30,000 turn out for Romney in West Chester

Published: Friday, November 02, 2012 @ 10:45 PM
Updated: Friday, November 02, 2012 @ 10:45 PM

Mitt Romney’s campaign brought out Republican star power Friday night, with governors, senators and dozens of other political leaders from around the nation urging Ohioans to make the difference in an election that could come down to “the ultimate swing state.”

“Your state is the one I’m counting on,” Romney told a crowd of 30,000 at The Square at Union Centre, believed to be his largest gathering of the entire campaign season. “This is the one we have to win.”

National leaders like 2008 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Speaker of the House John Boehner to campaign in Boehner’s hometown, a clear Republican stronghold.

Those prominent Republicans and dozens of other governors and senators will fan out across the country the next three days as part of the Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally, taking aim at nearly a dozen states that the campaign believes are key to a tight election.

The majority of polls show President Barack Obama with a narrow lead in Ohio and nationally, but the margins in seven key swing states — including Obama’s lead in Ohio, and Romney’s leads in Florida and Virginia — are less than 3 percent, or within the polls’ margins of error.

Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate who went to college at Miami University, said with the race so close and the differences between Obama and Romney so large, it is crucial for supporters to work hard in the final days, knocking on doors and urging others to vote.

“We want to wake up on Wednesday morning and look back and know we met the moment,” Ryan said. “Mitt Romney is the right man for this moment.”

It didn’t take much to fire up the crowd. In 2008, when Ohio as a whole backed Obama, Butler County supported McCain 60-38 percent. And in a tight Republican primary this March, Butler County gave Romney a 7-point margin over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Before any of the 17 speakers took the stage, thousands of supporters jammed the area around the stage, chanting “Four more days” instead of “Four more years.”

Adding to the festival nature, musician Kid Rock opened the event with a 40-minute concert, ending his show with the “Born Free” song that the Romney campaign has used as an anthem at its rallies. Kid Rock left the stage with a call of “Go Romney, we can get this done Ohio.”

Romney adviser Scott Jennings said despite the saturation coverage of the campaign in recent months, there’s still work to do in these final days.

“We’re trying to use the last few days before Election Day to maximize our turnout, and we’re also making a closing argument,” Jennings said. “Our closing argument is a positive vision for America where we’re cutting taxes, getting the government out of the way of job creation, using our energy, cutting the debt – it’s a positive path forward.”

Ohio Obama spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw responded that speakers at the event were “hyper-partisan” and aired far-right wing attacks that had been previously debunked.

“Anyone looking for a positive, forward-looking vision at Mitt Romney’s Ohio event tonight was surely disappointed,” Kershaw said. “If this is Mitt Romney’s closing argument for the American people, he’s making a compelling case for why we can’t afford to elect him.”

Retiree Eileen Menna of Huber Heights said she was excited to see Romney for the first time, adding that she likes him better than Obama both on economic and social-issue stances.

“I back him, and I want to show him that,” she said. “Romney’s had business experience. Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s never run anything … until he was president.”

Gretchen Franck of Centerville, a paralegal, said she thinks Romney is charismatic, but she focused mainly on economics.

“I am the middle class, and I don’t feel the middle class is getting a fair shake from the Obama administration,” she said. “He ran his first platform on the middle class, but for the past four years he’s done nothing to help me. … The more tax breaks they can give the middle class the more we’re going to pump into the economy.”

Repeatedly in his speech, Romney tried a twist on the 2008 Obama campaign’s strategy, talking about “real change.” Romney told supporters that Obama had promised change, but had failed to deliver it, not meeting promises on lowering the debt, cutting unemployment, and governing in a bipartisan way.

“It comes down to this,” Romney said. “Do you want more of the same, or do you want real change?”

While the jobs report out Friday showed more jobs created than analysts had expected, Romney pointed to the unemployment rate, which rose 0.1 point to 7.9 percent. That is down from 10 percent a year into Obama’s term, but 0.1 point higher than when Obama took office in January 2009.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana took aim at another of Obama’s slogans, asking what the president means with the word forward. “Who in the world would vote for ‘forward’ when we’re going 80 mph at a brick wall?” Jindal said.

Romney closed by talking about leadership.

“With the right leadership, America is coming roaring back,” Romney said. “The only thing that stands between us and some of the best years we’ve ever known is a lack of leadership. That’s why we have elections. This Tuesday is a moment to look into the future and imagine what we can do.”

Senate Republicans head home still searching for health care deal

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 12:29 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 12:30 AM

As lawmakers trooped out of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday and headed home until early June, Senate Republicans told reporters they were making progress, but were still nowhere near finalizing a deal on a major overhaul of the Obama health law.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), as top Republicans tried to project a feeling that the GOP is making some headway in making changes to a bill approved in the House earlier this month.

“I believe Senators across the ideological spectrum are proceeding in good faith,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“Leader McConnell is doing a great job right now, focusing on the priorities that we’ve all agreed to, that are broken under Obamacare,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who said he thought there would be legislative language put together in the near future by GOP Senators.

But one thing no one was talking about on the GOP side, was when a health care bill might get to the Senate floor for an actual debate, and vote.

“We’re a long ways from that,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND), “but you’ve got to start with something to begin with. And that’s what this is all about.”

But the schedule is already squeezing Republicans, as there are four work weeks in June, plus three in July – then Congress is scheduled to leave for a five week summer break that lasts until Labor Day.

Not only are there few work days, but Republicans still have to get the House bill past the scrutiny of the Senate Parliamentarian, and then make sure any changes also pass muster with strict Senate rules governing budget reconciliation, which prevents a bill from being subject to a 60 vote filibuster.

One item from the House bill that could be in trouble in the Senate, is the idea of allowing states to opt out of certain requirements from the Obama health law, like the list of “Essential Health Benefits” that must be covered by insurance.

How Republicans might broker some of the differences wasn’t clear as members headed for the airport, though individual Senators are clearly looking for a breakthrough.

“Can you talk to me in two weeks? We’re working on something,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told reporters, refusing to give any hints of what he is trying to cobble together on coverage.

“No, cause I don’t know if it works. I’m running it by actuaries, I’m running it by people who really know their stuff,” Cassidy added.

And that’s where Republicans are right now – still searching for a deal, while the clock keeps ticking.

Federal appeals court keeps Trump travel and refugee order on hold

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 2:37 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 2:37 PM

In another legal setback for President Donald Trump, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused on Thursday to lift an injunction against his revised travel and refugee order, preventing the White House from suspending new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries, as this decision took another step on the way to a likely showdown on the matter at the U.S. Supreme Court.

As in earlier rulings, the judges cited the President’s own words calling for a “Muslim ban,” ruling that the order was basically an effort to target “Muslims for exclusion from the United States.”

“These statements, taken together, provide direct specific evidence” of what spurred the executive orders, the court’s majority wrote in a 202 page decision.

“President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States,” the opinion read.

Not only did the ruling quote Mr. Trump, but also some of his top aides and advisers, like White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and others.

The judges rejected an argument by the Trump Administration that the order was done in the name of national security, saying the record shows Mr. Trump belatedly consulted agencies that deal with that matter, and only after his first travel order had been derailed in the courts.

The President’s order would impact people coming into the United States from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – Iraq had been on the original order, but was taken off when that first plan was revised.

The ruling was the first of two from federal appellate courts – the Ninth Circuit also must pass judgment on the plan.

“The Muslim ban continues to be 100% blocked from going into effect nationwide, by an overwhelming vote,” said lawyer Neal Katyal, who argued this same issue before the Ninth Circuit for the state of Hawaii.

Kasich wants ‘voice’ in 2020; tunes it up now with book, West Palm talk

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 2:15 PM

            Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Orlando for the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit in November 2015. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was the last Republican standing against Donald Trump in 2016 and refused to endorse him in the general election, says in a new book that it’s time for “thinking, feeling Americans to come together in support of the Trump administration.”

But Kasich — who will appear in West Palm Beach at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch on Friday to promote the book — also writes that Trump won’t get a “free pass.”

The book is titled Two Paths: America Divided or United, and Kasich spoke to The Palm Beach Post this week about it and his upcoming speech, as well as his 2016 presidential run and 2020 plans, such as they are.

“I have no clue what I’m doing in 2020,” said Kasich, who faces term limits as Ohio governor in January 2019. “I’m wondering what I’m going to be doing in the next 20 minutes. I don’t know. I really don’t. I’d like to have a voice, whether it’s through public office or whether it’s not. I think that’s going to be left to a higher power than me.”

Trump orders investigation of leaks related to Manchester terror attack

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 10:59 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

After an outcry from the British government, President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered an internal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, to find out who leaked information about the probe into this week’s terrorist attack in England, saying those responsible for the leaks should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling,” the President said in a statement issued in Belgium, his latest stop on a nine day overseas trip.

“These leaks have been going on for a long time and my Administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr. Trump, who has voiced his frustration with intelligence leaks throughout his first four months in office, made clear he wants to find the source of the leak, as photos of evidence from the scene made their way on to the front page of the New York Times, angering British investigators.

“I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the President said.

“There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom,” Mr. Trump added in his statement.

Earlier in the day, the President did not answer questions from reporters about the leak, which involved forensic evidence from the bombing scene.