Cortney O'Brien - Watch: Wendy Davis Doesn't Know How Debates Work
Posted: 9/22/2014 12:00:00 PM EST

We all know Texas State Senator Wendy Davis likes to talk. She spoke in support of abortion rights for 12 hours straight on the Senate floor last year. But, Davis seemed to forget that she was in a debate and not giving a filibuster Friday night when she debated Attorney General Greg Abbott in the Rio Grande Valley.

At one point during the debate, Davis asked Abbott a question on education. After he responded, the moderator is supposed to step in. But, Davis had other ideas and refused to stop talking. Here was the painful and awkward exchange (via Breitbart Texas):

Usually, when a candidate is interrupted by the moderator, the candidate plays by the rules. Not Davis. Abbott could do nothing but stare at the moderator as Davis continued her strange tirade.

Since its inception, Davis' campaign has been full of interruptions. Her spokesman quit in May, members of her staff mocked Abbott for being in a wheelchair, and reports revealed the state senator had exaggerated her success story. It's no wonder that summer polls revealed she had hit a new low.

Davis' temper tantrum is just her most recent gaffe. If Davis can't control her temper, how will she control one of the largest states in the nation?

Guy Benson - Video: Cutting Biden Some Slack Amid Gaffe Spree
Posted: 9/22/2014 11:15:00 AM EST

Vice President Joe Biden outdid himself by committing a string of four gaffes in the span of two days last week.  Uncle Joe is known for his miscues and malapropisms, but such a highly-concentrated dose of mistakes is extraordinary, even for him:

First he uttered the word "shylock." Then he referred to the Far East as that mystical land known as "the Orient." And now he has praised a Republican senator who resigned in disgrace over charges of sexual harassment — in a speech that was meant to shore up the Democratic Party's bona fides on women's issues. In his remarks to the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum, Biden gave a shout-out to Bob Packwood, a former Republican senator from Oregon, as an example of a more moderate kind of Republican politician. The problem is that Packwood was forced to step down in 1995 after he was accused of harassment by 10 different women.

Then came this misfire in Iowa, wherein the Vice President ladled another helping of incoherence onto the administration's Iraq incoherence:

After leaving a rally in Des Moines, Biden unexpectedly made news at a diner when he seemingly opened the door to committing ground troops to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, an option the Obama administration has diligently batted down as it has moved to expand air strikes in the region -- and that President Obama himself rejected anew in remarks at MacDill Air Force Base Wednesday. "The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission," he said. A reporter asked Biden whether he agreed with the comments of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who on Tuesday left the door open to the possibility of boots on the ground. "He said that if in fact he concluded that was needed he would request it from the president. His conclusion is that it is not needed now," Biden responded...But might it be needed? "We’ll determine that based on how the effort goes," said Biden.

Oops. That casual suggestion undermined President Obama's numerous attempts to slam the door shut to combat troops -- a distinction that seems increasingly technical in nature.  Obama reportedly overruled the military's best advice for an anti-ISIS mission, intent on assuring the American people that he was not reigniting a full ground war in Iraq.  But because comprehensively ruling out potential options in our arsenal sends problematic signals to the enemy, some high-ranking officials have been unable to resist hedging, before being directed to walk back their remarks.  The administration effectively ignored the rise of ISIS until their reign of terror started making unavoidable headlines.  The president has disclaimed responsibility for the mess he's presided over.  For years, Iraq was regarded as little more than a political talking point, with Obama delegating 'day to day' US policy in the country to, um, Joe Biden.  Of the quartet of 'gaffes' committed by the Vice President, his Iraq flub is by far the most serious, as it underscores how lost and muddled Team Obama is on a major foreign policy front.  But as I argued on Fox and Friends, the remaining trio of face-palms are pretty inconsequential (video via Steven Laboe's Right Sightings):

Tucker Carlson is absolutely right.  Intent and context should be the biggest factors in these circumstances. While I'm no fan of his, I don't believe Biden was accidentally revealing latent anti-Semitism by using "shylock," or deliberately insulting Asians with "the orient," or applauding Packwood's misogyny in that speech.  What he was doing was classic Biden: Speaking without a filter, which more than occasionally results in inanity, insensitivity and inaccuracy.  Is it sometimes concerning that such an aloof, undisciplined and impulsive person is "one heartbeat away" from the presidency, to employ a term invoked repeatedly about Sarah Palin? Yes.  Should we gin up a bunch of phony outrage to suggest Biden's a bigot while indignantly demanding apologies?  No.  Perpetual 'gotcha' outrage and the imputing of malicious motives is poisoning our politics.  The Left traffics in this sludge, of course, and people like Joe Biden shamelessly and shamefully play the race and gender cards at the drop of a hat, so perhaps responding in kind is reasonable comeuppance.  Live by the smear, die by the smear, etc (although Democrats rarely pay as high a price for their terrible comments than Republicans).  I get it: His tone deaf praise for Packwood at an event specifically designed to demagogue Republicans on "women's issues" is probably too juicy an irony for the GOP to pass up.  But the arms race of outrage is a pernicious, counter-productive force and should be resisted whenever possible. Staff - Capitol Source: Federal Immigration Judge Claims Courts Are 'Resource Starved'
Posted: 9/22/2014 9:00:00 AM EST

Immigration courts receive less than 2 percent of the $18 billion dollars annually allocated to immigration law enforcement, according to federal immigration judge Dana Leigh Marks. In this week's Capitol Source, two federal immigration judges explain why their courts are underfunded, understaffed, and overflowing with pending cases.

Be sure to visit on Oct. 6 for our birthday tribute to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Katie Pavlich - Former Head of Marine Corps: Obama's ISIS Strategy Doesn't Have a Snowball's Chance in Hell
Posted: 9/22/2014 8:15:00 AM EST

As President Obama continues to openly state U.S. ground troops on Iraq to combat terror army ISIS are not an option, a number of top military commanders have openly criticized or questioned his strategy, both in the press and in congressional testimony. Now we can add former head of the Marine Corps, General James Conway, to a long and growing list. 

Speaking at the Maverick PAC Conference in Washington D.C. last week, Conway didn't hold back or mince words about how he views current strategy against ISIS. The Daily Caller has the story: 

“I don’t think the president’s plan has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding,” retired Marine General James Conway, who served as the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps during the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration, said at the Maverick PAC Conference in Washington, D.C. Friday, according to a source in attendance.

Conway joins Generals James Mattis, General Loyd Austin, General Ray Odierno, General Thomas McInerney, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey in questioning how the United States plans to move forward as military leaders become increasingly at odds with the President over strategy. Many have said arming Syrian rebels is not enough and could lead to arming enemies of the United States. 

Katie Pavlich - Is Arming the Syrian Rebels to Fight ISIS a Good Idea?
Posted: 9/22/2014 8:00:00 AM EST

Last week the House and Senate voted to give President Obama the authority he needs to arm "moderate" Syrian rebels to fight ISIS as fears among Americans about the terror group striking at home continue to rise. Syrian rebels have openly admitted they won't necessarily use weapons provided by the United States to fight ISIS, but instead against President Bashir Assad. Is arming and training Syrian rebels a good idea? Will it be enough? How will vetting of rebels actually work to prevent arming terrorists? And who exactly are these people? 

For some clarification of the issue, the Heritage Foundation's Steven Bucci joined Fox News' Lisa Daftari over the weekend to discuss the situation. Bucci argued that arming the rebels is the "weakest and riskiest" part of a three-piece strategy.

"We've had a heck of a time since the beginning of the Syrian civil war determining who the so-called moderates are in the very broad, very diverse field of resistance forces working against the Assad regime. The group that we're dealing with now, there's a lot of question marks as to whether they're as moderate as they say they are, some dealing they've done with ISIS, perhaps with Assad, there's a lot of questions and remember America has not proven itself to be really adept at sorting out the real motivations of some of these groups in this part of the world," Bucci said.

When pressed for details last week on this issue, State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf kept answers vague and said, "It's a complicated process."

Complicated and risky indeed.

Meanwhile former head of the Marine Corps, General James Conway, is piling on with other top military leaders against Obama's ISIS strategy.

Matt Vespa - So, It Seems Sen. Hagan Chose A NYC Fundraiser Over A Classified Hearing On ISIS
Posted: 9/21/2014 8:15:00 PM EST

new Elon University poll found something interesting regarding the most important issue on the minds of North Carolina’s likely voters [emphasis mine]:

When asked “what is the most important issue in the United States?” many likely voters mentioned something related to international affairs or national defense. Not since 2007 has the Elon Poll found foreign affairs to be a top issue on the minds of North Carolinians. Tillis and Hagan supporters tend to differ on what is the most important issue. Hagan supporters seem to see education as the most important issue, while Tillis supporters were more likely to mention international affairs and national defense.

So far, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has been leading her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, in the polls, but a recent revelation that she skipped a classified hearing on ISIS to attend a New York fundraiser may not sit well with voters (via Washington Free Beacon):

Records indicate that Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) did not attend a classified hearing that focused on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) due to a fundraiser that was held for her in New York City.

The issue of ISIL has been thrust into the spotlight of the race between Hagan and her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, who accused Hagan of not doing enough to stop the terrorist group during its rise.

On the morning of Feb. 27, Hagan missed an Armed Services committee hearing that began at 9:36 in the morning.

Later that day, the subcommittee held a closed-door hearing on “current and future worldwide threats” at 2:30 p.m. The meeting was a classified continuation of an open hearing on Feb. 11 that Hagan also did not attend.

Attendance records are not made available for closed-door Senate hearings, but Hagan may have had other plans for the night of Feb. 27.

That night there was cocktail reception fundraiser for Hagan in New York City with tickets going for up to $5,200. It was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Hagan’s office did not respond to multiple requests for it to clarify Hagan’s attendance at events on the day.

Yeah, talk about bad optics.

Cortney O'Brien - Texas Clinics Say Goodbye to Planned Parenthood
Posted: 9/21/2014 5:56:00 PM EST

Planned Parenthood continues to lose momentum in the state of Texas. Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County, now named Access Esperanza Clinics, has ended its partnership with Planned Parenthood. Patricio C. Gonzales, CEO of Access Esperanza, explained the significant move:

"Changing our name and affiliation allows our agency to apply for state health programs and make low-cost services more available for thousands of our low-income women, men and teens," said Patricio C. Gonzales, CEO of Access Esperanza, in a letter posted on the group's website, where she added that it was "a difficult but practical solution."

In summary, renouncing its association with Planned Parenthood now gives Access Esperanza the opportunity to receive government funds.

Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 7  in 2011. This law barred Planned Parenthood from receiving government assistance. In light of this legislation, Access Esperanza had to close four of its eight clinics. Statewide, the bill led to the closings of 76 clinics.

Access Esperanza's break with Planned Parenthood is evidence that Senate Bill 7 is working. While supporters claim the majority of Planned Parenthood's services are related to women's health and not reproductive services, the fact remains that the organization performs over 300,000 abortions annually and a near 12 percent of Planned Parenthood's clients get abortions. These statistics leave little to the imagination as to why pro-life legislators are trying to revoke taxpayer funding to the infamous organization. As for Access Esperanza, it has not stated whether or not it performs abortions.

Perhaps Access Esperanza's decision to be independent of Planned Parenthood is proof that the organization is being brought down a peg. Similar changes can and should be copied in other states.

Daniel Doherty - Confirmed: Most Americans Need Remedial Civics Lessons
Posted: 9/21/2014 5:00:00 PM EST

Give yourself a giant pat on the back, guys.

I hope (and trust) if you've already troubled yourself enough to read this far, then unlike two-thirds of your fellow citizens, you can honestly say with a straight face that you paid attention during social studies class.

Wednesday marked national Constitution Day, the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. But only 36 percent of Americans can actually name the three branches of government the Constitution created. That’s according to a new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and it shows a huge percentage of Americans might need to take a civics refresher course.

Only 38 percent of Americans knew the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, while 17 percent think Democrats are still in charge. The number of people who knew Republicans were in charge has dropped 17 percent since the last time Annenberg asked, back in 2011, right after Republicans reclaimed control. An identical number, 38 percent, knows Democrats run the Senate, while 20 percent believe Republicans control the upper chamber. Only 27 percent knew it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.

Americans are thus more familiar with which political parties are in power than with which branches of government comprise our political system. Interesting. I wonder, then, how many of us also know that the "U.S. House of Representatives" and the "U.S. Senate," when taken together, make up the "U.S. Congress"?

In all seriousness, these are the kinds of results one might expect to find when polling, say, eight-year-olds. The fact that this was a national sample of adults is pretty scary.

For a nation with so many smart people in it, it’s amazing how little some of us know.

Matt Vespa - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Fundraises For Garcia's NH Congressional Race
Posted: 9/21/2014 4:15:00 PM EST

New Hampshire State Rep. Marilinda Garcia's congressional campaign is expected to get a boost from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is projected to raise at least $500,000 for 10 Republican women running for office this year (via Politico):

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is flexing her fundraising muscles for nearly 10 GOP female candidates.

McMorris Rodgers, the GOP Conference chairwoman, is expected to raise more than $500,000 for the congressional hopefuls Tuesday at the American Trucking Associations townhouse. Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri, Diane Black of Tennessee and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina also played key roles in putting together the event, according to a source. House Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, GOP Conference Secretary Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, Ellmers and Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) are listed as hosts on the invitation.

The contributions will go to top candidates, including Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Elise Stefanik of New York, Mimi Walters of California and Marilinda Garcia of New Hampshire. Nan Hayworth of New York, Mia Love of Utah, Martha McSally and Wendy Rogers of Arizona, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa and Darlene Senger of Illinois will also be recipients of the fundraiser.

In the meantime, State Rep. Garcia is still waiting for her Democratic opponent, incumbent Congresswoman Ann Kuster, to respond to her invitation to a town hall event. If Rep. Kuster agrees, it will be the first town hall event with her constituents since she took office in 2013.

Recently, Rep. Kuster sent out this email, which included a survey asking her supporters what issues matter most to them; something that could have been gauged at a town hall event.

Friend --

Since day one, I've been listening to the needs, concerns and desires of the people who elected me to represent them.

Our campaign is about you, that is why I wanted to take a moment to ask what matters most to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s cutting through the gridlock in Washington, standing up for woman’s rights or even raising the minimum wage, I want to know what issues you care about.

Can you click here to take our one question survey?

Thanks for standing with us,


Christine Rousselle - Climate Change Demonstrators Hold Rallies Across the World
Posted: 9/21/2014 3:05:00 PM EST

Thousands of people, including actors and politicians, marched today in cities across the world to encourage world leaders to take greater action on the issue of climate change. The United Nations Climate Summit is set to begin in two days.

From AP:

The march was one of a series of events large and small held around the world — organizers said 40,000 marchers took part in an event in London, while a small gathering in Cairo featured 50-foot art piece representing wind and solar energy — two days before the United Nations Climate Summit. More than 120 world leaders will convene Tuesday for the meeting aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.

The New York march drew people from all over the country. A contingent from Moore, Oklahoma — where a massive tornado killed 24 last year— took part, as did hundreds of New Yorkers affected by Superstorm Sandy, which the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British meteorological office said was made more likely by climate change.

While I'm not here to argue about the legitimacy of climate change and will agree that people should be environmentally conscious, some of the people at the march in NYC were a smidge hypocritical.

For instance, Katie noticed this gem:

...and The New York Times included the following quote in their piece about the marches (emphasis added):

Participants from across the country began arriving early on Sunday morningat the staging area near the American Museum of Natural History. Rosemary Snow, 75, stretched her legs after a nearly 14-hour bus drive from Georgia.

“I thought we’d have a lot of younger people on the bus,” said Ms. Snow, who made the trip with her grandson. “There’s a really great mix of people.”

While it's possible that Snow came to New York City on a hybrid-powered (or some other "green" fueled) bus, regardless, a bus isn't the most fuel-efficient vehicle. Is it really that environmentally friendly to go on a 28-hour round-trip bus ride to protest climate change?

I'll leave you with this: