Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a web site it calls Liberty Watch.  The focus is on the presidential candidates. 

Steve Gosset is the manager of media relations  with the ACLU and came to our studios to explain what Liberty Watch does.

 

 

 

 

With the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses set to kick off the "real" battle for the party's presidential nomination, there's word that:

Photo by Tomasz Krawczak, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The holiday season, we’re often reminded, is a time for people to come together…except, when it isn’t.   This year’s ‘War on Christmas’ skirmish revolves around the Christmas tree.

So now it's Newt Gingrich.

In what has become the most improbable result of a most improbable campaign season, Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who has been out of public office since 1998, has benefited from a series of well-reviewed debate performances to catapult himself to the top of the GOP presidential pack. Not just the leading "Anybody But Mitt (Romney)" candidate. The leader, period.

It wasn't supposed to end this way for Herman Cain.

His improbable run for the GOP presidential nomination should have served to burnish his CEO credentials, sell his books and enhance the fee the Baptist lay minister charges for motivational speeches and appearances.

This fall, the simplicity of Cain's 9-9-9 tax-reform plan propelled him to the top of a volatile field. Soon other candidates were rushing to introduce their own versions of a flat tax.

Protect NH Families / Flickr / Creative Commons

Yesterday, we linked to a story on TheLobbyNH.com following-up on House Speaker William O’Brien’s latest attempt to overturn the governor’s veto of Right-to-Work legislation.

A number of Republicans joined Democrats in opposition to the override during Wednesday’s vote.

 

Republican Herman Cain says he’s continuing to reevaluate the future of his presidential campaign. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports Cain says he needs to talk to his wife before deciding if he stays in the race. 

Herman Cain called the allegation he’d been involved in a long-term extramarital affair “trumped up” and said it showed the length his opponents would go to derail his campaign. But Cain also acknowledged the alleged affair, which follows earlier allegations of sexual harassment, is prompting him to rethink his candidacy.

Labor groups and their supporters won a major victory today at the statehouse.

Several dozen Republicans joined House Democrats to sustain Governor Lynch’s veto of the Right-to-Work .

Going into the vote nobody was willing to predict how it would turn out.

It was too close to call.

Supporters of the bill that would ban unions from collecting negotiating fees from non-union employees needed a 2/3rds majority to overturn Lynch’s veto.

So after the 30 seconds lawmakers got to cast their votes, a hush came over the 379 state Representatives.

As expected, the House rejected Governor Lynch’s education funding constitutional amendment.

But about a third of the Republicans actually voted for the plan.

For several weeks, GOP leaders have said the governor’s proposal is all but dead on arrival in the House.

The key problem- most conservatives believe it gives the courts too much say over future education funding formulas.

But long-time lawmaker, Republican Neal Kurk urged colleagues to step back and think carefully.

Right-to-Work advocates and opponents are gearing up for the House to take up the governor’s veto Wednesday.

The debate will be vigorous and very public.

Members of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity have secured permits for most public places in and around the statehouse.

Union workers are expected to show up in healthy numbers, urging lawmakers to block the bill that would ban unions from collecting fees from non-members.

To top it off, GOP presidential contenders John Huntsman and Rick Perry are delivering remarks to the full House.

The House is expected to take up Governor Lynch’s education funding constitutional amendment plan Wednesday.

House leaders say the proposal has almost no chance to pass.

Many rank-and-file House Republicans see Lynch’s amendment as a way to preserve court oversight over future education funding formulas.

That’s a non-starter for most.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt says the governor needs to understand that dynamic.

 

Stumping in NH today, Rick Perry worked to shore up his credential on immigration. But as NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports the Texas governor’s message was overshadowed by a miscue.

Rick Perry made several stops in the company of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is well-known for arresting illegal immigrants. But during an event at St. Anselm College, where Arpaio was greeted with some booing, Perry seemed unaware that the legal voting age is 18 not 21.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5843848811/" target="_blank">Gage Skidmore</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

On Sunday, the Manchester Union Leader endorsed former house speaker Newt Gingrich as Republican candidate for President and enlivened the Sunday talk shows. Salon’s news editor Steve Kornacki  compares the surprise of "newtmentum" to another theatrical scheme…Zero Mostel, playing Max Bialystock to Gene Wilder’s timid Leo Bloom in the 1968 Mel Brooks film, The ProducersKornacki says tha

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper. And when it comes to abortion, the former governor of Massachusetts appears to have changed his position from being in favor of abortion rights to being opposed.

But now some people are asking if Romney ever supported abortion rights at all? Backers of abortion rights don't think so.

Paul Rising

Nov 23, 2011

In this presidential cycle, as in the last, there is no question which Republican candidate has the most ardent supporters.  It is Ron Paul, the 76-year-old Texas congressman whose brand of libertarianism often puts him at odds with all his rivals.  But with less than seven weeks to go there are signs that Paul could surprise people in the nation’s first primary.

Ron Paul supporters probably wouldn’t like this observation:  Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is sitting pretty in New Hampshire.  Very pretty.

But given that, this assessment isn’t too shabby.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

In all likelihood, most of you aren’t visiting StateImpact for our primary coverage.  Yes, we completely agree that the Republican primary is a Very Big Deal.  But most people don’t go to business news sites to get nitty-gritty political coverage, either.  So we try to keep political stories strictly focused on New Hampshire’s business and economic environment.  They have to be specific to the situation here.  Every time a politician talks about business in New Hampshire, we don’t automatically post it.

But today is the day before Thanksgiving.

Obama Fires Up Supporters in Manchester

Nov 22, 2011

President Obama is pressuring Republicans to pass an extension of a payroll tax cut.  That message was well received at a speech the president delivered at Manchester Central High School yesterday.

The president says if passed, the payroll tax cut would put 1500 dollars in the pocket of the average household.  Mr. Obama challenged Republicans to vote down an extension, even if it means raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

Shannon Chandley of Amherst said she supports the president and faults the GOP for refusing to compromise.

Obama Presses GOP on Tax Cuts

Nov 22, 2011

President Obama promoted his job creation plan in Manchester today.  The president focused on one specific item in that plan, the extension of a payroll tax cut.

Obama:  Hello NH.  It is good to be back

At the packed gymnasium of Manchester Central High School, a feisty Mr. Obama said next week, Republicans on Capitol Hill will get the chance to prove whose side they are on.

"Do you want to help working families get back on solid ground," he asked,  "Or do you really want to vote to raise taxes on nearly 160 million Americans during the holidays?"

A top lawmaker says New Hampshire should move quickly to support the construction of two casinos in the state. The call comes after Massachusetts has adopted a new casino gambling bill.

Senate Finance Chair Chuck Morse does not want to see an opportunity pass New Hampshire by.

In a statement the Senator said New Hampshire’s competitive advantage over Massachusetts is now threatened.

Morse urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would create two casinos in the state, adding that it would bring thousands of jobs to the economy.

Most presidential hopefuls see a strong showing in the N.H. primary as important. For republican Jon Huntsman, it is essential. The former Utah Governor has staked his whole campaign on the first in the nation primary. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

 Jon Huntsman travelled to NY city this past weekend to poke fun at his New Hampshire-centric approach on Saturday Night Live.

Next week, the full House is expected to vote on Governor Lynch’s proposed education funding constitutional amendment. In advance of that, a House committee met to discuss the merits of the plan. The hearing struck some as a political ploy.

 

The most unusual aspect of the proceedings was who was missing.

The Republican Vice-Chair and the ranking Democrat were absent.

There was not a single senator, and most telling of all, no Governor, the man behind the plan.

It was a sign few took this hearing seriously.

But one man did.

Paul Talks Banks After "Occupy"-Style Interruption

Nov 21, 2011

Ron Paul is in the midst of a two day campaign swing through the Granite State.

The Texas Congressman’s town hall meeting at Keene State College was briefly interrupted by a group of protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street.

The protesters used their call-and-response technique to say "there is something wrong with the system" and "we are the 99 percent." When they were done, Ron Paul said "I hope you feel better," and there was laughter and applause. And then he said when it came to the power of big banks, he agreed with the protesters.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/roemerman/444304025/">Steven Roerman </a>via Flickr Creative Commons)

Jay Wexler's new book and blog focus on the odd Constitutional clauses we should, maybe, focus on a little less...and those we should, perhaps, turn into awesome t-shirts.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5843848811/">Gage Skidmore </a>via Flickr Creative Commons)

No politician will ever lose votes by coming down on the side of community banks. Unlike the mega-banks of Wall Street that helped fuel the world’s dive off an economic cliff, community banks have a better reputation. They avoid exotic financial deals and, for the most part, stick to their knitting.

Cain's a No-Show for Union Leader Interview

Nov 17, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is facing questions about why he didn’t show up for a Union Leader editorial board interview.

According to the Union Leader, an hour-long interview with Herman Cain was confirmed on Tuesday.  The newspaper agreed not to videotape the interview.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon says the campaign then told the Union Leader the candidate could not take a full hour.

"We wanted to do the ed board for 20 minutes.  But the Union Leader decided that wasn’t worth it so they cancelled it this morning.”

Cain Returns To N.H.

Nov 17, 2011
Josh Rogers, NHPR

Republican Herman Cain is back in NH today. The visit is his first since early October. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

 A lot has changed for Herman Cain in the last 5 weeks. The former businessman has faced sexual harassment allegations, and was videoed as he struggled to answer a basic policy question on Libya. Cain told reporters in Concord that he remains strong in the polls and said getting out of the race was never an option.

Gingrich Gets Going

Nov 16, 2011
Josh Rogers

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s surge to the top tier of the GOP presidential field has been sudden. Its also come without the benefit of a traditional campaign structure in early voting states. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

 Newt Gingrich predicted victory when he opened his state campaign headquarters in Manchester last week. But Gingrich also told supporters winning wouldn’t be easy.

New Hampshire lawmakers are trying to pressure the so-called “supercommittee” to exceed its goal of cutting $1.2 trillion  from the debt, but the special panel remains grid locked as it nears its end date.  If the supercommittee fails to reach a bipartisan solution by next Wednesday, deep spending cuts are supposed to fall on nearly the entire federal budget.

Some lawmakers want to scrap that agreement to protect the Pentagon’s budget and other favorite spending items.

Perry Plays Up Outsider Role

Nov 16, 2011
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Texas governor Rick Perry is stumping in the state today.  The Republican presidential hopeful urged workers at a manufacturing plant in Manchester to put pressure on congress to change. 

Rick Perry has been targeting the Washington establishment in recent days.  He issued a plan to cut the salaries of senators and congressmen in half.  Asked how he would get congress to go along, he said the public would need to browbeat them into agreement.

Perry said the counties around DC are some of the wealthiest in the country.

House Speaker Bill O’Brien says he could get behind the education funding constitutional amendment proposed by the governor. The Speaker’s support comes with one caveat.

House Speaker Bill O’Brien says he’s not thrilled with the language included in Governor Lynch’s education funding constitutional amendment.

He believes it gives the courts too much oversight.

But O’Brien says he’s open-minded, provided this is truly a bi-partisan proposal.

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