled it the wrong way. I've been cochair for the March of Dimes immunization program, and I'm pro-immunization," she said. "I would have supported the vaccine."
Her husband has called the use of an executive order to enact the mandate a mistake, but he's stood by his support for the vaccine. The mandate was later overturned by the Texas legislature.Continue »
Mr. Obama, speaking during a meeting with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Pittsburgh, told council members he didn't know how Congress would "respond" to the bill as a whole, but that the administration would seek to move his agenda forward even if the bill doesn't get through the Senate.
"I don't know how Congress will respond to the overall package, but our expectation is if they don't pass the whole package we're going to break it up into constituent parts," he said. "And having the relevant businesses get behind an effort to move this infrastructure agenda forward is a priority."Continue »
Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday called on his rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry to repudiate comments by Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, who endorsed Perry and called Mormonism as "a cult."
"I just don't believe that kind of divisiveness based on religion has a place in this country," said Romney, who is Mormon. "I would call on Gov. Perry to repudiate the sentiment and the remark made by that pastor."
Perry has said he rejects Jeffress' characterization of Mormonism as a cult, but a spokesman for Perry said today he refuses to disavow the pastor, the Associated Press reports.Continue »