What Mitt Romney Just Did, Say Insiders, Shows He’s Made Up His Mind About 2016

Romney

In an interview with ABC News less than two months ago, Ann Romney said that her feelings about her husband running again for president were quite strong — she was against it.

“We’re not doing that again,” she said.

“It’s a no,” adding that when friends, family and former aides urge them to give it one more go, she says it’s “kind of cute.”

The former Massachusetts governor, 67, has himself been vague on the subject of another bid for the White House. Romney told The New York Times in September, “Circumstances can change…. We’ll see what happens.”

Now, one might ask, if circumstances may indeed be changing, considering what the two-time presidential contender has just done. And one might ask if Ann Romney, Mitt’s wife of 45 years, thinks that her husband’s apparently renewed interest in running is “kind of cute.”

According to a businessinsider.com post that’s generating a lot of renewed speculation, Mitt Romney held meetings in New York this week with big donors from previous campaigns. This left at least one attendee, a Romney insider, convinced the governor has made up his mind — he is running again for president.

A member of Romney’s inner circle who spoke to Business Insider said the former governor of Massachusetts traveled to New York City on Monday where he met with key financial backers of his past campaigns to lay the groundwork for a 2016 White House bid.

This reported donor meeting came the week after a fresh poll of New Hampshire voters showed Romney a clear favorite among potential Republican rivals for the nomination. As reported on politico.com:

Romney leads with 30 percent of the vote in a Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm New Hampshire poll released Monday.

It is a healthy 19-point lead over other possible GOP names, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who trails at 11 percent.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received 9 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won 8 percent, and Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and conservative commentator, follows with 6 percent.

Business Insider also notes that Romney’s meetings this week are among several recent efforts to reconnect with former donors and campaign staff.

In October, The Washington Post reported on a “flurry of behind-the-scenes activity” that Romney’s “friends” said was leading him to “more seriously consider” running for president again.

This activity included multiple meetings with donors and “supporters in key states” as well as an October dinner in Boston that Romney and his wife hosted for “former campaign advisers and business associates.”

So, given that she was apparently at his side for the Boston affair, maybe Ann Romney is, herself, softening to the idea that Mitt will step up to the presidential plate for a third swing at the home run ball that has twice eluded him.

 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Christie Tries To Salvage Relationship With Major GOP Donor

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is known for his sharp tongue and direct approach. While this has earned him kudos in some circles, his comments have also cost him plenty of support along the way.

One of the most devastating losses the expected presidential candidate has endured recently came in the wake of a phrase he used to describe Israel that many consider not only insensitive but inaccurate. Speaking before a gathering of Republican Jewish Coalition members last week, he described the nation’s Judea and Samaria region as “occupied territories.”

Not only did he receive significant backlash from a variety of sources almost immediately; reports indicate a leading voice within the community has since withdrawn his support of the Republican heavyweight. Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein has recently announced he will not endorse Christie ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Furthermore, Klein is influential in the life of Sheldon Adelson, a Republican donor who contributed more than $40 million to the GOP in 2012.

Soon after Christie made the comment, Klein said he approached the governor in an effort to explain why many in the Jewish community were upset.

“The term occupied territories is a false term used by the enemies of Israel to make it sound like Israel has stolen Arab land,” Klein said, recalling his conversation with Christie.

“To be occupied you have to have taken over someone’s legal sovereign area,” he continued, adding he explained to Christie that “the Jewish people have a greater religious, cultural, and historical claim” to the area “than any Arabs and that the term used to refer to the West Bank should be ‘disputed territories.’”

Instead of responding with understanding, Klein lamented that Christie largely dismissed the concern, saying, “I saw you shaking your head when I used that term.”

At that time, Christie was reportedly unreceptive to the request to modify his language. In the interim, however, he seems to have reconsidered. Klein noted that the governor has since apologized to Adelson privately, though his sincerity remains in question.

“He is worried about Sheldon supporting him financially,” Klein explained, noting Christie revealed “the real answer with me because there was no ulterior motive there. I don’t believe his apology for one second.”

While Klein maintains it would be inappropriate to directly advise Adelson to curtail any financial support of Christie, he is making his opinion on the matter perfectly clear.

“Governor Christie either has no understanding of the truth of the issues affecting Israel, or he is hostile to Israel,” he said. “Either way I am very uncomfortable.”

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commoms)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is Christie Becoming The New Bloomberg?

During his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg was consistently ridiculed for his intrusive policies aimed at modifying the behavior of citizens through bans and taxes. He has since been replaced by Bill de Blasio, a man many consider far more dangerous, though Bloomberg’s “nanny” moniker remains up for grabs.

It seems that a Republican heavyweight in a neighboring state might have his eye on the disreputable title. Recent reports indicate his latest target is the increasingly popular e-cigarette industry.

While these devices offer a far safer alternative for smokers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a tax that would raise the price of e-cigarettes to the same level as traditional cigarettes.

His state has already approved legislation banning the use of the smoking substitute in public, despite the fact that the devices release only vapor and no toxin-filled smoke. Some feel Christie’s latest attack on the e-cigarette market will further solidify the perception that he favors undue government intrusion into the free market.

Despite the fact that experts (including at least one former surgeon general) tout the potential benefits of the nicotine-delivery instruments, Christie seems firmly entrenched in a leftist mindset that would relegate these products to the unfavorable level of traditional cigarettes. Medical professionals across the nation contend that e-cigarettes are not only safer for smokers and the general public; they also indicate that use of such products can be a catalyst in an individual’s decision to give up nicotine completely.

Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue any report detailing adverse health effects found in the use of these devices.

Nevertheless, lobbyists working on behalf of other smoking cessation products are reportedly working with elected officials to curtail the sale of a product they consider a threat.

Whether Christie has been influenced by these forces or simply believes in imposing prohibitive taxes on products he doesn’t like, his advocacy of this policy could clearly hurt his already tenuous relationship with conservatives.

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo: Hurricanehink (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

This Latest Clinton Controversy Will Be Tough To Cover-up

Much of the media have been obsessed with “Bridgegate,” the local New Jersey story about traffic jams caused by the closing of some lanes on the George Washington Bridge leading into Manhattan—and other potential scandals—simply because the person who figures into it most (Chris Christie) is the governor, and was considered by many to be the Republican with the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton in a 2016 matchup.

“The fact is that we have to take these guys on directly,” Christie shot back at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference. “You know, I’m shy and retiring and I don’t like to speak my mind, especially regarding the media. But what we need to start saying is…that we’re not going to put up any longer with them defining who we are.”

Politico was quick to point out that this was the first time that Christie had given a speech “to a crowd of base Republican voters since his administration was roiled by scandal.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has been among the most obsessive about Bridgegate, told a late-night talk-show host this week that the reason it is so captivating is “I think in part because it’s not over and we still don’t know what happened.” By that standard, she should really want to sink her teeth into this latest Hillary Clinton controversy, which is already bordering on being a full-fledged scandal.

A local Washington D.C. political scandal that has Mayor Vincent Gray in the hot seat has expanded to ensnare the Clinton campaign machine, with actual evidence that illegal money was used to support her 2008 presidential primary campaign to defeat Barack Obama in the Democratic primary. But the former first lady and secretary of state claims that she had no knowledge of these actions, so she is, of course, exonerated by most of the mainstream media. “A campaign adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton was involved in an off-the-books operation to help the former first lady’s 2008 presidential campaign in four states and Puerto Rico, according to federal court documents,” reports CBS News. Will this get enduring wall-to-wall coverage on par with Bridgegate? We doubt it.

“Prosecutors said that from February to May 2008, [Jeffrey] Thompson used two firms to disburse $608,750 in ‘excessive and unreported contributions to pay for campaign services in coordination with and in support of a federal political candidate for president of the United States and the federal and the candidate’s authorized committee,’” reports The Washington Times. “That candidate was Mrs. Clinton.” Thompson pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges on March 10. CBS News confirmed that the $600,000 in contributions were never reported to the Federal Election Commission.

The Clinton advisor in question is Minyon Moore. A spokeswoman for the public affairs firm where she works, Dewey Square Group (DSG), was quick to defend her, saying that “In fact she [Moore] asked Thompson to contribute and raise money directly for the campaign so the campaign could afford to execute a field program in constituent communities. Her actions were legal.”

“Furthermore, she was never aware Jeffrey Thompson paid Troy White or any other vendor outside of the campaign,” said the DSG spokeswoman to CNN.

DSG has a vested interest in proving Moore’s actions were legal; The Washington Post reported in September 2013 that “At the time [that she was a senior advisor on the Clinton’s 2008 campaign], she [Moore] was working at Dewey Square Group as state and local director. Clinton’s campaign paid the firm nearly $420,000 for strategic consulting, according to campaign finance records.”

“A federal government source would not comment on whether Moore had aided the investigation or if she could be charged in the future for the campaign with Thompson,” reports CNN, which carried DSG’s statement but ignored the financial connection.

Moore’s role in the conspiracy is somewhat suspicious. “But Thompson, in his discussions with authorities, depicted Moore as playing a far more intimate role in the off-the-books campaign than was previously indicated—securing the money and helping guide the strategy by feeding internal campaign documents and receiving messages about the media coverage,” remarks The Washington Post.

But as in the Benghazi scandal, it seems that if there is an issue, it’s not supposed to reach high enough to tarnish this infallible presidential hopeful. CBS and other news outlets are quick to point out that “Prosecutors have said they have no evidence that Clinton was aware of the get-out-the-vote operation.”

Yet The Washington Post writes, “What really matters is not whether the Clinton campaign knew about the effort but whether it can be tied to or knew about the illegal aspect of it.”

The National Journal pushed back, in an article entitled “Clintonworld Goes After The Washington Post.” They quoted “Burns Strider, a longtime Clinton aide who now works with the pro-Clinton rapid-response group Correct the Record,” who “called the allegations ‘bizarre and brazenly false.’ Strider defended Moore, with whom he’s worked over the years, and called The Post’s reporting ‘irresponsible.’”

Added Strider, “I think it’s horses**t. I think The Washington Post is acting like some kind of an Internet blog or something instead of doing real reporting.” He said, “I think it’s pretty clear through everything that’s come out that [Moore] didn’t do anything wrong and has been exonerated and has been fully helpful in the case, and that’s the bottom line.”

The National Journal reported that the Post told them that “the story is based on publicly available documents,” and that they gave Moore “ample time to reply.”

Clinton’s role in the Benghazi scandal would be enough to destroy her chances to become president, if the news media were to just do their job. But they see their occupation in a different way: to protect and help elect favored Democratic candidates. Thus, CBS writes, “Any connection to the case could provide fodder for Republicans who already are mobilizing to undercut another Clinton campaign.” In other words, any detractors of Clinton are just trying to win political points. The press is trying to inoculate readers against any chance that Clinton might become ensnared in another scandal.

The proof will come in the following days and weeks. Let’s see if the press corps waits outside every place that Hillary goes, to ask her what she knew and when. And will Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Chris Matthews start spending segment after segment examining emails, and interviewing critics of Mrs. Clinton to try to get to the bottom of this?

I think we already know the answers. The only question is, how quickly can they sweep this under the rug and dismiss this as sexism, or whatever the Andrea Mitchells of the world will use to ignore or bury this story.

This is not the first time that donors have proven a political liability for Clinton. In 2007, she “took the unprecedented step of returning $850,000 in contributions raised by Norman Hsu, a top campaign bundler who was wanted on criminal charges in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme,” reports The Washington Times. Hsu also served as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

We documented that and other funny-money scandals that Hillary’s been involved in which, if covered by the press with the interest and intensity that they have shown towards Bridgegate, might have ended her dreams of returning to the White House in the role of president. But the media have an agenda, and are therefore content to ignore the Clinton connections and pretend that dirty money doesn’t ever touch this family.

 

This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

Photo credit: Angela Radulescu (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Gov. Christie Brings A Crowd To Its Feet With This Simple Sentence

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom