Posts tagged ‘Rick Santorum’

May 27, 2011

Republican Mitt Romney is returning to Iowa to begin what his aides promise will be a leaner …

Romney returns to Iowa with a leaner organization
May 27, 2011, 6:08 a.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney is returning to Iowa to begin what his aides promise will be a leaner campaign for the state’s leadoff nominating caucuses than the expensive juggernaut he assembled here in his 2008 race.

The former Massachusetts governor plans to officially announce his second bid for the presidency next week in New Hampshire, the state around which he’s built his 2012 strategy.

That formality comes as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum prepares to enter the race in the coming days, and as Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann signaled she likely would do the same next month in Waterloo, where she was born. At the same time, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is launching an East Coast bus tour starting Sunday, a move that’s fueling speculation that she, too, is preparing for a run.

Romney, for his part, is making his first trip to Iowa this year on Friday, with plans to visit a suburban Des Moines technology firm and address a business group in the capital city.

The topic is in keeping with what aides say will be a campaign more focused on a national economic message, and less focused on appealing specifically to Republican activists in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Romney has rethought his Iowa plans after his second-place finish in the caucuses during his 2008 bid for the GOP nomination. He spent millions in the state only to be beaten late in the campaign by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a stricter social conservative who appealed to the Christians who form the backbone of the Iowa GOP caucus base.

Romney has said he plans to campaign in Iowa and field a staff ahead of the 2012 caucuses.

He unveiled a team of key Iowa backers Thursday led by a former state party chairman and planned to meet in eastern Iowa Friday with supporters from counties where he won in 2008. Romney also spoke briefly with Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, Monday, another sign he is not forsaking the leadoff state, as some observers suggested he would.

But aides would not say whether Romney planned to compete in the Iowa Republican Party’s presidential straw poll, a traditionally big pre-caucus event planned for mid-August. Romney spent heavily to organize en route to winning the straw poll in August 2007.

Some influential GOP activists have said Romney should reconsider his less aggressive Iowa approach since several Republicans with stronger social conservative profiles than Romney are expected to run, leaving him an opening with pro-business conservatives.

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May 23, 2011

Tim Pawlenty on Monday cast himself as the Republican candidate willing to tell the country hard truths …

Pawlenty launches bid, delivers tough talk in Iowa
May 23, 2011, 3:26 p.m. EDTAssociated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP)Tim Pawlentyon Monday cast himself as the Republican candidate willing to tell the country hard truths as he seeks the presidency, bluntly announcing in corn-dependent Iowa that its prized federal subsidies for ethanol should be phased out.

“The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out,” Pawlenty told about 200 Republican activists and supporters in Des Moines in his first public appearance since officially kicking off his White House bid Sunday. “We simply can’t afford them anymore.”

The former Minnesota governor is using his first week of campaigning as an announced candidate to try to cast himself as a straight-talking Midwesterner, unafraid to consider drastic changes to sensitive spending programs in order to solve the nation’s fiscal problems. He faces several obstacles in pursuing the GOP nomination; he isn’t well-known nationally, ranks low in popularity polling and has been tagged by comedians and the chattering class as boring.

Pawlenty’s announcement came hours after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision against a bid jolted the GOP race and brought the field into clearer focus.

Pawlenty made fiscal overhaul the centerpiece of his announcement speech, and planned to not just challenge politically influential Iowans, but swing-voting seniors in Florida and wealthy bank executives on Wall Street.

“Conventional wisdom says you can’t talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street,” Pawlenty said. “But someone has to say it. Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead.”

Pawlenty plans to outline a Social Security plan that raises the retirement age for seniors and requires means-testing for wealthier retirees.

The proposals are aimed at establishing Pawlenty as a candidate who levels with the American people, which he said President Barack Obama, whom he hopes to challenge next year, has not done.

“President Obama’s policies have failed,” Pawlenty said, delivering a speech and answering questions from the audience but not reporters. “But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess that we’re in.”

Pawlenty acknowledged the political sensitivity of changing Social Security and eliminating ethanol subsidies.

“I’m not some out-of-touch politician from some other part of the country,” he said. “But even in Minnesota, when we faced fiscal challenges, we reduced ethanol subsidies. That’s where we are now in Washington, but on a much, much larger scale.”

As governor, Pawlenty played both sides of the ethanol issue. He angered farmers by pushing to trim subsidy payments to ethanol producers early in his first term. But he won their favor later by spearheading a drive to boost the amount of the fuel additive blended into each gallon of gasoline sold in the state. It must be 20 percent by 2013.

While the challenge to ethanol was a risk, Pawlenty made clear what Iowa means to his candidacy.

The setting for Pawlenty’s appearance — a sun-splashed rooftop terrace overlooking the Iowa Capitol — underscored how important the state’s leadoff presidential caucuses are to his bid as he tries to take advantage of Daniels’ absence to position himself as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor lost his first bid in 2008 and again is seeking the nomination of a party that historically has nominated a candidate who had run previously.

Given an opportunity to go after Romney in a Monday morning appearance on network television, Pawlenty demurred, saying he’d prefer to talk about his own presidential traits than criticize others. He did acknowledge he probably wouldn’t be able to compete with the former private equity investment firm executive in terms of fundraising.

However, while criticizing Obama’s candidness about the depths of the nation’s fiscal crisis, he also subtly called on his would-be GOP rivals to be honest about the problems.

“It’s time for America’s president — and anyone who wants to be president — to look you in the eye and tell you the truth,” he said.

The appearance was one in a highly scripted, multi-format campaign roll-out that began Sunday evening with an internet video and continued Monday morning with Pawlenty’s appearances on all the network news morning programs. It is part of an 18-month ramp-up that began with Pawlenty’s first Iowa trip as a possible candidate, and is aimed at branding him as the fresh-faced, but tough-minded executive able to take on an incumbent Democratic president.

Pawlenty, who must win the party nomination before getting the chance to take on Obama, virtually ignored his GOP rivals in an announcement video, a column published in USA Today and his speech.

Pawlenty’s Monday visit was his 14th to Iowa since the 2008 election, more than any candidate except former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The little-known Midwesterner hopes an Iowa victory will give him a boost into next-up New Hampshire and beyond, a strategy that carries potential benefits and risks.

If he wins Iowa, as he says he must, Pawlenty could emerge as the chief rival to Romney, who lost the GOP nomination in 2008 and ranks higher in polls this year. If Pawlenty falls short, however, he’ll have to reevaluate the viability of his bid for the Republican nomination, despite the two years’ groundwork he’s laid in his neighboring state.

“In Iowa, he is all in. All his cards are right out on the table,” said Bob Haus, a veteran Iowa GOP strategist who managed Fred Thompson’s 2008 caucus campaign and is uncommitted for 2012.

Pawlenty has used his visits to appeal to many of the sometimes fractious segments of Iowa’s GOP base, seeking to compete for all parts of the party.

“He fits with the social conservatives, has the background of a budget cutter, and he’s strong with national security conservatives. Plus, he’s a good guy, and he’s here, working it,” said Richard Schwarm, a confidant of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a former state GOP chairman who so far hasn’t chosen a candidate to back in the caucuses.

Pawlenty appeared Monday on NBC’s “Today” show and CBS’s “The Early Show.”

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Online link to “Today” show interview: http://on.today.com

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May 13, 2011

IOWA conservative group took $3 million in tax funds, which it has since rejected amid charges of hypocrisy.

Iowa conservatives took $3 million in tax funds
May 13, 2011, 4:44 a.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A conservative group that has brought a string of potential presidential candidates to Iowa to lecture about the need to reduce government spending owes some of its past success to generous federal grants, which it has since rejected amid charges of hypocrisy.

The Family Leader has organized multicity forums for Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Each has called for reining in federal spending and talked about family values.

The same group received more than half of its funding from federal grants over a five-year period when it operated under a different structure as The Iowa Family Policy Center.

The group was among those that benefited from former President George Bush‘s faith-based initiative, which made it easier for social and religious organizations involved in community work to win federal funding.

The organization defends taking the grants, the bulk of which helped provide marriage mentoring for couples, but decided last year to turn down the final $550,000 in grant money and operate free of government involvement. In all, the group had accepted more than $3 million in federal grants since 2004.

“We wanted to be consistent in calling for more efficient, smaller government and came to the conclusion that would best be served by not taking funding from the feds on this,” said group spokesman Chris Nitzschke.

The group in November changed its name to the Family Leader under a reorganization that put former Iowa Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats in charge. Its leaders played a key role in the successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices last year over a ruling that legalized gay marriage.

The new group is now trying to flex its political muscle in the lead-up to the Iowa Caucuses in January.

Two more potential GOP nominees, former business executive Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are on the group’s calendar.

“We begin our pro-family policy agenda by cutting spending, and then we cut taxes,” Bachmann said at one event in April. In March, Paul told the group that society had grown too dependent on the federal government and “we’re at a point now where we can no longer afford it.”

Pawlenty said in February that, to the extent government has to be involved in an issue, it must deliver good value for taxpayers.

Edward Failor Jr., the former president of Iowans for Tax Relief, criticized the group’s credibility on tax and spending issues during last year’s gubernatorial campaign because of the millions in federal aid.

He praised its decision to reject the final year of the grant, saying that marriage mentoring is a service that churches and other groups can provide without government aid.

“I think they did it to be intellectually consistent and honest. Good for them for doing that,” Failor said. ”

As soon as you start taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets, you are beholden to the government in one way or another.”

Records show the policy center was awarded a five-year grant worth $550,000 per year from the Health and Human Services Department in 2006 to promote healthy marriages.

The money went to a program it operates called Marriage Matters, which claims to have saved hundreds of marriages through its mentoring and counseling programs.

The policy center on Sept. 30 received its last $12,600 installment from the grant, which came from $150 million Congress set aside in 2005 to promote healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood.

But as criticism of the group for receiving tax funds was mounting among both liberals and conservatives, Center President Chuck Hurley notified the federal agency in August the group was relinquishing the money and would operate with private funding.

Watchdogs, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, had questioned whether federal tax dollars were being spent to further a conservative religious agenda.

One liberal activist had encouraged same-sex couples to seek counseling through the group to find out whether they would be served. Some conservatives, including members of the tea party, were critical of the group’s leaders for taking the federal money.

Nitzschke said the programming offered by Marriage Matters has been scaled back but some services are still being operated privately.

At the same time, he said the grant money was well spent, with more than 1,200 individuals receiving services every year.

He said that none of the tax dollars went to fund anything religious or political in nature.

A 2008 audit by the Government Accountability Office faulted HHS for a lack of oversight in how the marriage and fatherhood grants that went to dozens of groups were awarded and managed.

The policy center’s tax disclosure for the one-year period through Sept. 30, 2009, the most recent available, shows it received $549,443 in government grants out of revenue just over $1 million.

Nitzschke said the Marriage Matters program was directed by former center vice president Mike Hartwig, who earned part of his salary through the grant even as he was a prominent opponent of gay marriage.

Hartwig called the 2009 ruling that legalized the practice in Iowa sickening.

Nitzschke said the bulk of the money was spent on contracts with individuals across the state to deliver services.

At first he promised to release to The Associated Press annual audits of the grant money that he said found no problems, but he later reversed course and said the group considered that information private.

Randall Wilson, legal director for the ACLU of Iowa in Des Moines, said he wanted a more detailed accounting of how the money was spent and how much went to its administration.

He questioned just how much mentoring the grant helped pay for, saying his group’s limited investigation of Marriage Matters found it gave out money to churches and to host some events for couples.

“The danger always is that federal taxpayer money gets diverted to advocacy causes.

I think one could argue that not all taxpayers agree with Iowa Family Policy Center,” Wilson said. “That, of course, is a big concern of ours. The center was instrumental in removing three Iowa justices.”

In addition to the marriage grant, the policy center accepted $800,000 in 2005 to build its organizational capacity under the Compassion Capital Fund, a key part of Bush’s faith-based initiative.

The group received $50,000 the previous year from a related federal grant program to promote marriage.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

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April 15, 2011

Ex-Pa. Sen. Santorum steps up 2012 White House bid

Ex-Pa. Sen. Santorum steps up 2012 White House bid
Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com
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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is setting up a fundraising committee that allows him to take the first steps toward a 2012 presidential campaign.

Santorum has been laying the groundwork for months. While the two-term senator lacks the name recognition and fundraising organization of his better-known rivals, he is a favorite among the social conservatives who hold huge sway in some early nominating contests.

“Now, the only test for me is whether we can raise the money that’s necessary,” Santorum told Fox News Channel, where he worked as a contributor until the network put him on leave while he decided whether to enter the race. “We’re going to determine over the next few weeks as to whether the resources are going to be there.”

Santorum, a blunt-talking conservative who once was the No. 3 Senate Republican, has made frequent visits to early-voting states New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. On Thursday, he planned a town hall-style meeting on the economy at New England College in Henniker, N.H.

“It’s time for America to be America again — an America that rewards innovation and hard work, that stands by our allies instead of our enemies, that protects even the most vulnerable of our society, and an America that says every life is to be cherished,” Santorum told supporters in an email that was sent as he announced his plans on Fox News Channel. “That’s what I believe in and that’s why I’m taking this next step in a possible run for president.”

His policy positions align with conservatives who are looking at many of the expected candidates with hesitation.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney‘s changes of heart on gay rights and abortion do little to help his second presidential effort. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is twice divorced. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, making his first trip of the year to meet with New Hampshire voters on Thursday, has a record as a lobbyist.

Santorum, 52, also enters the campaign with hurdles to overcome. He lost his Senate seat to Democrat Bob Casey in 2006 and has been out of elective office since 2007. He lacks the robust fundraising or personal wealth of his likely rivals.

Santorum was already looking at the White House when he lost five years ago. His opposition to abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research makes him an appealing candidate for conservatives. But his sometimes abrasive style alienated voters in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, and they replaced him with Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat.

Santorum, a lawyer by training, is married and has seven children.

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Online:

Santorum site: http://www.ricksantorum.com/explore/

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

Owner and Founder of: 

 Thank you for visiting, do come back for more news…

Warmest regards,