(CBS News) Mitt Romney's tough talk on U.S.-Chinese relations is "just not credible," President Obama told a crowd of supporters at a rally at Ohio's Bowling Green State University Wednesday.
"He says he's going to take the fight to them," Mr. Obama said of his Republican rival. "That message is better than what he's actually done about this thing... When you hear this newfound outrage, it feels a lot more like the fox saying we need more secure chicken coops."
Both Mr. Obama and Romney took their campaigns on Wednesday to the critical swing state of Ohio, where the state of the once-robust manufacturing sector makes the debate over outsourcing and trade with China especially resonant.
In Westerville, Ohio, earlier in the day, Romney said, "We're going to crack down on China.... They've stolen our jobs; that's gotta stop."Continue »
(CBS News) Madonna has clarified that when she referred to President Obama as a Muslim during a performance Monday night, it was just part of her act.
At a concert in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the pop star told her audience, "Y'all better vote for f******g Obama, OK? For better or for worse, we have a black Muslim in the White House. That's some amazing s**t. It means there is hope in this country."
Through her spokeswoman, Madonna released a statement explaining her remarks: "I was being ironic on stage. Yes I know Obama is not a Muslim (though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is.) And what if he were? The point I was making is that a good man is a good man no matter who he prays to. I don't care what religion Obama is - nor should anyone else in America"Continue »
(CBS News) Calling human trafficking tantamount to modern slavery, President Obama on Tuesday touted the United States' efforts to combat the problem, including an executive order the president signed today to prevent human trafficking in federal contracting.
"It ought to concern every person because it is a debasement of our common humanity," Mr. Obama said at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. It is a problem that tears at the nation's social fabric, distorts markets, endangers public health and fuels violence, Mr. Obama said.
"I'm talking about the injustice, the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name: modern slavery," he said. "Now, I do not use that word 'slavery' lightly. It evokes, obviously, one of the most painful chapters in our nation's history. But around the world there's no denying the awful reality."Continue »
(CBS News) Striking a hopeful but serious tone about the future of the Middle East, President Obama at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday called on his international counterparts to directly and honestly confront the sources of unrest in Muslim countries, as well as the tensions between the West and the Arab world.
At the same time, he urged world leaders -- and, no doubt, an American electorate -- to "remember that this is a season of progress."
Mr. Obama hailed the political progress in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, as well as developments outside the Arab world, as in Somalia and Burma.
"Around the globe, people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity, and the right to determine their future," he said. "And yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot."
Beginning and ending his nearly hour-long remarks by invoking the memory of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was murdered along with three other Americans when the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya came under attack, the president laid out the values that America stands for -- the values Mr. Obama said the nation would continue to promote around the world.Continue »
Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET
(CBS News) Mitt Romney told CBS News Monday that the turmoil in the Middle East -- that's spanned not only the past few weeks, but the past few months -- is "hardly" just a "bump in the road," as President Obama characterized it on CBS News' "60 Minutes."
"Let's look at the broad themes in the Middle East over the past several months," Romney said in an interview with CBS News chief political correspondent Jan Crawford. "What's happening in the Middle East is hardly characterized in my view as a bump in the road. Not with Egypt electing a Muslim Brotherhood president. Not with Libya seeing the assassination of an American ambassador. Not with Syria, with 20,000 people killed by Mr. Assad. Not with Pakistan in tumult and of course, not with Iran on the verge of becoming nuclear capable. This is a far - far from a bump in the road."
In the "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday, Mr. Obama told Steve Kroft that he still supports the political upheaval and movement toward democracy in the Middle East, even after the recent violence that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.Continue »
(CBS News) The White House on Monday gave no clear explanation for why President Obama has no bilateral meetings scheduled with the world leaders who are in New York City this week for the United Nations General Assembly. His lack of meetings stands in contrast to last year's General Assembly, when the president held more than a dozen bilateral meetings.
When asked repeatedly about the lack of meetings, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday he was "not going to preview every minute by minute" of the president's schedule. He noted that the president regularly engages directly with world leaders.
"The president just in recent weeks has had intensive consultations with leaders in the region, with the leaders of Turkey, of Egypt, of Israel, of Yemen, of Libya, of Afghanistan, and that process will continue," Carney said. "It is a simple fact that when you're president of the United States, your responsibility as commander-in-chief never ends and you are constantly engaged in matters of foreign affairs and national security. And that's what this president is doing."Continue »
(CBS News) A series of polls released today and over the weekend show the presidential contest remains close but suggest President Obama may have an edge over Mitt Romney on the issue of who would best handle Medicare.
A Gallup swing state poll released Monday shows that voters in 12 key states trust Mr. Obama over Romney to address issues facing Medicare, 50 percent to 44 percent.
While always an important election issue, the future of Medicare became a more prominent campaign matter when Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. The House Budget Committee chairman authored the House GOP's plan to overhaul the popular government health care program for seniors, which would give seniors the choice of using a voucher to purchase private insurance. Still, the Gallup poll shows swing state voters are more likely to believe (51 percent to 44 percent) that Mr. Obama's campaign has a specific plan for Medicare than to believe that the Romney campaign does.Continue »
(CBS News) Going up against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the first debate of Missouri's hotly-contested Senate race, Republican candidate Todd Akin on Friday sought to move past his comments on "legitimate rape" that have significantly hurt his campaign.
"I don't believe this election overall is about talk," Akin said, after the first question in the debate asked the candidates to address whether Akin's controversial remarks should matter to voters.
"It's really about two visions of what America is," he continued. "Are we going to go down the path of Greece... or are we going to go down the path America has always been on where we allow freedom... It seems to me what a senator should be doing is taking the common sense that you and I know in Missouri and taking that to Washington, D.C."Continue »
(CBS News) Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, hasn't been shy about voicing her concerns about Mitt Romney's campaign, but in a Friday column she stepped up her critique.
"The Romney campaign has to get turned around," she wrote. "This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.'"
Noonan is one of several conservative pundits who in recent weeks have spoken out about the Romney campaign's perceived missteps, such as its response to the crisis in Libya and the lack of policy details put forth. The Romney campaign has largely dismissed the criticism, telling the conservative National Review that being unpopular in Washington is more of an advantage than a disadvantage.Continue »
(CBS News) Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest honor on democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, in recognition of her efforts to free the people of Burma.
House Speaker John Boehner said the Congressional Gold Medal is a symbol not only of what Suu Kyi has already accomplished but also "of our highest hopes and for the hard work that lies ahead. Because freedom isn't easy to find. It takes a long, winding road."
Suu Kyi was freed from 15 years of house arrest in 2010, when Burma's repressive military regime began moving toward democracy. She is now a member of the Burmese parliament. President George W. Bush in 2008 signed legislation to grant her the medal, but she could not receive it in person until now.
"This is a moment for which I have been waiting for many years," Suu Kyi said.Continue »
(CBS News) The liberal publication Mother Jones on Tuesday afternoon released the full 49-minute video, in two parts, of Mitt Romney's remarks at a May 17 fundraiser at which he described President Obama's supporters as people who are "dependent on government" and "believe that they are victims."
The magazine on Monday released a clip of the event at which he said, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That, that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."Continue »
(CBS News) In response to Mitt Romney's remarks that his job is "not to worry" about the 47 percent of Americans that supposedly support President Obama, the White House responded that the president, by contrast, is concerned about all Americans.
Mr. Obama "is out there fighting for every American regardless of whether or not they support him politically," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. He said that the president's policies have sometimes earned him criticism from either the left or the right "precisely because" politics doesn't play into his decision making.
"He's guided by what he thinks is best for the country," Carney said. "On the stuff that matters to Americans' day-to-day lives, we're a lot more united than we sometimes perceive her in Washington."
Carney's remarks came in response to the release of a video from a private fundraising event earlier this year where Romney described Mr. Obama's supporters as people "dependent on the government" who "believe that they are victims."Continue »
(CBS News) Following the release of a video showing Mitt Romney characterizing supporters of President Obama as people "dependent on the government" who "believe that they are victims," several prominent conservatives this week have jumped to defend the Republican presidential candidate's remarks. Pundits on the right and Romney supporters largely said that Romney's remarks were truthful and that he would be well-served to stand by them as he faces media scrutiny.
"Mitt Romney probably could have better explained himself," Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., said Tuesday on Fox News. "I think he was a little clumsy in doing it."
West said that Romney was right to say the U.S. is "moving toward economic dependence instead of economic freedom." As evidence, West pointed to the increase in food stamp recipients under the Obama administration as well as poverty and unemployment rates.
Romney delivered the remarks in question at a private fundraiser earlier this year. Video of the event was obtained by the left-leaning media outlets Mother Jones and the Huffington Post.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney is heard saying in the video. "All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That, that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."
Romney on Monday did not apologize for the remarks but said they were "not elegantly stated" and that he was "speaking off the cuff."
Some moderate conservatives and libertarian commentators -- and at least one prominent conservative -- chastised the GOP candidate.Continue »
(CBS News) After taking heat earlier this year for his ties to a proposal for a controversial ad campaign against President Obama, billionaire businessman Joe Ricketts is moving ahead with a plan to invest $10 million to support Mitt Romney for president, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ricketts, the founder of the company that became TD Ameritrade and whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, will invest the money in the super PAC he started called Ending Spending Action Fund. The group will reportedly air national cable television ads as well as broadcast ads in swing states like Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio and Iowa.
The ads will feature stories of disenchanted Obama supporters who are voting for Mitt Romney this year. In one video posted online, a voter named Lynne from Davenport, Iowa, explains, "I've been a lifelong Democrat and a teacher for 40 years... I voted for Obama in '08, but he's taking our country in the totally wrong direction."Continue »
(CBS News) A number of prominent conservatives have expressed concern that the Romney campaign is hurting its chances this November by leaving key pieces of its tax policy agenda blank, but vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said over the weekend that those details need to be negotiated with Congress.
"I'm very familiar with how to make successful tax reforms take place," Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and member of the Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview conducted Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody. "Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did it in 1986, but we haven't done it since 1986 for lots of reasons, which is we don't want to presume to say 'Here's exactly our way or the highway take it or leave it Congress.'"
Specifically, Brody asked Ryan what tax loopholes a Romney-Ryan administration would close. Mitt Romney has vowed to cut tax rates by 20 percent across the board and make a number of other tax cuts. He's pledged to do so without adding to the deficit by getting rid of certain tax deductions and loopholes. He's refused to say, however, which loopholes would be closed.Continue »
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