Tales from the Trail

So neither party gets the dog vote?

Jim Treacher of the conservative Daily Caller website unleashed a new twist in the 2012 election campaign’s dog war on Tuesday with a column, “Obama bites dog,”  about how Obama tried dog meat as a child. His proof? Obama’s own words in his memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” describing learning to eat local food as a child living in Indonesia.

“I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” Obama wrote.

Treacher presented the anecdote as a counterpart to the story, repeatedly cited by liberals, of Mitt Romney putting his family’s dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour trip to Canada. Liberals use the story to make their case that Romney, the probable Republican presidential nominee and a former executive, is cold-hearted and more interested in efficiency than compassion.

“Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself, libs. Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth. And whenever you bring up the one, we’re going to bring up the other,” Treacher wrote.

Conservatives seized upon the anecdote on Twitter with the hashtag #obamadogrecipes, and liberals fired back with their own responses, charging Republicans with attacking a child, since Obama was under ten years of age when he tried eating dog.

Washington Extra – Pump It Up

If you had to pick a name for a deli sandwich in honor of Washington, D.C., there’s one clear choice: “The Ruckus.” In the city’s super-charged atmosphere, politicians, lobbyists and hired aides can barely let anything go by without a fight. 

Today it was rising gasoline prices that have Republicans and Democrats at each other’s throats. Both parties realize they really cannot do very much about retail prices, but they’re scrambling in hopes that voters don’t blame them for a pocketbook issue in an election year.

“Every time prices go up, there’s some sort of ruckus,”  Marc Spitzer, an-ex energy regulator appointed by former President George W. Bush, told Reuters.

Washington Extra – The Romney Doctrine?

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop in Warwick, Rhode Island April 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

When it comes to U.S. presidents and foreign policy, it’s always been a matter of what they do during crises, rather than what they say on the campaign trail.

Running for president in 2000, George W. Bush campaigned against “nation building.” But the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything, and Bush wound up launching an invasion of Iraq that led to a decade-long war and redefined U.S. foreign policy.

Republicans ride “Mommy Wars” to bank, if not ballot box

 

The flap over Ann Romney’s stay-at-home mom status may or may not help overcome the yawning gender gap between her husband and President  Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his Republican party, are looking to at least make a few bucks off the latest edition of the “Mommy Wars” — and perhaps keep them going with some well-priced goods.

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen started the fracas on Wednesday night when she tried to make the point on CNN that Ann Romney, who has been deployed by her husband’s campaign to appeal to women voters, may not understand the economic challenges faced by most American women. Probable Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a former private equity executive with a personal fortune of up to $250 million.  But she slipped by saying that Mrs. Romney, a 62-year-old mother of five sons, had “never worked a day in her life.”

Mitt Romney’s campaign, which saw his ratings among women take a dive as Republican presidential candidates sparred over abortion, contraception and other divisive social issues, seized the moment. Ann Romney took to Twitter for the first time to say she had worked hard raising her sons. And party notables, including former first lady Barbara Bush, took to the Twitterverse and airwaves to dispute Rosen, who eventually apologized, as Democrats, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, said they disagreed with her statement.

Washington Extra – Tea Party poopers

A man holds a sign during a March 24 Tea Party Patriots rally in Washington calling for the repeal of the 2010 healthare law. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

All that Tea Party support in 2010 for the 87 House Republican freshmen seems to have come with a price — and now it’s time to collect.

Representative Michael Grimm found his office filled with activists wanting to know why he hadn’t done more to slash government spending and why he had voted to raise the U.S. debt limit. He too is frustrated, the former Marine told them, but you just can’t shut down government and stop paying the soldiers.

Lawyer behind Super PAC ruling launches his own

The lawyer behind the case that opened the door to U.S. "Super PACs" and more campaign cash now has one of his own. Thousands of U.S. dollars are seen here in this November 3, 2009 file photo at a Westminster, Colorado bank. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The conservative lawyer who helped end political spending limits for corporations has now taken advantage of new campaign finance rules that allow “Super PACs” by launching one of his own.

Republican James Bopp, who advised Citizens United in its case to eliminate restrictions on campaign contributions by companies and unions, filed paper work last week with the U.S. Federal Election Commission to create his USA Super PAC.

Washington Extra: Sayonara Santorum

Former presidential candidate and Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is featured on a button by a supporter who also wore the politician's trademark vest in this January 14, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Reed

It began and ended at a kitchen table in Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum’s improbable and surprisingly long run for the White House is over. But the Republican Party will feel the effects of this game-changing gambit cooked up in a kitchen for some time to come.

Santorum offered disgruntled voters true conservative credentials. He brought social issues and religious freedom to the forefront of the national debate. He made Mitt Romney work much harder for the nomination than expected, and lurch to the right in the process. His supporters may not go away quietly or fall behind Romney in lockstep.

The tunnel to political prominence

NJ Gov. Chris Christie

A new government report shines the spotlight again on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, see here at a presidential campaign event for Republican candidate Mitt Romney on December 30, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A new report on the controversy that helped launch New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to national prominence – and make him a vice-presidential contender – has reignited debate over one of the country’s most popular and polarizing Republicans.

A General Accounting Office report on Tuesday examined the impact of Christie’s decision in October 2010 to cancel a multibillion-dollar rail tunnel linking commuters in his state of New Jersey to midtown Manhattan.

Check one, two? Obama likes knowing when microphone is on

 

The microphone was hot, and this time, President Barack Obama was happily aware that he was being recorded.

During the opening of a speech he gave to news editors in Washington, Obama took a light jab at the media for reporting sideline discussions he had with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul that were, unbeknownst to the pair, picked up by press microphones.

“It is a pleasure to speak to all of you — and to have a microphone that I can see,” Obama said to laughter from the audience of news executives.