FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sen. Kyl Misquoted About Ron Paul's Influence In Arizona GOP: Not "Total" Takeover, Only "Half"

Retiring Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was misquoted by TheHill.com earlier this week.  He did NOT say that "I wish I could tell you we were doing well right now — we're not. Ron Paul has totally taken our [state] party over."  However,he did say something about the Arizona state party and how he (and others) worked around it!

The Hill ran a report on August 27 headlined "GOP leaders fret about state party structures."  It got some attention, including here in Arizona, because Kyl and former Republican Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN) appeared to be quite concerned about the intra-party divisions.

The next day, Kyl went on Fox News to deny stating that there had been a total takeover in Arizona:


After Kyl's flat-out denial, TheHill posted the reporter's audio.  If you are familiar with Kyl's voice (as many of us are), you can distinguish his comments from Weber's.  The reporter did indeed mix them up.

Today, TheHill has apologized for mixing up the quotes from Weber and Kyl.  However, instead of correcting the report, they pulled it.  

Fortunately, a Washington Post blogger who had earlier cited The Hill's report (and stood by it) also re-posted the now-pulled audio.  Here is a link to it: http://soundcloud.com/thehillnewspaper/kyl-weber-mp3

Kyl, at 0:43, disagrees with Weber's characterization of a "total" takeover: "His folks have taken half of our party, as a result of which we are split down the middle, totally ineffective, and screwed up."

Weber then pointedly again uses the term "totally took over" and says it prompted independent expenditure campaigns by non-Paulies to perform basic party functions (candidate recruitment, GOTV, etc.).

Kyl then chimes in again, noting (at 1:30)  "that's what we've done the last six years.  You recording here? (I was.) That's what the Arizona Republican party is.  That's what's happened to us because we've been divided.  There's been different efforts by different groups.  And, it's never as efficient and effective as if you're united." (transcription by Arizona's Politics)

Kyl's comment reminds Arizona's Politics that two years ago, Republicans not happy with the state party leadership funneled money into the Yuma County Republicans and an independent group called Arizona Business Development Coalition.  A quick check shows no similar influx into the Yuma Republicans this year... yet.  (Then again, their latest bottom line is about the same - $9K vs. $13K - as the AZ GOP.)









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WATCH: FULL Brewer Intvu Where She Mistakenly "Endorses" Obama; Entertaining, But Not Newsworthy

The Arizona Republic's website is playing Governor Jan Brewer's latest misspeak big, featuring it on its front page and calling it a "gaffe".  Both the Republic and the Arizona Daily Star link to video with just the short snippet, when it would have been almost as easy to find a longer clip that makes it clear that it was just a one-time slip of the lip (well, the lip and the teeth as she flashed her bright smile when she said "...which I hope that he is").

Here's that longer clip, in which she expresses her support for Romney before and after the slip:



Misspeaks are fun, but they should really only be newsworthy when they could be seen as revealing a subconscious belief that counters what the person intended to say, or when it is a "not intended to be a factual statement" moment.  Then, it becomes a gaffe.  And, neither applies here.

One could make the argument that - in the governor's case - it furthers a pattern of misspeaks that somehow reflects on her abilities to be Arizona's governor.  Noone can seriously make that argument... and she is not up for election or recall.

This is pure entertainment, and should not distract from the substantive issues/articles that the Republic is addressing on either side of the fluff.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WATCH: Gov. Jan Brewer At Convention, Accuses Pres. Obama Of "Race-Baiting";

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer sat down with some of the Politico staff today, and spoke frankly about her feelings about President Barack Obama and the soon-to-be GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.  She believes that Romney understands "the rule of law... and states' rights", and that Obama is guilty of "race-baiting" and "pandering" to Latino voters.

As evidence, Brewer pointed to "he doesn't secure my borders, he's told the Border Patrol to actually look the other way, he took 287(g) away from all my law enforcement in Arizona, so now they can't even call and use it as a tool.  Then, on top of that, on the same day, he establishes a hotline so that if you feel like your civil rights have been infringed upon, then you have a direct line to the DOJ.  Oh, come on!  It's wrong."




(Interestingly, she also said "He (Obama) is his campaign," referring to campaign officials she believes are "race baiting".  That flies in the face of her and her campaign's remarks following the 2010 gubernatorial election controversy after her high profile political adviser Chuck Coughlin raised ancient rumors about Democrat Terry Goddard's sexual orientation.


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Gabby PAC Launches, Could Start With Hefty Bankroll; Update On Her Campaign Funds

Retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is the name and personality behind the newly-filed "Gabby PAC", which could receive an infusion of some $300,000 by closing out her campaign committee's account.

Earlier in the summer, Giffords' husband had suggested that the PAC might be the next step that would allow the Representative to remain actively engaged in politics and issues that she cares about following her decision to resign her Congressional seat to focus on her recovery from the January 2011 attempted assassination.

Gabby PAC was created on August 18, signed off on by Jan Lesher - a longtimeTucson Democratic activist, and received by the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

Giffords' campaign committee started this year with nearly $1 million in its account.   As of June 30, it still had $354,131.26, which could conceivably be used to kickstart the new PAC.  (Although, the advantages to such a transfer might be negligible and/or outweighed by the negatives.)

The dimunition in funds in Giffords for Congress has occurred in two phases so far: first, after she announced her resignation, some $200,000 in refunds were sent to contributors (individuals, PAC's and other candidate committees); then, in April, Giffords turned over $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and began transfers totaling $213,500 to the Arizona Democratic Committee.

(Interestingly, the April contributions began just days after a New York Times article on Giffords' campaign account included gentle criticism from the chair of the Pima County Democratic Committee.)

The disbursements may have continued in July and August, but the next quarterly filing (since she is not running for office) is not due until October.

The transfer of campaign monies to Gabby PAC appears to be permissible both under FEC laws/regulations/opinions and House Ethics rules.  (Arizona's Politics has sought comment from Ms. Lesher, and will update this report as needed.)

The website addresses "GabbyPAC.com", "GabbyPAC.org" or "GabbyPAC.net" have already been assigned and forward to her personal page "GabrielleGiffords.com" with the video message she posted in January upon her resignation.  That resignation prompted the special election earlier this year, won by her District Director (and fellow shooting victim) Ron Barber.









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Thursday, August 23, 2012

REALLY? Weekly Standard Stretches Too Far Trying To Tit-For-Tat On Akin-Rape Comments Fallout

One of the oldest plays in the political playbook is to fall back on the "Oh yeah, well the other guys are just as bad" line.  The conservative magazine The Weekly Standard is brushing off an out of context snippet first raised in Senator Al Franken's (D-MN) 2008 campaign.

Franken used to be a comedy writer and performer on NBC's Saturday Night Live.  The Weekly Standard is now claiming that he is also "famous" for joking about raping CBS reporter Lesley Stahl.  In a blog post this morning that is sure to get tons of attention from Republicans and talk show hosts (and guests), The Weekly Standard claims "Senator Famous for Joking About Rape Campaigns for Obama, Biden."

As proof of Franken's rape-joking fame, they cite a 1995 New Yorker article about the fall of SNL (one of many "falls" of the long-running late night program).

Franken: “And, ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or, ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’” (emphasis added by W.S.)
The only problem is that the quote does not hold up in context.  The Weekly Standard is obviously hoping that most of its readers and echoers will not search the link for the full context.  The New Yorker reporter (not reporter Stahl, as the W.S. blurb implies) sat in on a writing session.  Here is the full context:

 Meanwhile, they make grudging progress on a sketch written by Norm MacDonald. It’s a parody of Andy Rooney—not exactly a fresh target. Rooney, played by MacDonald, is cleaning out his desk and finds a bottle of sedatives, empty except for cotton.“Should I mention cotton more than once?” MacDonald asks, and it’s debated for ten minutes. No—just one cotton reference stays in, but now they can’t decide whether the pills are for the treatment of “hallucinations,” “mood swings,” “dementia,” or “NRA dementia.”
“That’s too much,” Downey says. “It’s his attitude that’s funny, the fact that he’s ignoring something that’s obviously important.”
MacDonald: “So I can say, ‘I don’t know what the pills are for—what I do know is, the bottle is mostly filled with cotton.’”
Franken: “And, ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or, ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’”
Downey: “‘Here’s a picture of Ed Bradley.’”
MacDonald: “What if Rooney rapes Mike Wallace? And then says, ‘I guess that makes me bad.’ Is it funnier with a black guy? Or two old white guys?”
Franken: “What about, ‘I drag Mike into my office and rape him. Right here! I guess that makes me bad.’”
The discussion sputters for another ten minutes. Then the writers lose interest and drift over to the newly arrived food. “C’mon!” Downey says plaintively. “Let’s finish this!”
The sketches eventually get tighter and marginally better. Mostly, all this group writing produces a thin comedy mush. “It’s now a much more fey, effete, overthought show,” says Rosie Shuster, who did her third tour on the writing staff during the late eighties. “The cud is so well chewed before it goes on the air.”
He is suggesting different possible lines for Andy Rooney to use regarding his missing sedatives in an obvious attempt at comedy - no matter how distasteful.

If Daniel Halper, an editor at TWS who wrote the post, really believes that there is an equivalence and that Obama/Biden should distance themselves from Franken as TWS is trying to do with Akin's seriously-made comments (in a campaign), then he is the one who may be taking a stab at comedy.





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Thursday, August 2, 2012

WATCH: Don't Worry, Congresspeople, It Won't Be Retroactive: Proposed Bill Would Test Immigrants On Understanding Of Declaration/Constitution/CONGRESSIONAL GOBBLEDY-GOOK

U.S. News report: http://bit.ly/OtKk32
text of bill: http://1.usa.gov/Rh5SO2
list of co-sponsors: http://1.usa.gov/ODY5d9
talking points memo w/ video: http://bit.ly/QjBQMA



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.