- - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GOP

2012 theme: Obama made things worse

Republicans seem to have settled informally on a message for 2012: President Obama made it worse.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney used that line of attack in a well-received dig during last week’s GOP debate in New Hampshire. And on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he sees that being the overriding message headed into next year.

“If the presidential election were today, I think our theme would be: He made it worse,’ ” Mr. McConnell told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

In last week’s debate Mr. Romney said the president “didn’t cause the recession, but he made it worse and caused it to last longer.”

The argument seems to acknowledge that the problems began under President George W. Bush, and voters punished the GOP in 2006 and again in 2008.

TEXAS

Perry schedules speech in strategic primary state

AUSTIN | Texas Gov. Rick Perry has added a second early presidential nominating state to his travel schedule.

The Republican governor who is considering a White House bid has agreed to be in New Hampshire Oct. 28 to speak to the conservative Cornerstone Action Group.

Mr. Perry earlier this week scheduled at trip to South Carolina to deliver an Aug. 13 speech to a conservative blogger conference.

New Hampshire’s February primary is one of the first nominating contests in the presidential race, along with Iowa and South Carolina. Candidates traditionally spend a lot of time visiting the states to make connections with voters and party leaders.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Huntsman files paperwork to run in state’s primary

COLUMBIA | GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has officially filed his paperwork to run in South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary.

Mr. Huntsman appeared with his wife and five of their seven children to file the documents and pay a $35,000 filing fee at state Republican Party headquarters in Columbia.

The former Utah governor announced his candidacy Tuesday in New Jersey, and came to South Carolina a day later to file to run in the primary, saying he will focus on New Hampshire and South Carolina because he thinks he can win in the early-voting states.

Mr. Huntsman said during an earlier stop Wednesday that President Obama must intervene in a national labor dispute over a Boeing plant being built in South Carolina or risk driving businesses away.

IOWA

Bachmann’s start set for Monday

DES MOINES | Republican Michele Bachmann plans to formally launch her campaign for president on Monday from her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa, a campaign aide said Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Alice Stewart told the Associated Press that the three-term Minnesota congresswoman would formally announce her 2012 GOP presidential bid in the community where she spent her childhood.

Last week, Mrs. Bachmann filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to seek the GOP nomination. She announced her candidacy during a nationally televised debate from New Hampshire.

Mrs. Bachmann, who represents a suburban Minneapolis district, has spent months signaling her interest in running. She has traveled to Iowa four times this year to meet with Republican leaders and conservative activists who are influential in the state’s caucuses, which begin the presidential nominating process.

She has also lined up a team of top Iowa staffers to guide her campaign.

Mrs. Bachmann could do well in the caucuses as a native and neighbor. She also is liked by social conservatives and tea party activists, both of whom are key components of the state’s Republican base.

HOUSE

Lawmakers take up patent system overhaul

The House on Wednesday took up the most far-reaching overhaul of the patent system in 60 years, a bill that leaders in both parties said would make it easier for inventors to get their innovations to market and help put people back to work.

The legislation, supported by the Obama administration and a broad range of business groups and high-tech companies, aims to ease the lengthy backlog in patent applications, clean up some of the procedures that can lead to costly litigation and put the United States under the same filing system as the rest of the industrialized world.

The Senate passed a similar bill last March on a 95-5 vote. If the bill makes it to the White House for the president’s signature, it could be one of the first congressional actions this year to have a concrete effect on business after months of the GOP-led House voting on bills that head straight for the political graveyard of the Democratic-controlled and slow-moving Senate.

A final vote is expected later in the week.

“After six years of working towards patent reform, we are near the finish line,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican. “If Congress is serious about economic growth and job creation, we must pass patent reform.”

The first major overhaul of the patent system since 1952 has faced resistance. A planned vote last week was put off after the Republican chairmen of the Budget and Appropriations committees objected to a critical element that would allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to keep all the user fees it collects.

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