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Time – 2012 Election

  • TIME Newsmaker Interview: Bernie Sanders Says He’d Make a Better President Than Hillary Clinton>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - March 05 2014 - 11:25 PM:)
    <>With his white hair in characteristic disarray, Sen. Bernie Sanders is slouching on the couch in his office on the third floor of the Senate Dirksen Office Building between two brass-eagle themed lamps. His left foot is propped on the coffee table in front of him. But the Vermont Independent, and self-described socialist, is no slouch. He’s a man who has achieved a series of improbable victories and who is setting his sights on the toughest yet victory of his long career: the White House. “When I first ran for office statewide in Vermont, I got two percent of the vote. I ran again, I got 1 percent of the vote. So, last election I got 71 percent of the vote,” Sanders tells TIME in an exclusive interview. “We need candidates who are prepared to represent the working families of this country, who are prepared to stand up to the big money interests, who are prepared to support an aggressive agenda to expand the middle class. And I am prepared to be that candidate. If there are other candidates who come forward who can do it better than me, that’s fine. I don’t again wake up with a burning ambition to be President of the United States.” Sanders, who is the longest-serving Independent in congressional history, would have to officially register as a Democrat before he could run in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. But he says he hasn’t yet made up his mind for sure if he’ll run, and he has time yet. One thing he is sure of: He’d make a better President than Hillary Clinton. Clinton, he says, “is a very, very intelligent person, no question about it. But, I don’t know what her political future is, whether she’s going to run. I don’t know what she’s going to say. But, if you talk about the need for a political revolution in America, it’s fair to say that Secretary Clinton probably will not be one of the more active people.” And a political revolution is exactly what> <>
  • WATCH: House Hearing On IRS Scandal Descends Into Shouting Match>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - March 05 2014 - 5:20 PM:)
    <>Tempers flared during a House hearing on the IRS scandal Wednesday, as a top Democrat and Republican found themselves entangled in an impassioned dispute after former IRS official Lois Lerner refused to testify. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment rights once again Wednesday, refusing to answer questions from the the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about her role in allegedly singling out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner pleaded the Fifth at a hearing last year and did so again when she was called back to testify this week. Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) then quickly adjourned the hearing, but as his gavel struck the lectern, ranking Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said he had a procedural question. Issa ignored Cummings and got up to leave, but not before the two got into a heated argument. “Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this,” Cummings said. Issa spoke over him, and gestured for the microphone to be turned off. “I am a member of the Congress of the United States. I am tired of this,” Cummings continued as the microphone switched off.  Cummings later told TIME he wasn’t surprised at Issa’s behavior. “It’s not unusual, not with him,” he said. “He has shut off the mic before, not my mic but other members of the committee. I can think of at least one time within the last month where he has shut off somebody’s mic, and this is on national T.V.” “I think people are shocked that members of Congress would be treated that way,” Cummings added. Issa later called on the Democratic Party leadership to rebuke Cummings. “His conduct was inappropriate and rather shocking,” he said. “He got the job and beat out senior members saying that he would essentially hold me from doing anything and obstruct the investigation from day one.” The IRS has been accused by Republican lawmakers of unfairly targeting Tea Party and conservative groups who have applied for tax-exempt status, but others counter the IRS rightly applies additional> <>
  • Keystone XL Pipeline Protestors Create ‘Human Oil Spill’>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - March 02 2014 - 7:32 PM:)
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  • Inside Hillary Clinton’s Quest to ‘Be Real’>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 28 2014 - 9:20 PM:)
    <>An adviser wanted then First Lady Hillary Clinton to go on the kitschy ’90s TV show Home Improvement because it would present her “in a very likeable light.” With the Internet years away from being the force in politics it is today, staffers toyed with the idea that she could have fun in the new medium and “could speak to young women through Internet.” They kept a running list of which reporters traveling with her were “aggressive,” and who could be counted on as a “Hillary fan.” And as Clinton prepared to formally launch her campaign to represent New York in the U.S. Senate, Democratic media guru and Clinton confidante Mandy Grunwald gave Clinton some advice that spoke to just how hard she was trying to connect. “Be very careful to ‘be real,'” Grunwald wrote to Clinton in a memo in 1999, the year after the Monica Lewinsky scandal engulfed the Clinton White House. These revelations, contained within thousands of pages of documents released by Bill Clinton‘s presidential library on Friday, hardly upend the public perception of Hillary Clinton, already long seen as a careful political operator, from her days as a First Lady and senator through her tenure as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. But with all eyes on Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run, they add rare new bits of new detail to a public persona that is among the most defined in America. Well before her first political campaign as the actual candidate, Clinton and the people around her were grappling with how to make her more appealing in the eyes of the public. In August of 1995, her press secretary Lisa Caputo wrote to chief of staff Maggie Williams, excited about the prospect of getting the First Lady a cameo on Home Improvement. “Home Improvement is the most popular television show on the air,” Caputo wrote. “They are willing to do a show on women, children and [family] issues or a show on whatever issues Hillary would like. The outreach would be> <>
  • Hillary Clinton Tried to Calm Democrats at Key Moment for Health Reform>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 28 2014 - 9:18 PM:)
    <>It was September of 1993, and former President Bill Clinton was a couple weeks away from addressing a joint session of Congress about his ultimately-doomed health care reform plan. White House aides worried that there was “great disquiet” on Capitol Hill about the difficulties and political repercussions of moving forward with the massive overhaul. So then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, whose role in crafting reform was so central that opponents derisively referred to it as HillaryCare, was dispatched to assuage the fears of congressional Democratic leaders. She was blunt about the political challenges ahead. “I’m not going to underestimate the political battle that will ensue because of this, but I want to give you some sense of what we have done to prepare for it and the kind of allies that we think we will have, because we do not intend on any of this to leave the Congress on its own,” Clinton said at the time. Her comments, revealed in thousands of pages of documents released Friday by Clinton’s presidential library, open a new window into her role on the ’90s health care reform push, which proved to be her first major political failure and narrowed the vision of her husband’s presidency for the remainder of his time in office. They show that even as she forged ahead with an ambitious reform plan that skeptics correctly warned would sink under its own weight, she was conscientious of the political risks she was asking Democrats to take. Thousands of more pages of documents are set to be released by the Clinton library in the weeks ahead, and they’re being closely watched for how they could impact Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential candidacy. Clinton’s remarks eerily foreshadow the health care debate that consumed Washington more than 15 years later, when President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats finally made reform a reality. Just like Democrats rushed to push through a reform bill while Obama still enjoyed congressional majorities in both chambers, Clinton warned that time was short and that attempting to rewire the> <>
  • Clinton Library Releases Trove of Documents>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 28 2014 - 6:08 PM:)
    <>Thousands of pages of documents from former President Bill Clinton’s time in office that had been previously withheld from the public were released Friday afternoon. The roughly 4,000 pages of documents are part of a larger trove of 33,000 pages that have remained unavailable to the public despite the fact that the legally permissible period to withhold them—12 years from the end of the Clinton presidency—expired last January. It remains to be seen what the documents released Friday will add to the body of knowledge about Clinton’s presidency. But they will be closely watched for any impact they could have on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run in 2016. (MORE: Inside Hillary Clinton’s quest to “be real”) The larger trove of documents contains information relating to the Whitewater investigation and Clinton’s attempts at health care reform, Politico reports. Some of the records come from the office of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. In all, 25,000 of the 33,000 pages have been cleared by attorneys for release, with no decision yet made on the remaining 8,000. It remains unclear why the documents remain unavailable to the public 13 months after the 12-year period came to an end. (MORE: Hillary Clinton tried to calm Democrats at key moment for health care reform)> <>
  • Christie Aides Joked About Jamming Traffic at Rabbi’s House>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 27 2014 - 9:22 PM:)
    <>Former aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the center of a politically damaging traffic scandal joked last year about creating a traffic jam outside a local rabbi’s house, according to newly released documents. The exchange between former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and former transportation official David Wildstein took place Aug. 19, the New York Times reports, just six days after previously released documents showed the two planning to snarl traffic in a North Jersey town (“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly had written) in apparent political payback after the local mayor declined to back Christie’s re-election campaign. “We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?” Kelly wrote to Wildstein. Wildstein, who was a top Christie official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, jokingly called for taking an even larger step. “Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,” he wrote back. The documents, supplied by Wildstein as part of a state legislative panel’s probe of the scandal and obtained by the Times without many of the previous redactions, reveal that the lane closures were something of a recurring topic among the same members of the Christie administration who eventually oversaw the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. The ensuing scandal has threatened Christie’s 2016 presidential aspirations. It’s unclear why Wildstein and Kelly joked about the rabbi — and there’s no evidence of actual traffic problems in front of his house — though the documents show that Wildstein previously wrote that the rabbi “has officially pissed me off.” “I am clueless,” the rabbi, Mendy Carlebach, told the Times. Wildstein resigned in December amid early suggestions that the lane closures were politically motivated. Testifying under subpoena before a state legislative committee last month, he refused to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights. Christie, who has apologized and denied any knowledge of a political retribution scheme, fired Kelly in January.> <>
  • Republicans Struggle to GROW Women in Recruitment Drive>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 27 2014 - 8:36 PM:)
    <>Last June, House Republican leaders announced with much fanfare Project GROW, or Growing Republican Opportunities for Women, a program designed to elect more women to Congress. “Women are the majority, and we need to do a better job, and that’s what this is all about,” Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the House GOP‘s campaign arm, said during the roll-out, referring to the fact that women proportionately have voted in greater numbers than men since 1980. Three months later, Roll Call reported that the group had an initial list of 13 female candidates that they would be helping. A 14th woman, Florida state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who was running in a special election, was later added. Five Republican congresswomen endorsed Peters and held a fundraiser for her in December. “Kathleen is exactly the kind of strong woman we need more of in Congress,” Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner said at the time. “Congress needs more mothers, grandmothers and community leaders who know what it’s like to wake up every day and go to work for your family and the community.” Despite the help, Peters lost the GOP primary in January to a former lobbyist named David Jolly. And Jolly is now facing off against former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink, a woman. He is trailing Sink in polls ahead of the March 11 special election, as women’s groups assail him for lobbying against a bill that would’ve mandated equal pay for women in the Florida legislature. Would Peters have fared better against Sink? No one will ever know. What’s clear is that Republicans are coming up short in their bid to recruit more women to run for office. Thirty years ago, Republicans and Democrats had equal numbers of female politicians, but since then Democratic female representation has taken off dramatically. Part of the problem is that Republican female state legislators tend to be more moderate than their male counterparts and therefore have a tougher time getting through increasingly partisan primaries, according to Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American> <>
  • Biden 50-50 On 2016 Run>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 25 2014 - 5:27 PM:)
    <>Vice President Joe Biden told the ladies of ABC’s The View that he is 50-50 on a 2016 presidential run on Tuesday, and reasserted that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy will not affect his decision. “It’s as likely that I run, as I don’t run,” he said. “I just haven’t made up my mind.” Biden’s appearance on The View was the final stop of a two-day media tour that saw him kick off Late Night with Seth Myers on Monday, allowing him to appear before two key electoral demographics: women and young voters.  On the show, Biden was asked about his legacy as vice president, and offered up a list of projects he has spearheaded for the White House, including ending the Iraq War and running the stimulus. (READ: Joe Biden Talks to TIME About Marijuana, Obamacare and the Second Term) Of Clinton, he said “whether she runs or not will not affect my decision.” Biden added that his wife Jill would support a run for president, but that a lot can change in three years. “Three years is four lifetimes when it comes to a presidential campaign,” he said. He said his first priorities are to help elect Democrats this fall, and to be a successful vice president, noting both would help him in a potential run for the Oval Office. “I think my knowledge of foreign policy, my engagement of world leaders, my experience uniquely positions me to follow through on the agenda Barack and I have of bringing world peace that is real and substantive,” Biden said. The vice president also offered up a defense of the Affordable Care Act, saying a recent Congressional Budget Office report was a net positive for the law, despite Republican claims to the contrary. Biden presented The View hosts with gifts before the taping, and was rewarded by a kiss on the cheek from Barbara Walters.> <>
  • Christie’s New Jersey Slide Continues After Bridge Scandal>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 25 2014 - 12:30 AM:)
    <>New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has seen his home-state approval ratings plummet 15 points in the wake of the so-called Bridgegate scandal that is threatening his 2016 presidential ambitions, according to a new poll. A survey released by Monmouth University, in New Jersey, on Monday found 50% of the state’s residents approve of Christie’s job performance and 44% disapprove — still a healthy amount of support at a time when few incumbents can boast majority backing. But that also represents a steep drop since the scandal, in which aides closed lanes leading to a busy bridge in an apparent political-payback ploy, first started to gain wider notice late last year. His approval rating was at 65% in December and 60% in January, down from a high-water mark of 70% shortly after he was inaugurated for a second term in early 2013. Among registered voters, only 49% approve of the job Christie is doing, the first time he’s dipped under 50% since 2011. “This hole is getting deeper,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Christie’s image as the hero of [Hurricane] Sandy is now just a fading memory.” Christie apologized and fired a top aide in January for the scandal, in which lane closures snarled traffic in a northern New Jersey town for days last year after the town’s mayor refused to back Christie’s re-election campaign. The Republican, seen as a leading 2016 presidential contender, has sought to project a business-as-usual aura even as his office deals with dueling investigations of the incident by state lawmakers and federal authorities. Christie stayed out of the public eye during the National Governors Association meeting last weekend in Washington, a time when state executives typically bask in national media attention. The Monmouth poll of 803 New Jersey adults, taken from Feb. 19 to 23, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.> <>
  • Obama-turned-Clinton Super PAC Urges Donors to Give in Midterms>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 24 2014 - 4:58 PM:)
    <>The Democratic super PAC that helped reelect President Barack Obama and is now preparing to back former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential White House candidacy is encouraging its donors not to overlook this fall’s midterm elections. In a Priorities USA Action memo to contributors first obtained by Politico, Buffy Wicks, the group’s executive director, said the group isn’t sitting out the midterms and neither should donors. “The first battleground of the 2016 presidential campaign is the 2014 mid-term elections!” Wicks wrote. “That is why for  over a year we  have had regular communication and coordination with the folks running the Democratic Super PACs focused on the 2014 House and Senate races.” Priorities has donated $250,000 to both Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, groups working to elect congressional Democrats this fall. “In a coordinated strategy with Democratic Super PACs focused on the 2014  election, we have strongly encouraged donors to support midterm efforts and won’t aggressively raise for 2016 until after the midterm cycle,” Wicks added. The group has recently added former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as co-chairs of its board, which includes a host of other Clinton backers. The letter is both a plea for support, and an effort to assuage the concerns of Democrats who are worried the early Hillary-boosting efforts are distracting from efforts to hold the Senate and make gains in the House. Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, took to Twitter earlier this month to push Democratic donors to first look to the midterms. To those who are #ReadyforHillary, we've got another job to do before 2016. http://t.co/jcUVDs26FU — Guy Cecil (@guycecil) February 6, 2014 To the donors who want to expand the electorate, fight voter suppression laws & win in 2014, we need your help now. http://t.co/jcUVDs26FU — Guy Cecil (@guycecil) February 6, 2014 “The next Democratic President will have a much easier time if she – or he – has a Democratic House and Senate,” Wicks said. The full memo is> <>
  • At White House, Jindal Will Lead GOP Governors’ Call For Action On Jobs>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 23 2014 - 9:17 PM:)
    <>Republican Governors Association Vice Chair Bobby Jindal will take the lead when GOP governors visit the White House Monday morning for a business meeting with President Barack Obama. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the embattled chairman of the organization, left this weekend’s meeting of the National Governors Association early on Sunday morning to return home for his daughter Sarah’s 18th birthday. So it fell to Jindal, who preceded Christie in the post, to appear on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday to make the case for Republican governors and against Obama. Previewing an op-ed to be published Monday in National Review, Jindal argued that if the president is intent on using “the pen and the phone” instead of working with Congress, he should use his executive authority to create jobs. “If he’s going to make those decisions, why doesn’t he do things [on jobs]. For example, let’s increase domestic production of energy, creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs,” he said Sunday. “Why not delay all of the mandates in “Obamacare,” which has become such a job-killer in our economy? We’re at a—in a historic 36-year low in terms of our labor force participation rate. The Republican Party should be the party of growth and opportunity. Why not approve the Keystone Pipeline today?” In a statement sent to reporters Sunday, Jindal expanded on the theme: “In recent weeks, President Obama has emphasized his willingness to go it alone and use his executive power to achieve his policy aims. This White House has never been shy about wielding such power, but now the president apparently intends to escalate the use of the phone and the pen to make his agenda a reality. “If President Obama wants to give the American people a better economic growth agenda, he can. With the power of the pen and the phone, he can roll back policies which are creating barriers for innovation, implement policies which encourage investment, and build toward the future with reforms that will help prepare Americans for the challenge of tomorrow’s economy. “So if> <>
  • Wisconsin’s Scott Walker Tries To Outshine New Jersey’s Chris Christie In D.C. Visit>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 23 2014 - 5:57 AM:)
    <>Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to Washington this weekend with a clear message to deliver to the national press: He’s not New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In the swanky J.W. Marriott hotel just blocks from the White House, which both governor’s have hopes to soon occupy, the two embattled Republicans presented radically different strategies for handling swirling questions about the actions of former political aides. Walker, who is facing questions over a newly released trove of documents from an investigation into his first campaign, has nonchalantly stopped for repeated questions from reporters, conveying a ‘nothing to see here’ message. He’s glad-handed lobbyists and activists for hours on end, unfazed by attention of the press. Christie, meanwhile, has been almost entirely out of view at the National Governors Association meeting, continuing a weeks-long effort to avoid the limelight. In a closed-door meeting of governors Saturday, several governors described Christie as uncharacteristically quiet and reserved. The New Jersey Governor appeared at just a pair of official NGA events, breaching past the assembled press and confining most of his activities to quietly fundraising for the Republican Governors Association. Six former Walker aides and allies have been convicted of wrongdoing following an investigation into improper campaign activities by official staff when Walker was Milwaukee County executive mounting a campaign for the governor’s mansion. The release last week of tens of thousands of pages of documents from that first investigation was branded as “old news” by Walker, who noted repeatedly that a Democratic prosecutor had closed the investigation last year without any accusation that he had done anything improper. “People want to go through 27,000 pages plus of details, and our approach is ‘case is closed,'” Walker said. “A Democrat district attorney looked at it, and he’s done. It’s done.” Walker did, however, note that the investigation into Christie aides’ involvement in closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge is “just beginning.” “He addressed it early on, but obviously he’s not out of the woods yet,” Walker said, comparing their situations while exiting a NGA reception for> <>
  • McCain: Hillary Would Be President If Election Were Tomorrow>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 21 2014 - 8:43 PM:)
    <>Senator John McCain told CNN’s Piers Morgan Thursday that if tomorrow were election day, Hillary Clinton would be President. “I would bet, my friend, as much as I hate to admit it, that right now – this is why we have campaigns – but right now, if the election were tomorrow, Hillary Clinton would most likely be the President of the United States,” the Republican Senator said. He was disagreeing with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s theory that America isn’t ready for a female president. McCain admitted that “she wouldn’t be my candidate,” but said that America was certainly ready for a woman president, pointing to the swelling ranks of women in Congress and in state leadership positions. Bachmann had told syndicated columnist Cal Thomas that America “wasn’t ready” for a female president, and that a Clinton presidency would amount to “Obama’s third and fourth term in office.” ““I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” she said. “People don’t hold guilt for a woman,” she says, adding that while people vote for women for virtually every other office, “I don’t think there is a pent-up desire” for a woman president. Clinton has yet to announce her campaign for president, but Republicans have already gone on the offensive in anticipation of her 2016 run. [CNN]> <>
  • Ted Cruz Blasts GOP Leadership for Debt Ceiling ‘Trickery’>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 20 2014 - 12:47 PM:)
    <>Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is slamming his party for caving to Democratic demands to raise the debt ceiling, saying in a new interview that GOP leaders misled constituents with a “show vote.” “Republican leadership said, ‘we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it,'” Cruz, the tea party favorite, said in an interview with CNN airing Thursday. “And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.” Cruz’ consistent criticism from the right of the GOP leadership peaked with a filibuster attempt earlier this month, in which he tried to block a vote to raise the debt cieling. A handful of Republicans voted with Democrats to break Cruz’s filibuster, though the Senate eventually voted along party lines to extend the debt ceiling for a year. “In my view, we need to be honest with our constituents,” Cruz said. “And last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency. I think all 45 Republicans should have stood together and said, of course not.’” [CNN]> <>
  • Agency at Center of Christie Bridge Scandal Apologizes>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 19 2014 - 9:11 PM:)
    <>The agency that oversaw lane closures leading to a busy bridge last year — and which ensnared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a political scandal in the process — formally apologized to commuters on Wednesday. David Samson, who chairs the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, issued the apology during an agency board meeting, the New York Times reports, more than five months after lane closures on the George Washington Bridge snarled traffic in a north Jersey town, and at a time when Christie is trying to put the scandal that ensued behind him. “On behalf of the board of commissioners, we are deeply sorry for inconvenience caused to our travelers,” Samson said. Referring to officials who resigned last year as questions were raised about whether the lane closures were politically motivated, Samson added: “I cannot allow this agency to be mischaracterized by the actions of a few individuals.” Christie, a leading 2016 Republican presidential contender, saw his political future thrown into doubt earlier this year when documents emerged showing that aides had plotted to close the lanes leading from Fort Lee to the bridge in an apparent political payback after the town’s mayor declined to back Christie’s reelection campaign. The lane closures turned Fort Lee into a veritable parking lot for days. Christie apologized, fired a top aide and said he never knew of the plot. State lawmakers and federal authorities are investigating the matter. The scandal briefly reignited late last month when a former Christie ally said “evidence exists” that Christie knew of the lane closures sooner than he maintained, something Christie has denied. [New York Times]> <>
  • Rand Paul Makes a Risky Grand ‘Standing’ Play>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 12 2014 - 5:50 PM:)
    <>The lawsuit Rand Paul filed against President Barack Obama and the NSA on Wednesday morning may be smart politics. Libertarians nationwide are appalled at the spy agency’s telephone meta-data collection, and many view Obama as a big-government threat to their liberty. “Our founders never intended for Americans to trust their government,” Paul, the Kentucky Republican, said in a video released on the eve of filing his suit in federal court. By stoking libertarian concerns, he may also achieve straightforward political ends: As Politico reported last month, those who write in support of Paul’s suit will be added to his campaign list. The value of the case itself is a different matter. Paul’s first task will be to show that he actually has legal standing. To bring an action against the government, or anyone else for that matter, you have to show you have actually been harmed. Can Paul prove his phone records were collected? This has been a challenge for previous litigants, and the Justice Department still argues most don’t clear the bar. Even if Paul does get standing for himself and all those he says he represents, his case will follow, and ultimately be determined by, other cases already moving through the system. Lower courts have largely validated the legality of the metadata collection under both the Patriot Act and case law, but not all of them have. The Supreme Court has not taken a position on such a broad collection program and in at least one case they have shown concern about broad and automated data collection without a warrant. The risk for Paul is not so much the legal outcome as a potential change in the politics of the underlying issue. Where the law can be slow to develop and harden, political change can be rapid and unpredictable. Paul risks getting on the wrong side of an issue that is still playing out in the public mind. There is no shortage of those looking to make Paul pay if the tide does turn. In January, New York> <>
  • Marco Rubio Won’t Say if He Smoked Pot>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 11 2014 - 1:09 AM:)
    <>Florida Senator Marco Rubio doesn’t want you to know if he ever smoked marijuana. In an interview on Monday, he refused to answer the question posed by a TV reporter, saying that the information could do more harm than good. “I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the Republican Senator said during an interview with Fusion’s Mariana Atencio in Miami. “If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, ‘Well, I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it.’” Rubio, a possible contender for President in 2016, said that in his teen years he made enough “dumb decisions as is” and didn’t need marijuana or alcohol leading to more. “I know I’m sounding like a 42-year-old dad, but here’s the problem, you can make mistakes at 17 that will be with you the rest of your life,” Rubio said before saying his answer to the question was irrelevant. [Fusion]> <>
  • Conservative Group Tries to Get Back to Its Policy Roots>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 10 2014 - 8:52 PM:)
    <>Over the course of 40 years, the Heritage Foundation earned its Capitol Hill currency by diving deep into complex research to advance conservative policies. It lost a good deal of that banked goodwill in just the last four years, after its Heritage Action political arm dove headfirst into the political crossfire instead. On Monday, Heritage Action used its first policy summit to embark on an uphill climb to restore both prestige and power—but it could be a long journey back to the top. The summit Monday came just a couple months after House Speaker John Boehner said groups like Heritage Action had “lost all credibility”  in their continued opposition to GOP leadership and the budget deals it cut.  Now, in establishing what it is for instead of just what it is against, Heritage, like the Republican Party, seems to be in the throes of a major rebranding effort. “Heritage Action is proud of the headlines that we’ve gotten for fighting the status quo,” said Mike Needham, the group’s CEO. “But we’re also working hard to introduce bold ideas that unite America and make life better to everybody in this country.” The summit at Heritage Action’s office just a few blocks from the Capitol touched on a number of conservative legislative proposals the group wants to highlight this year, from privacy issues to welfare and health care reform. It allowed some lawmakers who enjoy cachet within the House Republican conference, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Tom Price (R-Ga.), to step outside the “Party of No” brand that stymied Republicans last year after they produced few legislative achievements. It could prove an important move for Heritage Action, after it stole the limelight from the more policy-focused Heritage Foundation and was widely criticized by Republican leaders as a divisive force in the party. Former Heritage Foundation staffers, Republican congressmen and aides say that Heritage Action rose during the tea party wave of 2010 and crashed in 2013, the year former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) replaced Edwin J. Feulner, the previous president of 36 years. It still remains> <>
  • 3 Takeaways From the Hillary Papers>
    (2012 Election – Swampland - February 10 2014 - 8:02 PM:)
    <>After Diane Blair died in 2000, the prominent University of Arkansas political-science professor’s papers were archived at the school she had called home for most of her professional life. When the archives were made open to the public in 2010, Hillary Clinton — her best friend and subject of many of her musings — recorded a video honoring Blair’s life and work. Pages from Blair’s papers were sent to TIME on Monday by the University of Arkansas’s Special Collections Library, after an initial report of their contents on a conservative blog ripped across the web on Sunday night. Despite some early interpretations to the contrary, the papers represent a collection of thoughtful reflections and evolving positions on Clinton’s part, rather than a smoking gun of anything damning, or even surprising. But they do offer a colorful look into the thoughts of the former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and possible 2016 presidential candidate. Did Clinton first privately advocate a single-payer program for health care reform 21 years ago? Apparently she did, but she didn’t believe in it enough to go public with that assertion. Was she annoyed that the Bosnian War distracted from her health care fight? She kvetched to her best friend that she was, but publicly she strongly supported the war effort. Did she intermittently loathe Washington’s social circuit, Congress and the press? Yes, but no one needed Blair’s diaries to show that. “Every human being has lots of thoughts all day long, and you’ll never be able to capture all of them,” says Kiki McLean, a longtime Clinton friend. “Like a lot of things in politics people will want to project meaning in those archives that have little to do with the context of the experience at that day and at that time.” For those who loved the USA Network television show Political Animals — starring Sigourney Weaver as a former First Lady turned Secretary of State modeled after Clinton — for its voyeuristic quality of what we always imagined Clinton might sardonically say in a closed room about everything from her husband’s> <>

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