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Romney: UN a Failure

The frustration goes deep with many when it comes to the UN. The organization is slow to act and often never effective.

Mitt Romney is not so fond of the organization himself, particularly the Human Rights Council.

“The United Nations has been an extraordinary failure of late,” Romney said in response to a question at a pancake house along the coast of early voting South Carolina. “We should withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

A spokesman clarified the statement.

“The governor believes we ought to withdraw completely from the U.N. Human Rights Council, and that means ending our financial support in addition to not seeking a seat on the council,” Fehrnstrom said. “We should not legitimize the council, either with financial or diplomatic support.”

I’m often considered a hawk by my Democratic friends, but I am one who believes the UN needs major reformation or a complete dissolution and even the withdrawal of U.S. participation in the UN in favor for a new and stronger organizational body.

Let’s see where the future lies.

It is About Trust

John Edwards is still making his case for the Democratic nomination, hitting both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the issue of trust.

“Having a great politician is fine,” Edwards said. “That’s not what America needs right now.”

“I’m a different candidate,” he said during a stop at a volunteer fire station. “The most important thing is to have a president that you trust. Forget politics for a minute. … What we’ve seen happen in the last six or seven years is the utter destruction of trust between the president and the American people.”

He is right. Part of this election process is trust. Who do we trust to lead America? Opinions may vary, nevertheless, it is only a small piece of the election, and often leadership can trump trust in dire times.

Still, this is smart for John Edwards. He must go at the heart of Clinton’s weakness. Conservatives and the left flank of the Democratic Party do not trust her. Conservatives see her as an ultra liberal and some Democrats see her as a neoconservative. Why not reinforce that mindset of untrustworthiness?

On a personal level, I don’t trust John Edwards.

Brownback to Drop Out

According to the AP, Sam Brownback will drop out of the presidential race.

This is no surprise to me. Brownback has struggled throughout the entire year with fundraising and making a case for his candidacy to conservatives. His campaign took a blow in the August Ames poll, in which Huckabee came in second. Since then, he has had very little media attention and his chances at the nomination dwindled to almost nothing.

Brownback has raised about $4 million for the entire year and has only $94,000 left on hand for his presidential bid. Failure does not even begin to describe his campaign.

“I know Senator Brownback enjoyed campaigning and meeting new people in talking about ideas for the future of America, but I think it came down to money,” said one person close to Brownback, who requested anonymity because the candidate had not yet announced his plans.

So, question is, would Brownback seek Sabelius’ Governor’s seat and would Sebelius seek Brownback’s Senate seat?

And, is Duncan Hunter next?

Huckabee: Get Rid of the IRS

Ron Paul is not the only one with radical ideas, such as getting rid of the CIA and the Federal Reserve. Mike Huckabee says he will like to get rid of the IRS.

Huckabee also says excessive taxation, excessive regulation and excessive litigation is leading to job migration in this country.

According to Huckabee the IRS is beyond repair. “I come from the deep south in Arkansas, and we have a feeling if you can’t fix it with duct tape and WD-40, it can’t be fixed.”

If the IRS was canned, Huckabee said April 15 would just be another spring day, not the most dreaded day of the year.

Sounds great on the surface, but I need to know more.

John Edwards Moves in on Clinton

Nine months into the year and Clinton has increased the lead for the Democratic primary and improved her standing against Republicans. With three months until the first votes are cast, it is now go time and John Edwards is on the attack.

BLITZER: And joining us now, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. He’s joining us in Columbus, Kentucky.

Senator, we’ll get to your location later in the interview. An interesting story there, but let’s talk about what’s happening in the campaign right now.

You said the other day — and I’m sort of paraphrasing — that Senator Hillary Clinton wants to extend the war, I will end the war.

I want you explain what you mean by that.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I mean is voters in this primary are going to have a choice. I have said I would take all combat troops out of Iraq, end the war, end the combat in Iraq. Senator Clinton has a different view.

She said that she will continue — and I think I’m quoting her now — combat mission in Iraq. And from my perspective, continuing combat missions in Iraq is a continuation of the war. And I want to have very clear differences between myself as the Democratic nominee next fall and the Republican.

They’ll be for continuing the war, I want to end the war. Senator Clinton wants less war, but wants to keep the war going.

BLITZER: And I think what she says — and I could be wrong — but I think she’s suggesting those combat missions she would keep behind would be specifically designed to go after al Qaeda elements that have formed in Iraq.

Would you let al Qaeda have a free rein in Iraq?

EDWARDS: Here’s what I believe. I believe that what you just said is essentially what George Bush says. I mean, George Bush says we’ve got to keep our troops in Iraq, we’ve got to keep combat troops in Iraq. Al Qaeda is operating there, so we have to continue the war and keep out combat troops there.

I think that’s wrong. I think the foundation for the violence in Iraq is the dispute between the Sunni and Shia. And I think America needs over a period of eight or nine months to get its combat troops out of Iraq and shift the responsibility to Sunni and Shia to reach a political solution.

But my difference — and this is a choice for primary voters to make — my difference is I would get all combat troops out of the Iraq. Senator Clinton wants to continue some form of combat missions in Iraq.

BLITZER: And she also says in addition to going after potential al Qaeda sanctuaries, or whatever, she would want to protect the U.S. diplomats, protect the U.S. Embassy, which is a huge — the largest embassy that the United States has in the world. So she would have to keep some troops to protect Americans there.

I assume you would want to keep some troops for that kind of mission?

EDWARDS: That’s correct. I think there’s a difference between having troops there to protect the embassy, for example — and we don’t want it to be the only unprotected embassy in the world. The embassy in Baghdad has to be protected, but there’s a difference between having a protective force there just to protect the embassy and having combat troops there for the purpose of carrying on combat missions.

One I believe is a continuation of the war. Protecting the embassy is not. We’re doing that all over the world.

BLITZER: So on this issue I take it you’re basically in line with what Governor Bill Richardson says. He just wants to pull out all troops as quickly as possible. And that’s that.

I take it you and Governor Richardson agree?

EDWARDS: Well, I have a difference with Senator Clinton. I have a little trouble understanding exactly what Governor Richardson is saying. If he’s saying that he’s going to take all troops out, that’s impossible. We have to — we have to keep at least around a brigade for the purpose of protecting the embassy, and I would do that. But I would not continue combat missions as Senator Clinton is talking about.

My problem here, would Democratic voters see a difference in keeping a brigade of troops to protect the U.S. embassy in a civil war, and in keeping a contingent of troops to protect the embassy and go after the occasional terror cell? Troops on the ground means troops on the ground, right?

Romney on the Attack

With falling poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire, while struggling to gain national prominence, Mitt Romney is on the attack, hitting Rudy Giuliani, labeling him as a “Big Spender.”

Here is a few pieces from the Romney press release.

FACT: Mayor Giuliani Fought To Tax People For Going To Work:

University Of Pennsylvania’s Factcheck.Org: Mayor Giuliani “Fought To Keep” The Commuter Tax. “Also, it’s worth noting that Giuliani’s list doesn’t mention one tax he fought to keep – New York City’s commuter tax, which was lifted by the state Legislature in 1999. The mayor and the city council sued the state to maintain the tax – .45 percent of earned income for most of the people affected – but lost in court. The city had been collecting about $360 million per year from commuters from New Jersey, Connecticut and other parts of New York state.” (Factcheck.org, “Giuliani’s Tax Puffery,” FactCheck.org Website, http://www.factcheck.org/, 7/27/07)

FACT: Mayor Giuliani Not Only Wanted To Keep The Tax, He Wanted To Raise It:

Mayor Giuliani Said That The Commuter Tax Should Be Increased Rather Than Eliminated. “Earlier today, Mr. Giuliani assailed the Legislature for seeking to end the commuter tax, saying that if anything, it should be higher.” (Clifford J. Levy, “Leaders In Albany Plan To Eliminate Tax On Commuters,” The New York Times, 5/13/99)

FACT: Mayor Giuliani Sued Republicans In Albany So He Could Keep The Commuter Tax:

Mayor Giuliani Immediately Threatened Legal Action In Order To Keep The Commuter Tax. “A spokeswoman for Mr. Giuliani said tonight that he would file suit to retain the tax, maintaining that the state cannot end it without the permission of the city.” (Clifford J. Levy, “Leaders In Albany Plan To Eliminate Tax On Commuters,” The New York Times, 5/13/99)

Ouch! It’s that time of year, when the desperation sets in and the days quickly countdown to the first caucus in the nation. Eventually, someone has to go after the frontrunner. Edwards is doing the dirty work on the Democratic side, while Romney is working full time on the Republican side. Both are viable for their party’s nomination, and both are trying to play to the base.

As a side note, I would rather have Giuliani as the nominee than Romney. Just keep that in mind going into the last leg of the primary race.

Fred Thompson Raises $9.3 Million

After waiting for months to jump into the fray, Fred Thompson raised about $9.3 million for the third quarter, collecting contributions from about 80,000 donors. 22,000 of which were online contributions.

The Thompson campaign also report $7 million cash on hand heading into the last leg of the primary campaign season.

John McCain Raises $6 Million

John McCain has raised about $6 million for the third quarter, higher than the original estimate of $5 million.

The campaign has about $3.6 million in the bank and $1.5 million in debt.

Not bad when compared to other Republican candidates.

Giuliani Raises $11 Million

Rudy Giuliani topped Republicans for the third quarter fundraising period, raising $11 million.

Giuliani has raised about $44 million for the year. $4 million of that is designated for the general election should he win the nomination.

The campaign is reporting $12 million cash on hand for the primary.

Romney Raises $10 Million (Loans $8.5 Million)

Mitt Romney raised a cool $10 million in the third quarter and once again loaned his campaign $8.5 million, for a total loan of about $17.5 million for the year. The campaign is also reporting about $9 million cash on hand. So far for the year, Romney has raised $45 million and spent about 119% of that. Not a very impressive burn rate and the only thing to show for it is soft support in New Hampshire and Iowa.