2010 US Presidential Election

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unionleader.com, Tuesday December 15th

Governor Defends Gun Laws

Kurt Breech, the Governor of New Hampshire, has attempted to defend the gun laws in his state after it emerged that David Kirkwood, the man who reportedly tried to assassinate Republican Presidential candidate Marcus Blakemore had mental health problems.

Governor Breech told reporters that “New Hampshire has a long, pro-gun culture. The actions of one lunatic should not reflect on the entire state.”

The press conference came after revelations that Kirkwood had a long history of paranoid schizophrenia, and had openly said he would “like to be as famous as Mark Chapman (John Lennon’s assassin)” and that “there should be more Presidential assassinations”. This coupled with reports that Kirkwood had used his brother’s gun to carry out the attacks have led to an outcry about gun laws in the Granite State.

Anti-gun groups have jumped on the news, Disarm America spokesman Beth Ardley said “This shows just how much of a problem we have in New Hampshire. For a mentally ill man to have such easy access to a powerful hand gun can’t be right – we need to urgently review the laws in the state.”

Ardley was joined by Bryan Mason, the Independent who Breech narrowly defeated in 2006. “I find Governor Breech’s arrogance to be astonishing. Every person in New Hampshire is proud of the state, but to simply say there is no need to examine the law after an event like this is extremely naïve.”

Reports suggest that Kirkwood used a .475 Linebaugh in the shooting, the gun was recovered at the site.
CNN.COM Tuesday December 15th 2009
FBI "Kirkwood acted alone"
The FBI have announced that they believe David Kirkwood, the attempted assasin of Presidential candidate Marcus Blakemore "acted alone".
Kirkwood is alive, and under armed guard at an un-named facility.
Mike Casper Head of FBI Field Operations told a packed press conferance in Salem "We have conducted a full search of Kirkwoods home. We the gun that fired the hots. We have also questioned his family, and close freinds, and we belive he acted alone.It seems he craved fame, and believed he good get it by shooting Governor Blakemore".
From the Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 15th December
The Future of Progressive Politics
Peter Kennedy

Recently, James Taylor claimed that “Progressive Conservatism”, as he called it, had eclipsed Thatcherism as the dominant political ideology in the Conservative Party. This “Progressive Conservatism”, a rebranding of the disastrous “compassionate Conservatism” experimented on by Henry Reed in the latter days of his premiership is supposed to be a concession to the opinion, now held by the majority of the British people, that the free market, which Thatcherites seem to view as an infallible deity, can cause terrible damage to ordinary British men and women. Mr Taylor claims that his party now sees the need to tame elements of the Thatcherite legacy that he introduced during the government of Maureen Graty. Well, we in the Labour Party should applaud such a Damascene conversion, as late as it may be. We have argued for years, both in Opposition and in government that the free market is the least bad solution, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore its victims.

However, Mr Taylor’s conversion is far more superficial than he’d like to believe, having come more from focus groups and polling than from any deep-seated conviction of his own, and it is one certainly not shared by his senior team. A “slash and burn” of the public finances is what one senior Shadow Cabinet minister is reported to have said on the Conservative spending plans for after the election. Because the Conservatives, no matter how hard they try, can never understand the need for pragmatic and sensible solutions. Even when they have recognised the need; and despite the long years that’s taken, they have finally recognised it, they are so bound by ideological baggage that they refuse to accept governmental solutions as anything but a last resort. Listen to James Taylor’s conference speeches: “government is not the first resort”, “the public should not expect the government to intervene in every situation”, “government needs to learn to take a step back” and you start to understand the Conservative’s mistakes. They accept the problems, and pay much lip service to them, but their dogma won’t allow them to accept the solutions.

So, now the Tory Party has decided to make a play for the progressive battleground of politics, what should we genuine progressives do? We should not be afraid of agreeing with the Conservatives over problems and causes, but we should make it clear to the public the division that exists; between a party that recognises but cannot act on the issues of the day, and one that is prepared, willing and able to do so. Between progressives-by-necessity; old-school Thatcherites who grudgingly accept a caring agenda in a last, desperate bid for power, and progressives-by-conscience, genuine caring solutions for the twenty-first century. It is clear that the modern Tory Party has not accepted pragmatism over its Thatcherite core, and we should not concede the progressive agenda to them on the back of a couple of speeches by James Taylor. Conservatives such as Richard Samuels, who argued for this throughout the Graty government, despite repeated threats by the whips, should be applauded, but Taylor has abandoned them in favour of dogmatic apparatchiks like Andrew Carter.

To be a progressive party today is to lead the progressive agenda, not just follow it as Mr Taylor claims to do. We need to challenge Mr Taylor on his claimed conversion, to challenge his so-called solutions, and to show the electorate that “compassionate Conservatism” is far more Conservative than it is Compassionate. Those who carry the banner of progressivism should not shy away from this fight; it is a fight for the heart and soul of Britain.

Peter Kennedy is the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Regions.
politico.com, Wednesday December 16th

Walken Visits Blakemore Amid Rumors Over Campaign’s Future

Glen Walken has travelled to Sparrow Hospital in Michigan to visit his fellow Republican Presidential candidate Marcus Blakemore amid suggestions that the former Governor of Michigan is on the verge of announcing that he is unable to continue his Presidential bid.

Walken, who was accompanied by Missouri Governor Henry Shallick and Arizona Senator Matt Hunt - both long term friends of Blakemore as well as his wife Mary, visited with Governor Blakemore and his wife Laura for over two hours with no confirmation from either campaign regarding the subjects that were discussed. The former acting President and his entourage departed the hospital by a back exit sometime after 2pm this afternoon.

Reports on Blakemore’s health have been encouraging over the past couple of days with the campaigns spokesperson Jo Engle telling reporters this morning that “The Governor is up and about. Considering the events of last week he is in remarkably good spirits.” This was supported by the fact that Blakemore was able to be transferred to Michigan yesterday afternoon.

In spite of this sources close to the campaign have said that there are serious question marks over how Blakemore can possibly continue the type of grueling schedule required of a Presidential bid. Nobody from the campaign would comment specifically on this and campaign manager Cliff Calley dismissed any discussion as “pure speculation.”
townhall.com, Wednesday December 16th

Republican Senators Attack White House Interference

A group of Republican Senators have attacked the President saying that he must offer more leadership on the economy.

A bid by Republicans to push for a tax cut at the end of last week was successfully filibustered by Senate Democrats seemingly on the instructions of the White House. That has prompted an angry response from senior GOP figures on Capitol Hill.

The group, led by Liz Clark (TX), the 3rd ranking Republican in the Senate said the White House’s interference was “unnecessary and misdirected” and called on them to meet with Senior Republicans to discuss their plans “to stimulate the misfiring economy”.

The White House response was swift with Chief of Staff Nate Singer accusing the Republicans of “mischief making”. Singer continued “I have no knowledge of this supposed White House involvement. The plan was blocked because this is not the time for an undirected tax cut for the wealthy, we are seeing the economy recover and will be working hard to focus tax cuts at the right time and to the right people.”
thehill.com, Wednesday December 16th

Santos May Unveil Supreme Court Nominee Before Christmas

The rumor mill in the Capitol Building is rife today with speculation that President Santos may be preparing to name his nominee for the Supreme Court before Christmas.

Speculation continues to centre around US Appeals Court judge Katy Pierarski who is believed to be the top name on the Santos shortlist, but sources close to the White House are openly admitting that a confirmation may be a fight beyond what they are currently prepared for.

The current belief is that Santos may settled on Chief Justice Edward Appleton of Florida, with analysts on both sides of the aisle suggesting that Appleton would likely sail through a confirmation hearing due to his moderate positioning.

One name definitely ruled out is that of former White House Counsel Oliver Babbish who told reporters at the weekend that he was focused on running his own law firm, Babbish, Peters & Corry, and that he felt that there was “less than no chance” that he would be nominated to the Supreme Court.
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foxnews.com, Friday December 18th

Blakemore To Return Home Today

Former Michigan Governor Marcus Blakemore will be released from hospital today a spokesman for his campaign has confirmed.

Blakemore, who was shot twice last Thursday night has recovered well according to his doctors and will be able to return home today to continue his convalescence, however, his spokesman confirmed that his doctors had prescribed “plenty of rest.”

It remains unknown whether Governor Blakemore intends to return to the campaign trail, a new poll out today suggests that last weeks shooting has both strengthened his support and increased doubts in voter’s minds. Campaign manager Cliff Calley said that they would not be answering any questions on “speculation” and that he didn’t believe that the Governor had yet made a decision.

Reports suggest a split in the Blakemore camp with Calley, former Secretary of Defense Robert Kilner and Communications Director Dana Sheehan feeling that it would be impossible for him to continue with Matt McConnell and Sheila Brooks both pushing for the Governor to stay in and attempt to capitalize on any new momentum this gives them.

Ultimately, the key player is likely to be Blakemore’s wife Laura. She had said previously and somewhat prophetically said that she had been against her husband running because of the threat of assassination, but had been convinced that the risk was minimal – whether she can be convinced again will seemingly define the future of the campaign.
politico.com, Friday December 18th

Sullivan Ends Truce With Attack On Walken In New Hampshire

The verbal cease fire that has been largely observed by the leading Republican candidates in the aftermath of the shooting of Governor Marcus Blakemore was brought to a crashing end last night when West Virginia Governor Ray Sullivan accused his leading rival for the party’s nomination, Glen Walken, of betraying his conservative principles during his time as speaker.

Sullivan, who spent much of the past week in Iowa, a state that most had felt he had ceded to Walken returned to New Hampshire with a blistering attack. “Former Speaker Walken has spoken at length about his fiscally conservative views, however, during his time as speaker the number of earmarks grew for 5, 827 to 10,331, and the value of them increased from $32billion to $51billion, to me that’s not fiscally conservative.”

The 2006 nominee continued his offensive saying that Walken was “wed to the mistake of the past, he is not the man to change the future.”

Governor Sullivan began his rally with a brief prayer service for another of his Presidential rivals Marcus Blakemore who he lavished praise on during his speech – he was however, unable to control some of his supporters who booed the mention of the former Michigan Governor’s name.

Polling released this morning shows Sullivan and Walken dead level in New Hampshire, but also showed a surprising surge for the Governor in Iowa, where he appears to be drawing more and more support from former House Speaker Jeff Haffley.

Sullivan’s chief rival, former acting President Glen Walken was campaigning in Michigan and told reporters “Governor Sullivan can twist the truth as much as he wants, I’ve told everyone that I intend to seek an item-line veto should I become President and will go line by line eliminating as many wasteful pork barrel projects as I can – we must and we will get government spending under control.”

Walken would not be drawn on speculation regarding Blakemore’s campaign. The former Speaker visited Governor Blakemore in hospital on Wednesday. “I visited my friend in hospital on Wednesday, what he does next is his business and that of his family – it’s not my place to make any comment.”
politico.com Friday December 18th 2009
Haffley looks beaten
Jeff Haffley yesterday made a visit to his campaign headquaters in Des Moines Iowa. The Former Speaker is trailing way behind the front-runners in Iowa in either last or second last place depending on which polls you read. He knows that if he finishes in last place here, than his campaign will be finished before it has really started.
At the start of the year he seemed certain to be a major contender for the nomination, but yesterday he cut a diminished figure. He made three campaign stops, drawing small crowds to small venues.
It is quite a come down for the man who once dominated his party back in 2003, and the man once called "The New Boss" by Time Magazine. The problem is that he and his campaign underestimated the extent in which Glen Allen Walken and Ray Sullivan would draw in support. His fundraising almost dried up in the summer, but a second place in the Ames straw poll in August at least kept his campaign alive.
Haffley looked plain tired, and defeated before even a single vote has been cast. When things are going badly some candidates gain energy. Jeff Haffley isn't one of them.
After he had finished a couple of TV and Radio interviews, an aid bustled up to him saying "The next President of the United States has a schedule to keep you know" "and so do I" muttered Haffley. Such a moment strongly reinforces the impression that Haffley's heart just isn't in it anymore.
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townhall.com, Friday December 18th

Sullivan Endorsed By Union Leader

In what may turn out to be a hugely symbolic victory for Governor Ray Sullivan he was today endorsed by the influential New Hampshire Union Leader in this morning’s editorial section.

Sullivan has been aggressively courting the newspaper for sometime and today he appears to have gotten his reward, a glowing endorsement from the paper that says “Ray Sullivan is the man to change this country and get the government out of our pocket. He is prepared to reach across party lines and find pragmatic solutions and isn’t tied to the “old boys” network in Washington.”

The Union Leader has played a key role in Republican primary politics for many years. They famously endorsed Arnold Vinick in 2006, a key factor in his victory in the state. The paper also refused to endorse any candidate in the two previous elections opting to remain neutral – many have suggested that their neutrality was a major factor in allowing Robert Ritchie to pull away from Senator Jim Simon in 2002.

The endorsement is a huge boost for Sullivan who is continuing to throw everything he has at the New Hampshire primary, with most analysts believing the state is a must win if Sullivan is to secure the nomination.
thehill.com, Friday December 18th

Is the Hawk Making A Late Swoop On GOP Primary?

The campaign of former Senator George “Hawk” Fuller today insisted that their internal polling suggested that they have become “extremely competitive” in a number of key states as we approach the start of the Presidential primary season.

Fuller spokeswoman Christine Moreton told reporters that “The Senator is extremely pleased by the reaction he is seeing and the numbers that the campaign is generating. We feel we have a strong chance.”

The former Kentucky Senator has been struggling to make any major impact on the race, but polls released today suggest that should, as many expect, Governor Marcus Blakemore withdraw from the race then Fuller with be catapulted into third place. The campaign wouldn’t comment on this with Moreton saying “Governor Blakemore has run a strong campaign and we are focused on running ours.”

Republican analyst Bryant Shelby told The Hill that the amount of praise being lavished on Governor Blakemore by his opponents strongly suggests that they are expecting the former Michigan Governor to drop and are attempting to court his vote.

This view has been further advanced by the announcement today that Senator Fuller, General Nicholas Alexander and former Speaker Jeff Haffley all intend to travel to Michigan to campaign over the weekend – none of them has been to the state in over two months.
Ray Sullivan to Appear on "Studio 60"
Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ray Sullivan is to make a brief appearance on the hit NBS sketch/variety show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The Governor will introduce the show with the signature line "Live from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, it's Friday night in Hollywood!", but will not appear in any of the actual sketches. A Studio 60 spokesperson jokingly said that "we'd risk confusing a satirical farce of a sketch with the Governor's presidential campaign".
A spokesman for the Sullivan campaign said that the Governor is a huge fan of Studio 60, and one of his lifetime ambitions was to introduce an episode. The Sullivan appearance continues a trend of political figures opening the show, including John Hoynes, Owen Lassiter, Sophie Weller and Howard Stackhouse. It is understood that the other candidates for the Republican nomination will be similarly invited at a later point.

(If this is too meta, let me know!)
Ray Sullivan to Appear on "Studio 60"
Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ray Sullivan is to make a brief appearance on the hit NBS sketch/variety show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The Governor will introduce the show with the signature line "Live from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, it's Friday night in Hollywood!", but will not appear in any of the actual sketches. A Studio 60 spokesperson jokingly said that "we'd risk confusing a satirical farce of a sketch with the Governor's presidential campaign".
A spokesman for the Sullivan campaign said that the Governor is a huge fan of Studio 60, and one of his lifetime ambitions was to introduce an episode. The Sullivan appearance continues a trend of political figures opening the show, including John Hoynes, Owen Lassiter, Sophie Weller and Howard Stackhouse. It is understood that the other candidates for the Republican nomination will be similarly invited at a later point.

(If this is too meta, let me know!)
don't know how well it would work considering based on actors, the main characters on Studio 60 are already used in the West Wing Universe(Danny Tripp is Josh Lyman, Matt Albie is Joe Quincy, Heck even Danny Concannon's guy is a main character.) But disregarding Danny Tripp and Matt Albie, who ran studio 60 are extremely liberal guys based on the shows history also Studio 60 takes place in the real world as they mention President Bush constantly and the attacks of 9/11 which don't occur in the West Wing Universe
I am aware that most of the Studio 60 actors have appeared in The West Wing as well, but so what? That's kind of the point. Think of it as an alternate universe Studio 60 if you want, just as we have had (real-world) celebrity appearances who recognise Barlet as President in The West Wing.
foxnews.com, Saturday December 19th

Blakemore To Withdraw From Presidential Race

The campaign of Marcus Blakemore has announced that the former Governor of Michigan will end his campaign for President this evening.

They have confirmed that the Governor will hold a press conference at his campaign headquarters this evening at 6.30pm
politico.com, Saturday December 19th

Transcript of Marcus Blakemore's Speech

Thank you.

I come to you today with great sadness and with deep regret, to inform you all that due to the injuries that I sustained and as a result of the ongoing impact that the events in Salem last Thursday night have had on my family, that I am withdrawing my candidacy for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States.

This is not a decision I have reached lightly, my overwhelming instinct is to continue my campaign, to ensure that the minority of opposition I have faced does not win out. I have been reminded consistently over the past week of Proverbs 12:7 – “The House of Righteous Shall Stand”, but I can not ignore the impact that an event such as this has had on my family and friends.

First of all I must speak of the bravery of a number of people. I’d like to thank the Salem Police Department and the Secret Service for their swift actions last Thursday night. It has not previously been released but the actions of Secret Service Agent Shaun Holden in the immediate aftermath of the first shot undoubtedly saved my life. Agent Holden threw himself into the line of fire pushing me far enough away that the subsequent shots missed their intended target demonstrating to me what Sir Philip Sydney meant when he said "A true knight is fuller of bravery in the midst, than in the beginning of danger." For that bravery Agent Holden my family and I will be forever grateful.

Alongside Agent Holden I need to mention Cliff Calley my campaign manager and Matt McConnell my senior political advisor. It is a testament to both that in spite of their injuries they both refused medical attention until they had ensured that every single member of our campaign team was accounted for. For their bravery, as well as their support I feel truly blessed.

Finally, my wife Laura and our children Marshall, Caitlin, Jodie and Michelle who’s support and bravery over the past week has been astounding. They have faced a dreadful ordeal since late last week and I’d ask you all to continue to respect their privacy.

Whilst I will not be continuing my candidacy, I fully intend to be an active voice for change as soon as I fully recover from last weeks events, and I have absolutely no intention of sitting on the sidelines during what I still regard as the most important election this country has faced in over a decade.

We face enormous trials internationally, two conflicts that we are intimately involved in, the ongoing threat of Iranian Nuclear development and a potential ensuing arms race in the Middle East. Domestically, we are still seeing the effects of the economic irrationality of the past twelve years and the result of increasing government control. We face a deficit that could bring this country to its knees and plunge millions into poverty. Next November the American people will be given the chance to change our current direction and take the steps to ensure a strong future for our children and their children after them.

This contest has taken a heavy toll on me, and continues to demand a heavy price of the remaining candidates, some I’ve agreed with and others I….. haven’t (laughs). What we should remember at a time like this is the 80% of things we agree on, and not the smaller number of areas that divide us. Of the candidates that remain I have little doubt that any of them would make a fine President.

Teddy Roosevelt once said “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” It is with that in mind that as soon as I recover I will be campaigning strongly for the candidate whom I believe to be the man in the race whose character is being rebuke. Who has shown himself to be principled and strong through every challenge he has faced. That man is Glen Walken.

I met with President Walken on Thursday and it remains clear to me that we agree on a great many issues. His ideas and vision for the future will deliver this country to a far better place. Glen Walken will not shrink from the responsibility of the Presidency. He will most definitely welcome it. He has shown his patriotism consistently and with steady dedication for thirty years in the service of his country and now is his time.

I appreciate that tonight many of you will feel disappointment and will be left wondering what happens next. That’s understandable, but you mustn’t allow that to become your focus – we still have much work to do to ensure a better future for America, I urge you all to do that by supporting Glen Walken.

In closing, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your support, to thank my campaign team who have worked tirelessly on my behalf for the past seven months. You’ve done yourselves proud, you’ve done me proud and you’ve done your country proud.

Thanks you, God bless you, and God bless America.
A Christmas Cheer in the Polls for Green
Two You.gov polls out today, one covering the electorate for the London Mayoral election and one the general election electorate both show a slightly increased Labour lead.

London Poll
Gerald Fox, Labour 31%

Henry Reed, Con 26.0%
Ben Stanley, Ind, 23.0%
Josephine Blake, Liberal Democrats, 8%
Arthur Brooks, NPP 6%
Guy Pearson, National Democrats, 4.5%
George Facer, PBA, 1%

National Poll

Labour (John Green): 38.5% (352 seats)
Conservative (James Taylor): 37% (242 seats)
Liberal Democrat (David Corbett): 14.5% (28 seats)
(Just a thought: I'd suggest making "National Democrats", rather than "NDP" the prefered name for the party, considering the latter's similarity to "NPP".)
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foxnews.com, Saturday December 19th

Blakemore Withdraws From Presidential Race.

Marcus Blakemore, the former Governor of Michigan has tonight ended his campaign for President of the United States.

In an emotional speech outside of his campaign headquarters in Lansing, MI Blakemore thanked his campaign staff for their support and help during the seven month long campaign.

Flanked by his wife Laura and his close friend Florida Governor Eric Swenson he spoke of his gratitude for the actions of the Salem Police Department and the Secret Service, singling out one agent Shaun Holden, whom Blakemore said had “saved my life.”

Blakemore also took the opportunity to announce that with his withdrawal he was switching his support to Glen Walken a man who he said, echoing John F. Kennedy, “Will not shrink from the responsibility of the Presidency.”

Over shouts from the crowd to reconsider Governor Blakemore encouraged his followers to support the former acting President.

The 51 year old former Governor who served in President Lassiter’s national security team told the gathered crowd of his “sadness and deep regret” at being forced from the race and gave the impression of a man who had weighed the decision many times over the past few days.
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