Police say they caught up with Dennis Maylin at his home in Gardner, and found a loaded CO2 BB pistol and BB projectiles in his car, CBS Boston reported.Continue »
(CBS News) Conservatives have criticized Mitt Romney for a lot of things in this race, among them that he is running a timid campaign, that he pulls his punches and that he doesn't have the fire in his gut to win.
Today's press conference - in which he criticized the administration's response to the attacks in Egypt and Libya -- is the clearest indication yet those critics are missing something.
Instead of walking back the strong statement he issued last night, Romney held his ground--and offered even stronger criticism. Facing the media in an impromptu press conference, he deflected questions on whether his criticism was too soon -"I don't think that we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principles" - or that it was inappropriate, as Democrats, the Obama campaign and even some Republicans are arguing.
"We have a campaign for the presidency of the United States," Romney said. "The president and I have differences of opinion with regard to Israel and our policies there and with regards to Afghanistan and with regards to Syria. We have many places of distinction and difference."
Senior campaign advisers have told me for the past month that they expect the campaign to be combative, and that after the conventions Romney would begin drawing "sharp contrasts" with President Obama.
We've already seen that on economic and domestic policy - his position on the administration trying change federal welfare work requirements is one example. Today, we saw the swift remarks on foreign policy. Some Republican strategists were critical, but the campaign is standing firmly behind its response.
"We're not going to hesitate to call out the president for his failures on foreign policy," a senior adviser told me this afternoon. "There are areas where the president deserves credit, and we're going to give that. But this gets to his capacity and fitness to be president. We don't believe he's fit to be president, that his foreign policy is conducted in a way that makes him unfit to be president."
It's hard to get much tougher than that. The adviser told me Romney's comments were "meant to shine a light on the bigger world view we believe this president has an apologize-first mentality, that it's America's fault the world is burning."
"That's the basic notion we believe the president's foreign policy has been conducted under," the adviser said. "That sort of weakness explains why we're seeing in part some of the difficulties in the Middle East."
Romney expressed a similar sentiment in his press conference this morning.
"I think President Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity as to the foreign policy," he said, adding, "the president has had some successes, he's had some failures, and it's a hit or miss approach, but it has not been based upon sound foreign policy."
Romney mentioned the Middle East and the Arab Spring. And after the media avail, he talked to supporters and referred to the latest clash between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the President.
"I stand with our friends in Israel. I stand with our allies," he told supporters. "I can't ever imagine - if the prime minister of Israel asked to meet with me - I can't imagine ever saying no. They're our friends, they're our closest allies in the Middle East."
For those who you who haven't followed Romney's response to the attacks in Egypt and Libya, here's the background.
Last night, Romney issued a tough statement expressing his outrage, and then added this:
"It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
Romney was referring to a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that touched off a political firestorm. Before the protesters hit the Embassy, it said on its website: "The Embassy ... condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims."
The embassy then stood by its statement, issuing a series of Tweets, as its compound was under siege. Last night, the administration seemed to distance itself from the Embassy statement, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton releasing her own statement, saying that "there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind," and a senior administration official telling Politico it wasn't vetted by Washington. The Tweets also were removed.
Then the tragic news broke overnight that four were killed in the Libyan attacks, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Some suggested Romney would regret his statement from the night before, although campaign sources told me before his morning press conference he had none. And when Romney took the podium, he made it clear himself.
In his opening remarks, Romney expressed sympathy for the victims and outrage at the attacks, and then referred to the embassy statement - "which, as I noted last night, was clearly at odds with the 1st Amendment."
"I think it's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," Romney said, adding, "The statement that came from the administration - and the embassy is the administration - the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to an apology, and I think it was a severe miscalculation."
Romney also hit the president hard for sending a "mixed message" and said he has demonstrated "a lack of clarity as to foreign policy."
The adviser said that tone won't change -and today's comments were putting down a marker.
"We're going to draw contrasts when there's an opportunity to draw contrasts, and we're not going to shy away from that opportunity."
(CBS News) If you needed further proof of why people have lost faith in their institutions, look no further than today's Washington Post, and two articles a mere 16 pages apart.
The newspaper reports on page five that "Food-stamp use hits record high," with 46.7 million Americans receiving government assistance--a depressing number by any measure--and one that has gone up 3.3 percent since last year.
Then flip to page 21 and read "The media feasts in Charlotte," an account by Dana Milbank of the endless array of parties, Martini bars, massages and schmoozing among elites-- media and political--at the political conventions.
With unemployment stuck at over 8 percent, a record-high number of people on food stamps (see WP, page five) and a majority of people who now believe the American Dream is slipping away, here's what Milbank overheard outside one media bash: "It's like spring break out there, and this is like the cool party everybody wants to get into."
(Excuse me while I slam my head on my desk now.)Continue »
There is a new CBS News/New York Times poll out this evening, and here are a few notes that jump out:
WOMEN: One headline out of our poll is the shrinking gender gap. A month ago, President Obama had an 11-point lead over Mitt Romney among women voters. Today's poll, taken after Hillary Rosen's comments and the subsequent firestorm, puts the gap at six points.
But as everyone should know (and despite all we hear about the "female" vote), women aren't some monolithic group. Our poll reveals sharp differences in opinion, for example, between married and single women.
Among MARRIED women, Romney leads Obama 49 to 42 percent. But among SINGLE women, Obama has a huge lead over Romney, 62 to 34 percent.
Typically, married women voters tend to lean Republican by 10 or so points--even more so if they have children. Single women voters, on the other hand, are solidly Democratic. These groups of women voters also would have big differences of opinion on economic issues and in the direction the country is heading.Continue »
Attorney General Eric Holder's letter to appeals court judge Jerry Smith flatly says that President Obama's recent statements regarding the Supreme Court's review of the health care law "were fully consistent" with the long-standing principle that courts have the authority to review the constitutionality of federal laws. But Holder doesn't refer to any of Mr. Obama's statements, as Judge Smith asked -- and he takes a few subtle shots at the appeals court.
The letter is written as a two-and-a-half page legal explainer on the court's power to review federal laws, complete with citations of Supreme Court cases going back to Marbury v. Madison in 1803. But it's also a crafty piece of advocacy in the Court of Public Opinion.
Holder spends more than half of the letter arguing courts should defer to Congress, and that the Executive Branch -- in defending federal law -- has often urged judges to be deferential. Again, he cites cases -- although some are quite obscure (see, e.g., United States v. Five Gambling Devices Labeled in Part "Mills," and Bearing Serial Nos. 593-221). All this may be designed to back up the president's remarks that he believes the court should uphold the law -- but it can also be read as a bit of in-your-face legal writing.Continue »
Updated 6:55 p.m. ET
(CBS News) In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.
The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."Continue »
Sarah B. Boxer, traveling with the Romney campaign, reports:
ROCK HILL, S.C.--The unemployed woman who got a handful of cash from Mitt Romney said today she plan to attend his campaign rally tonight--as Romney for the first time appeared to refer to her in a speech as an example of the pain caused by unemployment.
At a rally this morning in Spartanburg, Romney said the stories of those who are jobless "just breaks your heart."Continue »
The headline from the new CBS News/New York Times poll is pretty simple: Newt Gingrich is way out front in Iowa. But it's not all good news for the former speaker. Two-thirds of likely Iowa Republican caucus goers haven't made up their minds--and our poll indicates there could be problems ahead for Gingrich.
Bottom line: It may look like it's shaping up nationally to be two-man Gingrich-Mitt Romney brawl. But in Iowa, our poll indicates it could well be a four-person race: Gingrich, Romney, Ron Paul and a "true" social conservative like Michele Bachmann. And that means it as wide open as ever.
That's right. When you look past the horserace stuff (which you have to do since most voters say they haven't made up their minds), the poll is packed full of fascinating data about what Iowa voters are thinking and care about. It has some potentially ominous signals for Gingrich. It also has some good news for Paul--and surprisingly good news for Bachmann.Continue »
The settlement agreement between the National Restaurant Association and a woman who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment was reached in September 1999--and was not signed by Cain himself, according to Joel Bennett, a lawyer for the woman.
Bennett, who has a copy of the settlement agreement, said four people signed it: the woman, two lawyers representing the association and Bennett himself.
Bennett said the agreement was resolved relatively quickly, about two or three months after she complained.
That means it may have been reached after Cain left the association, and Bennett said it's conceivable that Cain didn't even know about it.Continue »
In tonight's debate, however, there is One Main Thing to Watch: the performance of Herman Cain.
If Cain continues to do well in these debates -- and avoids flip statements on things like electric border fences -- he's going to have a major impact on this race.
Already, Cain has shifted the dynamic in ways Rick Perry couldn't possibly have imagined when he announced he was running for president. Perry envisioned a two-man race against Romney, but so far he hasn't gotten the head-to-head matchup he wants.
Campaign insiders and strategists say privately that Cain has surprised them all by leaping over Perry in the polls. Cain, not Perry, is now neck-and-neck with Romney.Continue »
Here are five things to watch tonight:
1. Romney vs. Perry. In one corner is Mr. Establishment, your 1950s dad who's kind of boring and always wants to follow the rules. In the other is the Anti-Establishment hell-raiser, your 1970s uncle who likes a good brawl and doesn't bother with rulebooks. These two guys couldn't be more different--in tone, style and approach--and we saw that clearly last week, even in how they talked to each other. (Perry called Romney "Mitt," while Romney more politely called his nemesis "Governor.") After their clash at the Reagan Library on Social Security, though, Romney hasn't let up. In fact, just this afternoon, his campaign pointed out several of Perry's comments about the program and how it should be handled not by the federal government, but by the states. And the subject line? "Rick's Latest Retreat on Social Security."Continue »
1. America, meet Rick Perry. It's already a clich? to say "all eyes will be on Perry tonight," but in this case (well in most cases) the clich? is true. As we like to say in Alabama, folks will be taking the measure of the man. This is his debut on a national stage. But don't expect a razzle-dazzle offense or heroics in the end zone, which we don't expect from Texas A&M, Perry's alma mater, anyway. All he needs to do is hang onto the ball and deliver a solid performance.
His advisers are saying they see this as a chance to introduce him to the nation, and they're planning to save the punches for subsequent debates. They're also are trying to lower expectations by insisting Perry doesn't enjoy debating, hasn't participated in many debates and that it's not a natural forum for him. That's a good political strategy, since short of a complete offensive and defensive breakdown, he will clear that low bar.Continue »
For Republicans candidates seeking to unseat President Obama, there's one overriding issue: the economy. Polls have repeatedly shown that not only is the economy (and the corresponding issue of jobs) the number one concern for voters--but also that a majority of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling it.
And if they needed any encouragement, there's history to fall back on: No president has been reelected with unemployment numbers this bad since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Great Depression.
So today's grim unemployment report--the economy added only 18,000 jobs in June--was like shooting fish in a barrel for Republicans, and they all fired away. Within minutes of the report's release, the GOP presidential contenders were using words like "failed" and "failure" to describe Mr. Obama's performance and his policies.
With one exception: Jon Huntsman.Continue »
There was notable and powerful moment in last night's South Carolina town hall meeting with Michele Bachmann, when she revealed she once suffered a "devastating" miscarriage that she said changed her life and priorities.
"After our second was born, we became pregnant with a third baby. It was an unexpected baby, but of course we were delighted to have this child," Bachmann said told the crowd, in response to a question from an audience member. "The child was coming along and we ended up losing our child. And it was devastating to both of us, as you can imagine if any of you have lost a child."Continue »
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