Tales from the Trail

Biden welcomes Navy ship home for the holidays

MAYPORT, Fla. – Vice President Joe Biden made an unscheduled stop during a visit to Florida on Thursday to greet 350 sailors from the USS Gettysburg as they came home after seven months at sea.

A brass band played and happy families waved flags and held up signs as a grinning Biden helped them welcome home loved ones just in time for the holidays. Seven of the sailors who had babies born while they were at sea were allowed to get off the ship first.


Sophia Perfida, 11 months, waits to see her father.

One sailor dressed up as Santa Claus in honor of the ship’s arrival, drawing thrilled shouts from some of the children waiting for their mothers and fathers.

“This is the greatest thing in the world,” said Captain Robert Hein, commander of the guided-missile cruiser Gettysburg, which had been to Afghanistan, off the Horn of Africa and the Mediterranean during its deployment.

“This is Christmas, New Year’s, the Fourth of July and your birthday all wrapped up in one.”

Romney takes a swing at Obama golf habit

Most presidents have their hobbies. George W. Bush loved to clear brush on his Texas ranch, and to take long mountain bike rides. Bill Clinton played the saxophone. John Quincy Adams reportedly liked to skinny-dip in the Potomac River.

Barack Obama likes to play golf. And Republican challenger Mitt Romney doesn’t approve.

The Romney campaign on Wednesday launched a website, fortyfore.com, that takes a swing at Obama’s golf habit. The site says that Obama has played “1,584 holes since 2009″ — the equivalent of 88 rounds of golf as he nears the end of his third year in office. That would put Obama far short of House Speaker John Boehner, who reportedly works much harder on the links to maintain a single-digit handicap.

RickPerry.com reroutes visitors to Ron Paul’s 2012 site

By Karen Brooks

Update, 6:30pm ET: RickPerry.com is no longer sending visitors to ronpaul2012.com.

Original post:

It’s common knowledge that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has plenty of campaign money – the question is, would he be willing to let go of about $50,000 of it in the name of cyber politics?

Critics of Perry and fans of fellow GOP presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul are laughing this week over the fact that www.RickPerry.com redirects visitors to Paul’s campaign website.

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.”

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

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):

GOP presidential field – looking Perry promising?

With polls showing President Barack Obama beating any current 2012 Republican presidential hopeful, some party leaders are casting around for additional contenders, especially those who are well-known and might appeal more to the party’s most conservative wing.

One name that has come up repeatedly is Texas Governor Rick Perry, a conservative Republican and rising star in the Tea Party movement who fueled speculation last year that he might run for the White House by going on a national tour to publicize his book “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” which takes aim at what he sees an intrusive and expansive federal government.

Perry has in the past emphatically said he will not run, but he more recently has seemed to be leaving the door slightly open by saying for now he is focused on Texas’ legislative session, which ends on May 30.