- - Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Gingrich says he never lobbied, cash not an issue

BLUFFTON — Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich says he never lobbied, mainly because he didn’t need the money.

The former House speaker on Tuesday told supporters in South Carolina that he was making $60,000 a speech and didn’t need to earn income from lobbying. He says he was an advocate for causes he supports, such as digital medical records.

Mr. Gingrich has faced questions about the vast network of consulting firms, advocacy organizations and for-profit think tanks he established since leaving Congress in 1999. He is adamant he never lobbied and never worked for causes he didn’t support before cashing paychecks.

During a town hall-style meeting with supporters, he joked he was now giving more speeches for free than ever.


Perry works to improve immigration credentials

AMHERST — Republican presidential contender Rick Perry is working to persuade voters he’s tough on immigration.

And he has a key new supporter to help make that case.

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio formally endorsed Mr. Perry on Tuesday morning in New Hampshire, the first stop in the Texas governor’s latest visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Sheriff Arpaio says he doesn’t know Mr. Perry well, but likes his border experience. Several candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, had sought the sheriff’s backing.

But at least one prominent Granite State Republican says Sheriff Arpaio is an embarrassment.

Former GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen likens Sheriff Arpaio to those who used police dogs and fire hoses on protesters during the civil rights era.

Mr. Perry has struggled to clarify a Texas law permitting in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants.


‘Herman Cain’ dropped as part of PAC’s name

An independent group formed to support Herman Cain changed its name to the Beat Obama PAC Tuesday, signaling that its creators are giving up on the beleaguered candidate and no longer view him as a cash draw.

The Washington Times had earlier reported that the group, Draft Herman Cain, was likely to spend little on behalf of the candidate despite pledging that donations would go toward getting the former corporate executive elected because treasurer Randy Goodwin and associates have a history of cashing in on hot causes, with proceeds going largely to companies they control and not to campaigning.

The move nonetheless indicates the Cain apparatus fleeing rather than fighting as sexual allegations against the candidate mount.


House votes down caps on skilled-immigrant visas

The House voted Tuesday to end per-country caps on worker-based immigration visas, a move that should benefit skilled Indian and Chinese residents seeking to stay in the United States and the high-tech companies who hire them.

The legislation, which passed 389-15, was a rare example of bipartisan accord on immigration.

The measure would eliminate the current law that says employment-based visas to any one country can’t exceed 7 percent of the total number of such visas given out. Instead, permanent-residence visas, or green cards, would be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

Sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said the bill encourages “high-skilled immigrants who were educated in the U.S. to stay and help build our economy.”


Obama re-election campaign launches first TV ads

With an eye on recruiting volunteers, President Obama is launching the first TV ads of his re-election campaign.

Campaign officials said Tuesday the ad buy is “tiny” on national satellite-TV stations but aimed at learning whether television is a good way to find volunteers.

In the two 30-second ads, Mr. Obama urges viewers to call a number on the screen or visit the website www.JoinObama.com, which invites people to enter their email address and ZIP code to become involved with the campaign.


GOP legislative leader eyes run for Sen. Casey’s seat

HARRISBURG — One of Pennsylvania’s most powerful state lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, said Tuesday that he might join the crowded Republican field of aspiring challengers to Democrat Robert P. Casey Jr.’s re-election bid for U.S. Senate.

If he runs, Mr. Pileggi would easily become the highest-profile Republican in a field that some party leaders have criticized as lacking a candidate who can mount a serious challenge to Mr. Casey.

In a posting on his Facebook page, Mr. Pileggi, who is from Delaware County, said he has “made no decision,” but is concerned about the path the nation is taking to reduce unemployment and shrink the federal debt, as well as the new national health care law.


In college speech, Perry confuses voting age

MANCHESTER — You might say Rick Perry courted the youth, but not the whole youth, in a campaign appearance at a New Hampshire college.

Speaking at Saint Anselm College on Tuesday, he appealed to students who will be at least 21 before Election Day to vote for him.

As for those younger than 21, he merely asked them to work hard on his behalf. Doesn’t he want their votes, too?

It turns out Mr. Perry didn’t know or had forgotten that the voting age in America is 18.

The flub caused some whispers in the crowd.

In a recent presidential debate, Mr. Perry forgot a key element of his plan to reduce the size of government.


Obama’s Medicare nominee gets GOP leader’s support

President Obama’s Medicare nominee is getting unexpected support from one of Congress‘ Republican stars.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia tells the Associated Press that Marilyn Tavenner is “eminently qualified” to run Medicare.

Ms. Tavenner’s nomination has to be approved by the Senate, and although Mr. Cantor is not a member, he is influential with conservatives.

The White House announced Ms. Tavenner’s nomination last week, at the same time that current Medicare chief Donald M. Berwick said he’s stepping down. Republicans in the Senate had blocked Mr. Berwick’s nomination.

Ms. Tavenner, 60, is a nurse who worked her way up to hospital executive before becoming Virginia’s health care secretary. Mr. Cantor met her when he served in the state legislature.

From wire dispatches and staff reports