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Inside Politics

- - Monday, August 8, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Moore tells Obama 'show some guts'

Liberal firebrand Michael Moore called on President Obama to respond to the U.S. credit downgrade by arresting the leaders of the credit-ratings agencies.

On his Twitter feed Monday, the Oscar-winning film director also blamed the 2008 economic collapse on Standard & Poors — apparently because it and other credit-ratings agencies did not downgrade mortgage-based bonds, which encouraged the housing bubble and let it spread throughout the economy.

"Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poors. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008 & now they will do it again," Mr. Moore wrote.

Standard & Poors, one of three key debt agencies, stripped the U.S. federal government of its AAA status Friday night and reduced it to AA+ for the first time in the nations history.

Mr. Moore went on to note that the "owners of S&P are old Bush family friends," continuing a theme he has developed through several films about capitalism as essentially a crony system for the rich and Wall Street, especially the Bush family.

HOUSE

Rangel: 'We look like a bunch of clowns'

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, said Monday the congressional fight over raising the debt ceiling has seriously damaged the country's standing in the eyes of the world.

"What we have done is really an embarrassment to ourselves," the veteran Democratic lawmaker said during an appearance on the Washington Times-affiliated America's Morning News radio program.

"Nobody would ever believe that a handful of people were willing to take Americans over the cliff in order to reach a political goal," he said. "We look like a bunch of clowns."

Mr. Rangel said it was too easy to pin blame on the tea party alone.

"The truth of the matter is, it's the United States of America that scared the hell out of the investors."

The congressman said the first step to fixing the country's fiscal woes is tax reform that would bring in more revenue.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Huntsman faults Obama's anti-business climate

NORTH CHARLESTON — Jon Huntsman Jr. says the downgrade in the nation's credit rating proves it's time for the country to reverse what he called an unfriendly attitude toward businesses during President Obama's tenure.

The GOP presidential hopeful is telling a South Carolina audience that the nation must grow its way out of this hole.

Mr. Huntsman is languishing in early polls nationally and in early primary states.

The former Utah governor met with reporters in North Charleston on Monday after a 90-minute tour of Boeing's $750 million plant.

He says if Mr. Obama is serious about creating jobs, he will get the National Labor Relations Board off Boeing's back. The NLRB has filed a complaint against Boeing alleging that it built the plant in South Carolina to avoid unionized labor in Washington state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Pace accelerates; Romney campaign switches gears

CONCORD — Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is shifting into a new gear.

The Republican has spent much of the year laying low so much that more than three weeks have passed since he last held a campaign event in New Hampshire.

His pace is starting to accelerate. The GOP front-runner made three stops in the first-in-the-nation primary state Monday and will return five more times before the end of the month. Aides said to expect more visits in Iowa and Florida, too.

Mr. Romney also is getting more aggressive with his message. That showed Monday, when he launched into a blistering critique of President Obama on the nation's debt. He accused Mr. Obama of blaming other people for the woes.

Mr. Romney himself has been criticized as absent from the debt-ceiling debate.

TEXAS

Billionaire Charles Wyly killed in Colorado crash

DALLAS — Texas billionaire and philanthropist Charles Wyly, whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, has died after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said. He was 77.

Mr. Wyly, who maintained a home near Aspen, Colo., was turning onto a highway near the local airport when his Porsche was hit by a sport utility vehicle Sunday, the Colorado State Patrol said in a statement. Mr. Wyly died at Aspen Valley Hospital.

The other driver suffered moderate injuries.

In Texas, Mr. Wyly and his younger brother, Sam, along with their wives, gave $20 million to help build Dallas' performing arts center. They also donated big, but quietly, to Republican causes: The brothers had said they'd given about $10 million to GOP candidates and causes since the 1970s.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was one of the biggest political beneficiaries, receiving more than $300,000 combined from the Wylys since 2000, according to Texas Ethics Commission reports.

From wire dispatches and staff reports