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Posts tagged ‘Louisiana’

Seniors Group Leader Vows to Kill ‘Death Tax’.

Jim Martin, founder and chairman of the 60 Plus Senior Association, vows that his 7.1 million-member group’s efforts to repeal the estate tax will play a huge role in the 2014 elections.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax, the man who put the phrase “death tax” on the political map to describe the estate tax predicted a big Republican capture of the Senate because of what he called a “tsunami of senior power reaching gale force this November.”

Virtually every Republican competing for a Senate seat this year supports repealing the estate tax. In 2006, the repeal effort came within three votes of overcoming a Senate filibuster.

Martin also pointed out that there is a growing sentiment among Democrats in and out of Congress to repeal the tax.

“The repeal bill in 2006 passed the House by a vote of 272 to 162,” Martin said, adding that “42 Democrats were on the repeal side and [Georgia Democratic Rep.] Sanford Bishop became the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to vote to kill the death tax. I suspect his vote had a lot to do with the number of family farms in Georgia that were hit hard by the tax that forced family members to scramble and borrow to pay it.”

Currently, the “death tax” is a 40 percent levy applied to estates over $5.34 million and is indexed for inflation.

Martin cited Frank Blethen, publisher and chief executive officer of the venerable Seattle Times, as one prominent Democrat in the “kill-the-death-tax” camp. Hailed by the left-wing Daily Kos as “the new Citizen Kane,” fourth-generation newsman Blethen runs a newspaper that has been in his family since his great-grandfather Alden bought it in 1896.

“Frank is a liberal Democrat who backed Bill Bradley for president [in the 2000 Democratic primaries] over Al Gore because Gore wasn’t liberal enough,” Martin said with a chuckle.

“I’m a conservative Republican, so we don’t get into talking politics. But the only thing we have in common is something critical: Frank is a vigorous supporter of death tax repeal,” Martin said. “I think practical experience has something to do with it. He’s just seen too many family-owned newspapers like his go under because the families couldn’t pay the tax on the estate of a deceased owner.”

Other major repeal players hailed by Martin include Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform — “who never met a tax he doesn’t want to drown in his bathtub,” Martin mused — and Alabama tax attorney Harold Apolinsky, who Martin affectionately calls “the Godfather of repeal.”

“Harold and I have testified before Congress on the harmful effects of this anti-family, anti-small business tax,” Martin said.

The next repeal measure — which is sponsored by South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, both Republicans — will have more Democratic support than ever, Martin predicted. But he also noted that nearly all the Democrats running for Senate seats this year oppose repeal.

“That will give Republicans — nearly all of whom are on the repeal side — control of the Senate,” said Martin, who in August of 2009 became one of the first conservatives to forecast the wave in 2010 that gave the GOP its largest majority in the House since 1938.

Martin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, spelled out the “battlefields” where he and 60 Plus national spokesman and legendary singer Pat Boone plan to energize their members into action.

Three states where Democratic senators are retiring are what Martin called “lead-pipe cinches” for pickup by Republicans candidates. He also said Republican challengers are better than even money to defeat Democratic senators and repeal opponents in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

“Mark my words: [Louisiana Sen.] Mary Landrieu is finished,” Martin vowed. “She has won three terms by very tight margins. This year, we’re going all-out to show Louisiana’s senior citizens how she has consistently opposed death tax repeal — and that will make the difference for her opponent.”

The 60 Plus chief went even further than many Republican-leaning pundits and forecast a Republican pickup of the seat of retiring Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and defeats for Democratic Sens. Mark Udall of Colorado, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Al Franken of Minnesota.

“The senior vote went heavily Republican in 2010 and went for Mitt Romney by 20 percentage points nationwide in 2012,” said Martin. “If other voters who favored Romney turned out for him in the numbers seniors did, we’d be discussing ‘President Romney’ and how he was eager to sign death tax repeal.”

Since he picked up what he calls “my megaphone” and started building 60 Plus nearly two decades ago, Martin has been credited with popularizing the phrase “death tax” to describe the estate tax. In his book “Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes,” Bill Gates Sr., father of Microsoft’s co-founder, cites Martin for reviving the phrase.

“Truth be told, President Reagan coined the term many years ago,” Martin told Newsmax. “But I take pride in having hammered it home. A tax ought to have a socially redeeming value. The estate tax has none. Instead it tears away at family businesses and stymies wealth creation and jobs. If Bill Gates Sr., George Soros, and Warren Buffet want to keep the death tax, fine. Make it voluntary and let them pay. But don’t preach to others about how they should be happy to pay. The estate tax needs to die.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By John Gizzi

Scott Walker: Primary Challenges Could Cripple GOP Bid to Take Senate.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considered a potential GOP candidate for president in 2016, said Republicans need to concentrate on defeating Democrats and capturing the Senate in 2014, not attacking fellow Republicans.

Walker made his remarks during a Saturday radio appearance on the The Mike Huckabee Show.

In introducing Walker, Huckabee lauded him as a conservative who doesn’t “tear down” other Republicans.

Walker noted that his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and A Nation’s Challenge” acknowledges Americans’ widespread frustration with the size and expansiveness of the federal government.

He said Republicans were able to implement “big bold reforms” in several Midwestern states including Wisconsin because they won governorships as well as legislatures enabling them to put a GOP “team in place.”

The situation in Washington was vastly different despite the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to push “true reform.” That’s because the Senate is controlled by the Democrats “and we still, unfortunately, for the next few years have a Democrat president,” the Wisconsin governor said.

Republican energies should be targeted, said Walker, “not on fighting Republicans” in House or Senate primaries but on overcoming Democrats in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska.

This year’s November elections offer a real chance to win the Senate and determine the future of the country, he told Huckabee’s audience.

“We need to elect Republicans to those spots,” said Walker.

None of the Republicans’ achievements at the state level— Michigan’s right to work laws, for example— could have been accomplished had Republicans not pulled together and won both the governorship and the legislature.

“We were able to put a team into place” because of the support of the Republican establishment, grass roots activists and the tea party, who were united on the objective of putting “power back in the hands of the people.”

Without Republican unity “we would have had tremendous difficulties if not an outright barrier to that kind of reform,” said Walker.

“The real answer is to not to go out and attack Republicans who try to push reform in the House or to try to defeat them in primaries. It’s to go out and win those winnable elections for the United States Senate,” he said.

“Then, after that, if a year from now, Republicans hold the United States Senate and they hold the House, if at that point we can’t get things done, then I think its legitimate to hold people in our own party accountable,” Walker said.

Walker said 2014 is “that all-important year. We get the Senate back. Then, two years later, we elect a Republican president. And it’s not just about winning elections at that point, it’s about truly reforming the federal government, reining in the debt, reining in the deficit.”

With Republicans in-charge on Capitol Hill and at the White House, “putting the power back in the hands of the American people” is “something we can do.”

But, only, said Walker, if Republicans don’t meanwhile “splinter off” in “many different directions.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


By Elliot Jager

Jindal, Cruz See ‘Duck’ Result as Win for ‘Liberty’ Over PC.

By Cathy Burke


Conservative groups declared victory on the “Duck Dynasty” controversy on Friday and hailed the quick reinstatement of patriarch Phil Robertson — less than two weeks after he was yanked from the A&E hit show for anti-gay remarks.

Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal called the network’s decision a victory for “the freedoms of speech and religious liberty,” the Daily Caller reported. 

The reality series is filmed in Louisiana, where the Robertsons live, and Jindal was a vocal critic of A&E’s decision to suspend the family elder Dec. 18 after an explosive GQ magazine interview in which the 67-year-old patriarch compared homosexuality with bestiality.

“I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment,” the Republican governor said at the time. “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.”

On Friday, he released a statement saying he was pleased with the reversal.

“I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness,” he said. “Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty.”

“The left is going to have to get accustomed to the fact that it does not have a monopoly on free speech and is not the only group who is permitted to voice its opinion in the public square. The left may control Hollywood, but they don’t control the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans.”

Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, also applauded the decision, but noted the network announced its decision late on the Friday between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. “Better late than never,” Reed said.

“A&E Networks belatedly came to their senses,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “Their rash suspension of Mr. Robertson threatened to destroy the most valuable franchise on cable television and alienate 40 million evangelical Christians in the process. While Mr. Robertson used some admittedly ill-advised language in the interview, he said nothing that justified this punishment. He simply quoted the Bible in answering a question about his faith.”

Reed said he hoped “the network will never again take the bizarre step of sanctioning someone for expressing their Christian faith.”

Organizers of a petition started by Christian fans,, were wary of the reinstatement, The Hollywood Reporter said.

“Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent,” said a statement from Faith Drive Consumer founder Chris Stone, according to the Reporter. “Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ — Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and worldview held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers?”

GLAAD, however, was not appeased.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the pro-gay rights group said “If dialogue with Phil is not part of the next steps, then A&E has chosen profits over African American and gay people — especially its employees and viewers.”

“Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Politico reported Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz lauded the news with a tweet of the Drudge Report‘s home page splash:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who also rushed to Robertson’s defense after his suspension, did not post any immediate reaction to the reinstatement.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the network’s change-of-heart, noted the bearded clan recently re-signed to stay on at the top-rated series in a deal worth more than $200,000 per episode.

The hit is a big asset for the network, the Reporter noted; it’s second in popularity on all cable channels only to “The Walking Dead,” with an average 13.4 million viewers, and it’sgear is sold by retailers including Walmart, Sears and Cracker Barrel restaurants.

The Robertson family is off during duck hunting season, which the Reporter noted was a contractual stipulation, through Jan. 26.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A&E Lifts ‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension.

By Cathy Burke

Buckling under a storm of controversy over the suspension of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, the A&E network Friday reinstated the outspoken star of the mega-hit series.

The bearded 67-year-old patriarch of the Louisiana family was yanked from the hit show Dec. 18 after he gave an interview to GQ magazine in which he aired his religious objections to homosexuality, likening it to “bestiality.”

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The interview set off howls of protests from activist groups including GLAAD, the gay media watch organization, but Robertson’s abrupt suspension triggered an equally fierce backlash from “Duck Dynasty” fans — and conservative politicians such as Sarah Palin — who pointed out Robertson’s beliefs were consistent with the Bible and shared by many Americans.

An Alabama lawmaker even announced he’d introduce a resolution in support of the beleaguered reality star.

On Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal praised the decision to re-instate Robertson,according to The Daily Caller.

“I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness,” he said in a statement. “Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty.”

But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Friday that despite A&E Network‘s decision to end the suspension of Phil Robertson for his insensitive remarks about gays and African Americans, the “Duck Dynasty” star needs to be “more repentant and contrite.”

“Mr. Robertson’s language was hurtful and painful to many people … [and] he’s been unrepentant,” Jackson told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“When people make mistakes, and people do make mistakes, you should be repentant and contrite and then seek forgiveness.”

In its statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the news of the suspension’s lifting, A&E said “a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to… principals” prompted its quick reaction to the Robertson interview in GQ.

“While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article,” the statement said.

“He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.'”

Though A&E reiterated that it didn’t agree with Robertson’s views, it conceded itslucrative hit “is not a show about one man’s views.

“It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love,” the network said, calling the family a group that comes “together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness” and saying those are values the network also feels “strongly about.”

The network said it had talks with Robertson’s family as well as with “numerous advocacy groups” before lifting its suspension.

“A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family,” it declared.

It also said it’ll “use this moment to launch a national public service campaign … promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.”

Since Robertson didn’t miss any filming during his suspension, the so-caled hiatus had zero effect on the upcoming fifth season, The Hollywood Reporter noted.

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Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Jesse Jackson: Reinstated Robertson Still Needs to Be ‘Repentant’.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says that despite A&E Network‘s decision to end the suspension of Phil Robertson for his insensitive remarks about gays and African Americans, the “Duck Dynasty” star needs to be “more repentant and contrite.”

“Mr. Robertson’s language was hurtful and painful to many people … [and] he’s been unrepentant,” Jackson told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“When people make mistakes, and people do make mistakes, you should be repentant and contrite and then seek forgiveness.”

A&E reinstated Robertson on Friday and will start filming new episodes of the hit reality series in in a few months.

Last week, it suspended him from the show, which showcases a Louisiana family that made its fortune with products for duck hunters, after a controversial interview he gave to GQ magazine.

Among other things, he said: “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong… start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Beastiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

Robertson also said he had picked cotton with African Americans as a youth in Louisiana and never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” — noting that they were “singing and happy” and that they did not complain about white people.

Earlier this week, Jackson caused an uproar when he attacked the comments made about African Americans by Robertson — contrasting them with what Rosa Parks faced on an Alabama bus in 1955.

“At least the bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person was following state law,” Jackson said. “Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.'”

Parks refused to obey the driver of a bus in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1955, and give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white person. The incident led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a watershed event in the civil rights movement.

Jackson told Malzberg on Friday:

“The fact is Rosa Parks was not happy and was arrested. Dr. [Martin Luther] King was not happy and was bombed and stabbed … When I went to jail at 19 I was not happy, trying to use a public library….

“I hope that [Robertson] will work diligently to make it clear to people that he did not and does not embrace these views. These views are not acceptable and they are not true….

“He talked about how happy blacks were [during] segregation, how the civil rights movement interfered with their happiness.”

A&E says it will use the Robertson flap to launch national public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance, and acceptance among all people and consulted with numerous advocacy groups before lifting the suspension.

“We’ve talked with them, but we were not at all conclusive and many of the groups that [feel] offended by what has been said will continuously [express] their disgust and express their pain,” Jackson said.

“I would like to think that Mr. Robertson ought to be more repentant and contrite as he seeks to convince people these statements are not his own.

“Because the period of racial segregation, legally, was so painful and so oppressive and so dangerous and so violent and so hurtful – so many people denied their basic American rights … I hope he’ll learn from the reaction of people.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson: I’m Not Backing Off Comments.

Image: 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson: I'm Not Backing Off Comments

By Sandy Fitzgerald

A defiant “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson told a Bible study class in Louisiana Sunday that he isn’t backing down from his anti-gay stance, saying his controversial GQ Magazine comments came from the Bible and he’s not sorry he said them.

“I will not give or back off from my path, because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions,” Robertson, wearing his trademark camouflage headband, told the class at White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, La., reports The Daily Mail.

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The A&E Network suspended Robertson from his family’s hit show last week after his comments in the magazine interview. Among other things, he said: “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong…start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Beastiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

Robertson told the Bible class that he was “just reading what was written over 2,000 years ago. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same. Humans haven’t changed.”

In addition, Robertson denied that he is “a hater.”

“I love all men and women,” he said. “I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.”

He also said that “sexual sins are numerous and many” and admitted he has “a few” himself.

“We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic,” Robertson said. “All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief…boy, there are some microbes running around now.”

But he said that Jesus said, “‘It is a man and a woman.’ But we looked at it and said it was an outdated stereotype. When you look back at the human race, the sins have always been the same. We get high, we get drunk, we get laid, we steal and kill.”

After the class, Robertson, 67, stayed for services, during which his oldest son, Pastor Alan Robertson, mentioned the controversy.

“Well, we’ve had quite a week. Shot some ducks, done some shopping, ignited a national controversy,” the pastor said.

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said Saturday he’d help the Robertsons find a new deal for their show if it leaves the A&E Network,according to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. 

“Regardless of one’s views on Phil Robertson’s statements, ‘Duck Dynasty’ has been an important representation of the state of Louisiana, inspiring prospective visitors and investors since its debut,” Dardenne said.

Meanwhile, the controversy has just made the Robertson family — which was already wealthy because of its duck-call business — prosper more. Walmart late last week reported Duck Dynasty’ merchandise is selling rapidly online as the furor continues.

According to Forbes, the Robertson family’s merchandise empire is worth $400 million, with Walmart sales totaling half of that amount.

The family also won’t be losing its Cracker Barrel sales. The restaurant chain caved in to pressure on Sunday and said it would put the “Duck Dynasty” merchandise back out for sale.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Will A&E Cancel ‘Duck Dynasty’? Robertsons Speak Out.

'Duck Dynasty'
Duck Dynasty

The decision by A&E to take Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson off the air for comments he made onhomosexuality and his faith has sparked a nationwide debate.

Meanwhile, the Robertson family is standing behind their patriarch, which means duck season could soon be coming to an end for A&E.

“While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible,” the family said in a statement released late Thursday night. “We have had a successful working relationship with A&E, but as a family we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.”

The reality TV show featuring the Robertson family’s redneck charm and duck calls is one of the most popular in cable history, averaging 14 million viewers per episode–and its viewers aren’t abandoning the Robertsons now.

More than a 100,000 people have signed a petition on And on Facebook, more than a million fans have signed on to a page boycotting A&E until Phil Robertson is returned to the show.

The social media site is coming under fire as well. The administrator for one of the pages supportingDuck Dynasty says Facebook locked him out for eight hours before telling him it was just an “accident.”

“He was basing his comments … on biblical verse … and these are views that a lot of people hold.” Matthew Belloni, executive editor of Hollywood Reporter, said.

Meanwhile, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told CNN that Robertson did what any Christian should do.

“All throughout that article–and by the way, the GQ article was very clear on this—his concern was to help people to know their need for Christ, and to believe in Christ and to find salvation in Christ,” Mohler said.

“And when he was talking about that list of sins he wasn’t comparing one thing to another,” he continued.  “He was doing what the Bible does repeatedly, and that was put out a list of sins that includes all of us so that we know of our need for Christ.”

Even Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in, saying, “The left is tolerant of every viewpoint except those who disagree with them.”

Season five of Duck Dynasty is set to debut Jan. 15. Filming has already finished, and Phil Robertson is featured in all 10 episodes. It’s still unclear how A&E will proceed.


Ralph Reed: Boycott A&E for ‘Anti-Christian Bigotry’.

Image: Ralph Reed: Boycott A&E for 'Anti-Christian Bigotry'

By Todd Beamon

Conservative political activist Ralph Reed on Thursday called on the 800,000 members of the Faith & Freedom Coalition to boycott the A&E Network until “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is reinstated to the program.

“Phil Robertson’s suspension is a brazen act of anti-Christian bigotry,” Reed, the coalition’s chairman, said in a statement.

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Robertson was placed on indefinite suspension by the cable network on Wednesday after he compared homosexuality to having sex with animals in a published magazine interview.

But Robertson has since received broad support from conservatives and Republican politicians ranging from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

In the interview, Robertson “never represented his views and values as being those of A&E or the producers of ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ” Reed said. “He was specifically asked about his views on sin and God’s best plan for humanity — and he answered honestly, forthrightly, even directly.

“His comments were based on his faith in God, not animus directed at gays or others who might be different from him,” Reed added.

“To suspend Robertson under these circumstances is sanctioning him for holding Christian faith and beliefs — and it is a sign of a broader intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination against Christians that has no place in America.”

The coalition’s boycott efforts will also include telephone calls, email blasts, mailings, and text messages. Member are urged to write A&E executives to protest the suspension.

Reed said that he, too, wrote network officials over the matter.

“Sadly, A&E is in danger of destroying one of the most-valuable franchises in the television industry and offending 40 million Americans in the process,” Reed said. “If its management is smart, they will move swiftly to repair the damage before it is too late.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Landrieu Openly Critical of Obama in First Campaign Ad.

Embattled Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is criticizing   President Barack Obama in her first campaign commercial for his handling of the new heathcare law rollout as she begins her re-election fight in Louisiana for a fourth term.

The three-term senator comes out firing in the ad against Obama’s signature healthcare law and his failure to keep his promise that people could keep their current insurance p plans and their doctors under the Affordable Care Act.

“I said to the president that you told them you could keep it,” she says in the 30-second commercial. “This is a promise you made. This is a promise you should keep.”

The ad is aimed at highlighting Landrieu’s own pending legislation aimed at helping people keep their existing plans under Obamacare.

“I’m fixing it and that’s what my bill does, and I have urged the president to fix it,” she says in the ad, which contains news footage primarily from interviews she’s conducted since the disastrous Obamacare website launch Oct. 1.

Under attack conservative outside groups running ads against her, Landrieu’s ad appears to be aimed at blaming the Obamacare woes on the president and at distancing herself and other congressional Democrats from the troubled rollout.

At the same time, her commercial appears to take some credit for Obama’s announcement that states and insurance companies could continue providing existing health insurance plans for another year.

Landrieu’s approval ratings have been falling in the past weeks, and after winning with only 52 percent of the vote in the last two elections she may be facing another tough re-election battle, Politico reports.

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Baton Rouge doctor, announced in April that he plans to challenge her next year.

“Obamacare is filled with problems that we are all witnessing as it unravels. It’s understandable for Senator Landrieu to try to paint as rosy a picture as she can – she was the deciding vote for the law and continues to champion it,” Cassidy said Wednesday, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune. “Her recent TV ad is simply misleading: to the many Louisianans who have had their current policies canceled and to every other American, who simply know better from reading the news.”

Landrieu does not mention in the ad that she was the pivotal vote on the Affordable Care Act in the Senate, a fact that the negative ads being run against her are highlighting.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Obama’s Wrong: GOP Is Pitching Alternative Healthcare Plans.

By Andrea Billups

Despite the president’s assertions that GOP critics of Obamacare haven’t offered anything better, Republicans have in fact put forward alternatives aimed at not only repealing the flawed law but also fixing many of its shortcomings.

In the House, the Republican Study Committee has put together the latest and most comprehensive version of a GOP healthcare plan. The American Health Care Reform Act, introduced in September, now has 108 co-sponsors.

The proposal flips Obamacare’s focus on a vast role for the federal government in overseeing the nation’s healthcare system to a free-market approach, including tax deductions geared at giving consumers the ability to purchase their own health insurance, and tort reform aimed at lessening costs to medical providers.

The plan leans on ideas previously proposed by Republicans, including allowing competition from insurance providers across state lines, creating pools for small businesses that keep rates down, and allowing the federal government to contribute to high-risk insurance pools in the states, bolstering support for those with pre-existing conditions.

“Most people know we’re against the president’s healthcare law, but I think they want to see what we stand for,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican who chairs the Republican Study Committee, at an event sponsored in November by The Washington Free Beacon.

During the government shutdown battle, President Barack Obama said Republicans were trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act without offering any alternatives.

Republicans “used to say, ‘Well, we’re going to replace it with something better.’ There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better,” Obama said at a White House press conference in August. “I’ve been hearing about this whole replacement thing for two years. Now I just don’t hear about it because basically they don’t have an agenda to provide health insurance to people at affordable rates.”

But lawmakers who are in the study committee aren’t the only ones pitching a GOP alternative. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia all have floated their own version of a Republican healthcare plan, with similar themes drawn from the best ideas across several years of policy research by a host of think tanks.

A comprehensive and detailed proposal also was offered by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona during his 2008 presidential bid against Obama. The McCain plan was estimated to cover about 21 million new people while about 26 million were expected to get coverage under the Obama plan.

Conservative policy experts say the party needs to coalesce around a unified approach, noting that the lack of concentrated support has kept their ideas from advancing.

“The issue is not really whether there are plans. There have been enormous lists of proposals. On a scale of one to 10, you’re talking about a 10 on the Richter scale,” Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Innovation at Washington, D.C.’s Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax.

“I think what has to happen is the leadership in Congress — representatives in the House and Senate — have got to coalesce around a comprehensive set of proposals,” said Moffit, who served in the Reagan administration as deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and is the former director of the Heritage Center for Health Policy studies.

“That doesn’t mean they have to put everything in one bill. They have to have a whole series of initiatives where they have a coherent policy response to the problems of the country, and at the same time stop the permanent damage that is being done by the president’s law,” Moffit said. “The reason why we ended up with the mess we ended up with, Obamacare, is because the Republicans would never get their act together on health policy.”

Heritage’s plan, which they describe as “patient-centered” and “market-based,” focuses on consumer choice, allowing individuals to pick and control insurance plans they could carry from job to job and through retirement, rather than picking from exchanges that limit choices.

Employers, Heritage suggests, should be encouraged to offer plans that are portable for employees, and consumers should receive an individual tax credit that they could use to help buy a policy.

Heritage supports offering consumers their choice of providers, rather than a limited selection as offered under Obamacare, and creating high-risk pools for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The foundation also supports allowing the purchase of policies across state lines, creating competition in the marketplace by eliminating barriers to interstate commerce, and allowing consumers to choose a provider, no matter where the carrier might be located.

“What we see now are these large geographical cartels,” said Moffit. “We should break them down, create a huge national market, like life and auto insurance. With a large national market, you’d create large national pools — you might see 250,000 to a couple of million people in a national pool. When you get that kind of economies of scale you get much lower administrative costs.”

Republicans have put a slate of common-sense ideas on the table, says Michael Tanner, a senior fellow who studies healthcare reform at Washington’s Cato Institute.

“I think the basic concept of a more consumer-based market is key … so individuals control more of their money and make more decisions, along with creating more competition, allowing purchases across state lines,” Tanner told Newsmax.

He added: “I think the basic ideas behind the Republican plans are not the problem. The fight for the Republicans is about the details.

“The problem on the Republican side isn’t that there isn’t a plan. There are a lot of different proposals and several different bills that have been introduced. What there isn’t is a single plan,” Tanner said. “Part of this is ideological because there is not a consensus around details of those plans.”

Unlike Democrats, who have rallied around Obama as president, “Republicans don’t have a single leader,” Tanner said. “It’s not an election year, so you don’t have a presidential candidate. You have a lot of folks who are jockeying around for their own stuff. Who speaks for the Republican Party?”

Without the bully pulpit of the White House, it is harder for Republicans to communicate their ideas on an issue that is complex, Tanner said.

Ideas for fixes to Obamacare are gaining momentum as Americans grow inpatient with the rollout and talk in turn about the 2014 midterm elections where Obamacare — and its massive problems — will be the top issue in congressional races that could change the balance of power.

Tanner added: “As a national issue, it’s going to be the No. 1 issue Republicans across the country run on.”

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