Political MoJo

Watch David Corn on Mitt Romney's Likely 2016 Run

Tue Jan. 13, 2015 12:08 PM EST

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

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Mitt vs. Jeb: Battle of the GOP Establishment Candidates

Mon Jan. 12, 2015 8:41 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 6:42 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 4:51 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:

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

| Fri Jan. 9, 2015 5:43 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 5:01 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.

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

| Fri Jan. 9, 2015 8:49 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 5:53 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.

The GOP's New Attack on Obamacare May Be the Most Destructive Yet

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 6:30 AM EST

On Thursday, House Republicans will vote on an anti-Obamacare bill that could toss up to 1.5 million Americans off their employer-sponsored health plans. To make the case that this is a good idea, top GOPers are misrepresenting what the legislation would do. They claim the measure would help prevent companies from reducing worker hours in order to cut employees' health insurance benefits. Yet the legislation would likely encourage businesses to decrease hours so the firms could avoid providing health insurance to workers. "While political leaders often stretch the truth to make their case, they usually don't claim the opposite of the truth," Robert Greenstein, the president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), noted Wednesday. "That, however, is essentially what Republican congressional leaders are doing."

The bill House Republicans introduced Wednesday would change the way the Affordable Care Act defines full-time work and, thus, who is eligible for employer-sponsored health care. Currently, the ACA requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide affordable health coverage to 95 percent of their full-time workers or pay a penalty. This measure, called the employer mandate, begins to go into effect this year. Under the 2010 health care law, full-time work is defined as 30 or more hours per week. The GOP bill would change the law's definition of full time to 40 hours per week.

Such a move would obviously lead to the loss of employer-sponsored health insurance for many people who work between 30 and 39 hours per week. But there's the bill would have another impact too: It would give employers a powerful incentive to cut the hours of Americans who work 40-plus hours per week to escape the obligation to provide them health insurance. And health care policy experts note that it is more likely that a firm would slice the hours of a 40-hours-per-week worker than an employee who toils 30 hours a week. (More on that below.) Changing the full-time threshold to 40 hours would put some 1.5 million Americans at risk of having their hours docked and their insurance yanked, according to a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.

Yet top Republicans are claiming the opposite. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the bill would enable "more people [to] work full time." Late last year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued the measure would protect the 40-hour work week by "removing an arbitrary and destructive government barrier to more hours and better pay created by the Affordable Care Act."

As I reported Monday, here's why companies would be more likely to reduce workers' hours under the GOP bill's 40-hour threshold than under the current 30-hour per week cutoff:

The 30-hour threshold was intended to discourage companies from cutting workers' hours. Nearly half of Americans work 40 hours a week or more—meaning that, under current law, employers would have to cut those workers' hours by more than 25 percent to avoid buying them health insurance. But if the threshold were 40 hours, as the GOP envisions, many employers would only have to cut workweeks a tiny bit to avoid buying health insurance for their employees. "Raising the threshold to 40 hours would place more than five times as many workers at risk of having their hours reduced," Paul van de Water, a senior fellow at the [CBPP], wrote in 2013.

A flock of prominent conservatives—including political analyst Yuval Levin and columnist Ramesh Ponnuru—have also chimed in against the 40-hour bill.

On Wednesday, President Obama vowed to veto the law if the Senate approves it. But that doesn't mean the bill won't become law. It's possible that Republicans will attach the measure to a must-pass spending bill this year that would be extremely difficult for Obama to oppose.

Fox News Gives Paris Massacre the Benghazi Treatment

| Wed Jan. 7, 2015 5:34 PM EST

On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News's Gretchen Carlson focused on portraying the Obama administration as weak-kneed and out of touch in its response to the massacre in Paris. After interviewing pundit Ari Fleischer, who served as a principal spokesman for President George W. Bush's global war on terror, Carlson went with a familiar script:

"It is what it is. It, meaning terrorism. Terrorism is what it is," Carlson said. "So why does the administration continue to have such a problem telling the American people and the rest of the world just that? Is that a disservice to all of us? In some way giving us a false sense of security? That since our own leaders don't see any of these attacks as terrorism right away, neither should we?"

The problem is, her premise was plain false. Earlier in the day, Secretary of State John Kerry described the attacks as an "act of terror" in direct, forceful terms. "The murderers dared proclaim, 'Charlie Hebdo is dead.' But make no mistake: They are wrong," Kerry said. "The freedom of expression that it represented is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror."

Also prior to Carlson's commentary, a statement from President Obama was equally clear on this point:

I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America's oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.

We've seen this script before, of course, when Fox News, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and other conservatives obsessively criticized the Obama White House over the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012. The argument was that the president didn't call the Benghazi attack "terrorism" quickly enough (before quickly morphing into a conspiracy theory about a massive cover-up of some sort). That was despite the fact that Obama had used the phrase "act of terror" three times in the initial aftermath to describe the attack on the consulate.

In Wednesday's segment Carlson also went on to insinuate that Obama's policy of releasing prisoners from Guantánamo Bay may lead to a Paris-like attack in the US: "Keep in mind this administration is more concerned about executive actions for manufacturing and even climate control today, and releasing Gitmo detainees," she said. "We now know many of those detainees go back to join the jihad. So at this crucial moment, after a horrific attack on one of our allies, will politics continue to trump the reality... In the last few months we've seen terrorism hit Australia, Canada, and now France. Will the United States once again be next?"