The presidential hopeful doesn't waste a page on his website, using his not found error message page to serve a message of a different kind:
Image credit: HermanCain.com
Garance Franke-Ruta is a senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic. More
Franke-Ruta was previously national web politics editor at The Washington Post, and has also worked at The American Prospect, The Washington City Paper, The New Republic and National Journal magazines. In 2007, she and the other contributors to The American Prospect 's blog "Tapped" won the Hillman Prize. In 2006, she was fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., and in 2007, a summer fellow with The Iowa Independent, based in Des Moines, Iowa. Garance has lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Art Museums, Williams College, Wellesley College, Brandeis and Georgetown Universities, and taught in Georgetown's Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program. She has also has made numerous appearances on national and regional television and radio programs. Born in the South of France, Franke-Ruta grew up in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico; New York City; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., since graduating from Harvard in 1997.
The presidential hopeful doesn't waste a page on his website, using his not found error message page to serve a message of a different kind:
Image credit: HermanCain.com
New York's billionaire mayor on ordering the park where the movement started cleared of tents and sleeping bags
Overnight, the encampment at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan that sparked a national movement highlighting income inequality in America was uprooted by the New York City Police Department.
On Monday morning, Michael Bloomberg -- who, it should probably be noted, is also a billionaire and hence part of the 1 percent the Occupy Wall Street movement was protesting, in addition to being mayor of New York -- took sole responsibility for the action he said he ordered at the behest of Brookfield Properties, which owns the park, and out of concern for the health and safety of protestors and the neighborhood as the encampment neared its two-month anniversary.
"Make no mistake, the final decision to act was mine and mine alone," Bloomberg said in a morning news conference at City Hall.
"Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments," Bloomberg said.
The action was taken "at Brookfield's request" in response to the "health and fire safety" risk the collection of tents and sleeping bags in the park posed, the mayor said, as well as reports of criminal activity in the park. "Inaction was not an option. We could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another protestor before taking action," he said.
The park would be reopened to protestors, but not to tents and sleeping bags, some time later today, he said, pending results of an 11:30 a.m. hearing on the restraining order against enforcement of new rules in the park issued by a New York judge at 8 a.m. A picture, above, taken at the park Tuesday morning, showed it swept clean and barricaded.
"There is no ambiguity in the law here. The First Amendment protect speech, it does not protect tents and sleeping bags," the mayor said.
Protestors were massing Tuesday morning in Foley Square, just north of City Hall, for a march against the decision to clear the park, and a new Twitter feed sprang up for Occupy Foley Square.
See also at The Atlantic Wire:
Image credit: Jim Brady/Instagram
In case you missed it on ABC last night, here are the clips (titles and captions are ABC's):
Gabrielle Giffords Fights for her Life: The early days of Congresswoman Giffords' recovery filled with ups and downs.
Gabby and Mark Bonded by Dedication and Love: Husband and family lead the charge to help Gabrielle Giffords recover.
How Music Is Helping Gabrielle Giffords Heal: Music became an integral part of the rehabilitation process for Giffords.
Gabrielle Giffords 10 Months Later Giffords shares her own thoughts on her remarkable recovery and road ahead.
No Limits to Gabrielle Giffords' Recovery: Doctors and family agree Giffords has no boundaries to her recovery.
Gabrielle Giffords: Will She Return to Congress? Focused on recovery, the congresswoman says she will return.
Really. Or apologize. Or something. Whatever the email below is that arrived in my inbox at 2:31 a.m., it's clear that Gov. Rick Perry's team is well aware of the perception problem their man created for himself during the CNBC debate in Michigan last night. And not yet clear on what, if anything, they can do about it.
The campaign also quickly threw up a poll on its website asking supporters the same question:
In one of the most painful debate moments this year, if not ever, the Texas governor could not recall, even with prompting, which agency he wanted to eliminate
Updated 10:31 p.m.
The most striking thing about this moment, beyond the fact that it happened at all, is that it was a totally unprompted fail, much like Perry's earlier botched attack on Mitt Romney for changing his positions. No one asked Perry to list the agencies he wanted to do away with, or was attacking him directly. He brought up a line himself, a point he wanted to make. And then he just got scrambled.
Here's video of the exchange everyone's talking about:
Perry: "It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education and the, uh, what's the third one there, let's see... "
Ron Paul: "Five, you have five."
Perry: "Oh, five, okay, so Commerce, Education and the ... uh ... uh."
Moderator John Harwood: "EPA?"
Perry: "EPA, there you go."
Harwood: "Seriously, is EPA the one you were talking about?"
Perry: "No sir, no sir. We were talking about agencies of government. EPA needs to be rebuilt. No doubt about that."
Harwood: "But you can't name the third one?"
Perry: "The third agency of government I would do away with, the Education, the uh, Commerce. Let's see. I can't. The third one I can't. Sorry. Oops."
Later in the debate he remembered the answer he meant to give: "And by the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for earlier," he said.
And after the debate, he took the unusual step of appearing in the debate spin room, where he told reporters, "I'm sure glad I had my boots on because I sure stepped in it out there."
The general rule of such appearances is that successful debate performers and leading candidates send surrogates to the spin room, while trailing candidates and those who did poorly show up themselves.
It was Perry's first post-debate appearance in a spin room since he declared for the presidency.
Meanwhile, the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee sent out a slew of press releases attacking comments made by Romney, who increasingly looks like the likely GOP nominee.
Attempting to define a political opponent as something less than presidential is a hallowed American tradition. Two centuries ago, in attacks that echo in Republican characterizations of John Kerry, Federalist opponents assailed Thomas Jefferson with what amounted to the charge that he--a free-thinking deist who sympathized with the French Revolution--was in fact a godless Francophile bent on destroying the institution of marriage. Andrew Jackson's marriage to a woman he wrongly believed to be divorced, Grover Cleveland's illegitimate child, and Teddy Roosevelt's alleged drunkenness were all pushed by opponents during nasty presidential campaigns.
After Watergate and Nixon's dirty tricks, carrying out surreptitious attacks, even those based on the truth, took on a measure of risk. During the 1987 race for the Democratic nomination Michael Dukakis's campaign manager, John Sasso, and his political director, Paul Tully, slipped to several media outlets a videotape that showed an opponent, Senator Joseph Biden, delivering a speech partially plagiarized from the British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. This prompted further scrutiny, and subsequent revelations of plagiarism and academic exaggeration drove Biden from the race. When it was learned that his campaign had supplied the damaging tape, Dukakis felt compelled to call a news conference and later fired his aides.
In the years since, standards governing the pursuit and dissemination of such material have steadily diminished. Today not only do campaigns commonly distribute videotapes and other damaging information about opponents but "trackers" with video cameras follow enemy candidates for the explicit purpose of capturing embarrassing moments. Had Sasso and Tully plied their trade a bit later, they would be high-priced consultants with guest slots on Crossfire.
Oppo lore includes legendary "hits" brought off both before and after the Biden scandal, and many more that are less well known because the agents remained covert. In 1984, for example, Michael Bayer, the RNC research director, was digging into the vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's past and obtained a list of properties owned by Ferraro and her husband. On a hunch Bayer, a former military intelligence officer, sent a photographer to take pictures of one warehouse loading area. He discovered that one tenant was a pornography distributor--a fact that soon made its way into The Washington Post. In the 1992 Senate race in California, Bob Mulholland, a state Democratic Party official, learned that the Republicans' morality-and-values candidate, Bruce Herschensohn, frequented a Sunset Boulevard strip club. Four days before what looked to be a close election, Mulholland confronted Herschensohn at a campaign event waving a poster-size photo of the club and its marquee: LIVE NUDE--GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS. Last July, Representative Darrell Issa, who launched the campaign to recall the California governor Gray Davis, was revealed in a front-page San Francisco Chronicle story to have been arrested twice in the early 1970s, for weapons charges and auto theft--a story that was the handiwork of Davis researchers. And although no one has yet proved it to be so, an article of faith among Republicans (and some Democrats) is that the revelation on the eve of the 2000 election that George W. Bush was once arrested for drunk driving was a particularly devious plant by the Gore campaign. "You can't Botox your record these days," Comstock says. "You can't hope anymore that no one will go in and look."
It is perhaps not surprising that oppo research is among the more reviled professions, its practitioners held in about the same regard as spammers and ivory smugglers. This breeds defensiveness and a tendency for researchers to invoke a variation of the NRA claim that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Lehane says, "One of the greatest misperceptions is that opposition research is going out and finding stuff that's not already in the public domain. But the reality is that most of the stuff that really ends up having an impact is stuff that's out there in the public record." Two years ago a Democratic researcher named Jason Stanford was moved to write an article in the trade journal Campaigns & Elections that was as notable for its impassioned defense of his vocation as for his candid admission that rather than admit to her son's line of work, his own mother tells people he's a used-car dealer.
The proliferation of cable television and talk radio, the advent of the twenty-four-hour-a-day news cycle, and the growth of the Internet have all increased the demand for political news and pushed the boundary of what is acceptable. Both parties now disseminate daily e-mails with headings such as "Sen. John Kerry's Hypocrisy, Vol. 1, Issue 10" and "Bush White House: Home of the Whopper," which contain quotations, links, audio, and even video of what is often accurately judged to be damaging or compromising information. Contrary to the popular impression that campaigns traffic mainly in sleaze and rumor (though this occurs too), these e-mails are almost always scrupulously sourced from the public record. The goal is not to spread untruths but to have journalists repeat a selective--and often deeply misleading--version of the truth. "We become a conduit," Comstock says. "We do the legwork for the reporter. Obviously, in doing it we tell a story from the Republican side."
Campaigns have become highly sophisticated at using such material to maximum effect. "It's a lot like a trial," Comstock explains. "The candidate gives you what you have to work with. You're piecing things together that tell a larger story." Lehane agrees that the first step is choosing a negative storyline to push and laying the groundwork by talking it up to beat reporters and editors. "The second step," he says, "is to catalogue a variety of stories you have that support this. You begin by planting some smaller stories so that you build a foundation or basis for the larger story you're going to want to have hitting in the fall."
Especially in a presidential election "you have to plant a lot of the seeds in the spring and the summer so that you can capitalize on it," Lehane says. "If you have a big story that's going to hit in the middle of September, middle of October, what you really want to do is build several things that come off of the story so that it's not just a one-day hit. If the story runs on the front page of a major paper, you also want to set it up so that it hits some of the television morning shows, and from there you want to have surrogates [friendly talking heads] out the next day, so that you get a second hit. On the third day, ideally, you have some additional information you've been holding back that you can feed into it [to prompt] another round of stories. On the fourth or fifth day you try to hold your candidate back from saying anything, so that eventually, when he does say something about the issue, you get another round of stories. If you do it effectively, you can basically wipe out a guy's entire week--he'll spend the entire week responding to a story that showed up on a Monday." In the heat of the campaign season each week is critical. Not only can a well-orchestrated hit knock an opponent off stride, it can solidify an impression that the many voters just tuning in to the election will carry into the voting booth.
Implicit in this process is the news media's cooperation in carrying out the work of campaign operatives--usually without disclosing that fact to readers and viewers. If gathering opposition research is a science, disseminating it is very much an art.
Continue reading "Playing Dirty."
The majority of Americans -- including two-thirds of American women -- think their pasts would preclude them from ever seeking election
Less than a day after more-than-a-decade-old allegations of sexual harassment against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain broke into view, the latest 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll revealed that the majority of Americans said "their past would preclude them from running for public office."
Asked to consider decisions made in the past that could come out in an election, 62 percent of Americans don't think they could run for office, with women (66 percent) more inclined to say they could not run than men (58 percent).
The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll asks questions not usually asked by CBS pollsters.
A first wave of takes on the right is comparing Herman Cain with Clarence Thomas, but not all conservatives agree
Updated 11:30 a.m.
Conservative reaction was mixed to to Politico's Sunday evening report that "at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by [Herman] Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs" while he was head of the National Restaurant Association during the late 1990s.
The first wave of reaction from the right was that the report was a racially motivated attack. RedState writer and CNN commentator Erick Erickson called it the beginning of "a sincere effort to destroy the black guy running to be the GOP's Presidential nominee." Ann Coulter said it was an example of the liberal media being "terrified of strong, conservative, black men." That view was echoed by a writer on The Right Scoop: "I'm sure these allegations have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that a strong, Conservative black man (a.k.a. living proof that blacks don't need the Democrats to succeed) is leading in the GOP polls." As Roger L. Simon at Pajamas Media put it late Sunday, "It took the mainstream media nearly a year to catch up with the John Edwards Affair, but only weeks into Herman Cain's narrow frontrunner status for the GOP nomination, the goodfellas at Politico are letting the uppity black conservative have it."
Cain seemed to want to emphasize that view, posting a promoted tweet Sunday night:
The implication seemed to be a reference to the accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas that Cain has previously discussed as akin to something he might also face. "They're going to come after me more viciously than they would a white candidate," Cain said in May. "...to use Clarence Thomas as an example, I'm ready for the same high-tech lynching that he went through -- for the good of this country."
But not all conservatives were so quick to suggest there was a racial element to the surfacing of the accusations, which date to the 1996-99 period, and that they were political rather than real. Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance had a different view, telling Politico Monday morning: "I think Herman Cain needs to directly answer the question."
"Early in my career I resigned from a trade association for the exact same reason and with no financial settlement. I simply found another job," she said. "Therefore, I know in a very personal way that sexual harassment exists and that it's demeaning and painful. It should never be tolerated in the workforce and certainly not the White House."
While the Politico report was obviously written only because of Cain's lead in a number of Republican presidential primary polls -- with prominence comes scrutiny -- the allegations detailed therein were made in real time and long before Cain was a presidential candidate. Cautioned Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, "This would differ from the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill allegations."
Image credit: Rebecca Cook/Reuters
Speaking in New Hampshire Friday night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered what some are characterizing as a "bizarre" series of remarks in which he appears to have dropped the political persona he normally has at events for a more giddy, almost giggly style of presentation.
But more notable to me was what Republican presidential aspirant had to say at the 7:15 mark: "I'm for saying it loud and saying it proudly. We are the land of the free. Let's let America be America again and again be the land of the free. God bless you and thank you all for coming tonight."
"Let America be America again" was the slogan of the John Kerry-John Edwards campaign in 2004, a line adopted from the poet Langston Hughes' 1935 poem with that title. "The poet Langston Hughes put it in this way: 'Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be.' - for those 'whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again,'" Kerry integrated the saying into a speech in the summer of the year he contested President Bush. "In 2004, with your help....with John Edwards by my side.... we will bring back our mighty dream again."
Hughes was attacked on the right as an anti-American communist after the Democrats began to cite his poem. FrontPage magazine called it a "Stalinist campaign slogan" and James Taranto wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section under the headline, "Red Alert," calling it a "communist-inspired slogan."
Earlier this year, Rick Santorum's campaign for the presidency came under fire for using a variant of the line on a presidential exploratory committee website.
Santorum backed away from the formulation after being told of its origins. "No I had nothing to do with that," he said. "I didn't know that. And the folks who worked on that slogan for me didn't inform me that it came from that, if it in fact came from that."
Asked by The New York Times' John Harwood why it's a "good idea" to "provide a huge tax cut to wealthy people," as would occur under the tax plan outlined today, Rick Perry rebuffed Harwood's suggestion that it might be a bad thing to give more to "those at the top."
"It is hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars for them," Harwood said, according to the edited transcript of their exchange.
"But I don't care about that," Perry replied. "What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies."
A web ad from the Tea Party favorite's team serves as a reminder that Cain used to lead a lobbying group that fought tobacco rules
The chief of staff for Herman Cain's presidential campaign proclaims, "We've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen" in a web ad that went viral Monday night. And boy is he right, taking a drag from a lit cigarette at the 40-second mark in the 56-second political spot.
As disbelief spread about whether the smoking staffer ad, released on Herman Cain's YouTube channel, was real, a Google image search confirmed that the speaker really is who he says he is: Mark Block, chief of staff and chief operating officer for the Cain campaign and also, according to the Daily Caller, "The man who talked Herman Cain into running for president, and plotted a strategy that has the former Godfather's Pizza CEO surging in the GOP presidential race."
Before joining the Cain campaign, Block served as Wisconsin state director for free-market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which has opposed state smoking bans.
Cain also opposed smoking bans during his years working in Washington on behalf of a restaurant trade lobbying group, The New York Times has reported:
From 1996, when he left the pizza company, until 1999, Mr. Cain ran the National Restaurant Association, a once-sleepy trade group that he transformed into a lobbying powerhouse. He allied himself closely with cigarette makers fighting restaurant smoking bans, spoke out against lowering blood-alcohol limits as a way to prevent drunken driving, fought an increase in the minimum wage and opposed a patients' bill of rights -- all in keeping with the interests of the industry he represented....
Under Mr. Cain's leadership, the restaurant association opposed higher taxes on cigarettes and the use of federal money to prosecute cigarette makers for fraud -- positions that Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said had little to do with the restaurant business.
And Mr. Cain argued vociferously that the decision about whether to go smoke-free was the province of individual restaurant owners, not the government. "The restaurant industry literally became the alter ego of the tobacco industry during that period of time," Mr. Myers said in an interview.
The restaurant association relied heavily on R. J. Reynolds for financial support, records show. Mr. Meyne, the Reynolds senior director of public affairs, served on the restaurant group's board, and Mr. Cain served on the board of Nabisco, which had earlier merged with Reynolds.
In a 1999 memorandum, Mr. Meyne wrote that in previous years his company had given the trade group "as much as nearly $100,000 in cash and much more in in-kind support," adding, "They have done virtually everything we've ever asked, and even appointed us to their board."
The web ad was uploaded to YouTube on Oct 19 with the caption info: "Chief of Staff Mark Block talks about Herman Cain's Presidential Campaign and urges people to act because together we can elect Herman Cain!" It was not immediately clear why it took until Monday to gain notice.
Making a bold statement against anti-smoking regulations would seem general election suicide but also the sort of thing that might help Cain in Tea Party circles, where voters frequently complain about what they see as intrusive government regulations that prevent them from living the lifestyles they want to.
Here's another picture of Cain and Block together, from Block's public Facebook page:
Image credits: YouTube, Facebook
Asked about the birth certificate released by President Obama, the Texas governor said he didn't know if it was real
Not content to be under attack for his support for instate tuition for certain illegal immigrants at Texas colleges, Gov. Rick Perry raised another birthright issue in an interview with Lynn Sherr for Parade magazine, saying he was uncertain whether President Obama's birth-certificate showing was born in the United States was real. From the story, published Sunday:
Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?
I have no reason to think otherwise.
That's not a definitive, "Yes, I believe he"--
Well, I don't have a definitive answer, because he's never seen my birth certificate.
But you've seen his.
I don't know. Have I?
You don't believe what's been released?
I don't know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.
That came up.
And he said?
He doesn't think it's real.
And you said?
I don't have any idea. It doesn't matter. He's the President of the United States. He's elected. It's a distractive issue.
The White House released Obama's long-form Hawaii birth certificate in April after developer Donald Trump gave new fuel to conspiracy theories that Barack Obama is not a natural-born American citizen and therefore lacks standing to serve as president. The Obama campaign, in an effort to address such beliefs head-on, now sells mugs and T-shirts bearing an image of the president's birth certificate along with the text, "Made in the U.S.A."
Image credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
"Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."
Updated 1:44 p.m.
President Obama announced the complete withdrawal of all remaining troops from Iraq by the end of 2011."As a candidate for president I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to an end," the president said Friday, speaking from the White House. "Today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over." Pledging that troops stationed in Iraq will "definitely be home for the holidays," the president praised the more than one million men and women who have served in Iraq since war was declared there in 2003. "The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high...that is how American military efforts in Iraq will end," the president said. He also noted that the end of the war in Iraq would reflect a transition in America's military priorities. "The tide of war is receding," he said. The drawdown of 100,000 troops from Iraq since Obama took office freed the armed forces to focus on the war in Afghanistan and the fight against al-Qaeda, he said, with results that have been seen in recent months, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama's remarks came after a morning call with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and followed the breakdown of U.S. efforts to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government about how residual troops in Iraq would be treated if they remained into 2012, according to The Washington Post. Around 150 troops will remain in Iraq to protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the paper reported.
Image credit: Susan Walsh/AP
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