Real Clear Politics has released the results of a phone poll taken yesterday (March 19) of 2,018 likely Republican primary voters in Louisiana, and it looks like the Pelican State is going for GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum big time. The poll's margin of error is +/-2.18 percent, and Santorum leads both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich by more than 10 points.
Some other interesting takeaways:
• Ron Paul and Buddy Roemer have the same amount of support in Louisiana: 3 percent. So does Rick Perry, who dropped out of the race weeks ago.
• Favorability ratings: 49 percent of those polled have a favorable impression of Romney. 72 percent find Santorum favorable.
Under the jump: a breakdown of the numbers, including a hypothetical Romney/Santorum matchup, and the answer to the question:
When making your choice to vote for the Republican candidate for President, are you more likely to vote for the candidate who best shares your position on the issues or the candidate who has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama?
Earlier in the day, Gingrich's wife Callista visited Harriet Tubman Charter School in Algiers, and the two had taken time for Friday lunch at Galatoire's (Newt: crab-and-asparagus omelet with oysters Rockefeller; Callista: bouillabaisse) before hitting the more modest restaurant on S. Carrollton Ave. Gingrich canceled a scheduled appearance in Slidell following the New Orleans stop in favor of an hour at the Audubon Zoo, but he was still planning a 6 p.m. at the Covington trailhead — which, he noted, has "the largest Ronald Reagan statue in the world."
The Gingriches entered and shook hands with College Inn owner John Blancher and his father while the sound system pumped out swamp pop ("Don't Take It So Hard" by Snooks Eaglin). Then Gingrich, wearing a string of green St. Patrick's beads, laid out his New Orleans bona fides, saying the trip "reminds us of the three years of living on Lowerline (Street)." Gingrich, of course, attended Tulane University from 1966-1970, earning a Ph.D in history, though he was then married to his first wife, Jackie.
(More under the jump, including video from the event... )
Following this month's conference of U.S. mayors announcing support for the Freedom to Marry initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week announced new provisions to "ensure that its core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
HUD secretary Shaun Donovan said "the Obama Administration has viewed the fight for equality on behalf of the LGBT community as a priority and I’m proud that HUD has been a leader in that fight. ... With this historic rule, the Administration is saying you cannot use taxpayer dollars to prevent Americans from choosing where they want live on the basis sexual orientation or gender identity — ensuring that HUD’s housing programs are open, not to some, not to most, but to all.”
Provisions to protect LGBT communities in public housing previously only fell into the Fair Housing Act's considerations. Donovan announced the latest Equal Access to Housing rules on Saturday, Jan. 24 at the 24th National Gay and Lesbian Task Force “Creating Change” Conference. The ACLU called the announcement a "tremendous step forward" — the final ruling (as "Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs — Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity") will be implemented 30 days after its publishing, next week.
HUD also is expanding its race and gender discrimination studies (performed every 10 years) with a study on LGBT discrimination in public housing.
In an appearance this morning with MSNBC's Chris Jansing, Rep. John Fleming, who represents Louisiana's 4th District, argued against President Barack Obama's proposed tax hike for the top 0.3% of American taxpayers. But one offhand remark by Fleming is already making the rounds of the leftward blogosphere:
Fleming said raising taxes on wealthy “job creators” is a terrible idea that kills jobs because many of these people are small business owners who pay taxes through personal income rates.
Fleming is himself a businesses owner, so Jansing asked, “If you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of some of those employees?” Fleming responded by saying that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”
Fleming went on to describe Obama's plan as "class warfare."
In a preview of his upcoming appearance in the October-November issue of Vibe, rapper Lil Wayne opened up about Monday's debate, proving, hey! this guy has more on his mind than being an alien, skateboarding and avoiding lawsuits (and with good reason, probably):
"You learn from what the right-wing is doing and you take something from it,” Wayne tells VIBE. “I feel like as a people the most that we can do is better ourselves and learn. Then look at yourself and ask ‘Am I the person they’re talking about or am I not?’ You have to make the most of who you are because the Republicans are never going to like us."
(There's a Kayne echo in there.) Wayne also said conservative critics of President Barack Obama are more concerned with his skin color (“I don’t think I have to say that for everybody to know that,” Wayne said) than his policies.
Not sure what Wayne was hoping to gleam from the debate, however, unless it was about affordable health care ("Boo!"), dying alone ("Hell yeah!"), or maybe his ears perked during a misplaced reference to Kurt Cobain (Wayne's hero — and apparently Jon Huntsman is a fan, too).
Meanwhile: Tha Carter IV trumped Watch The Throne in their opening weeks and had a dozen songs hitting the Billboard Hot 100, and Wayne was nominated for a billion BET Hip Hop Awards. All of this, obviously, is leading up to Dwayne Michael Carter's announcement he'll run for office.
Sen. David Vitter's political reinvention from Family Values Crusader (d. 2007) to The Anti-Obama (2007-current) has served him well with his voting base: conservative Louisianans and Tea Party types. It hasn't always played well with the public at large (not that he particularly cares), but this week's anti-Obama stunt — proclaiming his intention to skip the president's jobs speech in favor of the Saints season opener, then being publicly truculent when Sen. Harry Reid pulled the rug out from under him — has earned him some unfavorable headlines far beyond the usual sphere of progressive and Democratic websites. Let's review:
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson blasted Vitter for his remarks on Thursday, calling it "a sad commentary on the state of the Republican Party when a Republican senator whines about having to show a modicum of respect to the President of the United States, and do the job his constituents hired him - and are paying him - to do."
Jentleson argued that, in light of the sacrifices Americans are being forced to make in the face of a bad economy, "it's not too much to ask Senator Vitter to sacrifice a few hours on his couch at home to vote on a bill that will create jobs and spur small-business entrepreneur ship by streamlining our patent system."
"I'm sure he has a television in his office as well," he added.
Shame on you, Harry Reid, forcing David Vitter to act like a senator when it's clearly against his nature.
Philadelphia magazine: "ASS**** OF THE DAY: SENATOR DAVID VITTER"
I don't think the missing asterisks spell "ASSET," so that one will have to go below the jump. Plus: Jeff Crouere of BayouBuzz jumps to Vitter's defense ...
Sen. David Vitter is a New Orleans Saints fan — and his fandom reached its apotheosis in this completely spontaneous image from the Vitter family's 2009 Christmas card, which was good enough to squirrel away for safekeeping:
(Did the Vitters ever upgrade from that 20-inch portable TV? Turn over the stacks of cups? Apologize to the mortified-looking girls in the back for making them do this?)
Anyway, Vitter is such a Black and Gold supporter that he sent out an email this morning to announce he would be skipping President Barack Obama's jobs speech in favor of watching the Saints-Packers season opener tomorrow night at his house in Metairie:
Some of my left-wing critics call me a fanatic. Well, they're certainly right that I'm a fan. And I set my priorities that way. I sent out the following comment on social media today:
"Will listen to President's speech carefully . . . from my priority area for job creation, Who Dat nation. Family and friends coming over for big game. On to recovery—and super bowl!"
See you at the Super Bowl, Mr. President!
Of course, a lot of folks will be skipping out on Obama's speech — but most of 'em don't send out email blasts to draw attention to the fact. Nor do they appear on Fox News to announce their game day party plans:
Think Progress cast doubt on the rationale:
The Saints open the National Football League season at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. Obama’s speech is at 7 p.m., presumably leaving Vitter enough time to attend the speech and get to his office, a sports bar, or anywhere else with a TV without missing any of the game.
See you at the Super Bowl, Sen. Vitter!
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1230 ("Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now" Act), which from the name you can assume wants to do exactly that. It's gunning for a few things: reopen 3 million acres off the coast of Virginia for drilling previously closed during the moratorium following the Gulf oil disaster, and speed up leasing in the Gulf of Mexico — under the mission to "expand American energy production, create jobs and generate revenue for taxpayers."
A reminder, here: there's been no Congressional action to secure environmental and safety considerations following the disaster. Instead, the House here wants a "do-over": expand oil lease areas and get Gulf drilling back on track. The resolution will enter the senate as increasing fears about summer's high gas prices spike nationally. Remember summer 2008? A months-long fear of paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump? (Sound familiar yet?) The then-democratically controlled congress let a moratorium on drilling in the outer continental shelf expire. Once again the gas gloves are off.
So there was no mention of the Gulf oil disaster in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address — or, for that matter, in Rep. Paul Ryan's GOP response, or Rep. Michele Bachmann's TelePrompter-challenged Tea Party Express response.
The omission was a long slow pitch across the plate for any ambitious Gulf Coast Republican politician who cared to take a swing at it, and newly minted Rep. Jeff Landry issued this statement less than an hour after Obama finished speaking:
“The President made a great speech, as he always does; but the American people understand the difference between words and actions. We are in desperate need for results. Since the $800 billion taxpayer-funded stimulus program began, we have lost 2.1. million jobs. Our debt is increasing by $54,373 per second. And our average price of gasoline is rising above $3 per gallon. Now is the time for the President to match his rhetoric with action on creating jobs, reducing spending, and shrinking the size of the government.
Tonight, the President missed a tremendous opportunity to address the on-going situation in the Gulf of Mexico. I would have preferred empty words to absolute neglect. Of 6,802 words in the President’s speech, not one addressed the Administration’s de facto moratorium, the resulting job losses, or the degradation of Coastal Louisiana’s economy. Mr. President, ducking the issue will not lessen our dependence upon foreign oil, wishing will not lower the price at the pump, and no amount of space race metaphors can put Louisianans back to work. It’s one thing to dream; it’s another to fantasize. We need leadership; we need action.
As the Congressman for Coastal Louisiana, I am personally offended that the President refused to recognize the 11 lives lost in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. I am absolutely disappointed that the President refused to mention the thousands of hard-working Americans who have lost their jobs because of his politically-driven moratorium on the oil and gas industry.
The President may be willing to ignore them and may be willing to prohibit drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but tomorrow he will not be able to stop me from drilling his Presidential Oil Spill Commission’s report and demanding answers to why BOEMRE is still not issuing permits on the shelf or deepwater — even though he supposedly lifted the moratorium. The great people on the Gulf Coast demand answers; and if the President is unwilling to address them in his State of the Union, I will address them in tomorrow’s oversight hearing.”
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