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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Just Who Is Chris Christie Campaigning For?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Either Christie is calculating his impact for four years from now rather than four weeks, or he's just a loose cannon.

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Transportation Nation

Did This RNC Speaker Just Demand More Stimulus So He Could 'Build That'?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At least until Rick Santorum’s soliloquy on hands, it was the strangest moment of the Republican National Convention Tuesday night: a small businessman from New Mexico stood at the podium and said—in remarks that were obviously vetted if not written by RNC organizers—that the Obama Administration had let him down... by not spending more money on his road signs.

The theme of the night—written on the walls and backdrops and hand-lettered signs, and laced through nearly every speech—was “We Built It,” an insistent jab at an Obama quote, “You didn’t build that,” which opponents heard as an insult to American ingenuity and bootstrappiness. The President doesn’t think people build their own businesses, the Republicans say, because he thinks the Government builds everything.

His comments, for those who haven't read them a dozen times, were: "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen."

The President, and Democrats like Mass. Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren, make the point with more nuance: businesses big and small are built by people— call them business-builders if you like—who themselves rely on things we can only build together as a society, like roads, schools and police departments.

But one doesn’t need to hunt for nuance to hear the RNC speaker, Phil Archuletta, saying that the government quite literally keeps his business alive, or that he’s quite upset that there wasn’t more federal largesse flowing his way. “When President Obama came on board and pushed the stimulus,” he told the convention Tuesday, "I believed my business was going to explode with work. Unfortunately, it never happened."  (His complete remarks are below.)

Today, liberal bloggers have fleshed out the details. The Huffington Post pointed out that “Archuletta saw over $340,000 in federal contracts under Obama in 2010, which makes up nearly half of the $800,000 he’s received in federal dollars over the past 10 years,” and Mother Jones reported that “Through the Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency, Archuleta secured an $850,000 Small Business Administration loan guarantee to build an 11,700-square-foot building for his company.”

No word yet on whether Archuletta will be invited to speak at the Democratic Convention, where perhaps he would have been a better fit.

Here are Mr. Archuletta’s full prepared remarks:

Phil Archuletta: Thank you, Governor.  And thank you, Tampa! My story is the story of many Americans, just like Governor Sandoval's. From humble beginnings, I built a successful business. But today my business is at risk because of the Obama administration. For the last 40 years, my company has built the road signs on the Forest Service road system.  In fact, in 1984, I was fortunate to receive the national award from President Reagan for being the most successful minority business in the United States. In 2004, President Bush made it possible for our company to manufacture signs for all federal agencies. When President Obama came on board and pushed the stimulus, I believed my business was going to explode with work. Unfortunately, it never happened. The Democratic Congress and the Obama administration created a new procurement process that harmed existing small business contracts, which devastated my business. I pleaded for help from my Congressman and Senators — all Democrats — and meetings were arranged with the Forest Service.  They all listened carefully, they made promises, but nothing happened. Today, we are barely hanging on with the orders from the state of New Mexico — thanks to Governor Susana Martinez — and the few orders still coming through the Forest Service from our very loyal customers. I have heard the same story from other small businesses from all over the country.President Obama talks like he supports small businesses, but his actions are destroying us.  His administration is putting us out of business. It is our turn to put them out of office! Thank you.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.


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Transportation Nation

RNC Interview w/ House Transpo Chair John Mica: "My Race was Heart and Soul of Repub Party"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Transportation Nation partners, The Takeaway and WNYC are broadcasting night and day live from the Republican National Convention.

Here's a short conversation between our Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich and House Transportation Committee Chair, Congressman John Mica (R-Fla).

Mica talks cautiously about Republican chances in November and addresses some tough questions on the "soul" of the GOP as Tea Party  candidates try to shift the party rightward, and away from longtime incumbents like himself.

"You can get all the republicans you want and you still can't win. You have to have independents and you also have to have soft democrats as we call them," Mica says.

Mica just emerged from a scathing and expensive primary battle with a Tea Party challenger. "We said my race was about the heart and soul of the Republican party," Mica says. "The good news is the heart and soul is still very sound."

He called himself "living proof" that Republican voters want "adult supervision" in Washington, and predicted compromise and leadership if his party wins big in November.

Keep checking back for more from the RNC and soon the DNC from key political players in the world of transportation and infrastructure.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Republican Convention Coverage Part 2

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our coverage continues of the RNC live from radio row, featuring:

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Republican Convention Coverage Part 1

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Republican convention officially begins after losing Day 1 to severe weather. Coverage continues live from radio row, featuring:

  • John Sununu, former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff under George H. W. Bush
  • Gwen Ifill, managing editor and moderator of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour

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It's A Free Country ®

At the GOP Convention in Tampa, New Jersey's Star Rises

Monday, August 27, 2012

WNYC

 New Jersey is back on the map. The state, which has not voted for a Republican for president since George Bush the elder, is suddenly important.  And the Governor, GOP keynoter Chris Christie, is besieged like a rock star by a never ending-stream of reporters.

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It's A Free Country ®

Map | Track Isaac's Path in Real Time

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hurricane Isaac, which delayed the start of the GOP convention, made landfall late Tuesday. It hit near the mouth of the Mississippi River at about 6:45 p.m. and sidestepped New Orleans, which marked the 7-year anniversary of Katrina Wednesday. Track Isaac here, with each new forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

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It's A Free Country ®

NBA Owners Mostly for Romney, but Ballers All About Obama

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Owners of NBA teams may have given more money to Republican election efforts this year, but the players? That’s a very different story.

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The Takeaway

Chris Christie Will Be Republican National Convention's Keynote Speaker

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Republican National Convention, which begin in Tampa on August 27.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Democratic Party Better Late than Never - and the GOP - on Gay Marriage

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Democrats are once again proving that they lag behind their own voters.  But they are also demonstrating that they are still leagues ahead of the Republicans.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: What the Ron Paul Campaign Needs to Stay Alive

Friday, July 13, 2012

There's still a reason to talk about Ron Paul, and it has to do with whether or not he'll be allowed to talk at the Republican National Convention next month.

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It's A Free Country ®

Tampa and Charlotte Grapple with Cost of Hosting Conventions

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The populist strategy to make the GOP appear as the exclusive province of the one percent has also extended to how the Democrats plan to finance their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

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The Takeaway

The Political Ads of the 2012 Race

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"From the creator of 'I'm Running For Office for Pete's Sake' comes the story of two men trapped in the same body — Mitt versus Mitt." It sounds like a movie trailer, but it's really the latest political ad from the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is reportedly spending $22,000 to run the ad this week. Among the GOP presidential candidates, Rick Perry has already spent $2.8 million on advertising, Ron Paul has spent $2.1 million, Mitt Romney has spent $134,000, and Herman Cain has spent $78,900. But what kind of poll numbers does one TV spot really buy?

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Transportation Nation

Charlotte Gets Dems, Tampa Gets GOP

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Department of FWIW -- The 2012 Democratic National Convention goes to Charlotte NC, which voted under a Republican mayor to tax itself for a light rail system (it now has a Democratic Mayor).  The 2012 Republican National Convention goes to Tampa, which under a Democratic mayor was part of a county-wide vote to REJECT a transit tax.  Got all that?

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The Takeaway

Who Will Be the Next RNC Chair?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Conservatives from across the country have convened in Washington this week to elect the next Republican National Committee Chair. With the 2012 presidential election right around the corner, Republican officials are looking for a leader who can rally the base, attract new voters and, of course, raise money. Michael Steele, the current RNC chair, doesn't seem to have enough support to win a second term, although he has in some ways raised the profile of the office during his term. What else does the RNC Chair need to ensure a GOP win in 2012?

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The Takeaway

The Future of the RNC Chair Michael Steele

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On a conference call with members of the Republican National Committee last night, Michael Steele ended several months of speculation and announced he will run again for chair of the RNC. His term as chairman has been marked by personal gaffes, attacks from prominent Republicans calling for his head, but also significant GOP pickups in both houses of Congress.

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It's A Free Country ®

NY Congressional Races Draw Big Name Campaigners

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

With less than a week to go before the midterm election, several House races in New York are factoring into national Democratic and Republican calculations.

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The Takeaway

RNC's Michael Steele Gaffes... Again

Monday, July 05, 2010

At a Republican fundraiser in Connecticut this weekend, Michael Steele was caught by a handheld camera saying the conflict in Afghanistan is "a war of Obama's choosing." Those words have many Republicans criticizing the RNC chairman, and calling for his resignation, including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich explains Steele's history of gaffes and whether this one will bring him down.

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