Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Governors

How Jon Huntsman is introducing himself to New Hampshire voters -- and you

Simple commencement addresses can be tricky for politicians to give well and for their aides to write.

The point of the graduation ceremony, of course, has nothing to do with the politician. Likely no one in attendance will remember a single word uttered during the ceremonies.

The politician is there to lend import to the school (at the cost of a mere honorary degree and hopefully not at great length) and to the families also celebrating the end of tuition bills from that institution.

So, the politician must shine the light on graduates and their ecstatic families, while casually revealing something positive about himself, without appearing to hog the happy moment's spotlight.

To be honest, however, that happy spotlight is the only reason the politician is there, especially in places like, say, New Hampshire as the Republican primary season gets rolling.

Former ambassador to China and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was at....

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Mitch Daniels says 'No' to 2012 Republican presidential bid, citing family objections

In a humble 164-word email to supporters early Sunday morning, Indiana's Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said he would not pursue his party's nomination for 2012.

His decision came as a shock to many mainstream Republicans, who knew of the objections of his wife Cherie to the personal rigors and media scrutinty of a national campaign.

But they thought those concerns had been overcome in recent days of quiet lobbying.

Not so.

Here's the full Daniels message text, that will further roil the GOP field:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels non-candidacy message to supporters

I hope this reaches you before the public news does. If so, please respect my confidence for the short time until I can make it known to all.

The counsel and encouragement I received from important citizens like you caused me to think very deeply about becoming a national candidate. 

In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry. 

If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.

Many thanks for your help and input during this period of reflection.  Please stay in touch if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic.    #### 

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says 'birthers' are 'leading our country down a path of destruction'

Jan Brewer thinks birthers are leading the US down a path of destruction

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, no stranger to controversy, is saying that the "birther" discussion has become a "huge distraction."

While talking with CNN's John King on Monday, the governor said that she believes President Obama was indeed born in Hawaii in 1961, as his certificate of live birth states, and that after two years the debate has no more merit.

"It's just something I believe is leading our country down a path of destruction and it just is not serving any good purpose," Brewer said, obviously ignoring the fact that all of the birther talk has helped billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump take an early lead in the polls

Some may say that Brewer, a Republican, is out of step with her constituents. Last week a CBS News/New York Times poll discovered that 45% of Republicans don't believe that Obama was born in the U.S.  But Brewer says it's time to focus on something else.

"I think we really just need to move on," Brewer suggested. "Everybody's had two years to prove, if they wanted to, that he was not born in Hawaii. They haven't come up with any of that kind of proof."

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Haley Barbour announces he won't be running for president

Barbour Haley Barbour, the former Republican National Committee chairman and current Mississippi governor, announced Monday that he will not seek the GOP nomination for president.

"I will not be a candidate for president next year," Gov. Barbour, 63, wrote in a statement issued to reporters and later posted on his website. "This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided."

Although many believe Barbour could win the GOP nod, some felt that certain statements he made during a Weekly Standard interview in late 2010, as well as not immediately condemning a proposal to put a former Ku Klux Klan leader on a Mississippi license plate a could derail any chance he would have against the first black U.S. president because the statements revolved around the touchy subject of race.

"I don't go around denouncing people. That's not going to happen," Barbour initially said when pressed by the state NAACP to decry a proposal that would put Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on a license plate. Forrest eventually became an early leader of the Klan.

Barbour later said that if the state passed the proposal, endorsed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, he would kill it. "The bureaucracy denied it, the legislature won't pass it and if the legislature passes it, it won't become law because I won't sign it," the governor said .

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Levi Johnston to release a tell-all book about Sarah Palin's family

Levi Johnston in happier times with Bristol Palin and Sen. John McCain

Levi Johnston, the 20-year-old father of Sarah Palin's grandson, announced Monday that he is writing a tell-all book about the controversial Alaska family.

Johnston, who fathered a baby boy with Palin's oldest daughter, Bristol, while the couple were high school sweethearts, says he wrote the book "for me, for my boy Tripp and for the country."

"Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs," is being billed as a coming-of-age story and is due out in the fall.

"I want to tell the truth about my close relationship with the Palins, my sense of Sarah and my perplexing fall from grace -- how I feel and what I've learned," Johnston said in a statement released by his publisher, Touchstone Publishing.

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Next move in the Arizona illegal immigration law fight: An immediate Supreme Court petition?

authorities frisk illegal immigrants , file

Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne expressed disappointment late Monday in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that continued an injunction against four key elements of their state's controversial illegal immigration law, S.B. 1070.

In a joint statement the officials said they were considering their legal options and expressed strong criticism of the Ninth Circuit's decision giving special weight to the opposition of other governments such as Mexico.

“I note," said Horne, "that the 9th Circuit relied heavily on the opposition of foreign governments in upholding the injunction on two of the four elements. As the dissent by Judge Carlos T. Bea eloquently stated, foreign governments should not be given a ‘heckler’s veto’ to establish preemption by the federal government over the state.”

Brewer, who signed the measure nearly a year ago, called that aspect "outrageous, adding:....

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Arnold Schwarzenegger gets animated by Stan Lee for 'The Governator'

Arnold Schwarzenegger as The GovernatorArnold Schwarzenegger may not be California's governor anymore, but thanks to the creative mind of Stan Lee soon he'll be back as the Governator in an animated TV show and corresponding comic book due out next year.

Schwarzenegger, who's cartoon image graces the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly, told the magazine that he has always embraced the Governator moniker.

"When I ran for governor back in 2003 and I started hearing people talking about 'the Governator,' I thought the word was so cool," the cigar-smoking Republican told the weekly. "The word Governator combined two worlds: the world of politics and the movie world. And [this cartoon] brings everything together. It combines the governor, the Terminator, the bodybuilding world, the 'True Lies' …"

Whereas Schwarzenegger is a legend on the big screen, Lee is a deity in the comic book world, co-creating such iconic superheroes as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men.

On this latest project, Lee tells EW that the Governator is a semi-fictional superhero that pulls from Schwarzenegger's much publicized real life.

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Weekly remarks: GOP's McDonnell says Obama cuts Medicare; Obama sees Libya war gains

Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Gov. Bob McDonnell, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Before I begin today, I want to thank the brave men and women of our armed forces for their selfless service during recent operations in Libya, and their ongoing great work in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their relief efforts in Japan.

Virginia is home to many of our nation’s most important military installations, and we thank these courageous Americans for their defense of the freedom and liberty that we hold dear.

Like most governors, my top priority for our Commonwealth is ensuring fiscal responsibility and helping the private sector create the good jobs our citizens need.

Here in the states, we have to balance our budgets. We can’t print money, and we have....

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott: 'Government always takes more than it gives back'

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott delivers his first state of the state address 3-8-11

Florida's new Republican governor, Rick Scott, is not your standard politician. Nor is he an experienced one who worked his way up from town council to county board and then the state Legislature.

The tall, gangly newcomer in Tallahassee worked his way up all right, but it was in business. The son of a JC Penney clerk and a truck driver, Scott was born in Illinois and raised in Kansas City.

After serving as a radarman in the Navy, he graduated from Southern Methodist University Law School and worked in a Dallas firm before entering the business world. His full biography is available here.

He then launched a long, successful and sometimes controversial career in the healthcare industry, driving innovation and cost-cutting, at one point even offering a ...

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Gov. Haley Barbour previews his 2012 campaign in Iowa, Illinois and California

Mississippi Republican governor Haley Barbour testifies before congress 3-1-11

As he shows in this photo, Gov. Haley Barbour is this close to becoming a presidential candidate.

Or so many believe, given his behavior this week. The two-term Republican governor of Mississippi is another one of those potential GOP presidential candidates who's flying around the country these days talking to local politicians and party members, feeling out possible donors and testing stump speeches. (see full Barbour text below.)

While a disengaged President Obama calls on more people every day to do something about something else -- education reform, budget deals, Libya, etc. -- his team is assembling staff, bundlers and donor lists for what most expect to be a billion-dollar 2012 presidential campaign, just on the Democrats' side.

None of the Republican heavyweights has stepped out yet. They're waiting to see how much....

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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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