In Iowa, Newt Gingrich teared up while talking about his mother.
Before a bit of commentary, here’s the video:
Gingrich was talking about his mother, so he’ll probably get a pass. Telling that story about his mother while maintaining a Norman Bates-ish demeanor would have been creepy and cold, so if anything it helped humanize Newt and connect him with his audience.
In the bigger picture, when it comes to our elected leaders crying — especially in the office of president or those who seek it — people tend to be skeptical. Why? Because political tears are like female orgasms: properly motivated participants can be convincingly fake them. Bill Clinton is the first that comes to mind. Clinton got fake-misty quite often and was still politically successful. A TV camera does to Bill Clinton what chopping onions does to the rest of us. Clinton can turn on an emotional dime, vacillating between tears and laughter with such ease that he must have trained himself to do so by simultaneously yanking out nose hairs while watching Three Stooges movies.
Hillary Clinton once teared up on the campaign trail in 2008, but that didn’t cost her the nomination. George W. Bush cried — so did his father. John Boehner’s legendary for crying. Political weeping has a long and distinguished history. I’ve even heard that William Howard Taft once cried for three days after the White House chef informed him that they were out of lobster Newburg.
Not all politicians, however, can pull off tears and survive. Back in 1972, it was alleged that Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie wept on the steps of the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, N.H., while defending his wife, whom that paper editorialized as “emotionally unstable.” Word of Muskie’s cry ruined his presidential hopes.
As for Gingrich’s tears, they will neither harm nor help him. He’s been trending downward in Iowa and this probably won’t change things.
Kim Jong Il’s son — I think his name’s Skippy — was officially declared “Supreme Leader” today, and he’s already issued his first threat to attack South Korea. How cute. Papa would be so proud:
Kim Jong-un, who was declared Supreme Leader of North Korea yesterday, issued his first terrifying threat of war today.
North Korea may “smash the stronghold of the puppet forces” in the South in retaliation for “hideous crimes” committed during the mourning period for Kim Jong-il.
Threats of war from Kim Jong-un’s father, though terrifying, were routine. His father threatened and attacked the South multiple times, but he never started a war or launched a nuclear offensive or used his artillery force to devastate Seoul.
Unfortunately, no one knows what to expect from the 28-year-old Kim Jong-un. We hope he’s just making noise to show people he’s not to be messed with.
Just to be safe, the United Nations has suggested that South Korea surrender unconditionally.
I’ve heard people compare Michelle Obama to Marie Antoinette, but Mitt Romney noticed that particular dress also fits POTUS:
Mitt Romney says President Obama is out of touch with average Americans and compared the man he’d like to replace with the former French queen who came to symbolize extravagance.
“When the president’s characterization of our economy was, ‘It could be worse,’ it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: ‘Let them eat cake,’ ” Romney told The Huffington Post in an interview Thursday.
Romney’s remark got pushed back by Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which has at times trained its sights on Romney as though he were already the GOP presidential nominee.
Melanie Roussell, press secretary at the DNC, told the website it was “laughable” coming from someone she dubbed the “Quarter Billion Dollar Man.” (Romney’s net worth is estimated to be between $190 million and $250 million.)
Not to defend Romney, but he never told Americans they had to “sacrifice for the greater good” while spending trillions of dollars that weren’t his own, not to mention $4 million on Hawaiian vacays, the majority of which is on the taxpayers’ dime.
As for now, what Romney has and what he spends it on is between Mitt and his polo pony. If Romney ever starts telling the rest of us to tighten our belts so he can have more caviar, then we’ll have a problem.
She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn’t want her to stay so badly. They know she wants to leave, though. They think she’s destined for the wilderness. She has very few days left. She’s 71, she wants to have a life, she’s done. It’s obligation, that’s all I’m saying.
I don’t believe for a minute that Pelosi wants to leave Congress. Sure, she once said that she’d quit the day f*#king the country over wasn’t fun anymore, but Nancy doesn’t look like she’s stopped enjoying it yet.
Update: Pelosi’s office says her daughter’s comments are not factual and castigates the right-wing website that merely repeated those comments for publishing “wishful thinking.” If Nancy wants to criticize anybody for “wishful thinking” it sounds like she might want to start with her daughter.
Okay, so we can now be fairly certain a mea culpa from Mitt for Romneycare and for being an inspiration for Obamacare is not forthcoming, but at the very least I wish he’d stop peddling the crazy notion that what he did with health care in Massachusetts was based on a conservative principle:
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the insurance mandate included in the Massachusetts healthcare law he signed is fundamentally a conservative principle.
Speaking Wednesday on “Fox and Friends,” Romney defended the Bay State’s healthcare law, which includes a version of the individual mandate, as inline with the Republican world view. The individual mandate was the centerpiece and most controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which has widely been blasted by Republicans as governmental overreach.
“I’m happy to stand by the things that I believe. I’m not going to change my positions by virtue of being in a presidential campaign,” Romney said. “What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts, the plan is still favored there by 3 to 1 and it is fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care.”
Personal responsibility ceases to be personal responsibility when it’s government-mandated — what’s Mitt missing here?
The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government’s debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.
The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.
The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer.
The deal called for raising the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion to serve the nation’s borrowing needs into 2013 and also included mandatory cuts to the federal budget deficit. Since then, the extension has been increased twice by a total of $900 billion.
The debt limit currently stands at $15.194 trillion and would increase to $16.394 trillion with the request.
It was a gruesome accident May 22: A truck driver lost control and his rig carrying 36 cows partially tipped over on an overpass along Interstate Highway 80 near Hazel Crest, sending some of the animals plunging about 25 feet onto Interstate Highway 294.
The death toll totaled 16 head of cattle, including one badly injured animal that police shot to end its suffering.
An animal-rights group now wants the Illinois Department of Transportation to erect an official roadside memorial sign. It would serve as a tribute to the victims, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which also seeks installation of a second memorial to six cows killed in traffic after they were thrown from a truck that overturned on Oct. 14 near Cambridge, Ill.
The DoT could easily make PETA go away by telling them that the cows were wearing ::gulp:: fur coats. But since this is Illinois we’re talking about — the California of the Midwest — the state will probably actually entertain the request and maybe even end up making lactose intolerance a hate crime.