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Democratic National Committee Brad Woodhouse memo: GOP "failing to lead"

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Below, DNC Memo....

From: Brad Woodhouse, Communications Director, Democratic National Committee

To: Sunday Show Producers

Date: August 5, 2011

RE: Candidates for President Fail to Lead During Debt Limit Debate,
Instead Supporting Extreme Agendas that Hurt Seniors and the Middle Class

As we learn more and more about the Republican presidential candidates, it's
clear that they aren't offering any new ideas. Nowhere is this more true than
on the economy. The field of Republican candidates simply offer the same failed
Republican economic policies of the last decade that nearly drove our country
into a second Great Depression.

The Republican candidates are failing to lead on the issues. They are taking
their cues are following the extreme policy prescriptions being insisted upon by
the Tea Party dominated Republican Majority in Congress.

We saw this throughout the debt limit debate.

Following the Tea Party:

Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and other candidates said they would
not have supported the bipartisan agreement that President Obama signed into law
Tuesday. In an attempt to appease the far right-wing of their base, these
Republican candidates would have allowed America to default on its obligation
and send our economy into a tailspin. That sort of ideological intransigence and
pandering is misguided policy, and it's even worse when the economic well-being
of our country is on the line.

Why are these candidates taking such ill-advised positions on the most important
issues of our day? As we are seeing in the House of Representatives, the
Republican Party is taking marching orders from the extreme Tea Party. Instead
of voicing support for sensible solutions to our national problems, the leading
Republican candidates for President have fully embraced the Tea Party and their
'my way or the highway' brand of politics. Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon
Huntsman, and Mitt Romney have all come out in support of the goals of 'Cut,
Cap, and Balance' and the Ryan budget plan. Their endorsements of these radical
and extreme plans show where their priorities would be if they were to be
elected President.

Advocating for Policies That Would Decimate the Middle Class:

Instead of supporting the President and the smart policies he's advocating for,
the Republican candidates are embracing ideas and legislation that would be
catastrophic for the middle class. All of the major candidates:

∙ Support the House Republican budget that would end Medicare as we know
it and gives more tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and the special

∙ Supported the goals of the Tea Party-backed Cut, Cap and Balance plan
- ending Medicare and slashing Social Security while protecting tax breaks for
big oil and corporate jet owners.

The Ryan budget plan and the so-called Cut, Cap and Balance proposal would be
disastrous for the middle class and seniors, and they clear examples of where
Republicans--and the Republican presidential candidates in particular--stand on
the issues.

They show that Republicans are more concerned with protecting their special
interest friends than protecting working families. They want to drastically
shift the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of middle class Americans and
seniors. They are not interested in protecting essential programs like Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which protect our most vulnerable and which
millions of families depend on to get by. While the President works to
strengthen Medicare so it can meet its commitments, now and in the future, the
Republicans seem intent on dismantling it.

And though Democrats defeated these plans, this issue is not going away. Just
this week we learned that even after the deficit debate, Tea Party activists are
recommitting themselves to pushing for slashing Medicare--something the American
people simply won't accept.

Eric Cantor, Republican House Majority Leader, went so far as to say that
Americans should not expect entitlements to exist for future generations, saying
that we should "

come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not
going to be kept for many." [Think Progress, 8/4/11] The Republican
Presidential candidates should tell the American people, do they agree with
Cantor that America should not keep its obligations to seniors and the American
people? Or will they stand with middle class Americans, President Obama, and
Democrats to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?Mitt Romney,
Flip-Flopping Into a Pretzel:

Perhaps no one came out of the debt limit debate worse than Mitt Romney. After
coming out in favor of the extreme "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan, Romney changed
his position, according to our count, no less than SIX times before finally
deciding at the 11

th hour to come out against the bipartisan agreement.

In the worst kind of politicking, Romney stuck his finger in the wind and landed
in the most politically self-serving place. After all that flip-flop-flipping,
perhaps Romney has decided it's smarter to stay out of the press than be forced
to take a stand, so he entered what one reporter dubbed a "Mitness Protection
Program" off the trail.

Candidates for President must show they understand the issues facing the country
and articulate a way forward to the American people. Mitt Romney failed this
test miserably.

All of the Republicans Would Have Trouble In the General Election

As the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party continues to consolidate power
and tries to dismantle important programs for the American people like Medicare
and college aid, the Republican presidential candidates are being put in a
difficult position. They are being forced to walk a fine line between embracing
the far-right flank of their party, but they also don't want to turn off
millions of moderate voters they would need support from in a general election.
The Republican candidates' continued support for support plans like the Ryan
budget and so-called Cut, Cap, and Balance that would gut Medicare and Social
Security makes is nearly impossible for the eventual candidate to pivot to the
center for a general election against President Obama. [The New Republic,

Republican Candidates Opposed the Deal

Mitt Romney "Cannot Support This Deal." After staying mostly silent on the debt
negotiations, Mitt Romney said he "personally cannot support this deal." [Wall
Street Journal,


Michele Bachmann Voted 'No.' [House Vote 690,


Tim Pawlenty Opposed The Deal. "

Mr. Pawlenty's spokesman, Alex Conant, said Monday the deal is 'nothing to
celebrate,' though his written statement did not specifically say whether the
former governor would sign the bill. 'Only in Washington would the political
class think it's a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees
to go further into debt, and does little to reform a spending system that cannot
be sustained,' Mr. Conant's statement said. 'While no further evidence was
needed, this entire debt ceiling fiasco demonstrates that President Obama must
be replaced.' In a follow-up email, Mr. Conant said Mr. Pawlenty opposes the
deal." [Wall Street Journal,


...but Supported Cut, Cap And Balance

Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann And Tim Pawlenty Signed The Cut, Cap And Balance
Pledge. [Cut, Cap And Balance, accessed


Huntsman Said Debt Crisis Opportunity To Cut Spending And Find Pathway Toward
Balanced Budget Amendment. "Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said the debt crisis
poses a unique chance to gain control of federal spending. 'We have, I think, an
historic opportunity to do a few things,' he said during a campaign stop Friday
in Salt Lake City. 'One is cut in a way that is commensurate with the increase
that is being asked for, and, number two is to find a pathway forward toward a
balanced budget amendment.'" [Salt Lake Tribune,


∙ Huntsman Supported A Cap On Government Spending. Huntsman answered a
candidate Q&A from the Deseret Morning News where he said: "I believe government
has grown too quickly when measured by relevant benchmarks. For example, over
the past decade government spending has exceeded both inflation and population
growth. I would approach limiting government growth and spending in two ways.
First, establish a cap -- by constitutional amendment or otherwise -- that
limits the amount of revenue the government can take and spend. Government
revenues can be capped as a percentage of GDP or personal income or growth
limited by the rate of inflation and population growth. The revenue cap should
be set forth in a simple and clear manner such that all taxpayers and the
government would know what to expect as taxes and revenue respectively."
[Deseret Morning News, 6/13/04]

...and the Ryan Budget

Romney Said "Yes" He Would Sign The Ryan Plan That Would Have Restructured
Medicare. "On health care, Romney responded "yes" when asked if he would sign
the plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan that would restructure Medicare if it reached
his desk as President, but quickly added that he would be offering his own
plan." [ABC News, 6/2/11]

Huntsman: If Backing The Ryan Plan Makes Me A Radical, "All I Can Say Is...Guilty
As Charged." "'I was called a radical because I've embraced the Ryan plan. Now
if you take a look at the Ryan plan, there's some pretty good fixes and
solutions here,' said Huntsman, who endorsed the plan in a Wall Street Journal
op-ed months ago. 'All I can say is, ah, guilty as charged.' That embrace of the
Ryan plan may be the one way in which Huntsman's run solidly to the right of the
other establishment GOP candidates. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney only gave
tentative support to the Ryan budget and said they'd put forward their own
proposals for debt reduction. Huntsman's re-endorsement of the Ryan plan stands
out even more because of his aversion to conservative orthodoxy and hard-line
rhetoric -- which was also on display in Florida, as he predicted 'cooler heads
will prevail' in the debt ceiling debate." [

Politico, 7/9/11]

Bachmann Voted For The Ryan Budget Plan. [House Vote 277,


Pawlenty Said He Would Sign Paul Ryan's Budget If He Were President. "After days
of pestering from Democrats, White House contender Tim Pawlenty said Thursday he
would sign Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget if he were president. Pawlenty, the
former Minnesota governor, reiterated that he will release his own budget
proposal that differs from Ryan's in key areas like Social Security and
Medicare. But he said that if Congress passed Ryan's plan -- and his was not up
for consideration -- he would sign Ryan's into law." [The Hill,


Where Does Romney Stand?!


Romney Signed The 'Cut, Cap And Balance' Pledge. "Mitt Romney, frontrunner for
the Republican 2011 presidential nomination, just signed the newest of the
Republican fiscal pledges, the 'Cut, Cap and Balance' vow supported by a
coalition of conservative groups. The pledge calls for its signers to oppose
raising the debt ceiling unless legislation passes that requires deep spending
cuts, enforceable spending caps and a balanced-budget amendment." [NPR,



Romney's Campaign "Refused To Say" Where Romney Stood On The Debt Ceiling.
"Pressed for front-runner Mitt Romney's views [on the debt ceiling], Romney
campaign aides refused to say where the former Massachusetts governor stood.
Instead, they forwarded a past statement castigating President Barack Obama 'for
frightening new levels of federal spending and deficits.'..." [Wall Street



Headline: 'Romney Silent Over Debt Talks' [Wall Street Journal, 7/12/11]
Romney's Campaign Said Romney Wouldn't Weigh In On The Day-To-Day Negotiations
On The Debt Ceiling. "The Romney campaign says the candidate isn't going to
weigh in on the day-to-day negotiations on the debt ceiling and deficit
reduction. 'The details of the negotiations are changing every half hour or so,'
a Romney campaign aide said. 'We're not privy to the inside information on
what's going on.'" [Wall Street Journal,



Romney Called The Debt-Ceiling Deadline An "Emergency." "Calling the
debt-ceiling deadline in Washington an 'emergency,' Republican Mitt Romney said
Thursday he would raise the nation's debt limit if spending is cut and capped
and if a balanced budget amendment is passed." " [Washington Post,


Romney: "We Really Don't Want To Have A Setting Where Government Shuts Down."
Romney said of debt ceiling negotiations: "We really don't want to have a
setting where government shuts down as we try and figure this out." [Romney
Roundtable, Berlin NH, 7/15/11]


Romney's Campaign Wouldn't Say Were Romney Stood On McConnell's Debt Ceiling
Plan And Deferred To Congress The Details Of Any Debt Ceiling Plan. "Pressed on
where Romney stood on McConnell's plan, aides repeated Romney's oft-spoken
stance on the debt discussion: 'A vote on raising the debt ceiling has to be
accompanied by a major effort to restructure and reduce the size of government.'
He deferred to Congress on the details of any such plan." [Associated Press,


Romney Refused "To Weigh In On McConnell's Plan Or Other Critical Details" Over
The Debt Ceiling. "One of the great benefits of being a presidential candidate,
especially one who doesn't have to cast a vote on the debt ceiling, is that you
get to distance yourself from what is essentially a no-win issue for your
campaign. And Romney has been doing just that, refusing to weigh in on
McConnell's plan or other critical details. That's probably not a bad move for
someone hoping to be his party's front-runner: After all, Obama has had to
apologize for his opposition to raising the debt ceiling during the past
campaign." [Politico,



Romney Said Cut, Cap And Balance Was "The Line In The Sand." "'

The answer for the country is for the president to agree to cut fed spending, to
cap fed spending and to put in place a balanced budget amendment,' Romney said
in a question and answer session at a meeting Thursday of the Portsmouth Rotary.
'For me, that's the line in the sand. Come on, Mr. President.'" [Washington
Post, 7/14/11]


Romney Campaign Qualified His Support For Cut, Cap And Balance, Said He Did Not
Specify Cap Level. "

GOP candidates say they are sticking by the pledge. But a Romney campaign
official noted that the version of the cut, cap and balance pledge Mr. Romney
signed doesn't specify a level for the federal spending cap." [Wall Street
Journal, 7/18/11]


Romney Said He Supported The House-Passed Cut, Cap And Balance. At a media
availability in Los Angeles, Mitt Romney said, "

I think the right course for the president is to accept the cut cap and balance
proposal that has been passed by the house." [New York Times, 7/20/11]


Romney "Applauds" Boehner's Debt Ceiling Plan. "Former Bay State governor Mitt
Romney supports Speaker John Boehner as House Republicans move forward. His
campaign says that he is reviewing the Boehner plan. 'Governor Romney thinks
President Obama's leadership has been an historic failure. He applauds Speaker
Boehner for standing firm against raising taxes when our nation can least afford
them,' says Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, in a statement to National
Review Online." [National Review Online,


Romney "Refused To Take An Unequivocal Position In Favor Of The Debt Ceiling
Plan Touted By Speaker Boehner." "Romney refused to take an unequivocal position
in favor of the debt ceiling plan touted by House Speaker John Boehner, passed
by the House and rejected by the Senate on Friday. His reticence created an
obvious opening for Huntsman, the only candidate who fully backed Boehner's plan
to avoid a potentially devastating government default on Tuesday.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 5, 2011 12:09 AM.

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