New O’Keefe Video Shows Dem. Congressman’s Son Apparently Advising How to Commit Voter Fraud (Updated)
Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm by Madeleine Morgenstern
UPDATE: Patrick Moran has resigned from his position with his father’s re-election campaign.
Conservative activist James O’Keefe released a new undercover video Wednesday apparently showing a Democratic congressman’s son giving advice on how to commit voter fraud.
In the video, a man identified as Patrick Moran, son of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and the field director for his re-election campaign, is asked by an undercover operative how best to vote in the names of 100 inactive voters he has on a list.
“There are 100 people who don’t vote,” the male videographer says in the footage, said to have been recorded in Arlington, Va. on Oct. 8. “He’s got a van and he and me were going to go around –”
“Rally these people up and get them to the polls?” Moran asks.
“Well, he was actually going to get in a van and vote for them,” the videographer says.
“Oh,” Moran says with a long pause. “Hmm. Hmm.”
Later in the conversation, Moran advises that in order to vote in someone else’s name you would need a document with their name and address and mentions faking a utility bill.
“He’ll need something with a name and their address on it,” Moran says. “There will be a lot of voter protections so if they just have, they’ll just need a utility bill or a bank statement — bank statement would obviously be tough — but they can fake a utility bill with ease, you know?”
Still sounding hesitant about the idea, Moran tells the videographer it would probably just be better to devote his energy to regular get out the vote efforts.
“I feel like all the energy that you’re going to be putting into this this, I think it would be much better suited finding out with the uh, with just the in place GOTV [get out the vote] stuff,” Moran says. “That energy that you’d be putting in and trying to like ensure that it went through without a hitch and the risk to your name, I feel like plug it in and going to some like under performing districts.”
When the videographer produces what he says is a bag of names and addresses of inactive voters, Moran says that in order to vote for them he’d need a forged utility bill.
“It has to be a utility bill or something like that,” Moran says. “So you have to forge it.”
Moran also says there will be lawyers from the Obama campaign and others volunteering at the polls to protect voters who could help if the videographer’s credentials are questioned.
“You’ll have somebody in house that if they feel that what you have is legitimate they’ll argue for you,” Moran says. “But it’s got to look good.”
He later suggests the videographer call the people to ensure they don’t plan on voting themselves and suggests posing as a pollster.
“You can even just call and be like a pollster,” Moran says. “Do you guys plan on voting, you know, November 6? And then go on from there, and then depending on their answer just, if they say yes just go through and find out if they’re Dems or what.”
Rep. Moran spokeswoman Anne Hughes did not immediately return a phone call or emailed request for comment from TheBlaze.
A voice message left at the Moran for Congress office was not immediately returned, nor was an email sent to Patrick Moran.
Update: Moran resigned from his position as campaign field director late Wednesday afternoon.
“Effective immediately, I have resigned from the Moran for Congress campaign,” Moran said in an email from his campaign account, according to Talking Points Memo.
Moran did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from TheBlaze.
Update II: In a statement to the Associated Press Wednesday night, Moran said that “at no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior.”
“At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him. In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior, joking or not,” he said.
Kansas Students Stage School Lunch Boycott to Protest Federal Lunchroom Nutrition Law
Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm by Liz Klimas
After students have been saying “we are hungry” due to new nutrition guidelines for school lunches that limit calories and increase fruits and vegetables, a group in Abilene, Kan. participated in a three-day protest against it.
The Salina Journal reports students at Abilene Senior High School against the calorie limitations in the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which was signed into law by the president, refused to buy school lunches, thinking it would have financial impacts that would speak louder than words.
“The biggest way to get into someone’s head is to mess with their pockets,” freshman Gehrig Geissinger said, according to the Journal.
Here’s more from the Journal on student’s thoughts regarding the lunch program protest:
Participating in the protest was no big deal for senior Kae Brown, 17. Kae, who sat in the hallway nursing a soft drink during lunch period, said she usually doesn’t buy cafeteria meals but understands the motivation behind the protest.
“People complained there wasn’t enough food before, so I can see why they throw a fit now,” she said.
[World History teacher Wendy] Sherbert said she’s proud of her students for peacefully protesting something they strongly disagree with.
“They’ve been very respectful and quiet,” she said. “This is not about food, but about control, and what role the government plays — if the government should be a substitute for parents teaching their own children.”
“Most people have been supportive of what we’re doing,” Sherbert said.
It was a recent lesson taught by Sherbert on peaceful protests that inspired the students to take action with this cause.
Even workers in the lunch room aren’t necessarily in agreement with the new regulations. The Journal reported food server Kari Beetch saying that although they’re doing what they’re told, she believes “the amount of food served should be based on the individual. Every kid needs different calories.”
Although nutrition requirements and calorie limitations have been in the spotlight from the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act lately, the act also has provisions that provide breakfasts for students who need it and also dinners and meals over summer vacation. The dinners earlier this month were featured by NBC’s Nightly News. Watch the clip:
It may seem ironic given the complaints surrounding the lunch program’s calorie limitations supposedly leaving students hungry, NBC reported in its clip that studies show students perform better when they’re well fed as reason for supporting the federally subsidized dinners.
Featured image via AP by Daniel Hulshizer.
Palestinian Activists Storm Supermarket that Serves Both Jews & Arabs, Call for Settlement Boycott
Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm by Sharona Schwartz
While more than 70 rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza hit southern Israel on Wednesday, in the West Bank (known also as Judea and Samaria), Palestinian activists and their foreign supporters stormed an Israeli-owned supermarket that prides itself in providing jobs and affordable groceries to both Jews and Arabs.
Israeli and Palestinian media report that some 100 Palestinians, along with international activists from the International Solidarity Movement, staged the protest at the Rami Levy supermarket in Sha’ar Binyamin, near Ramallah. Some entered the store where they walked up and down the aisles, waved Palestinian flags, chanted slogans and called for a boycott of settlement goods, while others blocked the entrance. Israeli border police dispersed the crowd outside using stun grenades.
Arutz Sheva reports customers and workers took refuge in the store as they feared the protesters would become violent.
Abir Kopty, a political and feminist activist with the Palestinian popular committees tells Ynet that this protest is part of a series being planned. The first one occurred last week when Palestinians blocked Israeli highway 443 during rush hour. She said:
This time we chose the Rami Levy store because we want to send a message to boycott the occupation and its products. As long as the Palestinians get no justice, settlers and Israelis will not lead normal lives.
Kopty added that protesters also want to send a message to Palestinians that they should not shop at Rami Levy.
The pro-settlement Regavim organization said:
This is a provocation by Palestinians and anarchists who are trying to fan the flames in Judea and Samaria.
The protest in Rami Lavy, which employs and serves both Jews and Arabs, exposed the simple truth – that they are acting against co-existence. We ask that they take a look at what is going on in neighboring Syria which they hold so dear to their hearts.
The Palestinian Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reports that after clashing with police and soldiers (video seen below), several protesters were injured including two who were taken to hospital. They also report that two Palestinians, an American and a Polish activist were arrested.
Owner Rami Levy told Arutz Sheva that the Palestinians intended to cause a provocation with photographers present. He told the news outlet that his staff cannot stop customers from entering after they pass the security guard who like at all other Israeli supermarkets is situated at the entrance and checks for weapons and explosives.
In August 2011 at his Restoring Courage event in Jerusalem, Glenn Beck honored Rami Levy for promoting peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Levy grew up in a one-room shack in Jerusalem and, after years of hard work, expanded from his first 400-square foot stall into Israel’s fastest growing supermarket chain employing more than 3,000 at some 20 locations.
Besides providing job opportunities, Levy offers discounted and sometimes free food to the needy of all faiths. In the past, he has provided unmarked bags to his Muslim shoppers so they can avoid being harassed for visiting a Jewish-owned store.
Beck said then, “Despite strong opposition and even boycotts, Rami remains on the path of good. It takes courage to do what’s right.”
Watch video of the protesters outside the supermarket, as police use stun grenades to disperse. Video was provided by Regavim to Arutz Sheva:
Actor Rob Schneider: I’ve Come Around…I’m Not Voting for ‘Crappy’ Obama
Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm by Madeleine Morgenstern
Actor and comedian Rob Schneider declared that he’s “come around” and will not be voting to give “crappy” President Barack Obama a second term.
The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member was on the Atlanta-based “Regular Guys” radio show Friday and said that though he is a liberal and a Democrat, he will not vote for Obama.
“If Obama gets back in there, all those people that are already entrenched in that system of bureaucracy are going to be more entrenched, so I’m for kicking them out and starting over,” Schneider said. “I’ve come around to this. As a liberal, as a Democrat, there is no way that I can support Obama for a second term.”
One of the radio hosts pointed out that there will be plenty of black presidents in the future and to say Obama will be the only one is nonsense.
“This is America, we’re going to have black presidents, we’re going to have female presidents, we’re going to have Jewish presidents, some of whom are going to be good and some of whom aren’t,” the host said. “We’ve had a lot of crappy white presidents in this country and we’ll have more white presidents.”
“It is a testament to this great nation that we’ve had a crappy black president,” Schneider said.
Why Didn’t Romney Say He Visited Same Israeli Sites Obama Did During Monday’s Debate?
Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm by Madeleine Morgenstern
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Israel in 2007 and the battered border city Sderot in 2011, the Times of Israel reported, though did not bring it up when the issue was raised at the third presidential debate Monday night.
President Barack Obama stated he went to Israel as a presidential candidate in 2008 after Romney accused him of going on a Middle East “apology tour” his first year in office but skipping a trip to the Jewish state. Obama said that when he went to Israel as a candidate, “I didn’t take donors.” Romney raised more than $1 million during a campaign fundraiser when he visited the country in July.
“When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors, I didn’t attend fundraisers,” Obama said. “I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. And then I went down to the border town of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas.”
Asked by the Times why Romney did not bring up his own visits to Yad Vashem and Sderot, campaign sources said they weren’t going to comment on what Obama said during the debate, and that Romney’s commitment to Israel stands on its own.
Romney has made four visits to Israel and has said if elected there would be no daylight between it and the U.S. Romney and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have also been friends since the 1970s.
The Romney campaign did not immediately return a request for additional comment from TheBlaze.
Here Are the 25 Worst Internet Passwords of 2012 (Make Sure You Aren’t Using Them)
Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm by Liz Klimas
The point can’t be hammered home enough: As annoying as it is to have capitalized letters, numbers and symbols in a random password combination, it’s a much better alternative to having accounts infiltrated by those with malicious intent.
Just in case you’re unsure of what a bad password might be, SlashData released its annual list of worst passwords.
Although the top three worst ones in the list remain unchanged – ”password,” “123456,” and “12345678,” — there are newcomers as well, including “jesus” and “ninja”.
“At this time of year, people enjoy focusing on scary costumes, movies and decorations, but those who have been through it can tell you how terrifying it is to have your identity stolen because of a hacked password,” Morgan Slain, SplashData CEO, said in a statement. “We’re hoping that with more publicity about how risky it is to use weak passwords, more people will start taking simple steps to protect themselves by using stronger passwords and using different passwords for different websites.”
Here’s the full list in order of worst password offender and how its position relates compared to last year:
- password Unchanged
- 123456 Unchanged
- 12345678 Unchanged
- abc123 Up 1
- qwerty Down 1
- monkey Unchanged
- letmein Up 1
- dragon Up 2
- 111111 Up 3
- baseball Up 1
- iloveyou Up 2
- trustno1 Down 3
- 1234567 Down 6
- sunshine Up 1
- master Down 1
- 123123 Up 4
- welcome New
- shadow Up 1
- ashley Down 3
- football Up 5
- jesus New
- michael Up 2
- ninja New
- mustang New
- password1 New
This list was developed from files of stolen passwords posted online by hackers. SplashData suggests if your personal or company passwords include any on this list to change them.
“Even though each year hacking tools get more sophisticated, thieves still tend to prefer easy targets,” Slain said. “Just a little bit more effort in choosing better passwords will go a long way toward making you safer online.”
Check out these 9 tip to protect your online identity, which includes password fortification, here.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.
Christian Students Sue After College Allegedly Bans Religious Homecoming Art & Downgrades Club’s Status
Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm by Billy Hallowell
Throughout 2012, the War on Religion has made its way to America’s college campuses. Almost daily, it seems there are new stories emerging about religious freedom at universities across the nation. On Tuesday, TheBlaze reported on the Tufts University crackdown on a Christian club that requires its leaders to be believers. Similarly, Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, is making headlines after allegedly banning Christian students’ religious homecoming art and downgrading a faith club’s status.
According to the students, who have filed a lawsuit with help from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) over the matter, they were told by school officials that their signs were done “in poor taste.” The basis for such a notion was the fact that they included faith-based messaging and symbolism. FOX News’ Todd Starnes reports:
Alliance Defending Freedom said campus clubs were invited to “Paint the Town,” — decorating the windows of local businesses with the theme: “Then, Now and Forever.”
The Solid Rock club had received permission to paint two windows — one of a privately owned business and the other was a business selected by the school.
The group had already painted one window with a cross and the words: “The cross covers sin then, now and forever.” They were working on a second window when a college official ordered them to stop.
Barham said the students were scolded, threatened and then forced to wash away their display [The Salt Lake Tribune claims it was other students who washed it away, despite the Christian students having the shop owner's approval].
But the homecoming decorations are only a portion of the drama raging between the Solid Rock Christian Club and Snow College. Christian students are also claiming that the school downgraded the club to “second tier” status, which — much like the situation the club at Tufts is facing — would mean that members can no longer reserve rooms and advertise campus events. Additionally, they would not be allowed to receive monies from student fees, as other clubs do.
“By refusing to treat faith-based student organizations the same as other student groups and by excluding religious speech from homecoming events, Snow College officials have ignored this basic principle,” said Travis Barham, staff counsel for ADF. “But we hope they will quickly do the right thing, respect our clients’ freedoms, and eliminate the need for continuing to pursue this lawsuit.”
Scott Wyatt, president of Snow College, explained that the decision to downgrade the club may have emerged from a university audit. The individual conducting the investigation purportedly found that the college was in violation of the state’s constitution by offering funding to a campus religious group.
Eventually, though, it was determined that supporting faith-based clubs is not a violation — something that Wyatt said may not have been communicated to all of the clubs. After admitting that the university “undid” the “second tier” statuses, he said that the issue may merely be a “misunderstanding.”
“The Solid Rock ministry is a very important organization for us,” Wyatt told The Salt Lake Tribune. “They serve a number of students and we value them highly and want to continue to be a support in every way we can of their mission and their goals.”
Snow and Tufts aren’t the only campus communities battling over Christian student groups’ rights. As TheBlaze reported earlier this month, Yale is facing a similar issue after the Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) fraternity came under fire for requiring its members to embrace Christianity. And the non-discrimination policy issues at Vanderbilt University have been widely-reported as well.
(H/T: Todd Starnes)
Another Week, Another Bank: U.S. Sues Bank of America for Mortgage Fraud
Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm by Becket Adams
NEW YORK (TheBlaze/AP) — The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan sued Bank of America for more than $1 billion on Wednesday for mortgage fraud against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the years around the financial crisis.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Countrywide Financial, which was later bought by Bank of America, churned out mortgage loans from 2007 to 2009 without making sure that borrowers could afford them.
“The fraudulent conduct alleged in today’s complaint was spectacularly brazen in scope,” Bharara said in a statement. He said the suit was partly to recover money that Fannie and Freddie lost from defaulted loans.
Bank of America had no immediate comment.
Countrywide sold the loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were left to pay for the loans when they defaulted, according to the lawsuit. Fannie and Freddie were effectively nationalized in 2008.
According to the lawsuit, Countrywide used a process called “the Hustle,” shorthand for “High-Speed Swim Lane.” The idea was that mortgage loans, as they were being processed, would “move forward, never backward.”
The lawsuit alleged that Countrywide traded quantity for quality and eliminated underwriters, even from mortgage loans for which borrowers did not have to get their income verified.
Instead, loan processors simply entered data into an automated underwriting system, and if the system gave the go-ahead, “no underwriter would ever see the loan,” the lawsuit alleged.
With few checks and balances, there was “widespread falsification” of the data entered into the program, Bharara charged.
Loan processors were given little guidance, the suit said: Checklists for making sure that loans were compliant – for example, assessing whether the income level that a borrower listed was reasonable – were eliminated. Bonuses were based solely on how many loans an employee could process, not the quality.
The lawsuit said that Countrywide executives were aware of the dangerous path they were treading. For example, a quality review in January 2008 showed that 57 percent of Hustle loans went into default.
Instead of notifying Fannie and Freddie, Countrywide instead set about to conceal the quality of the loans it was selling them, the suit said. It said Countrywide even offered a bonus to quality-control workers who could “rebut” the default rates that the review had found.
The lawsuit didn’t give specifics, but it accused Countrywide, and later Bank of America, of selling “thousands” of Hustle loans to Fannie and Freddie. Bank of America bought Countrywide in July 2008.
Fannie and Freddie buy mortgage loans from banks, package them into securities and sell them to investors. The idea is to free up banks to make more loans. If a loan defaults, Fannie and Freddie guarantee payments to the investors.
According to the lawsuit, Fannie and Freddie don’t review the loans before they purchase them. Instead, they rely on banks’ statements that the loans meet certain qualifications.
Bharara said the lawsuit was the first civil fraud suit brought by the Justice Department concerning loans that were later sold to Fannie and Freddie.
You may recall that the U.S. leveled similar charges against Wells Fargo earlier this month. It looks like BofA is the latest bank to take
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Front page photo source courtesy the AP.
Red State, Blue State: Which States Have Received the Most Federal Funds Since 2000?
Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm by Becket Adams
State personal income in the past six quarters has increased mostly in “red” states and states run by Republican governors, TheBlaze reported earlier this month.
However, after TheBlaze noted this trend, a few readers argued that this was because “red” states typically receive the lion’s share of federal funding.
Do they really?
In a word: No. In fact, since 2000, solid “blue” states have received far more in federal funding than solid “red” states, a Blaze analysis finds.
But first, let’s define the what we mean by “red” state, “blue” state, “purple” state, etc.:
- Red: Republican presidential candidates have won this state in every election since 1996
- Pink: Republican presidential candidates have won this state three times since 1996
- Purple: This state has been won twice by a Republican presidential candidate and twice by a Democrat presidential candidate since 1996
- Light Blue: Democrat presidential candidates have won this state three times since 1996
- Blue: Democrat presidential candidates have won this state in every election since 1996
A quick word on our use of 1996: Because most pre-’96 electoral maps involve different color schemes, we felt it would be best to start with President Clinton’s second run for office, the year the “red” state/”blue” state map configuration we’re all familiar with became standardized (although it would take another four years for it to become a widely used election year tool).
Now it should be pointed out that federal funds go toward a vast array of issues, including military, infrastructure, and disaster relief. Moreover, a state’s population plays a large role in the total amount received. But the argument isn’t about which states are “more deserving” of federal aid. The argument is that “red” states receive more funds than anyone else.
That being said, here is a breakdown of all 50 states and the District of Columbia by electoral map color and federal funding since 2000, according to USA.gov:
As you can clearly see, there’s a difference in the distribution of federal funds among the states. In fact, if you combine “strong GOP” with “likely GOP,” the amount is still less than then amount “strong Dem” states have received in the last 12 years.
Now some argue that certain states spend their federal funds differently, giving more back to the “pie” than others, and that this somehow changes everything.
Again, that’s not the argument. The original argument claims “red” states receive more federal funds than anyone else, leading to things like an uptick in income growth. But as the above clearly indicates, “red” states simply don’t get more in fed funds.
Now we’re sure you’re want to know which states have received the most since the turn of the new millennium. We’re glad you asked. It just so happens that we have a list prepared for you.
Here are the top ten states that have received the most federal funding since 2000, their estimated populations in 2011 (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the amount of federal spending per capita in 2011 (the population estimate divided by total federal spending in FY2011), and their electoral map color (based on the last four election cycles):
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Bush
- 2004: Bush
- 2008: Obama
NEW JERSEY: $888.6B
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Gore
- 2004: Kerry
- 2008: Obama
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Gore
- 2004: Kerry
- 2008: Obama
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Bush
- 2004: Bush
- 2008: McCain
- 1996: Dole
- 2000: Bush
- 2004: Bush
- 2008: Obama
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Gore
- 2004: Kerry
- 2008: Obama
NEW YORK: $1.714T
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Gore
- 2004: Kerry
- 2008: Obama
- 1996: Dole
- 2000: Bush
- 2004: Bush
- 2008: McCain
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Gore
- 2004: Kerry
- 2008: Obama
- 1996: Clinton
- 2000: Bush
- 2004: Bush
- 2008: Obama
Final Thought: Now that we have that sorted out, would anyone like to guess why state income has increased primarily in “red” states and in states with Republican governors?
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
- CNBC’s “States With the Most Federal Funding”
- Blaze Analysis: Personal Income Has Grown More in Conservative States Than Liberal
All article photos courtesy the AP. Front page photo courtesy shutterstock.com.
This story has been updated.
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The Best, Worst & Most Vicious Reactions to Donald Trump’s $5 Million Obama Ultimatum
Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm by Billy Hallowell
Celebrity businessman Donald Trump disappointed a great many when his “very, very big” announcement ended up being an ultimatum for President Barack Obama. As TheBlaze reported, Trump said that he would give $5 million to the charity of the president’s choice if Obama releases to the public his college transcripts and passport records. The reaction to the businessman’s widely-reported video offer has been swift.
We’ve decided to compile some of the best and worst responses to the announcement. Considering that “best” and “worst” is, of course, subjective and dependent upon where one stands on Trump and Obama, we’ll let you discern which comments fall into either category.
Social media is, of course, ablaze with perspective, jokes, quips and — agitation. On Twitter, cartoonist JD Crowe and MSNBC’s Ed Schultz were quick to poke fun at Trump:
Owen Johns and College Humor, too, got in on the mix, with the latter posting an image of Trump depicted as Dr. Evil from the “Austin Powers” film series. Here are the tweets:
And here’s the image College Humor posted:
POLITICO noted that even some conservatives — individuals who purportedly agree with many of Trump’s political and economic views — joked about the monetary offering. The outlet recaps some of the responses:
“If at any point you seriously considered Donald Trump for president, please study the error of your ways in quiet, private contemplation,” wrote Jim Geraghty of National Review. [...]
“I will release my college transcripts and passport applications to Donald Trump in exchange for a $5 million contribution to Commentary,” tweeted John Podhoretz, the editor of that conservative magazine and a conservative columnist.
The Onion, too, took a comical — but arguably harsh — tone in addressing the announcement (caution: language):
In a blockbuster announcement today, Donald Trump announced that he is a very sad man who has nothing to live for other than drawing attention to himself. “I’m a sad, pathetic human being and a complete waste of life,” said Trump, adding that he lives an empty existence, and that he is nothing more than a corporate shill, as well as a failed husband, father, and human being. “I am the piece of shit you stepped in on your way to work. I am the vomit that hurls out of your mouth when you are sick. I want to kill myself very badly. Thank you.” Trump then slit his throat from ear to ear.
It doesn’t end there. From social media messages laughing-off Trump’s announcement to those that seem frustrated in tone, pundits and the general public alike are holding little back. Here are a few others:
While many of the responses were light-hearted in nature, some took a serious tone. Take, for instance, Democratic strategist Zerlina Maxwell who unleashed a series of messages accusing Trump of being racist:
As for those showering Trump with negativity following his announcement, well — he’s not showing any signs of being dissuaded or discouraged. In a subsequent tweet that was sent around 1 p.m. ET, he said “the response has been fantastic.”
We’ll leave you with reaction to Trump’s offer from our very own Blaze editors:
Stay tuned. This article will be updated.
‘People Will Go to Prison’: Beck Breaks Down Obama’s ‘Lying’ on Libya in Fiery Segment
Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm by Erica Ritz
Glenn Beck took to his radio show Wednesday morning for a fiery denouncement of the administration’s handling of the crisis in Libya.
“This president is lying to you about Benghazi in such [a] spectacular fashion that I believe people will go to prison. This is impeachable. The president might go to prison for this one,” he said. “What’s happening in Benghazi is so far beyond lying, it is staggering.”
While politicians are known for twisting words into half truths, Beck added that has never seen an administration persist in such a boldfaced lie when American lives are at stake, or seen a media so content to let it slide.
He continued, going over the newly-released documents that prove the administration was alerted to what was really happening in Libya before spinning a story about a YouTube video:
Now we have [the] beginning of the truth on Benghazi. Five days into the Benghazi scandal, when no one was saying anything, I presented a theory…I told you that [Ambassador Stevens] was involved in running guns, and he was running guns to al-Qaeda in Libya, and he was running guns through Turkey into Syria. And whether it was a deal that went bad, I don’t know, but that’s what happened. And the White House knew…And while everyone else was arguing about whether it was a videotape or not, we were furthering the story.
Today we have evidence that is staggering. We now have a memo posted [at] TheBlaze…to the White House two hours after the attacks began. Last night on the TV show I laid it out again…exactly what happened, when. At 1:00, or 12:54 in the afternoon on September 11, the White House was warned that somebody was watching the Benghazi safe house– and so you know, do not let any member of the press get away with calling this an embassy safe house. It is not. It was a CIA safe house. Now why, in the most dangerous place in one of the most dangerous parts of the world, on Sept. 11…why would he be at a CIA safe house? …We now know he was having dinner with the general counsel of Turkey. [Emphasis added]
Beck reminded that it has been widely reported that President Obama has a close relationship with the Turkish prime minister, before continuing:
An hour after that, the Turkish ambassador leaves through the front door and the front gate, unmolested. Now you tell me– why was the Turkish general counsel there? …Why was it so important on Sept. 11 to go to the most dangerous city, into a CIA safe house?
An hour after he leaves, the fight begins. We now know that the White House– somebody, the military, somebody, sent a drone. So there was a live video feed of what was going on. They’re watching it in the State Department, they’re watching it at the Pentagon, they’re watching it at Langley, and they’re watching it in the Situation Room. At 5:00 in the afternoon, Leon Panetta has a meeting with the president of the United States. The first email comes at 4:05. So the Secretary of Defense arrives at the White House to have a meeting with the president 55 minutes after the Situation Room and everybody else gets an email saying, ‘Libya, the safe house is under attack.” [Emphasis added]
Beck proceeded to read several more emails explaining how our personnel in Benghazi were missing and under attack, before he got to one timestamped at 6:07. According to the memo, Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility for the attack and– though he isn’t sure– Beck said it’s possible that Ansar al-Sharia was one of the groups that we gave arms and funding to during the war to overthrow Gaddhafi.
“This is why the White House covered, because our ambassador was killed by [guys] we were running guns to, and we are still running guns today.”
He then read an international report from Russia Today saying U.S. Stinger Missiles are in the hands of Syrian rebels, adding that the New York Times has also reported that we are using the Muslim Brotherhood to arm the rebels in Syria.
Beck concluded the segment:
“This president is on the wrong side. It is so crystal clear…let’s just take it one step at a time. The President of the United States of America, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State have all lied to you. They lied to you and said, ‘this might be a video, we don’t have all the information, the information is still sketchy, it’s confusing,’…We now have the documents that came into the Situation Room saying, ‘There’s an attack, they’re watching.’ Then, we have the documents that we had a live video feed in the Situation Room, so they could see that there was no protest. Then there are the documents– and there’s now 13, with this new one– there’s now 13 different documents saying it’s a terrorist attack, and here’s the group that’s doing it. And they lied to you.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to questions about the newly-released emails by saying there was “all sorts of information” coming in at the time.
Watch the entire clip, via TheBlaze TV, below:
Why Are N.C. Early Voting Machines Changing Romney Votes to Obama?
Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm by Liz Klimas
Just as TheBlaze reported a couple years ago about a “possessed” machine in Texas only allowing votes to be cast for the Green Party, an early voting machine in North Carolina was experiencing a similar issue.
My Fox 8 reported that in Guilford County, some casting early ballots found that when they voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the machine appeared to change it to the Democrat candidate Barack Obama.
But poll officials said this is “not a conspiracy.” The electronic voting machines merely need to be recalibrated.
Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert said calibration issues are something that happen every election.
Still, voters were upset over the fact that this mistake was even a possibility.
“I was so upset that this could happen,” said Sher Coromalis, who cast her vote for Romney, according to My Fox 8. After a third go at voting, it registered correctly.
This issue was reported on Monday and was fixed by Tuesday at the Bur-Mil Park polling location. No further problems have been reported.
Watch the report:
In a recent interview with Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, TheBlaze learned voters experiencing issues with machines or problems at polling locations can contact the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or use the app available for Android and iPhone. Smith too cited calibration as an issue with electronic voting machines, which should not go unreported. This is also a good example of why it is important to double check your vote was accurately recorded.
Smith said it is important to let poll workers know of the problem before you officially cast your vote. Stay tuned more information about different polling technologies, what can go wrong with them, and what you can do about it in an upcoming post on TheBlaze.
(H/T: Drudge Report)
Trump’s Big Announcement: He’ll Give $5 Million to Charity of Obama’s Choice If President Releases College, Passport Records
Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm by Billy Hallowell
Read TheBlaze’s follow-up story: The Best, Worst & Most Vicious Reactions to Donald Trump’s $5 Million Obama Ultimatum
Donald Trump has a flair for attracting media attention. Over the past few days, the celebrity businessman has had the media and public, alike, wondering about a big announcement he’s been teasing. And here it is: If President Barack Obama releases all of his college and passport records, Trump will give a check for $5 million dollars to a charity of Obama’s choice.
Prior to the announcement, Trump heralded the coming proclamation as “something very, very big.” And promptly delivered on his promise to release the information at 12:00 p.m. ET. While some expected a bombshell that was, indeed, “big,” instead, Trump made the aforementioned offer, giving viewers (he delivered it via video) no new information about the commander-in-chief. The deadline for Obama to deliver these materials is October 31.
Earlier this morning, before the announcement, Trump took to Twitter where he wrote, “Story will be released today at 12 noon EST on Twitter and Facebook.” In a subsequent Tweet he took aim at news reports that have attempted to crack the code on the subject of his forthcoming bulletin.
On Thursday, Trump also used Facebook to also drum up curiosity about the announcement among his 489,000+ fans. He wrote, “This is not a media event or about Donald J. Trump— this is about the United States of America. I will be making the announcement on Facebook and Twitter tomorrow.”
Watch Trump’s announcement, which was linked to on Twitter and Facebook, below:
Below, watch Blaze editors react to the announcement:
And here’s a copy of Trump’s press release regarding the offer (notice the doubt that Trump, once again, casts on Obama’s birth certificate):
Last night, TheBlaze reported on some of the potential options regarding what the announcement would be. While some thought that it would center upon the Obamas’ (alleged) never-before-seen divorce papers, Paddy Powers bookies had a diverse list of their own potential Trump announcements (some also said Trump was poised to announce that Obama sold cocaine in college — an allegation that the businessman’s representatives quickly denied).
Trump, again and again, has made his disdain for the president known. On Tuesday, as he was teasing his announcement, he tweeted, “If you like having the world collapse and being told America is leading from behind — vote Obama.”
*UPDATED* Allred’s October Surprise: Here’s What It Looks Like the Famed Lawyer’s Romney Allegations Will Entail
Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:49 am by Mytheos Holt
Yesterday evening, several sources reported that Gloria Allred would be in Boston court this morning seeking to unseal a gag order on testimony by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in an unspecified case. Many observers wondered what the case might be, and what the surprise would exactly entail. Now, we have a good idea.
Allred is seeking to unseal testimony by Romney in the divorce proceedings of Staples founder Tom Stemberg, a Romney surrogate and founder of a company that marks one of Bain Capital’s most prominent early successes. Stemberg also served as Romney’s campaign manager during the former Massachusetts Governor’s failed run for President in 2008.
However, Stemberg has a skeleton in his closet. His divorce proceedings with his ex-wife, Maureen, were apparently extremely nasty, and Maureen herself is the subject of a documentary that aired on Lifetime. Roz Zurko of the Examiner explains:
Romney was a key witness in a high-profile divorce case between Staples co-founder Tom Stemberg and his wife Maureen. Stemberg is one of Romney’s biggest supporters and allegedly the Republican Presidential hopeful was “heavily involved” in this very messy and long drawn-out divorce, which was “bitter and ugly,” according to TMZ. Romney not only gave a deposition in this divorce case, but he also testified at the trial and both testimonies are protected under this court ordered seal.
Romney and Stemberg’s ties “run deep” and Romney’s venture capital company helped launch Staples, which is considered the first big success for Romney’s company. He stayed invested in the inner workings of Staple’s by sitting on the board of directors for many years.
What all this has to do with Romney and the election is not known at this time, but it is believed that Allred represents Maureen Stemberg and getting at Romney’s deposition and his testimony from this case with a court order is somehow very important to this lawyer. Getting the gag order lifted so the people involved in the case are free to talk is another strategy which appears to be of utmost importance to Allred today.
Nevertheless, ugly though these proceedings may have been, one has to ask the question – what do they have to do with Romney, whose testimony in the divorce proceedings allegedly focused only on Staples stock prices?
Ironically, an article from 2008 by liberal blogger Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti may provide the answer. Here is Polizzotti’s take on Romney’s participation:
Apart from a close friendship, which is no secret, between Mitt Romney and Tom Stemberg, one turns the question over and over why it is that the now Governor of Massachusetts would have ever testified in a divorce case? We speak here of Mitt Romney’s relationship with Staple’s founder Tom Stemberg who is now Romney’s Campaign Manager. He was called, that’s why, and had no choice, but Romney did have a choice and an obligation to be completely forthcoming on the stand.
But then, the details haven’t been made clearly public, so in some effort to set the long and very winding road straight (for this is really like going through the looking glass, which may well be as it is intended), Mitt Romney and Tom Stemberg go back a long way – all the way to the very founding of Staples when Romney was working for Bain and felt that Staples was perhaps a good investment and was the first investor to come on board to the tune of $650,000 dollars.
It was about a year and half later later, in 1988 when called as a witness by Tom Stemberg’s lawyers for a divorce case that Romney said on record that Staples stock was, essentially, “over-valued. In his own-words, Romney said, “I didn’t place a great deal of credibility in the forecast of the company’s future.” (p. 441, appeals court document No. 95 P 286, Norfolk County) Romney is then asked how many times in the past he has “reviewed these kinds of offerings” (441). Yet in the early Spring of 1989 Staples went public. So much for undervalued. Either Mitt does not know his figures, or he was dangerously close to perjuring himself on the stand or outright lying. You decide…[...]
But the Sullivan-Stemberg divore case is no joke and speaks yet more to Romeny’s integrity. Romney did a two-step cha-cha - at best - and all for the benefit of a friend (and likely himself) during a divorce case; only a court of law can decide whether or not he perjured himself and what he tells us now. If you did tell the truth then, are you telling the truth now, Mr. Romney? Or did you lie on the stand then about Staples and are now touting it’s great value as your “proudest achievement”. which is it Mr. Romney, Mr. Stemberg? You can’t have it both ways.
For Tom Stemberg to say that the idea of founding Staples was his and his alone and to reap all of the profit and gain is not only ufair, it reeks of sexism, but coming from a man who committed adultery more than once and impregnated another woman during an “affair” (call it what you will), this is hardly surprising. In fact, none of this is surprising. The only surprising part is that Mitt Romney – the man who Would Be President – is best-friends with Tom Stemberg, because Tom Stemberg is a lot of things, but family values he ain’t. No: he’s Mr. Romney’s Campaign Manager.
Astute readers can see the problem. Romney will likely be accused by Allred of deliberately misrepresenting Staples’ stock prices in order to cheat a friend’s ex-wife out of divorce money. The “damned if you did, damned if you didn’t” conundrum is obvious in the narrative the Left could spin. If Romney didn’t lie about the stock prices and really thought the company was about to go belly up, then his negotiations to take the company public suggest he was cheating his clients, Allred et al will argue. If Romney didn’t think the company was going to go belly up, then he used his economic influence to defraud a woman, and a victim of adultery.
Of course, it may be that Maureen Stemberg has already started attacking Romney. Dana Loesch uncovered a treasure trove of comments by a woman calling herself “Maureen Stemberg,” who repeatedly slams Romney and his Mormonism while talking up President Obama:
(All photos courtesy of Dana Loesch)
In other words, Allred is trying to use the testimony of a clearly (and justifiably) embittered woman to tar Romney for his association with that woman’s ex-husband. Whether any voters will care to follow this guilt by association circus is anyone’s guess. It may well be that Allred’s attack will be canceled out by Donald Trump’s supposed bombshell, which will also be released today. However, with just 13 days to go, this campaign just took a turn for the tabloid-esque.
UPDATE: The hearing on releasing Romney’s testimony has been rescheduled for Thursday morning, October 25.
BlazeCast Rewind: Today’s Breaking News on Libya, Donald Trump & Gloria Allred!
Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:45 am by Scott Baker
TRUMP’S BIG ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN RELEASED. VIEW IT HERE.
This broadcast will run from 11:45AM ET to 1pm ET.
To join the chat — there is a button on the top right of the player window or you can hover your cursor over the player window for options.
To ask a question — click the button at the bottom. We’ll be able to display your question or comment in the player window!
And as always you can leave other comments in the regular comment section below!
If you are having any issues with the stream — we understand that the Chrome browser works very well with this technology.
TheBlaze Live Chat Rewind: Epic Countdown to Donald Trump’s Noon Obama Announcement!
Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:24 am by Meredith Jessup
Editor’s note: Our live chat will begin at 11:30 and our live BlazeCast will begin at 11:45 —
There’s a lot going on in the news today…
Donald Trump says he has a “game-changing” announcement to make.
Gloria Allred is also reportedly stirring up some trouble.
So let’s discuss, shall we?
White House Responds to New Libya Emails: ‘There Was a Variety of Information Coming In’
Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:21 am by Madeleine Morgenstern
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday morning that there was “a variety of information coming in” after the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, responding to emails that show that White House and State Department officials were informed within hours that an Al-Qaeda-linked group had taken responsibility.
One of emails, sent two hours after the attack occurred on Sept. 11, said the Ansar al-Sharia group had claimed responsibility for the Libya assault in postings on Facebook and Twitter, Reuters reported.
“There were emails about all sorts of information that was coming available in the aftermath of the attack,” Carney told reporters. “The email you are referring to was an open source email referring to an assertion made on a social media site that everyone in this room has access to and knew about instantaneously.”
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack.
“There was a variety of information coming in,” Carney continued. “The whole point of an intelligence community and what they do is to assess strands of information and make judgements about what happened and who was responsible….This is an open source, unclassified email about a posting on a Facebook site. I would also note that within a few hours the organization itself claimed that it had not been responsible. Neither should be taken as fact. That is why there is an investigation.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday also sought to downplay the significance of the emails, particularly with regard to the Facebook claim.
“Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence and it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be,” Clinton said. “We will find out what happened we will take whatever measures necessary to fix whatever needs to be fixed and we will bring to justice those who committed these murders.”
This post has been updated.
Report: 1 Person Fatally Shot at Megapastor Creflo Dollar’s World Changers International Church
Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:14 am by Billy Hallowell
Local media are reporting that a shooting took place this morning at World Changers International Church in College Park, Georgia. This is the church that is run by megachurch pastor and televangelist Creflo Dollar, who, earlier this year, was arrested and accused of “hurting” his daughter (he has denied these claims). MyFoxAtlanta.com has more about the shooting:
Fulton County police say one person was shot on Wednesday morning inside World Changers International Church in College Park.
According to authorities, the victim was rushed to South Fulton Medical Center. The person’s condition is not known.
Rev. Creflo Dollar is the founder and senior pastor of World Changers International Church. According to the church’s website, worship services are held on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. in the chapel.
WSB-TV is reporting that the victim died after the shooting broke out in the church around 10:30 a.m. While he was sent to the hospital in critical condition, he later died. According to sources at the church, the church hosts a weekly Bible study and the man who was killed is a member of World Changers International Church’s production crew.
Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester told The Associated Press that the suspect got away in a vehicle and was still at large after the Wednesday morning shooting at World Changers Church International in College Park.
World Changers Church International is one of the nation’s largest, and its website states that it serves nearly 30,000 members. The church is led by the Rev. Creflo Dollar, its founder and senior pastor. There was no indication that he was injured.
Below, see a live video footage of media coverage surrounding the incident:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.
Retired Porn Star Ron Jeremy Defends Smut (& God) During Church Speech: ‘Majority’ of ‘Porn Stars Believe in God’
Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:57 am by Billy Hallowell
Retired porn star Ron Jeremy found himself at an unusual place this past Sunday: Daybreak Church in Hudsonville, Michigan. Jeremy, who is one of the nation’s most well-known adult stars, wasn’t in the audience, though. Instead, he spoke to the 2,000 people in attendance from the pulpit.
His message? That “a lot of porn stars believe in God.” Rather than being out-of-control heathens without any regard for the Almighty, Jeremy, who has acted in more than 2,000 porn films, said that the “majority” of adult stars embrace God.
WZZM-TV has more about the controversial appearance:
“I don’t think it’s a problem having my kind of lifestyle as long as you’re honest,” he told the congregation. ”We’re not robots. “We don’t just play ‘hide the bacon’ and then go home and believe in atheism.”
Jeremy was invited to the church to speak alongside Pastor Craig Gross, a faith leader who runs XXXChurch.com. Gross’ ministry works to help Christians overcome pornography addiction. The rationale behind Jeremy’s appearance was that he has the ability to bring people to church who wouldn’t otherwise attended, WZZM-TV reported. The community was, naturally, divided about whether having him attend was a viable idea.
Goss has also ignited controversy in the past for working with Jeremy on an advertising campaign to better educate parents about the dangers of internet pornography. Below, see one of the ads produced back in 2011:
Today, Jeremy, though still referred to as a “porn star,” is retired from the industry. However, he still believes wholeheartedly in recreational sex. Among the other comments he made at Daybreak Church, the star admitted that pornography can harm families and that he only believes people who are happy and healthy should partake in it.
Jeremy framed the divide between himself and many evangelical Christians as hinging upon divergent views on pre-marital sex, The Huffington Post reports.
“The Lord is fine with marriage. We all agree on that,” he told the audience. “But where we differ is that I believe in recreational sex, and the religious folks don’t.”
Believe It Or Not, These are Pencil Drawings and Not Photos
Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:34 am by Liz Klimas
Diego Fazio, a 22-year-old artist in Italy who also goes by DiegoKoi online, is known for his “precise lines and Oriental techniques,” according to his DeviantArt page. But just how precise and technical his work can be is best exemplified by how realistic his drawings appear.
Take this one.
One might be tempted to argue and say the above image is photograph, but Fazio created it entirely with pencil. Here’s the piece, which would be considered photorealistic, while still in the works.
The artist’s work began gaining recent traction after being posted on Buzzfeed.
According to DeviantArt (translated by Google), Fazio was first a tattoo artist but eventually left to focus on drawing bodies, instead of drawing on them. Fazio’s “hundreds of shades” are said to lead him “to create contrasts that touch the soul of the one who observes his works.”
Fazio has been awarded several honors for his work over the last few years. Below are a few more of his drawings.
If you liked this story, check out these photorealistic paintings TheBlaze featured by Pedro Campos.
Is Newly Appointed Libya Investigator an Islamist-Sympathizer With Ties to CAIR?
Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:30 am by Tiffany Gabbay
Is the man the Obama administration appointed on October 4 as key investigator for the terror attacks in Benghazi an Islamist-sympathizer? According to recently published reports, the new chairman of a State Department’s “Accountability Review Board,” which is heading the federal investigation into the Benghazi terror attacks, has been accused of being an “apologist for Islamic terrorism who has a cozy relationship with Iran.”
What’s more, the man in question — former Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering — has documented ties with the controversial group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR, of course, is a documented Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and was named unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial — the largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history.
To make matters worse, Pickering is also co-chairman of the board of George Soros’ International Crisis Group who has ties to other Islamic organizations as well, including the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), which has been described as pro-Iran “front group.”
NIAC lost what Matthew Vadum at FrontPageMag describes as ”an important defamation case in federal court last month in which it unsuccessfully argued the group was not a tool of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Pickering, who is a member of NIAC’s advisory board, formerly served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1997 to 2000). He was featured in a report “Rise of the Iran Lobby,” by former CIA officer Clare M. Lopez, who was recently featured on the Glenn Beck Program to discuss the motivations behind the terror-attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.
Pickering’s Islamic-connections came to light after a report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism was published, exposing what it called the “scores” of established, radical Islamists who met with senior administration officials over the course of hundreds of White House visits.
“Ambassador Pickering’s positions on Iran include calls for bilateral talks without preconditions and a plan for a multinational uranium enrichment consortium in Iran,” Lopez wrote.
As noted by Vadum, Pickering was, as of Tuesday evening, poised to participate in a panel discussion at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on “what role the faith community can play in fighting Islamophobia.” Along with Pickering, the discussion featured Arab American Institute president James J. Zogby, American Association for Muslim Advancement executive director Daisy Khan, and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who serves as chairman of the Cordoba Initiative. Vadum characterized Khan and Rauf as “prime movers behind the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.” Further, he notes:
Khan is known for her over-the-top attacks on those who question the wisdom of building a Muslim holy site so close to the place where nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in an Islamist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Asked in 2010 if America was “Islamophobic,” Khan replied that “It’s not even Islamophobia, it’s beyond Islamophobia — it’s hate of Muslims,” she said.
Meanwhile Soros-funded organizations including the International Crisis Group are tirelessly working to champion the defeat of America’s alleged xenophobic bent and rampant Islamophobia. Perhaps there are no coincidences.
Update: Iowa Newspaper Allowed to Publish ‘Off-the-Record’ Interview With Obama After WH Initially Refuses
Posted October 24, 2012 at 10:17 am by Erica Ritz
The editor for the Des Moines Register yesterday penned an article blasting President Obama for refusing to go on the record during his 30-minute interview with the influential Iowa newspaper. But now, after the issue garnered significant publicity, the Obama campaign has relented and allowed a transcript of the interview to be published.
The editor Rick Green wrote in a blog post yesterday:
Just two weeks before Election Day, the discussion, I believe, would have been valuable to all voters, but especially those in Iowa and around the country who have yet to decide between the incumbent Democrat and his Republican opponent.
[But] it was a “personal call” to the Register’s publisher and editor, we were told. The specifics of the conversation could not be shared because it was off-the-record.
Of course, we immediately lobbied his campaign staff in Des Moines for a formal, on-the-record call. We were told it was not their decision; it came from the White House. We requested that the White House be asked to reverse course so whatever the president shared with us could be reviewed by voters and our readers.
No reason was given for the unusual condition of keeping it private. [Emphasis added]
“What the President shared with us this morning — and the manner, depth and quality of his presentation – would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds. From a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice,” he added.
RNC spokesman Tim Miller contributed at the time: “President Obama is telling Iowans that if they want to hear him answer some tough [questions] before Election Day, they’ll have to hope for a rerun of The View.”
But now, readers can see the entire transcript of the interview at the Des Moines Register.
The Register’s official endorsement is expected this weekend, but even before the administration relented, they said it would be “petty and ridiculous” for the issue to play a factor in their endorsement.
This story has been updated to reflect new information.
Market Recap: Sell-Off Manages to Bring Stocks Back From Brink
Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am by Becket Adams
Markets closed down today:
▼ Dow: -0.19 percent
▼ Nasdaq: -0.29 percent
▼ S&P: -0.31 percent
▼ Gold: -0.34 percent to $1,702.61 an ounce
▲ Silver: +0.10 percent to settle at $31.73
▼ Oil: -1.06 percent
Markets were down today because:
The steep losses were slowed down Wednesday as the stock market regained a little confidence, a day after one of its biggest sell-offs of the year. Indexes ended with slight losses after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy still needs support.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 25.19 points at 13,077.34, a day after one of its worst drops this year.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4.36 points to close at 1,408.75 while the Nasdaq composite index fell 8.76 points to 2,991.70.
Lower corporate revenue and expectations for the rest of the year drove the Dow down 243 points Tuesday, its third-biggest drop this year. DuPont, 3M, UPS and Xerox all reported lower sales than a year ago.
The market flitted between small gains and losses for much of the day. Indexes started to fade after 2 p.m., after the Fed repeated its assessment that the U.S. economic recovery remains modest at best.
At the end of its latest two-day meeting, the Fed said the economy is still expanding at just a “moderate pace” and that it needs time to see whether a new bond-buying effort launched in September will spur economic growth and new hiring.
Third-quarter earnings reports have mainly disappointed investors. The Dow has risen just one day in the last five, a gain of two points on Monday. It lost 205 on Friday following poor results from Microsoft, General Electric and McDonald’s.
The latest batch of earnings reports wasn’t as dire, and there was the occasional piece of encouraging news.
Facebook had its best day since its stock market debut in May. The company said late Tuesday that 14 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile devices, allaying some investor concerns.
The social network’s stock soared $3.73 to $23.23, a jump of 19 percent. Facebook has swung widely since its IPO at $38, and has traded as low as $17.55.
AT&T, which is part of the Dow average, said it added the fewest wireless customers since 2003, far behind Verizon Wireless. AT&T’s results still managed to beat the estimates of financial analysts. AT&T slid 29 cents to $34.71.
A measure of manufacturing in China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, improved this month to a three-month high. China’s white-hot economic growth has been slowing.
Homebuilder stocks gained after the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped last month to the highest level in more than two years. Toll Brothers rose 70 cents to $35.25 and D.R. Horton rose 32 cents to $21.41.
Prices for U.S. government bonds inched lower, sending yields up. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.79 percent from 1.76 percent late Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Morning Market Roundup: U.S. Airways Faring Better Than Most, EU vs. Microsoft, Ford Shutters Belgian Plant
Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:57 am by Becket Adams
Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:
U.S. Airways: U.S. Airways made its best profit ever for the 3-month stretch that covers much of the peak summer vacation season.
Net income for the third quarter totaled $245 million, or $1.24 per share, compared with $76 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier, the airline said Wednesday.
The results are especially important to U.S. Airways Group Inc. as it pursues a merger with American Airlines. Tempe, Ariz.-based U.S. Airways, the nation’s fifth-biggest airline, is trying to impress American’s creditors that a combined company would be more successful than American can become on its own.
Before gains such as the sale of airport landing slots, U.S. Airways would have earned $192 million, or 98 cents per share, in the third quarter. Analysts were expecting 92 cents per share excluding one-time items.
Revenue rose 3 percent to $3.53 billion but fell short of analysts’ expectations of $3.55 billion.
Ford: Ford Motor Co. will close a car plant in eastern Belgium – one of its main European factories – by the end of 2014, a move that will result in 4,500 direct job losses and 5,000 more among subcontractors.
Exactly half a century after construction on the Genk plant started, Ford told a management council there that production was winding down since slumping European sales has forced a restructuring of its plants.
Ford has been under pressure in Europe due to the region’s dwindling demand for its models and the overall slide of car sales on the continent due to the debt crisis. The company expects to lose more than $1 billion this year in Europe, where it gets a quarter of its sales. Analysts say Ford has more factory capacity than it needs.
The regional authorities in northern Belgium’s Flanders are already looking how to recover money from the €57 million it committed in 2010 to keep Ford rooted there for years to come.
The announcement came barely a month after Ford had given reassurances about production at the Genk plant, Lamers said.
EU & Microsoft: The European Union’s executive arm formally accused Microsoft on Wednesday of failing to comply with a binding agreement to give customers a choice among Internet browsers.
In 2009, the European Commission said it suspected Microsoft of using its dominant market position to foist its Internet Explorer browser on users. In negotiations, Microsoft agreed to create a screen where users could choose among competitors’ browsers. The Commission accepted that concession and made the creation of a “browser choice screen” legally binding.
But in July, the Commission said the screen had not been displayed on many computers between February 2009 and July 2012, and millions of users may have been affected during that period. At the time, Microsoft said that a technical error was responsible.
On Wednesday, the company apologized for the error and said it was working to make sure it didn’t happen again,
Microsoft will now be given four weeks to respond to the formal complaint and can seek an oral hearing. Once it has assessed Microsoft’s defense, the Commission will rule.
The company could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual revenue if found in breach of antitrust law.
U.S. Futures: Stock futures are rising ahead of the latest U.S. housing data and on a report from China that could signal a recovery for the manufacturing sector of the world’s second largest economy.
Dow Jones industrial futures are up 43 points to 13,084. The broader S&P futures have gained 6 points to 1,412.80. Nasdaq futures are up 10.75 points to 2,671.25.
A preliminary version of HSBC’s monthly purchasing managers’ index for China rose to a three-month high. The numbers still point to a contraction, but they’re an improvement from numbers last month. A report last week suggested an uptick in retail sales and investment, too.
The U.S. Commerce Department posts the latest data on new home sales at 10 a.m. Eastern and economists expect to see more evidence of a steadily improving market.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Residents of Israeli Town Complain about Obama Debate Reference
Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:51 am by Sharona Schwartz
During Monday’s debate, when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pointed out that on his Middle East “apology tour,” President Obama had “skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region,” Obama swiped back with the rebuttal that he had once visited not only the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Yad Vashem in Jerusalem but also the embattled town of Sderot during a 2008 visit as a candidate. Obama said Monday night:
And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me there where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms. And I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids. Which is why as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.
After hearing the town mentioned in the debate, the Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot sent reporter Neri Brenner to Sderot to get reaction from residents there – including one man Obama met in July 2008.
Reporter Brenner tracked down Pinhas Amar whose home was struck by a direct hit from a Qassam rocket launched by terrorists in Gaza. Amar told the paper:
“This isn’t the first time that Obama is using his visit here as a winning card,” said Pinhas Amar, a Sderot resident who met with the leader during his trip to the border town in 2008. […]
“I am disappointed in his attitude towards Israel and his failure to keep his promises,” he added. “In my opinion he doesn’t really like Israel. He only visited here to get the Jewish vote.”
Amar is not convinced by Obama’s suggestion that his visit as a candidate to Sderot provides evidence of his unwavering commitment to the security of the Jewish state. Amar said:
“He’s a charmer,” he said. “He knows his rhetoric and has a very sharp tongue. He knows how to persuade people while looking them in the eye, but it’s all a sham. He says one thing, but he means another.”
Amar speculated that Obama wouldn’t be partner to a strike on Iran should the need for one arise. “We will have to deal with it alone,” he said.
Yediot points out that Obama has on previous occasions evoked his Sderot visit to demonstrate his dedication to Israel as he insists he won’t allow Iran to obtain a doomsday weapon. In his speech to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC last year, Obama referred to his 2008 meeting with then 8-year-old Osher Tuito who lost part of a leg in a Qassam rocket attack:
When I went to Sderot and saw the daily struggle to survive in the eyes of an eight-year-old boy who lost his leg to a Hamas rocket, and when I walked among the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, I was reminded of the existential fear of Israelis when a modern dictator seeks nuclear weapons and threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the map — face of the Earth.
Kobi Harush, head of security for Sderot, said of the Obama-Romney debate:
The reference to the trip was a political statement and nothing more…Someone has to remind him [Obama] that the rocket fire continued since his visit.
Sderot Mayor David Buskila did not criticize President Obama for mentioning his town. He said: “World leaders and the US president in particular mention Sdeort and their concern for the town as an expression of their concern for the State of Israel.”
Instead, Buskila took the opportunity to criticize the Israeli government for “not caring” and not doing enough to protect Sderot’s residents: “It’s insulting for every resident of Sderot,” he said. “They are spitting in the face of the heroic residents who protect the State of Israel, while the State of Israel fails to protect them in every way.”
This is not the first time Sderot has been utilized in the American political debate. Sderot resident David Farer wrote in PJ Media last month that the words of at least two Sderot residents featured in a pro-Obama ad were misleadingly edited to show strong support for Obama, when they had actually been meant to criticize the president’s relationship with Israel.
Farer wrote that in the National Jewish Democratic Council’s (NJDC) August ad purporting to show what Israelis on the front lines of conflict really think of President Obama, he recognized some of his neighbors and decided to investigate.
He re-interviewed the interviewees and found:
– One participant, Sasson Sara, was emphatic: “I do not support [Obama].” Sara claims the video omitted several words he spoke, thus giving his statement the appearance of conveying the exact opposite message Sara had intended.
The video shows Sara saying in Hebrew: “Sderot is important to him. The Jewish people are important to him. The state of Israel is important to him.”
Sasson claims he actually spoke the following in Hebrew: “If Sderot is important to him, the Jewish people are important to him, the state of Israel is important to him, then Obama should do more about Iran.”
Most of the interviewees in the Democratic ad seem to genuinely support the president. One of them appears to be the same individual Yediot Aharonot interviewed about Obama’s debate performance, the aforementioned Pinhas Amar, who has an ongoing critique of Obama. PJ Media reported:
– Another participant, Pinchas Ammar, told Farer that he does not support Obama and thinks Obama is not pro-Israel and does not understand Israel’s problems in the least. He was not happy to find himself in a film promoting Obama’s re-election.
Incredibly, this is not the first time Pinchas Ammar has been exploited by an Obama campaign.
When Obama visited Sderot in 2008, Obama himself promised Ammar he would fly him to Washington, D.C., to attend an inaugural ball if he were elected. Many witnesses were present to hear Obama’s promise. After a few months of excitement, the Ammars were disappointed when an invitation never arrived.
Ammar and his wife were seriously injured when a terrorist missile exploded in their kitchen. They have not been able to work since.
TheBlaze tried but was unable to reach him at his Sderot home. The phone company lists only one Pinhas Amar in Sderot, and his name could also be transliterated as Pinchas Ammar.
Beyond the opinion of Sderot residents on the U.S. elections, the New York Times reported Tuesday that American citizens voting via absentee ballot from Israel also seem to largely back Mitt Romney.
Romney has made four trips to Israel, the most recent of which was in July. During a previous trip Romney also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Sderot.
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