Pennsylvania

Gingrich to Decide On Presidential Run By March

Today Newt Gingrich told reporters that he would decide whether he is going to run for president by March of next year:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday morning he'll decide by March whether to jump into an increasingly crowded field of Republican challengers to President Obama in 2012.

In an interview outside Pennsylvania's Republican state headquarters, Gingrich, the architect of the Republicans' 1994 "Contract with America," said he and his wife, Callista, were "doing everything we can" to get the couple's business interests in order so "if we do decide to run, we can do so."

I am guessing that will be among the topic discussed at the private discussion Gingrich is holding tomorrow with a group of "key conservative and evangelical leaders" at Liberty University.  

And I sure hope Gingrich gives David Barton time to get his business interests in order as well, since Gingrich has promised that he'll play a key role in any Gingrich presidential campaign ... presumably on figuring out the best way for the federal government to regulate gay sex.

Right Wing Round-Up

Pat Toomey: The Real Extremist in Pennsylvania

Watching his once formidable lead in the polls crumble, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey asserted, “It’s very clear. The person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak.”

A huge part of Pat Toomey’s campaign strategy seemed to be based on remaking his image to come across as a moderate Republican. In an election year with the likes of Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller, even solidly conservative Republicans could come-off as “moderate” due to the elevated extremism on the Right.

But Pat Toomey is certainly no moderate on either economic or social issues:

• Pat Toomey was rated one of the most right-wing members of Congress: “more conservative voting record than J.D Hayworth, Jim DeMint, and was about as conservative as Jesse Helms,” and “had a considerably more conservative voting record than Rick Santorum.” Toomey is so far to the Right that he even felt that Mike Huckabee was too moderate.

• An anti-choice zealot, Pat Toomey called for doctors to be thrown in jail for performing abortions. Furthermore, Toomey doesn’t just want a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage, but even tried to prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.

• He led the Club for Growth for four years, a vehemently pro-corporate advocacy group that recently exclaimed: “Privatize Social Security? Hell Yeah!” Toomey himself has worked to privatize Social Security throughout his career.

• Back in 2006, Toomey described his pro-corporate advocacy as “all about protecting our Christian heritage” and “a culture that is under assault.” For Toomey, “protecting our Christian heritage” also includes preventing oversight on Wall Street’s reckless “derivatives trading.” Not only is Toomey a staunch opponent of Wall Street Reform, but worked a derivatives trader.

• He stood with Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, James Dobson and Tim LaHaye to support the Family Research Council’s Kenneth Blackwell to become Chair of the Republican National Committee. When leading Focus on the Family, James Dobson enthusiastically campaigned for Toomey when he ran for Senate in 2004.

Pat Toomey’s ultraconservative views have made him a darling of pro-corporate groups and the Religious Right. His plan to come across as a moderate is as absurd as it is scary.

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 10/20

Sharron Angle

Terrorism: Angle refuses to apologize to Canadian Ambassador who condemned Angle for saying that terrorists are crossing into the US from Canada (AP, 10/19).

Latinos: Says that Latino students, and herself, look Asian (NYDN, 10/19).

Ad: Claims that Harry Reid is in “the conga line” with Michelle Obama (Slate, 10/19).

Fundraising: Spent over $5 million on fundraising (Salon, 10/18).

Palin: MissesTea Party Express kickoff with Palin, who praises Angle and slams Reid (Nevada News Bureau, 10/18).

Ken Buck

Religious Right: Claims that homosexuality, “like alcoholism,” is a choice (KDVR, 10/19).

Poll: New data shows Buck losing lead, in dead heat with Bennet (HuffPo, 10/19).

Women: Stands by comparison of rape allegation to “buyers remorse (Daily Kos, 10/18).

Carly Fiorina

Religious Right: Courage Campaign asks Fiorina to refuse support from National Organization for Marriage in internet ad (YubaNet, 10/19).

Government: Can’t name spending programs she would cut (LA Times, 10/18).

Palin: Skips rally with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele (NYT, 10/17).

Experience: Fortune magazine exposes Fiorina’s failed record running Lucent Technology (Fortune, 10/15).

Ad: Boxer hits Fiorina for backing Palin, offshore drilling, and repeal of assault weapon ban (Boxer, 10/15).

Joe Miller

GOP: NRSC spends $162,000 on ads to help Miller (WaPo, 10/19).

Ethics: Admits he broke ethics rules while working for Fairbanks; judge set to rule on disclosing more information (ADN, 10/19).

Security: Miller’s security firm under investigation for arresting reporter (Alaska Dispatch, 10/19).

Immigration: Cites East Germany as a success in wall-building (Mediaite, 10/19).

Debate: Skips debate with McAdams and Murkowski (ADN, 10/18).

Christine O’Donnell

Constitution: Questions Separation of Church and State, stumped on the content of 14th and 16th Amendments (ThinkProgress, 10/19).

Taxes: Chris Coons claims that O’Donnell can’t prove assertion that the Democrat wants a $10,000 tax increase (News Journal, 10/19).

Media: Jeffrey Shaffer looks into “Christine O'Donnell and the rise of cable TV politics” (Christian Science Monitor, 10/19).

Rand Paul

Poll: Democratic poll shows Paul trailing Conway by 2% (WaPo, 10/19).

Debate: Heated debate with Jack Conway, might back out of next one (McClatchy, 10/18).

Religion: Conway ad on “Aqua Buddha” spurs debate on religion (NYT, 10/18).

Marco Rubio

Debate: Crist dubs Rubio an “extreme right-wing candidate” in debate (Miami Herald, 10/19).

Outside groups: American Crossroads spends big to back Rubio (The Ledger, 10/18).

Palin: Campaigns with Sarah Palin and Michael Steele on Saturday (Politico, 10/18).

Pat Toomey

Outside groups: Club for Growth, formerly led by Toomey, set to expand pro-Toomey ad campaign (Washington Independent, 10/19).

Tea Party: AP looks into how Toomey won backing from both the tea party and GOP establishment (AP, 10/19).

Poll: Loses lead, now in dead heat with Joe Sestak (LA Times, 10/19).

2012 Candidates Weekly Update 10/5/10

Newt Gingrich

Government: Bashes the welfare state in Texas speech (Dallas Morning News, 10/4).

2010: Raising money for right-wing Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (MPR, 10/4).

Mike Huckabee

2010: Says that mid-term elections will be a “political tsunami” (The Page, 10/4).

Florida: Refuses to back Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott (Florida Times-Union, 10/4).

New York: Praises controversial New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino (NewsHounds, 10/1).

GOP: Claims that he backs the Tea Party over the Party “establishment” (The Page, 10/4).

Column: Knocks “Kleptocrats” in Fox News column (Fox News, 10/4).

Sarah Palin

Critics: Tells Mark Levin that she and her husband “bite our tongue” at critics (GOP12, 10/4).

2010: Holding GOP Victory rallies in California and Florida (HuffPo, 9/30).

Alaska: Ties to Senate GOP nominee Joe Miller go back to Troopergate (KTUU, 10/1).

Religious Right: Speaks to “pregnancy crisis center” advertising organization tonight in Houston (Houston First Baptist Church, 10/5).

Tim Pawlenty

Government: Receives an “A” grade from libertarian Cato Institute (Cato, 9/30).

New Hampshire: Campaigns in the Granite State for GOP candidates (NECN, 9/30).

Mike Pence

Religious Right: Speaks to Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa (Caffeinated Thoughts, 10/3).

Mitt Romney

Poll: Leads all 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls with 19% of support from Republicans (US News, 9/30).

Iowa: Endorses 38 Republican candidates in Iowa (CNN, 10/1).

Rick Santorum

Iowa: Will visit Davenport’s GOP headquarters next week (Quad-City Times, 10/4).

2010: Talks midterm election with National Review Online (NRO, 10/1).

2010 Right Wing Candidates Weekly Update 9/29

Your update on the right-wing candidates running for US Senate for 9/22-9/29.

Sharron Angle

Government: Angle and her husband are both covered by government health care plans (Alternet, 9/28).

Health Care: Criticized for mocking “Autism” coverage (The Plum Line, 9/27).

Fundraising: Comedian Dennis Miller to raise money for Angle (LVRJ, 9/28).

House: Angle’s unpopularity may hurt Nevada’s GOP House candidates (The Hill, 9/28).

Poll: One poll shows Reid leading Angle by 5%, other finds a tie (Las Vegas Sun 9/25, LVRJ 9/28).

Ken Buck

Poll: DSCC poll shows Buck trailing Bennet by 2% (Politico, 9/29).

GOP: Senators McConnell and Cornyn host fundraiser for Buck (AP, 9/28).

Right-wing: Tries to portray himself as more moderate after primary (RCP, 9/24).

Carly Fiorina

Corporate: Rightwing Koch brothers take interest in Fiorina’s campaign (LA Times, 9/25).

Outside groups: Chamber of Commerce and FreedomWorks to bolster Fiorina (LA Times, 9/28).

Poll: Trails Boxer by 8% in new poll of California voters (San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).

Ad: New ad labels Boxer as “arrogant” (The Atlantic, 9/23).

Joe Miller

Government: Expresses support for increased spending for public health and education in 2004 survey (KTUU, 9/24).

Controversy: Classified himself as “low-income” on hunting license application (Anchorage Daily News, 9/27).

Outside groups: Tea Party Express to help Miller against McAdams, Murkowski (Daily News-Miner, 9/28).

Christine O’Donnell

Finances: CREW looks into O’Donnell’s poor financial record (News Journal, 9/29).

Science: Declares evolution “a myth” on Politically Incorrect (Huffington Post, 9/25).

Controversy: Falsely claims she attended Claremont McKenna and Oxford for graduate school (Mediaite, 9/29).

GOP: Shames Republican leadership for not supporting complete repeal of Health Care Reform (ABC News, 9/28).

Rand Paul

Ad: Blasted for supporting $2,000 Medicare deductible (Herald Leader, 9/29).

Right-wing: Member of ultraconservative medical group (Courier Journal, 9/24).

Poll: Leads Conway by just 2% in latest poll of Kentucky voters (TPMDC, 9/27).

Economy: Speaks out against raising taxes on wealthy (Huffington Post, 9/27).

Dino Rossi

Controversy: BIAW fined for illegally supporting Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign (Seattle PI, 9/24).

Ad: CommonsenseTen hits Rossi on housing crisis (Politico, 9/24).

Marco Rubio

Controversy: Releases Spanish-language ad despite support for English-only policies (Florida Independent, 9/29).

Social Security: Reverses himself on Social Security privatization (St. Petersburg Times, 9/28).

Finances: New questions about Rubio’s expenses flare (Orlando Sentinel, 9/24).

Pat Toomey

Poll: Toomey holds slight lead, but one-third of Pennsylvania voters still undecided (WPVI, 9/29).

GOP: Distances himself from spending under Bush Administration (AP, 9/27).

Right-wing: Columnist examines Toomey’s far-right beliefs while leading Club for Growth (Inquirer, 9/26).

Rick Santorum: No Families in Poor Neighborhoods

In one of the most demeaning parts of a rather outlandish speech, former Pennsylvania Senator and possible presidential candidate Rick Santorum asserted at the Values Voter Summit that families do not exist in poor neighborhoods:

The size and scope of government is directly related to the virtue of her people. Go into the neighborhoods in America where there is a lack of virtue, what will you find? Two things. You will find no families, no mothers and fathers together in marriage. And you will find government everywhere. Police, social service agencies, why? Because without faith, family and virtue, government takes over.

Santorum: I'm no JFK

Rick Santorum, ousted from the U.S. Senate by Pennsylvania voters in 2006, has been busy denouncing “islamofascism” from his perch at the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center. Now he seems to be plotting a run for the presidency. Santorum, a Catholic, is pushing himself into the public eye with an attack on John F. Kennedy and one of that president’s most famous speeches, in which the nation’s only Catholic president told a gathering of Protestant ministers in Houston that he believed in the separation of church and state.

Last week, Santorum traveled to Houston to make his own speech, which repeated standard Religious Right straw-man arguments about supporters of church-state separation trying to ban religious people from public life.  Those are old and oft-told lies. What’s new is the Catholic Santorum pinning the blame for America’s supposed descent into secularism squarely on JFK.
 
Santorum reprised those remarks on Saturday night at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, with some additional Tea-infused red meat: Government entitlement programs are the equivalent of a schoolyard pusher getting kids hooked on drugs.  If “Obamacare” is not repealed, America will cease to be America. It will be <shudder> France.
 
Denouncing Kennedy was not Santorum’s only noteworthy line of attack. He also took on Americans of the World War II generation, describing how the “greatest generation” stayed out of the war while Europe fell and Britain was bombed, while the Pacific Rim fell to Japan, and turned back a boatload of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. That generation was only great once it was awakened by Pearl Harbor, said Santorum. This generation, he said, has an even tougher job (!).   Waking up Americans is this generation’s Pearl Harbor moment, he told his audience, and you are Paul Revere. It’s a seriously mixed metaphor, but everyone knew what he meant. They have to drop everything to save America between now and 2012.
 
Santorum, whose presidential ambitions face what some political commentators have delicately called a “Google problem,” is still full of righteous self-pity about how he has been beaten up for standing for his faith. I guess that’s the most comforting explanation he can give for his 18-point defeat at the hands of the voters.

Americans for Job Security: Corporate Astroturfing Extraordinaire

The same group who hailed the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United as an “unequivocal victory” has launched new ads to promote corporate interests in this year’s election. After spending handsomely to criticize Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s Democratic primary opponent with offensive and inaccurate ads, Americans for Job Security today began to run television ads against Rep. Zack Space (D-OH) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), along with Democratic candidates Bryan Lentz in Pennsylvania and Trent Van Haaften in Indiana. The group has already spent close to $3 million in the election, and is a huge booster of Republicans such as Pat Toomey and Ken Buck.

Americans for Job Security is a true corporate creation: founded in 1997, it initially received two $1 million contributions from the American Insurance Association and the American Forest and Paper Association. In fact, it is registered as a 501c6 trade association, and consequently does not have to disclose its donors to the IRS.  Also, since it generally runs  “issue ads,” it is not required to disclose its donors to the FEC, although the thin line between political advocacy and lobbying is often difficult to see. The Washington Post writes that even though Americans for Job Security classifies itself as a trade association, it “spends the vast majority of its budget on television and radio ads before elections,” and the vast majority of them are negative.

The ads slam the stimulus package, which improved job growth and Real GDP and prevented total economic collapse, and dishonestly malign progressive legislation. In their ad against Bryan Lentz, who is running to replace Joe Sestak, Americans for Job Security alleges that health care reform cuts $500 billion from Medicare, a claim FactCheck.org forcefully debunked as a gross distortion. When criticizing Rep. Space for backing the American Clean Energy and Security Act (“cap and trade”) in their new ad, the group claims the bill would “kill Ohio jobs.” However, a University of California, Berkeley study found that ACES “would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year, and boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion.”

Like the Club for Growth, Americans for Job Security is not afraid to take on Democrats and even some conservative Republicans who they feel haven’t fully embraced the pro-corporate agenda. Public Citizen claims that “Americans for Job Security is a sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections” and also alleged that it was “one of the most egregious offenders” in circumventing FEC rules on “electioneering activity.”

Utilizing hefty and anonymous corporate donations to run a misleading and deceptive ad campaign, Americans for Job Security proves that it is truly the epitome of pro-corporate astroturfing.

Corporate Interests Betting Big on the GOP

Two separate reports have revealed the flood of corporate dollars buttressing the Republican Party’s push to retake the House and Senate this November. Big business, whether rewarding Republican endeavors to block progressive legislation such as Wall Street reform or simply expecting a GOP wave, has ramped up efforts to support Republican politicians and expenditure committees.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “in both the first and second quarters of this year, the broad finance, insurance and real estate sector has favored Republican candidates and committees in its political giving.” Their study indicates “an increased frustration with congressional Democrats by Wall Street interests, many of which are still smarting from passage of federal financial reforms they consider onerous.” Of the 25 leading recipients of money from the three industries, 17 were Republican candidates, and the top 5 includes: “Ohio’s Rob Portman ($820,000); Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey ($728,000); California’s Carly Fiorina ($650,000); Illinois’ Mark Kirk ($618,000) and Florida’s Marco Rubio ($613,000).”

Stewart Powell and Yang Wang in the Houston Chronicle describe the intense efforts of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to recruit donors from the corporate world. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the head of the NRSC, “has aggressively courted business executives who are disappointed in Obama’s performance and unhappy with the Democratic Congress' legislative agenda.” The NRSC has raked in over $4.4 million from interests related to the security and investment industries, and Goldman Sachs alone “boosted donations to the NRSC by almost 200 percent.”  And with the increasing number of "Super PACs" after Citizens United, corporations have more opportunities than ever to back their preferred candidates.

Republicans in Congress are reaping the benefits of their unfailing defense of corporate interests, as seen when GOP leaders even went out of their way to protect British Petroleum after the Gulf oil spill. With Wall Street’s unfettered access to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, the prospect of Republican majorities is motivating more and more giving to the Republican cause.

Gingrich Knows The Right Will Never Hold Him Accountable For His Hypocrisy

Esquire has a long profile of Newt Gingrich in which his ex-wife Marianne says he won't run for President because he is more interested in making money, as Justin Elliott explains:

Despite the recent hype, Marianne does not believe Newt is really serious about running for president. Why not? He's too busy making lots and lots of money ... So how is Newt making all this money? With a network of non-profit and for-profit groups that are financed by industry and are devoted above all to promoting Gingrich himself. It turns out this very much resembles the setup that got Gingrich fined $300,000 by the House ethics committee in the 1990s.

The article is long and quite interesting and you really should read the whole thing, but I am just going to highlight this section in which Marianne discusses their divorce, which she says did not come as a particular surprise since Gingrich had also carried on an affair with her while still married to his first wife and even "went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer."

Then he did the same thing to her:

But Marianne was having problems of her own. After going to the doctor for a mysterious tingling in her hand, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Early in May, she went out to Ohio for her mother's birthday. A day and a half went by and Newt didn't return her calls, which was strange. They always talked every day, often ten times a day, so she was frantic by the time he called to say he needed to talk to her.

"About what?"

He wanted to talk in person, he said.

"I said, 'No, we need to talk now.' "

He went quiet.

"There's somebody else, isn't there?"

She kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. " 'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.' "

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Sarah Palin will headline the Pennsylvania Family Institute's annual fundraiser later this month.
  • Mat Staver and David Barton are holding a series [PDF] of "Florida Awake!" events across this state next month.
  • Rep. Steve King does not approve of efforts by liberals to cite the Bible in support of their political agenda.
  • Newt Gingrich is winning accolades from professional Muslim bashers.
  • MassResistance is excited about Peter LaBarbera's upcoming anti-gay conference.
  • On the final day of campaigning, MI Gov. candidate Pete Hoekstra held "tele-town halls with evangelical author and radio talk show host Dr. James Dobson and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann."

Ralph Reed Back in the Right's Good Graces

I think it is safe to assume that Ralph Reed's underhanded work exploiting his Religious Right allies for the benefit of Jack Abramoff's clients' gambling interests has been completely forgiven by various leaders of the very movement he sought to exploit.  

In recent weeks, Reed has used his Faith and Freedom Coalition to host meetings that included the likes of Richard Land and Rep. Marsha Blackburn and rub shoulders with Rep. Michele Bachmann, as he travels the country presenting his plans to gain control of House, Senate, and state legislatures though his new, more strident "Christian Coalition on steroids".

And this effort appears to be chugging along, as he was just in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Missouri where he picked up the support of Phyllis Schlafly, Rick Santorum, and Sen. Jim Talent: 

Note To WSJ: Alito Had a Record on Abortion Too

Today the Wall Street Journal ran the groundbreaking scoop that possible Supreme Court nominee Diane Wood has a record when it comes to the issue of abortion. Apparently, the WSJ finds this most remarkable and almost unheard of:  

Recent Supreme Court nominees have come before the Senate with such slim records on abortion that their views were anybody's guess.

Not so with Diane Wood, a Chicago federal appellate judge who is on the White House's short list of candidates for the latest high-court vacancy.

The WSJ claims that recent nominees have had "records virtually devoid of substantive statements on the matter" ... apparently having completely forgotten about, say, the substantive statements made by Samuel Alito on the matter: 

In a memo disclosed Wednesday that he wrote in 1985 as an assistant to the solicitor general, Alito recommended that the administration submit a brief to the Supreme Court, asking it to uphold a Pennsylvania law that imposed a variety of abortion restrictions and "make clear that we disagree with Roe v. Wade."

Alito argued that stepping into the case, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, would be a more effective strategy for President Reagan than a "frontal assault" on the landmark case and would not "even tacitly concede Roe's legitimacy." Disagreeing with the administration's position, the court struck down the law the following year.

...

Alito was 35 years old and a civil-service lawyer when he wrote the abortion memo in May 1985. It was just six months before he sent a letter to then-Attorney General Ed Meese as part of his successful application for a higher-ranking political appointment, saying that he was "particularly proud" of his contribution to cases in which the administration argued "that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

...

In the memo, Alito wrote: "What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" He then urged the Justice Department to argue that provisions in the Pennsylvania law "are eminently reasonable and legitimate and would be upheld without a moment's hesitation in other contexts."

He referred to a doctor who performs the procedure as an "abortionist" and railed against a different court decision that had struck down an ordinance that he said was "designed to preclude the mindless dumping of aborted fetuses into garbage piles." He called the decision "almost incredible."

A Slightly Less Intolerant Rick Santorum?

CBS News profiles former Senator Rick Santorum as he mulls over the idea of making a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 despite the fact that, just four years ago he was voted out of office in Pennsylvania by 18%.

Interestingly, it looks like Santorum might be trying to downplay his rabidly anti-gay history, even going so far as to try and distance himself from his infamous "man on dog" comment:

In an interview, Santorum said he was hurt by the reaction to his comments and insisted he had been mischaracterized. His interviewer, he said, had engaged in a "hatchet job" that clouded the fact that he was simply making a legal argument that "if the court created a right that sexual activity was all based on consent, then consent can be consent to do anything." Santorum said his focus was not on gay sexual activity specifically, and went on to stress his work to fight AIDS worldwide.

(In an e-mailed statement, Associated Press Media Relations Manager Jack Stokes said, "Our story was accurate then, and it has withstood the passage of time." You can see a transcript of the interview here.)

That isn't to say Santorum, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, has exactly changed course. But he does seem to want to avoid controversy. Asked about his position on homosexuality, Santorum said, "I have no problem from a public policy point of view with homosexuality."

Asked about his personal feelings on the subject, Santorum said, carefully, "I have personal feelings on a lot of things." He added that people have a right to do what they want in the privacy of their own home. "There are things that people do that I think are good, there are things that are bad, that really doesn't matter much," he stated.

But while Santorum might be trying to sound a bit less intolerant when it comes to gays, the same cannot be said for his views regarding evolution:

At the same time, Santorum has resisted leftward drift when it comes to the controversial social issues that once made him such a prominent target. Asked about his position on evolution, Santorum requested a definition of the term more than once; he then suggested that the question actually concerned "Darwinism."

"Look, I believe that we were created by God," Santorum said. "That we have a soul. Now, if you can square that with evolution, fine. I don't know. I'm not an expert in evolution. What I can say is that I believe that we are created in the image and likeness of God, that we have a soul, and that we are not just a mistake. A mutation. I think we are something that God put on this earth, and have a divine spark, as Abraham Lincoln said."

"My feeling is the bottom line is I think it's important for society to understand that we are not just animals," he added. "…if we are just animals, and we're no different than any other animal out there, then the world is a very different place. And our expectations of others are very different. And I don't think it's true. And I don't think it's healthy."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The National Journal says Gov. Tim Pawlenty's religion may be one of his "greatest assets" as he contemplates a 2012 run for president, an issue that "has been largely overlooked by both the national media and the Pawlenty camp itself."
  • Newt Gingrich and Jim Garlow team up to defend the Christian Legal Society's right to bar gays and nonbelievers from its membership in an Washington Post op-ed.
  • Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen provides an inside look at the Freedom Federation's " Awakening" conference, while Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber provides a different take on events.
  • Despite the fact that Sarah Palin has earned millions of dollars since quitting as Governor, her SarahPAC seems to be spending a lot of money making sure she travels in style.
  • You know what Pennsylvania needs? Birth certificates for stillborn babies.

Wiley Drake Hails Rep. Murtha's Death

When Dr. George Tiller was murdered in church, Wiley Drake declared it an answer to his prayers ... and he is now saying that same thing about the passing of Rep. John Murtha

Southern Baptist Pastor Wiley Drake of Buena Park sent out an email Monday night, saying that perhaps his prayers had been answered with the death of Rep. John Murtha yesterday.

“Maybe God took him out,” Drake wrote. “Maybe God Answered our IMPRECATORY prayer that we prayed every 30 days.”

The Pennsylvania congressman, a decorated former Marine who fiercely opposed the Iraq war, died at the age of 77 after complications from gallbladder surgery.

I asked Drake if his statements weren’t distasteful, particularly coming immediately after Murtha’s death. He said that as a Christian, he didn’t buy into the sentiment of not speaking ill of the dead.

“It’s not distasteful to pray the word of God and include somebody’s name,” he said. “I didn’t celebrate his death. I said maybe it was God’s answer to our imprecatory prayer.”

Drake regularly asks his “prayer warriors” to participate in prayer targeting “unrighteous” politicians. He typically uses Psalms 109, including these passages including in his Monday email: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” And, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

...

Drake said he and his prayer warriors had been praying for Murtha’s death for four or five months. Among other things, Drake said Murtha’s use of profanity and his use of God’s name in vain. Beside praying for the death of specific politicians, he said they pray for “politicians in general who are taking unrighteous stands.”

You may recall that last year Drake said he was also praying for President Obama's death, but then backed off until Obama can be tried and imprisoned for treason.

Quote Of The Day

John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, weighs in on the "expert advice" offered by people like David Barton and Peter Marshall in their effort to shape Texas' social studies curriculum - from the Austin American-Statesman:

"I'm an evangelical Christian, and I think David Barton and Peter Marshall are completely out to lunch. They are not experts on social studies and history. Neither of them are trained in history. They are preachers who use the past and history as a means of promoting a political agenda in the present."

Following Defeat, Religious Right Mobilizes For A Filibuster

Earlier today I had a post pulling together right-wing reaction to the defeat of Sen. Ben Nelson's anti-choice amendment to the healthcare reform legislation and it seems as if they are not about to take the defeat lying down, and so they are mobilizing to get Senators to filibuster the bill

"[T]his is a long way from over," the National Right to Life Committee said in a statement, noting that the bill again must pass the House, where there are a bloc of pro-life Democrats.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he found Tuesday's Senate vote both "discouraging and encouraging."

"It's discouraging that the Senate as a whole could not comprehend the need to respect the will of 70 percent of the American people that public funds should not pay for or subsidize the killing of our nation's unborn citizens," Land told Baptist Press. "It was encouraging in that the motion to table got 54 votes, well short of the 60 needed to stop a filibuster. As long as there are sufficient pro-life senators such as Sen. Nelson who are willing to filibuster any health legislation that does not contain these restrictions on abortion, it will be difficult to break the filibuster and pass the entire bill.

"In that case," Land added, "then pro-choice supporters will have to decide between their pro-choice convictions and their desire for a vastly increased government role in health care."

Other groups, including the Family Research Council, Democrats for Life, Concerned Women for America and Americans United for Life, also said they would support a filibuster.

"We now have no choice but to work vigorously to defeat this bill," Americans United for Life said.

...

Pro-life groups are trying to pressure those and other Democratic senators to support a filibuster if pro-life language isn't added. The Family Research Council says it is calling every household in Arkansas, South Dakota and Louisiana -- all conservative states with Democratic senators -- to conduct a survey on such topics as abortion funding, rationing, higher taxes and the public option. It is also calling pro-life households in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Participants who answer a particular way will be given information on contacting their senators, an FRC release stated. Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Jim Webb (Va.) and Mark Warner (Va.) all sided with pro-choicers in voting to table the Nelson amendment.

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure that the constituents of those senators know that those senators are voting to expand abortion in this country," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

CWA To "Weclome" Spain's Prime Minister to White House

Concerned Women for America announces that they will be protesting outside the White House next week during a visit from Spain's Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero:

Spain's Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will meet with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday, October 13. Zapatero will be met by Americans in solidarity with Spain's citizens against his attempt to increase abortions.

Zapatero recently proposed a bill to liberalize Spain's abortion law. The bill would allow 16-year-olds to get abortions without parental consent, increase abortion without restrictions to 14 weeks, and change abortion from a crime to a social "right."

Spanish pro-life groups will hold a march in Madrid on October 17 to protest Zapatero's efforts to radicalize Spain's abortion laws. Doctors in Spain who face being forced to perform abortions or thrown in jail will join the march.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) and other pro-life activists will gather at the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue at 10:00 a.m. on October 13 during Zapatero's visit.

"Spain's pro-lifers and doctors can be encouraged that Americans stand with them against Zapatero's attempt to increase abortions. Pictures of Americans supporting life and opposing Zapatero during his White House visit will be sent to Spain to build momentum for Spain's march for life," said CWA President Wendy Wright.

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