Entries in Town Hall (13)


Romney Hasn't Asked Christie to Join Ticket…Yet

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MAHWAH, N.J.) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Mitt Romney didn’t offer him the number two spot at a fundraiser they appeared at together on Tuesday.

At a town hall in Mahwah, N.J. Wednesday he said to laughs, “I was with Gov. Romney last night. Let me announce that he did not ask me last night to run for vice president while I was with him.”

“Listen, I have absolutely no idea,” Christie said about being Romney’s vice-presidential pick. “My view has always been that I want to stay here and that I want to do this job and I don’t want to leave, but what I’ve also said is if the nominee of your party calls and asks you to talk about that, you take the call and you listen because you have to care about your country and listen to the guy who is one of two people who is going to be President of the United States for the next four years. So if Gov. Romney calls and asks me I’ll listen. I don’t expect to get the call, I don’t expect to be asked. ”

Christie continued, saying he expects “to continue to go out there and work hard for him and try to help him be elected president.”

“But, I don’t think that’s [going to] be with me being as his running mate,” Christie said. “I don’t know any inside information, that’s just my sense. I could wind up being surprised, he could wind up calling and asking me, but it would be a surprise to me if he called up and asked. It doesn’t matter to me though. I’ve got a great job that I love and I want to continue to do.”

It wasn’t the only time the top office came up at the town hall. In a light moment that became passionate, a young man told Christie he intended on being the governor of New Jersey and then president and wanted some advice.

“Because the press is here I’m giving you no advice on how to be President of the United States,” Christie answered with a chuckle before doling out some words of wisdom on how to become governor telling him to, "make sure you believe in something first.”

“It doesn’t mean that everybody is always going to love [you] because when you do something I guarantee you are going to tick a lot of people off,” Christie advised.

Christie and Romney appeared at a fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge, N.J. together Tuesday night that raked in at least $1.7 million for the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign. About 200 supporters listened to Christie say New Jersey will be “Romney country.”

Romney joked that he hoped someone in the crowd of donors would heckle the tough talking governor, for kicks.

“That man really is something, you know that?” Romney said of Christie. “I was hoping someone would heckle him so I could watch him go to town here, but you know better, don’t you?”

President Obama leads in polling in the Garden State, but the fundraiser was Gov. Romney’s third money raising stop in the state since December, showing just how lucrative the state has been for fundraising despite Obama’s electoral advantages there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Highlights Dad’s Frugality, Compares Himself to Reagan During Town Hall

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) -- Just hours after he concluded a speech in Detroit by listing off the number of cars he owns, Mitt Romney highlighted the frugality of his father, telling a crowd gathered at a town hall that he remembers his dad searching for a cheap burial plot.

“We were in Detroit this morning,” he told the crowd at Western Michigan University, “at the Detroit economic club, and then through Mt. Clemens, then drove here across the interstate. Drove past Brighton.”

“My parents’ grave sites are there. My dad, trust my dad. My dad is a very frugal man. He checked all over for where the best deal was on a grave site. And he found a place in Brighton.”

Romney’s father, George Romney, served as the governor of Michigan in the 1960s. He died in 1995.

“Because we didn’t live in Brighton, it’s like, ‘How did you pick Brighton, Dad?’”

“‘Well, best price I could find in the whole state.’ So if you’re looking for the best deal on a grave site, check Brighton. Got a good, got a good spot, and you’re near the former governor and the former first lady,” Romney said.

Romney took several questions from the crowd, including one from a woman in the audience who sounded irritated when she said she had received nine robocalls this week alone. Her question posed the strongest challenge of the night to Romney on his record on social issues, particularly his stance on abortion.

“I have received nine phone calls -- nine of them,” she said. “And I have to admit I don’t remember the content … but basically it was questioning the integrity of one of the candidates that you’re running against, Rick Santorum. Now my question, Governor Romney, is why should we regard you as a man of high standards and integrity when you have flip-flopped on your position regarding the sanctity of life? You turned your back on your Mormon religion’s pro-life stance, just like Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi did betray their Catholic faith, and you ran as a pro-choice candidate for the Senate in Massachusetts and you lost.”

Before launching into his usual response about his history of having changed from a pro-choice candidate to a pro-life one during his term as governor of Massachusetts, Romney joked, “I’m disappointed to hear you received nine calls. You should have received a lot more than that.”

“By the way, Ronald Reagan was pro-choice before he became pro-life,” he said, defending his own course of evolving beliefs. “George Herbert Walker Bush was pro-choice and then became pro-life. Henry Hyde was pro-choice and then became pro-life. And I’m not even sure if there are some others you mentioned who I think also long ago may have been pro-choice as well and then became pro-life. We need people who recognize that pro-life is the way to go and we’re getting more and more people joining our cause as time goes on.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gingrich Chokes Up in Iowa Talking About Mother

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich is known as a policy wonk and a tough politico.

But a softer, rarely-seen side of the former Georgia congressman was on display in Iowa Friday when he choked up during an event with an Iowa mothers’ group talking about his mother and her struggle with bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

“When you think of your mom, what special moment comes to mind when you think of your mom?” Gingrich was asked by Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster conducting the town hall conversation.
“Well, first of all, you’re going to get me all teary-eyed,” Gingrich, 68, said. “First, I will tell you, I get teary-eyed every time we sing Christmas carols. My mother sung in the choir and loved singing in the choir…and I don’t know if I should admit this, but when I was really young, she had me singing in the choir. We have pictures of me singing in the choir. But I identify my mother with being happy, loving life, having a sense of joy in her friends. But what she introduced me to, is later in her life she wound up in a mental-health facility. She had bipolar disease and depression and that introduced me to the whole issue of quality long-term care, which I did with [former Nebraska Sen.] Bob Kerrey for three years. And then that introduced me to Alzheimer’s, which I did with him for three more years. And my whole emphasis of brain science comes indirectly from dealing with the real problems within my family. So it’s not a theory. It’s, in fact, my mother.”

Gingrich has worked with Democrat Kerrey on long-term care for seniors and brain science. The two men have served together on the Alzheimer’s Study Group.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Takes ‘Uproot’ Plan on the Road

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry took his “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” plan on the road Wednesday, spending the majority of his first town hall in New Hampshire touting his new plan which will reform government to better suit the people.

“We the people are not the subjects of government.  Government should be the subject to the people,” Perry said in a townhall at Granite State Manufacturing.

Perry repeated his plan to organize a part-time citizen Congress, institute term limits for federal judges and upend the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.

The GOP candidate criticized the Washington power structure.

“I’m reminded of what one of your citizens of New Hampshire, Granite Stater by the name of P.J. O’Rourke once said: ‘Giving money and power to government is like giving teenagers whiskey and car keys.’  This election the American people, they want the car keys back,” Perry said.

Perry acknowledged that his new plan might be criticized by some in the nation’s capital, but he argued his intention isn’t to please the establishment.

“My wife and my family and pretty much I think the dogs love me,” Perry said.  “I’m not going to Washington D.C. to make any friends.  I’m going to Washington D.C. to make a difference.  I love this country.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Trump Thinks Bachmann Is ‘Terrific,’ But No Endorsement

Stephen Morton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michelle Bachmann is “terrific” and “smart,” Donald Trump said Monday night on a conference call with the Minnesota Congresswoman and her supporters, but don’t expect to see him endorsing her, or applying to be her vice president any time soon.

Bachmann introduced the billionaire in her “tele-town hall” by letting listeners know he was “not on the call this evening because he’s endorsing my candidacy for president.”

Asked if he would consider joining Bachmann on a ticket as her running mate, Trump punted: “I don’t think that’s what we’re here for tonight,” adding that any of the GOP candidates would be a “far cry from what we’ve got in the White House.”

“She’s a terrific person.  She’s a terrific woman.  She’s a smart woman,” Trump said of Bachmann.  “She’s respected by everyone.  She’s universally respected by the other candidates.”

Trump, whose support has been sought by several GOP contenders this summer and fall, also noted that ”when Gov. Perry came in [to the race], he stole a lot of her thunder.”

Bachmann said 200,000 people had registered for the call and she used it to instantly fundraise and poll supporters on the issues they were most passionate about.

Trump fielded questions from Bachmann supporters, holding court on some of his most-talked about political issues: Chinese competition, Libyan rebels, and President Obama’s birth certificate.

Bachmann hit many of her favorite talking points, reminding listeners she was the first candidate to sign a pledge to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, that she wants to repeal “Obamacare,” and that she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other oil-rich areas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP’s ‘Young Guns’ Hold Facebook Town Hall

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Three of the House of Representatives' top-ranked Republicans, known collectively as the “Young Guns,” appeared at a town hall event streamed live online by Facebook, rallying around their shared convictions to cut regulations and taxes while enacting tax and entitlement reform in order to put the country back on a fiscally sustainable path.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, known as the leader of the GOP’s conservative rise, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, credited as the strategist of the House Republican Conference, and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, considered the thinker of the trio, each appeared on stage casually dressed without coats or ties and chatted about the latest trends in social media and how that plays into the GOP’s playbook to reach more voters and engage their constituents.

All three collaborated to write a paperback book, Young Guns, last year.

Cantor, reacting to a showdown over a spending bill to keep the government operating, said he was “positive” the divided Congress would be able to reach an agreement to avert a government shutdown.

“There’s a lot of hyperbole in the press, but I’m positive that we will get this thing done,” Cantor, R-Va., promised. “Hopefully begin to look at a future that really holds a space for a lot more Facebooks, and holds the future for the kinds of limitless opportunity and unlimited inclusion that Facebook stands for.”

McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that in order to spur job creation, “Congress should look at what creates jobs” and remove barriers that stand in the way of companies emerging in the private sector.

“Congress should step back and see, How did Facebook start? It started in a dorm. How did Apple start? In a garage. How did Google start? In a garage,” McCarthy said. “I’d focus on what’s made America great: entrepreneurship, innovation.”

Ryan, R-Wis., once again downplayed his expectations for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, and said a genuine solution to the debt crisis will require a solution from every member of Congress.

The Facebook live town hall, which was moderated by Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, was the same format that President Obama recently used. After the event, the trio was slated to meet privately with Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, just as the president had weeks ago.

Ryan also discussed fundamentally reforming both entitlements and taxes in order to get businesses hiring again.

“Let’s clear out all the clunk. Let’s get all the junk -- all the loopholes out so we can lower everybody’s tax rates,” Ryan said. “Stop picking winners and losers in Washington and get us to a more globally-competitive system....We think that fundamental tax reform -- fair, simple, internationally competitive -- is a key secret to economic growth.”

Pressed whether that included cutting loopholes for Big Oil, Ryan was unequivocal.

“Yeah, we should get rid of all that stuff so we can lower everybody’s rates,” Ryan said. “All of it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


LinkedIn Town Hall: Man Asks Obama to 'Please Raise My Taxes'

iStockphoto(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- President Obama took a break from his three-day campaign fundraising tour Monday to pitch his $447-billion jobs plan and defend his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to reduce the deficit, arguing that everyone is going to have to do their “fair share.”

At the “Putting America Back to Work” LinkedIn town hall in Mountain View, Calif., Obama came face-to-face with his deficit-reduction proposal. “Would you please raise my taxes?” asked Doug Edwards, a former director of consumer marketing and branding at Google, who described himself as “unemployed by choice.”

“I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am,” Edwards said.

“And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefitting so many of us for so long.  I think that needs to change, and I hope that you'll stay strong in doing that.”

The question set up the president to explain why he thinks it’s necessary to reform the tax code so that “everybody is doing their fair share.”
“This is not an issue of, Do we somehow try to punish those who've done well?  That's the last thing we want to do.  It's a question of, How can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel America forward?” Obama said in response.

To do so, the president argued for returning to the tax rates of the 1990s. “During that period, the rich got richer, the middle class expanded, people rose out of poverty because everybody was doing well,” Obama said.

“If we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family, but also to the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems,” Obama said Monday.

The president’s plan to reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion in new tax increases and entitlement reforms has been met with stern opposition from Republicans who have said the president’s proposals amount to “class warfare.” In response, Obama has publicly drawn a stark contrast between himself and his congressional rivals in an attempt to force Republicans to align with corporations and the rich.

As he has with all of his events to sell his jobs plan, the president concluded the town hall by urging the audience to tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. “I need everybody here to be, you know, speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you've elected -- say to them:  We expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interests; act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term,” he said.

The president will attend seven campaign events during his western swing this week in an effort to raise campaign funds before the close of the quarter on Sept. 30.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democrats Release Video Highlighting Angry Town Halls

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a web video Thursday as part of its “Accountability August” campaign to try and shine a light on Republican members of Congress -- specifically vulnerable ones -- avoiding town halls or greeting angry constituents.

Titled “Backlash,” the video features local news reports and video footage from protests outside Speaker John Boehner’s office in West Chester, Ohio, Rep. Lou Barletta’s office in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania,  and Rep. Paul Ryan’s in Kenosha, Washington, amongst several others.

There is home video and news footage of constituents interrupting town halls all over the country including in Michigan chanting, “We need jobs,” and angry citizens asking about Medicare being taken away from them in Illinois.

There are also news reports from Arizona on Rep. Ben Quayle avoiding town halls during the recess and a billboard put up in Rep. Sean Duffy’s Wisconsin district that reads, “Congressman Sean Duffy Chose Millionaires Over Your Medicare.”  It splices together coverage of districts all over the country pounding the message of citizens upset at Republicans nationwide.

The video starts with a quote from Rep. Steve Israel, the Chairman of the DCCC who predicted earlier this month that the August recess, where members of Congress traditionally hold town halls and meet with their constituents, would get “hot.”

The DCCC claims Republican members of Congress are “choosing millionaires over Medicare.”  The unruly town halls GOP members are facing are comparable to the ones Democratic members faced two years ago during the health care debate.

Paul Lindsay, the Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, responded to the video in a statement by pointing to President Obama’s approval ratings.

“It’s no secret that Americans are frustrated with Washington, and the outlet for their frustration can be found in the double-digit collapse of President Obama’s approval rating this summer.  Unlike the Democrats who refused to acknowledge the message from Americans in August of 2009, House Republicans will continue listening to their constituents and fighting the job-destroying agenda that the President and his party continue to pursue,” Lindsay said in the statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Holds First Presidential Twitter Town Hall

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In some of his harshest language to date in the fight over the deficit, President Obama warned Wednesday that the debt ceiling should not be “used as a gun” against Americans to extract tax breaks for the wealthy.
Speaking at the Twitter Town Hall at the White House Wednesday, the president said Congress “shouldn’t be toying” with the debt ceiling and cautioned against risking the financial health of the country in order to protect the interests of the super wealthy.  
The president was adamant that when it comes to fixing the economy and solving the deficit problem “we should go with what works,” and that’s a tax increase on the wealthy, he said.
“If the wealthiest among us -- and I include myself in this category -- are willing to give up a little bit more, then we can solve this problem.  It does not take a lot… when people say, you know, 'job-killing tax increases, that's what Obama's proposing,' we're not going to,” he said. “You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.  And the facts are that a modest increase for wealthy individuals is not shown to have an adverse impact on job growth.”
The president stressed that a balanced approach is necessary to reach an agreement to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2 and that both sides will have to give a little.
The president also responded to Republican criticism about the slow pace of economic recovery, specifically, a tweet from House Speaker John Boehner asking, “where are the jobs?”
“John's the Speaker of the House, he's a Republican, and so this is a slightly skewed question. But what he's right about is that we have not seen fast enough job growth relative to the need,” Obama conceded.
Despite the nation’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate, the president touted that his administration has created two million jobs in the private sector over the past 15 months, and highlighted several initiatives including the payroll tax that was passed in December and other tax cuts to small businesses.
The president did admit that he’s made a few mistakes in handling the recession. “I think people may not have been prepared for how long this was going to take and why we were going to have to make some very difficult decisions and choices … and I take responsibility for that because, you know, setting people's expectations is part of how you end up being able to respond well,” Obama said.
During the roughly hour-long event, the president responded to 24 tweets, answering 17 questions and reacting to seven responses to his comments on issues ranging from welfare and immigration, to housing and education.
The president, who just started tweeting himself a few weeks ago, started off the event by tweeting his own question. “In order to reduce the deficit,what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep -- bo,” Obama posted on the @whitehouse Twitter feed, which currently has over 2.25 million followers.
While questions from around the country were asked in Twitter’s 140-character limit, the president was given ample time to answer his questions orally. “I know, Twitter, I'm supposed to be short,” the president joked at one point, before continuing on with a lengthy answer about education.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twitter to Control Questions at Wednesday's Presidential Town Hall

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- At the first presidential Twitter town hall Wednesday, President Obama will field a range of questions that are out of the White House’s hands and under Twitter’s control, the White House said Tuesday.

While Obama would like to focus the conversation on jobs and the economy, “ultimately the decision over what questions are asked and … the moderation of the event falls to Twitter,” White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. Twitter will choose the questions based on the themes and “hot topics” they see among the submitted questions.  

“The scope of the questions and the actual questions that are asked are in the hands of Twitter to decide and we’re looking forward to hearing a wide variety of viewpoints,” Phillips said. “What we’re going to see tomorrow is an event that has a little bit of separation from the White House where we aren’t picking questions for the president to ask but we’re working with other groups who can facilitate a conversation between the president and Americans across the country.”

From the looks of it, the president should brace himself for questions on a wide array of topics. So far thousands of questions have poured into the #AskObama hash tag ranging from unemployment and the deficit, to Afghanistan and Libya and the legalization of marijuana.

While questions must be asked in the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter, the president will have free range in his answers. Shortened summaries of Obama’s responses will be posted to @townhall.

Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey will read the questions and the president will offer his responses to an audience of 140 in the East Room of the White House, although the majority of the questions will come from Twitter users across the country, not from within the room.

Roughly 30 members of the audience will be Twitter followers from across the nation picked through the White House’s “Tweetup” page.  The VIPs will live tweet the event and get a chance to meet with senior policy officials afterwards, according to the White House.

Although @BarackObama has well over 8 million followers, the president himself is new to social media; he sent his first tweet a little over two weeks ago. Obama isn’t the only one jumping into the Twitterverse. Vice President Joe Biden took the plunge earlier this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio