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The Brian Lehrer Show

Catholics and the GOP

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stephen F. Schneck, Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, talks about the critical letter to Speaker Boehner which he and other Catholic academics signed, and other reactions from Catholics to the GOP budget.

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Transportation Nation

GOP: Energy Votes to Proceed Amid Obama's Big Moment

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

$4-a-gallon gas in Soho (photo by Kate Hinds)

(Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) The killing of Osama bin Laden has changed a lot in the world. But it won't change GOP plans to take aim at the president and his energy policy later this week.

That's because House leaders plan to go ahead with a series of votes designed to place blame on President Obama for high gas prices.

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Trump in Demand with Local GOP

Sunday, April 24, 2011

While some political pundits may dismiss Donald Trump's presidential talk as a publicity stunt, local Republicans are treating him differently, with county leaders courting him to appear at their events.

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It's A Free Country ®

Know Your Republican Contenders

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's almost off-to-the-races time! With only months to go before the first Republican presidential debate, the big question right now is who will run. Some front-runners are remaining coy while others are off filing for exploratory committees. It's A Free Country breaks down who's in the mix and their campaign status, from Romney and Huckabee to Palin and Trump

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It's A Free Country ®

Dems Take on Ryan Budget? Unshared Sacrifice

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do we begin the process of getting government in balance? Only if there's shared sacrifices. The things we didn't like in the 2011 reconciliation was nothing was done in the defense budget. Only a small portion was cut, and yet we continue the process of giving tax cuts to those wealthiest Americans. We're going to change that when we get to the bigger debate.

Bill Pascrell, U.S. Congressman (D-NJ 8) and member of the House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Blog

Birther Trump: The Latest in a NYC Political Tradition

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wanting to run for president on the Republican ticket and bringing up the dead-as-a-doornail story of Obama's birth certificate as his signature issue? This I cannot abide.
       - Karol Markowicz on Donald Trump's affiliation with the birther movement
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The Takeaway

Budget Battle Continues in Congress, House Votes to Defund Public Radio

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Republicans control one half of one third of our government. There are a lot of other players that we need to work with," House Speaker, John Boehner told the press Thursday as another budget extension was voted on. He finds himself between a rock and hard place, explains Takeaway Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich. Rep. Boehner will have to negotiate with both the Tea Party and democrats Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. Meanwhile, the House voted to defund public radio production in a bill that will likely not pass the Senate.

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Mideast Meets Midwest: Protest Edition

Monday, March 07, 2011

In the face of popular protest, a vindictive leader scapegoats the protesters, blaming outside agitators for the very real frustrations of his citizens. He seeks to take away the rights of the opposition and continues a crusade on behalf of the oligarchs against the masses. Middle East or Midwest?

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Much Ado About Newt Thing

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

This week in politics, the biggest news is barely news.

In the last days of February, reports surfaced that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee "in 10 days," without Gingrich's official spokesman—or the man himself—saying a word.

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Haley Barbour: A Force From the South

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don’t let Haley Barbour fool you. 

Though he may refer to himself as “a fat redneck,” though he’s got a charming Mississippi country-boy drawl, though his white hair, apple cheeks and twinkly eyes may make you think of Santa Claus, the man is a perspicacious politician. Barbour spent Presidents Day in Iowa, meeting with state Republican Party officials and lawmakers in the state that serves as the presidential election starting gate.

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Mitch Daniels: The Anti-Palin

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mitch Daniels is feeling popular these days. 

Not only does he have an ad starring New York’s own Jimmy “The Rent Is Too Damn High” McMillan, but conservative columnist George Will has predicted that he holds potentially great appeal to conservative voters as the anti-Obama. “If they’re disappointed with Mr. Obama, then a short, balding, unimpressive, uncharismatic, competent governor might be just the key,” Will wrote.

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Mitt Romney: Turnaround Artist

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mitt Romney is a man who has held multiple positions on the issues—sometimes on the same issue. In 2008, his campaign aides had a term they preferred for him: a "turnaround" artist. They were referring to his track record in reviving struggling businesses, but one could be forgiven for assuming it applies to his stance on social issues.

Romney has several things going for him which make him a likely contender in the upcoming elections. For one, he has money — lots of it.

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Transportation Nation

Rail, Transpo Projects Face GOP Ax in Spending Bill

Monday, February 14, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Transportation projects are set to take a massive, immediate hit under a spending bill headed for the floor of the House of Representatives this week.

Republicans are aiming to cut nearly $15.5 billion from the section of the budget carrying transportation and housing funding. The money comes out of highway projects, infrastructure investments, and particularly high-speed rail.

The bill, what’s known in Washington as a continuing resolution, funds the government from March 4 through the end of September, 2011. Overall it contains around $63 billion in immediate cuts from current spending levels across the government. It’s all part of Republicans' pledge to reduce immediately reduce spending, and it could go even further by the time the bill is done being amended on the floor.

It’s also prelude to a broader budget fight hitting Washington this week. President Obama unveils his Fiscal 2012 budget plan Monday morning. That covers spending beginning October 1, 2011, and its big transportation highlight--$53 billion in high-speed rail funding—is already attracting Republican derision.

“We’re broke,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning. He repeated the refrain all week as Democrats, and even some Republicans, complained about the pain such immediate cuts could cause.

Before we look at specifics, keep in mind: After passing the House, this bill still needs to get through the Senate, where Democrats have a majority and lawmakers overall are considerably less enthusiastic about immediate discretionary spending cuts than are their House colleagues.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a conservative member of the Appropriations Committee and a spending hawk, acknowledged late last week that the aim of the deep-cutting House bill was two-fold: To fulfill Republicans campaign promises and to go into negotiations with the Senate “with as big a number as possible.”

A good chunk of that big number will come out of high-speed rail, if the House GOP gets its way. The continuing resolution hitting the House floor this week goes after $2.475 billion in funding already sent out to rail projects under stimulus and from other sources. It also seeks to hold back another $2.5 billion in high-speed rail funding yet to go out the door.

But rail isn’t alone. The bill cuts $600 million in general “national infrastructure investments," and takes another $600 million-plus from Federal Aviation Administration. Highways take a major hit as well, with $650 million slated for cuts to the Federal Highway Administration’s general fund and another $293 million in cuts to “surface transportation priorities”.

Democrats are predictably incensed at the GOP package. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of taking a “meat axe” to the federal budget. House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), responded to the GOP proposals by backing a quick, and ultimately failed floor attempt to renew “Build America Bonds” for infrastructure funding.

“When you say they want to cut transportation, we know right away that’s a false economy,” Pelosi said to an organized labor crowd including members of the United Steel Workers on Thursday.

But the House’s cuts in general, and high-speed rail cuts in particular, are music to the ears of many Senate Republicans, at least publicly. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on the Budget Committee said Thursday that high-speed rail projects were not efficient at stoking economic growth and should be killed.

The continuing resolution is set to hit the House floor Tuesday for at least two days of debate and amendments, possibly more. Conservative lawmakers are promising attempts to cut even more from federal spending right away. According to Boehner, if successful amendments lead to even deeper immediate cuts this week, “that’s fine.”

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CPAC 2011 On The Ground: Straw Poll Time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The results of the 2011 CPAC Straw Poll are in. Rep. Ron Paul, unsurprisingly, wins:

  • Texas Rep. Ron Paul: 30 percent
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: 23 percent
  • Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson: 6 percent
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 6 percent
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: 5 percent
  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: 4 percent
  • Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: 4 percent
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: 4 percent
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: 3 percent
  • Former talk show host Herman Cain: 2 percent
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: 2 percent
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: 2 percent
  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune: 2 percent
  • U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman: 1 percent
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour: 1 percent
  • Others: 5 percent
  • Undecided: 1 percent

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CPAC 2011 On the Ground: Day One

Friday, February 11, 2011

The 2011 Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC) got off to a bang on Thursday with Donald Trump and newly-elected Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) providing immediate fireworks.

The Donald spoke to a riled up crowd, supporting a recent rumor that he is considering a presidential run on the Republican ticket, and outlined the contours of his potential platform. But more than anything, Trump got a lot of buzz for taking a shot at Sen. Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, stating flatly that, "Ron Paul cannot get elected folks, I'm sorry." Given the number of Paul-ites and libertarians in the crowd, the statement produced some groans, boos, and jeers. The remainder of his speech looked to shore up his gun and pro-life bona fides and bemoaned American trade policy (Donald wants our money back from everyone, everywhere). Few consider Trump a legit contender for the Republican nomination, but by dipping his toes in the presidential pool, he should be good for "billions" of laughs.

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The Takeaway

CPAC: GOP Presidential Hopefuls Make Their Case

Thursday, February 10, 2011

American conservatives are gathering in Washington for the annual CPAC Forum. This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference will see a wide field of Republican presidential hopefuls who are sure to make an appearance, and deliver their best case for the GOP nomination. This year there is no front runner (and Sarah Palin will not be attending.) For a preview and analysis, we speak with The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich.  

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At CPAC, a Conservative House Divided?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is always a big shindig, but this year there will be some new faces at the planning table: GOProud, a gay group that implicitly supports gay marriage in addition to the usual laundry list of conservative ideals. GOProud's attendance was enough to set off a boycott of CPAC by prominent conservative politicans and groups, including individuals who had previously attended the conference and even delivered keynote speeches there.

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The Takeaway

'Not Every Regulation is Bad,' Obama Tells Business Leaders

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Republicans are planning to undo as many of the Obama administration's regulations as they can. This includes regulations on Wall Street, health care and the EPA and greenhouse gasses. Republicans are calling these regulations "burdensome" and are creating a bill that will strip the EPA of any power to regulate greenhouse gasses or climate change.

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It's A Free Blog

Don't Count Out Moderate Republican Jon Huntsman

Thursday, February 03, 2011

WNYC

It would be a mistake to count moderate Republican Jon Huntsman out for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and even more of a mistake if Republicans don’t give him serious consideration.

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The Takeaway

RNC Chair Reince Priebus, GOP Look to 2012

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reince Priebus was elected the GOP's new chairman on Friday, replacing Michael Steele. He alreday has his sites set on the 2012 presidential election, and taking down Barack Obama. Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent gives us some background on Priebus. And Ron Christie, CEO of Republican Christie Strategies and the author of "Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur," said on our show last week he thought the new leader would be Saul Anuzis or Maria Cino. He'll share his surprise with us about the choice of Priebus, and how he thinks it will shape the GOP.

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