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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer received an earful from President Obama when she met him on an airport tarmac outside Phoenix yesterday - and responded in kind.

The Democratic chief executive and Republican governor could be seen engaged in an intense conversation right at the base of Air Force One's steps.

Both could be seen smiling, but speaking forecefully at the same time. At one point, Jan Brewer pointed a finger directly in Barack Obama's face. Why?

Asked later what the conversation was about, Brewer, who recently published Scorpions for Breakfast, said, "He was a little disturbed about my book."

Something of a memoir of her years growing up, Scorpions defends her signing of Arizona's controversial law cracking down on undocumented immigrants.

Obama, who opposes that law, was objecting to Brewer's description of a meeting they had at the White House in June 2010. Bad blood has boiled since.

Brewer described Obama as lecturing her like "a little kid in a classroom, if you will, and he was this wise professor ... I felt minimized to say the least."

The Governor also said that later that year, Obama blew her off when he was in town to deliver the commencement address at Arizona State University.

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Aside from the optimistic platitudes, soaring rhetoric and feel-good proposals, President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union address was overtly populist and unquestionably combative as he maps a path to a second term in 2013.

Obama’s speech included no shortage of appeals to unity, bipartisanship and overriding American purpose, and he articulated plenty of vague, popular-sounding policy goals, similarly to how Bill Clinton kicked off his 1996 campaign.

His central message, though, stressed a sharp and basic philosophical contrast with his ideological opponents, clearly forming the centerpiece of his reelection effort.

President Obama

While Obama prevailed in 2008 as a change agent - a more progressive implementer of American ideals than his GOP opponents, certainly, but still a post-partisan uniter - he appears to be taking a dramatically different tack in 2012.

Can this new, 2012 version of Obama recapture the same campaign magic, however? Will independent voters return to him over the Republican alternative?

With approval ratings in the mid-40s, he's clearly banking on it, since this seemed in many respects a speech designed to align him with the "99 percent."

You tell us: President Obama in 2012?

 

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Jay Leno is facing more than criticism over his recent joke at Mitt Romney's expense. A Bakersfield, Calif., resident is suing him over the Sikh comedic bit.

The punchline of the joke was that Romney, the very wealthy businessman and GOP presidential candidate, spends his summers in a solid gold palace.

Jay pulled up a photo of India's Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, an extremely sacred building in the eyes of the Sikh people.

There's been a lot of outrage among Sikhs, but one man, Dr. Randeep Dhillon took his religious fervor one step further, filing a libel lawsuit against Leno.

Dhillon claims Jay is responsible for encouraging hatred and ridicule of his religion and is suing for general and punitive damages. The rationale there?

According to Randeep, Leno's Mitt Romney joke "falsely portrays the holiest place in the religion instead as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh."

LOL. Not to encourage Randeep suing us as well, but come on dog.

by Free Britney at . Comments

In his last State of the Union address before the 2012 election, President Obama called upon Congress to work together to rebuild the coveted American Dream.

Our 44th President promised, in a memorable phrase, “no bail-outs, no hand-outs, no cop-outs” to financial institutions that helped derail the U.S. economy.

Obama spoke about “fair” tax reform with a thinly-veiled reference to phrases Republican presidential candidates have used against him repeatedly in debates.

“You can call this ‘class warfare’ all you want,” he said, calling it pure fairness. Without a doubt, the 2012 State of the Union address was a campaign speech:

He said Americans must get past personal ambition and partisan obsession to "focus on the mission at hand" and keep the dream alive by restoring the economy.

"No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important," he said.

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same rules."

"Do we want to keep tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want invest in everything else? If we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both."

Rebuttals came quickly and predictably from political opponents.

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by Free Britney at . Comments

Mitt Romney’s tax return was finally released today as his campaign bowed to political pressure and released hundreds of pages of tax documents. What did we learn?

That he's really rich and pays a really low rate on capital gains.

Basically, while the Republican presidential candidate's tax returns offers glimpses into his sprawling investments, both in the U.S. and abroad, they don't tell voters much we didn't already know or assume was true about the former Bain Capital CEO.

Mitt Romney Picture

Romney had an effective federal income tax rate in 2010 of 13.9 percent, paying about $3 million in taxes on an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million.

The vast majority came from stocks, mutual funds and other investments, typically taxed a rate of 15 percent - significantly lower than normal income.

Of course, this is the case because the money Romney invested was, theoretically, earned via his success and already taxed at higher rates once before.

Rather than making that defense, however, Romney has been evasive about his taxes for weeks, potentially reflected in Saturday's S.C. primary results.

Both rates are much lower than the rates paid by either President Obama or Newt Gingrich, Romney’s GOP rival who released his tax returns last week.

The President earned $1,728,096 in 2010 and paid $453,770 (26.3%) in taxes. Newt earned $3,142,066 that year and was taxed $994,708 (31.7%).

The figures certainly won't help Romney make the case that he understands and fights for the issues of ordinary Americans - not his strong suit as it is.

Nevertheless, he's better off being transparent going forward and trying to use his wealth as a positive, rather than a hindrance due to his own shiftiness.

That is, if he can answer anything without focus grouping it.

by Free Britney at . Comments

We counted 21 questions for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at last night's GOP debate in Florida, with 12 for Rick Santorum, and a mere eight for Ron Paul.

To a point, we get that this is influenced by results and polling ... but on the flip side, aren't results and polling likely to be based on amount of exposure?

Why not give candidates equal free media exposure at the debates?

It's not like these are fringe guys really. Ron Paul has a strong third and second place finish and polls in double digits everywhere; Santorum won Iowa.

Makes no sense. Fortunately, we came across this highlight reel of Paul's answers from the debate in Tampa. Let's hear it for video editing and YouTube!

by Free Britney at . Comments

"Well, number one, I've raised a family," Mitt Romney said during Monday night's Florida GOP debate when asked what he'd done to further the conservative movement.

"And I've - I've, with my wife, we've raised five wonderful sons, and we have 16 wonderful grandkids," he awkwardly continued, before finally answering the question.

He went on to mention his private sector and gubernatorial experience, but the reference to his family stuck, highlighting his inability to connect to many voters.

Mitt, Newt

It's a problem evident in his defeat in South Carolina last week. He's skilled at detailing the X's and O's of policy, but falls short in efforts to prove he's authentic.

Newt, meanwhile, talked about helping Barry Goldwater's campaign in 1964 and later Ronald Reagan's successful 1980 bid, as well as his own efforts as Speaker.

The Gingrich campaign certainly reveled in Romney's non-answer. Minutes after the debate, it sent an e-mail titled "Mitt Romney's Top Conservative Achievements."

It was blank.

by Free Britney at . Comments

Sarah Palin has a way with words.

The 2008 V.P. nominee, who hasn't formally endorsed Newt Gingrich but still told people to vote for Newt in South Carolina and is clearly glad he won Saturday's primary, had some fun with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's reaction to Gingrich's win.

After Christie, a Romney supporter and surrogate, bashed Gingrich as an embarrassment to the Republican party, Palin stated, eloquently, that Chris just has his panties in a wad over his guy losing. Sarah's words, not ours. Watch:

by Free Britney at . Comments

Florida played host to the latest Republican presidential debate Monday night, and Mitt Romney came out swinging against newly-anointed co-frontrunner Newt Gingrich.

After Gingrich routed him in South Carolina, Romney was forced to change course from his usual try-not-to-lose strategy of appearing competent, inoffensive and vanilla.

Mitt apparently got the memo that in order to stop Florida (which holds its primary January 31) from becoming South Carolina redux, he actually has to show some fight.

As such, he blasted  as an influence peddler and disgraced politician in the debate, which marked the GOP race's most heated and personal exchanges to date.

Gingrich, the grand master of the 18 debates to date, and who pulled off a stunning upset in S.C. in large part due to some debate highlights, was, for once, thrown off.

The most shocking moment of last night may have been when Newt said nothing at all, briefly falling into a frustrated silence at one point amid Romney's barrage.

The night epitomized the direction of the race. It's the insurgents vs. the establishment, with Newt hoping to mobilize the former and Mitt looking to swat him down.

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Congratulating the Boston Bruins on the 2011 Stanley Cup championship, President Barack Obama welcomed the team, with one notable omission, to the White House.

Goaltender Tim Thomas, the team's linchpin and only the second American player ever to win playoff MVP, having posted two shutouts in the Final, skipped the event.

Thomas said months ago he would not attend due to political and ideological differences with the Obama administration, and he stayed true to his word yesterday.

Bruins, Obama

Bruins team president Cam Neely said he could've forced Tim Thomas to go, but did not do so, and feels the decision was Thomas' and the team honors his choice.

"Everybody has their own opinions and political beliefs. He chose not to join us," said Neely. "We certainly would have liked to have him but that's his choice."

"All the guys came except for Tim. It's his decision and his choice."

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