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Noise & Notes Politics

Trailing in Iowa, Pawlenty Touts Faith

Still struggling in the polls, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has released a new video to Iowa voters discussing his Christianity.

The former Minnesota governor is joined by his wife, Mary, an evangelical who got the former Catholic to join her church when they first met.

From the Pawlenty campaign:

Stuck in the GOP basement at 6 percent, observers believe this is a critical month for Pawlenty as his opponents—namely Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann—surge in the polls.

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Ron Paul Retiring From Congress

Focusing solely on his third presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for a 13th term in the House of Representatives.

Observers contend Paul, who is the father of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is an excellent fundraiser who would have easily retained his seat despite redistricting, but the 75-year-old congressman felt it was time to move on and put his energy into one last bid for the White House.

“I felt it was better that I concentrate on one election,” Paul told a Texas newspaper. “It’s about that time when I should change tactics.”

From Politico:

The retirement will take the country’s most prominent libertarian voice out of Washington, after years of redefining conservative politics. Opposing increases in the debt ceiling, supporting a more isolationist foreign policy, abolishing the Fed — all longtime Paul mainstays that would have been laughed off only a few years ago — are now well within the Republican mainstream. And it provides yet another signal that Paul plans to take a more intense approach to the 2012 campaign — he’s already stepped up his presence on the trail in Iowa and New Hampshire — adding to a strong fundraising operation that raised $4.5 million in the second quarter.

(SNIP)

Paul served five terms in the House before retiring ahead of the 1984 election. He ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988, then returned to Congress in 1996, where he grew into the leading voice of libertarian politics in Washington and a harbinger of policy positions that have moved into the mainstream. And he’s developed a fiercely devoted if narrow following, along with much of the credit for seeding the tea party movement.


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Yarmuth Escalates Bachmann Criticism

Responding to Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann’s first campaign ad, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., ratcheted up criticism of his congressional colleagues bid for the White House.

In a 30-second spot that began airing in Iowa last week, Bachmann vowed to vote against an increase of the debt ceiling while touting her conservative views. She also signed a pledge that calls homosexuality a choice and a health risk in addition to stating African-American children were better off during slavery than under President Barack Obama.

Yarmuth says those statements show she is willing to tank the national economy to make a political point and her social views make former presidents Ronald Regan and George W. Bush appear like moderates.

“I don’t think there’s any chance in the world that she can win the presidency. As a matter of fact, I don’t think she can carry a state,” he says. “When the American people actually focus on what she has said, what she has done, they will recognize her for the irresponsible, reckless agenda she represents.”

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Bachmann Signs Controversial Marriage Pledge

Living up to her staunch conservative marquee, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was the first Republican presidential candidate to sign a controversial pledge that calls homosexuality a choice and a health risk in addition to supporting a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage.

The oath is part of a strict moral platform being pushed by The Family Leader, a conservative group in Iowa that supports banning all pornography and “divorce reform”, among other things. Candidates who sign the pledge are in effect supporting the organization’s so-called “marriage vow.”

From The Des Moines Register:

In addition, candidates are asked to recognize that “robust childrearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.”

Alice Stewart, a Bachmann aide, said the congresswoman had no qualms about signing the Family Leader’s pledge. “She has been married for over 30 years and has a strong marriage and faith.”

(SNIP)

Former state Sen. Jeff Angelo of Ames, who recently established a group known as Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which supports same-sex marriage, issued a statement criticizing the marriage pledge.

“Iowans are having a very important dialogue about ensuring that all residents are treated fairly by their government–a long-standing and central principle of our state. This pledge is an attempt to shut down dialogue between voters and the people vying to represent them,” Angelo said.

For the full pledge, go here.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Bachmann Unveils First TV Ad

Vowing to vote against an increase of the debt ceiling, Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann released her first television ad Thursday, which will begin airing in Iowa.

The 30-second spot titled “Waterloo” touts the Minnesota congresswoman’s staunch conservatism and Iowa roots. It features Bachmann talking straight into the camera, telling voters about her family values and fiscal policies.

“I will not vote to increase the debt ceiling,” she says.

Check it out:

A week ago, Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth told local observers he would support Bachmann in the GOP primary because it would result in a 50-state victory for President Barack Obama in the general election.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

EKU Gaining Support to Host Presidential Debate

Several federal and state elected officials have joined together to support Eastern Kentucky University’s bid to host a debate during next year’s presidential campaign.

A package sent by university officials to the Commission on Presidential Debates includes strong letters of support from Democratic and Republican leaders, namely U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, state Sen. President David Williams and state House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

EKU President Doug Whitlock says the bipartisan backing illustrates the broad support for the university, which is prepared to host the debate.

“Our campus has excellent spaces for the candidates and the campaign teams. So we think our facilities for a presidential debate are really second to none,” he says.

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Yarmuth Eager to Support Bachmann Presidential Bid—Sort of

Speaking to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s editorial board Wednesday, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., made it clear he’s supporting Republican colleague Michelle Bachmann in next year’s presidential election.

Well, sort of.

“Strictly from a partisan perspective, I hope she’s the nominee of the Republican Party,” Yarmuth said. “Because (President) Obama will win 50 states.”

Ouch! No response from the Bachmann campaign.

As a columnist for LEO Weekly, Yarmuth’s sarcastic wit has been a staple of his personality long before he ran for Congress in 2006. Rising in the polls, Bachmann might want to think twice before jousting with her congressional colleague.

From the Courier-Journal (h/t B&P):

Go here for part II of that interview.

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Noise & Notes Politics

Gingrich Announces 2012 Presidential Campaign

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich officially announced he’s running for president via Twitter.

The architect behind the Republican revolution of 1994, Gingrich is considered a GOP heavyweight who is entering an anemic field of potential challengers to President Barack Obama.

UPDATE:

“I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity,” he says in a YouTube video, in which he refers to both his work with President Reagan and later as speaker, when the federal budget was balanced. “There’s a much better American future ahead.”

Despite the well scrubbed presentation, political experts acknowledge Gingrich has some serious hangups,  in his political and personal life.

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Daniels Says He Could Beat President Obama

Inching closer to a presidential bid, Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he could beat President Barack Obama in a general election but insisted any decision to run is based on his family’s future.

“I think the chances would actually be quite good,” Daniels told WIBC in Indianapolis. “That’s really not a factor, I don’t want to overstate this.”

The two-term governor is considered a “heavyweight contender” for the GOP nomination among a fairly anemic field of candidates. He has promised to make an announcement in the coming weeks, but isn’t rushing.

The current Republican field for president is slowly developing, with high-profiled candidates such as former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romeny getting into the contest later and later, bypassing early televised debates. On Monday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich indicated he will enter the 2012 race in a Wednesday announcement.

Daniels is the former budget director under President George W. Bush.

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Congressman Paul Debates “Obama” on Fox News

In a bizarre appearance on the Fox Business Channel, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., joined host John Stossel for a mock debate with an impersonator of President Barack Obama.

Stossel insinuates the fake debate will foreshadow the 2012 Presidential campaign, but it’s unclear what this is supposed to accomplish other than more mocking of Paul’s candidacy.

Check it out:

It certainly doesn’t make Paul appear presidential. Also, is the faux Obama in blackface? I can’t tell.

UPDATE: If you’re scratching you’re head about this, particularly the impersonator, then you’re not alone. This is just, weird.

Much like Paul’s libertarian views, which excite conservatives and progressives alike, it’s always a little difficult to figure out what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.