This anti-Newt Gingrich attack ad has just started running in Nevada in advance of the February 4th Republican presidential caucuses there.
** QUICK HITS. Newt Gingrich vowed today in Florida, historic home of the manned space program, that he will establish a Moon base by 2020. The crowd was favorably disposed. Rival Mitt Romney likes to make fun of the space program. … Some higher ed leaders are starting to get it in California. The California State University board of trustees voted today to set some limits on new campus president salaries. Top staff pay and perks have been going up in the CSU and UC systems while big cutbacks hit elsewhere. … Governor Jerry Brown announced the streamlining of some environmental regulations. More to follow. …
** ROMNEY TRIES TO ARREST SILVER STATE SLIDE. There hasn’t been a public poll in Nevada, the next contest in the Republican nomination race, for over a month. But something must be telling Mitt Romney, who led then, that things are going south there in advance of the February 4th presidential caucuses, because today his campaign put this TV ad on the air in the Las Vegas and Reno media markets.
As you’ll see, I think Newt Gingrich has a real opportunity to win Nevada, which, if he wins Florida, would be another crackling blow to a reeling “inevitable” candidate. Romney took Nevada in 2008 and has long been favored there. But he’s vulnerable.
Romney’s argument, of course, is that it’s the government’s fault for the financial crisis for encouraging the expansion of home ownership, not that lenders enticed vulnerable consumers or that high finance types turned mortgages into unsustainable but highly lucrative financial products.
And he neglects to mention that he’s already been revealed as an investor in Freddie Mac, the outfit that engaged Gingrich’s consulting firm for years, or that he favors having underwater mortgage holders drown.
VOICEOVER: “While Nevada families lost everything in the housing crisis, Newt Gingrich cashed in.
Gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the scandal-ridden agency that helped create the crisis. An historian. Really?
Sanctioned for ethics violations.
Gingrich resigned from Congress in disgrace.
And then cashed in as a DC insider.
If Newt wins, this guy would be very happy.” (over photo of Barack Obama)
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 3:30 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Intel’s Ocotillo Campus outside Phoenix, Arizona. At 9:55 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids. The events are netcast live here on New West Notes. If you want to mute the audio, click on the pause button.
** LIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
With massive geopolitical events swirling and the 2012 presidential race unfolding, the White House is increasingly a pivot point for the day’s events. Live streaming of key presidential events is now available as a matter of course here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
NWN will continue to present other live netcasts in full streaming mode, as it did with the Ronald Reagan Centennial events from the Reagan Library, as they emerge and are technically available and as significance dictates.
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it is unlikely to raise interest rates before late 2014, extending a period of record-low rates.
** NEW SURVEY: FINANCIAL WORRIES AS HIGH AS ANY IN PAST TWO DECADES. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that, even though economic confidence has gone up some, financial worries continue to be widespread.
Whether it’s accurate or not, half the people in the country think they are worse off financially now than they were a year ago.
These worries are equivalent to what they were 20 years ago, when incumbent George Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton.
Of course, one big difference is that times were good when Bush took office. Whereas Obama inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Americans’ worries about maintaining their standard of living (51%), or being able to pay medical bills (43%) or losing their job (34%) in the next 12 months are among the highest Gallup has measured in the past 20 years, on par with the levels seen in 1991 and 1992. …
Since 1991, Gallup has periodically asked Americans whether they are worried about each of these financial events happening to them. The trend includes updates in January of four presidential election years — 1992, 2004, 2008, and 2012.
Americans’ economic anxiety today is most similar to what it was in 1992, though Americans are slightly less worried about not being able to pay medical bills now (43%) than they were then (48%). The economic angst at that time helped contribute to George H.W. Bush’s re-election defeat that year. Far fewer were worried in 2004, when George W. Bush won a second term.
The late January/early February 2008 survey was conducted as the U.S. was in the beginning of an economic recession and Americans were becoming increasingly worried about the economy, but before the financial crisis unfolded later that year. Americans were less worried at that time than they are now about losing a job (23% versus 34%) and paying medical bills (33% versus 43%), but about as worried about not being able to maintain their standard of living (50% versus 51%).
Gallup did not ask this question in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, so it’s possible the levels of financial worry were higher then. However, the January 2011 update showed that economic concerns were elevated in all three areas nearly two years after the recession officially ended. Importantly, Americans’ financial concerns remain high even as economic confidence is improving. …
US Navy SEALs, parachuting into Somalia, rescued two aid workers, an American woman named Jessica Buchanan and a Danish man, being held by jihadists. The raid went down last night around the time time of the State of the Union address. The operation was carried out by SEAL Team Six, the unit which carried out the Osama bin Laden raid. There were no American casualties.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … NEWTONIAN MOTION: WILL GINGRICH BLOW IT (AGAIN)?
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Iowa, Arizona, and Nevada.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then departed Joint Base Andrews on Air Force One route Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
At 9:20 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
At 9:40 AM Pacific, Obama tours Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids.
At 9:55 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama departs Cedar Rapids on Air Force One en route Phoenix, Arizona.
At 2:35 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Phoenix, Arizona.
At 3:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at Intel’s Ocotillo Campus.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 5:35 PM Pacific, Obama departs Phoenix on Air Force One en route Las Vegas, Nevada.
At 6:30 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Las Vegas.
Obama delivered a well-received State of the Union address last night, focusing on the end of the war in Iraq, the demise of Osama bin Laden and much of Al Qaeda and his themes of economic revival and modified populism.
The optics of Obama’s case were aided by having representatives of the two most popular businesspeople in the country — investor Warren Buffett and the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — on hand in the gallery with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Laurene Powell Jobs, an icon of a famous fortune based not on financial manipulation but great products, was joined by Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, who pays a higher tax rate under the system now in place than her mega-billionaire boss does.
Now he is on a three-day/five-state tour playing up his key sub-themes of ramping up American manufacturing, the new energy economy, and technological innovation and worker skills.
These tour events have a new theme, incidentally. “An America Built To Last.”
The Obama campaign, and of course these really are re-election events, is contrasting Obama’s approach to capitalism with what they see as the clearly unsustainable model promoted by conservative Republicans.
While the State of the Union played out, US Navy SEALs executed a daring raid inside Somalia to rescue two Western aid workers, an American woman and a Danish man, who were kidnapped by jihadists seeking to block efforts to clear mine fields, which the jihadists style as Western imperialism.
The American woman, Jessica Buchanan, in captivity for three months, had a serious medical condition which prompted Obama’s decision to launch the raid.
Obama had baffled some observers just before beginning last night’s State of the Union address when he grasped Defense Secretary Leon Panetta by the hand, telling the veteran California political figure: “Good job!”
There were no Blackhawks down this time in Somalia. The SEALs parachuted in and killed the jihadist guards, most of whom were evidently sleeping off a bout with khat, a popular narcotic in that part of the world.
If it’s a fair fight, something has gone wrong.
Prior to these events, we a wild day in Republican presidential politics.
A part of that wild day in Florida with a California connection saw Palm Springs Congresswoman Mary Bono’s husband, Florida Congressman Connie Mack, crash a Newt Gingrich event trying to embarrass the ex-speaker on “unanswered questions” about his consulting work for Freddie Mac. The outfit is positioned in conservative lexicon as the cause of the financial crisis, at best a very incomplete view.
President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address last night at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Of course, in the course of going through Mitt Romney’s release of tax information since 2010, it emerges that he invested in Freddie Mac. But there are bigger fish to fry in that catch, and the DNC is focusing heavily on the fact that Romney is studiously not revealing much about his finances during his leveraged buyout heyday, from which he gained the fortune which yields him more than $40 million in investment income in two years while he was running for president. (But still a Bain Capital partner.)
The big news of the day on the Republican side was the release by Romney of his 2010 tax returns and 2011 tax estimate. Of course, he is avoiding revealing his records from the time in which he acquired most of his vast wealth, revealing only his dealings while a full-time candidate for president, presumably the most sanitized time of his life financially.
There’s plenty of coverage of this, but it seems obvious to me that Romney making well over $40 million off of investments, paying at a rate of less than 14%, with evidence of large holdings in Caribbean off-shore havens, and even a Swiss bank account, played in perfectly to Obama’s themes of fairness in the SOTU.
Obama is monitoring a variety of geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, Iraq, Iran and Israel.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is eleven hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles.
At 1:30 PM, he speaks at the California District Attorneys Association Roundtable at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica.
Brown has several additional events in Southern California today and tomorrow.
He got good news in the form of the latest Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll.
The poll showed what we’ve already discussed here quite a few times.
Brown’s numbers are still pretty good, with a job approval of 46% and disapproval down in the 30s.
Better yet, there is very strong support for his revenue initiative, with upwards of two-thirds in favor.
But the trigger cuts are unpopular.
California voters always want to cut except when it comes to realistic specifics.
All they want to cut is unspecified waste, fraud, and abuse, and corrections, a tiny sliver of the budget which is being cut heavily by Brown.
They of course have no idea where most of the money is spent, i.e., on education.
Is this because of mediocre media coverage, or a persistent ignorance?
Meanwhile, California Democratic legislators are showing their special tone deafness with a lawsuit attempting to take away the ability of state Controller John Chiang to block their paychecks until they produce a legitimate budget, as he did to great acclaim last June.
The Democratic legislators are more reality-based than their Republican counterparts, but it is, unfortunately, all relative.
The state auditor issued a report saying that the Brown Administration has not finished fixing the previous management problems at the High-Speed Rail Authority. I’ll have more on that.
** NEWTONIAN MOTION: UNDERLYING THE DECIDEDLY UNDEAD. Back from the dead. Again. Newt Gingrich. Amazing, isn’t it?
What’s actually amazing is that Gingrich was “dead” in the first place.
The fact is that the ex-House speaker had the Republican race in his hands last month and then proceeded to blow it.
And Mitt Romney is one of the most hollow, and hyped, political figures to come down the track in some time. He’s a consultant culture dream candidate: Big money and heavily into “messaging.” However, messaging, i.e., constantly repeating crafted talking points, is often not the same as having a message, which is why what he says is so malleable and chameleon-like. It’s obvious that there is very little that interests Romney besides success.
It’s a combination of unforced Gingrich errors, erroneous media coverage, and Romney’s nature peeking out all too often from behind the slick facade that has led to these seemingly shocking twists and turns. … From my January 20th column.
** STATING THE STATE: JERRY BROWN GETS DISCIPLINED AND LAYS IT OUT. Straighten out the chronic crisis of the present and move the state forward into the future. That’s Jerry Brown’s mission as governor of California this time around, which he laid out rather clearly in his new State of the State address.
He’s also making progress early on in clearing the field for his revenue initiative in November.
Brown has articulated everything he said in this speech before. But he hadn’t framed it up and put it all together in a coherent way, preferring too often to rely on his improvisational rhetorical skills. And he certainly hadn’t ventured out from the capital in the North in any sustained manner to push his program around the state, yet he followed this State of the State address by, in essence, bringing the State of the State to several communities across Southern California on Wednesday and Thursday. … From my January 19th feature.
** EXTREMISM IN DEFENSE OF IRONY: BY ROMNEY’S RADICAL DEFINITION HIS OWN CHIEF STRATEGIST IS “ANTI-FREE ENTERPRISE.” … From my January 15th essay.
** BOMBING BAIN: HOW DOES THE POLITICS OF WALL STREET GREED PLAY IN THE G.O.P.? … From my January 10th column.
** JERRY BROWN 2.0 AT 1. … From my January 7th essay.
** IOWA THEN AND NOW. … From my December 30th essay.
** IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD CAST IN THE GOP’S RACE TO CASA BLANCA. … From my December 24th essay.
** KEYSTONE PIPELINE: SMALL PART OF A VERY BIG PICTURE. … From my December 21st essay.
** NEWTONIAN MOTION: THE BIG TALK CAMPAIGN. … From my December 17th column.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $64 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $16 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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