GOP Address: Sen. Hoeven Says International Trade Will Bring Jobs

U.S. Senate(WASHINGTON) -- North Dakota Senator John Hoeven zeroes in on U.S. fiscal challenges, particularly how international trade could help cut the deficit and create jobs in this week's Republican address.

Hoeven says the legacy of a what was once the "freest, most dynamic economy the world had ever seen" is now in jeopardy, with spending 60 percent in excess of what the country is bring in.

But Hoeven says it is not too late to embrace the vision of a "strong, peaceful, prosperous America."

"We have an opportunity right now to advance that vision and jumpstart the nation's economy.  Robust international trade can help us do it, and we can start by ratifying long-pending free-trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama," he says in the address.

He continues to call out President Obama for delaying the progress of these trade agreements.

"All of these agreements have been languishing for years, but with a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, and a spiraling deficit, the President can no longer hold these agreements back.  Currently, he is holding them up in order to negotiate the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.  TAA can be addressed separately in the context of Trade Promotion Authority as it generally has been in the past since 1974."

Hoeven asserts that America has led the way for free trade in the past and should continue to do so in the future.  He uses South Korea as an example, citing a recent visit to the country with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators.  There they met with President Lee Myung-bak and Korean business leaders about a trade agreement with the U.S.  Hoeven says that South Korea is appreciative to the U.S. for sacrificing "to give them a free society and a free-market economy where they could pursue their dreams."  As for a trade agreement, "They expect for us to lead the way because -- to South Korea and nations around the world -- America has always been a beacon of liberty and opportunity."

But why free trade?  Hoeven says, "these free trade agreements are an even bigger deal for America.  The South Korean Free Trade Agreement alone will increase our nation's exports to that country by more than $10 billion and create 280,000 American jobs."  Hoeven adds that for every four percent increase in exports, one million new jobs could be generated for Americans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bachmann Hones Same Themes Friday that Made Her a Star Monday

ABC News(NEW ORLEANS) -- With tongue planted firmly in a well-rouged cheek, Michele Bachmann told a meeting of Republican activists Friday that she would rise to the difficult challenge of cutting federal spending for liberal sacred cows.

“Cutting spending for Planned Parenthood will be very hard. Cutting spending for NPR, very hard. Cutting spending for bullet trains to nowhere will be very hard… and this is going to be the hardest -- cutting spending for the Cowboy Poetry Festival,” Rep. Bachmann, R- Minn., told the Republican Leadership Conference Friday in New Orleans.

Capping what has been a very good week for the three-term Minnesota congresswoman, Bachmann hit on many of the same conservative themes and applause lines that made her the breakout star of the GOP pack during a televised debate on Monday.  

On Friday she worked to hone those same themes, seemingly practicing material for upcoming stump speeches, and made a point to appeal to each wing of the Republican party.

Bachmann said she alone can unite the sometimes disparate factions of the GOP, embracing the ideologies of fiscal conservatives, the religious right, libertarians, neocons and the Tea Party movement.

“We need to engage the strategy of the three-legged stool.  We need peace-through-strength Republicans and I’m one of those; We need fiscal conservatives and I’m one of those; And we most certainly need to add social conservatives, and I am one of those,” she said.

Since Monday’s debate in New Hampshire, at which she formally announced she would seek the presidency,  Bachmann has seen a jump in the polls, announced she is writing a memoir and appeared on several television news programs.

On Friday she again appeared on the same stage as many of those same contenders and in a bright white dress distinguished herself immediately from the drab dark suits worn by her all male competition.

Speaking before a sympathetic audience that applauded frequently, responded to her questions and rose in an ovation following her remarks, Bachmann used the stage to assail President Obama, attack his health care plan and call for dramatic cuts in federal spending.

She assailed the EPA, as an agency that has concocted concerns over global warming to push for cap-and-trade and tell you what “car you’re supposed to drive and what light bulb you’re supposed to use.”

To address each leg of that “three-legged stool” she attacked President Obama’s decision to attack Libya and reaffirmed her staunch anti-abortion position.

In a comment on Libya, Bachmann telegraphed a message to the religious right, subtly quoting a Bible passage while condemning Obama’s leadership.

“As president, we will lead from the front. We will be the head not the tail,” she said, quoting the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ann Coulter: ‘This is Chris Christie's Year’

Governor's Office/Tim Larsen(NEW YORK) -- Conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter is a big fan of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – so much so, she joked on ABC’s Top Line, that if Christie doesn’t run for president, “I’m his sworn enemy for life.”

If Christie doesn’t run, it’s a “foregone conclusion” that the current GOP frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, will win the nomination in 2012, Coulter said.

“I think this is Chris Christie's year. And if Chris Christie doesn't run, I think no matter how much we talk about the other candidates -- and perhaps I will be as wrong as many other predictions are these days -- but I just think it's going to be Mitt Romney. And it's more fun to talk about a horse race, so we pretend that we don't all know that,” Coulter said.

“I tend to think it's a foregone conclusion, and that isn't a statement of preference necessarily. Unless a total star like Chris Christie jumps in, Republican primary voters, historically, have gone into the voting booth and voted for anyone whose name they've heard before. Sometimes that works out.”

Coulter said Christie, R-N.J., is the brightest star on a “farm team” of “stunning Republican talent” that she said includes Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Rep. Alan West, R-Fla.

Coulter tweaked former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for attacking Romney’s health care plan only after being criticized for three days for not having done so at Monday’s GOP debate.

“You probably shouldn't bother with coming back three days later,” Coulter said. “I thought he was fine during the debate. I think a lot of people in the media didn't like the Republican debate, because there wasn't much infighting. They were keeping their fire focused on President Obama. As a Republican, I liked that.”

“But yeah, three days later, I'm not sure. I don't know -- maybe that's what they always do. It seems kind of rude to attack someone to his face.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anthony Weiner Spotted Singing, Shopping with Pregnant Wife

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Hours after Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from the House, he was spotted grocery shopping in Long Island with his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, according to the New York Post.

Another shopper told the Post that while Weiner "sang quietly along to a '50s doo-wop song blaring from the store's speakers," and despite the shocking event in her life, Abedlin "was all smiles. She didn't look upset or anything."

Weiner resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday amid a growing sexting scandal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Palin Shoots Down Report 2012 Decision Is Imminent

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin will not be rushed.

The former Alaska governor posted a curt tweet Friday after The American Spectator ran a story titled "Palin Decision Expected Next Week." The story cited a Republican source saying Palin is expected to announce whether or not she'll enter the 2012 presidential race within a week.  

"Really? Hmm, guess they forgot to inform me what I'm 'expected to do' next wk," she wrote in response to the American Spectator tweet "Palin Decision Expected Next Wk."

C4Palin, the Twitter account and website that was co-founded by Palin adviser Rebecca Mansour, also rebuffed the conservative magazine with a tweet, saying that when Palin does "decide to announce @C4Palin will get the scoop." In a later tweet, C4Palin said they wanted to send "a tongue & cheek message to all anonymous sources. Quit making things up!"

Palin's refusal to rush her decision isn't stopping her from speculating about a White House run. On Judge Andrew Napolitano's Fox Business Network show Thursday night, she said she welcomes more chances to shake up the Obama administration.

"I would love to give the White House fits," she said, smiling. "Because, you know, I would love to stir it up even more and get the electorate to really start thinking about what the solutions are to these great challenges facing America and how it is that we're going to create jobs, how it is that we're going to get this economy back on the right track."

But Palin stopped short of saying she's the woman to come up with these solutions.

"I would love to be able to shake it up, but I also know it's not about me," she said, "it's not Sarah Palin personally, it's about a message."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Republicans Ask Obama To Re-Sign Patriot Act

Official White House Photo(WASHINGTON) -- A group of House Republicans are calling on President Obama to re-sign the Patriot Act extension, this time with his own hand, and to vow never again to use an autopen to sign bills into law. The machine holds a pen and replicates the president's actual signature mechanically. A letter from 21 lawmakers to the president Friday reignites the debate over the constitutionality of using the device to sign legislation.

"Mr. President, it is clear that assigning a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed by Congress is a debatable issue, and could be challenged in court.  That being the case, our request is that, out of an abundance of caution, you affix your signature to S. 990 by personally re-signing the enrolled bill," the letter reads. "Furthermore, we ask that you commit to ending the practice of using an autopen to sign bills passed by Congress."

Congress passed the four-year extension of the Patriot Act in May. The only problem was the president was in France, meeting with G8 leaders, and the bill's provisions were set to expire at midnight.  

The White House decided that the president would the autopen, which is supposed to be used only with proper authorization from the president.

Article 1, section 7 of the United States Constitution states: "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it..."

At the time, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro seemed to suggest this was a special circumstance. "Failure to sign this legislation posed a significant risk to U.S. national security," Shapiro said. "The President directed the use of the autopen to sign it."

In the past, the Obama administration has used an abundance of caution. The president re-took the Oath of Office on January 21, 2009 over concerns for adhering to the Constitution after a flub during his original oath at the inauguration.

The authors of the letter referenced the re-do, tell the president they "believe your signing legislation passed by the United States Congress is of equal importance."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Day After Romney's Unemployment Joke, Campaign Releases New Video

James Devaney/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- The day after presidential candidate Mitt Romney was criticized by the DNC for being "out of touch" when he remarked that he's "unemployed" during a meeting with out of work Floridians, his campaign released a new web video. It's an attempt to turn the spotlight back on the president and what the campaign believes is the Obama administration's poor handling of the economy.

The video, titled "20,000,000 Bumps In The Road," is similar to a web video released earlier this week, "Bump in the Road," but this time uses not only the president's remarks about the struggling economy but those of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Americans lying in the middle of a dirt road are shown in the video, as text shows of quotes attributed to Carney's briefings this week appear on the screen reading, "Bump In The Road Is Exactly What The President Said…" and "We Are Headed In The Right Direction…"

Then, a calculation by the Romney camp of just how far those unemployed bodies would stretch if they were actually to lie down as bumps on a road: "President Obama's 20 Million Bumps In The Road Would Stretch From The White House To Los Angeles," the text reads. "And Back…."

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul adds, "In 2008, candidate Barack Obama talked a lot about how the other side 'just didn't get it.' Now that millions of Americans have lost their jobs under his economic leadership, President Obama is proving 'he just doesn’t get it.' His White House continues to defend failure and is unwilling to admit the devastation caused by the President's mistakes and failed leadership."

But just a short time ago it was Romney who was coming under fire for "not getting it," after telling small business owners and Floridians looking for work at a campaign stop in Tampa, Fla., that he too is unemployed.

The remark prompted an e-mail blast from the Democratic National Committee's "Rapid Response" team and assertions by the Romney camp that the comment was meant to be self-deprecating and even the crowd laughed at the former governor's joke.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Calls Emails 'Benign and Boring,' Weighs In On Weiner

Jeff Fusco/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In her first television appearance since the release of 25,000 emails from her term as Alaska governor, Sarah Palin said she hopes "folks learned a lot" from the "benign and boring" messages.

"It certainly shows the priorities in what was once a respected cornerstone of our democracy, our mainstream media," she said on Fox Business Network's Freedom Watch Thursday night, talking about the coverage of the email release.

"I hope folks who read the emails learned a lot about oil and gas policy," she added. "I hope people who read the emails understood why I opposed Obama's stimulus package."

She said the correspondence detailed her work on fish and game conservation, protecting second amendment rights and ethics reform before concluding, "I hope folks learned a lot from these, I guess sort of benign and boring emails."

Palin also weighed in on Rep. Anthony Weiner's Thursday resignation from Congress, saying he made himself "impotent" by spreading lewd photos on the Internet. 

"Anthony Weiner, from henceforth after his personal indiscretions were disclosed, he was going to be rendered impotent basically in Congress and he wasn't going to be effective," she said. "So obviously [resigning] was the right thing to do. Day late dollar short, though. I think he should have resigned when all of this came to light."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Will Obama, Boehner Golf Summit Ease Bipartisan Tension?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The world's top golfers are hitting the links in Washington this weekend at the U.S. Open, but the real power players will be on a different course in the nation's capital.

On Saturday, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner will put aside their partisan differences and face off on the green instead.

After weeks of tense negotiations on Capitol Hill yielded little progress on raising the debt ceiling, expectations for the so-called "Deficit Open" are running high.  But don't expect a deal to be made during the much-anticipated game.

"I think I can say with great confidence that they will not wrap up the 18th hole and come out and say that we have a deal," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters this week.

The White House is playing up the event as social, but doesn't deny that it could have political implications.

"I think that for the broader purpose of the work that needs to be done in a bipartisan way in Washington, this social occasion is a good thing," Carney said, "because...spending a number of hours together in that kind of environment, I think, can only help improve the chances of bipartisan cooperation.  It certainly can't hurt it, unless someone wins really big."

While the press secretary assured reporters there's been no trash talk from the president this week, he also tempered expectations.

"It's fair to say that the president enjoys golf and plays it when he can, but I don't think that he would say that he is an expert golfer.  And I hear that the speaker of the House is quite good," Carney said, noting that the president's handicap is "classified."

Golf Digest's annual rankings of prominent Washington players has Boehner ranked 43.  Obama comes in at 108.

The speaker and Obama have been trying to get together on the course for months and both will bring their own ringer.  Obama has, appropriately, chosen Vice President Joe Biden as his partner, while the speaker is bringing along Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The venue for the much-anticipated golf game continues to be a secret, largely out of security concerns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates Show Shifting Stance on Afghanistan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Some Republican presidential candidates are charting a different course than their GOP counterparts on the war in Afghanistan, raising questions about ideological rifts before a crucial election cycle.

Jon Huntsman, who will announce his candidacy next week, openly questioned U.S. strategy in the war-torn nation in an interview with Esquire magazine.

"Should we stay and play traffic cop?  I don't think that serves our strategic interests," the former Utah governor said.

Mitt Romney, the current frontrunner in the race, echoed similar sentiments in Monday's debate, saying "it's time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, consistent with the word that comes to our generals."

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also said at a recent gathering of GOP activists that the United States should cut back its troops, depending on conditions on the ground, a different tune from his 2009 stance when he pushed President Obama to support a surge.

The viewpoints of the 2012 candidates mark a stark departure from 2008, when the issue of terrorism still ranked higher on Americans' agenda, and investing in the Afghanistan war, both monetarily and physically with more troops, was a strong policy stance for Republicans.

At the time, libertarian Ron Paul stood out as a pariah in his opposition to the war.  But that has since changed.

The shift, some observers say, is not surprising, given that the public is increasingly getting wary of the prolonged war in Afghanistan, and the situation on the ground is considerably different than it was three years ago. The anger and uproar that resulted in the United States after the events of Sept. 11 has also subsided and is becoming less of a factor in political debates.

"Timing has a lot to do with it.  It's been 10 years," said Republican strategist and ABC News consultant Torie Clarke. "I think you'll find a lot of very conservative Republicans are going to be saying, 'Hey we've given it everything we can, and it's time to get out of it.'"

At the same time, Republican candidates are also aiming to separate themselves from President Obama, who approved a surge in troops last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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