Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mike Pence and Barack Obama Square Off

Face to Face, Obama Urges GOP to Join Dems on Job-Creation Efforts


In a remarkably sharp face-to-face confrontation, President Obama chastised Republican lawmakers Friday for opposing him on taxes, health care and the economic stimulus, while they accused him in turn of brushing off their ideas and driving up the national debt.

President Obama holds up a document of Republican solutions given to him by House Minority Leader John Boehner, before he spoke to Republican lawmakers at the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. (AP)

In a remarkably sharp face-to-face confrontation, President Obama chastised Republican lawmakers Friday for opposing him on taxes, health care and the economic stimulus, while they accused him in turn of brushing off their ideas and driving up the national debt.

The president and GOP House members took turns questioning and sometimes lecturing each other for more than hour at a Republican gathering in Baltimore. The Republicans agreed to let TV cameras inside, resulting in an extended, point-by-point interchange that was almost unprecedented in U.S. politics, except perhaps during presidential debates.

With voters angry about partisanship and legislative logjams, both sides were eager to demonstrate they were ready to cooperate, resulting in the GOP invitation and Obama's acceptance. After polite introductions, however, Friday's exchange showed that Obama and the Republicans remain far apart on key issues, and neither side could resist the chance to challenge and even scold the other.

Obama said Republican lawmakers have attacked his health care overhaul so fiercely, "you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot." His proposals are mainstream, widely supported ideas, he said, and they deserve some GOP votes in Congress.

"I am not an ideologue," the president declared.

But Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., pointedly asked Obama: "What should we tell our constituents who know that Republicans have offered positive solutions" for health care, "and yet continue to hear out of the administration that we've offered nothing?"

Obama showed little sympathy, disputing Price's claim that a Republican plan would insure nearly all Americans without raising taxes.

"That's just not true," said Obama. He called such claims "boilerplate" meant to score political points.

At times it seemed more like Britain's "question time" -- when lawmakers in the House of Commons trade barbs with the prime minister -- than a meeting between a U.S. president and members of Congress.

Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana defended Price on the health care proposals. He said a GOP agenda booklet given to Obama at the start of the session "is backed up by precisely the kind of detailed legislation that Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and your administration have been busy ignoring for 12 months."

Obama shot back that he had read the Republican proposals and that they promise solutions that can't be realized.

In another barbed exchange, the president said some Republican lawmakers in the audience had attended ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their districts funded by the 2009 stimulus package that they voted against.

Pence said Obama was trying to defend "a so-called stimulus that was a piecemeal list of projects and boutique tax cuts."

Obama replied, "When you say they were boutique tax cuts, Mike, 95 percent of working Americans got tax cuts."

"This notion that this was a radical package is just not true," he said.

Republicans are feeling energized after winning a Democratic Senate seat in Massachusetts, and Obama is trying to refocus his stalled agenda more on jobs than health care. With Obama at a podium facing a hotel conference room full of Republicans, both sides jumped to the debate.

"It was the kind of discussion that we frankly need to have more of," said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

"I'm having fun, this is great," Obama said when Pence asked if he had time for more questions.

"So are we," said Pence.

Some Republicans prefaced their questions with lengthy recitations of conservative talking points. The president sometimes listened impassively but sometimes broke in.

"I know there's a question in there somewhere, because you're making a whole bunch of assertions, half of which I disagree with," Obama said to Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, whom he mistakenly called "Jim."

Obama, a former law school professor, launched into lectures of his own at times. He warned lawmakers from both parties against demonizing a political opponent, because voters might find it incomprehensible if the two sides ever agree on anything.

"We've got to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes, because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together because our constituents start believing us," Obama said. "So just a tone of civility instead of slash-and-burn would be helpful."

Republicans sat attentively for the most part. There was some grumbling when Obama remarked -- after being pressed about closed-door health care negotiations -- that much of the legislation was developed in congressional committees in front of television cameras.

"That was a messy process," Obama said.

GOP lawmakers pressured him to support a presidential line-item veto for spending bills and to endorse across-the-board tax cuts. Obama said he was ready to talk about the budget proposal, though he disputed accusations that his administration was to blame for big increases in deficit spending. And he demurred on the idea of cutting everyone's taxes, saying with a smile that billionaires don't need tax cuts.

In his opening remarks, Obama criticized what he said was a Washington culture driven by opinion polls and nonstop political campaigns.

"I don't believe that the American people want us to focus on our job security, they want us to focus on their job security," he said.

The president acknowledged that Republicans have joined Democrats in some efforts, such as sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. But he said he was disappointed and perplexed by virtually unanimous GOP opposition to other programs, such as the economic stimulus bill.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said of the event, "In some places I kind of felt like I was in my high school assembly being lectured by my principal. In others, I felt like he was listening."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pence on "Morning Joe," Discusses Senate Run and State of the Union

Cal Thomas: Retreat to advance?

By: Cal Thomas

Examiner Columnist
January 28, 2010

If you live long enough in Washington, you'll learn there is literally nothing new under the sun. That's why it is amusing to listen to the House "Progressive Caucus" and in a full-page newspaper ad attempt to explain the victory of Sen.-elect Scott Brown in the special Massachusetts election last week.

Brown didn't win because Democrats were too liberal, they said. Brown won because Democrats weren't liberal enough. Conservatives sincerely hope the rest of the party buys that reasoning and pushes it all the way to defeat in the November election.

Conservatives used to say the same thing about Ronald Reagan when he raised taxes after first lowering them and signed an amnesty bill for illegal aliens. "Let Reagan be Reagan" came the cry from the Right.

Conservatives blamed "moderates" like Chief of Staff James A. Baker and his deputy, Michael Deaver, for pushing Reagan to the middle. Some on the Left criticize President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, for allowing Obama to be liberal-lite.

Democrats blame Republicans for opposing every proposal by the administration. Republicans blame Democrats for not taking seriously any of their ideas.

Which brings us to this weekend and a House Republican retreat in Baltimore. Obama has accepted an invitation from the House GOP leadership to address the group and to take questions.

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the House Republican Conference, tells me the invitation to the president is not political theater, but "a sincere effort to engage in dialogue over what is in the best interests of our country."

Republicans invited the president to a similar gathering last February, but Pence says, "Our experience with this administration has been that they have said 'no' to every Republican proposal."

That, he says, includes an economic stimulus ("it would have cost half as much and created twice as many jobs"), the budget ("we proposed real entitlement reform"), an energy bill instead of cap and trade that Pence suggests would have lessened our dependence on foreign oil by tapping into more domestic sources, including nuclear energy, and a health care measure that "included malpractice reform."

Has Pence been sent any signals from the White House, particularly since Brown's election in Massachusetts, that the president is willing to compromise on anything in order to get Republican votes? "Not yet," he says with a touch of resignation, or perhaps frustration, in his voice.

Pence flatly predicts the House will be back in Republican hands after the November election. That would take a net gain of 40 seats. Some think that is highly unlikely, but Republicans needed 40 seats to win control in 1994. Many thought that goal unrealistic. Republicans won 54 House seats that year.

The problem for Republicans is that memories remain fresh. The reason the party lost its grip on government in 2006 and 2008 is that members were insufficiently Republican. Like Democrats, they sought to follow the demands of the masses and big media, instead of leading the masses where their best interests lie -- in the direction of liberty, not larger and suffocating government.

"Republicans have got to stand for something," Pence says. Indeed they do. But what is it for which they stand? And if Republicans fulfill Pence's prediction and regain power, what will they do with it this time?

In an "open letter to friends and supporters" in which he explained his decision not to run for the Senate, but seek re-election to his House seat, Pence explained why he took the job of chairman of the House Republican Conference one year ago:

"I accepted that responsibility because I believed that if Republicans returned to their conservative roots, they could win back the confidence of the American people. And I see it happening every day."

The country faces staggering debt and, according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, the nation's budget outlook is "on an unsustainable path." Retreating GOP House members had better start embracing those conservative roots and fast if they want to advance in November and in 2012.

Examiner Columnist Cal Thomas is nationally syndicated by Tribune Media.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pence says he'd give 2012 White House bid consideration

By Michael O'Brien

The Hill

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said Tuesday that he would consider a run for president in 2012 under the right circumstances.

Pence, who ruled out a bid for Senate in 2010 this morning, said he has thought about running for the GOP nomination for the presidency, though he emphasized that he's focused on Republicans' midterm elections this fall.

"Yeah, I've thought about that," Pence told a meeting of conservative bloggers at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. "Given the right circumstances, with prayer, I'd give that consideration."

Pence initially downplayed presidential rumors, saying he hoped anyone who grew up in the U.S. would think about running for president, before conceding that he'd take a look at a presidential bid.

The Indiana congressman, who has already made trips to traditional stomping grounds for primary races, asserted that he is "completely body and soul committed" to helping Republicans win back the House in 2010 before looking at a White House run.

"We do that in 2010, everything else will take care of itself," he said.

The White House question came from a blogger who identified himself as a member of the so-called "Tea Party" movement, who praised Pence as a hero of the conservative movement, a comment which Pence said "humbled" him.

Republicans had sought to draw Pence into a race to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh (D) this fall. The conservative blogger Erick Erickson first posted to his website, RedState, this morning that Pence would not run for Senate, but leave the door open to a presidential bid. Pence is currently the third-ranking GOP member of the House, who serves as chairman of the House Republican Conference. He credited his decision not to run to his belief that Republicans would win back the House this fall.

More government is simply not the answer

By Rep. Mike Pence

The strength of our nation is not found in the halls of Congress or in the offices of government bureaucrats. The enduring strength of the United States of America lies in the good will and common sense of the American people. It is discovered at dinner tables, churches, coffee shops and assembly halls across this great land.

This year began much like last year. Our nation continues to struggle through a difficult recession. Small businesses are trying desperately to keep their doors open. Workers worry that their job will be the latest casualty of this tough economy. And the American people still expect the federal government to get spending under control and to take decisive action to get our country moving again.

We need leadership that will lift the burden on struggling families and that respects our cherished national values. Washington should not enact bad public policy that will lead to more job losses and further economic decline.

Sadly, what we have seen instead are more of the same policies that got us into this mess. Voters rejected runaway federal spending under Republican control and they listened to Democrats who promised a new direction.

But this past year, Democrat leaders have unveiled one proposal after another that grows government and leaves a mountain of debt on the backs of our children. Last year was a record year for federal spending ($3.52 trillion) and deficits ($1.4 trillion). Today, every man, woman and child bears the burden of more than $39,000 in federal debt.

Our fiscal future is in crisis and there is not a lot of comfort to be found in recent headlines. It is reported that Democrat leaders will soon bring before Congress a bill to increase the debt limit by an historic $1.9 trillion, a tacit admission that they have abandoned any effort to restore sanity to the federal budget.

Likewise, the president is expected to announce that his administration is getting serious about deficit spending. Yet the president continues to advocate for a government takeover of healthcare that will cost taxpayers more than $1 trillion and his 10-year budget plan will raise our debt by $14.6 trillion! We are witnessing an absence of leadership and our children will pay the price.

The American people deserve better than a $787 billion so-called stimulus plan full of wasteful liberal spending priorities. They deserve better than a national energy tax and a government takeover of healthcare written by special interests behind closed doors. And they deserve better than more political posturing over fiscal responsibility.

The frustration we have witnessed across the country is neither directed at one political party nor even one policy proposal. People are fed up with a culture of borrowing, bailouts and takeovers that has consumed Washington.

It is time that we chart a course for the country that puts the people first. It starts by getting our priorities straight and focusing 100 percent on getting this economy moving again and healthcare reform that actually lowers costs by increasing competition.

Last January, as Democrats rushed through Congress their flawed stimulus bill, House Republicans responded with our own economic recovery plan. Our plan would have delivered immediate tax relief to working families and small businesses - the same principles that have always led to economic prosperity.

When the votes were counted, Democrats defeated our proposal and were stunned as every House Republican said no to more government and more debt. Republicans continue to offer solutions to address our challenges. We are ready to work for energy independence, fight for lower healthcare costs and fix our economy, but only in a way that puts the American people first. That is why we have introduced American solutions to the challenges we face, not government solutions. We proposed a comprehensive strategy to achieve energy independence, commonsense reform to lower healthcare costs, and a responsible federal budget that lowers deficits without raising taxes. House Republicans will seize every opportunity to bring these positive ideas before the president, the Congress and the people.

The path to economic prosperity does not run along Pennsylvania Avenue nor end at the doorstep of the United States Congress. It runs through the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. Wednesday, the president will have an opportunity to present his views regarding the state of our union.

For the sake of our future, I hope he finds that the strength of our union rests not with the government but where it always has - with the people.

Pence is chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Why I Am Staying" by Mike Pence

As many of you are aware, I have been approached about running for the United States Senate in 2010. Karen and I have been humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement which we received from across Indiana, especially since there are several capable and qualified candidates already seeking the Republican nomination. After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House and to seek reelection to the 6th Congressional District in 2010.

I am staying for two reasons. First because I have been given the responsibility to shape the Republican comeback as a member of the House Republican Leadership and, second, because I believe Republicans will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.

One year ago I was unanimously elected chairman of the House Republican Conference, the third ranking position in House Republican leadership. I accepted that responsibility because I believed that if Republicans returned to their conservative roots, they could win back the confidence of the American people. And I see it happening every day.

As a Republican leader, I have the opportunity to shape the policy and strategy that will return a Republican majority to the Congress in 2010. So my duty is here, in the House, serving my constituents and my colleagues as we fight to restore a conservative majority to the Congress of the United States. I am not going to leave my post when the fate of the House hangs in the balance. My place is here, in that fight, with the brave men and women who will be winning that victory for the American people.

I also am staying because I believe we will win back the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, and I am excited to be a part of it. While the opportunity to serve in the United States Senate is significant, I believe the best chance this nation has to restore fiscal discipline, common sense and common values to Washington, D.C., is for conservatives to retake the House in 2010. When we win back the House, we will make history and we will have the power to stop the big government plans of this administration and to steer our nation to a more secure, free and prosperous future.

Last fall, Karen and I completed our first full marathon. We finished the 26.2 miles in just under seven hours despite the rigors on this 50 year-old body and despite many opportunities to step off the track and call it a day. Our inspiration for the day came from a verse in the Bible that reads, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

I believe the race marked out for me in 2010 is in the House of Representatives. I believe that if we run that race with conviction and endurance, we can win back Congress for the common sense and the common values of the American people, turn this tide of big government back and set the stage for a boundless American future.

Thanks to you all who prayed our little family through this difficult decision. I hope that God will someday permit me to perform some wider service to the people of Indiana and the country, but for now my focus must remain on finishing the job I was elected to do by my constituents and my Republican colleagues; representing conservative values in Congress and winning back the House of Representatives.

Pence Invites Obama to meet with House Republicans

(L to R) Dick Armey, Chris Dickson, Mike Pence
By Perry Bacon Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 26, 2010; A13

President Obama will meet Friday with perhaps his harshest critics outside of Fox News headquarters: the House Republicans.

The House GOP invited Obama this year to speak at its annual retreat, which will be held in Baltimore from Thursday to Saturday. Coming only two days after Obama's State of the Union address, the session could herald better relations between the two sides in 2010 -- or lift their tensions to an even higher level.

The White House and congressional Republicans spent much of last year bickering over whom to blame for their inability to work together, as the administration constantly blasted the House GOP for unanimously opposing the economic stimulus, while Republicans said Obama and House Democrats refused to incorporate their ideas. A private meeting at the White House that included Obama and House Republicans in December on job growth turned into a griping session, with the president accusing the GOP of "scaring" Americans about his policies while Republicans said the anxiety in the country stemmed from his agenda.

So far this year, nothing has changed. House Republicans have said Obama's policies led to the defeat of Democrat Martha Coakley in the special Senate election in Massachusetts. White House advisers, in turn, have blamed the GOP for the negative tone of Washington politics.

Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the No. 3 in the House GOP leadership and the organizer of the retreat, said House Republicans wanted a stronger relationship with Obama and said the GOP's goals of working with Obama and winning this fall's elections are not in conflict. "We serve our party best when we serve our country," he said. But he added that "the conversation with the president has to be a two-way street."

In addition to Obama, the House GOP will hear from Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, one of the party's new stars, as well as former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former House majority leader Richard K. Armey, who heads up the conservative activist group FreedomWorks. Party leaders said they will focus on discussing a policy agenda for their candidates in the midterm elections.

Last year's retreat was at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. This year, worried about the appearance of a staying at a posh hotel as unemployment hovers over 10 percent, the Republicans have opted for a Marriott near the Inner Harbor. Earlier this month, Democrats eschewed holding a retreat at a luxury resort and heard from experts and the president in the Capitol's visitor center.

'Maybe I'm a masochist'

While he deals with a energized GOP, Obama will also face an increasingly anxious left of his party in Congress. The Progressive Caucus, a group of more than 80 of the most liberal members in Congress, says Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts was not because Obama and Democrats were too liberal, but because they were insufficiently so.

"I don't think it was about health care, it was because change didn't happen fast enough -- that's the frustration," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), one of the group's leaders. "I believe that if we had pursued the populist, progressive agenda, such as a public option, we could have energized our base."

A Washington Post-Kaiser-Harvard poll of Massachusetts voters conducted after Brown's election showed that young and minority voters, who formed the backbone of Obama's support in 2008, represented a smaller percentage of the electorate in last Tuesday's special election. It's not clear whether policy issues or Obama's absence from the ballot caused some of these voters not to go to the polls.

Whatever the reason for the Massachusetts loss, Rep. Raul Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), leader of the Progressive Caucus, has outlined an agenda for 2010 that he says will appeal to the base: increased funding for education, a job-creation bill bigger than the $154 billion version that passed the House in December over the objections of many Democratic moderates, and immigration reform. The latter in particular is unlikely to pass this year.

"We are going to push," he said. "Maybe I'm masochist, but I'm still optimistic."

Self-evident truths?

The tea party is coming to Capitol Hill. Hours before the president's speech on Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the lawmakers most closely allied with the movement, and FreedomWorks will hold an event with conservative activists and lawmakers to tout a "Declaration of Health Care Independence." An aide to Bachmann said the proposal would "protect the rights of the American to make their own health decisions," as well as include 10 conservative ideas for future health reform.

The health-care event is one of the first steps the tea-party movement will take this year as it seeks to expand its influence. At a news conference Monday, FreedomWorks put out a list of candidates it is backing or opposing in key races this year. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R), a candidate for the Senate; Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.); and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) each are labeled an "Enemy of Liberty" whom the group will oppose. FreedomWorks will back GOP Senate candidates Marco Rubio (Fla.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) -- each, according to the group, is a "Champion of Freedom."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rasmussen: Pence (R) 47%, Bayh (D) 44%

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is another Democratic incumbent who could find himself in a tough reelection battle this fall. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds that Bayh attracts support from just 44% or 45% of voters when matched against his top potential Republican challengers.

Congressman Mike Pence is reportedly considering running against Bayh. At this time, he attracts 47% of the vote while Bayh picks up 44%.

A former Republican congressman, John Hostettler, has already indicated he will challenge Bayh. In that match-up, it’s Bayh with a three-point edge, 44% to 41%.

Freshman State Senator Marlin Stutzman has announced that he is in the race. He trails the incumbent by 12 points, 45% to 33%.

Any incumbent who attracts less than 50% support at this point in a campaign is considered potentially vulnerable. However, incumbents have many advantages in a campaign, and Bayh has already raised a large amount of cash for his campaign.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

As in many other states, there is a strong correlation between support for the congressional health care plan and voting behavior. Just 37% of Indiana voters favor the plan, while 60% oppose it. Those figures are similar to the national average and include 16% who Strongly Favor the plan and 48% who are Strongly Opposed.

Those who Strongly Favor the plan overwhelmingly prefer Bayh. Among those who are Strongly Opposed, 80% say they’d vote for Pence, 70% for Hostettler and 56% for Stutzman. In Stutzman’s case, 17% of those who Strongly Oppose the plan would vote for Bayh, and 26% are either not sure or would prefer a third option.

In 2008, Barack Obama narrowly carried Indiana with 50% of the vote. However, just 43% of Hoosier voters currently approve of the way Obama is performing his role as president. That decline is consistent with the national trend as measured in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Indiana voters now disapprove of the president’s performance. The current figures include 16% who Strongly Approve and 48% who Strongly Disapprove.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels earns approval from 70% of the state’s voters while 29% disapprove. Those figures include 35% who Strongly Approve and 12% who Strongly Disapprove.

Just four percent (4%) of Indiana voters rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent while 56% say it’s in poor shape. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say it’s getting better, and 43% say it’s getting worse.

Seventy-two percent (72%) say it’s at least somewhat likely there will be another terrorist attack in the United States during the coming year. Nationally, fears of such an attack jumped dramatically following the Christmas Day bombing attempt. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Indiana voters want the bomber tried by the military as a terrorist while 16% want him tried in civilian courts. Seventy-four percent (74%) favor the use of full-body scanners for airport security.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mike Pence: Why is Deficit Commission barred from recommending discretionary cuts?

posted at 3:10 pm on January 21, 2010

by Ed Morrissey
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There are two ways to reduce deficits: spend less or take more. Looks like the new bipartisan deficit commission will be limited to just one option, according to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), as he blasts the idea as “toothless” on the House floor today. Furthermore, the idea that Democrats want to get serious about fiscal responsibility after increasing spending 24% and demanding to lift the debt ceiling another $1,900,000,000,000 is nothing short of breathtaking:

Well, if you are concerned about runaway federal spending and a rising national debt, you won’t find a lot of comfort in today’s headlines. After passing a government takeover of health care costing over a trillion dollars and budget that will triple the national debt in the next ten years, Democrat leaders are now talking about actually bringing legislation that will raise our debt limit by $1.9 trillion. But we are told by the same Democratic leadership that they are going to get serious in 2010 about fiscal discipline. I guess along those lines, President Obama is expected to announce a bipartisan commission that will look for ways to reduce deficits in the future. Sounds like an appealing idea, but the devil’s always in the details in Washington, D.C.

The president’s commission, on close examination, actually looks like a guard dog with no bite. Looks like fiscal discipline but it could easily be ignored by Congress. Remarkably, the president’s proposal, as I have heard about it, is prohibited from recommending cuts in any discretionary spending. That will be about $1.4 trillion, and the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that’s completely off limits. And as many of us know, with the partisan bias and the structure of it, as reported, it’s likely this commission would just be an excuse to raise taxes.

The American people don’t want more government, more taxes and more political posturing about spending. They want this Congress to show the character and the strength to make the hard choices to put our fiscal house in order.”

As I wrote last month, the entire notion of a bipartisan commission on budgeting is ludicrous. We already have one: it’s called Congress, and the citizens of the US send their representatives to Washington to make those decisions in the open, not in some smoke-filled backroom that allows Congress to escape accountability.

It’s expressly designed to hike taxes rather than cut spending, and the clarity of this is rather obvious if one thinks about it. Would Congress suddenly become wildly unpopular if it cut 10% from the federal budget in an open process? Would Congress become wildly popular if it raised taxes 10% in an open process? The answer to both questions is a resounding no, which tells you why Democrats desperately want the fig leaf of a bipartisan commission to provide cover for the tax hikes they need to pay for their radical legislative agenda.

Pence has this exactly correct — and it’s no accident that one of the voices demanding this commission is Evan Bayh, the man Pence may well challenge in this year’s Senate race in Indiana. Bayh’s attempt to look moderate is nothing more than a cover for a radical tax hike that will kill whatever weak economic recovery we can muster in 2010.

Bill Kristol Wades In Again On Mike Pence vs Evan Bayh

In December, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol called for Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the ultra conservative Chairman of the House Republican Conference, to “mount a serious challenge to Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who’s up in 2010.” “If he won, he’d be a leading possibility for national office as soon as 2012,” wrote Kristol.

On Fox News last Friday, Kristol indicated that Pence was moving towards a Senate run, saying that “the results of Massachusetts are going to generate all kinds of people jumping into the race you haven’t been expected to.” Watch it:

Now, with Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts last night, Politico reports that “Pence is now considering a campaign of his own against Sen. Evan Bayh.” MSNBC’s First Read adds that they’re “hearing whispers in Indiana that national Republicans think they can convince House GOP leader Mike Pence to channel his presidential ambition via an Evan Bayh challenge.” Hotline’s Reid Wilson reports that “Pence and his aides will meet with top staffers at the NRSC tomorrow” to discuss a possible challenge to Bayh.

For his part, Bayh is using the Massachusetts special election to tack to the right and lash out at the “left.” In an interview with ABC News yesterday, Bayh called Brown’s win “a wake-up call” that moderates and independents “don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems.” “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well,” said Bayh. And this past weekend, Bayh criticized “congressional elites” who “mistook their mandate.”

Mike Pence Praises Supreme Court Decision In Citizens United Case


WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Congressman Mike Pence issued the
statement today after the United States Supreme
of Citizens United in the case of Citizens United v. Federal

"Freedom won today in the Supreme Court. Today's ruling in
the Citizens
United case takes us one step closer to the Founding
Fathers' vision of
free speech, a vision that is cherished by all
Americans and one
Congress has a responsibility to protect. If
the freedom of speech means
anything, it means protecting the
right of private citizens to voice
opposition or support for their
elected representatives. The fact that
the Court overturned a
20-year precedent speaks volumes about the
importance of this

"In 2003, the Supreme Court unwisely supported the oppressive
restrictions on free speech that were part of the 2002 campaign
law. At the time, I was honored to stand with Senator
Mitch McConnell
and various state and national organizations
in challenging this
historic error in court. Since that time, the
Court has taken important
steps toward restoring to the American
people their First Amendment
rights. This decision is a victory on
behalf of those who cherish the
fundamental freedoms protected
by the First Amendment."

Pence Discusses MA Senate Election and Health Care Legislation on MSNBC

Pence Discusses Health Care and Massachusetts Senate Election on "Daily Rundown"

Mike Pence To Join Pro-Life Americans At March For Life In Washington, DC

Jan. 22 - Pence To Join Pro-Life Americans At
March For Life In Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Mike Pence will join
thousands of pro-life Americans at the
2010 March for Life in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Joseph Farah's Yellow Tale

Farah's yellow tale

Posted: June 20, 2006
1:00 am Eastern

By Rebecca Hagelin
© 2010

Joseph Farah's column published yesterday fails virtually every test of Journalism 101.

In "Mike Pence sells out," he makes numerous false charges and engages in character assassination based on sloppy research.

Other than that, it's a pretty good piece of journalism. Yellow journalism, that is.

Joseph is a friend and former colleague, and he usually does a pretty good job of getting things right. But this time, he's just plain wrong. Even so, I wouldn't dream of attacking his character. But I will boldly attack a Farah product that is faulty, especially one that maligns a good man and honorable statesman such as Mike Pence.

In delivering what he claims is "the whole story" about the congressman from Indiana and his stance on immigration, Farah concocts an extremely yellow tale – instead of investigating the facts.

For example, he initially claimed that Helen Krieble, who runs the Krieble Foundation, was the widow of founder Vernon Krieble. In fact, she's his granddaughter. (After someone pointed out this ridiculous error, Joseph did fix that part of the column).

A simple phone call, before publication, would have prevented this rookie error. But in committing this oversight, Joseph was only warming up.

Let's consider some other specifics:

  1. FARAH FALLACY: Pence "sold out" because of Helen Krieble, who runs the Krieble Foundation. Mrs. Krieble, he says, runs a horse farm and needs immigrant workers, so she "gave a chunk of her money to the Heritage Foundation to devise a national immigration plan that would permit illegals to stay."

    FACT: Although the Kriebles have for many years donated to Heritage for general operations, neither Helen Krieble nor the Krieble Foundation has given any money to Heritage for immigration policy development.

    FACT: Neither Helen Krieble nor the Krieble Foundation has ever given Mike Pence money for any reason (according to the Federal Election Commission – a fact easily available to the public and inquiring journalists).

    Even though he made serious accusations, based on bad information, Farah still claims he has insider information that we're supposed to believe.

  2. FARAH FALLACY: "Heritage dutifully responded and produced the Krieble plan, which bears a striking resemblance to the Pence plan."

    FACT: Mrs. Krieble delivered a March 1, 2006, lecture at Heritage in which she explained how she would structure a guest-worker program. And that's all we've seen of her "plan."

    FACT: On Oct. 19, 2004 – that's 2004, folks – Heritage produced guiding principles upon which any immigration reform must be based. We've also written analyses on nearly every aspect of the complex issue, all of which are easily available at But for journalists who don't know how to conduct basic Web research on the organizations and individuals they're slamming, here's a quick overview of our principles:

    • Consent of the Governed – Non-citizens do not have a right to American residency or citizenship without the consent of the American people.
    • National Security – Secure borders, especially in a time of terrorist threat, are crucial to American national security.
    • The Rule of Law – Immigration is no exception to the principle that the rule of law requires the fair, firm and equitable enforcement of the law.
    • Patriotic Assimilation – A successful immigration policy must include and emphasize a deliberate and self-confident policy that welcomes and assimilates permanent immigrants.

"The first priority is national security," Heritage experts Edwin Meese III and Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., write in an updated paper that applies our core principles to any temporary-worker program. "Congress must take steps to ensure that immigration policy, or the lack of immigration policy enforcement, does not undermine national security; and, from a national security perspective, preventing illegal entry and reducing unlawful presence in the United States is an imperative." Furthermore, "there should be no amnesty program for illegal immigrants." In fact, in an op-ed in the New York Times, Meese criticized the Senate immigration proposal for being an amnesty program.

No one could reasonably conclude that Pence is soft on border security after reading his plan (which incorporates the House security plan and is available on his website) or the May 23 lecture Pence gave at The Heritage Foundation. In both instances, he stresses that border security is Job No. 1. His Heritage lecture literally says "Step One: Secure Borders" and "Step Two: No Amnesty." Only then does he outline his temporary-worker program.

To the extent that Rep. Pence agrees with our principles, we're with him. We do have some serious reservations about his plan in its current form, and we're happy to work with him (as we would with any policymaker of any party) to make his plan better. For now, though, it remains a work in progress. And it bears mentioning that Heritage continues to adhere, on this issue and others, to its long-held policy of not endorsing specific pieces of legislation.

"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story," the saying goes. But Farah has done just that. In the process, he has maligned Mrs. Krieble and Rep. Pence – great Americans making great sacrifices to make America a better place.

There's no question that Joseph Farah is a red-blooded, true-blue American. But on this story, he comes out yellow.

Related special offer:

"ALIEN NATION: Secrets of the Invasion – Why America's government invites rampant illegal immigration"

Rebecca Hagelin is a media commentator, public speaker on family and the culture, and the author of "Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture that's Gone Stark Raving Mad." To learn more about her book or to invite Rebecca to speak at your event, visit Rebecca's next book, "30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family," will be released by Regnery on April 6. Rebecca also was a frequent guest on "The Dickson/Chappell Report"

MSNBC blog Weighs In On Pence vs. Bayh

by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under:

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Both the liberal and conservative blogospheres weigh in on the whispers -- which First Read wrote about this morning -- that Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana is considering challenging Sen. Evan Bayh (D). And while liberal writers and bloggers see Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s victory as a sign to ignore Republican gains, cease calls for bipartisanship and simply start passing legislation, conservatives see his win as a door-opener to future victories and Congressional clout.

Red State’s Brian Faughnan comments that a potential Pence move, which he writes might inspire strong Republican contenders in other vulnerable districts: “If Pence gets into this race, Bayh will have a top-notch opponent who can raise money, and who’s in tune with the mood of the voters. In a state that looks likely to be deep-red again, Bayh will face all he can handle. And in the next few weeks, we’ll likely see many more top-notch GOP challengers emerge for many races.”

On the liberal end of the spectrum, The Washington Independent’s David Weigel says a Pence move against Bayh is “the sort of thing the GOP needs -- credible threats against incumbent Democrats to scare them into voting down their party’s agenda. Bayh, who’s never lacking for a platform to trash his party for not governing in a 'moderate' enough way, is a good target for this.”

And the Center for American Progress’ ThinkProgress blog has this to say of Bayh: “Bayh is using the Massachusetts special election to tack to the right and lash out at the ‘left.’ In an interview with ABC News yesterday, Bayh called Brown’s win ‘a wake-up call’ that moderates and independents ‘don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems.’ Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country -- that’s not going to work too well,’ said Bayh.”

Christian Heinze at GOP12 picks up on a new post-Brown victory Internet phenomenon. He excerpts from an article by The Hill’s Bob Cusack: “Several Scott Brown-for-president domain names have been purchased over the last week. The rights to were bought last Friday, while and were acquired on Tuesday.” But Heinze points out that Brown’s pro-choice and pro-civil union positions were already GOP-tested during former New York Mayor Rudy and 2008 candidate Rudy Giuliani’s campaign, and failed.

Citing the early political setbacks of several other presidents, Jim Geraghty argues that President Obama’s pre-White House career never afforded him an opportunity “when the voting electorate has given them the thumbs-down and [he] recalibrated, taking a more thorough measure of what the public thinks....

“Now the public is yelling, as loud as it can, to Obama to stop and reverse direction. Can Obama move back to the center? He might, and for all our sakes, I hope he does. But unlike many, many other folks who have sat in his office, he's never had to do it before.”

The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel on the Democrats’ best strategy going forward: “This special election is a wake up call and should lead to a course correction. The Democratic party can no longer run as a managerial and technocratic party. Going populist is now smart politics and good policy… here's a no-brainer: Isn't it time to give up on that faith in genteel post-partisanship when the GOP knifes you at every turn? Nice isn't going create more jobs or get health care reform. Before pivoting to a laser-like focus on jobs and the economy, passing the strongest possible healthcare bill as quickly as is feasible is a top priority.”

More: “What comes next will test the President's willingness to learn the lessons of this last year. Get tough, get bold, kiss 'post-partisanship' goodbye and fight hard for jobs and a just economy of shared prosperity. And put yourself squarely back on the side of working people.”


By Rep. Mike Pence

What a difference a year makes. A year ago, Democrats expanded their majorities in Congress on the coattails of President Barack Obama's historic election. The chattering class was giving Republicans no chance of stopping the freight train of big government the Democrat majority was planning as the solution to every problem facing the country.

But the history of last year tells a different story. House Republicans stood courageously together, offering common sense solutions to address our nation's challenges, and worked hard to slow down the big government liberal agenda that was being forced on the American people.

The fight started before the president even took the oath of office as Democrat leaders charted a course for the country that put special interests in the driver's seat and the American people in the back. As the president's own chief of staff once said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama moved quickly to impose radical change on a country that didn't want it.

First out of the gate was the $787 billion so-called stimulus bill that was nothing more than a wish-list of liberal spending priorities. Following the policies of more spending and more debt -- the same policies that got us into this mess -- would not get our economy moving again. House Republicans responded with an economic recovery plan that would have delivered immediate tax relief to struggling Americans.

The Republican plan embodied conservative principles that have always led to economic prosperity -- tax relief for working Americans and small businesses. When the votes were counted, a majority of Democrats defeated our proposal yet stood stunned as every House Republican said "no" to more government and more debt.

That vote was a defining moment for House Republicans as it put the White House and Democratic congressional leadership on notice that the time to go along to get along was over.

But Democrats didn't get the message. Instead of working with Republicans on solutions to get our country back on track, they continued down the road of big government and out of control spending.

In fact, as national unemployment continued its climb toward a heartbreaking 10 percent, the White House and Democrat congressional leaders unveiled one job-killing idea after another. Their budget-busting proposals will cost $3.7 trillion and raise taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.

They introduced an energy tax that would raise energy prices on businesses and homes and inflict more pain at the pump. And despite enormous pubic opposition, they continue to try and pass a government takeover of health care that they wrote with special interests behind closed doors. The Senate-passed plan is 2,700 pages long, will raise taxes, raise health care costs, mandate insurance and fund abortion coverage.

These may be the challenges we face but the solutions are not found in the halls of Congress or in the offices of government bureaucrats. There are found in the common sense of the American people -- at kitchen tables, in tractors and combines and coffee shops across this great land.

Whether it is working toward energy independence, lowering health care costs or fixing our economy, we labor in vain unless we put the American people at the center of our future.

That is why House Republicans have offered American solutions to the challenges we face, not government solutions. We introduced a comprehensive strategy to achieve energy independence, common-sense reform to lower health care costs, and a responsible federal budget that lowers deficits without raising taxes. You can learn more about our solutions by visiting

If the events of this past year taught us anything, it's that the American people want us to win their country back. And Republicans are fighting to do just that. We will seize every opportunity to take our ideas and proposals to the president, to Democrats in Congress, and to the people. Most importantly, we will continue to fight for the common sense and common values of the American people in 2010.

There are some liberals in power who feel that victory is near, but the American people can rest assured that House Republicans have only begun to fight. We are in a battle to preserve all that makes America great and now is the time to do our duty.

The freight train of big government may be losing steam but liberals in Washington won't give up without a fight. House Republicans are in the fight. But we need your help.

Do all you can because a minority in Congress plus the American people equals a majority. With your help we can win back America.

Michelle Malkin: Run, Mike Pence, run!


Run, Mike Pence, run!

By Michelle Malkin • January 20, 2010 11:44 AM

I want this to happen, don’t you?

Don’t worry about the support of the NRSC or Beltway Republicans. The money will come, Rep. Pence — from grass-roots conservatives across the country who have appreciated your stalwart, unwavering, unapologetic, explicit, and proven commitment to the Constitution and conservative principles.

Go for it:

In the wake of winning MA, GOPers are looking to put 1 more state in play if they can convince House GOP Conference chair Mike Pence to run against Sen. Evan Bayh (R-IN).

Pence and his aides will meet with top staffers at the NRSC tomorrow, several sources tell Hotline OnCall, where they will discuss a possible bid. The NRSC has polled IN, and their survey shows Pence in a competitive position, though he trails Bayh in initial matchups.

GOPers have failed to recruit a top-tier challenger against the popular 2-term incumbent, thanks largely to Bayh’s bankroll. He had $12.7M in the bank as of Sept. 30, and GOPers expect he would be able to raise many more millions before Election Day.

But Pence has a base, especially as the number 3 GOPer in the House, and top Senate strategists believe he would be able to raise the money to compete with Bayh. He also has the national ambition, and Senate strategists plan to point out those ambitions are difficult to achieve without a Senate seat.

Yet Pence’s team is acutely aware of the financial challenge such a race would pose, and he had just $462K CoH at the end of the 3rd quarter. Pence’s decision will rest heavily on whether the NRSC would make a financial commitment to help make up the early difference, a source close to Pence said. The source also said Pence is unlikely to turn down the offer soon, indicating he is taking the notion seriously.

Mike Pence Eyes Senate Run

Alarm bells: Brown upends 2010 – Pence eyes Senate run – 2012-ers congratulate Brown – GOP and Dem insurgents take heart – Ford takes leave from Merrill

By: on January 20, 2010 @ 6:00 AM

“ON NOTICE” — The first election of 2010 is over. The White House is reeling. Republicans are cocky again. Democrats are reaching for the panic button. And Scott Brown is the new senator-elect from Massachusetts. The National Republican Senatorial Committee’s John Cornyn warned in a statement: “Democrats nationwide should be on notice: Americans are ready to hold the party in power accountable for their irresponsible spending and out-of-touch agenda, and they’re ready for real change in Washington.”

“We had the machine scared and scrambling, and for them it is just the beginning of an election year filled with surprises. They will be challenged again and again across this country,” Brown said in his victory speech.

As Republicans bask, Dems fret and Bay Staters take stock of their new senator, here’s POLITICO’s Morning Score, by Alexander Burns, Mike Allen and the POLITICO national politics team.

Sign up for the daily e-mail here:

RALLYING ‘ROUND THE WINNER: Republican leaders sent out a flurry of statements cheering Brown’s 52 percent to 47 percent win over Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday night. “The voters in Massachusetts, like Americans everywhere, have made it abundantly clear where they stand on health care,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s Pete Sessions agreed: “Should Democrats continue to ignore these results and double down on their attempt to ram a government health care takeover down the throats of the American people, they will have far more at stake than a Senate seat in Massachusetts.”

GOP candidates across the country tried to tie themselves to the Brown campaign — from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who released a statement demanding “no delay in seating our newest Republican senator,” to Marco Rubio, who reacted: “In 2010's first major election, voters have demonstrated that ideas and issues reign supreme in our democracy and that nothing comes easy when you stand for the wrong things.”

PENCE FOR SENATE? POLITICO's Josh Kraushaar reports that at least one Republican might do more than cheer for Massachusetts: House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence is now considering a campaign of his own against Sen. Evan Bayh. The outspoken conservative could effectively clear the Republican primary field and give his party a top-tier opponent for one of the best-funded Democratic incumbents. Pence issued a statement on the Massachusetts race, saying the “American people are telling Washington, DC enough is enough. In this special election in Massachusetts, they have sent a deafening message to the political class.”

MENENDEZ TAKES IT ON THE CHIN: “I have no interest in sugarcoating what happened in Massachusetts,” the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman said in a statement. “We will sort through the lessons of Massachusetts: the need to redouble our efforts on the economy, the need to show that our commitment to real change is as powerful as it was in 2008, and the reality that we cannot take a single thing for granted and cannot afford even a second of complacency.”

WHEN IN ROME … Patrick Kennedy said Tuesday the election showed voters are looking to inflict damage on politicians in 2010: “It’s like in Roman times; they’d be trotted out to the coliseum, and the lions would be brought out. ... I mean, they’re wanting blood, and they’re not getting it so they want to protest, and, you know, you can’t blame them. But frankly, the fact is we inherited this mess, and it’s becoming ours.”

“ALARM CLOCK” RINGS — POLITICO’s Smith, Martin and Harris capture the choices facing Democrats in the wake of the Massachusetts defeat: “The same forces of disgust with establishment politicians and hunger for change in Washington that vaulted Obama to power 14 months ago can be harnessed with equal success by people who want to stop his agenda in its tracks. The argument that will now consume Democrats is over the remedy — a disagreement that once again opens up the party’s ideological gulf and vastly complicates Obama’s task in trying to push his signature health care agenda to final passage. ... ‘The alarm clock has gone off,’ said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, who called for a sharper and more confident leftward tack. ‘We fell into the trap of postpartisanship.’ ... But other Democrats were already urging caution, and a shift toward lower spending and lower expectations that would severely cramp Obama's ambitious agenda. ‘There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, who is up for reelection this year, told ABC News.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mike Pence to attend Southern Republican Leadership Conference

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence might be eyeing a White House bid.
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence might be eyeing a White House bid.

Washington (CNN) – Add one more name to the growing list of potential 2012 presidential contenders attending the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April: Mike Pence.

An aide to the Indiana Republican confirmed the speaking appearance.

Pence, chairman of the House Republican Conference, has a serious following among fiscal conservatives and has already made trips to the early proving grounds of Iowa and South Carolina.

By delivering remarks to the SRLC - a major gathering of Republican officials and activists from 14 southern states, held this year in New Orleans - Pence is signaling that he intends to remain part of the early presidential chatter. The event is held every two to four years and usually conducts a presidential straw poll.

Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are all making appearances at the event, but Mitt Romney is not. Mike Huckabee has not yet said if he will attend.

Mike Pence Call To Arms


Hey folks,

I wanted to make sure you don’t miss the charade that’s being carried out on the floor of the U.S. House today. The Drill-Nothing Democrats finally brought their no-energy energy bill to the floor of the House today for a vote.

We need your help to defeat this bill. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the Democrats in your state delegation to vote “NO” on Speaker Pelosi’s energy bill.

They bypassed the entire committee process in order to do this. In fact, just last week, the drill-nothing Democrat Congress announced they would bring an energy bill to the floor that includes more drilling, and now they say Republicans have to take “yes” for an answer.

I would suggest that they look at the fine print. The drill-nothing Democrat Congress has brought a bill that actually includes basically “drill-almost-nothing” provisions.

They say “yes” to drilling, but not in Alaska, not in the Eastern Gulf and not within 50 miles. They say “yes” to drilling but states must decide, even though they get absolutely no revenues for choosing to drill. I guess states are just going to allow drilling out of the goodness of their hearts. They say “yes” to drilling but litigation rules will allow environmental lawyers to tie up all leases from the very day they’re filed.

It’s time to end the charade! Stop playing politics with American energy independence! Bring a full and fair debate to this floor, and we will achieve a bipartisan result.

We need your help to defeat this bill. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and tell the Democrats in your state delegation to vote “NO” on Speaker Pelosi’s energy bill.