Tales from the Trail

Tending to China-US relations

Valentine’s Day is as good a day as any for China and the United States to work on the kinks in their relationship.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping signaled beforehand that tending to the state of the  “dynamic and promising” U.S.-China connection would be the at the heart of his White House visit on Tuesday.

The economic and trade relationship between the two countries is far too important to be frayed by “frictions and differences,” Xi wrote in a Q&A submitted to the Washington Post and published on the eve of his White House meeting with President Barack Obama.

“What is important is that we properly handle these differences through coordination based on equality, mutual benefit, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. We must not allow frictions and differences to undermine the larger interests of our business cooperation,” Xi wrote.

The man many see as China’s leader-in-waiting promised to do better and called on the United States to make an effort too — but he might not be feeling any love from the Republicans seeking to upset Obama in the Nov. 6 election.

Washington Extra – A Deng Xiaoping Moment?

By Warren Strobel

Maybe it’s the careful, consensus-oriented system that produces them, but China’s leaders in recent years have not exactly exuded personality. President Hu Jintao is famous for his stiff manner and scripted speaking style. Jiang Zemin was slightly more relaxed, and enjoyed showing off his English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history.

Washington on Tuesday will get its first close look at China’s next president, current Vice President Xi Jinping, who has a reputation for being more open and refreshingly direct than some of his predecessors. It may be too much to hope for a “Deng Xiaoping moment,” a 1979 turning point in Sino-American cultural relations when the diminutive Deng, China’s great modernizer, attended a rodeo in Simonton, Texas, donned a giant cowboy hat and wowed the crowd. Deng was then China’s vice premier.

Xi has conflicting needs on this visit. He wants to show peers and the public back home that he can handle the American account, China’s most important relationship. He visited Iowa in 1985 and, by all accounts, the experience affected him. He also wants to strike a good working relationship with the White House and Capitol Hill, which could help both sides handle a daunting array of disagreements: human rights, the South China Sea, China’s currency, and Obama’s more aggressive posture in Asia, to name a few.

“Dogs Against Romney” keeps barking on Seamus

It’s an anti-Romney movement five years in the making, and now it’s a large and growing “Super Pack” that even plans to crash the legendary Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week.

Dogs Against Romney is an ad-hoc group that likes dogs (and even, when pressed, some cats) but does not like Mitt Romney. It was brought together by the now well-known story of how Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, once drove from Boston to Canada with his dog in a carrier strapped to the roof of the speeding family car.

For those unfamiliar, the story –- unearthed by the Boston Globe in 2007 — goes something like this: In 1983 Romney, then a rising star in the private equity world, loaded up the family station wagon with sons and luggage for a long trek from Boston to Ontario, Canada. Seamus, the family’s Irish Setter, was put in his dog crate and strapped to the top of the car. Poor Seamus, whether terrified or over-excited or just not given a chance for a potty break, at some point soiled himself, as the Romney boys discovered when they saw brown liquid running down the window. Romney, the turnaround and efficiency specialist, quickly pulled into a nearby gas station to hose down the car, and the dog, and get back on the road.

Not all smooth sailing for Romney in Maine

Republican Mitt Romney found it was not all smooth sailing in Maine on Friday night when he was heckled repeatedly at a town hall meeting in Portland at a marine storage and repair facility.

Romney jetted in from Washington to fire up his base a day before the Maine Republican Party announces the results of a week-long caucusing process. But the well-attended meeting wasn’t without some unexpected drama that showed the candidate’s testy side.

The event’s second question centered on “stashing your money away in Cayman Islands,” based on investment strategies revealed when Romney recently released his 2010 tax returns. “ First of all, first of all, I’ll have to take a look at what the trustee says,” Romney said, adding that his fortune — estimated to be as high as $250 million — has been managed in a blind trust for ten years.

Watch live: Mitt Romney speaks at CPAC

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at CPAC at 12:55pm ET.

Watch live:

Maybe it’s better not to get that big endorsement

One staple of the U.S. political scene is the quest for endorsements, and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney seems to be leading in the race for support from the GOP establishment.

He picked up the support of Arizona Senator John McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, who also was a member of the U.S. presidential field until August.

He may not be part of the party “establishment,” but Romney even got the backing of a high-profile party figure — albeit one who declared himself an independent in December — reality television star and real estate mogul Donald Trump, who called the former Massachusetts governor “tough, sharp and smart.”

Sh*t Democrats say about Mitt Romney

First there was Sh*t My Dad Says , then Sh*t Girls Say, Sh*t White Girls Say…to Black Girls, Sh*t New Yorkers Say, Sh*t Nobody Says, and so on. Now, playing on the interminable meme, American Bridge 21st Century, one of the biggest Democrat super PACs, has released this video mash-up of alleged Romney gaffes, Sh*t Mitt Says. Watch (h/t Buzzfeed):

Credit: Americanbridge21st/YouTube

Washington Extra – A great gift

At the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas today, a resurrected Rick Santorum reveled in his underdog role in this riveting Republican primary season.

“Nobody ever thinks I can win anything,” Santorum told a gathering of pastors. “The gift of being underestimated is a great gift.”

Santorum may not have robbed Mitt Romney of his top dog status with a triple primary win on Tuesday. But days after being dismissed as an also-ran, he now gets some serious consideration from key constituents.

Washington Extra – Looking for love

Is three a crowd?

Republican candidates wooing voters are hoping for a “Yes” in three nominating contests tonight.

Mitt Romney went looking for votes in Loveland, hoping Colorado will give him an early Valentine.

The walls were lined with stuffed animals including a bobcat and raccoon and the candidate kept ‘em waiting.

Romney endorsed by Citizens United adviser Bopp

 

The morning after President Barack Obama’s campaign said it would start supporting Priorities USA, a Super PAC fundraising group designed to keep him in office, Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign announced it had been endorsed by James Bopp, a lawyer who advised Citizens United in the Supreme Court case responsible for the creation of the outside fundraising groups.

“Mitt Romney is a true conservative,” Bopp wrote in an “open letter” explaining the endorsement. “One does not have to guess what Mitt Romney would do in office. He served for four years as Governor of Massachusetts and has a record that conservatives should be proud of.”

Obama opposed the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in a case that erased limits on corporate and union money in federal elections. His campaign said he had made the switch because Republicans had raised and spent so much Super PAC money.