Republican Congressman: If We Try To Defund Obamacare, We Lose The House Of Representatives

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Wednesday that if Republicans went forward with a plan supported by some conservatives to defund Obamacare in an upcoming vote they would lose the House of Representatives to Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections. Kinzinger was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity Illinois chapter meeting in Rochelle, Illinois.

“Potentially there will be a collapse of will to keep the government shut down because soldiers are not getting paid and all this other stuff’s happening and we turn around and lose 10 to 20 seats in 2014,” Kinzinger said. “And whether we win the battle or not, we’ve lost the war because Nancy Pelosi’s now speaker of the House.”

“This is not a disagreement on whether or not we hate the health care bill,” the congressman continued. “This is a disagreement on tactics in terms of what is the best way to ensure that in the future we can repeal this law without bringing down the American economy or bringing down the Republican majority in the House.”

Later, Kinzinger added: “I don’t think the defunding thing is going to work, and I think we are going to lose the House in 2014, potentially.”

In another video of the event posted on YouTube, the Illinois congressman called the Obama administration’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, “inexcusable” and “un-American.”

Watch both videos of the event below.

On defunding Obamacare:

youtube.com

On Benghazi:

youtube.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/republican-congressman-if-we-try-to-defund-obamacare-we-will

Cory Booker’s Celebrity Casts Wide Shadow Over Other Candidates

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

TRENTON, N.J. — There was some confusion late Monday morning about where Frank Pallone, the 25-year veteran of Congress, would announce the Senate campaign he’s been waiting years to run.

His staff told reporters the day before to prepare for a press conference in front of the New Jersey division of elections building on Trenton’s State Street, where Pallone would hand-deliver the nominating petition signatures required to get his name on the special election ballot. But heavy rain up and down the Garden State caused his office to move the event last minute to the ballroom of a Marriott downtown. When the rain let up an hour later, they moved it back to State Street. And by the time Pallone and a bevy of reporters arrived on location at 1:30 p.m., it was pouring again. The event, it was decided, would be held inside an art gallery off the lobby of the government building.

It was in this improbable venue, standing at a makeshift podium in front of small sculpture of a woman with no head or arms — “NUDE, possibly 1939, bronze,” read the label on the display case — that Frank Pallone pitched his candidacy for U.S. Senate to a line of television cameras and a handful of newspaper reporters sitting cross-legged on the gallery floor.

Behind him, signs for Steve Lonegan, a Tea Party activist and the first Republican to get in the race, were still taped to the wall from his own jerrybuilt press conference earlier that afternoon. Candidates from Lonegan to Pallone to state assembly speaker Sheila Oliver, stopped by the space to submit their signatures before the 4 p.m. filing deadline for the special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

“This is gonna be a race of making clear what my record is and how I can make a difference — and I’m excited about it,” Pallone said, before wrapping up his press conference in the gallery.

The congressman didn’t leave many convinced. Later, after he had submitted his signatures and left, one reporter joked to another, “Did you see how unexcited Pallone looked when he said he was excited?”

But how excited could he really be, up against Cory Booker?

The Newark mayor — a rising national star who made himself famous with Twitter and served as a prominent surrogate on President Obama’s reelection campaign last year — has already managed to far outshine his rival candidates, particularly Pallone, who has long wanted to succeed Lautenberg in the senate, and is trailing Booker by more than 40 points, according to polling released this week.

Pallone is finding out what it means to run against a celebrity: The scene Monday on State Street, lackluster and wet with rain, couldn’t have differed more from Booker’s weekend on the campaign trail, where his persona as a “superstar mayor” cast a shadow over the other the other candidates, who are unknown throughout the state by comparison.

But Booker’s status as a national political icon is, on a smaller scale, reminiscent of Obama’s celebrity in 2008, when he was greeted at campaign stops more like a rock star than a presidential candidate. The phenomenon was eventually used against him in a briefly effective McCain campaign attack ad that compared Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and mockingly called him “the biggest celebrity in the world.”

While Booker’s star power has so far been a boon to his candidacy, giving him enviable name recognition in New Jersey, it will also be central to the case against him made by his opponents, who are already framing the campaign as celebrity versus substance. Meanwhile, Booker is enjoying the advantages of being the most popular candidate in the field.

Booker made two stops Saturday — the first at the sleek headquarters of Audible.com, a company he helped bring to Newark; and the second at a senior center in Willingboro, a town in the southern part of the state. He was met at each event by national press, and swarms of adoring, picture-snapping supporters. Bill Bradley, the former senator and basketball star — and a celebrity politician in his own right — made introductory remarks at both stops.

In Willingboro, a pastor made a point of telling Booker what a star he is, referencing the incident last year in which Booker ran into a burning building to save a neighbor.

“Over the years, we’ve seen you as a mayor who puts himself in harm’s way,” said Charles Levi Martin, a reverend at a nearby church. “In the fire! In the flood! In the rain! In the storm!”

“As a member of the clergy in this Willingboro community, we want to commend you! For the way you put yourself in the cruciform state — for this state, for this people,” Martin said. “We have your full back. I want you to know that.”

Booker thanked him, but pushed back against the hero characterization, as he often does. “The media often focuses on these individual actions and the like,” Booker said. “What I know — and what you know very well, pastor — is that that spirit is not just evidenced in an individual political leader, but is evidenced all over our state.”

But Booker moved around the room like a star in Willingboro. It took him more than an hour just to leave the event. “Oh my god, guys. Oh my god!” said a group of teenage girls, giggling as they reviewed a picture they took with Booker once he had already moved on to the next fan.

Later, on Monday, while the other candidates were filing their signatures, a re-run of Booker’s appearance on the Dr. Oz show happened to air on New Jersey’s channel five. By then, though, Booker had already left the state for a trip to California, where Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is hosting a fundraiser Tuesday for the campaign, according to a Booker aide.

Pallone, meanwhile, had been scheduled to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, a staffer said, but the network canceled the booking to make more time for the news about the National Security Agency leaker.

Though if you ask him about Booker’s popularity, Pallone will tell you it doesn’t matter much.

“It’s not going to be an issue of who is best known,” he said. “Ultimately, those who go to vote in August are going to look at the record and choose the best candidate. It doesn’t become a popularity contest.”

One voter, Cathy Giancolla, a local Tea Party activist who attended Lonegan’s press conference, said Booker’s popularity may even dissuades voters.

“Somebody explain to me why Cory Booker is so popular,” she said. “We have media personalities now running our country — all we’re doing is putting stars in Washington. That frightens me. We are not looking at issues anymore — we’re looking at your tweets.”

Although it may explain the vast divide in the polls now, Booker’s popularity may not carry him through the primary unscathed if a candidate like Pallone can muster organizational support, Patrick Murray, of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told reporters at Pallone’s press conference.

“Even though Cory Booker has astronomical numbers in terms of popularity and media attention, particularly among new jersey democrats, we don’t know how many of those people are actually gonna show up to vote in the middle of August,” Murray said. “It could come down to who has the best organization support.”

“Cory Booker is popular. The question is how deep is that popularity,” he said. “We know it’s broad, but it might not be deep enough.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/cory-bookers-celebrity-casts-wide-shadow-over-other-candidat

The Government Shutdown Could Be Skewing The Accuracy Of Earthquake Information

Last night, a small 3.1 magnitude earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area.

Via earthquake.usgs.gov

Many people immediately went to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website to get information. It was there.

Via earthquake.usgs.gov

But people quickly noticed this message at the top of the page.

Uh oh. Via earthquake.usgs.gov

When I called the USGS to ask about any “accuracy or timeliness” being hit by the shutdown, I got an automatic message that said, “Due to a lapse in appropriations, we are prohibited from conducting work as a federal employee, including returning phone calls and emails until further notice.” Two phone numbers were given in case the call was for “urgent matters about protecting life and property.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/the-government-shutdown-could-be-skewing-the-accuracy-of-ear

Can Irish-Americans Convince Republicans To Embrace Immigration Reform?

Shannon Mahoney

ARLINGTON, Va. — Immigration activists may have found an unusual ally in the daunting bid to convince Republicans that comprehensive immigration reform must happen: the nation’s 40 million Irish-Americans.

“We can be the generation that rejuvenates the Irish-American community, or we can be the generation that lets the Irish-American community die,” Ciaran Staunton, president of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, bluntly warned 30 business and community leaders gathered in the back room of Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub.

This wasn’t the first meeting Staunton and other Irish immigration leaders have held: Staunton has set up similar campaigns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and North and South Carolina. Irish-American leaders have also been making a push on Capitol Hill, meeting with key Republican leaders like Rep. Paul Ryan to make the case for comprehensive reform.

But Virginia, which is home to Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, is seen as key to the struggle because those two leaders hold the keys to reform’s future in the House.

And with 100,000 Irish-Americans in Cantor’s district alone, Staunton and other organizers believe they could be the difference between reform dying on the vine again and President Obama signing a bill before the end of 2014.

“Members of the House of Representatives respond to pressure from the people in their districts,” said Kevin Conmy, the Deputy Chief Mission for the Irish Embassy.

Although grassroots efforts on immigration are nothing new, much of the focus has been on — and energy has come from — the Latino community. Activists privately argue that putting a white face on the issue could help move not only some apathetic members of the public but also increase pressure on Republicans who may not have large Hispanic populations in their districts.

It’s important for them “to hear from Irish-Americans … Irish-Americans have a dog in this fight. It’s virtually impossible to legally immigrate to the United States from Ireland,” Staunton said in an interview before the meeting.

The Irish aren’t exactly what most people think of when they hear immigration reform. But the community faces its own challenges: There are an estimated 50,000 to 75,000 undocumented Irish immigrants living and working in the United States. Irish bars and restaurants — like other ethnically based businesses — are routinely targeted by federal officials for lengthy and burdensome investigations “to see that they’re real establishments and that I’m not just bringing people over on visas and releasing them into the wild,” said Mark Kirwan, an Irish immigrant and the owner of Beckett’s.

And while the most of the public — and members of Congress — may assume immigration from Ireland is relatively easy due to the cultural and familial ties between the two countries, it’s anything but: Thanks to the 1965 immigration reform law, of the 10 million green cards issued between 2002 and 2012, only 15,000 went to Irish applicants.

“Many people see the ‘65 immigration bill as the Irish Exclusion Act,” Staunton said, referring to the China Exclusion Act, which specifically barred Chinese immigrants from the United States.

Organizers concede they face challenges: Many Irish Catholics are conservative Republicans, and the immigration debate’s focus on Latino immigrants and border control can make winning them over difficult.

Activists hope meetings like the one in Arlington can help change that. In addition to leaders from the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Embassy, and the Gaelic Athletic Association, they also brought in successful Irish businessmen — who were also once illegal immigrants to the United States.

“I was an illegal immigrant. I was an undocumented worker,” said Cathal Armstrong, the chef at Restaurant Eve, a tony upscale restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, just across the Potomac River from Washington.

Armstrong said that while he was eventually able to achieve legalized status, many of his friends have not — pointing to one man in particular who “has no hope of becoming legal in this country. No hope. He has two kids, he pays his taxes … he has no hope. It’s outrageous.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/can-irish-americans-convince-republicans-to-embrace-immigrat

Jon Stewart Tears Apart Voter Suppression Like Only Jon Stewart Can

Elected leaders actively trying to hinder the democratic participation of the people they supposedly serve? Seems legit.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/jon-stewart-tears-apart-voter-suppression-like-only-jon-stewart-can

Gabriel Gomez: Ed Markey Is “Dirty And Low…Pond Scum”

The Republican nominee for Senate in Massachusetts called his opponent, longterm Congressman Ed Markey, “dirty and low” and “pond scum” during an interview today. Gomez was speaking with a reporter while at the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce.

“You know I’ve got four young kids, and they gotta sit there and gotta see an ad with their dad — who served honorably, talk to anybody I served with — whether as a pilot or as a SEAL, anybody I worked with,” Gomez said. “And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, like to put me up next to Bin Laden, he’s just gotta be called what he is. That simple.”

Gomez was being asked by a reporter about his new ad “Something New” which alleges Ed Markey compared Gomez to terrorist Osama Bin Laden and blamed him for the Newtown shooting. Gomez’s ad has been criticized by fact checkers from the Boston Globe and FactCheck.org.

The Gomez campaign did not comment for this story.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/gabriel-gomez-ed-markey-is-dirty-and-lowpond-scum

Sessions’ Remark Could Make House Republicans “Fair Game”

Sessions in the House last month Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Rep. Pete Sessions, the Republican tasked with defending the GOP’s majority in the House this year broke with most of his party’s establishment Thursday when he called questions about Mitt Romney’s finances and business record “fair game.”

But his comments may also put some of his charges in a tough position, offering accidental support for demands for more financial information from House Republicans Sessions is working to keep in office.”

“His personal finances, the way he does things, his record, are fair game,” the Texas Republican told CNN Thursday. Sessions, who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, also told CNN that questions about Romney’s personal finances are “legitimate,” although he declined to specifically discuss his tax returns.

That line is a stark contrast with the official Romney position, that the candidate has done more than enough in informing voters about his finances by releasing two years of taxes and filing required disclosures. And it may play out in House races across the country, beginning with Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan’s re-election fight.

Buchanan, a three term Republican, has been viewed as one of the party’s rising stars, in no small part to his business acumen. Indeed, Sessions tapped Buchanan as one his top lieutenants in this year’s election, tasking him with raising millions of dollars in donations for the NRCC and their candidates.

But Buchanan has found himself at the center of several investigations into his finances, including allegations of fraud and tax evasion. Although the House Ethics Committee earlier this month cleared him, the IRS and FBI are also investigating him.

Buchanan’s opponent Keith Fitzgerald, has seized on the scandal and argued he should release his tax returns to the public to “prove” his innocence.

“If these accusations of tax evasion are erroneous, then Congressman Buchanan should have nothing to hide and release his tax returns immediately to restore the public trust,” Fitzgerald said in a statement last month.

Buchanan has strenuously denied any wrongdoing. Although a spokesman did not return a request for comment, his attorney told the New York Times in February that the allegations are part of a political “witch hunt.”

“His political enemies are growing increasingly desperate and making all these accusations against him,” McGinley told the paper.

Paul Lindsey, a spokesman for the NRCC, acknowledged questions about candidates’ finances may be legitimate, but dismissed it as an effort by President Barack Obama and Democrats to distract voters from the state of the economy.

“President Obama’s game of distracting from his failed economic record is fair in the game of politics, but it is also a pathetic scam that is obvious to Americans who are living under the real-world consequences of his job-destroying policies,” Lindsey said Friday.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/sessions-remark-could-make-house-republicans-fai