Tales from the Trail

from Political Theater:

Gingrich and Trump plan ‘Apprentice’ show for poor kids

After a meeting with Newt Gingrich in Manhattan this morning, Donald Trump announced plans to start an 'Apprentice'-style program for children from New York City's poorest schools. The idea, apparently hatched during their meeting, is an extension of Gingrich's scheme to hire poor schoolchildren for jobs typically occupied by adults -- including janitor and librarian -- because, as he put it last week, these kids “have no habit of showing up on Monday; they have no habit of staying all day; they have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ — unless it’s illegal.”

Speaking to the press this morning, Gingrich said he asked Trump to "take one of the poorer schools in New York and basically offer at least ten apprenticeships to kids from that school to get them into the world of work and get them into an opportunity to earn money and get them into the habit of showing up and realizing that effort gets rewarded and that America is all about the work ethic.”

Trump expounded on the show's premise: "We’re going to be picking ten young, wonderful children and we’re going to make them apprenti," he said. "We’re going to have a little fun with it. It will be something that's going to really prove results. It was Newt’s idea, and I thought it was a great idea.”

Here's the clip, via MSNBC:

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Credit: MSNBC

from Political Theater:

Gingrich airs first TV ad in Iowa: ‘Is the America we love a thing of the past?’

Newt Gingrich has released his first television ad of the campaign, an optimistic rebuttal to anyone who thinks "the America we know and love is a thing of the past." Set to air in Iowa this week, the spot mixes uplifting music (from the soundtrack to the film Rudy) and imagery -- wheat fields, a picket-fence home flying an American flag, factory workers, the Iowa State Capitol building -- with footage of Gingrich making the case that "together...we can rebuild America":

"We can revive our economy and create jobs, shrink government and the regulations that strangle our businesses, throw out the tax code and replace it with one that is simple and fair," Gingrich says in the ad. "We can regain the world’s respect by standing strong again, being true to our faith and respecting one another. We can return power to the people and the states we live in so we’ll all have more freedom, opportunity and control of our lives. Yes, working together, we can and will rebuild the America we love.”

Here's the ad, via Newt.org:

Credit: Newt.org

Democrats hit Romney on “Band-Aid” comment

By Jason McLure

Even as Newt Gingrich has soared to the top of most Republican presidential polls, Democrats continue to focus their attacks on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Today New Hampshire and Iowa Democrats unveiled a new website attacking Romney for calling the president’s jobs bill a “temporary little band aid” during a debate in October.

Democrats say passing the jobs bill, which would extend a payroll tax cut for employees, would save the average family $1,500 next year – or “four months of groceries, over seven months of gasoline, an electric bill for an entire year,” according to a video on the site, littlebandaids.com.

It also takes a swipe at Romney’s wealth, estimated to be around $250 million, with the line “$1,500 might be a Band-Aid to Mitt Romney, but to a middle-class family, $1,500 goes a long way.”

from Political Theater:

Huntsman accuses Romney of flip-flop gymnastics in new ad

Jon Huntsman has published a new web ad hammering Romney for changing, if not his stance, then at least his tone on key campaign issues.

"What exactly did Mitt learn while running the Olympics?" the ad asks, before using a split screen to show Romney opining on various issues next to video of gymnasts doing flips on balance beams. Romney ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, where there was no gymnastics competition, but the point doesn't seem to be a literal one. Whenever Romney is seen taking a typically conservative stance on an issue, the gymnast "nails it," and when he doesn't, the gymnast falls off the beam.

For example, one clip shows Romney defending the "tough gun laws in Massachusetts" -- "I support them, I won't chip away at them," he says -- as a gymnast tumbles. The next clip shows him saying he's "always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter," as a gymnast lands a back flip on the beam.

from Political Theater:

Gingrich reiterates plan to hire poor kids as school janitors

Speaking in Iowa today, Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich repeated his idea for schoolkids in poor neighborhoods to take over some of the jobs adults are normally employed to do -- greeter, for instance, or assistant librarian or janitor -- in exchange for cash and, apparently, lessons in work ethic.

Gingrich, who according to a new national poll is leading 38 percent to Mitt Romney's 17 percent among Republicans, offered no evidence to back up his claim that "really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works." These children, he said, "have no habit of showing up on Monday; they have no habit of staying all day; they have no habit of 'I do this and you give me cash' -- unless it's illegal."

Here's the clip, via CBS News:

Credit: CBS News

from Political Theater:

Cain sums up world powers with foreign policy map

Herman Cain's presidential campaign has released its "Vision For Foreign Policy & National Security," a tidy seven-page summary of the candidate's take on exactly twenty countries, accompanied by an even tidier map classifying the states in Cain's own terms.

Canada, in Cain terminology, is a "Friend and Ally," Brazil, merely a "Friend," and the UK is "Our Special Relationship." Venezuela, Iran, Syria, and North Korea are each deemed an "Adversary Regime," while Russia is a "Rival," China a "Competitor," and Libya is "Clarity Needed."

Cain brands Egypt "Danger and Opportunity," noting in the memo that "Under President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was a friend. With Mubarak shoved out by Arab Spring protests – with help from President Obama – Egypt could be a nightmare unfolding."

from Political Theater:

Romney denies history of “flip-flops” in Fox interview

In an long and sometimes tense interview with Fox's Bret Baier on Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney defended himself against alleged policy "flip-flops" on immigration, health care, and other issues put forward in a DNC attack ad released earlier in the week.

Seated amidst crates of juice and soda inside a Conchita food warehouse in Miami, Romney denied revising his policy stances for the purposes of political expediency, telling Baier his list was "just not accurate" and suggesting he read his book to become "better informed" about his political views. The one issue on which he did acknowledge a change of heart, however, was abortion, a reversal Romney said also "occurred with Ronald Reagan, with George W. Bush, with some of the leaders in the pro-life movement.”

When Baier pushed back on Romney's defense of his stance on health care and the individual mandate, Romney, seeming exasperated, snapped, "Bret, I don't know how many hundreds of times I've said this. This is an unusual interview. All right, let's do this again." Baier pointed out that Democrats were seizing on old television clips to purportedly demonstrate his policy turn-arounds, but Romney claimed they were taking "snippets...out of context."

from Political Theater:

Palin supporters air “Run, Sarah, Run!” ad in Iowa

The organization Conservatives4Palin is running an ad in Sioux City, Iowa, this week urging Sarah Palin to reconsider running for president in 2012.

The video features Palin speaking about the need to "confront the crony capitalism of our permanent political class" -- which she says results in "socialism for the very rich and the very poor" but "a brutal form of capitalism for the rest of us" -- and enumerating her qualifications as a corruption fighter. It wraps with an appeal: "Run, Sarah, Run!"

Here is it, via PalinTV (h/t Richard Hétu):

from Political Theater:

Atlanta woman details alleged thirteen-year affair with Herman Cain

An hour after Herman Cain announced on live television that he expected to soon face another accusation of infidelity, Atlanta's FOX 5 news aired a segment with a local woman named Ginger White who claimed to have engaged in a thirteen-year affair with the Republican presidential candidate.

FOX 5 contacted White after receiving a phone tip from someone who knew her, and White -- who says she had already been contacted by several other news outlets that had been similarly tipped off -- agreed to a taped interview.

“I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy,” she told reporter Dale Russell. “Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I'm sorry for that.”

Shaq throws in support for Obama in 2012

NBA star Shaquille O’Neal said on Monday he believes President Barack Obama is doing a ”fabulous job” and will win the 2012 presidential election.

O’Neal, who retired from pro basketball this year, joined a handful of celebrities endorsing the Democratic president, ranging from singer Lady Gaga and actor Tom Hanks to Basketball hall-of-famer Magic Johnson.

“It’s a hard job … You can’t please everybody but I think he’s doing a fabulous job,” O’Neal told CNN host Piers Morgan. ”The world is in a little bit of turmoil right now — the economy’s down — but … he’s going to pick it back up and I think he’s going to win this next election.”