Posts tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

May 27, 2011

Sarah Palin will embark this weekend on a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, sending a jolt through …

Palin to embark on East Coast bus tour
May 27, 2011, 2:03 a.m. EDT
Associated PressJournal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP)Sarah Palin will embark this weekend on a campaign-style bus tour along the East Coast, sending a jolt through the now-sleepy Republican presidential contest and thrusting a telegenic but divisive politician back into the nation’s spotlight.

Palin’s tour announcement is the strongest signal yet that she is considering a presidential bid, despite her failure to take traditional steps such as organizing a campaign team in early primary states.

The former Alaska governor’s approval ratings have fallen across the board — including among Republicans — in recent months. But many conservatives adore her, and she has enough name recognition and charisma to shake up a GOP contest that at this point seems to be focusing on three male former governors.

Beginning Sunday, Palin plans to meet with veterans and visit historic sites that her political action committee calls key to the country’s formation, survival and growth. The tour follows reports that Palin has bought a house in Arizona and the disclosure that she’s authorized a feature-length film about her career, which could serve as a campaign centerpiece. She recently said she has “that fire in the belly” for a presidential bid.

Palin said on the website for SarahPAC that the nation is at a “critical turning point,” and that her bus tour will serve as a reminder of “who we are and what Americans stand for.”

Many Republican Party insiders say that Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, has engaged in too many political spats and soap-opera dramas to win the nomination and challenge President Barack Obama 18 months from now.

“I think that pathway is closed,” said GOP pollster Wes Anderson, who is not working for any presidential candidate. Still, Anderson said, it’s not surprising that Palin would look at the current field “and say, ‘Why not me?'”

A Gallup poll of Republicans, taken before Palin announced the bus tour, showed former Massachusetts Mitt Romney favored by 17 percent. Palin followed closely at 15 percent. Ron Paul had 10 percent, Newt Gingrich 9 percent, Herman Cain 8 percent, Tim Pawlenty 6 percent, and Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman 5 percent each.

Party insiders argue that Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, and Huntsman, a former Utah governor, have the best chances to compete with Romney over the long haul. But a Palin candidacy could affect the contest in unpredictable ways.

In Iowa, Palin could appeal to thousands of religious conservatives who participate heavily in the nation’s first presidential caucus. But she lacks, for now at least, the ground organization considered essential to getting supporters to the caucus meetings, held every four years on a winter night. Palin fans are laying the groundwork for such an organization on their own in hopes that she will run.

If she does, she might challenge orthodoxy by using her star power and fame, not ground troops, to compete in Iowa.

Palin appears regularly on Fox News. She has hosted a reality TV show, and her oldest daughter has a TV show of her own. Palin has written a best-selling book, and draws large crowds when she appears at book stores, rallies and other events.

Limited details of Palin’s “One Nation” tour were released on the website of SarahPAC. The tour is to start in Washington and move up the East Coast into New England, perhaps even to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

SarahPAC’s treasurer didn’t immediately return messages Thursday seeking details.

“It’s imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward,” Palin said on the website. “A good way to do this is to appreciate the significance of our nation’s historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures, which we’ll do in the coming weeks on our ‘One Nation’ tour.”

Palin said the country doesn’t need fundamental transformation but a “restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America.”

As Sen. John McCain‘s running mate in 2008, Palin electrified the Republican nominating convention audience, and brought energy and vigor to a struggling campaign. But she stumbled in news interviews and sometimes seemed out of her depth on national and international issues.

Since then, Palin has often depicted herself as the victim of mean-spirited enemies, including some news organizations. Critics said she showed a lack of compassion and political savvy when she delivered a sharp-tongued commentary days after an Arizona congressman was gravely injured in a shooting.

Fox News said Thursday it was not changing Palin’s status as a paid commentator, a sign that network officials do not consider a presidential run imminent.

___

Babington reported from Washington. Associated Press Television Writer David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.

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May 16, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann, now a three-term congresswoman and tea party favorite who may run for president in 2012

Rep. Bachmann: Always rising, never compromising
May 15, 2011, 5:10 p.m. EDT
Associated Press

Journal By Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,

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

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Michele Bachmann was a self-styled “education researcher” making a run for a Minnesota school board seat in 1999 when the question came up at a candidate forum: If elected, would she serve all four years?

Maybe not, she said.

Bachmann, now a three-term congresswoman and tea party favorite who may run for president in 2012, opened up about a confrontation she’d had with a state senator over Minnesota’s new school standards.

“I told him that if he’s not willing to be more responsive to the citizens, that I may have to run for his seat or find someone else who would do so,” she said, according to a newspaper account of the meeting.

Bachmann lost the school board race, but then knocked off the senator, a fellow Republican, just months later using the standards as her primary issue.

It was an early indicator of a recurring theme: Bachmann often wins by losing.

She stands ready to shake up the GOP race either by running herself, with a decision expected by June, or influencing those who do get in.

The race would test her resilience because she would start far back. But as a little-known House member only a few years ago, Bachmann became hero of the conservative tea party movement in part by fighting losing battles with the GOP establishment. Her path to Congress was paved by failed efforts to pass a ban on gay marriage in the Minnesota Legislature.

“She is very good at turning lemons into lemonade all the time,” said Sal Russo, a California political consultant who came to know Bachmann through the tea party.

Some Republicans fret about her propensity to freelance and question whether she’d appeal to a broad voter base. Democrats who have opposed her warn that she’s politically adept and not to be taken lightly.

“If you go attend a town meeting, she’s normal, she’s articulate, she’s a mother, she’s thoughtful. She can play the part,” said Ted Thompson, a Democrat defeated by Bachmann in a state legislative race.

From her first involvement in politics, the 55-year-old Bachmann has shown a determination to keep pressing forward and find opportunities, even when the way seemed blocked.

In the late 1990s, Bachmann was a stay-at-home mother of five in Stillwater, a scenic St. Croix River town east of St. Paul. Then she was drawn into a revolt over education standards.

Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, were members of a theologically conservative Lutheran denomination, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. She was trained as a lawyer at the faith-driven Oral Roberts University. She had strong views about traditional education, and the state standards emphasized student projects over lectures and book work.

She became an organizer of the opposition. She invited concerned parents to a banquet hall where she described the standards as a government plan to teach students attitudes, values and beliefs.

Bachmann and four others eventually formed a slate to make a run at control of the board. The race roiled the community, with some alleging a “coup attempt” and others cheering on the “Boston Tea Party“-style uprising.

None of the newcomers prevailed. But Bill Dierberger, who ran alongside Bachmann, didn’t find her “overly discouraged” by the defeat.

“She got right back up in the saddle and said, ‘I’m going to fight'” the education standards, he recalled.

Early on, Bachmann showed potential as an articulate and magnetic speaker, said Bill Pulkrabek, a Republican leader who helped assemble the school board slate.

“People had been predicting her demise since Day One: ‘Oh, she’s a radical, she’s too far right, she’s too outspoken, she’s too inflammatory,'” Pulkrabek said. “The fact of the matter is, with the exception of the first race, she wins.”

Parlaying her school board defeat into a victorious legislative campaign, she moved to the state Senate and seized on a new issue.

Around Thanksgiving 2003, justices in Massachusetts ruled the commonwealth couldn’t prevent same-sex marriage. Bachmann hit the phones, reaching out to fellow conservatives about making sure gay marriage would stay illegal in Minnesota.

Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, was among those summoned by Bachmann to the Capitol just days later to begin pushing for a state constitutional amendment clearly stating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

“She threw herself into the issue,” Prichard said. “The activist in her came out.”

Jeff Davis heard her public appeal through his car radio. Not politically involved at the time, Davis came to the Capitol and pledged to help Bachmann. The technology company worker formed what would become a well-financed group running ads aimed at getting Bachmann’s measure on the ballot.

“She’s an energizer. She influences people around her,” Davis said. The drive instantly elevated Bachmann’s political profile, he said. “It was a launch point.”

Bachmann didn’t waver even when her lesbian stepsister went public with her feelings that Bachmann’s effort was “hurtful to me and so many others.” Although the measure foundered, Bachmann could draw on her enhanced standing with social conservatives to shoot past more seasoned Republicans when a seat in Congress opened ahead of the 2006 election.

Bachmann’s victory in that race brought her to the national stage and prompted a new focus on fiscal issues. She harnessed the outrage of the tea party, a fledgling political force inflamed by debates over government bailouts and a far-reaching health law pursued by President Barack Obama.

Her outspoken opposition did not stop the health law, but it got her much more television exposure and helped make her a face of the new resistance. In one Fox News interview, Bachmann urged viewers to flood Washington and “go up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, ‘Don’t take away my health care.'”

Amy Kremer remembers seeing Bachmann’s television plea while on a Tea Party Express bus heading between rallies in Washington state. The next week, Kremer joined Bachmann in the nation’s capital for a big tea party protest.

“You can tell the ones who have the passion, the fire in the belly and are truly speaking from the heart. She’s one of those,” Kremer said. “That comes through.”

In January, Bachmann delivered a tea party response to Obama’s State of the Union address. In some quarters, the speech was seen as an affront to the official GOP response given by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman. Bachmann unsuccessfully campaigned for a spot in leadership in the weeks after the GOP won back control of the House.

Bachmann shrugged off the defeat in a recent Associated Press interview. “That’s life isn’t it? Sometime life takes interesting turns,” she said, while adding, “I think from a governing point of view, I think for my political party it would be very good to have that view represented at the table.”

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April 19, 2011

GOP insiders embrace Trump’s presidential bid

GOP insiders embrace Trump’s presidential bid

Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Out with Sarah. In with The Donald.

President Barack Obama has launched his re-election bid in a low-key manner, but the Republican Party’s search for a challenger seems stranger by the day.

GOP celebrities like Sarah Palin aren’t getting much buzz. Mainstream candidates like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty aren’t getting much traction. It’s people once considered highly unlikely to compete seriously for the party’s nomination who are creating big stirs in early voting states, a reflection of an unformed and uncertain GOP presidential field.

GOP activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina appear deeply intrigued by, and open to, a run by Donald Trump, the publicity-loving business tycoon and host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” even as he perpetuates falsehoods about Obama’s citizenship and questions the legitimacy of his presidency.

“I hear more and more people talking about Donald Trump,” said Glenn McCall, Republican Party chairman in South Carolina’s York County. “He’s got people fired up.”

These Republican officials and activists stopped short of saying they see Trump as the eventual nominee. But they said their party is hungry for forceful, colorful figures to attack Obama and other Democrats on health care, spending and other issues.

In Iowa at least, there’s also widespread talk about two social conservatives: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who would be the first president elected directly from the House since James Garfield, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost his 2006 re-election bid by a landslide. Even Herman Cain, the little-known, wealthy former pizza chain executive, gets mentioned by Republican voters who will have the first crack at winnowing the GOP field.

While these people certainly have talents, the party’s establishment does not see them as the likeliest contenders to defeat Obama. Karl Rove, architect of George W. Bush’s two presidential wins, calls Trump “a joke candidate.”

Republicans traditionally pick party veterans who wait their turn and earn their nominations after years spent as governors, senators or vice presidents. But this field lacks a front-runner like Bob Dole in 1996 or George W. Bush in 2000. There’s a political vacuum in the GOP, insiders say, and it’s being filled by an unusually large and diverse number of White House hopefuls.

“It’s probably the most wide open field in 50 years,” said Stephen Scheffler, a Republican National Committee member and head of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. “I’m not sure anyone has caught fire yet.”

South Carolina Republican Party chairwoman Karen Floyd said, “It’s any candidate’s ballgame right now.” Kim Lehman, another RNC member from Iowa, said voters haven’t locked in on any one person. “Everyone is taking their time and seeing who’s who, and what’s what,” she said.

Palin’s apparent fade and Trump’s rise are arguably the most surprising events in recent weeks, as more establishment-oriented contenders, including former governors Romney of Massachusetts and Pawlenty of Minnesota, took formal steps toward full-fledged candidacies.

A CNN nationwide poll of adult Republicans showed Trump tied for the presidential lead with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 19 percent each. Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, was third at 12 percent.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, conducted before Trump’s latest TV blitz, showed Huckabee and Trump tied for second, at 17 percent each. Romney led with 22 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 11 percent, and Palin 10 percent.

This early in the race, polls measure name recognition more than anything else. That may help explain strong showings by Trump and Huckabee.

Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa caucus and hosts a TV show, but has done little to signal he will run again. Trump, meanwhile, is turning heads in early voting states.

“He is causing conversations,” said Trudy Caviness, the GOP chairwoman in Iowa’s Wapello County.

McCall said Trump “is saying on the national stage what other people won’t talk about.”

That includes holding forth on trade, China and oil dependency. But Trump’s biggest buzz stems from his embrace of the claim that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, and therefore is constitutionally barred from being president.

Documents, including Obama’s birth certificate, show he was born in Hawaii in 1961.

Several Republican activists said they don’t care much about Obama’s birthplace, but they’re tired of waiting for the more establishment-backed challengers to challenge the president often and fiercely. For some, Trump fills that void.

In New Hampshire, Republican activist Phyllis Woods of Dover said she was surprised by the commotion Trump is causing. “Whether Donald Trump is going to be taken as a serious candidate here is an open question,” she said. What is certain, she said, is that “we’re going to have a huge field.”

Woods said she detects “a growing undercurrent of support” for Bachmann, a comment echoed by several Iowa and South Carolina activists. “She is a fresh face and a fresh voice,” Woods said.

Bachmann seems to have eclipsed Palin as the most discussed, if sometimes gaffe-prone, provocateur among tea party conservatives.

Democratic strategists and Obama supporters watch these developments with bewilderment, and a vague sense that they won’t last. They say they can’t predict who will be the nominee, but more traditional candidates such as Romney, Pawlenty or Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour seem more plausible than, say, Trump. Political insiders would not be stunned if Bachmann won the caucus in her native Iowa, and Gingrich could do well in places, including South Carolina.

Not all GOP insiders embrace Trump.

“You’ve got Donald Trump on TV making a fool of himself,” said Leigh Macneil, the Republican chairman in New Hampshire’s Merrimack County. Macneil said Trump is filling a regretful vacuum because more mainstream candidates are holding back. “We’re looking for people who will step up,” he said. He wishes more outspoken, forceful candidates would jump in, especially New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

“My dream ticket would be Christie-Pence,” Macneil said.

Others seem happy with their choices.

“It’s a wide open field,” and that’s fine, said Kathy Pearson, a longtime party activist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She said Trump is “a TV celebrity and obviously a successful businessman” who is “saying what he thinks.”

“What’s going on right now is very good, very healthy for the process,” said Cindy Costa, South Carolina’s Republican National Committeewoman. Voters want “someone who is a good leader and understands business.” She has long admired Romney, she said, and “I’ve been pleasantly surprised” by Trump. “He’s actually more conservative than I had thought.”

Trump’s three marriages don’t seem to be a major issue among conservatives, for now at least.

“All his ex-wives are happy,” said Joni Scotter, a Republican activist from Marion, Iowa. Ordinarily, she said, GOP caucus voters “are hard on people who are divorced.”

She said she hopes the thrice-married Gingrich receives the same generosity.

President Barack Obama has launched his re-election bid in a low-key manner, but the Republican Party’s search for a challenger seems stranger by the day.

GOP celebrities like Sarah Palin aren’t getting much buzz. Mainstream candidates like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty aren’t getting much traction. It’s people once considered highly unlikely to compete seriously for the party’s nomination who are creating big stirs in early voting states, a reflection of an unformed and uncertain GOP presidential field.

GOP activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina appear deeply intrigued by, and open to, a run by Donald Trump, the publicity-loving business tycoon and host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” even as he perpetuates falsehoods about Obama’s citizenship and questions the legitimacy of his presidency.

“I hear more and more people talking about Donald Trump,” said Glenn McCall, Republican Party chairman in South Carolina’s York County. “He’s got people fired up.”

These Republican officials and activists stopped short of saying they see Trump as the eventual nominee. But they said their party is hungry for forceful, colorful figures to attack Obama and other Democrats on health care, spending and other issues.

In Iowa at least, there’s also widespread talk about two social conservatives: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who would be the first president elected directly from the House since James Garfield, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost his 2006 re-election bid by a landslide. Even Herman Cain, the little-known, wealthy former pizza chain executive, gets mentioned by Republican voters who will have the first crack at winnowing the GOP field.

While these people certainly have talents, the party’s establishment does not see them as the likeliest contenders to defeat Obama. Karl Rove, architect of George W. Bush’s two presidential wins, calls Trump “a joke candidate.”

Republicans traditionally pick party veterans who wait their turn and earn their nominations after years spent as governors, senators or vice presidents. But this field lacks a front-runner like Bob Dole in 1996 or George W. Bush in 2000. There’s a political vacuum in the GOP, insiders say, and it’s being filled by an unusually large and diverse number of White House hopefuls.

“It’s probably the most wide open field in 50 years,” said Stephen Scheffler, a Republican National Committee member and head of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. “I’m not sure anyone has caught fire yet.”

South Carolina Republican Party chairwoman Karen Floyd said, “It’s any candidate’s ballgame right now.” Kim Lehman, another RNC member from Iowa, said voters haven’t locked in on any one person. “Everyone is taking their time and seeing who’s who, and what’s what,” she said.

Palin’s apparent fade and Trump’s rise are arguably the most surprising events in recent weeks, as more establishment-oriented contenders, including former governors Romney of Massachusetts and Pawlenty of Minnesota, took formal steps toward full-fledged candidacies.

A CNN nationwide poll of adult Republicans showed Trump tied for the presidential lead with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at 19 percent each. Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, was third at 12 percent.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, conducted before Trump’s latest TV blitz, showed Huckabee and Trump tied for second, at 17 percent each. Romney led with 22 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 11 percent, and Palin 10 percent.

This early in the race, polls measure name recognition more than anything else. That may help explain strong showings by Trump and Huckabee.

Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa caucus and hosts a TV show, but has done little to signal he will run again. Trump, meanwhile, is turning heads in early voting states.

“He is causing conversations,” said Trudy Caviness, the GOP chairwoman in Iowa’s Wapello County.

McCall said Trump “is saying on the national stage what other people won’t talk about.”

That includes holding forth on trade, China and oil dependency. But Trump’s biggest buzz stems from his embrace of the claim that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, and therefore is constitutionally barred from being president.

Documents, including Obama’s birth certificate, show he was born in Hawaii in 1961.

Several Republican activists said they don’t care much about Obama’s birthplace, but they’re tired of waiting for the more establishment-backed challengers to challenge the president often and fiercely. For some, Trump fills that void.

In New Hampshire, Republican activist Phyllis Woods of Dover said she was surprised by the commotion Trump is causing. “Whether Donald Trump is going to be taken as a serious candidate here is an open question,” she said. What is certain, she said, is that “we’re going to have a huge field.”

Woods said she detects “a growing undercurrent of support” for Bachmann, a comment echoed by several Iowa and South Carolina activists. “She is a fresh face and a fresh voice,” Woods said.

Bachmann seems to have eclipsed Palin as the most discussed, if sometimes gaffe-prone, provocateur among tea party conservatives.

Democratic strategists and Obama supporters watch these developments with bewilderment, and a vague sense that they won’t last. They say they can’t predict who will be the nominee, but more traditional candidates such as Romney, Pawlenty or Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour seem more plausible than, say, Trump. Political insiders would not be stunned if Bachmann won the caucus in her native Iowa, and Gingrich could do well in places, including South Carolina.

Not all GOP insiders embrace Trump.

“You’ve got Donald Trump on TV making a fool of himself,” said Leigh Macneil, the Republican chairman in New Hampshire’s Merrimack County. Macneil said Trump is filling a regretful vacuum because more mainstream candidates are holding back. “We’re looking for people who will step up,” he said. He wishes more outspoken, forceful candidates would jump in, especially New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

“My dream ticket would be Christie-Pence,” Macneil said.

Others seem happy with their choices.

“It’s a wide open field,” and that’s fine, said Kathy Pearson, a longtime party activist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She said Trump is “a TV celebrity and obviously a successful businessman” who is “saying what he thinks.”

“What’s going on right now is very good, very healthy for the process,” said Cindy Costa, South Carolina’s Republican National Committeewoman. Voters want “someone who is a good leader and understands business.” She has long admired Romney, she said, and “I’ve been pleasantly surprised” by Trump. “He’s actually more conservative than I had thought.”

Trump’s three marriages don’t seem to be a major issue among conservatives, for now at least.

“All his ex-wives are happy,” said Joni Scotter, a Republican activist from Marion, Iowa. Ordinarily, she said, GOP caucus voters “are hard on people who are divorced.”

She said she hopes the thrice-married Gingrich receives the same generosity.

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Calvin Ledsome Sr.,

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April 18, 2011

Welcome to The Social Network, presidential campaign edition!

2012 presidential candidates ‘friend’ social media
Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder of: https://usapolitics2012.wordpress.com

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NEW YORK (AP) — Republican Tim Pawlenty disclosed his 2012 presidential aspirations on Facebook.

Rival Mitt Romney did it with a tweet.

President Barack Obama kicked off his re-election bid with a digital video emailed to the 13 million online backers who helped power his historic campaign in 2008.

Welcome to The Social Network, presidential campaign edition.

The candidates and contenders have embraced the Internet to far greater degrees than previous White House campaigns, communicating directly with voters on platforms where they work and play.

If Obama’s online army helped define the last campaign and Howard Dean’s Internet fundraising revolutionized the Democratic primary in 2004, next year’s race will be the first to reflect the broad cultural migration to the digital world.

“You have to take your message to the places where people are consuming content and spending their time,” said Romney’s online director, Zac Moffatt. “We have to recognize that people have choices and you have to reach them where they are, and on their terms.”

The most influential of those destinations include the video sharing website YouTube; Facebook, the giant social network with 500 million active users; and Twitter, the cacophonous conversational site where news is made and shared in tweets of 140 characters or less.

All the campaigns have a robust Facebook presence, using the site to post videos and messages and to host online discussions. In the latest indication of the site’s reach and influence, Obama plans to visit Facebook headquarters in California this coming Wednesday for a live chat with company founder Mark Zuckerberg and to take questions from users who submit questions on the site.

Candidates have embraced Twitter with an intensity that rivals pop star Justin Bieber’s. Twitter was the Republican hopefuls’ platform of choice last Wednesday, moments after Obama gave a budget speech calling for some tax increases and decrying GOP proposals to cut Medicare.

“President Obama doesn’t get it. The fear of higher taxes tomorrow hurts job creation today,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour tweeted.

“The president’s plan will kill jobs and increase the deficit,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned in a tweet, attaching a link to a more detailed statement posted on Facebook.

In the past, candidates would have pointed supporters to their websites for such a response. Now, as Moffatt puts it, “the campaign site may be headquarters, but it needs digital embassies across the web.”

Republicans once seemed slow to harness the power of the web. The party’s 2008 nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, told reporters he didn’t even use email. The 2012 hopefuls have worked hard to prove their Internet savvy, particularly with social media.

Pawlenty “understands the power of new technology and he wants it to be at the forefront. We are going to compete aggressively with President Obama in this space,” spokesman Alex Conant said. Conant pointed to efforts to live stream videos to Facebook and award points and badges to supporters in a way that mirrors Foursquare, the emerging location-based mobile site.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s 2008 running mate and a potential presidential candidate this time, has made Facebook a centerpiece of her communication efforts to supporters.

Palin has been criticized for treating it as a one-way form of communication that allows her to bypass direct questions from reporters and voters. Other Republicans insist they’re willing to wade into the messy digital fray and cede some control of their message.

“We trust our supporters and want to err on the side of giving them more control, not less,” Conant said.

Just as social networking liberates candidates to take their message directly to voters, it offers plenty of pitfalls as well.

It’s prone to mischief, with dozens of fake Twitter accounts and Facebook pages popping up daily that are intended to embarrass the candidates. Also, a candidate’s gaffe or an inconsistency on issues can be counted on to go viral immediately.

Gingrich has gotten ensnared in some online traps. His apparent back-and-forth on whether the U.S. should intervene in the conflict in Libya was discussed widely and amplified online. He first advocated military engagement, then came out against it after Obama ordered airstrikes.

Twitter lit up with the news that a photo on Gingrich’s exploratory website showing people waving flags was a stock photo once used by the late liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

Spokesman Rick Tyler rejected such criticism and said Gingrich has pioneered the use of digital technology.

“Over 1.4 million people follow him on Twitter. He has a very active Facebook. There are eight websites connected to organizations started by Newt (that) use social media platforms to communicate to their coalitions,” Tyler said.

But Josh Dorner, who tracks GOP candidates online for the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said the Republican presidential hopefuls appear to be unprepared for the unforgiving pace of the digital age.

Obama, who in 2008 had to recover from plenty of web-amplified flubs such as his comment that bitter small town voters “cling” to guns and religion, will probably be more nimble, Dorner said.

“We are moving in a warp speed environment, and none of the Republican candidates understand the media environment in which they’re operating. It puts them at a huge disadvantage to the president,” Dorner said.

Strategists also say the greatest digital innovation in 2012 may not even have surfaced yet, even as campaigns figure out how to do effective microtargeting ads for Facebook and work to develop “apps” for smart phones rather than laptops and traditional TV.

“As with anything, there’s going to be a shiny new cell phone every six months,” said Matt Ortega, a former online organizer for the Democratic National Committee. “You’re going to see both new tools and more sophistication in existing tools.”

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April 15, 2011

Likely GOP White House hopefuls to try to figure out how to tap the Tea party movement’s energy without alienating voters elsewhere

Likely GOP contenders plot tea party strategies
April 15, 2011, 4:21 a.m. EDT
Posted by Calvin Lee Ledsome Sr.,
Owner and Founder of: http://www.LedSomeBioMetrics.com
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BOSTON (AP) — It’s a tricky time of courtship.

As the tea party turns 2, the still-gelling field of Republican presidential contenders is the first class of White House hopefuls to try to figure out how to tap the movement’s energy without alienating voters elsewhere on the political spectrum.

Look no further than this weekend’s events marking the tea party’s second anniversary to see how the candidates are employing different strategies. Some will be out front as the tea party stages tax day rallies across the country. Others, not so much.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an establishment Republican making a play for tea party support and clamoring to be heard over bigger names, is among those jumping in with both feet. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is being more coy.

Pawlenty, for his part, planned to hold court at a gathering on Boston Common — in the city where colonists staged the 1773 Tea Party revolt against the British government — and in neighboring New Hampshire. And he’s headed for Iowa a day later for similar appearances that are likely to include “Don’t Tread on Me” banners and tirades against Washington spending.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, perhaps the Republican most closely identified with the tea party, is slated to attend a weekend tea party rally at the Wisconsin Capitol, the site of recent protests over legislation that would strip union rights for most public workers.

Tea party darling Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman, all but drafted into the race by tea partyers, plans to share the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse with another of the movement’s favorite daughters, Gov. Nikki Haley.

And little-known businessman Herman Cain, who is hoping tea party backing can make him more than a longshot, plans to hit rallies in New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan and Texas.

Real estate magnet Donald Trump, who claims he’s serious about running, picked a tea party rally in Boca Raton, Fla., to make his stand.

Other contenders are proceeding with more caution.

Barbour plans weekend stops at county GOP conventions in Charleston, Columbia and Lexington, S.C. But he had no big tax day rallies on his schedule in a state where tea party activists have gained influence. As he weighs a presidential bid, Barbour has been more subtle than others in courting the movement. He talks about issues the tea party cares about, first and foremost the economy.

It’s the same approach that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been taking. He talks about lower taxes and reduced government and was set to appear at a central Florida anti-tax event. He decries the Internal Revenue Service, a top target of tea partyers. And in his defense of the Massachusetts health care overhaul that he pushed through, he invokes the 10th Amendment that guarantees states’ rights.

In an opinion piece published Friday in the Orlando Sentinel, Romney praised the tea party-style activists: “The growth of government is not some inexorable force. In a democracy, we the people decide. Thanks to the tea party, there’s real hope that we can rein in our profligate federal government.”

But he spends the bulk of the column decrying President Barack Obama on policy, not invoking the Founding Fathers.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has followed a similar model. He had no public events scheduled for anti-tax rallies but has proved eager to criticize Washington spending.

The tentativeness toward becoming a tea party candidate is understandable.

No candidate can afford to ignore these anti-establishment, anti-tax, conservative-libertarian rabble-rousers whose enthusiasm fired up the GOP base and helped Republicans win control of the House in November. But wrapping themselves in the tea party mantle carries risks for candidates.

They could get pushed too far to the right during the primaries if they embrace the tea party’s conservative platform. There’s also the potential stain of being linked to a group that Democratic critics have labeled extremist, if not racist.

Even so, the Republicans must compete in early primary states where tea party activists have made inroads in the GOP establishment and made clear that they intend to have a say in the presidential race.

“We want to find the best candidate and the best vehicle for us to reclaim our republic,” says Jerry DeLemus, a tea party leader from Rochester, N.H. “The Republican Party is a vehicle that we can use to effect positive change.”

Iowa’s tea party leaders, meanwhile, have mapped out a strategy to engage supporters and road-test presidential candidates with hopes of influencing the leadoff nominating caucuses. They are planning a bus tour through the state this summer, featuring at least four GOP presidential prospects, as well as a series of caucus training sessions.

New Hampshire’s tea party activists made gains within the state’s central GOP committee, and elected Jack Kimball as the state GOP chairman over the establishment’s pick in January. And the tea party footprint in South Carolina also has expanded, with activists becoming more influential inside GOP county organizations.

The tea party’s birth can be traced to spring 2009, when libertarians and conservatives rose up in small towns and big cities alike to oppose Obama’s policies, including the $787 billion economic stimulus measure, Wall Street bailouts and Obama’s health care plan.

Some activists point to a CNBC anchor’s televised tirade about taxes as the launching point. Others dispute that.

Whatever its origin, there’s no doubt about the tea party’s power.

“We’ve changed the political landscape in Washington and in statehouses across the country,” says Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. “We have to keep going and keep beating the drum.”

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Associated Press deputy polling director Jennifer Agiesta and writers Jim Davenport in Columbia, S.C., and Tom Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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