Protesters stand outside Popovers on the Square as Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry campaigns inside August 18, 2011 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
ABC: …. What Perry may not have loved, however, is the treatment he received just 24-hours later at a meet-and-greet stop in this picturesque Seacoast town where he encountered about two-dozen protesters who shouted at him, held signs with slogans like “Another Texas idiot for sale,” and followed him into a cafe to yell some more.
The protesters, some of whom were senior citizens and members of the New Hampshire Alliance For Retired American gathered on a sidewalk more than an hour before Perry arrived at the event….
As the presidential candidate from Texas walked into a local restaurant, Popovers on the Square, he was forced to shake hands with voters amid shouts of “Hands off Social Security and Medicare!” and “You’re a threat to America” from the anti-Perry forces who gathered just a few feet away from him….
Inside the café, Gail Mitchell (a small-business owner from Barrington) and a companion grilled him: “You said Social Security was unconstitutional.”
“Social Security’s going to be there for those folks,” Perry answered his inquisitors, making reference to the elderly.
“But you said Social Security is unconstitutional,” Mitchell repeated.
“I don’t think I – I’m sorry, you must have,” Perry said before stopping himself.
Instead of elaborating, Perry stuffed a generous piece of popover in his mouth. (Perry called them “pop ups.”)
“I’ve got a big mouthful,” Perry said and then ordering a glass of water. He later tripped over one of the women standing at his side pressing him on Social Security.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” Perry said to her.
In an interview with Newsweek last year, Perry was asked about his opinion on the constitutionality of programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term ‘general welfare’ in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care,” Perry said in the interview. “What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.”
At a house party in New Hampshire last Saturday, Perry referred to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.
Steve Benen: When a candidate would rather stuff food in his mouth than answer an important question, it’s safe to say he considers the issue politically problematic.
Later, Ray Sullivan a Perry campaign spokesperson, told reporters he’s “never heard” the governor question the constitutionality of Social Security.
Sullivan may be the only one.
As for Perry’s reluctance to stand by his own positions, what happened to the swagger, Rick? Folks want to know if you stand by what you said about Social Security. You’re not going to let polls and a bunch of aides tell you what to think, are you?
Washington Post: Newly-minted presidential candidate Rick Perry got a taste Thursday of the rough-and-tumble nature of presidential politics, with protesters dogging him on the campaign trail, demanding to know whether he thinks Social Security is unconstitutional and begging him to follow through on threats of Texas seceding.
Nearly two dozen hecklers greeted the Texas governor with signs saying, “Ricky Go Home” and “Seniors Say NO to Ricky.” As Perry prepared for a meet-and-greet at a cafe downtown, they began chanting, “Hands off Social Security and Medicare.”
“He’s appealing to the tea party,” said Larry Drake, a retired federal worker and Democrat who said he came Thursday to show his opposition to the Republican governor. “It’s like George W. Bush on steroids.”
…A man shouted, “Please secede,” referring to comments Perry has made about Texas leaving the United States because of what he considered encroachment by the federal government. Perry ignored them with a tight smile.
Washington Post (2002): …President Bush … sprang from his golf cart at 6:15 a.m. and said he was “distressed to hear about the latest suicide bombers in Israel.” Just over four hours before, as Bush slept at his parents’ seaside retreat, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Israel, killing nine passengers.
Bush, wearing khakis and a knit shirt, was holding a driver in his gloved left hand …. however incongruous the setting, the president plunged ahead. “There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started, and we must not let them,” he said. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.”
His business out of the way, Bush barely paused for breath before saying, “Thank you. Now watch this drive.”
The abrupt segue illustrates the dilemma Bush will face over the next month as he relaxes and works at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., at a time of global political volatility. On Tuesday, Bush will leave Washington behind until Labor Day. That is likely to mean a return to the golf-cart diplomacy of last summer when Bush talked Middle East peace between playing holes, at one point dripping sweat as he said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “can do a lot more to be convincing the people on the street to stop these acts of terrorism.”
President Obama ordered special honors in memory of Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving U.S. veteran out of more than 4.7 million who served the nation during World War I. Buckles, who enlisted in the Army at the age of 16, died Sunday at 110 at his farm in West Virginia.
Here is what the President proclaimed:
“As a mark of respect for the memory of Army Corporal Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, and in remembrance of the generation of American veterans of World War I, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that, on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”
You know all those Teapublicans and their media buddies who are complaining about the amount of time the President takes off?
In fairness to them, they were just as critical of President Bush. And they concede that he took waaaaaaaay more time off than President Obama. Ho ho, kidding …. they tend to, um, overlook these pesky facts and figures:
President Obama (over two years)
Vacation trips: 10 (spanning 58 days)
Trips to Camp David: 15 (spanning 35 days)
Total over two years: 93 days
** Percentage days ‘off’: 12.7 **
George W Bush (over eight years)
Trips to Camp David: 149 (spanning 487 days)
Trips to his Texas ranch: 77 (spanning 490 days)
Trips to his parents’ home in Maine: 11 (spanning 43 days)
Total over eight years: 1020 days
** Percentage days ‘off’: 34.9 **
Source: CBS/Mark Knoller – President Obama ‘By The Numbers’ here; Bush ‘By The Numbers’ here
But, but, but: what about all the golf President Obama plays?!
Well, if he, say, played Monday to Friday or canceled his State of the Union speech or postponed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks so he could play an extra round, I’d understand the Teapublican OUTRAGE (capital letters are important when you’re talking OUTRAGE).
But…. he plays at weekends and during his vacations. He’s active, fit, healthy – you know, good things. Bush spent most of his time off (over a third of his Presidency) watching sport on TV, sometimes getting so excited he choked on pretzels. I dunno, do Teapublicans believe pretzel-choking on the couch to be a more noble Presidential pursuit?
But, but, but: when Bush was at Camp David he was still working! Presidents are never off duty!
Okay, let’s do a deal – we’ll deduct the Camp David days … for both Presidents.
Deduct the Texas ranch trips too!
But, but, but: what about the cost of President Obama’s trip to Hawaii?!
That once-a-year-trip? Teapublicans? Do you really want to go there? No, no, I don’t mean Hawaii, I mean the cost thing.
Time: AFSCME President rips Republicans for putting “billionaires ahead of the needs of … America’s middle class” …. suggests sympathy for Obama’s decision.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Pres. Gerald W. McEntee made the following statement on the tax compromise:
“Unless Senate Republicans could keep the tax breaks for billionaires, they were willing to raise the taxes of every American working family. They put the interest of billionaires ahead of the needs of millions of unemployed workers and America’s middle class. Their repugnant and reckless obstructionism should now be clear to all. They were willing to do real harm to millions of families if they didn’t get their way. There are no easy choices facing us when GOP senators are willing to sacrifice the middle class in order to protect the interest of Wall Street and the very wealthy. We will continue the fight to require the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.”