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Posts tagged ‘Michigan’

WSJ: GOP Making Bold, Massive Bid to Take Senate.


Image: WSJ: GOP Making Bold, Massive Bid to Take SenateScott Brown, left, and Ed Gillespie

By Melissa Clyne

In its bid to gain the Senate majority in the midterm elections later this year, the GOP is crafting its strategy straight from the 2012 Democratic playbook, according to The Washington Post.

Republicans are casting a wide net to pick up the six seats needed to secure a majority, putting up viable candidates in a plethora of states where they hope to capitalize on President Barack Obama’s dismal job performance ratings as well as the national furor over Obamacare.

“The key to the Republican strategy is making the next tier of seats [and recruits] as large as possible since a few candidates will flame out, some incumbents will prove tougher to beat than they appear, and the national political environment could shift several times between now and November,” the Post notes.

Republicans need to win six new seats to flip the current Democratic majority of 55-to-45. In the current political climate, they are expected to gain between four and seven seats, according to the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. 

States where the GOP can prevail include Alaska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, Virginia, and possibly Minnesota. Five of the vulnerabilities stem from retirement announcements by Democratic senators Max Baucus of Montana, Carl Levin of Michigan, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, and South Dakota’s Tim Johnson.

Midterm elections are historically unkind to the sitting president’s party. Add to that the hysteria over a botched healthcare law rollout and millions of Americans receiving notices of canceled insurance plans and it’s a recipe for an ouster.

According to the Wall Street Journal, five states Obama won in 2012 — Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia, and New Hampshire — are now considered vulnerabilities.

In Virginia, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie should be “a very credible contender who can raise considerable money,” according to the Rothenberg Report, and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown trails New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen by just three points and he hasn’t even announced whether he intends to run.

“I’d be more worried if I were a Democrat than if I was a Republican,” Rothenberg Report editor Stuart Rothenberg told the Journal. “The Republicans’ prospects in the existing targets are improving because of the president’s approval ratings, and they are continuing to put other races on the board.”

By offering voters strong GOP alternatives in a variety of states, even those historically blue, Republicans hope that hijacking the Democrats 2012 strategy proves to be a winner.

“One thing’s for sure,” political columnist Chris Cillizza writes in the Post. “If they make it over the top this November, Senate Republicans should send their Democratic counterparts a nice thank you gift for showing them the way.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Wyden Waiting in the Wings to Take Over Senate Finance.


Image: Wyden Waiting in the Wings to Take Over Senate Finance

 

By Elliot Jager

Sen. Ron Wyden is set to become the next head of the Senate Finance Committee if Montana Democrat Max Baucus retires as expected to become the next U.S. ambassador to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Oregon Democrat, respected in his party for his generally liberal views but described by Republicans as willing to reach accommodation across the aisle on economic issues, is expected to push for tax reform, which could include a substantial in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 24 percent, according to the Journal.

Bloomberg also reports another reason for Republicans to like him: he is “an ardent advocate of tax simplification,” favoring individual rates at 15, 25 and 35 percent.

Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who worked with the 64-year-old Wyden on a tax reform measure some years back, told the Journal that Wyden has an “unrelenting positive outlook” on things and never gave up trying to hammer out a bipartisan bill even though it ultimately died without consideration.

Another House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, also said Wyden “understands that true bipartisanship builds on the best ideas from both parties.”

The Wisconsin Republican, who is likely to succeed Michigan Rep. Dave Camp as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would have an opportunity to work with Wyden again next year if Republicans hold the House and Democrats hold the Senate. The two have worked in 2011 on Medicare reform plan, an effort that did not sit well with some of Wyden’s liberal colleagues, The Hill reported.

Wyden, however, has said that he has no plans to work with Ryan again on a Medicare reform effort, although the program remains one of his concerns. He reportedly believes that some effort has to be made to ensure that the program is more sustainable and more focused on chronic health problems.

“His big thing is that if you’re not talking about Medicare, you’re not talking about [fixing] the budget,” former Wyden aide Barbara Smith Warner told the Journal.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Obamacare Fiasco Fallout Tightens Key Senate Races.


Thanks to the fiasco that followed the launch of President Barack Obama’s health care law, Democrats are bracing for hard-fought Senate races in states they had hoped to win with ease just two months ago.

Weeks of technical problems with the health insurance enrollment website and anxiety over insurance cancellations for millions of people have erased early advantages enjoyed by Democratic candidates Gary Peters in Michigan and Mark Udall in Colorado.

As the election year dawns, those problems have widened the narrow opening for Republicans to retake control of the Senate.

“There’s not a lot of wiggle room here. Colorado is definitely in play,” said Craig Hughes, a Denver-based Democratic consultant who ran Obama’s 2012 Colorado campaign and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet‘s 2010 campaign. “The website was a disaster, and the process of changing insurance is inherently difficult. This is not going to be a smooth process.”

Republicans need to pick up six seats to win the Senate in a midterm election year that typically hurts the party in the White House.

A victory in either Michigan or Colorado — both carried by Obama in 2012 and 2008 — would greatly boost their chances. Democrats already are defending Senate seats in seven states that Obama won, including three where incumbents are retiring.

Peters, a third-term congressman, and Udall, a first-term senator, both voted for the 2010 health care bill. They echoed Obama’s often repeated but now discredited statement that people who had health insurance before the law took effect could keep it if they were satisfied.

By mid-November, 4.2 million Americans had received insurance cancellation notices, according to an Associated Press review, including at least 225,000 in Michigan.

Not even 7,000 Michigan residents had enrolled through the federal insurance exchange as of Nov. 30, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That number is expected to increase, but the early glitches kept sign-ups well below expectations.

At the same time, unemployment in Michigan hovers above the national average, and its biggest city, Detroit, is in bankruptcy. Democrats are fighting to reverse the historic drop-off in Democratic voter turnout in midterm elections, a problem that’s compounded by the fact that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who’s also on next year’s ballot, is polling well ahead of his little-known Democrat challenger, former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer.

In Colorado, at least 106,000 people had received cancellation notices as of mid-November, while fewer than 10,000 had enrolled in the state-run health insurance exchange. Colorado’s economy has performed better than Michigan’s, but Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who’s also seeking re-election in 2014, has come under fire from the right for his efforts to enact new gun restrictions and to allow gay marriage.

To be sure, Republicans have not seized control of the contests in either state. Some national GOP strategists grumble about the quality of their party’s candidates, including Ken Buck in Colorado, who lost his 2010 Senate race to Bennet and is one of three candidates seeking the nomination.

Obama announced Friday that insurance sign-ups have soared across the country in December, following upgrades to the website. The administration also has taken steps to help the 500,000 consumers with canceled policies who have yet to secure new coverage.

Still, recent public polls have shown Peters running even with Republican Terri Lynn Land, a former Michigan secretary of state, in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. Udall’s approval in Colorado also has fallen into territory considered vulnerable.

During a campaign swing last week, Peters defended his support for the health law, and refrained from attacking Land for backing House Republicans’ October shutdown of the federal government in their fight to defund the law.

“This bill gets us down the road but we’ve got to keep working on it,” Peters said in an interview after a campaign event in Kalamazoo. “This is an election about someone who just wants to repeal the law and has no alternative and someone who is rolling up his sleeves.”

Land said she plans to use Peters’ claim that policyholders will not lose their coverage as a main campaign point. “When you make that promise, and you don’t deliver, it really goes to the credibility,” she said.

The policy cancellations broadly link Peters and Udall, as well as other Democrats, to cracks appearing in public perceptions of Obama. Just 42 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll this month. The poll found 56 percent of Americans said the word “honest” does not describe Obama well.

In Kalamazoo, in GOP-heavy western Michigan, perceptions of the health care law and its impact on the Senate race depend on who you ask.

“These issues can be fixed,” said Lucy Bland, director of a food co-op kitchen.

“It going to set us all back for a long time,” countered Kevin McLeod, with the area Chamber of Commerce.

Democratic National Committee leaders say publicly they welcome election-year attacks on the health care law, and plan to respond by pointing to the October shutdown. By next fall, they contend, the contour of the Michigan and Colorado Senate races will look more like 2012.

“None of these races have had their fundamentals change” due to problems with implementation of the health care law, said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

But Republican strategist Charlie Black notes that former President George W. Bush’s believability slipped below 50 percent in November, 2005, a year before Democrats retook control of both houses of Congress. He said voters began questioning Bush’s honesty and competence after the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina that year.

“Obamacare gives both these negatives to Barack Obama,” Black said.

___

Follow Tom Beaumont on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/TomBeaumont

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Obamacare Debacle Tightens Key Senate Races.


After the troubled launch of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, Democrats are bracing for hard-fought Senate races in states they had hoped to win with ease just two months ago.

Weeks of technical problems with the health insurance enrollment website and anxiety over insurance cancellations for millions of people have erased early advantages enjoyed by Democratic candidates Gary Peters in Michigan and Mark Udall in Colorado.

As the election year dawns, those problems have widened the narrow opening for Republicans to retake control of the Senate.

“There’s not a lot of wiggle room here. Colorado is definitely in play,” said Craig Hughes, a Denver-based Democratic consultant who ran Obama’s 2012 Colorado campaign and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet‘s 2010 campaign. “The website was a disaster, and the process of changing insurance is inherently difficult. This is not going to be a smooth process.”

Republicans need to pick up six seats to win the Senate in a midterm election year that typically hurts the party in the White House.

A victory in either Michigan or Colorado — both carried by Obama in 2012 and 2008 — would greatly boost their chances. Democrats already are defending Senate seats in seven states that Obama won, including three where incumbents are retiring.

Peters, a third-term congressman, and Udall, a first-term senator, both voted for the 2010 health care bill. They echoed Obama’s often repeated but now discredited statement that people who had health insurance before the law took effect could keep it if they were satisfied.

By mid-November, 4.2 million Americans had received insurance cancellation notices, according to an Associated Press review, including at least 225,000 in Michigan.

Not even 7,000 Michigan residents had enrolled through the federal insurance exchange as of Nov. 30, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That number is expected to increase, but the early glitches kept sign-ups well below expectations.

At the same time, unemployment in Michigan hovers above the national average, and its biggest city, Detroit, is in bankruptcy. Democrats are fighting to reverse the historic drop-off in Democratic voter turnout in midterm elections, a problem that’s compounded by the fact that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who’s also on next year’s ballot, is polling well ahead of his little-known Democrat challenger, former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer.

In Colorado, at least 106,000 people had received cancellation notices as of mid-November, while fewer than 10,000 had enrolled in the state-run health insurance exchange. Colorado’s economy has performed better than Michigan’s, but Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who’s also seeking re-election in 2014, has come under fire from the right for his efforts to enact new gun restrictions and to allow gay marriage.

To be sure, Republicans have not seized control of the contests in either state. Some national GOP strategists grumble about the quality of their party’s candidates, including Ken Buck in Colorado, who lost his 2010 Senate race to Bennet and is one of three candidates seeking the nomination.

Obama announced Friday that insurance sign-ups have soared across the country in December, following upgrades to the website. The administration also has taken steps to help the 500,000 consumers with canceled policies who have yet to secure new coverage.

Still, recent public polls have shown Peters running even with Republican Terri Lynn Land, a former Michigan secretary of state, in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. Udall’s approval in Colorado also has fallen into territory considered vulnerable.

During a campaign swing last week, Peters defended his support for the health law, and refrained from attacking Land for backing House Republicans’ October shutdown of the federal government in their fight to defund the law.

“This bill gets us down the road but we’ve got to keep working on it,” Peters said in an interview after a campaign event in Kalamazoo. “This is an election about someone who just wants to repeal the law and has no alternative and someone who is rolling up his sleeves.”

Land said she plans to use Peters’ claim that policyholders will not lose their coverage as a main campaign point. “When you make that promise, and you don’t deliver, it really goes to the credibility,” she said.

The policy cancellations broadly link Peters and Udall, as well as other Democrats, to cracks appearing in public perceptions of Obama. Just 42 percent of Americans approve of the job he’s doing, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll this month. The poll found 56 percent of Americans said the word “honest” does not describe Obama well.

In Kalamazoo, in GOP-heavy western Michigan, perceptions of the health care law and its impact on the Senate race depend on who you ask.

“These issues can be fixed,” said Lucy Bland, director of a food co-op kitchen.

“It going to set us all back for a long time,” countered Kevin McLeod, with the area Chamber of Commerce.

Democratic National Committee leaders say publicly they welcome election-year attacks on the health care law, and plan to respond by pointing to the October shutdown. By next fall, they contend, the contour of the Michigan and Colorado Senate races will look more like 2012.

“None of these races have had their fundamentals change” due to problems with implementation of the health care law, said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

But Republican strategist Charlie Black notes that former President George W. Bush’s believability slipped below 50 percent in November, 2005, a year before Democrats retook control of both houses of Congress. He said voters began questioning Bush’s honesty and competence after the failed federal response to Hurricane Katrina that year.

“Obamacare gives both these negatives to Barack Obama,” Black said.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Intruder Retreats After Single Mother Tells Him, ‘God Loves You’.


Dearborn Heights
A single mother in Dearborn Heights, Mich., scared away an intruder by reciting God’s Word. (7 Action News)

A single mother in Michigan scared away an intruder by reciting God’s Word.

The 38-year-old woman was assaulted when an attacker broke into her home in Dearborn Heights around 4:45 Monday morning. Astonished neighborstold 7 Action News what happened next.

Julie Wilding, who lives near the victim, told the news station that the single mother started preaching the Bible and telling the intruder, “God loves you. You don’t want to do this.”

The victim told Wilding that after she started sharing her faith with her attacker, he left the house, leaving her special-needs daughter unharmed. The mother was not seriously hurt.

“I told her God was watching out for her,” Wilding says. “Somebody was watching out for her, for her to be able to walk away from something like this … by witnessing to somebody and changing the course of what they planned on doing … to just walking away.”

The victim’s neighbor continued, “She’s a very good mother. She spends all the time with her daughter. … She’s a very religious person. She’s very strong in her faith … a really good person.”

According to 7 Action News, the intruder escaped through the basement window. The suspect has not been caught, but Dearborn Heights is looking into leads, The Blaze reports.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

US General Who Opened Gitmo Prison: Shut it Down.


Image: US General Who Opened Gitmo Prison: Shut it Down

The U.S. general who opened the Guantanamo detention camp said Thursday it was a mistake and should be shut down because “it validates every negative perception of the United States.””In retrospect, the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong,” Marine Major Gen. Michael Lehnert wrote in a column published in the Detroit Free Press.

Lehnert, now retired from the military and living in Michigan, was the first commander of the task force that opened the detention camp in January 2002 at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

He said the United States opened it “because we were legitimately angry and frightened” by the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks in 2001 and thought the captives sent there would provide “a treasure trove of information and intelligence.”

He quickly became convinced that most of them never should have been sent there because they had little intelligence value and there was insufficient evidence linking them to war crimes, he wrote.

“We squandered the goodwill of the world after we were attacked by our actions in Guantanamo, both in terms of detention and torture,” Lehnert wrote. “Our decision to keep Guantanamo open has helped our enemies because it validates every negative perception of the United States.”

Congress is debating an annual defense bill containing language that would give President Barack Obama more flexibility to repatriate or resettle Guantanamo detainees.

But the proposal maintains an “unwise and unnecessary ban” on transferring any to the United States, Lehnert said.

“Still, this is a step forward toward closing our nation’s most notorious prison – a prison that should never have been opened,” he wrote.

The first detainees arrived on Jan. 11, 2002, one week after Lehnert was ordered to build the first 100 cells. The crude chain-link cages known as Camp X-Ray were used for about three and a half months and replaced by a series of more permanent prisons.

The United States has since held 779 men at the facility and 162 remain. Lehnert noted that many had been cleared for transfer by U.S. defense and intelligence agencies but were “stuck by politics.”

He said a handful should be transferred to the United States for prosecution or incarceration. He acknowledged the risk that some released detainees could go on to plan attacks against the United States, but said the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law trump that risk.

“It is time that the American people and our politicians accepted a level of risk in the defense of our constitutional values, just as our service men and women have gone into harm’s way time after time to defend our Constitution,” Lehnert wrote. “If we make a mockery of our values, it calls us to question what we are really fighting for.”

He added, “It is time to close Guantanamo. Our departure from Afghanistan is a perfect point in history to close the facility.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Rand Paul: New GOP Wants African-American Vote.


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was in Detroit to address the bankrupt city’s economic leaders and to make a Republican pitch for the African American vote, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Paul’s appearance Friday was timed to happen together with the GOP’s opening of an African American outreach office in Detroit where the population is 85 percent black.

He said that the justice system— and the war on drugs in particular— was unfair to African Americans and Latinos. Paul said people who have been to prison for drug related crimes can’t vote and have difficulty finding jobs complicating their efforts to put their lives back together.

“How are you supposed to make child support payments if you’ve been in prison, and the best job you can get is $9 an hour?”

He said, “Something has to change. The war on drugs has gone awry”
Paul acknowledged that “These are things you haven’t heard Republicans talking about. So I’m glad to be part of this today, not only just to mean that Republicans are showing up where we haven’t been, but with a new message and policy.”

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has opened a number of outreach offices across the country to establish a presence among African American voters. RNC chair Reince Priebus said in November that the party wanted to “do our part to rebuild Detroit and advocate for the principles of free enterprise that hold the keys to the city’s success. We can offer solutions to get Detroit back on its feet.”

Priebus said that Republican leaders need to convince the people of Detroit to give GOP ideas a chance. He hired radio personality Wayne Bradley as the director of African American Engagement in Michigan.

“Today’s opening of this office is the beginning of a new Republican Party,” Paul said. “This is going to be a Republican Party that is in big cities and small cities, in the countryside, in the city. It’s going to be about bringing a message that is popular no matter where you’re from, whether you’re rich or poor, whether you’re black, white or brown.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

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