Tales from the Trail

Gingrich mocks Romney for speaking French

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may have backtracked from a recent campaign ad attacking Romney as a job-killer during his tenure at Bain Capital, but he’s still accusing him of another act that may nettle some conservatives: speaking French.

In a web ad titled “The French Connection,” a deep-voiced narrator describes Romney as a liberal governor who authored government-mandated health care and raised taxes in his state of Massachusetts but who now masquerades as a conservative.

The narrator says, “Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney, he’ll say anything to win — anything. And just like John Kerry, he speaks French.”

The ad then cuts to a video of Democratic Senator John Kerry saying haltingly, in French, “Let the good times roll!”

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry was criticized for his connections to France, where he spent summers during his childhood. Romney, too, lived in France, where he served as a missionary for more than two years in the 1960s.

from Environment Forum:

John Kerry has had it up to HERE with “The Flat Earth Caucus”

ISRAEL/You remember John Kerry, right? Tall, silver-haired, urbane enough to be accused of being French. But there's a feisty side to the senior senator from Massachusetts, and it was on display at a forum on energy and economic growth, where Kerry teed off on congressional Republicans and others who doubt the seriousness of the challenge of climate change.

"After a while you get exasperated and jaded and frustrated about it all," Kerry told The New Republic forum at the National Press Club. "I've had it just about up to here with America's indifference to the realities of this crisis ... the United States is like an ostrich putting its head in the sand."

How do you feel about the U.S. political establishment, Senator Kerry? "I don't know what's happened to us in the body politic of this country where facts and science seem to be so easily shunted aside and disposed of in favor of simple sloganeering, pure ideology and little bromides of politics that are offered up, that offer no solution to anything but might get you through an election."

Lugar warns U.S. against war in Libya

momarIn recent days  some U.S. senators have been urging President Obama to consider military intervention to help Libyan rebels fighting Moammar Gaddafi.

Not Richard Lugar.

The top Republican on the Senate foreign relations committee said little  while a senior member of his own party, John McCain,  repeatedly urged the United States to pursue setting up a no-fly zone over Libya.

On Sunday Democrat John Kerry, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, suggested that Washington might want to  ”crater”  runways used by Gaddafi’s forces.

Washington Extra – Chaos theory

Something to ponder while thinking about the crisis in Egypt: Chaos Theory or Domino Effect?

EGYPT/Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that he’d like to step down but… “If I resign today there will be chaos.”

It seemed fairly chaotic on the streets of Cairo where protesters were fired upon and journalists were detained. Egypt’s prime minister told the interior minister not to obstruct peaceful marches at tomorrow’s “Friday of Departure” rally.

Washington Extra – Braving the weather

President Barack Obama quipped that Chinese President Hu Jintao was brave for going to his hometown at this time of year. But what about the visit to Capitol Hill today?

Between the warm reception at the White House and the chilly weather in Chicago, Hu met lawmakers who were quite cool in their welcome. They brought up China’s currency, human rights, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner who wasn’t allowed to attend the ceremony, Tibet, the economy and trade. USA-CHINA/

“The U.S. and China do not share values and principles as some have claimed in recent days,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said.

Trump sees China from the White House

RTR2EFAB_Comp-150x150Billionaire developer Donald Trump might like to be president. And if he were, he’d bring a hard view of China to the White House.

“I’d tax China,” he tells ABC News in an interview. “They laugh at us. They feel we’re fools. You know, they’re getting away with absolute murder. The products we used to make in this country, they’re making them in China. We’re rebuilding China.”

Trump, who set up an exploratory presidential committee in 1999, said he’ll decide on a 2012 White House run by June.

Former political enemies join hands to save the world?

Nearly six years ago,  Senator John Kerry and Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens were mortal political enemies.

As a major backer of President George W. Bush’s re-election effort in 2004, Pickens contributed millions to a right-wing ad campaign questioning Kerry’s record as a Vietnam war hero. The ads, which Kerry disputed, put him on the defensive and may have contributed to the Democrat’s failure to win the White House.

kerry_pickensOn Wednesday, the billionaire and the Massachusetts senator sat side-by-side in the Capitol’s ornate Senate Foreign Relations Committee room, where Kerry presides as its chairman.

Democrats can’t escape questions about Sarah Palin

Democrats can’t go anywhere these days without being asked about Sarah Palin, and some of them are not overwhelmed.

“Look, she is interesting,” Senator John Kerry told CNN’s “Larry King Live” program Wednesday.

“She represents some of the transformation of American politics into entertainment,”  he said.

Brown shows rare trait on Capitol Hill: humility

The man who shook up Washington came to Capitol Hill on Thursday and demonstrated a trait rarely associated with the nation’s marble halls of power and giant egos: humility.

USA-POLITICS/BROWN“I’ve got a lot to learn,” Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown said repeatedly during a series of visits with members of the Senate — a chamber often referred to as “the world’s most exclusive club.”
 
“I’m stepping into big shoes,” Brown said.

By tapping into voter anger aimed at a grid-locked Congress, a double-digit jobless rate and an unpopular plan to revamp the U.S. healthcare system, Brown won the Senate seat formerly held by the late Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democratic icon.
 
Once sworn in in the next week or so, Brown will be the 41st Republican in the 100-seat Senate — and could provide the vote to block much of President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda, including healthcare reform.
 
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell flashed a big grin and told Brown that he has already begun calling him “forty-one.”
 
Brown thanked senators for taking time to meet with him. “I really appreciate it,” he said again and again.
 
He even voiced appreciation to reporters, photographers and TV crews following him. “Thanks for coming out here,” Brown said. “I guess it’s a slow news day.”

The First Draft: Afghanistan and Obama

AFGHANISTAN/President Barack Obama heads to Florida today to thank members of the military for their service — but given the deadly violence in Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief might use the opportunity to reflect on strategy in the region.

Before Obama takes off, he’ll meet with his foreign policy and national security team to discuss the situation and troops on the ground.

Afghanistan will also be on the agenda at the State Department, where Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew will talk about progress made in hiring civilians there. The topic could come up at the Council on Foreign Relations too; Sen. John Kerry’s speaking there around midday.