Presidential Politics: One Week to GOP Convention

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The GOP convention starts in one week, and the election battle lines are starting to be drawn. Susan Page, USA Today Washington bureau chief, discusses the sparring over Medicare, Joe Biden's "chains" comments, and GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin's remarks about abortion.


Susan Page

Comments [57]

rose-ellen from jackson heights

If pro life is not anti- abortion then it is not pro life[of the life in the womb].If pro choice means you can kill the life present in the womb then it is anti-life[anti the already present life in the womb].Sadly even "pro-life-ers" when pressed, cave in to pressure,flip and proclaim themselves pro-choiceand therefore anti-life[ anti the already present life in the womb]when pressed.Such is the power of indoctrination and propaganda.

Aug. 20 2012 11:07 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ gary -

It's clear that the invasion of Iraq was the worst foreign policy disaster in the last 50 years and possibly the worst in American history. The fact that the actual military invasion was successful - yes, the US is good at blowing stuff up - avoids the main point of having never met the ever-shifting mission objective(s) (root out the "terrists" [sic], bring democracy to the Middles East, win hearts and minds, nation-building, etc.).

To wit; if the US failed at nation-building then it failed.

Go tell it to Bill Kristol.

Aug. 20 2012 05:11 PM

"...higher monetary value..." wasn't the issue.
The issue was taxes.
Taxes accrue on more than property, income, wages, etc.
There also are "invisible" taxes such as the taxes on cigarettes and liquor - the so called "sin" taxes.

Aug. 20 2012 01:19 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


Which has a higher monetary value?

A paycheck or an unemployment check (max 99 weeks?)?

Then what?

Aug. 20 2012 01:05 PM

to: Edward

Yes. Unemployment compensation is taxed by New York State.

Aug. 20 2012 01:01 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

TP, Please explain how unemployed people pay payroll taxes?

How do people who lose their homes pay property taxes?

Aug. 20 2012 12:28 PM

Unemployment insurance is taxed, so people do pay on that. and property taxes are figured into rental units. and forclosed homes still had a ton of taxes paid on their initial mortgages. you don't know what you're talking about.

Aug. 20 2012 12:20 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Tom Pinch said:

"payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, local taxes...."

Payroll taxes from the unemployed?
Property taxes from people whose homes are foreclosed?

Aug. 20 2012 12:01 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

gary from queens said:

One week ago from today, was the start of the greatest foreign policy catastrophe for the USA in decades, and US Today didnt think it was worthy of headlining it..

In the span of one week, the most populist and militarily powerful (with our weapons and training) nation in the middle east, and ally of the US and Israel, became another islamist stronghold, and with President Obama's blessing"

It's like Obama is another One-Term Jimmy Carter.

Aug. 20 2012 11:55 AM

to: Martin Chuzzlewit

From: Paul Krugman

Unethical Commentary, Newsweek Edition
There are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson’s cover story in Newsweek — I guess they don’t do fact-checking — but this is the one that jumped out at me. Ferguson says:

The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.
Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report (pdf) knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit — because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.

Aug. 20 2012 11:45 AM

So, what exactly is "legitimate" rape?

Aug. 20 2012 11:43 AM
Robert from NYC

So there was the older guy who moved to the left from the right and the woman who moved farther to the left from the left and the woman who went independent because neither party does it for her (I'm with here) but seems the trend is that since the right as moved farther to the right, and they have, and the left had moved closer to the center-right and there seems to be barely any left left in the parties (oh maybe a handful) it seems that people are fed up with the system. I recommend they not vote if they don't like any of the candidates and forget that baloney that no vote is a vote for the wrong party. No, no vote is no vote because no one of the candidates offer you anything substantial in your life. Why vote and be sorry? Why support someone you don't want!!? People who voted for the third party candidate didn't vote against the loser, they voted FOR the third candidate.

Aug. 20 2012 11:04 AM


Posts that are put up before the discussion starts are bomb-throwing and prove bias. That is what you are showing.

I don't hang out in an echo chamber. I just need to have some coherence in the posts.

As far as I can tell, your (and Martin's) post are based on irrational Obama-hatred. I can accept that point of view since much of my Bush criticism was called 'Bush bashing' at the time. Most Americans now agree with me that he was the worst president ever but I have to leave room in my thinking that history may one day recover his position.

The first part of your response re: the Soviet Union and Maoist China is unintelligible. What were you meaning to say?

Aug. 20 2012 10:55 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So Gary - are you saying that America should have crushed the pro-democracy movement in Egypt to keep a "stable" military dictatorship functioning?

Should Morsy, as the democratically elected president of Egypt, have allowed the military to keep controlling things? The nerve of the guy.

Aug. 20 2012 10:52 AM
Elizabeth Voss from New York

On the subject of Rep. Todd Aken's crazy comment about rape victims' bodies "shutting down the process" to prevent pregnancy, I found a Website that lists other times very conservative politicians have made this argument:

Aug. 20 2012 10:52 AM
gary from queens

the airspace Edward. we invaded Libya's airspace, in order to bomb kadafy's forces. kadafy being our ally against islamists just months prior.

Aug. 20 2012 10:48 AM
Seth Pecksniff

Gary, are you really comparing Libya to Iraq??? The death toll alone shows what a stretch that is. I'm sure you can do better.

Aug. 20 2012 10:44 AM
Edward from NJ

We invaded Libya?

Aug. 20 2012 10:42 AM
Michael Dal Cerro from New Jersey

Why do the Republicans think us folks who are over 55 do not care about people younger than us? We do not want a Medicare benefit cut for anyone. In fact we want Medicare for all!

Aug. 20 2012 10:41 AM
gary from queens


to answer, martin and I are conservatives, and most conservatives have an argument and a competent political philosophy consistent with the Framers and proven over time (time me where the Soviet union and Maoist China are now?).

And THAT is why we do not need the security of hanging out in an echo chamber like you liberals do. Unlike BL and his bloggers, we welcome counterpoint as an educational tool.

The real question is why do YOU feel its most productive to listen to people wh agree with you all the time?!

Aug. 20 2012 10:41 AM
gary from queens

@tom pinch

WMD was one case for regime change. and the 911 commission said it was an honest miscalculation, and Bush obtained Congressional support and UN support.

Obama's "case" for Libya invasion was humanitarian----whic quickly became a lie, when he expanded it to topple the regime----without congressional approval.

So who is the bigger liar?

Aug. 20 2012 10:36 AM
John A.

Republicans naked in public? Can never happen!

Aug. 20 2012 10:34 AM
SJM from Bronx

When did we start being surprised at the Republican war on science? The most disturbing element of the reaction to the statement by Todd Aiken isn't his ignorance of basic biology, it is the implication of his term "legitimate rape". What is illegitimate rape?

Aug. 20 2012 10:34 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Yes Martin - I see that you look forward to having a Mormon and a Catholic (both, who have talked about returning America to its "Christian" roots) in the White House - because of their religions' immpleccable historic records on the "Jewish Question" ?

If they get elected, you better hope that Adelson can keep writing checks for the next 4-8 years.

Aug. 20 2012 10:34 AM
Seth Pecksniff

Martin, you're really getting close to crossing a line. Do you yell Fire in a crowded theater, too?

Aug. 20 2012 10:26 AM

For Martin and Gary -

Help us all understand your reason for hanging out here rather than a place where your viewpoint is more the 'standard'. I presume you find the level of discussion more appealing than you would find a a right-leaning board, i.e. breitbart, drudge, littlegreenfootballs. But please help me understand the urge to bomb-throw in this space.

I'm not saying leave. I am asking what attracts you.

Aug. 20 2012 10:26 AM
Tom Pinch

Gary, Iraq did NOT have WMD. All the rest is mute.

Aug. 20 2012 10:24 AM
Edward from NJ

BL Show, can you perhaps include the crowd reaction the next time you play the Biden "back in chains" clip? I think it important to understand how the actual audience heard the line.

Aug. 20 2012 10:23 AM
Jay F.

I bet Jesus skinny dipped in the Sea of Gallilee. Another non-issue.

Aug. 20 2012 10:23 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

GUEST on ISRAEL skinny dipping ?

While we have a JEW HATER in the White House ???!!!!

Aug. 20 2012 10:22 AM
gary from queens


The iraq invasion was a great success. a textbook military campaign lasting 3 weeks and took down the third largest army in the world.

The mistakes were made in nation-building----something that obama supporter Colin Powell supported, and real conservatives like Grover Norquist and Andrew McCarthy counseled against.

Aug. 20 2012 10:22 AM

I love the assumption that the 40 & 50 year olds will have their 401Ks to fall back on & they won't have to worry about Social Security. Given the history of pension fund thefts by LBOs, S&Ls, various asset bubbles they're lambs or Galts to the slaughter.

Until we re-regulate all financial instruments, the financial markets are just open casinos.

The younger folks can think they have everything fixed up, but without regulation they're just more suckers fit for fleecing.

These days they'll get "fee'd" to death from not only banks but in all other consumer areas.

Aug. 20 2012 10:21 AM
Mary from Manhattan

For a history of Republican claims that "legitimate rape" does not cause pregnancy, see Garance Franke-Ruta's column in today's Atlantic website.

Aug. 20 2012 10:21 AM
Latisha from Brooklyn

Brian's mouth waters at any type of issue that can be turned into a racial one. Sad.

Aug. 20 2012 10:21 AM
Harvey Bernstein

Why would anyone 55 and over (including me) believe that those 54 and under will continue to support the existing Medicare when they are not going to benefit? How can Ryan claim that those 55 and over have nothing to fear. Isn't getting rid of the promise for those 54 and under just the first step in changing Medicare for EVERYONE?

Aug. 20 2012 10:20 AM
Seth Pecksniff

Invading Iraq is The greatest foreign policy disaster in US history. No doubt about it. sad

Aug. 20 2012 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Why do we call this the Brian Lehrer Show???

"You didn't build that !!
Someone else made that happen!"

How about including the names of the producers, interns and janitors?

Aug. 20 2012 10:20 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

I'm in my early 60's, still working, and must continue to my late 60's.

I know that if Mr Ryan and Romney have their way, Medicare or Medicade will not be there for me.

Why would younger people continue to contribute to it, knowing it will not be there for them?

It will be dropped, as a tax line due, under pressure from voters; and we older Americans will be put on ice floes.

Aug. 20 2012 10:18 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Who is more smug and snide....the Guest or the Host ??

Aug. 20 2012 10:17 AM
tim from nyc

please attempt to be unbiased. pro life is not anti abortion, just as pro choice is not anti life.

Aug. 20 2012 10:16 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes, Bush and even as far back as Reagan, we have become a 50/50 nation. This is the trickle down theory. Trickle down decreases as it gets to the bottom where you get drops. Yes if it even is 50% dependent on government we can thank the republican administrations.

Aug. 20 2012 10:16 AM
Tom Pinch

payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, local taxes....

Just because someone does not pay income taxes, doesn't mean they don't pay tons of other taxes.

What's your point MC?

Aug. 20 2012 10:15 AM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ gary from queens -

The "greatest foreign policy disaster in over 30 years" that you're referring to is the unsubstantiated decision to invade Iraq, a federal govt. budget-buster and a terrible toll on human/life. Right?

(By the way, I would say that the invasion of Iraq is one of the "greatest foreign policy disaster in over 30 years" in American history.)

Aug. 20 2012 10:15 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


"......since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program. This is one of many ways unemployment is being concealed."

Aug. 20 2012 10:14 AM
gary from queens

if we're going to talk about some idiot's view on rape and attribute it to Romney, lets talk about the New Black Panther comments on killing white babies and attribute it to Holder and Obama.

At least Holder praised NBP and refused to enter a plea for sentencing after NBP party was convicted of voter intimidation

Aug. 20 2012 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

What is legitimate rape?

Aug. 20 2012 10:12 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


"Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit.

We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits."

(I guess it works for those who support Obama....usually part of the half on the receiving end of this Ponzi scheme.)


Aug. 20 2012 10:11 AM
Tom Pinch

Martin and Gary drop their nonsequitors and then run. We'll never hear them afterward nor on topic. dopes.

Aug. 20 2012 10:11 AM
Robert from NYC

Hmmm. Do these "seniors" want their grandchildren to have the Ryan plan? Are they so selfish that they feel it's not good for them but it's ok for their grandchildren who, by the way, have already started contributing into the Medicare system?!

Aug. 20 2012 10:11 AM
Marianne from Staten Island

Since when do we idealize third-rate Russian novellists, such as Ayn Rand, this unappealing lost soul who doesn’t know which end is up?
There are plenty of great Russian thinkers and writers, way more talented than Rand .
She came to the US and pretty soon learned how to be an opportunistic flim-flam by sucking up to the Commission of Un-American activities, where she testified as a “friendly witness”.
This mixed-up and unattractive person supported egoism and individualism against the common good, collectivism and government.

This is the person idealized by Paul Ryan!

Question: What is Ryan doing in government? Why is he running for anything with such ideals: putting egoism and individualism ahead of the common good? With such a philosophy he should be the sole owner of a store and get out of government and the people’s business .

Ryan is the one who voted for a massive prescription drug Medicare entitlement, the Bush tax cuts and two wars without paying for any of them. He is even sorrier about this than he is about the stimulus."

He is even sorrier that he got stimulus money for his district and argued in recently disclosed letters that it would create jobs, the opposite of what he told the public. He is most sorry that he got caught being hypocritical and a liar and looking like a normal two-faced Republican congressman.
Ryan began to float this legitimate/illegitimate rape concept.He should go to the dictionary (instead of reading third rate literature like Rand): Rape is a crime!

Aug. 20 2012 10:09 AM
Leo from Queens

Mr. Akin's comments were not a slip of the tongue or a 'miss speak'. This is part of a pattern in which these men are trying to redefine rape. Congressman Akin, along with Paul Ryan, co-sponsored a bill in Congress to redefine rape into 'forcible' and by default 'non-forcible' rape in order to control abortions.

We need to ask these men to define 'Forcible' rape and 'legitimate' rape.
The rammifications of going down this slippery line of thinking is that women and children who are sexually assaulted or abused will have no credibility in society and in the courts UNLESS they have a broken arm, a stab, a broken nose or a bashed in eye as 'proof' that they have been raped.
Anything else where a woman comes forward with a rape accusation will not be taken seriously unless she can produce a broken limb. scratches or marks on the neck only 'prove' 'rough sex'.
This line of thinking will be used by rapists to defend themselves if we allow these idiots to codify this in the law!.

I don't understand why women are not rioting and occupying the Congress and every state legislature.

Aug. 20 2012 10:08 AM
gary from queens

I can't believe Brian and Page will discuss some idiot in Misouri commenting on abortion, but not the greatest foreign policy disaster in over 30 years.

This is why MSM like NPR can't exist without gov money and print media like USA Today have become dinosaurs.

Aug. 20 2012 10:08 AM

Leave it to Martin and Gary to have already made long comments on the "discussion" before the discussion even started!

Aug. 20 2012 10:05 AM

not an issue

Aug. 20 2012 10:03 AM
gary from queens

One week ago from today, was the start of the greatest foreign policy catastrophe for the USA in decades, and US Today didnt think it was worthy of headlining it, let alone attributing political significance to it for the presidential campaign.

In the span of one week, the most populist and militarily powerful (with our weapons and training) nation in the middle east, and ally of the US and Israel, became another islamist stronghold, and with President Obama's blessing, who for months had supported it and funded it with almost $2 billion----against the wishes of Congress.

President Mohamed Morsy of Egypt began a policy of intimidation, censorship and closure of independently owned media organizations that dare to publish criticism of him.

Morsy revoked the military's constitutional role in setting the foreign and military policies of Egypt. But he maintained the junta's court-backed decision to disband the parliament. In so doing, Morsy gave himself full control over the writing of Egypt's new constitution.

As former ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel wrote in last Tuesday's Jerusalem Post, Morsy's moves mean that he "now holds dictatorial powers surpassing by far those of erstwhile president Hosni Mubarak." Morsy's actions have transformed Egypt from a military dictatorship into an Islamist dictatorship.

By week's end, the new President completed Egypt's transformation into an Islamist state, by sacking the commanders of the Egyptian military and replacing them with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists, and fired all the editors of the state-owned media and replaced them with Muslim Brotherhood loyalists----or as Obama considers it, a "mostly secular organization!"

And I'm not even mentioning Secretary of State Clinton 3 weeks ago publicly pressuring Egypt's top general to give Islamist Morsy total control of the military.

Critics of Candidate Obama cited his inexperience as an executive. If Bush were still President, USA TODAY would be touting this for what it is----a foreign policy blunder for the administration (for toppling Mubarak and backing an Islamist party), and a catastrophe for the American people.

Aug. 20 2012 09:58 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Larry Summers on Obama's economic ignorance and incompetence-

According to Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men, Larry Summers told Orszag over dinner in May 2009: “You know, Peter, we’re really home alone ... I mean it. We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes [of indecisiveness on key economic issues].”
“You can’t just march in and make that argument and then have him make a decision,” Summers told Orszag, “because he doesn’t know what he’s deciding.”


Aug. 20 2012 09:56 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Niall Ferguson at Newsweek puts it in a nutshell-


"It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president.
In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that HIS administration has achieved."

Aug. 20 2012 08:38 AM

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