Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

Romney: I'll Keep Parts of Obamacare
September 9, 2012
by Thomson, Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has called for scrapping President Barack Obama's 2010 U.S. healthcare law, said in remarks aired on Sunday that he likes key parts of "Obamacare" despite his party's loathing of it and wants to retain them.

Romney, who faces Obama in the Nov. 6 election, has vowed throughout the campaign to repeal and replace the Obama healthcare law. But asked about the Obama healthcare law on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Romney said, "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform."

"Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place," Romney added. "One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like."

The Obama healthcare law, among other provisions, prevents insurance companies from denying medical coverage to people who already are suffering from a medical condition. It also allows parents to keep their young-adult children on their health insurance plans until age 26.

The law is Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.

Elements of the state healthcare reform plan that Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts served as a model for the federal law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by Obama in 2010 despite unified Republican opposition.

"I say we're going to replace Obamacare. And I'm replacing it with my own plan. And even in Massachusetts when I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people," Romney told "Meet the Press."

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Obama's Good for Business: Gun Sales Soar
by Leah Barkoukis 
September 9, 2012

Business is booming in the firearm industry and considering Obama’s feelings about gun control, the irony is almost too poetic.

Smith & Wesson stock Friday was zooming, thanks to a stellar earnings report. The firearms maker also boosted its outlook for the rest of the year. Because of the strong business, its backlog of orders more than doubled from the same quarter last year, the company is concentrating on boosting production and building inventory.

“We are underserving the market at this moment, we all know that, and that's a great opportunity going forward for us,” CEO James Debney said in a conference call with analysts.

And another gun maker, Sturm, Ruger & Co., also hit a milestone of sorts in terms of meeting consumer demand. It produced its one-millionth gun of the year…well ahead of last year’s pace.

If the president gets reelected some are concerned that an Obama ‘unleashed’ would mean more regulations. President Obama has long been in favor of gun control and since becoming president, his administration has pursued a deliberative albeit subtle approach to that end. Some examples include Fast and Furious, unleashing OSHA on a gun range fining spree and, in 2009, voting to participate in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty – a dramatic reversal of Bush’s position on the issue. Although there were no curve balls in the 2012 Democratic Party platform, more calls were made for regulations and “improvements” including “reinstating the assault weapons ban” and “closing the gun show loophole.” (Quite ironically, they also removed the reference to “what works in Chicago” perhaps because the city has some of the toughest gun control laws yet is also among the most deadly cities in the U.S.) So the logic is: buy now in case it becomes more difficult later. This is only part of the equation, however. The article also points to broader acceptance of gun use, target shooting and safety concerns.
“Sure, about a third of it is politics,” said a Maryland salesman, who also didn't want to be named. “But the majority are people concerned about safety. They are worried about crime and looking at the economy and no one having jobs. They want to be protected now. So they’re buying.” 
"The biggest new group of buyers now are senior citizens," Larry Hyatt, owner of a North Carolina gun shop, said on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "Ten thousand Baby Boomers a day are turning 65; they can't run, they can't fight, they got to shoot."
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Education Reformer Michelle Rhee Says GOP Shouldn't 'Kowtow' to Tea Party
by Ann Kane and M. Catharine Evans
September 10, 2012

Weighing in on education reform at the Democratic National Convention last week, Michelle Rhee, former DC Schools Chancellor, and CEO of the lobbying organization StudentsFirst said the Republican Party shouldn't "kowtow to the special interests within their own party."

After almost two years of vetting Rhee as a liberal Democrat who won the hearts and minds of conservative Republicans, we are seeing our apprehension of her motives vindicated.

We've been covering both Democrats' and Republicans' reactions to Rhee since our first article about her in AT in January 2011. Teachers' unions have been rabidly opposed to her reforms while those on the right have embraced her ideas as well as implemented her suggested policy changes in their school systems.

Since forming StudentsFirst in early 2011 she has co-opted the right's traditional message on education--school choice, vouchers, accountability by teachers and administrators, and charter schools. But a recent National Journal article with the title "GOP Distances Itself from Tea Party" suggests a split in education philosophy within Republican ranks. Have Rhee's activities created this rupture?

Tea Partyers would likely be in favor of dismantling the Department of Education. But in various interviews at both conventions, Rhee came out with her true views and they don't include removing the DoED.

On the contrary, she disparaged the Tea Party and compared it to the Democrats' teachers unions whose power she managed to usurp with Republican governors' backing.
Rhee at the Republican convention from National Journal:
"I think that what both parties have to do between now and November is not kowtow to the special interests within their own party-Democrats with the teachers unions on their side and Republicans with the tea party on their side," she said.
Rhee at the Democratic convention from The Atlantic:
"Both parties have to be cognizant of ensuring they don't fall prey to the special interests within their party," she says. 
"One of the things Romney says in his white paper, he criticizes the Obama administration, he says we need to start to tie federal dollars to reforms. Well, that is exactly what Race to the Top did -- not only that, but that never happened in the Bush administration. The first time federal dollars have been tied to reform happened under the Obama administration."
Did all those Republican governors know that Rhee was for centralization of power at the national level? Do they want schools to remain in the local school board's hands? Tea Parties across the country have hosted Rhee; did they know she was an advocate for strong central control?

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