Archives for July 2011

CNN poll shows Rick Perry rising

The latest national poll for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination from CNN shows five current and possible contenders within 4 points of each other. Given the margin of error is 4.5%, the race is a statistical tie.

The survey also shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry rising past Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and sneaking up on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. However, 34% of Republican voters are not satified with the field of candidates. That’s down, though not by much, from 39% at the end of May.

Here is the full rundown of the CNN poll:

  • Mitt Romney: 16%
  • Rick Perry: 14%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 13%
  • Michele Bachmann: 12%
  • Ron Paul: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Other/None: 9%
  • No opinion: 1%

Given the recent exposure that Bachmann has received and the increasing perception that she isn’t cut out for the national stage, Perry may well find himself the conservative movements answer to Romney; after all, he wins 22% of the tea party vote in the poll.

While some conservatives attribute the attacks on Bachmann to Democrats, that is simply untrue. Most of what is coming out about her now is from Republicans scared that she may be able to bring in enough dissatisfied voters to edge out other candidates for the nomination. Expect to see more Republicans point out her shortcomings and overall lack of experience.

Oh look, we lost money on Chrysler

When you or I make an investment, we try to make at least a little bit more than we put in.  We don’t always do that – that’s the nature of investing after all – but we try.  When we fail, we tend to take our lumps as they are, but we acknowledge that we lost out.  Of course, if you’re the United States government, all bets are off.

Allegedly, it was an “investment” to bail out Chrysler.  Now, they have supposedly paid back all their loans.  The United States government is out.  Fiat is the major stockholder with over 53% of the stock.  The US government lost a significant sum of money in the process too, but they’re not sweating it:

Overall, $1.3 billion will not be recovered from the bankrupt Old Chrysler, but [ Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability Tim] Massad still called it a “major accomplishment.”

Losing $1.3 billion is a major accomplishment?  No wonder their answer to the national debt is more debt.

In all fairness, it’s possible Massad is saying that it’s a major accomplishment that Chrysler repaid anything on the loan.  That’s not really clear.  Of course, the United States of America apparently doesn’t really understand how loans work.  From the same CNN piece:

As part of the loan agreement, Chrysler was given until 2017 to return the bailout funds. If it had taken the full term, the interest accrued on the loans could have significantly reduced the government’s losses.

Club for Growth on Ron Paul

Just like in 2008, the Club for Growth is putting together a series of white papers on candidates running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. We’ve already covered their reports on the records of Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. We missed the report on Michele Bachmann, but you can read that here.

Last week, the Club for Growth released the white paper on Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX),who fares well against President Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup and is making Iowa and the Ames Straw poll priorities for his campaign.

The Club notes that Paul has received better than average ratings on their own scorecard, and they’ve gradually increased over the last five years. And while his record on spending is “impressive,” including votes against Medicare Part D, raising his own pay, TARP, the stimulus and other wasteful spending.

They also point out that Paul was once a stalwart in voting for amendments to strip wasteful earmarks out of spending bills; however, he has changed his tune recently:

No debt agreement over the weekend

Most of the weekend went by without word of anything resembling a deal on raising the debt ceiling. House Republicans kicked around a short-term hike, but Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration threw cold water on the idea.

The desire to come to an agreement has been expressed on both sides. Speaker John Boehner, who has earned kudos for his performance during these tense last few weeks, was very straight-forward with his caucus yesterday on the need for something that can pass both chambers, especially as markets begin to react to the stalemate. According to The Hill, Boehner wants an agreement today.

Debt ceiling talks between Obama and Boehner collapse

News broke not too long ago that talks between the White House and Speaker John Boehner have apparently collapsed:

House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off talks with President Barack Obama Friday night on a deal to make major cuts in federal spending and avert a threatened government default, sending already uncertain compromise efforts into instant crisis.

Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning for fresh negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit. “We’ve got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it,” he declared.

For the first time since talks began, he declined to offer assurances, when asked, that default would be avoided. Moments later, however, he said he was confident of that outcome.

My wife and I were out to dinner while the press conferences were going on (obviously, I didn’t watch them), so I’m still catching up on what exactly happened. As noted above, Obama came across angry and chastized Republicans, asking if they could agree on anything. Here is the video (you can read his comments here):

Romney, Palin even in Ohio; Obama leads GOP candidates

You know how the Republican candidates are doing nationally, but what really matters are state-level voters. And Quinnipiac has new numbers out of Ohio, a crucial swing state in nearly every election, showing Mitt Romney statistically even with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann isn’t too far behind.

  • Mitt Romney: 16%
  • Sarah Palin: 15%
  • Michele Bachmann: 11%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 6%
  • Ron Paul: 5%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Jon Huntsman: 1%
  • Undecided/NA: 28%

As you can see, the top four are well in striking distances of each other; and this assumes that Palin even gets in the race. They did poll scenarios of Palin and Perry not running, but for sake of confusion, I’m going to leave those off the post. You can see them here.

Quinnipiac also measured Romney, Palin, Bachmann and Perry against Obama, in the state. Even though though 50% of Ohio voters disapprove of Obama’s job performance, Palin would be a disaster and Bachmann isn’t too far behind her (numbers for independents are off to the side).

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

  • Obama: 45% (40%)
  • Romney: 41% (41%)
  • Other: 3% (4%)
  • Undecided: 9% (11%)

Barack Obama v. Sarah Palin

  • Obama: 51% (51%)
  • Palin: 35% (32%)
  • Other: 3% (4%)
  • Undecided: 6% (6%)

Barack Obama v. Michele Bachmann

  • Obama: 49% (45%)
  • Bachmann: 36% (35%)
  • Other: 3% (4%)
  • Undecided: 9% (11%)

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

How the mighty have fallen

Once upon a time, the United States of America could almost say it owned South America.  After all, many South American nations relied heavily on US foreign aid.  Of course, things have shifted and some down south are openly mocking the United States as they debate on painful budget cuts.

From Reuters:

“When did the American dream become a nightmare?” gloated Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, whose own country defaulted on about $100 billion in debt a decade ago.

In a speech at the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange on Monday, she contended that Argentina had prospered since then by focusing on exports and controlling financial speculation — a lesson that Washington has yet to learn, she said.

The Americans “thought that money just reproduces by itself, and only in the financial sector, without having to produce any goods or services,” Fernandez said.

Oh this ain’t good.

Memories are still fresh of the self-righteous tone that U.S. officials sometimes seemed to take when the shoe was on the other foot. One infamous example: As Argentina spiraled into crisis in 2001, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill mocked the country for its debt struggles and said: “They like it that way. Nobody forced them to be what they are.”

These days, Latin America’s economy as a whole is expected to expand about 4.7 percent in 2011 — almost twice the expected rate in the United States — thanks to strong demand for the region’s commodities and a decade of mostly prudent fiscal management, itself the product of many hard-learned lessons of the past.

WaPo/ABC poll: Romney still holds advantage in GOP race

While Michele Bachmann has certainly picked up steam in the race for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney is still holds a double-digit lead over her in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Here’s how it shapes up:

  • Mitt Romney: 26%
  • Sarah Palin: 16%
  • Michele Bachmann: 13%
  • Ron Paul: 7%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 4%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Rick Santorum: 2%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 9%

But like many of the polls we’ve seen over the last several weeks, they tested the Republican field with and without Sarah Palin. The first set is without her running and with Rick Perry’s likely candidacy.

  • Mitt Romney: 30%
  • Michele Bachmann: 16%
  • Ron Paul: 11%
  • Rick Perry: 8%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Jon Huntsman:3%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 3%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 11%

This second set includes Palin, but leaves off Perry:

  • Mitt Romney: 28%
  • Sarah Palin: 19%
  • Michele Bachmann: 13%
  • Ron Paul: 10%
  • Herman Cain: 7%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Jon Huntsman: 3%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Other: 1%
  • NOTA/Wouldn’t vote/No opinion: 11%

The poll shows strong numbers in terms support for Romney, but it also has points of concern for his campaign as noted in the Washington Post’s report on the poll:

Senate kills “Cut, Cap and Balance”

The Senate voted along party lines this morning to table “Cut, Cap and Balance,” the budget plan offered by House Republicans that passed that chamber on Tuesday evening:

The Senate voted 51-46, along strict party-lines Friday to kill the House Republicans “cut, cap and balance” legislation.

The measure would have cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, capped spending over the next decade and prohibited more borrowing until Congress passes a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

President Obama had threatened to veto the bill, which was dead on arrival in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the legislation “very, very bad” and said it was a waste of the upper chamber’s time.

During the debate on “cut, cap and balance,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued the GOP plan would solve the nation’s deficit crisis if Democrats would join Republicans in supporting it.

“This isn’t rocket science,” said McConnell. “We could solve this problem this morning if Democrats would…join us in backing this legislation that Republicans support.”

Supporters of the proposal have cited a CNN poll in recent days showing that voters support some parts of it, specifically the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA). That’s not a surprise since BBA proposal are politically popular. However, the “Cut, Cap and Balance” proposal passed by the House only called for a BBA. It didn’t attain the 2/3 requirement to pass a constitutional amendment.

Rumors of a debt ceiling deal heat up

There were signs of movement yesterday a deal that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling. According to a report from The New York Times on Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner were close to a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal:

Congressional and administration officials said that the two men, who had abandoned their earlier talks toward a deal when leaks provoked Republicans’ protests at Mr. Boehner, were now closing in on a significant package calling for as much as $3 trillion in savings that would be obtained through substantial spending cuts and future revenues produced through an overhaul of the tax code. If it could be sold to Congress, the plan could clear the way for a vote to increase the federal debt ceiling before an Aug. 2 deadline.

What does each side want? Here is an idea:

[T]he president and Mr. Boehner were moving ahead with their plan, aides said, trying to agree on matters like how much new revenue would be raised, how much would go to deficit reduction, how much to lower tax rates and, perhaps most critical, how to enforce the requirement for new tax revenue through painful consequences for both parties should they be unable to overhaul the tax code in 2012.

The White House wants a trigger that would raise taxes on the wealthy; Mr. Boehner wants the potential penalty for inaction to include repeal of the Obama health care law’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance after 2014.

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