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House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of being divisive and “picking fights” in Washington on a range of recent issues, from the interest rates on student loans to taxes and gasoline prices.
To deflect attention from Mr. Obama’s economic record, “he’s turned to the politics of envy and division,” Mr. Boehner said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “The president is getting some very bad advice from his campaign team…picking fights, going after straw men.”
The comments, coming after a week of bickering between the parties over student-loan rates, marked a further escalation of the war of words between Republicans and Democrats as the 2012 campaign heats up.
Mr. Boehner cited a White House veto threat last week against a House GOP bill that is aimed at keeping student-loan rates from going up this summer. To offset the cost of holding down loan rates, the bill also includes cuts to a disease-prevention fund.
The White House said on Friday that women in particular would be hurt by elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which would provide for “hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer.” The administration’s statement said that the GOP proposal to use the fund to offset the cost of holding down student-loan rates was “politically motivated” and “not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves.”
Mr. Boehner said the White House criticism was “just nonsense,” and that the administration also has targeted the fund for reductions. “There’s no women’s health issue here,” he said. “I guarantee you they’ve not spent a dime out of this fund on anything dealing with women’s health.”
Mr. Boehner also criticized the White House over its campaign to impose a new minimum tax on people making more than $1 million a year, known as the Buffett Rule, as well as Mr. Obama’s suggestion that market manipulation could be behind recent oil-price increases. Mr. Boehner said that the minimum tax was a “gimmick” and suggested there is no “shred of evidence” of manipulation of oil markets.
The Obama campaign also has been touting the president’s leadership in the successful U.S. Navy SEALS raid a year ago that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, declined on Sunday to comment on questions about whether the administration is politicizing the issue. “I don’t do politics,” Mr. Brennan said on CNN.
Mr. Boehner’s comments–echoing similar remarks last week–show how the Democratic and Republican battle lines are hardening as the 2012 campaign season begins.
Mr. Boehner suggested he hasn’t been coordinating closely with likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The speaker said the two men have been trading phone messages recently.
He said if the election were held today, he is “very optimistic we would hold our majority” in the House. But he said he’s “trying to wake some people up” to the fact that House Republicans have a fight on their hands.
President Obama was very funny at the White House Correspondents Associates dinner last night.
On Mitt Romney: "He and I actually have a lot in common. We both have degrees from Harvard. I have one. He has two. What a snob."
On Hillary Clinton: "Four years ago I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later she won't stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena."
The president ended his speech saying, "I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew."
Cynthia Davis Criticizes GOP and Democrats As Abusive Spouses
Cynthia Davis is the candidate for Lt. Governor of the Constitution Party of Missouri and a former Republican state legislator. She recently compared the Democratic and Republican parties to abusive spouses.
The story goes on to cite an episode from 2009 in which then-Representative Davis criticized summer lunch programs for low-income families.
Four Republican Legislators Targetted by New York Conservative Party
The Conservative Party of New York has decided to target four Republican Party legislators, all of whom received the endorsements of the Conservative Party and all of whom voted for the Gay Marriage measure that recently passed both houses and was signed into law.
The article is very long, five pages in all, but involves a good bit of dialogue with third party figures and candidates who received third party nominations.
Wayne Root addresses class at Harvard where he:
Fred Thiele Happy About Ideas Being Incorporated Into Solar Energy Plan
Fred Thiele is a member of the New York House of Representatives and a prominent member of the Independence Party of New York. He recently had his ideas incorporated into Governor Cuomo’s solar energy proposal and was pretty pleased about it.
Thiele claims the program will also create jobs, citing similar programs in Germany, Spain, and Florida.
Colorado?s Constitution Party Complains About Americans Elect
In Colorado the Constitution Party’s affiliate is called the American Constitution Party. The chairman of the party, Doug Campbell, recently complained to the state about Americans Elect due to the fact that they both have “American” at the beginning of the party’s name.
The American Constitution Party has 3,255 registered voters.
Transcript of Obama?s Remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner
Here’s the White House transcript of President Barack Obama‘s remarks at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner
9:57 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Good evening, everybody. Good evening. I could not be more thrilled to be here tonight — (laughter) — at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. This is great crowd. They’re already laughing. It’s terrific.
Chuck Todd — love you, brother. (Laughter.) I’m delighted to see some of the cast members of Glee are here. (Laughter.) And Jimmy Kimmel, it’s an honor, man. (Laughter.) What’s so funny?
My fellow Americans, we gather during a historic anniversary. Last year at this time — in fact, on this very weekend — we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals. (Applause.) Now, this year, we gather in the midst of a heated election season. And Axelrod tells me I should never miss a chance to reintroduce myself to the American people. So tonight, this is how I’d like to begin: My name is Barack Obama. My mother was born in Kansas. My father was born in Kenya. And I was born, of course, in Hawaii. (Laughter and applause.)
In 2009, I took office in the face of some enormous challenges. Now, some have said I blame too many problems on my predecessor, but let’s not forget that’s a practice that was initiated by George W. Bush. (Laughter.) Since then, Congress and I have certainly had our differences; yet, I’ve tried to be civil, to not take any cheap shots. And that’s why I want to especially thank all the members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight. (Laughter.) Let’s give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Despite many obstacles, much has changed during my time in office. Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later, she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena. (Laughter.)
Four years ago, I was a Washington outsider. Four years later, I’m at this dinner. Four years ago, I looked like this. Today, I look like this. (Laughter.) And four years from now, I will look like this. (Laughter and applause.) That’s not even funny. (Laughter.)
Anyway, it’s great to be here this evening in the vast, magnificent Hilton ballroom — or what Mitt Romney would call a little fixer-upper. (Laughter and applause.) I mean, look at this party. We’ve got men in tuxes, women in gowns, fine wine, first-class entertainment. I was just relieved to learn this was not a GSA conference. (Laughter.) Unbelievable. Not even the mind reader knew what they were thinking. (Laughter.)
Of course, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is known as the prom of Washington D.C. — a term coined by political reporters who clearly never had the chance to go to an actual prom. (Laughter.)
Our chaperone for the evening is Jimmy Kimmel — (applause) — who is perfect for the job since most of tonight’s audience is in his key demographic — people who fall asleep during Nightline. (Laughter.) Jimmy got his start years ago on The Man Show. In Washington, that’s what we call a congressional hearing on contraception. (Laughter and applause.)
And plenty of journalists are here tonight. I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate the Huffington Post on their Pulitzer Prize. (Applause.) You deserve it, Arianna. There’s no one else out there linking to the kinds of hard-hitting journalism that HuffPo is linking to every single day. (Laughter and applause.) Give them a round of applause. And you don’t pay them — it’s a great business model. (Laughter.)
Even Sarah Palin is getting back into the game, guest hosting on The Today Show — which reminds me of an old saying: What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious. (Laughter and applause.) A little soy sauce. (Laughter.)
Now, I know at this point many of you are expecting me to go after my likely opponent, Newt Gingrich. (Laughter.) Newt, there’s still time, man. (Laughter.) But I’m not going to do that — I’m not going to attack any of the Republican candidates. Take Mitt Romney — he and I actually have a lot in common. We both think of our wives as our better halves, and polls show, to a alarmingly insulting extent, the American people agree. (Laughter.) We also both have degrees from Harvard; I have one, he has two. What a snob. (Laughter and applause.)
Of course, we’ve also had our differences. Recently, his campaign criticized me for slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon. In fact, I understand Governor Romney was so incensed he asked his staff if he could get some equal time on The Merv Griffin Show. (Laughter.) Still, I guess Governor Romney is feeling pretty good about things because he took a few hours off the other day to see The Hunger Games — some of you have seen it. It’s a movie about people who court wealthy sponsors and then brutally savage each other until only one contestant is left standing. I’m sure this was a really good change of pace for him. (Laughter.) I have not seen The Hunger Games; not enough class warfare for me. (Laughter.)
Of course, I know everybody is predicting a nasty election, and thankfully, we’ve all agreed that families are off limits. Dogs, however, are apparently fair game. (Laughter.) And while both campaigns have had some fun with this, the other day I saw a new ad from one of these outside groups that, frankly, I think crossed the line. I know Governor Romney says he has no control over what his super PACs do, but can we show the ad real quick? (Video is played.) (Applause.)
That’s pretty rough — (laughter) — but I can take it, because my stepfather always told me, it’s a boy-eat-dog world out there. (Laughter.)
Now, if I do win a second term as President, let me just say something to all the — (applause) — let me just say something to all my conspiracy-oriented friends on the right who think I’m planning to unleash some secret agenda: You’re absolutely right. (Laughter.) So allow me to close with a quick preview of the secret agenda you can expect in a second Obama administration.
In my first term, I sang Al Green; in my second term, I’m going with Young Jeezy. (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: Michelle said, yeah. (Laughter.) I sing that to her sometimes. (Laughter.)
In my first term, we ended the war in Iraq; in my second term, I will win the war on Christmas. (Laughter.) In my first term, we repealed the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” — (applause) — wait, though; in my second term, we will replace it with a policy known as, it’s raining men. (Laughter.) In my first term, we passed health care reform; in my second term, I guess I’ll pass it again. (Applause.)
I do want to end tonight on a slightly more serious note — whoever takes the oath of office next January will face some great challenges, but he will also inherit traditions that make us greater than the challenges we face. And one of those traditions is represented here tonight: a free press that isn’t afraid to ask questions, to examine and to criticize. And in service of that mission, all of you make sacrifices.
Tonight, we remember journalists such as Anthony Shadid and Marie Colvin — (applause) — who made the ultimate sacrifice as they sought to shine a light on some of the most important stories of our time. So whether you are a blogger or a broadcaster, whether you take on powerful interests here at home or put yourself in harm’s way overseas, I have the greatest respect and admiration for what you do. I know sometimes you like to give me a hard time — and I certainly like to return the favor — (laughter) — but I never forget that our country depends on you. You help protect our freedom, our democracy, and our way of life.
And just to set the record straight, I really do enjoy attending these dinners. In fact, I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew. (Laughter.)
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 10:13 P.M. EDT
A look back at the week on the campaign trail, which included contests in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Request to Readers Attending LP National Convention: Bring Extra Laptop, Help IPR Provide Coverage
Any of our readers who plan on attending the Libertarian National Convention in Las Vegas coming up this next week can help us cover the event better by bringing an extra laptop I (Paulie) can use. Feel free to give me a call at 415-690-6352 before, during or after the convention.
Other IPR writers will be there, and all or most of them have their own laptops already. I can also sign up additional correspondents if some would like to help us provide coverage. However, I would like to make reporting from the convention a major part of what I do there, and I can do that much more effectively if I have a laptop I can use on the spot.
Webcam equipped and long battery life would be a bonus, but I’ll borrow whatever I can get.
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