Karl Rove: Obama 'Hypocritical' on Disclosing Donors

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican strategist Karl Rove called the president “hypocritical” when asked if he would disclose the names of donors to his conservative Crossroads GPS group that supports Republican campaigns.

"He had no problem at all with this when groups were spending money on his behalf in 2008 and not disclosing donors. He had no problem at all not disclosing his own donors, tens of millions of dollars of contributions to his campaign,” Rove said.

“Now he turns around because Republicans have taken up and started doing the same things Democrats have been doing for years,” he said.

Due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, companies can donate an unlimited amount of funds anonymously. At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Vice President Biden accused Rove of raising money from “shady sources” and even challenged Rove to “tell me that this money isn’t coming from billionaires and millionaires, insurance companies, oil companies, major executives who have about as much in common and concern with the people in northeast Pennsylvania as I don’t know what.”

Rove passed on Biden’s challenge, but when asked about Obama’s accusation that those unknown donors could be “foreign-owned companies” he told ABC News the money is not coming from foreign companies.

“We do not solicit foreign entities and we tell people that we will not accept foreign money and it is illegal since 1907 for foreign money to be involved in American political campaigns,” he said. “We have it on our materials that no foreign money can or will be received.  And let me just tell you, all the area codes I’m dialing are inside the United States.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Eye Doctor Looks to Repeal Health Law

Photo Courtesy - Friends of Nan Hayworth / YouTube(NEW YORK) -- Nan Hayworth says she has spent her career helping New Yorkers see better. Now she's hoping they'll see her as their new representative in Congress.

Hayworth, the former head of an ophthalmology practice, is the Republican candidate in New York's 19th congressional district north of New York City, running against incumbent Democrat John Hall. Hayworth may be one of the most unlikely candidates this fall, but she is clear about her highest-priority issue: repeal President Obama's health care reform law.

That's not all she wants to repeal -- the new Wall Street reform law should be done away with, too, she says.

Democrats in the White House and Congress, she argues, have hurt the economy -- not helped it -- with a series of actions ranging from federal bailouts to new regulations.

Reduce the size of government. Cut back federal spending. It's a familiar argument from Republican candidates trying to capitalize on a wave of anti-government sentiment in tough economic times. While Hayworth has not been endorsed by organizers of the Tea Party movement, she says she considers herself part of the "outcry for shrinking the size of the federal government."

Whether that will be enough for this political novice to unseat Hall in a traditionally Democratic district remains to be seen. But victory won't come easy. Hall recently hit Hayworth with an ad arguing she wants to privatize Social Security, a charge Hayworth denies.

With Election Day fast approaching, Hayworth sounds confident of victory. Asked if she's going to defeat Hall, she sounds like the most famous Tea Partier of all, Sarah Palin.

"You bet," she replies.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Anger Over Economy Fueling GOP Advantage

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- America's economic discontent is playing strongly in the Republican Party’s favor in the upcoming midterm elections.  The latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll finds that Republicans are markedly more likely than other Americans to describe themselves as “angry” about the economy.  And angry people, by a wide margin, are more apt to blame the Democratic Party than the GOP for the problem.

Angry citizens are also far less apt than others to believe the economy’s started to show signs of recovery.  That pessimism intensifies their hunt for change.

All told, 85 percent of Americans are either angry about the economy or at least dissatisfied with it, according to the survey, produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates.  That makes economic discontent even higher than the 71 percent of Americans who said they are angry or dissatisfied with “the way the federal government is working” in an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week.

Twenty-five percent of all adults in this survey said they were angry.  Among registered voters, just 12 percent of Democrats, 30 percent of independents, and 41 percent of Republicans are angry about the economy.

Among those who are angry about the economy, 54 percent blame both parties equally.  But 35 percent say they’re more angry at the Democrats, which is more than triple the number, 10 percent, who aim their ire at the Republicans.

Notably, blame shifts among the larger group of people who are dissatisfied with the economy, but not angry about it.  They’re six points more apt to be dissatisfied with the Republicans than with the Democrats.  Mere dissatisfaction, though, is less of a motivator.  In the ABC/Post poll, it was angry people who were the most apt to say they’re certain to vote.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Country Divided on Tea Party's Future

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The country is at odds over the future of the Tea Party movement.  The latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll shows three in 10 Americans would like to see the Tea Party political movement form a separate political party of its own.  Nearly as many would rather it remain a force within the Republican Party, while a quarter just want it to go away.

The results, in a survey produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates, marks the promise and challenge of the Tea Party movement as it contemplates life beyond 2010.

On one hand, support for forming a new party, at 31 percent, is well over the 19 percent Ross Perot garnered in his independent presidential campaign in 1992.  On the other, it means seven in 10 feel otherwise.

Twenty-eight percent want to see the Tea Party as an element of the Republican Party, while 25 percent would like to see it “disband and leave the political scene.”  That leaves a 16 percent of Americans undecided.

There are differences among groups.  Fifty-five percent of Republicans would like to see the Tea Party continue as a force within the GOP, while only 24 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.  About a third of independents and Democrats alike, 34 percent, would like to see it form a new party, which is more than the 23 percent of Republicans who say so.

An additional 34 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of independents and 11 percent of Republicans would best like it if the Tea Party just boils away.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Carl Paladino: 'I Could Have Used Some Better Words'

Photo Courtesy - Paladino for the People(NEW YORK) -- Following a barrage of criticism over his remarks that being gay is not "equally valid or successful" as being straight, the Republican candidate for governor of New York said he could have stated it differently.

In an interview with ABC News Radio on Monday, Carl Paladino offered no apologies about his remarks, but conceded, “I could have used some better words.”  He also denied being insensitive, adding, "Was I in any way insensitive to the homosexual, the gay crowd?  In my mind absolutely not."

Paladino declined to clarify what better words he could have used but said, “My position on gays has never changed.  I have gays working for me and I have gays in my family.  I am unequivocally 100% for gay rights but there’s one exception and that’s gay marriage.  I’m a Catholic and I believe in my church’s holdings and I can’t accept gay marriage.”

When asked about his own moral failings that run contrary to Catholic doctrine he said, “We’re all human.  We all have human traits, human frailties, human weaknesses, that’s life.”

 Paladino asked his critics to look at the "whole man" before condemning him.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Endorses John Raese In Competitive W.Va. Senate Race

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin weighed in on one of the most competitive races in the country on Monday, throwing her support behind Republican businessman John Raese in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia.

"The last thing Washington, D.C. needs is another rubber-stamp vote for President Obama and the liberal agenda," Palin said in a message posted on her Facebook page.  "John Raese has the courage and independence to stand up to the Washington politics of Reid and Pelosi."

Palin's contention that Raese's Democratic opponent, W.Va. Gov. Joe Manchin, would be a "rubber stamp" for Obama echoes a frequently-used GOP talking point in the Senate contest. Raese has used the same language on the campaign trail and in his television ads.

Once the presumed frontrunner, Manchin has been struggling in the matchup against Raese, who has attempted to tie the popular governor to the president at every turn.

The Palin endorsement comes on the same day that former President Bill Clinton traveled to West Virginia to campaign on behalf of Manchin.  "Don't let this guy play you," Clinton said of Raese, who recently came under fire for campaign ads that sought to portray West Virginia residents as “hicky.”

In her Facebook post on Monday, Palin wrote that after "another great week of travel across our country" she is seeing a growing "commonsense grassroots movement" taking root -- one that she is helping to seed.  In addition to Raese, Palin endorsed eight Republican House candidates from Michigan, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi and Utah.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Is Foreign Money Behind U.S. Chamber of Commerce Ads?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- To many Democrats, the accusation by President Obama and other party leaders that foreign money might be bankrolling some pro-Republican political attack ads sounds both compelling and ominous -- but is it fair?

"We learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources," President Obama said last week, referring to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the second biggest spender in the midterm elections, behind only the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A Democratic National Committee TV ad warns conservative third-party groups like the Chamber are "stealing our democracy" and spending millions in "secret foreign money to influence our elections."

An ad by the liberal group asks, "Where has the Chamber been getting some of their money lately?  From foreign corporations in countries like China, Russia and India -- the same companies that threaten American jobs."

Yet while Obama is trying to tie Republicans and some of their backers to the specter of foreign interference in U.S. elections, an examination of the evidence provides little support for the claims.

"We have no idea if the Chamber or any 501(c) organization as defined by the IRS code is taking foreign money for the purposes of playing politics," said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Saying that that foreign money is actually going toward attack ads or any type of messaging in the political realm, you just don't know. It's speculation and nothing more."

Some funding for the Chamber of Commerce does come from foreign companies and foreign-based Chamber affiliates (called "AmShams") similar in operations of some international nonprofit groups and labor unions.

Chamber of Commerce director of media relations J.P. Fielder said that money goes to the group's general fund and then to the international division, keeping it away from any political activities.

"No foreign money is used to fund our political activities," the Chamber said in a statement, citing the rules established by Congress more than a century ago.

"We are seeing an attempt to demonize specific groups and distract Americans from a failed economic agenda," said the Chamber's vice president for government affairs Bruce Josten of the charges.

"They have not one shred of evidence to back up that baseless lie," said Republican strategist Karl Rove of the claims.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


'Hick' Ad Actor: 'Don’t Tase Me, Bro'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Republican attack ad that sought out the “'hicky' blue collar look” for actors to play “real” West Virginians has placed a spotlight on a common practice in the campaign advertising world – or, at least, what had been common practice before this story emerged.

One of the actors in that ad, Damian Muziani, told ABC News Monday that the attention on his role in the ad has been good for his own business.  However, he expressed fear that politicians will shy away from using professional actors in future campaign commercials. 

“I can't speak for all actors, but I seem to be the focal point for this hot button topic of theatrical politics.  So on behalf of all actors, ‘Don't tase me, bro,’ ” Muziani told us.

“You're still looking at an item -- you're looking at a product that a candidate is trying to sell.  So when you go to a drug store and buy a birthday card for your mom, your mom's not going to look at that card and say, 'Oh, I love the author of this card so much.' No. She's going to say, 'My son loves me.'”

“And that's what actors are supposed to do,” Muziani continued. “[Gov. Joe] Manchin put out a commercial, saying 'they hired Philadelphia actors to pretend to be West Virginians.'  So I guess Joe Manchin would rather have real West Virginian actors ripping him on camera.  Is that any better?”

Muziani also backed up the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s assertion that they had nothing to do with the criteria for finding actors for the spot.  The language asking for a “hicky” look was only in the “booking sheet,” Muziani said, which was produced by an outside talent agency that was not directly hired by national Republicans.

Muziani didn’t share his own political views, but he did express sympathy for President Obama’s current predicament.

“On a broader scope, my opinion is I don't know if the condition of the country is such that Barack Obama would be able to fix so many things in such a short period of time.  So on one hand it's easy to say, you know, I'm kind of disappointed half-way into the term.  On the other hand, I have to think, I don't know who would've done better.  I don't know where we would've been with someone else. I know things were bad and they're still really bad.”

“That's why getting work is very, very important for everyone – and, of course, the actor,” Muziani added.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


VP Biden Blasts “Karl Rove and His Friends” for “Shady Sources” of Fundraising for Midterm Elections

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(SCRANTON, Pa.) -- On Monday, Vice President Biden joined President Obama in blasting outside interest groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, for their “shady sources” of fundraising, which has resulted in the massive amounts of money they are spending for the midterm elections.

At a fundraiser for Rep. Chris Carney, D-Pa. in his boyhood hometown of Scranton, Biden criticized special interest groups for raising tens of millions of dollars from “shady sources – shady in the sense that we don’t know where the money is coming from.”

“For the first time in modern American history, they don't have to tell us,” he said, according to the pool report, referring to the Supreme Court decision that allows outside interest groups to solicit unlimited corporate money without having to publicly declare its donors.

Biden pinned the blame on the US Chamber of Commerce and “Karl Rove and his friends,” and said that the Republican strategist has a “stable of billionaires, literally, and millionaires,” pouring money into congressional campaigns.

The vice president challenged Rove and the Chamber to “tell us how much of the money they’re investing is from foreign sources.”

"I challenge them, if I'm wrong I will stand corrected,” he said. “But show me, show me. Folks
they're trying to buy this election to go back to exactly what they did before.”

Biden said that big corporations, from the insurance and oil industries, are “feeling threatened by what we're doing.”

 “Does it surprise you where this money is coming from?” he asked.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Obama Pushes for Overhaul of 'Woefully Inefficient' Infrastructure

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Bringing together governors, mayors, and former transportation secretaries, President Obama said Monday that the country’s “short-sightedness has come due” on transportation infrastructure.

“It should not take another collapsing bridge or failing levee to shock us into action.  So we're already paying for our failure to act,” the president said from the Rose Garden Monday morning. "We can no longer afford to sit still.  What we need is a smart system of infrastructure equal to the needs of the 21st century.”

The president pushed for his $50 billion, six-year proposal on modernizing and rebuilding America’s roads, railways, and runways, originally proposed on Labor Day.  On Monday morning, the president convened a meeting with state and local officials and Cabinet officials to drum up support for the plan. 

“Investing in our infrastructure is something that members of both political parties have always supported.  It's something that groups ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO support today.  And by making these investments across the country, we won't just make our economy run better over the long haul; we will create good, middle-class jobs right now.”

Joining the president on stage Monday was Sam Skinner, who served under President George H.W. Bush, and Norman Mineta, who served in the cabinets of both President Clinton and President W. Bush.  Both men have been leading a bipartisan group of more than 80 experts who last week released a call to action demanding an overhaul of how America approaches funding and building infrastructure.  The administration has matched that report with one of their own from the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers.

“The reports confirm what any American can already tell you:  Our infrastructure is woefully inefficient and it is outdated,” the president said. “There’s no reason why we can't do this.  There's no reason why the world's best infrastructure should lie beyond our borders.  This is America.  We've always had the best infrastructure.  This is -- this is work that needs to be done.  There are workers who are ready to do it.  All we need is the political will.  And this is the season for choices, and this is the choice.”

Following the president’s meeting and remarks, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell touted that the $50 billion investment is the “single-best job creator we can do in this country.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio