CLICK HERE to read the article posted on my New Jersey blog.
CLICK HERE to read the article posted on my New Jersey blog.
Mitt… your credibility is just going down the toilet. Not with me; you never had and credibility with me – but I mean your supporters. They’re probably scratching their head and having second thoughts…
A well-publicized weekend photo-op for Mitt Romney turns out to have been missing a piece of information that might have undermined its credibility: the unemployed single mom at the center of the event was the mother of a Romney staffer.
Local and national media outlets, including Politico.com, reported that Romney was the picture of empathy as he sat at the Marshall, Mich. kitchen table of 51-year-old Elizabeth Sachs, a single mother of two who lost her job as a retail manager – as well as her health insurance – and is running out of money as she tries to sell her house to move to Florida.
What wasn’t reported – and what the Romney campaign did not reveal at the time – was that one of Sachs’ sons, Steve Sachs, is a paid employee of Romney’s campaign, organizing five counties in Michigan.
Kevin Madden, Romney’s campaign spokesman, said Sachs “work in the field doesn’t change (his mother’s) situation.”
The campaign did not disclose the relationship, Madden acknowledged. But he added “reporters were given unfettered access to meet with Mrs. Sachs and talk with her when she invited them into her home.”
He said the campaign was open about Elizabeth Sachs’ allegiance. “She is, of course, a Romney supporter who was identified by the campaign because she believes … Romney is the best leader for America’s future and the best prepared to help revitalize Michigan’s economy,” Madden said.
Steve Sachs, who also worked on Republican Dick DeVos’ unsuccessful 2006 campaign for Michigan governor, “believes Mitt Romney is the best leader for a better future in Michigan and is working hard to help his campaign,” Madden said.
Sachs, whose Facebook page features a picture of him with Romney, is not listed in Romney’s Federal Election Commission reports as having received payments through the end of September, but Madden said “he only started working with the campaign recently.”
A campaign press release in May announced his appointment as chairman of Michigan Students for Romney at Kellogg Community College.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has largely staked his presidential campaign on Michigan, where he was raised and where his father served as governor.
Polls show him running neck-and-neck with Arizona Sen. John McCain, who Romney has blasted for saying “some of the jobs that have left the state of Michigan are not coming back.”
Romney has campaigned in Michigan on a pledge to help revive the state’s struggling economy. In introducing Sachs, Romney discussed the economic difficulties in the community and described the particular plight of his hostess — but made no mention of her ties to his campaign.
“It means a real tough setting for a mom with two sons,” Romney said. “One son is still in high school. Another son [is] getting ready to go off into the police academy in the west.”
Ironically, when it came time to take questions from the reporters gathered around Sachs’ kitchen table, Romney joked: “If you don’t want to answer any questions, that’s fine, too. What I’ve learned is, if they ask a question, you can answer something else.”
“Oh, ok,” Sachs responded, laughing along with Romney.
“Just talk about the general subject,” Romney suggested.
Talking to a small handful of reporters after Romney and most of his press pack had left the kitchen, Sachs offered details about her age, job situation, and her effort to sell her home.
When asked about her children, she only said that one was “20, soon to be 21” and that another was a teenager.
The Associated Press distributed a photograph of Romney and Elizabeth Sachs kitchen chat, which ran on the Boston Globe’s website and CBS’s Harry Smith interviewed Romney from Sachs’ home.
You already know which article is by FAR (click here)the best NY Times article in quite some time (wink, wink)
This article was written by William Kristol:
Thank you, Senator Obama. You’ve defeated Senator Clinton in Iowa. It looks as if you’re about to beat her in New Hampshire. There will be no Clinton Restoration. A nation turns its grateful eyes to you.
But gratitude for sparing us a third Clinton term only goes so far. Who, inquiring minds want to know, is going to spare us a first Obama term? After all, for all his ability and charm, Barack Obama is still a liberal Democrat. Some of us would much prefer a non-liberal and non-Democratic administration. We don’t want to increase the scope of the nanny state, we don’t want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and we really don’t want to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Iraq.
For me, therefore, the most interesting moment in Saturday night’s Republican debate at St. Anselm College was when the candidates were asked what arguments they would make if they found themselves running against Obama in the general election.
The best answer came, not surprisingly, from the best Republican campaigner so far — Mike Huckabee. He began by calmly mentioning his and Obama’s contrasting views on issues from guns to life to same-sex marriage. This served to remind Republicans that these contrasts have been central to G.O.P. success over the last quarter-century, and to suggest that Huckabee could credibly and comfortably make the socially conservative case in an electorally advantageous way.
Huckabee went on to pay tribute to Obama for his ability “to touch at the core of something Americans want” in seeming to move beyond partisanship. And, he added, Senator Obama is “a likable person who has excited people about wanting to vote who have not voted in the past.” Huckabee was of course aware that in praising Obama he was recommending himself
I was watching the debate at the home of a savvy, moderately conservative New Hampshire Republican. It was at this moment that he turned to me and said: “You know, I’ve been a huge skeptic about Huckabee. I’m still not voting for him Tuesday. But I’ve got to say — I like him. And I wonder — could he be our strongest nominee?”
He could be. After the last two elections, featuring the well-born George Bush and Al Gore and John Kerry, Americans — even Republicans! — are ready for a likable regular guy. Huckabee seems to be that. He came up from modest origins. He served as governor of Arkansas for more than a decade. He fought a successful battle against being overweight. These may not be utterly compelling qualifications for the presidency. I’m certainly not ready to sign up.
Still, as the conservative writer Michelle Malkin put it, “For the work-hard-to-get-ahead strivers who represent the heart and soul of the G.O.P., there are obvious, powerful points of identification.” And they speak to younger voters who are not yet committed to the G.O.P. In Iowa, Huckabee did something like what Obama did on the Democratic side, albeit on a smaller scale. He drew new voters to the caucuses. And he defeated Mitt Romney by almost two to one, and John McCain by better than four to one, among voters under 45.
Now it’s true that many conservatives have serious doubts about Huckabee’s positions, especially on foreign policy, and his record, particularly on taxes. The conservative establishment is strikingly hostile to Huckabee — for both good and bad reasons. But voters seem to be enjoying making up their own minds this year. And Huckabee is a talented politician.
His campaigning in New Hampshire has been impressive.
Welcome. I encourage you to take a few minutes here after reading the article to review my posts and learn about our issues and candidates. Next November we face a critical decision on who will be our Commander in Chief – PLEASE – take inventory on the issues most important to you. I did, and Mike is my man – and is likely to win you over as well. You too just might become a supporter, and if I get to help your decision, well please let me know!
This is how Bill Garcia became what he calls a Huckabeezer.
Mr. Garcia, who is 42 and works for Bank of New York Mellon in Manhattan, moved from Queens to Manalapan, N.J., in July. He looked around for a church to join with his wife of 19 years and his three children. He settled on West Monmouth Baptist in Freehold. There he picked up a copy of New Man Magazine, a Christian men’s magazine. On the cover was a story about a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor he had never heard of who was running for president. Mr. Garcia liked his views on faith and family values and was impressed that he seemed to have a real record on education and other issues.
He went to the Mike Huckabee for President Web site and learned more, and soon he learned how to put up his own pro-Huckabee blog, called Bill’s Weblog, at njchristiansforhuckabee.wordpress.com. He stuck a Huckabee bumper sticker to the top of his computer monitor at work and voilà, as this year’s improbable political free-for-alls began to play out, for the first time in his life he felt like a player in the game.
“I liked that he had religious values that matched mine, but also that he had a record of doing something about them,” Mr. Garcia said. “I feel we live in a society where we need to step back and maybe go back in time, and when I started telling people about him, it was like converting someone or sharing the Gospel with them. The way this thing has snowballed is pretty cool.”
It’s probably safe to guess that the New York region is not overrun with triumphant Huckabee supporters, delirious over their man’s rise from the back of the pack to the king (Republican version) of Iowa. But in the eHarmony way that matches get made these days, Mr. Garcia is not alone either.
SO along with those scratching their heads over the Republican results or too engrossed in the Obama-Hillary Battle of the Blue State Titans to care, there is, even here, a small core of the Huckabee faithful, feeling as if they stuck their hand in the Cracker Jack box and pulled out a diamond.
“I just wanted to support someone I could feel proud about supporting,” said David Friedrich, a first-grade teacher in Hopewell Township, N.J. “To say that seeing him do so well is thrilling would be an understatement.”
True, even the relatively few people who make their way to Mr. Garcia’s blog, which has had more than 5,000 hits, aren’t all converts. “This is just a warning from a fellow Christian; Huckabee is that glass-jaw candidate that Democrats have been looking for,” said one of the dozen or so posters on the site.
“Does it bother anyone but me that Mr. Huckabee has been caught in so many lies?” asked another, who added: “It takes more than just saying ‘Jesus’ for my vote. It should for Christians, too. Or do you just blank out anything but the abortion issue?”
But for long-suffering Christian conservatives in the Northeast, who often see themselves as a righteous remnant in a realm dominated by Liberal Mammon, Mr. Huckabee has already attracted a small but committed core with an appeal rooted in religion and conservative values. (“Fighting for Faith, Families and Freedom,” says the home page of the New York Christian Coalition. “Faith. Family. Freedom,” says the Huckabee for President home page.)
The most optimistic also see something more: the vision of “compassionate conservatism” that they feel George W. Bush promised and never delivered, a blend of conservative values and pragmatic politics that transcends the Christian conservative label.
“He has a genuineness and sincerity that really resonates and that we haven’t seen in quite a while,” said Peter Kane, a veteran Republican who is his volunteer New Jersey field coordinator — though it would be a stretch to call Mr. Huckabee’s organization skeletal in any state in the region. “I mean, here’s a guy who talks about increasing funding for music and art education in the schools. When was the last time any politician, let alone a Republican one, talked about increasing funding on music and art in the schools and actually put his money down to do it?”
OF course, some will say it’s more important for a potential president to be knowledgeable about Pakistan and Iraq than about music and art, but at week’s end the scattered Huckabeezers of Greater New York were abuzz, hopeful if not of victories in the states where they live, at least about results from more distant locales.
So the Rev. Al Stewart, pastor of the Franklin Congregational Church in Franklin, Conn., was ready to venture to New Hampshire on Monday to support his man there. “I haven’t been involved in the political process per se for 10 years, and this guy brought me back,” Mr. Stewart said. “He did for me what Obama did for many Democrats, and I see that as a good thing.”
Yesterday IO was interviewed by Peter Applebom, writer for the NYTimes Metro section. Apparently the Huckabee fever is getting local. He interviewed a couple of supporter friends and was directed to this blog. Just a feew minutes ago a Photographer left my home so hopefully you will get to see the scary face behind the blog!
I encourage you to please – continue to show your support – you do not need to contribute $25.00 or more – a Buck for Huck is just fine: Mike has proven that he can stretch a dollar with the limited funds he’s spent on campaigning. Please click on my Ranger button to the right, and contribute a few dollars!
See you in tomorrow’s Metro section
The truth is that Mike Huckabee encourages everyone to look at his record, while Mitt Romney hopes everyone can forget all about his – that’s the basis for the relentless misleading attacks, otherwise people may actually inspect his record and ask “what in the world is this guy doing running as a Republican?”
Now for the article…..
By Mike Madden (text highlights are my own)
Gannett News Service
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mike Huckabee may have been an unknown commodity to most of the country until a few weeks ago, but not here.
As governor for more than 10 years, Huckabee kept a high profile in Arkansas, whether he was pushing for highway improvements or exhorting his fellow citizens to lose weight. As lieutenant governor, the Republican Huckabee moved up in July 1996, when Democratic Gov. Jim Guy Tucker resigned after a fraud conviction. Huckabee then won two terms of his own.
He left the statehouse in January and started what looked like a long-shot presidential campaign. Now, propelled by support from evangelical Christians in Iowa, Huckabee leads polls there and is second to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in most national surveys.
For those who knew him here, Huckabee’s sudden rise in the GOP presidential campaign mirrored his career in Arkansas politics, where he blended social conservatism with economic populism and used his quick wit and roots as a Southern Baptist preacher to win over voters.
“The fact is that he placed himself squarely where most Arkansans are,” said Janine Parry, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas, who runs the school’s Arkansas Poll.
Parry noted that 55 percent of Arkansas voters last year said they still liked Huckabee — 10 years after he first took office.
“(That’s) pretty respectable, especially for anyone who’s served more than six to eight years in public life,” Perry said.
On the campaign trail, Huckabee, 52, talks frequently and proudly about his accomplishments here — how he pushed for badly needed improvements to the state’s highway and road infrastructure; how he expanded ARKids First, the state’s health insurance program for children in poor and working-class families; how he championed school reforms that consolidated some rural districts, though he disagreed with the Democratic Legislature over the final shape of that plan.
He was occasionally more liberal than his campaign positions are now. On immigration, he pushed to allow in-state tuition for some illegal immigrant kids who graduated from Arkansas high schools, though he lost that fight. He recruited the Mexican government to open a consulate in the state, and he opposed a Republican bill in the Legislature that would have denied health care for illegal immigrants.
But throughout his tenure, Huckabee was a Republican governor in a Democratic state, with a constitution that limited the power he could wield on his own. That left him with a narrow margin to operate from in the state.
“He was a pragmatic conservative, not an ideologue, and I saw that as his strong point,” said Rex Nelson, Huckabee’s spokesman for most of his gubernatorial term and a former Arkansas political journalist.
Some of Huckabee’s pragmatic politicking infuriated the Republican base in Arkansas, especially his support for a variety of tax increases that helped fund some of the improvements he advocated. Huckabee campaigned aggressively for diesel and gas tax hikes to pay for road projects, for a sales tax increase to improve state parks and for a tax on nursing homes to cover Medicaid shortfalls. Though his campaign frequently touts the 90 taxes he cut overall, the state’s tax revenues increased during his tenure by almost $500 million.
“He thinks about government as running a business, and he needs more revenue to run his programs, and he doesn’t think twice about increasing those taxes,” said Patrick Briney, head of the Arkansas Republican Assembly, a conservative group that has been loudly critical of Huckabee’s tax record.
The Club for Growth, a national anti-tax organization, also has blasted Huckabee’s tax policy, buying hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising in New Hampshire and other key early primary states to attack him.
In debates and in stump speeches, Huckabee’s jokes and one-liners have helped him attract attention on the presidential trail. He also employed wit during his days as governor. But critics said he frequently took disagreements personally and that he could flash a temper that, so far, hasn’t appeared much in his national campaign.
He once ordered his press office to take the Arkansas Times, a Little Rock alternative weekly paper, off the list for news releases, and called conservative Republicans who differed with him on financial issues “Shiites,” implying they were radicals.
“If you did not agree with him on a policy issue, he took it personally,” said Randy Minton, of Ward, Ark., a former GOP lawmaker who was one of Huckabee’s critics during his four years in the Legislature. Minton campaigned for Huckabee during elections in the 1990s but split with him on taxes.
Huckabee mostly shrugs off such attacks, saying the taxes were necessary to pay for popular programs.
His allies point out that Minton and other critics are so conservative that they’re marginalized in Arkansas politics, a point analysts agree with.
“This is the scrutiny that I’ve been going through since I first put my name on the ballot in 1992, and for me, it’s sort of like, ‘Gosh, do they not have anything new?'” Huckabee said last week while campaigning in Iowa.
And among Arkansans, the affable nature that Huckabee displays on the campaign trail mostly helped keep him popular.
“He’s like a common guy,” said Ron Platzer, 65, a boat salesman from Hot Springs, Ark.