Political MoJo

GOP's Big Spanish SOTU Response Will Be a Translation of English-Only Advocate Joni Ernst's Speech

| Tue Jan. 20, 2015 12:33 PM EST

Each year, the opposition party taps a member to deliver a response to the president's State of the Union address. For Tuesday night's speech—President Barack Obama's sixth—Republicans have awarded this duty to Iowa freshman Sen. Joni Ernst, who rose to prominence last spring when she released a campaign ad about castrating a pig.

The GOP has also announced it will be offering a Spanish-language rebuttal, which will be delivered tonight by freshman Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a young conservative from a diverse Miami congressional district. But there's a wrinkle. According to a press release from the House Republicans, Curbelo will not be sharing his own thoughts and words with the public. Instead, he will only be reading a Spanish translation of Ernst's speech.

Curbelo's office confirmed that he will not be delivering his own remarks.

By the way, Ernst has endorsed English as a national language and once sued Iowa's secretary of state for offering voting forms in languages other than English. Her office did not respond to requests for comment.

Curbelo has broken with his own party on immigration to support a path to citizenship for undocumented residents. Ernst has repeatedly expressed opposition to "amnesty."

Update: Following the publication of this article, House Republicans changed their tune. Read more here.

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The Muslim Hero Who Saved Lives at a Paris Kosher Market Is Being Awarded French Citizenship

| Thu Jan. 15, 2015 1:05 PM EST

Lassana Bathily, the Muslim man from Mali who saved the lives of several customers during last week's hostage situation at a kosher supermarket in Paris, will be awarded French citizenship for his heroic efforts. 

The news comes as many, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have expressed their gratitude to Bathily for his bravery. Nearly 300,000 people signed a petition calling for his citizenship. 

On Friday, Bathily, who works as an assistant at the market, risked his own life by ushering a group of customers downstairs and hiding them in the market's walk-in freezer. Needing to inform police of the situation, he managed to exit through the basement. Once out, however, police ordered him to lie down, in fear Bathily was working with the gunman inside. After he was able to convince authorities he was not working with the gunman, Bathily provided the necessary details and key to the market's metal blinds, both of which helped rescue the fifteen people hiding in the freezer. 

"Yes, I aided Jews,” Bathily said in an interview. "We’re brothers. It’s not a question of Jews, Christians, or Muslims. We’re all in the same boat. We need to help each other to get out of this crisis."

Bathily has reportedly lived in France since 2006.  

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated that Bathily won the Legion d'Honneur.

Watch David Corn on Mitt Romney's Likely 2016 Run

Tue Jan. 13, 2015 1:08 PM EST

Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn stopped by MSNBC's Hardball Monday night to discuss Mitt Romney's possible presidential bid.
 

Mitt vs. Jeb: Battle of the GOP Establishment Candidates

Mon Jan. 12, 2015 9:41 PM EST

David Corn and Robert Costa joined host Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball to discuss the recent news that Mitt Romney is probably running for president, again. LOL. You'll recall what happened when David Corn reported on the most recent failed Romney campaign. Anyways, we've got a deep archive of great reporting on Mitt and we'll have lots more to come. Stay tuned.

David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter.

8 Romney GIFs That Will Make You LOL

| Mon Jan. 12, 2015 7:42 PM EST

1. Mitt

New York

2. Mitt Romney

Huffington Post

3. Mitt Romney is

Giphy

4. Mitt Romney is running

Giphy

5. Mitt Romney is running for

Giphy

6. Mitt Romney is running for Spiderman

Buzzfeed

7. Mitt Romney is running for Spiderman president

Giphy

8. Mitt Romney is running for Spiderman president (probably)

Giphy

Mitt Romney Is Probably Running for President. Here Are All the Times He Said He Wouldn't.

| Mon Jan. 12, 2015 5:51 PM EST

Last Friday, Mitt Romney confirmed that he's considering running for president once more in 2016. On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Romney is quickly rebuilding his campaign network for an "almost certain" run. Here's a look at the evolution of Romney's statements regarding a possible third presidential run:

November 7, 2012: Romney concedes the election to President Obama. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he said to those gathered in his Boston headquarters.  He was reportedly so shocked by the loss that he had not prepared a concession speech.

March 3, 2013: In his first interview since losing the election, Romney says, "It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done." On running in 2016: "I'm not doing it again," he declares.

January 18, 2014: In an interview with the New York Times, Romney was emphatic: "Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. People are always gracious and say, 'Oh, you should run again.' I'm not running again."

March 23, 2014: On CBS's Face the Nation, he again indicates he has no interest in another run: "We have a very strong field of leaders who could become our nominee…I wholly anticipate that I'll be supporting one of them very vigorously."

June 15, 2014: On Meet the Press, David Gregory asks Romney about speculation within political circles of a "Draft Romney" movement. "I'm not running and talk of the draft is kind of silly," he says.

August 26, 2014: In a radio interview, Romney is slightly less certain about not running, suggesting there might be a shift in his thinking. "You know, circumstances can change, but I'm just not going to let my head go there," he remarks.

September 30, 2014: The New York Times Magazine runs a profile of Romney that is heavy on 2016 talk. "We've got a lot of people looking at the race," he says. "We'll see what happens." A lot of people? He did not specify what that meant.

October 7, 2014: With rumors flying that he would run if Jeb Bush, another establishment moderate, declines to enter the race, Romney doubles down in a Bloomberg Politics interview on his previous ain't-gonna-do-it remarks: "I'm not running, I'm not planning on running, and I've got nothing new on that story."

January 9: At a private meeting with former donors in Manhattan, Romney shows more leg. "Everybody in here can go tell your friends that I'm considering a run," he says. And that one statement was enough to trigger a frenzy among the politerati.

In case you forgot, here's the secretly recorded video that was the most talked-about news of Romney's 2012 campaign:

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Check Out This Amazing Presidential Debate Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush Just Had

| Fri Jan. 9, 2015 6:43 PM EST

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mitt Romney may be running for president again in 2016. Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is also considering a run! Mother Jones DC bureau chief David Corn, who broke the news of this little video back in 2012, had a couple of thoughts about how that battle for the GOP nomination might play out:

We can't wait. 

WSJ: Mitt Romney Considering '16 Presidential Bid

| Fri Jan. 9, 2015 6:01 PM EST

Wow! The Wall Street Journal just ripped open everyone's Friday afternoon with this shocking, game-changing scoop:

This would be a good time to watch the 2014 Netflix documentary Mitt, which was the first time Romney signaled that he'd run again.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Gunmen Suspected in Charlie Hebdo Attack Killed; Four Dead in Second Hostage Situation

| Fri Jan. 9, 2015 9:49 AM EST

This is a developing story and is being updated below.

Police have closed in on two men they believe are the brothers suspected in Wednesday's terrorist attack at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. The Times reports hundreds of security forces have descended upon a printing shop northeast of Paris, where at least one hostage has been taken.

A second hostage situation is developing elsewhere in Paris, near Porte de Vincennes, with multiple hostages being held inside a kosher supermarket.

The AP reports the hostage-taker inside the supermarket is believed to have fatally shot a French policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday. He appears to be connected to the gunmen behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre. 

For live video of both situations, watch below: 

Update: Friday, January 9, 11:10 a.m. EST: Gunshots and explosions have been heard  at both the printing shop where the two suspected gunmen, brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, are holed up and the kosher supermarket.

Update: Friday, January 9, 11:30 a.m. EST: There are multiple reports citing the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack have been killed. 

Update: Friday, January 9, 12:05 p.m. EST: Multiple reports are indicating that the hostage-taker at the kosher supermarket is dead, along with at least four hostages. Police officers are reportedly injured.

Update: Friday, January 9, 2:10 p.m. EST: President Hollande confirms at least four people were killed in the kosher market siege. 

Satellite Imagery Shows the Extent of Boko Haram Devastation in Nigeria

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 6:53 PM EST
Residents stand outside burnt homes in Gambaru, Nigeria after a Boko Haram attack in May 2014.

Update, Thursday, January 15, 2015: New satellite imagery released by Amnesty International shows the extent of the devastation Boko Haram has visited upon northern Nigeria over the past week. Below are before and after images of the town of Doron Baga. Healthy vegetation is colored red.

The Islamist militant group may now control up to 20 percent of the country, according to NPR. Journalists are unable to report on the killing in the north, because approaching the area would be a "death wish," The New Yorker's Alexis Okeowo told host Melissa Block Tuesday.

Update, Friday, January 9, 2015: On Friday morning, Amnesty International said the latest Boko Haram attack could be the "deadliest massacre" in the group's history, if the early reports that as many as 2,000 people were killed turn out to be true.

This week, Boko Haram, the Islamist terror group based in northern Nigeria, launched a massive attack on the town of Baga, killing dozens, according to Reuters. Other initial reports put the number of dead in the hundreds or thousands. The attack is the latest in the group's increasingly bloody campaign to establish an Islamic state in the West African country. The group attained international infamy last April after it abducted some 300 girls. More than 200 of them are still missing.

Over the course of this Tuesday and Wednesday, the militants set fire to buildings in Baga and shot indiscriminately at civilians. Nearly the entire town was torched, according to the BBC. Baga, which had roughly 10,000 residents, is now "virtually non-existent," Musa Alhaji Bukar, a senior government official, told the British news agency.

Here's more from the BBC:

Those who fled reported that they had been unable to bury the dead, and corpses littered the town's streets, he said.

Boko Haram was now in control of Baga and 16 neighbouring towns after the military retreated, Mr Bukar said.

While he raised fears that some 2,000 had been killed in the raids, other reports put the number in the hundreds.

The attack follows an assault by Boko Haram on a military base in Baga on Saturday.

The AFP reported late Thursday that the terror group also decimated over a dozen towns and villages surrounding Baga:

Boko Haram launched renewed attacks around a captured town in restive northeast Nigeria this week, razing at least 16 towns and villages, a local government and a union official told AFP.

'They burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages including Baga, Dorn-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram,' said Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government in Borno state.

Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria for more than five years. Over the past year, the group has killed more than 10,000 people, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.