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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Economy

Herman Cain: 'I'm the president of the United States of America!'

   Herman-Cain-Florida-Straw-Poll

Herman Cain is currently on a roll, following his strong debate performance in Orlando on Sept. 22 with a decisive win last Saturday in the Florida GOP straw poll.

Once considered a second-tier candidate and kind of an afterthought, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO is leapfrogging over half the field to find himself within spitting distance of top-tier status.

So, what's an up-and-coming candidate to do? Release a book, of course. And if you're running for president, you might as well imagine yourself as already being there.

As quoted in an extensive piece at Politico.com, Cain writes in "This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House":

“Well, I’m just about at the elevator up to the family quarters. But bear with me for just a minute more as I confirm who I am. It’s obvious; I’m the president of the United States of America!"

The memoir, due out next week from Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, takes Cain from his childhood in Georgia through his career and his battle with Stage Four cancer to his hoped-for triumphant arrival in Washington, D.C., and imagined first term in office.

It's not rare for a candidate to have a book. In fact, Michele Bachmann has her own book coming out in November. But most -- like Perry's and Romney's -- deal with policy positions and political philosophy. Cain takes it a step further by, according to Politico, even discussing the first lady plans of his wife of 43 years, Gloria.

Cain also takes on the assertion that he is not knowledgeable about foreign policy, a charge that could also be leveled at his fellow candidates, former governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (and, for that matter, at former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter -- governors all, plus Obama).

This particular issue stuck in the craw of Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly, who challenged recently announced Cain supporter Dennis Miller on Wednesday's "The O'Reilly Factor."

"I like Herman Cain," said O'Reilly. "I like his spirit. I think he presents himself very well. But when he came on 'The Factor' a few weeks ago, he had no clue about foreign affairs. None.'"

Miller responded with a reference to President Obama, saying: "Oh, like the guy in there now does?"

O'Reilly countered with: "Aren't we supposed to improve upon that?"

Take a look at the whole exchange:

Cain also caused some controversy elsewhere on Wednesday, while talking to anchor Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" (click here for the full transcript).

First, Cain addressed the issue of why most African Americans won't vote Republican, saying: "Because many African Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative."

Cain also said he believes a third to 50% of black Americans are "open-minded," saying: "More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that's a good thing."

It's a position Cain also discussed during a Monday appearance on Fox News Channel's "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren," saying:

"And because the unemployment rate for black people is nearly 17%, instead of the 9%, they're looking for something that's going to boost this economy. And they see that possibility in my 9-9-9 plan.

"That's what's going to peel off the black vote: results, not rhetoric."

(Click here for the full transcript and video.)

Also addressed during the CNN interview was the issue of Perry's support, along with the Texas legislature, for giving in-state tuition discounts to children of illegal immigrants.

This policy got the Texas governor in some hot water in the last GOP debate -- in which he characterized those who disagreed with him as "heartless" -- and earned him a rebuke from his fellow Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, during his speech at the Reagan Library on Tuesday.

In opposing Perry's use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the lower tuition rates, Christie said: "Let me be very clear. From my perspective, that is not a heartless position. That is a common sense position."

Perry even had to do a bit of backpedaling on his "heartless" claim. He told Newsmax in an exclusive video interview posted on Wednesday, that, "I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate."

Asked on CNN if he agreed with Perry's position, Cain said: "No, absolutely not. Because I happen to believe that that puts children of illegals in front of citizens, in front of soldiers. I don't agree with that. We must first secure the border for real. That's the real problem we need to make sure that we solve. Then, decide later.

"Now, I do agree that it's a state's issue. It's a state's decision. But I don't believe in putting children of illegals, because of compassion, in front of citizens."

Cain also said that, as of right now, that position would prevent him from supporting Perry if he becomes the GOP's eventual nominee:

"Today, I could not support Rick Perry as the nominee for a host of reasons. Him being soft on securing the border is one of the reasons. I feel very strongly about the need to secure the border for real, the need to enforce the laws that are already there, the need to promote the path to citizenship that's already there.

"But, more importantly, empower the states to enforce the national federal immigration laws because the federal government didn't do it, can't do it, and they never will do it. So, that's where I think he and I have a basic fundamental difference of opinion."

Cain did say though, that while he does not support the individual mandate put in place by Mitt Romney in his Massachusetts healthcare bill, he could support Romney as the nominee so long as he vowed to repeal Obamacare.

A new Fox News phone poll is out, placing Cain in third place now with 17%, trailing Romney, who has 23%, and Perry, who has 19%.

(Click here for the full poll results.)

Cain is even making the apparently obligatory visit to New York City to talk with businessman and reality show star Donald Trump on Oct. 3, following the lead of fellow hopefuls Perry, Romney and Bachmann.

RELATED:

Herman Cain handily wins Florida GOP straw poll

Chris Christie won't run but doesn't mind being asked

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

-- Kate O'Hare

Photo: Herman Cain addresses Florida GOP activists in Orlando last Saturday. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images


Top Obama strategist sees a 'titanic struggle' next year

RMS Titanic Sets Sail on its first and last voyage April 10 1912

A top former White House aide to Barack Obama sees a "titanic struggle" emerging as the Democratic incumbent confronts awful economic numbers and Republican political opposition that seems bent on defeating the guy for some reason.

David Axelrod, who used to work in the White House but has since fled back to Chicago as the reelection campaign's top political strategist, uttered his unfortunate floating metaphor to a New Hampshire audience Tuesday.Not David Axelrod Titanic Capt Edward J Smith

Speaking at a college in Manchester, Axelrod also used a sailing metaphor:

"In 2008, we had the wind at our backs. Now, we don't have the wind at our back. We have the wind in our faces, because the American people have the wind in their faces."

With two out of three Americans thinking the country is on the wrong track under Obama and more than half disapproving of Obama's overall job performance, exactly what winds Axelrod had in mind are left to wild speculation.

Unemployment above 9% when an 8% maximum was promised? A healthcare bill that was supposed to reduce costs but hasn't and waivers for special Americans with connections? An unfolding scandal over a half-billion dollar loan to a fundraiser's company? A fondness for regulation and a desire to raise taxes and a kind of chronic indecision over many things except giving more speeches at fundraisers appealing for more time because so much is undone?

Axelrod, a recovering newspaper reporter who used to cover Chicago politics, did not have time in his remarks to explain that those winds in Americans' faces came from his boss' failed economic stimulus and growing business fears of rampant regulations.

Because he lives and works in Chicago and helped elect Democrats of the maTitanic Movie Sinking shipchine that has ruled that city for 80 years, Axelrod is apparently unfamiliar with the role of a competitive opposition political party to, well, oppose incumbents with its own plans.

The Obama strategist kept a straight face as he feigned surprise that Obama opponents in Washington would actually, well, oppose the Real Good Talker's plans to spend trillions more dollars that the country doesn't have.

"We honestly thought," Axelrod said with a straight face, "when we got to Washington, we'd get some cooperation from folks across the aisle."

That kind of phony naivete sounds normal in the Windy City where uncooperative citizens can find themselves and their licensed businesses enduring a plethora of building and health inspections and citations, along with unexplained stoppages in garbage collections, etc.

In the interests of bipartisanship and passing the president's doomed jobs bill, Axelrod called the D.C. opposition "the most ideological, partisan group of Republicans in my lifetime." Axelrod was born Feb. 22, 1955.

Still, despite all those adverse winds in the Windy City and across the country, Axelrod said he was confident that President Obama would sail through these troubled waters and not become yet another Democratic president like Truman, Johnson or Carter, who were terminated by popular demand after one elected term.

“We’re on the right side of the fight and I believe we’re going to win that fight,” he said.

RELATED:

New gaffe: Obama confuses Jews with janitors

How many Obama gaffes can the media ignore?

Obama touts jobs plan at Ohio bridge that won't qualify

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photos (from top): The Titanic. Credit: White Star Line

Edward Smith, captain of the doomed Titanic. Credit: White Star Line

An image from director James Cameron's movie "Titanic." Credit: Merie W. Wallace

Late-night jokes: Starbucks CEO reveals how he got rich

Obama at the UN with South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit As The Ticket's 73,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,200 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each evening.

Feel free to pass this weekly collection on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Fallon: President Obama arrived 25 minutes late for a luncheon at the United Nations. In fact, he was so late, he had to sit next to Joe Biden at the kids' table.

Letterman: The U.N. General Assembly is reconvening. Fun to drive by and see those world leaders sitting on the front porch hooting at all the passing chicks.

Conan: Arnold Schwarzenegger is writing a memoir. It'll be available in hardcover, paperback and a book-on-tape that’s impossible to understand.

Fallon: At a New York City fundraiser President Obama says he's in ‘in a New York ...

Continue reading »

With everything going so well, Obama golfs with a new partner

POTUS Obama and POTUS Clinton go Golfing 9-24-11

Whenever a White House makes it easy to photograph a president doing something, the first question is always, "Why this?"

Most of the scores of times President Obama has gone golfing with aides and pals, the media pool is kept waiting out of camera range in a food court.

Some silly people have suggested that instead of staying secluded with well-paid staff who already like him, the aloof Obama could put such recreational buddy-buddy time to good political use by issuing prestigious presidential invites to a variety of people to come along and get to knowObama autographed Golf Balls each other better. And, who knows, maybe let them lift a presidential golf ball or towel.

Remember, Obama tried this one time last summer with House Speaker John A. Boehner.

It's the sort of social networking regularly used to cement friendships and sales in private business, about which, to use Mitt Romney's colorful phrase, Obama is "clueless."

Saturday, surprisingly, the pool media representatives were ushered to a convenient green just in time to catch two famous guys putting out.

In this photo above, the successful husband of secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is obviously explaining to the struggling Obama how a capitalist society works.

It's the economy, stupid.

Bill Clinton, who's publicly disagreed with a few Obama ideas like raising taxes at this time, is the only Democrat elected to two White House terms in three-quarters of a century. Next year, Obama would like to become the second. At the moment, the odds of success aren't looking too good.

Hence, the Obama White House's willingness to show the beleaguered No. 44 seeking advice from the far more popular No. 42.

Feel better now?

RELATED:

Obama touts jobs plan at Ohio bridge that won't qualify

Obama's jobs speech: Right now actually means much later

961 days in, Obama sick and tired of his own delays on new jobs

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Top photo: Former President Bill Clinton golfing with President Obama. Credit: Chris Kleponis / Bloomberg. Bottom photo: Obama signature golf balls. Credit: Associated Press

New gaffe: Obama confuses Jews with janitors

President Obama spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet over the weekend.

Those folks will stick with him in 2012, of course.

But they've been somewhat miffed in recent months that the first post-partisan president is doing too many deals with those Republicans and seeming to give in.

So, Obama needed to give the crowd some presidential love. He even brought his wife along. As with virtually all of Obama's speeches recently, the Democrat's remarks dealt with selling his jobs legislation, as if it wasn't DOA on Capitol Hill.Obama speaks to the congressional black caucus awards banquet 9-24-11

The first black president got to reminiscing about some other struggles in the past familiar to African Americans.

His 28 minutes of remarks had a strange tone to them, as if somehow Obama was equating support for his jobs program legislation with the far more important and historic civil rights movement.

He got into the usual yada-yada about rich people paying their fair share of taxes.

And then, deep into the speech, according to the White House transcript, the president said:

When you start saying, at a time when the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen their incomes go up four or five times over the last 20 years, and folks at the bottom have seen their incomes decline -- and your response is that you want poor folks to pay more? 

Give me a break. 

If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

That's what the transcript says he said.

Now, watch the C-SPAN video below, and listen especially to the phrase "the same tax rate as a janitor..."

Here is what the president actually said, catching himself almost in time but not quite:

If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew, uh, as a janitor makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that with a badge of honor. I have no problem with that.

The president has been muffing lines all over the place recently. Last week, also peddling his jobs plan at a bridge that won't qualify, he hailed America's building of "the Intercontinental Railroad." You don't seem to hear much about these gaffes in the media for some reason.

Maybe in Saturday night's speech Obama was thinking about all those talks on Israel in New York.

Video of the president's full CBC speech, via C-SPAN, of course, is available right here.

Obama is on the West Coast now, harvesting money again and closing roads in Los Angeles after doing the same in Seattle and San Jose Sunday.

RELATED:

How many Obama gaffes can the media ignore?

Obama touts jobs plan at Ohio bridge that won't qualify

Obama's jobs speech: Right now actually means much later

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here.

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (Obama addresses the Congressional Black Caucus awards banquet, Sept. 24).              Video: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

Sunday shows: Netanyahu, Cameron, Ryan, Plouffe

British prime minister David Cameron inspects a Canadian Honor Guard 9-22-11

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: British Prime Minister David Cameron, Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Obama advisor David Plouffe, with George Will, Mary Matalin, Amy Walter and Donna Brazile

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairs of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, respectively, with Mark Zandi, John Dickerson and Norah O'Donnell

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Plouffe

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Plouffe, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, A.B. Stoddard and Juan Williams

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with William Bennett, Tim Shriver, Donna Shalala and Tavis Smiley

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: British Prime Minister David Cameron inspects a Canadian Honor Guard in Ottawa on Thursday. Credit: Blair Gable / Reuters

Speaking of deep space, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and the GOP Gang of Nine debate again

NASA photo of five of Saturn's Moons from the Cassini spacecraft 7-29-11

There being "only" somewhere around 100 days left before the Iowa caucuses, nine Republican candidates had another debate anyway Thursday.

It seemed like the 10th debate in a week. But it was only the second.

Thaddeus McCotter, who was never in a debate, wasn't in again, as during the afternoon he quit the race that he was never really in.

The nine candidates all talked a lot. Not as much as the president. But a lot.

Sometimes two candidates talked at the same time. Like hockey refs, the moderators let them go at it.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry discussed their books. Perry is still opposed to cancer, always will be. Michele Bachmann mentioned she's raised five biological and 23 foster children. Herman Cain, who beat cancer, was on 9-9-9 again. Gary Johnson told a dog joke he stole from Rush Limbaugh. But people laughed anyway.

Jon Huntsman has lived abroad four times but he came home each time, wiser. Newt Gingrich's huge head contains many big ideas, but he still overeats. Rick Santorum is from Pennsylvania. Ron Paul looks at least 76.

Megyn Kelly should be in every Fox News debate. Or was it Katherine Heigl?

Our running debate account is right here.

The full debate transcript is right here.

In interesting news, NASA has released new photos of fully five of Saturn's moons (see above) in one frame. The photo was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 29. It just arrived in the mail.

The moon on the right is Rhea. It's about 684,000 miles away, about the same distance as the 2012 election.

RELATED:

Behind the debate prep scenes with Megyn Kelly

Thaddeus McCotter quits the GOP race; Who knew he was in?

Obama hails America's building of 'the Intercontinental Railroad'

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here.

Photo: NASA /JPL-Caltech /Space Science Institute.

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....

Continue reading »

Rick Perry's new video zeroes in on 'President Zero'

Our perspicacious colleague Robin Abcarian notes over here that much of what Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been doing during his first two Republican primary debates has resembled the successful, communicative mannerisms of Ronald Reagan.

There's another debate tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific on Fox News Channel. See if you agree.

Something else Perry has also been doing, like Mitt Romney too until recently, has been focusing his attacks on President Obama, as if the Texas governor was already running a general election campaign. (Scroll down for links to those attacks.)

There's a good reason behind that strategy: Polls of Republicans all along have shown they care more about defeating Obama than about the personalities and policies of individual GOP candidates. And this morning a new Gallup Poll shows more registered voters are considering voting for Romney (62%) than either of his two main rivals, Perry (53%) or Obama (54%).

Then Wednesday, RickPerry.org released a devastating video on 'President Zero.'

"We don't need a president who apologizes for America," says Perry.

Watch the new video below. Let us know what you think.

And see if the images and narrative remind you of anything from our not-too-distant-political past. (Our answer is below this video.)

OK, did this video remind you of anything?

Perhaps of the classic 1984 Ronald Reagan reelection campaign ad, "Morning in America." For old time's sake, we'll throw that one in right here.

 

 

For last year's powerful midterm takeoff ad, "Mourning in America," click here to watch.

RELATED:

Plaintive Obama says: 'I can't do it alone'

Perry on Obama's Israel policy: 'Naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous'

Obama's urgent jobs plan: 'Right now' really means sometime next month maybe 

--Andrew Malcolm

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Oops, Obama touts his jobs plan today at an Ohio bridge that won't qualify

Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River at Covington and Cincinnati

You know all those rusting bridges that President Obama wants to spend billions more dollars repairing to allegedly stimulate the economy?

He's headed out to one today which he's described as a "bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America." It is on a busy trucking route, spanning the Ohio River between Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati.

It's the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn't really need repairs. It's got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It's just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era.

Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.Obama speaks to the American Legion 8-30-11

So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.

But here's the problem, as John Merline graphically notes here, that could screw up all those envisioned photo op shots of the Democrat and the traffic:

The president's jobs bill is designed for "immediate" highway spending.

And the new $2.3 billion Cincy bridge is not scheduled to even start construction for probably four years, long after Republicans have scheduled the Obama presidency for completion.

And without delays, it wouldn't be finished until 2022, when no one will be counting Obama's rounds of golf.

Politicians hate these kinds of messy distractions when they pick a place to make a symbolic statement. But Brent Spence was so tempting linking, as it does, the home states of GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But there is some possible good news for President Obama: The $447-billion jobs bill that he wanted passed "right now" back in early September is stuck in a legislative traffic jam in the Senate.

Fellow Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader who can run that place like a school principal whenever he wants, is aware of opposition to the measure among some of his own caucus members.

And, well, darn it, wouldn't you know, Reid just can't seem to find a place for Obama's jobs bill in the chamber's overloaded schedule. As a result, as of right now Obama's "right now" jobs bill won't come up until later in the fall, possibly much later.

In a way the scheduling doesn't matter. Since the Democrat in the White House would rather have Republican opposition to it than any of its job-creating provisions, so he can have obstructionist charges for next year's campaign.

But if Congress works the way it usually does, maybe the bridge-repair money will be delayed a few years until the president's photo op Brent Spence Bridge enhancement bridge project is actually shovel-ready.

RELATED:

Obama's jobs speech: The complete text

Obama's jobs speech: Right now actually means much later

961 days in, Obama sick and tired of his own delays on new jobs

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here.

Photo: Al Behrman / Associated Press (Brent Spence Bridge across the Ohio River at Covington and Cincinnati); Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press (Obama during a recent speech).

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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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