Letter: Air Force One Costs Go Beyond Plane

Mar 5, 2012, 5:58 pm EDT

This is but a small piece of presidential travel.  In 1996, I managed the re-election support aircraft out of Andrews AFB.  Along with AF One costs, there is the issue of the backup AF One that flies to a nearby military base such as Travis AFB, near San Francisco, and then shadows the aircraft for any other stops.

Next, we have countless C-5’s and C-17’s that fly the communication gear, limos and any other support that is needed.  I would venture to say that for every hour AF One flies, you can double for the backup aircraft and maybe 4-5 hours more in support aircraft for every hour flown by AF One.  So the cost for aircraft hours is more like $700,000.00 per AF One hour of flying.  On a campaign trip that cost is not reimbursed.  So the tax payer would be much better off just giving the president the expected take for the campaign fund raiser.

— Bob Marcott, California Read 

U.S. Has $5 Trillion Interest Bill

Mar 5, 2012, 5:41 pm EDT

Borrowing money now and paying it back later has a cost. For the United States, that cost is over $5 trillion.

That figure is the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of how much money Washington will pay over the next ten years to cover interest payments on debt. That’s more than half the $11 trillion in government debt the CBO estimates the public will own in the next decade.  The estimate operates on the assumption that several key fiscal policies, including the Bush-era tax cuts, stay in place.

What does this mean practically? If the estimate holds true, 14% of all the revenue the federal government takes in will go into interest payments. Interest costs will be higher than spending on Medicaid, close to equal to spending on defense, and half of what we spend on social security. Read 

Breitbart Autopsy Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Mar 5, 2012, 8:44 am EDT
Breitbart Autopsy Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart was just 43 when he died last week. But the Breitbart autopsy has yeilded no immediate results as to the cause of death for the influential conservative activist.

Andrew Breitbart was the founder of an influential website named simply Breitbart.com and was a lightning-rod of liberal criticism. Breitbart also had a hand in helping Matt Drudge compile and publish his DrudgeReport.com news site. But all that was cut short when Andrew Breitbart died Thursday after collapsing on a sidewalk near his Los Angeles home.

Reuters reports that an autopsy was performed as “standard procedure.” The wire service goes on to report that, “Los Angeles County Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said toxicology and microscopic tissue studies were ordered because of Breitbart’s death at the relatively young age of 43.” Read 

After Super Tuesday: A Brokered GOP Convention?

Feb 29, 2012, 12:22 pm EDT
After Super Tuesday: A Brokered GOP Convention?

With the Michigan and Arizona primaries now behind them, the GOP’s field of presidential aspirants sets its sights on the biggest prize to date in the 2012 race for the White House: Super Tuesday.

In the closest thing to a national primary this year, 11 states representing most of the nation’s geographic regions, will hold contests on March 6. (Washington state holds a nonbinding caucus for its 43 delegates on March 3.)

But while past Super Tuesdays have brought clarity to the nominating process, this year could yield chaos given the strong likelihood that the 466 delegates up for grabs will be divvied up among Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. That raises the specter of a spectacle that American politics hasn’t witnessed in 60 years — a brokered convention. Read 

Arizona and Michigan Confirm GOP Voter Split

Feb 29, 2012, 9:09 am EDT
Arizona and Michigan Confirm GOP Voter Split

Mitt Romney limped a little closer to the finish line yesterday, winning a sizable victory in Arizona and a tiny one in his home state of Michigan. While Romney’s success in Arizona was expected, he didn’t foresee (until about two weeks ago) that holding on to Michigan would be a so difficult. Rick Santorum’s appeal to that state’s voters should strike some fear in the heart of the party that wants to unseat Barack Obama in November.

Exit poll results expose major rifts within the GOP along religious and class lines

Although Romney has been considered the “inevitable” nominee among the GOP Establishment from the campaign’s beginning, he hasn’t been able to garner much support from a major block of the Republican Party: white evangelical voters. The exit polls in Arizona and Michigan confirmed this is still a problem for Romney. He won the votes of only 35% of white evangelicals in Michigan and 33% in Arizona. Read 

Maine Sen. Snowe Announces She Won’t Run for Re-election

Feb 28, 2012, 7:29 pm EDT

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced today that she will not be seeking re-election for a fourth term.

In a statement, Snowe said that although she was still in good health, she felt Congress had become too polarized for her to remain effective in office.

“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.” Read 

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