(CBS News) Thirty-six year incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah., is likely to overcome Tuesday's primary against a young state Senator, Dan Liljenquist, according to a recent poll, but the primary battle has revealed the latest rift between long-time Washington fixtures and the people who want to cleanse the Republican Party of elected officials who don't adhere to Tea Party principles.
FreedomWorks, one of the major organizations behind the Tea Party movement, has been Hatch's most vocal and influential opponent.
The group, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, has spent $945,000 trying to beat Hatch this primary - twice as much as Liljenquist has raised. That money was spent paying for television advertising, making more than 1.2 million phone calls, and sending out direct mail campaigns, including a 42-page book about Hatch's voting record.
First-term Republican congressman Allen West of Florida has become a Tea Party darling due in part to his willingness to offer up strong, incendiary rhetoric about his opponents. The latest example came at a Florida GOP dinner over the weekend, when West directed this comment to President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress:
"Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."
As it turns out, it's becoming increasingly likely that West will have to take his message somewhere other than Congress. That's because under a redistricting plan put forth by the GOP-controlled Florida legislature, West could have a hard time winning a second term - a situation that has some conservatives suggesting a conspiracy by establishment Republicans, including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.Continue »
The Democrat leading his party's effort to retake control of the House of Representatives is cautiously optimistic the November elections will make John Boehner a one-term House speaker, telling reporters Wednesday that "we are nipping at (Republican) heels and we have the potential to overtake them over the next nine months."
Democrats do not have the 25 seats needed to take control of the House in November locked in yet, but New York Rep. Steve Israel, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that his candidates are making steady progress with fewer than 300 days until the election.
He also said about 76 of the 435 seats are considered to be "in play" for one party or the other. Boehner and the Republicans took control of the House after picking up 63 seats in the 2010 mid-term elections. There are now 242 Republicans and 192 Democrats in the House. The seat of former Rep. David Wu, an Oregon Democrat, is vacant.
His confidence, Israel said, comes from Democrats faring better than expected throughout the redistricting process, resulting in a wash for both parties despite Republicans controlling the majority of state legislatures this year and he mentioned fundraising numbers, which the DCCC estimates will be greater for Democrats than Republicans when yearly reports are filed at the end of this month.Continue »
HOLLIS, N.H. -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum sees fiscal conservatism as the ticket to expanding his popularity. In the days leading up to New Hampshire's primary Tuesday, he's barnstorming the Granite state, trying to convince voters he has more to offer than just the socially conservative values which are his signature.
Santorum's strategy has at least one problem: He's creeping into Ron Paul's turf. The Texas congressman is all about fiscal conservatism - his brand of libertarianism is credited with inspiring the Tea Party movement - and he's not about to let a candidate with a record like Santorum's claim to be the Tea Party fiscal conservative in the Republican presidential race.Continue »
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee Thursday unveiled their single recommendation to the congressional committee tasked with slashing spending--no new defense cuts.
California Republican Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, the panel's chair, said the so-called "Super Committee" must avoid adding more defense cuts to reach their $1.2 trillion dollar deficit reduction goal by November 23rd.
"We have gone overboard on the cuts," McKeon said, warning that defense officials are already scrambling to identify $469 billion in congressionally mandated spending cuts over the next ten years.
McKeon also said it is critical the committee members succeed in order to avoid automatic cuts of up to $500 billion in across the board defense cuts that would go into effect if the super committee fails or if Congress rejects the committee's proposal.Continue »
Rep. Michele Bachmann owes much of the support that fueled her presidential campaign to her ties to the Tea Party, is now finding out that the fiercely decentralized movement can be a double-edged sword. One of her fellow Tea Partiers is calling for Bachmann to move on.
"It's time for Michele Bachmann to go," Ned Ryun, president and founder of a Tea Party group he named "American Majority," wrote on the group's blog. Ryun said that Bachmann, the founder of the House tea party caucus, should pull the plug on her campaign out of respect for the activists she purports to represent.
"Every day the campaign flounders, it risks hurting the credibility of the movement," Ryun wrote.
"It is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books," he added.Continue »
Rick Perry has an uphill climb if he wants to face-off with President Obama in 2012. In the CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday, the Texas governor garnered 6 percent of likely Republican primary voters, down from 12 percent in early October and 23 percent in mid-September. Herman Cain led the pack with 25 percent, followed by Mitt Romeny with 21 percent. Even Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich had a better showing than Perry.
Perry hopes to reverse his downward slide with a fresh economic plan, calling for an optional 20 percent flat tax, privatized social security accounts for younger citizens and an 18-percent cap on federal spending as a percentage of U.S. GDP.
At the same time Perry is making a serious economic proposal to help overcome his lackluster debate performances and evaporating poll numbers, he is playing with the birther card. In an interview with Parade magazine, Perry said he cannot know for certain whether Mr. Obama was born in the U.S.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 »
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 »
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 »
In recent interviews several Iowa GOP leaders said that they are seeing movement toward Romney, even though the support seems more a matter of pragmatism than enthusiasm.
The state's social and religious conservatives, who dominate caucus voting, don't like Romney's moderate record on issues, particularly his embrace of a health care law in Massachusetts that served as the model for the Obama administration's much-maligned health care plan.
Even in staunchly conservative Sioux County - which former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won handily in 2008 - voters are considering the candidate they snubbed four years ago.
"A number of people I've talked to seem to be gravitating a little bit back to Romney," said Jim Plagge, treasurer of the Sioux County Republican Party. "I think more by default. I think it's not like, 'Okay he's my guy,' but it's more of, 'Well, these other ones don't seem to be doing it. I want to win. He seems to be the best opportunity to win.'"
Businessman Herman Cain, the upstart newcomer in the 2012 Republican primary field, has a new title: serious candidate for president. Once viewed as an interesting if provocative also-ran, Cain has elbowed his way to front-of-the-pack status with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the result of several strong debate appearances, a commanding victory in the Florida GOP straw poll last month, and a stubborn reluctance by conservative voters to accept Romney.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the former Godfather's Pizza executive tied with Perry in second place, with 17 percent of the vote, one of several recent surveys catapulting Cain to the top tier.
But even as he enjoys the fickle embrace of the party's social conservatives, doubts are being raised about the straight-talking businessman's legitimacy, and even his motives.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 4:33 p.m. Eastern Time
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday afternoon that he is not reconsidering his decision to forgo the 2012 presidential race.
His comment followed a Reuters report that he may again be considering jumping into the race.
A source close to Huckabee told CBS News following the initial report that "there are certainly people that have asked him to reconsider his decision, even more so lately, but at this point that is not something he is doing."
Huckabee, a social conservative, won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 but lost the Republican nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Appearing on Fox News Friday afternoon, Huckabee told Neil Cavuto that he's not running (1) because of concerns about raising money and (2) because people want candidates who wants to "poke out the eyes of the other side." He said he was happy with his decision to forgo the race.
Reuters reported that Huckabee has been approached by activists unhappy with the current GOP field, somethng Huckabee confirmed Friday. It quoted one source as saying, "He is entertaining the request for conversations about it. I do not think it is a complete 100 percent 'I'm reconsidering' but he hasn't shut the door on it."
But HuckPAC director Hogan Gidley, who is now affiliated with Rick Santorum's campaign, strongly denied the Reuters story.Continue »
CONCORD, N.C. -- Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says President Obama's Middle East policy is to blame for the popular uprisings against autocratic regimes across the Arab world.
At a fundraiser here, Bachmann said she thinks the president "laid the table for the Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness," and particularly noted his call for Israel to return to its borders prior to the 1967 war with Egypt.
Bachmann, who has a track record of jumbled facts and sometimes false assertions, also drew an analogy between Obama's treatment of Israel and the fall of the shah of Iran during the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter, an event she maintained led to the rise of radicalism in the Islamic world.Continue »
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