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Archive for the ‘Romney (R)’ Category

How will you pay for the Iraq War?

Answer: the same way we have been.

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Edited to fix Thomas More College link.

So here is my encounter from an Ask Mitt Anything last night at Thomas More College. Romney actually received a lot of pretty tough, somewhat combative, questions.

So I asked a tough question….and Romney was textbook at dodging all parts of the question.

Erin: The Department of Energy and the Bush Administration have plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, including the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Not only would this seem to undermine the purpose of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which we are a signatory, it would send the wrong message to the rest of the world with a “do as I say, not as I do” nuclear policy. As President, would you continue funding this project? If you would, how can you justify your response when the United States already has 10,000 nuclear warheads which scientists have deemed “reliable”?

Romney: I will not commit to weakening our nuclear arsenal, especially in a time of radical jihad. When we have countries like Iran, sitting on virtually endless supply of energy, pursuing nuclear technology with such haste – if we continue to allow them to pursue nuclear dreams it will encourage other countries to do so as well. We will not go outside our obligations to the NPT but I will not commit to unilaterally weakening our nuclear arsenal in a time like this.

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Michelle Cunha of Hill, N.H. works for New Hampshire Peace Action, and she landed in the spotlight Monday when she was asked to leave Mitt Romney’s campaign event at Insight Technologies in Londonderry.

Cunha said she has been making the rounds of both Democratic and Republican contenders’ campaign stops, handing out list of questions for people to ask of the presidential candidates.

She finished passing out the leaflets on Monday and was sitting down to hear Romney, who had not yet arrived, when a man and a woman asked who she was with, why she was passing out the fliers and who invited her to the event.

Cunha said part of the conversation went like this: “We support this candidate, which is why we invited him. These don’t support him.” Then the two asked her to leave, and she did.

It was ironic, she said, because she originally went to Insight’s other Londonderry location by mistake, and employees there were not only helpful but gave her a map to help her find the right address. She was never told that she needed an invitation to get in, she said.

Insight Technologies did not immediately return questions seeking comment. The employee who collected the leaflets did not want to be interviewed. She referred questions to the company’s human resources office.

Romney ended up answering the questions Cunha had handed out after Herbert Hoffman of Maine asked him how he felt about the peace activist being tossed from the event. Hoffman showed Romney the leaflet and asked if the questions were toxic to him.

“There is nothing toxic to me,” he said. “I was on ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday.”

The questions on Cunha’s leaflets asked candidates who support ending the Iraq War if they would have the troops out by the end of 2009. For candidates who want to keep the troops there, the question is how they propose paying for a long-term military presence.

For more click here, here, and here

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Mitt Romney’s bad day yesterday just didn’t seem to end.

LONDONDERRY – A former CIA analyst turned critic of the U.S. tactics in the war on terror tried to “Ask Mitt Anything” yesterday and found the former Bay State governor knows how to sidestep a diplomatic incident.

Ray McGovern, who has gained national attention as a critic of President Bush’s policies, asked Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to comment on a news item about the U.S. assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions. The question came up during a campaign appearance at Insight, a Londonderry firm which designs and manufactures tactical gear for the military.

McGovern quoted an Israeli source who said American intelligence is flawed and vowed that Israel would not let U.S. policy be based on a faulty assumption. Then he asked Romney how he feels about allowing Israel to dictate U.S policy.

Romney replied that he was not convinced the Israelis were trying to dictate American policy.

“There are 16 different intelligence agencies saying Iran continues to develop the fuel they need (for nuclear weapons),” he said. Meanwhile, Iran has only stopped building the warhead.

“That’s relevant, of course,” Romney said. But nonetheless, he said Iran could have a bomb in two to four years. Romney said he favors tightening sanctions against Iran and repeated a call to indict Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for inciting genocide, quoting remarks Ahmadinejad made about wiping Israel off the map.

And the incident in which a New Hampshire Peace Action staff member was ejected from the event made the Concord Monitor also.

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Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens as Insight Technology buyer, Dena Vaudrien, right, explains why she removed leaflets passed out by a forum participant prior to Romney’s entrance at the facility in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The person distributing the leaflets was removed from the event. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Romney’s appearance at Insight veered off course when an attendee asked Romney why a woman — who turned out to be from the anti-war American Friends Service Committee *— had been thrown out while distributing cards with a series of questions. The attendee asked if organizers considered such questions “toxic material.”

Romney replied, “There is nothing that’s toxic to me; I was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” He then grabbed the card and answered a series of questions, which focused on the Iraq war and alternate uses for the money being spent in the battle.

*The reporter is mistaken. The woman is a staff member for New Hampshire Peace Action, not American Friends Service Committee.

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Yesterday one of New Hampshire Peace Action’s staff members attended Romney’s Londonderry event. While there, she passed out flyers to audience members before Governor Romney arrived.

Two individuals, a man and a woman,* came up to the staff member and asked her to leave. The staff member left without further incident. She was never able to see Governor Romney speak.

A reporter wrote about the transaction and how it affected Romney’s day:

The event Romney was hosting at Insight Technology** was supposed to be a military-focused event. Romney tends to group his events for a day — or sometimes for a week — around a certain issue area, which usually amounts to just a slightly bigger than usual focus on the area in his stump speech. Despite today’s focus the military, other than a voter who pressed him on Iraq, there was very little on the topic.

Late into the Q&A session, a man in the audience stood up and waved a questionnaire at him, explaining that a woman distributing them was escorted out of the room and had been told she wasn’t welcome at his event. He then asked if Romney supported that sort of thing, and if he would answer all questions.

Romney kept stating that he believed he answered the man by saying he answers questions. “I was on Meet the Press yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” Finally, he took the paper and indulged the man by speed-reading three questions and answering them, but he was visibly irritated.

The first question was about the cost of the war, and Romney fired back an answer he’s given before about his bigger concern with the war is the cost in lives, not dollars. “I don’t want to get out of Iraq to save money; I want to get out of Iraq to save lives,” he concluded.

There was another question about nuclear weapons, and he said he had spoken with Henry Kissinger yesterday, and he stressed that now is not the time for the United States to rid itself of nuclear arms, pointing out his lack of confidence in Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinehad to completely denounce nuclear weapons in their own countries.

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*The two individuals did not identify themselves, nor which organization they were with: Romney’s campaign staff or Insight employees.

**Makers of destructive weapons, ones designed to take another’s life, right here in the Granite State.

Top photo from the Associated Press. The caption next to the photo says Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a leaflet that was passed by a forum participant, then quickly removed by Insight Technology staff during a forum in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Bottom photo from Reuters. The caption says: Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds up a pamphlet distributed at his campaign event by the American Friends Service Committee in Londonderry, New Hampshire December 17, 2007. An audience member asked Romney why the pamphlets, which featured questions about the war in Iraq, were taken away from audience members before Romney’s arrival. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)

The Nashua Telegraph also writes about the incident:

LONDONDERRY – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed back at an anti-Iraq war heckler and continued his attacks on GOP rival Mike Huckabee on Monday.

Romney was speaking to employees at Insight Technology, when a supporter of the American Friends Services Committee stood up to object to campaign aides scooping up fliers critical of Bush foreign policy in the Middle East prior to the candidate’s arrival.

“Your campaign seems to regard this as toxic material and gathered up all of this material. Why don’t you want to answer these questions,” an unidentified senior citizen asked Romney.

“I am happy to receive any question that you have. Feel free to ask any question that you would like,” Romney responded.

When the man declined to ask a specific question, Romney asked for the yellow flier that had been seized and began reading from it.

“The war in Iraq costs hundreds of millions of dollars every day. Over time it will cost hundreds of billions in interest,” Romney read. “In my opinion, that is simply the wrong way to state it. The right way to respond to this is the cost in blood, not cost in dollars.”

Employees at the company applauded Romney’s answer.

Insight Technology is a growing defense contractor making night vision goggles and heat-seeking detectors for the military.

Romney also objected to one question asking if the candidates favored getting all troops out by the end of 2009.

“I don’t get out of Iraq to save money, the reason I want to get out of Iraq is to save lives,” Romney began.

“What possible patriot would suggest we take our troops out regardless of the consequences to our nation? We would be nuts to get out before that job were done.”

It even made USA Today.

Click here to see more pictures.

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Edwards in Bedford, October 28

At the debate at Dartmouth College at the end of September, candidates Clinton, Obama, and Edwards all said they might not have all troops out of Iraq by 2013. Like Chris Dodd, I was stunned to think that these candidates would ignore the mandate of the voters and extend the war for another five years. At the very least they were providing cover for the pro-war Republican candidates who could then use their statements to bolster their own plans to extend the war. Since then, I have heard political pundits say that these three would have us in Iraq until “at least” 2013, a subtle shift in meaning that is even more unhelpful to those working to bring the war to a quick end.

Barrack Obama stated in Dartmouth that troops would possibly be needed to guard U.S. bases through 2013, but two weeks later omitted that justification. It made me realize that when a candidate speaks of “ending the war”, they may not necessarily mean what I might think, and that we had better question the candidates closely! In the Dartmouth debate, John Edwards had chastised Hillary Clinton for her plan to continue combat operations, so I thought he might have a better explanation of why he said what he did.

I intended to ask him this question at his Town Hall at the Rundlett School in Concord, but the candidate arrived 30 minutes late, gave a short speech, and took only three questions. As people crowded around him afterward, I drove to his next event at The Arbors in Bedford. Arriving just at the scheduled starting time, I found the small room packed, but found a spot to stand in the doorway, only a few feet from where the Senator would stand.

So when Senator Edwards called on me at the Arbors, I repeated the background for my question, and asked him to clarify his position, Edwards gave very clear and unequivocal answers: the only troops he would keep in Iraq would be to guard the U.S. Embassy, there would be no combat operations, and he would not have any bases in the country, permanent OR temporary. He did not favor the gigantic embassy currently under construction, and when I questioned why 5,000 troops would be needed to guard the embassy (a figure taken from his website), he said he thought that far fewer would be
required.

I also begged him to make an issue of the differences between the candidates and their plans for “post-war” Iraq at the next debate. Nine days later, Senator Edwards spoke in Newmarket, N.H., and according the the AP report, he said, “it was past time for his Democratic presidential rivals – Hillary Clinton in particular – to spell out just what they would do about Iraq” and that they “should have to say whether they would continue combat operations and how soon they would bring all U.S. troops home”. One can read the full article here. The Bedford Journal printed a story about the event at The Arbors which may be found here. Chrstine Hauser blogged about it in the New York Times

On another note, I have attended a couple of Romney events and have seen how they never let go of the microphone so that they can yank it away from a questioner if the question doesn’t seem to be going their way. The first questioner at the Rundlett School was in the third row, and the campaign staffer with the microphone leaned over several people in order to maintain control of the microphone. However, I then noticed that he was beckoned by another staff member who spoke a few words to him, and after that, he freely passed the microphone to the next questioner. I think the Edward’s campaign is to be commended for allowing free questioning and that the rudeness of the Romney campaign should be pointed out!

Edwards in Milford, November 13

Anxious to thank Mr. Edwards for his comments in Newmarket, N. H. (above), I rushed home to attend the 4:15pm event at the Boys and Girls Club in Milford. Not wishing to hog the question and answer time (and not wanting to be called a shill for the campaign), I waited until the event was over and button-holed the Senator on his way out.

I showed him the article about his Newmarket remarks and thanked him for them. He recognized me from the event at The Arbors, and I spoke to him about how my thinking had evolved since then, that it seems to come down to whether we intend to keep Iraq as a client state, prop up the Maliki government, and control their oil, OR get out and let them determine their own destiny. He answered emphatically, “the latter!”.

Just for the record, at the Milford event he talked about …

  • Iraq: no combat troops, no permanent bases, no combat missions, and no contractors
  • universal health care covering every man woman and child
  • saving social security in it’s present form with no benefit cuts and no increase in taxes for those under $97.5k
  • no new nuclear power
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