Politics

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

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, the two current front-runners in the Republican presidential race, spoke in Washington on Friday at a conference for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

Their speeches came as a new Washington Post-ABC poll found they're running almost even among Republican voters. And on Friday, the two candidates underscored the differences in their appeal to activists.

(Photo by dhammza / off via Flickr Creative Commons)

GalleyCat's Jason Boog talks about Amazon's foray into the publishing biz with some major authors signing on. And Alyssa Rosenberg, culture critic and contributor to The Atlantic, talks about how campaigns on shows like Glee compare to real-life political races.

The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that names and individual pension amounts are public information. The ruling opens the door for media to scrutinize how much former public workers collect in retirement.

About 18 months ago, the Union Leader asked to see the names and payouts to the 500 individuals with the highest pensions.

Citing vague language in the Right-to-Know law, the New Hampshire Retirement System declined to hand over the documents.

With power still out from last weekend’s snow storm, New Hampshire’s senators are pressuring federal regulators for answers.

New Hampshire’s senators are asking the federal agencies that oversee electrical grids to identify why the power keeps going out.

More than three hundred thousand people in New Hampshire were left in the dark and cold after the storm Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte says that’s unacceptable.

“With the ice storm there was a pretty lengthy outage and with this storm there was an outage and we want to make sure the grid is where it should be.”

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Jennifer Horn, House Speaker William O'Brien, and Kevin Smith call press conference to tell media to stop reporting "innuendo" about Rick Perry's speech to Cornerstone Action. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

Jay Cox / Flickr Creative Commons

Produced by Chris Cuffe

Alyssa Rosenberg is the pop culture blogger for thinkprogress.org.  She joins us to review this season's political stories on television, and explain who does it best and why.

Links:

 

Tax collections were off in the month of October by $4 million dollars. The drop in tobacco revenue makes up the majority of the shortfall.

The tobacco tax brought in $2.6 million less than expected in October.

That shortfall has prompted criticism of the GOP push to cut the tax by a dime back in June.

In a sharply worded press release about the overall budget House Democrats said it doesn’t make sense to “make college more expensive and cigarettes cheaper.”

The congressional “super committee” is only tasked with cutting one point two trillion dollars from the federal debt. But Second District Republican Congressman Charlie Bass is asking the panel to cut even deeper, even if it taxes are thrown into the mix.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Secretary of State Bill Gardner chooses expected date, and says NH tradition lives on.

NH law requires its primary be held at least a week before any similar election. When Nevada tried to schedule its caucus in mid-January, NH threatened to hold the primary in December. Under pressure from national republicans and facing a boycott from some candidates, Nevada backed off, giving NH’s secretary of state Bill Gardner the window he sought.

"The tradition of NH presidential primary lives on and it will be held on the second Tuesday, the 10th day of next year 2012.

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman says energy security would be a driving force behind his administration.  Huntsman laid out a three-part strategy that is unlikely to  find favor with either farmers in Iowa or environmentalists nationwide.

Republic, Lost

Nov 1, 2011

"Why have fundamentally good people, with good intentions, allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests?", asks Harvard professor, Lawrence Lessig. His new book "Republic, Lost" explores how he says money has corrupted American politics.  Lessig blames special interests and campaign finance rules to the fact that U.S citizens trust government less than ever. He also  suggests  a widespread mobilization and new Constitution Convention to regain control over what he says is a 'corrupted but redeemable representational system. 

Guest

As one of the nation's top experts on U.S. Senate office decor, no one is more pleased than me that New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte decided to bring "Oscar the Moose" to Washington.

Perry Courts Social Conservatives

Oct 28, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry addressed hundreds of social conservatives in Manchester, Friday night. The Texas governor’s speech ranged well beyond social issues.

A huge crowd filled a ballroom at the annual meeting of Cornerstone, the state’s leading advocacy group against abortion and gay marriage.  If he’s to close the gap in the polls, Perry needs these voters and he made sure to connect with them with lines like this.

"Children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father."

Perry Files For Primary

Oct 28, 2011
Josh Rogers / NHPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry tells reporters he doesn't look at polls and plans to win here. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

 As he filed his candidacy Rick Perry touted his record on jobs as Texas Governor and brushed aside questions about his steep drop in the polls.

“I am here to win. I am here to talk to the people of NH about here how we get americans to back to work in, and you know granite staters get it.”

Proposal to allow two NH casinos clears ways and means committee by 14-7 margin. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

The 14-7 vote by the house ways and means committee runs counter to years of anti-gambling votes in the house. And it comes in the wake Massachusetts' passing bills that call for three resort casinos and one slot machine parlor. House Majority leader DJ Bettencourt of Salem hopes votes on Beacon Hill have changed the changes the equation on gambling for many house members.

A New Hampshire interest group says they are disappointed with the Republican Party’s push to repeal gay marriage.

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports.

Standing up for New Hampshire families calls itself a bipartisan group of citizens who oppose repealing New Hampshire’s 2009 gay marriage law.

At a press conference in Concord, the group urged the legislature to listen to their constituents, who support gay marriage 2 to 1.

The group’s spokesperson Tyler Deaton says that his group wants lawmakers to work on other issues.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Former House Speaker joins race and signs pledge to cut taxes, spending and the size of government. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

Republican Newt Gingrich has added his name to the list of NH primary The former house speaker described vying for the presidency here as an awesome experience.

"From my perspective this is a place that is one of the great centers of American self-government. People have been made and broken in this state and it’s the center of real conversation."

Judiciary committee votes 11-6 to replace same-sex marriage with civil unions for any unmarried adults – even relatives. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports

By an 11 to 6 margin the house judiciary committee voted to undo the state’s 15-month-old gay marriage law and replace it with civil union for any unmarried adults – even relatives. The bill’s lead sponsor, Republican David Bates of Windham, says he expects the full House to endorse the proposal as drafted.

Former Democratic state Senator Maggie Hassan has announced she’s running for governor. Hassan is running as a centrist.

Just like current Governor John Lynch, Maggie Hassan says she opposes a broad-based sales or income tax.

Over the past decade that position is almost a prerequisite for any Democratic candidate who wants to be taken seriously.

When it comes to raising existing taxes, Hassan says businesses must have an honest discussion about their priorities.

Even after the flaws in his highly touted 9-9-9 tax plan have been relentlessly exposed and his confusing abortion stance noted, Herman Cain is still essentially tied with Mitt Romney in a new CBS/NY Times poll of Republican voters.

Saying that it "reorders the way they do business in Washington by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform," Texas Gov. Rick Perry is this hour unveiling his "cut, balance and grow plan" on taxes.

The Local Government Center wants to limit public comments as the state makes its case that LGC violated the law. LGC lawyers are frustrated over comments state regulators have made to the press.

In a closed door meeting, two sources say LGC attorney Bill Saturley asked presiding officer Donald Mitchell to restrict lawyers from speaking to reporters.

The Securities Bureau is alleging that LGC- which provides insurance to cities and towns- violated multiple state laws, and owes cities and towns upwards of $100 million dollars.

Huntsman Put Out by Sununu Picking Romney

Oct 24, 2011

Following former Governor John Sununu's endorsement of Mitt Romney, the Huntsman campaign released a public letter to Sununu.  The letter begins with:

"Over the course of this campaign you have made it abundantly clear that you would endorse a conservative governor – a laudable criterion.

However, I am surprised that you believe Mitt Romney meets that threshold."

It then goes on to list Romney's what the campaign would call failings on taxes, healthcare and abortion It says it is impossible to conclude that Romney is a principled conservative.

It ends with: 

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Romney says he expects primary to intensify but says focus should be on President Obama. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

Mitt Romney was flanked by top local supporters as he signed the paperwork necessary to compete in NH.

"I am happy to put my name on this paper, hoping that this time it will take, and I’ll be able to become the nominee of our party and hopefully the next president of the United States."

"Go Mitt Go."

January 10 New Hampshire primary now looks likely. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

Nevada is bowing to pressure from national party leaders by moving its caucus from January 14th to February 4th. Before the date change, NH was threatening to hold its 2012 presidential primary in December of this year. Steve Duprey, a NH delegate to the RNC, says getting Nevada officials to push back the caucus wasn’t easy.

"It was extensive discussion that allowed us to get there and Rience Priebus the national chairman was very involved – and that’s a great result."

Erik Eisele

Minnesota Congresswoman's local campaign workers resign en masse. NHPR's Josh Rogers reports.

Michele Bachmann announced her presidential run at a debate here in June. And during each of her 4 trips to NH, Bachmann's been quick to insist she is a natural fit for the state.

"NH is all about low taxes and liberty and that’s what I’m about, so we are perfect match. We are a marriage made in heaven."

Governor John Lynch surprised top Republican lawmakers today when he released an education funding constitutional amendment.

The amendment would give the state more discretion to target financial aid to schools than it has today.

Critics are concerned about how the governor’s proposal would affect court oversight of education funding.

Governor John Lynch and Republican leaders all want to see the state adopt a constitutional amendment.

A coalition of Republic leaders is calling on the presidential candidates to boycott the Nevada caucuses. The goal is to get Nevada to postpone its voting by three days.

Saying democracy will suffer without New Hampshire style retail politics,  a group of top Republicans want the candidates to put the squeeze on Nevada.  The organizer of the GOP gathering in Concord, Jennifer Horn, said they should promise to avoid the state unless it compromises.

The treatment of female prison inmates in New Hampshire is raising questions of civil rights violations. After a two year investigation, that’s the conclusion reached by the New Hampshire Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission reports that male inmates enjoy greater opportunities in everything from vocational training to mental health services.

JerriAnne Boggis didn’t have to see anything at the Women’s Prison to know about the problems in Goffstown.

Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

Members of the Occupy New Hampshire movement demonstrated in Manchester this weekend.

More than 200 protesters gathered in Veteran’s Park Saturday afternoon to express their dissatisfaction with the state of the country and proclaim their solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Referring to themselves as the 99%, the assembled demonstrators protested the concentration of wealth in the top 1% of the population.

At one point, around 100 of the activists marched down Elm Street, picketing in front of the Bank of America and Citizens Bank buildings.

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