Earlier this month, President Obama went to Florida where he spent the bulk of his time raising money at overtly partisan fundraisers for his own reelection campaign. But by also scheduling a 34-minute detour to the Florida Atlantic University, where he gave a speech (also quite partisan) promoting the Buffett Rule — a policy that everyone in Washington knows is a political gimmick that has no chance of becoming law — Obama was able to bill a large chunk of the trip to taxpayers as “official” business.
This scam has become so brazen that even Obama’s most loyal media courtiers are pleading with him to drop the charade. Yesterday, after MSNBC’s Mike O’Brien tweeted out, “How much longer do we have to pretend that these POTUS events aren’t campaign events?” The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein responded, “Seriously. This is campaigning. Just call it that. It’s not that dirty of a word.”
Obama is not the first president to use the privileges of the White House to his advantage politically. If everyone else did it, why can’t Obama? And legally, Obama can. But that does not mean he should not pay a political price for his hypocrisy. This is a man who ran on “Hope and Change” after all.
Obama is the leader of the executive branch of the United States Government. His use of taxpayer money sets an example for every other federal employee in the world. When Obama cynically misappropriates taxpayer funds for his own personal gain, it sends the message that it is OK for every other government employee to do the same.
It tells Secret Service agents who travel to Colombia on the taxpayer dime that it is OK to bring hookers back to their taxpayer funded hotel rooms. Prostitution is legal in Colombia. Everybody does it. What is the harm?
Obama’s example tells GSA employees planning conferences to spend as much money as possible. We’re in a recession. Government spending helps the economy. What is the harm?
Yesterday the Republican National Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office demanding an audit of Obama’s trips to battleground states. Now the RNC has no authority to tell the GAO what to investigate, only a member of Congress can do that. Expect some Republican to make that request soon.
Romney: Texas Gov. Rick Perry endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday after Newt Gingrich officially dropped out.
Veepstakes: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., gave a foreign policy speech at The Brookings Institution Wednesday. He was introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. The Washington Post reports that immigrant activists are working with Rubio on an amnesty plan and that the White House is trying to shut those negotiations down.
Polls: A new Fox News poll released yesterday shows Obama and Romney tied at 46 percent. Gallup’s Daily Tracking Poll has Obama up 49 percent to 43 percent. And a new Harvard poll shows that Obama is losing support from younger voters.
Around the Bigs
The Washington Post, Supreme Court seems receptive to parts of Arizona immigration law: Supreme Court Justices on both sides of the ideological divide expressed skepticism with the Obama administration’s argument that Arizona’s requirement that police check the immigration status of people they arrest or detain is an impermissible intrusion on Congress’s power to set immigration policy.
The New York Times, Fed Cuts U.S. Growth Forecast for 2013 and 2014: The Federal Reserve released a set of economic forecasts yesterday showing that their expectations for domestic economic growth for this year have increased modestly since January.
ABC News, House to Vote Friday on 1-year Extension of Student Loan Rate: House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the House of Representatives will vote Friday to extend the current student loan interest rate of 3.4 percent for one year. “We will pay for this by taking money from one of the slush funds in the president’s health care law,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
The Wall Street Journal, The Bite of Redistricting Shrinks Ranks of Blue Dogs: With the loss of two more members in primaries Tuesday, the Democrat Blue Dogs caucus — known for their fiscal conservatism and the central role they played in the 2010 debate over health care — has shrunk from 54 members in 2010 to just 23 members today. And five more are set to retire this year.
The Washington Examiner‘s Joel Gehrke posts a video of an EPA administrator saying he would “crucify” a few oil and gas companies to get the rest of the industry to comply with the laws.
The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Federal Budget in Pictures has many great images, including this one shoeing that the Top 10 Percent of Earners Paid 71 Percent of Federal Income Taxes.
AEI’s James Pethokoukis identifies “Romney’s three keys to victory in November.”
Paul Begala tells Talking Points Memo that Democrats will compare Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to Sarah Palin if Romney chooses him as vice president.
Daily Kos‘ Jed Lewison says Romney “has failed to live up to his reputation as a flip-flopper.”
Democracy Arsenal‘s Heather Hurlburt looks at the real differences between Rubio and Obama on foreign policy.