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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Afghanistan

GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs

   Fox-Google-Debate-You-Tube-Logo

If you believe pollster Frank Luntz's focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday's two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla.

Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly, and from citizens via YouTube and text messages: Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman Jr.

Baier mentioned Google had provided Fox News with a new "boop" sound to indicate a candidate had run over time, since the former bell raised the ire of dog owners (and apparently the volume of their pets' barking).

Speaking of dogs, former New Mexico Gov. Johnson, who hasn't been in a debate since the first one in May, got in the line of the evening, quipping, "My next-door neighbors' two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration."

It got a lot of laughs even though some people swear they've heard Rush Limbaugh tell the same yarn.

Not to be outdone in the canine arena, Georgia-born businessman Cain criticized....

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Day No. 972: President Obama unveils a deficit reduction plan

Obama talks about the Deficit 9-19-11

"We didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction. That was true last week. That was true last year. That was true the day I took office." --Barack Obama, Aug. 8, 2011.

Barack Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. That was 972 days ago this morning, almost to the hour when he finally offered his newest full-blown deficit reduction plan. (See full Obama text below.)

Or as he put it, "Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat."

If it's Monday, the campaigning president must be issuing a new plan for something (before another $35,800 per ticket fundraiser in New York City). Last week it was his new Monday stimulus package, which was so urgent it's been delayed, as we discussed right here this morning.

Today, it was how to pay for his new stimulus package plus how to start reducing overspending and paying down the $14,000,000,000,000+ in debt that someone else is responsible for accumulating in recent years.

Here's the Washington Democrat's diagnosis:

During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multimillionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs.

Everyone remembers his last deficit reduction plan in April. Back then he was determined "to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet."

Which struck many as suspiciously like not much of a shovel-ready deficit reduction program.

Now that it's autumn, it will surprise only children that the Democrat wants to increase taxes because we aren't paying enough and need more to spend. He also details impressive, large-scale cuts that include $1 trillion that we don't have and he says we won't be spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to this line of thinking, our spouse has been informed that we'll be buying a Lamborghini (red) with the cuts we've made in not buying a corporate jet.

"This plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues," the president proclaimed. Reforms to....

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America's newest hero, Sgt. Dakota Meyer: How he rescued 36 guys under fire

Dakota Meyer in Afghanistan USMC

President Obama awards Medal of Honor to Sgt. Dakota Meyer, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please be seated. Thank you, Chaplain Kibben. Good afternoon, everyone. And on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House. 

It’s been said that “where there is a brave man, in the thickest of the fight, there is the post of honor.”  Today, we pay tribute to an American who placed himself in the thick of the fight -- again and again and again.  In so doing, he has earned our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. And we are extraordinarily proud of Sgt. Dakota Meyer.(Applause.)
    
Today is only the third time during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that a recipient of the Medal of Honor has been able to accept it in person.  And we are honored to be joined by one of the two other recipients -- Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who is here.  (Scroll to bottom for the story of Sgt. Petry and other Medal of Honor winners.)

I would point out something else -- of all the Medal of Honor recipients in recent decades, Dakota is also one of the youngest. He’s 23 years old. And he performed the extraordinary actions for which he is being recognized today when he was just 21 years old.

Despite all this, I have to say Dakota is one of the most down-to-earth guys that you will ever meet. In fact, when my staff first tried to arrange the phone call so I could tell him that I’d approved this medal, Dakota was at work, at his new civilian job, on a construction site. 

 

He felt he couldn’t take the call right then, because he said, “If I don’t work, I don’t....

 

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A moment of music to ponder those taken on 9/11 and since

For the fallen of 9/11 and all those since, a musical moment to remember and ponder with one of our favorite songs and one of our favorite voices, Anthony Kearns:

 

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9/11 a decade later: Most Americans now expect it to happen again

911 sunrise over washington capitol and damaged pentagon 2001 9-13-01

As most Americans pause at least a moment Sunday to remember 9/11/2001 and what they were doing on that deadly day that so fundamentally scarred the national psyche, an overwhelming majority have also told pollsters they think another mass attack will happen again before 9/11/2021.

Americans now believe that Al Qaeda as a global terrorist organization is weaker today, thanks to the extermination in May of Osama bin Laden and the less noticed elimination of hundreds of his associates by various violent means in recent years.

This year 50% of Americans say they believe Al Qaeda is weaker. That's double the percentage who thought that the previous two autumns.

Although, interestingly, a third (32%) still think the disparate terror group has managed to maintain its strength. Understandable. What's your first thought when you see an airliner low over any downtown?

However, according to this weekend's fresh Rasmussen Reports survey, despite all the country's sometimes controversial enhanced security precautions, a substantial majority of Americans (61%) still believe a similar-scale attack is at least somewhat likely to occur on the homeland during the next 10 years.

This includes nearly a third of Americans (29%) who think such a deadly repeat assault is very likely.

RELATED:

Here's how Obama wants 9/11 observed

Rudy Giuliani warns hasty troop drawdowns could help terrorists

President George W. Bush remembers what that 9/11 day was like

911 New York City Smoke plume as seen from ISS astronaut Frank Culbertson NASA 250 miles up

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos, from top: Sunrise on Sept. 13, 2001, on the U.S. Capitol and the damaged Pentagon; New York City 9/11 smoke plume as seen from the International Space Station, 250 miles altitude. Credits: Luke Frazza / AFP /Getty Images; Frank Culbertson / NASA.

Sunday shows: Giuliani, Rumsfeld, Brennan, McCain

Several of the Sunday mnorning programs have been preempted this week by coverage of the Sept. 11 anniversary memorial services in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks the streets in the hours after the 9-11 attacks

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" Sen. Michael E. Crapo (R-Idaho).

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld and Obama advisor John Brennan.

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Rumsfeld, Giuliani, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Brennan, Michael Chertoff, Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Jack Keane, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Dana Priest and Juan Williams.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Giuliani, Sept. 2001).

Weekly remarks 9/11: Giuliani warns on hasty troop drawdowns; Obama on time for nation-building here

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani recalls the events of September 2001

 Weekly remarks by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as provided by Republican Party leadership<

Everyone can remember exactly where they were when they first learned that our country had been attacked.  As with Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination, these defining events have a big impact on a nation because they're not just a shared experience, they're a shared memory.

On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, we must take stock of what we've learned.

The attacks had two purposes. The first was to kill as many Americans as possible. The second was to destroy America's spirit.

As we remember the thousands of lives lost on that day, there’s no doubt that the terrorists achieved their first goal and will leave us with a deep wound forever.

When it comes to destroying our spirit, however … as we consider the rescue and ....

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Relax, America, California's not worried about terrorism

Mickey and Minnie in the happiest place on earth

With that awful anniversary of 9/11 arriving soon, the thought of terrorism might well be on the minds of many Americans.

But not to worry, not with sunny California setting the nation's trends.

According to a new Los Angeles Times/USC Dornsife poll, two out of three California voters aren't really concerned about a terror attack at all. So, why should anyone else be?

Californians, who know it's winter somewhere when they see football fans in stocking caps on TV, watched the 9/11 attacks like everyone else. But now, a decade later, fully a third are not at all concerned that they or family will be involved in a terror attack. Only 11% were very concerned, likely transplanted New Yorkers.

Of course, Californians being Californians, they overwhelmingly approve of President Obama's handling of the war on terror, by a 2-1 margin, in fact.

However, when it comes to the decade-long war in Afghanistan, the most visible anti-terror battleground and now the nation's longest military conflict, Californians disapprove of Obama's leadership there, 52% to 41%.

Forty-six percent of voters in the most populous state have somehow convinced themselves that the United States is winning the war on terrorism. Fifteen percent are unsure, but they're probably from Arizona.

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Obama's job approval now lower than his uncle's blood-alcohol level

Somehow many media miss James Hoffa's S.O.B. quote, but not Jake Tapper

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse, two carefree California rodents, appear in a parade at Disneyland. Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty Images

Presidential debate: The most entertaining, unexpected, weirdest and awkward moments

presidential debate Reagan library Nancy reagan 8-9-7-11

Quick take-aways from last night's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library:

BIGGEST WINNERS: Rick Perry, who did much better than not bomb, and Mitt Romney, who looked presidential again and magnanimous.

BIGGEST LOSER: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who wasn't there, but will learn this morning that he'll be joining the 14 million unemployed if virtually any of these Republicans get to the White House.

BEST PRESIDENTIAL PUT-DOWN: Romney calling the president a nice fella but one who's clueless about economics.

MOST OUTSPOKEN LIBERTARIAN: Ron Paul.

MOST ELOQUENT: Newt Gingrich warning moderators probing for differences among the eight Republicans that any minor distinctions pale in comparison to their unity over defeating Barack Obama.

LOUDEST APPLAUSE: See Most Eloquent.

BIGGEST AIRPLANE EVER HANGING OVER DEBATERS: President Reagan's Air Force One 707.

PINKEST TIE: Rick Santorum.

MOST ENTERTAINING CHRIS MATTHEWS BLOOD PRESSURE RAISER: Perry on this whole global warming hoax.

WARMEST FAMILY MENTION: Michele Bachmann, as message-disciplined as ever on Obama killing jobs, also recalling raising five biological and 23 foster children.

MOST PUZZLING PLAN ABOUT SOMETHING: Herman Cain's 9-9-9.

BEST FINANCIAL TIP IF THE GOP WINS NEXT YEAR: Buy stock in border fence companies.

MOST UNEXPECTED APPLAUSE-GETTER: NBC's Brian Williams asking Perry about Texas executing 234 convicted murderers.

BEST FIVE-WORD ANSWER: Perry asked to explain that applause: "I think Americans understand justice."

CALMEST CHINESE-SPEAKING EX-AMBASSADOR: Jon Huntsman.

MOST AWKWARD MOMENT: Moderator John Harris introducing a gotcha video clip of Romney that wouldn't play. So, the gotcha guy got got.

UNDECLARED CANDIDATE WHOSE ABSENCE WENT LEAST NOTICED: What's-her-name from Alaska.

WEIRDEST SUGGESTED ECONOMY MOVE: Ron Paul's idea to save billions by bringing home air conditioners cooling troop tents in Afghanistan.

BIGGEST UNANSWERED QUESTION: What in the world did Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart do to be denied a chair on stage like Williams and Harris had?

RELATED:

Ron Paul's federal disaster relief plan: Kill FEMA

Rick Perry grins, shrugs and swings away at GOP Reagan Library debate

Gov. Jon Huntsman's jobs plan: 'Straightforward and common sense'

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Chris Carlson / Associated Press (Nancy Reagan and the eight Republican presidential debaters in the library's reconstructed Oval Office).

Rick Perry grins, shrugs and swings away at Reagan Library GOP debate

  Reagan-Library-Plaque-Presidential-Oath
Texas Gov. Rick Perry came under fire as Republican aspirants to Ronald Reagan's old job gathered under the wings of his former Air Force One tonight, for another debate aired on national TV.

Fresh from surveying wildfires in his home state, Perry was the shiny new toy at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. It was his first presidential debate, and moderators Brian Williams of "NBC Nightly News" and Politico editor-in-chief John Harris called on him at most every opportunity.

And he didn't disappoint, particularly in pointed exchanges with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was the presumptive front-runner until Perry entered the race on Aug. 13, the day of the Ames straw poll in Iowa.

Consider this exchange on the question of job creation:

Perry: "Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt." (A grin and a "whaddya Rick-Perry-Mitt-Romney-GOP-Debate-Reagan-Library gonna do?" sort of shrug followed.)

Romney: "George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor."

Perry: "That's not correct."

Romney: "That is correct."

Williams: "Nice to see that everybody came prepared for tonight's conversation."

Or, when Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said Perry wrote a letter in the '90s "supporting Hillarycare."

Perry countered that he was his state's agriculture commissioner during the Clinton administration and that he was urging Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the first lady, not to forget rural healthcare in her proposal to overhaul healthcare policy. Then he looked at Paul and said, "I was more interested in the one you wrote to Ronald Reagan, saying, 'I'm going to quit the party because of the things you believe in.' "

"Oh," said Paul, "I need an answer on that!"

He went on to explain how he'd supported Reagan in 1976, and supported his....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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