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John Bolton's unique sense of humor

04/27/12 03:55PM

Vice President Biden gave a speech on foreign policy yesterday, and spent some time describing the "negative consequences" of "loose talk" about war with Iran, including driving up oil prices."President Obama has said, 'Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: 'speak softly and carry a big stick.'" Biden added, "I promise you the president has a big stick."The audience laughed. Former U.N. read more

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XV

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XV

04/27/12 03:11PM

After winning several more presidential primaries this week, Mitt Romney delivered a speech his campaign billed as the unofficial kickoff of the general election. And while making his pitch as the presumptive Republican nominee, the former governor said President Obama intends to "run a campaign of ... distortions."I very nearly fell out of my chair. read more

Seen in Virginia: You PRO-GIRL

Seen in Virginia: You PRO-GIRL

04/27/12 02:25PM

Your humble Virginia license plate correspondent has been very, very, very busy, too busy to gather up all your suggestions yet for Virginia's new "Don't Tread on Me" license plate. They're genius. Hopefully I can get that together soon.Meanwhile, Christine D'Amato sends the one above, on a "Trust Women, Respect Choice" plate. "I saw this VA license plate in the parking garage this morning and I thought of TRMS immediately!" she writes. "PRO-GIRL!"Thanks, Christine. The rest of you, send more stuff. And tonight on the show, more fun with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. read more

Torture advocates like Dick Cheney were wrong about its efficacy.

Torture doesn't work

04/27/12 01:40PM

During the Bush/Cheney era and the debate over U.S. torture policy -- that there was even a "debate" still strikes me as ridiculous -- one of the key arguments from torture proponents like Dick Cheney was that these tactics worked. When American officials tortured terrorist suspects, we'd learn valuable information.In some ways, the argument missed the point. Torture is illegal and morally reprehensible, so discussing its efficacy is irrelevant. read more

Bipartisanship never stood a chance

Bipartisanship never stood a chance

04/27/12 12:35PM

Looking back at Barack Obama's message from four years ago, one of the more common messages he pushed was a deeply-held desire to govern in a bipartisan way. As a candidate, he spoke extensively about reaching across the aisle, working in good faith, and bringing people with different ideologies together in a spirit of shared values and common purpose.We now know those efforts fell far short, and I suspect there will be some voters who are disappointed, hoping that Obama would have had more success in at least narrowing the partisan divide. read more

Friday's campaign round-up

04/27/12 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* The latest Gallup poll takes a look at attitudes among young voters. The good news for President Obama is that he holds an enormous, 35-point edge over Mitt Romney among those under 30. read more

Rubio can wave goodbye to his version of the DREAM Act.

GOP left with no room to move on immigration

04/27/12 11:30AM

Mitt Romney quietly told supporters the other day that he'd like to see a "Republican DREAM Act" to help his party with Latino voters. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) believes he has just such a proposal, but he's run into three fairly significant problems.First, Romney is too afraid of the political fallout to take a position on the proposal either way. read more

Again with the 'inexperienced' line?

Again with the 'inexperienced' line?

04/27/12 10:43AM

Four years ago, it made sense that Republicans would target Barack Obama as an inexperienced presidential candidate. He'd only held elected office for 12 years, and he was running against a GOP nominee who'd been in Congress for a quarter-century, so it stood to reason that Obama's critics would characterize the youthful candidate as unprepared for national office.In 2012, however, this line of attack is pretty incoherent, but as Benjy Sarlin reported, Republicans are giving it a try anyway.The RNC ... launched an effort to brand Obama as unprepared for office on Thursday. read more

Ryan reverses course on Rand

Ryan reverses course on Rand

04/27/12 10:09AM

For years, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the right-wing chairman of the House Budget Committee, has been widely described as an Ayn Rand acolyte, best known for assigning "Atlas Shrugged" to members of his staff. Now, however, the Republican lawmaker finds humor in his reputation."You know you've arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine," Ryan chuckled in an interview with National Review. He added, "I reject her philosophy. read more

More underwhelming economic growth

More underwhelming economic growth

04/27/12 08:50AM

Towards the end of 2011, projections showed sluggish economic growth in the first quarter of 2012, and most analysts expected output to grow at around an annualized rate of 1.8 percent. However, when the economy appeared to pick up steam in the late winter, expectations shifted, and most believed we'd see GDP growth around 2.7 percent.The newly released GDP numbers, then, are not at all welcome. They're better than we expected in December, but far short of what we expected this morning.The U.S. economy slowed more than expected in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. read more

The best lies $6.1 million can buy

04/27/12 08:00AM

If President Obama has failed as spectacularly as his Republican detractors argue, shouldn't it be easier for them to come up with honest attack ads?In other words, if Obama's presidency has been genuinely awful, the right shouldn't have any trouble at all coming up with devastating criticism based solely on facts -- there would be no need to make stuff up because the truth would be brutal enough on its own.And yet, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity is running new attack ads like this one.The investment behind this spot is pretty remarkable given that it's only April and the election read more

Morning Maddow: April 27

04/27/12 07:41AM

President Obama to sign an executive order making it harder for diploma-mills to target veterans. (In case you need a Wikipedia refresher on diploma mills.)New poll shows Hispanics mostly agree with President Obama but remain undecided.Why don't TV stations want to put political ad data online?Given this, this seems like a good thing for President Obama.An awkward day to take your kid to work at the State Department. read more