Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Romney Rallies Reno Voters In Effort To Win Nevada

By Sean Whaley | 2:41 pm October 24th, 2012

RENO – Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a crowd of about 2,000 enthusiastic Northern Nevada  voters today, urging them to get to the polls and help him take the battleground state that is Nevada 13 days from now.

Romney told the crowd that President Obama is out of ideas, out of excuses and will be out of office come Nov. 6.

The president, “doesn’t understand what it takes to get this economy going, he doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans, I do and that’s why I’m going to win,” he said.

Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a Reno crowd today. / Nevada News Bureau.

He promised to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act, which he referred to as Obamacare, and stop the raid of Medicare funds to pay for it.

Romney said that if Obama is reelected, the national debt will grow from $16 trillion to $20 trillion by the end of his second term.

“I will get America to finally be on track to a balanced budget,” he said.

In his second Nevada visit in as many days, Romney held the rally at the Reno Events Center downtown in a county viewed by many political observers as holding the key to a GOP victory on Nov. 6. He spoke for about 20 minutes.

In a display of just how critical both parties view the state with its six electoral votes, Obama is scheduled to make yet another Nevada appearance later today in Las Vegas.

Nevada voter registration leans Democratic, with 41.9 percent active registered voters to 34.7 percent for Republicans, with another 17.4 percent nonpartisans. Early voting, which began Saturday and runs through Nov. 2, has also favored Democrats so far, with 81,694 votes cast by Democrats through Oct. 23 compared to 62,031 cast by Republicans and 28,981 cast by nonpartisans.

In his remarks, Romney said the election isn’t just about big national issues, but about America’s families and whether they will be able to find jobs and have the ability to choose the school their children attend.

“And I understand what it’s going to take to get this country strong again and provide the answers that your families need,” he said. “Because this is an election about two very different pathways for America. The one represented by the president is in fact one with $20 trillion in debt. He started with $10 trillion, he’s up to $16 (trillion) on his way to $20 (trillion). I’ll balance the budget instead.”

Romney said his five step plan to get the country’s economy working again includes more development of oil, coal, gas and renewable energy, expanding foreign trade, providing training for job seekers, working toward a balanced federal budget and championing small business.

“I want to get small business going again and that means I want to keep taxes down on small business; I want to get regulators to see their job is encouraging small business, not crushing it,” he said. “I’ll make small business the centerpiece of our economic recovery.”

Romney asked the crowd to each find a voter who supported Obama in 2008 and get them to vote for his campaign in 2012 and help “take America in a new direction.”


Audio clips:

Gov. Romney says voters have two clear paths on election day:

102412Romney1 :19 the budget instead.”

Romney says he will make small business the centerpiece of an economic recovery:

102412Romney2 :14 our economic recovery.”


First Lady Presents Her Case For Another Term For President At Rally In Reno

By Sean Whaley | 12:54 pm October 3rd, 2012

RENO – First Lady Michelle Obama sought to make the case for another term for her husband at a rally at the University of Nevada, Reno today, ahead of a much anticipated first debate in Denver tonight between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

With the Nov. 6 general election just 34 days away, a crowd estimated at about 3,800 by the fire marshal cheered the First Lady as she talked about her husband’s character and accomplishments in his first term, including ending the war in Iraq and eliminating the threat of Osama bin Laden.

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks today at a rally at the University of Nevada, Reno. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Her remarks came on the couple’s 20th anniversary. After the rally, the First Lady was set to fly to Denver for the debate and to see her husband for the first time today.

In personal remarks that resembled those she gave at the Democratic National Convention, the First Lady said she and her husband were raised to believe that hard work matters more than how much money you make.

“We learned that the truth matters so you don’t take shortcuts; you don’t game the system; you don’t play by your own set of rules,” Obama said. “We learned that none of us gets where we are on our own. None of us. That each of us has a community of people lifting us up.

“See, these are the values that make Barack such an extraordinary husband to me, and such a phenomenal father to our girls,” she said. “And I have seen how those values are so critical for leading this country.”

The First Lady also talked about what he faced upon taking office in January 2009.

The economy was losing an average of 800,000 jobs a month, she said.

“This is what welcomed him into the office,” Obama said. “And today, while we still have a long way to go to rebuild our economy, understand that we have had 30 straight months of private sector job growth under this president, a total of 5.1 million new jobs. Good jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s where we are today.”

Obama asked the crowd if they want to return to the policies that got the country into its economic troubles to begin with.

“It’s all on the line,” she said. “It’s all at stake this November.”

It will come down to a few key states like Nevada, Obama said.

Obama asked the crowd to make sure their friends are registered to vote and actually vote in Nevada to swing the battleground state that is Nevada to the president for a second time.

“If you want to give me a nice anniversary present, here is something you can do,” she said. “From now until November, we’re going to need every single one of you to work like you’ve never worked before.

“So see, what I tell myself is we cannot turn back now,” she said. “Not now. We have come so far, but we have so much more work to do.”


Audio clips:

First Lady Michelle Obama says she and her husband were raised with the right values:

100312Obama1 :23 lifting us up.”

Obama says the country has created 5.1 million private sector jobs since her husband became president:

100312Obama2 :20 we are today.”


Romney Calls To Keep American Military Strong In 9-11 Anniversary Remarks In Reno

By Sean Whaley | 12:45 pm September 11th, 2012

RENO – GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told about 3,700 members of the National Guard Association of the United States here today that now is not the time to weaken the nation’s military.

On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Romney said the return of the country’s troops from Iraq and the impending return of troops from Afghanistan in 2014 cannot be used as an excuse to impose devastating cuts on the Defense Department.

“It is true that our Armed Forces have been stretched to the brink, and that’s all the more reason to repair and rebuild,” Romney said. “We can always find places to end waste but we cannot cancel program after program. We cannot jeopardize critical missions. And we cannot cut corners in the quality of the equipment and training we provide to our men and women in uniform.”

Mitt Romney speaks to the National Guard Association in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Romney was referring to impending military cuts that could come due as a result of a stop-gap deal reached in Congress earlier this year. The agreement will require significant cuts in both military and domestic spending if a budget reduction deal cannot be reached.

The military starting next year would see funding cuts of $492 billion over 10 years, with an equal size cut coming to domestic programs. Romney criticized President Obama for these cuts, called sequestration, in remarks to attendees of the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention here in Reno in July but did not levy a similar attack today.

He also defended the benefits received by veterans, especially given the high rate of suicide among the military.

“The unconscionable waits for mental health treatment need to be dramatically shortened, and the suicide rate among active duty soldiers and veterans must be treated like the emergency it is,” Romney said. “Veterans benefits are not a gift that is given, but a debt that is due.”

Romney, who spoke for about 16 minutes, also recalled where he was when the terrorist attacks occurred at the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon 11 years ago. Romney said he had planned to be at Battery Park in New York, but found himself instead in Washington, DC, to discuss security for the upcoming Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Romney said he left Washington and was driving toward Alexandria when he passed close by the Pentagon.

“I could smell burning fuel and concrete and steel,” he said. “It was a smell of war. Something I never imagined I would smell in America.”

Romney said the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks show why a strong military must be maintained.

“As you know too well, our world is a dangerous place, and the attack on our homeland and citizens on Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us that the mission of the guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor,” he said.

Both Romney and President Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Reno-Sparks Convention Authority in July.

Obama has another political event set for tomorrow at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, having visited both Reno and Las Vegas at campaign events in August.

The visits, including a political rally held this past Friday in Sparks with GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, point out how important both parties view Nevada in the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.

The four-day association conference has brought Army and Air Guard officers, their spouses, defense officials and industry representatives to Reno from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.


Audio clips:

GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney says the country cannot afford to weaken its defense:

091112Romney1 :22 women in uniform.”

Romney says veterans benefits are not a gift but a debt that is due:

091112Romney2 :18 that is due.”



Ryan Tells Sparks Crowd Nation Needs New Leadership

By Sean Whaley | 2:55 pm September 7th, 2012

SPARKS – Fresh on the heels of another disappointing jobs report, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a brief rally here today, telling a crowd of 2,500 at a local small business that President Obama needs to be replaced to get the country back on track.

“Are we going to stick with four more years of the same, of the same path? No,” Ryan said at the campaign event held at Peterbilt Truck Parts and Equipment. “Are we going to have a country in debt, in doubt, in decline? Or are we going to do what we need to do to get people back to work, to fix the mess in Washington, and to get this country back on the right track.”

Paul Ryan fires up the crowd at a rally today in Sparks. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

It was Ryan’s first visit to Northern Nevada as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Romney is expected  back in Reno on Tuesday for a National Guard convention.

President Obama is slated to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday as Democrats and Republicans fight to win the battleground state in the Nov. 6 general election.

Ryan wasted no time in bringing up the jobs report released today by the U.S. Department of Labor that showed the country saw only 96,000 jobs created in August, well below the 125,000 gain expected by Wall Street. The unemployment rate declined to 8.1 percent in August from 8.3 percent in July but the drop was attributed to more people giving up looking for work.

“Today, for every person that got a job, nearly four people stopped looking for a job; they gave up,” he said. “We can’t keep doing this. Our economy needs to create just 150,000 jobs every month just to keep up with the growth of  our population.

“Friends, this is not an economic recovery; this is nowhere close to an economic recovery,” Ryan said. “We need a new president and we need a real economic recovery.”

Obama promised to keep unemployment below 8 percent with the stimulus package passed early on in his term, he said.

Instead, it’s been above 8 percent for 43 months and in Nevada it is 12 percent, Ryan said.

“It’s not working, and we have a plan to fix this,” he said.

In a statement from the White House on the report, Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said: “While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Ryan told the Sparks crowd that when Republicans win in November, the Romney-Ryan administration will move to immediately develop the country’s energy resources to create jobs, including building the Keystone pipeline, Ryan said.

The administration will also provide opportunities for those looking for work to learn new skills to find jobs, and will seek to increase manufacturing and agricultural production, he said.

The administration will also work to bring spending under control and bring an end to deficit spending, Ryan said.

“We have got to get this budget under control or else we will wind up just like Europe,” he said. “If you practice European economics you will get European results.”

Finally, the administration will work to help small businesses succeed and create jobs, Ryan said.

Romney will bring a history of successful business experience to the White House, he said.

If Nevadans support the Republican ticket, “we will turn this thing around,” Ryan said.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is locked in a battle with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., for the senate seat, used Ryan’s visit to criticize Heller for supporting his budget plan, which includes a proposed change to the Medicare system for younger Americans.

Ryan’s plan would keep Medicare in place for people 55 or older but change it for others by privatizing it and relying on government subsidies.

“The Heller-Ryan-Romney plan essentially ends Medicare by turning it over to private insurance companies, and under the plan, seniors’ premiums would increase by nearly $6,400 and they would pay more in prescription drug costs,” Berkley said in a statement.

Heller welcomed Ryan to Nevada in a statement issued by his campaign.

“Paul Ryan is the vice presidential pick who can lead this country in a substantive discussion about the most pressing issues of the day,” he said. “When many in Washington wanted to play politics and preserve their own political ambitions, Paul Ryan faced head-on the enormous challenge of bringing our nation’s fiscal house in order. This conversation is long overdue, and I look forward to more of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s leadership moving forward.”


Audio clips:

Paul Ryan says the country needs new leadership to turn the economy around:

090712Ryan1 :22 the right track.”

Ryan says today’s jobs report shows there is no economic recovery under way:

090712Ryan2 :32 real economic recovery”


Sen. Reid Defends Obama Record, Criticizes Tea Party, Romney, In Convention Remarks

By Sean Whaley | 5:22 pm September 4th, 2012

CARSON CITY – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today defended President Obama’s record of accomplishments in his first term, citing his preservation of the nation’s auto industry, the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a threat to America and his push to regulate the banking industry as examples of why he deserves a second term in office.

Reid, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Obama “a man who has brought courage and character to the presidency.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“President Obama’s strength of character leads him to do the right thing even when it isn’t the easy thing,” he said.

Reid also attacked the conservative Tea Party element in the Republican Party, saying it must be stopped “before the United States Senate falls into the hands of extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason or compromise, who don’t recognize common ground even when they’re standing on it.”

In his brief remarks, Reid also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying never in modern American history “has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve.”

Reid has been leveling criticisms at Romney for the past several weeks for failing to release more of his tax returns for public scrutiny.

But there has been some blow back for his focus on Romney’s tax returns. Reid was criticized for claiming to have information from a source that Romney paid no taxes at all for 10 years, but he did not make that claim in his convention remarks.

“When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one,” Reid said. “We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families.­ We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine  what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people  a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.”

Reid said the American public should not take Romney’s word that he paid his fair share of taxes.

“His word? His word?” Reid asked. “Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both.”

Reid did not mention Nevada’s highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate or its high foreclosure rate in his defense of Obama.

Reid said he is ready to tackle the challenges faced by Americans in the coming four years.

“But I want to do that work with Barack Obama, and not a Tea Party ideologue,” he said.

There was some bad timing as the Democratic Convention kicked into full gear, however, with the news from the U.S. Treasury that the national debt exceeded $16 trillion for the first time in history. The debt has increased approximately $5.4 trillion since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.

The news prompted a comment from Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., who said: “Today’s ominous milestone is yet another reminder of the dire fiscal straits our country is facing and the need for serious solutions to getting our deficits under control and reducing the debt.

“After running on a promise to cut the deficit in half and reduce our debt in his first term in office, President Obama has added trillions to the debt by pursuing failed stimulus policies and has left the American people and future generations holding the tab,” he said. “Not only has this administration broken these promises to the American people, it has ignored the seriousness of the situation by repeatedly proposing budgets with deficits of more than $1 trillion.”


Audio clips:

Sen. Harry Reid says the Tea Party is a group of extremists that doesn’t know how to compromise:

090412Reid1 :15 standing on it.”

Reid says Mitt Romney should disclose more tax returns:

090412Reid2 :14 short on both.”

Gov. Sandoval Emphasizes American Dream, Humble Beginnings In GOP Convention Remarks

By Sean Whaley | 6:14 pm August 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval had his moment in the national spotlight today at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, using his six minutes at the podium to talk of his humble beginnings and the need for change in the White House.

He emphasized his Hispanic roots, noting that his father was one of 10 children, and his mother lived with her family in a tiny two-bedroom house in the Southwest.

Gov. Brian Sandoval.

“When I was a boy, my parents brought us to Nevada in search of opportunity,” he said. “My first job was cleaning sheep pens. In college, I worked in a hospital cafeteria. I worked my way through law school.”

Sandoval said he dreamed of public service, becoming a state lawmaker, attorney general, gaming regulator and federal judge.

While serving as a federal judge, Sandoval said he saw Nevada’s economy falter due to the failed policies of the Obama Administration, and decided to run for governor.

Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent in July, and has been among the states with the highest foreclosure rate.

“Make no mistake: The current administration’s failed experiment with big government gets in the way of economic recovery,” he said. “Their love affair with government regulation is a drag on business confidence.

“From personal experience, I can tell you what will help states like Nevada and families like mine: Elect the team that understands how to get America working again. Send Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House!”

Sandoval criticized the Obama Administration for telling Americans that government is the answer, when “we know it’s the problem.”

“They tell us we didn’t build our businesses, but somebody else made it happen,” he said. “They tell us not to dream, but to settle. You and I know America is better than that.”

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange said in a statement in response to Sandoval’s remarks: “Governor Sandoval has already made clear how out-of-touch Mitt Romney is on the economy after he waited until all other options were exhausted to endorse the Republican nominee.

“But now that he finally has, he has developed a case of political amnesia regarding his previous statements applauding President Obama’s efforts at creating jobs in Nevada and criticizing Mitt Romney for being out of touch on the state’s foreclosure crisis,” she said. “The reality is that after outsourcing jobs as a corporate layoff specialist, outsourcing jobs as governor of Massachusetts and pledging to outsource jobs as President, Mitt Romney is just wrong for Nevada’s middle-class.”

Sandoval, who early on endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary, was mentioned frequently by media pundits as a possible vice presidential pick by Romney. Sandoval repeatedly said he was not interested in the position, and that he would serve out his term as governor and run for a second term in 2014.

Sandoval is focusing on economic diversification and job growth as governor, announcing earlier this year a goal of creating 50,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Nevada recently was successful in bringing Apple to Northern Nevada with a package of tax breaks.

He has presented a position of calm and consistency in Nevada as the Nevada State Republican Party has struggled to find a united front. Earlier today, many Nevada convention delegates continued to support Ron Paul despite Romney’s overwhelming delegate count that has made him the Republican nominee.

Nevada’s GOP Congressional Delegation Spending Time With Constituents, Family, During Convention

By Sean Whaley | 11:36 am August 27th, 2012

CARSON CITY – As GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval prepares to deliver remarks in Tampa at the Republican National Convention tomorrow, the three GOP members of Nevada’s Congressional delegation are staying close to home.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, who is facing a tough election battle against Rep. Shelley Berkley, will still be following the convention from afar, however.

Heller will be in Las Vegas later today to attend a Team Nevada Convention Watch party.

Rep. Mark Amodei, representing Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, will be spending the week attending events and meeting with constituents across northern Nevada, from the capital to Minden, Lovelock, Winnemucca and Elko.

Rep. Joe Heck, representing the 3rd Congressional District, is taking some time with his family after spending the past three weeks meeting with constituents and fulfilling his mandatory military duty.

As the GOP convention gets under way with the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac diminishing for Florida, Gov. Mitt Romney had no public events scheduled today. His vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, was campaigning in his hometown in Wisconsin. Ryan attended a Republican National Convention send-off Victory rally at Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville.

Also today, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled a national debt clock mounted inside the convention hall of the Tampa Bay Times Forum to reinforce the “desperate need” for new fiscal leadership in the White House.

Sandoval’s brief speech at the convention is now set for 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time tomorrow after being rescheduled from today because of the threat from Isaac. Sandoval is expected to highlight the importance of protecting the American Dream for future generations along with the Gov. Romney’s own American success story.


Obama Talks About Commitment To Education, Keeping America Competitive, In Reno Campaign Stop

By Sean Whaley | 7:26 pm August 21st, 2012

RENOPresident Obama talked about his ongoing commitment to education in a visit to this battleground state today, his first official campaign event of the year in Northern Nevada but his third visit to the area in just the past few months.

Obama’s campaign stop, to be followed by another event tomorrow in Las Vegas, comes to the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12 percent.

President Obama speaks in Reno today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

“You’re education is not just important to you, it’s important to America’s success,” he told a cheering crowd of 1,000 supporters in the student union at the Truckee Meadows Community College. “When we invest in your future we’re investing in America’s future. The fact is that, countries that out-educate us today they’ll out-compete us tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose that race to make sure we’ve got the most highly educated, most skilled workforce in the world.

“When companies and businesses are looking to locate, that’s what they’re looking for,” Obama said. “And I don’t want them looking any farther than Reno, Nevada, the state of Nevada, the United States of America; we’ve got the best workers in the world and I want to keep it that way.”

A college official estimated total attendance at the rally, including those outside, at 2,100.

Obama also pushed his plan to maintain the Bush tax cuts for most Americans, but not for individuals making $200,000 or more and couples making $250,000 or more, and criticized presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for seeking tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest citizens.

Obama said that since he took office, his administration has helped over three million more students afford a college education.

“Now, unfortunately, the economic plan of Gov. Romney could cut our investments in education by about 20 percent,” he said.

The cuts are proposed not to balance the budget but to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, Obama said.

“Does that sound like a plan for a better future for you?” he asked. “It’s a plan that says we can’t afford to help the next generation, but we can afford massive new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”

In response to Obama’s remarks here and in Ohio, the Republican National Committee said research shows that during his administration, the cost of college “is skyrocketing to an all time high.”

Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds has increased from 12.4 percent to 13.5 percent, the RNC said.

“Despite President Obama’s speech tonight in Reno, it’s more clear than ever that his failed policies have seen college costs soar and job opportunities dwindle for young graduates,” the RNC said.

Obama handily won Nevada in the 2008 presidential race, but saw Democrats lose ground in Nevada and nationally in the 2010 mid-term elections. Polls put the state as a tossup between the two candidates, and Washoe County is viewed by many local political observers as the region where the race will be played out in November.

In his concluding remarks, Obama said he is counting on students like those at Truckee Meadows to not get discouraged and to work to help Democrats win Nevada in November.

“First of all, you’ve got no excuses not to register to vote,” he said.

If volunteers knock on doors and make phone calls just like in 2008, Democrats will win Washoe County, Nevada and another four years, Obama said.


Audio clips:

President Obama says education is not just important to students, but to America’s success as well:

082112Obama1 :26 in the world.”

Obama says America has the best workers in the world and he wants to keep it that way:

082112Obama2 :16 it that way.”

Obama says Mitt Romney wants to cut college spending to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy:

082112Obama3 :12 your tax loophole.”


AARP Poll Of Nevadans Aged 50+ Shows Election Concerns Include Medicare, Social Security, Not Just Jobs, Economy

By Sean Whaley | 11:48 am August 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – It’s not just jobs and the economy but the future of Social Security and Medicare that concerns Nevadans aged 50 and older in this 2012 presidential election year, according to a new poll commissioned by the AARP and released today.

The survey includes responses from Nevadans aged 50 and older, as well as results for a subgroup of those aged 50 to 64 who are still working.

Working baby boomer voters in Nevada are pessimistic about retirement, the poll results show. Of this group, 67 percent believe they will have to delay retirement and 32 percent are not confident they will ever be able to retire. Sixty-eight percent of working boomers believe the recent economic downturn will force them to rely more on Social Security and Medicare.

A large majority of Nevada voters age 50 and older want the candidates to better explain their plans for Social Security and Medicare to help them decide who they will support in November, the poll results show.

“While concerns about access to living wage jobs in a struggling economy is certainly important to most Nevadans, voters age 50-plus are most concerned about reforming/strengthening Social Security, reducing the budget deficit and reforming/strengthening Medicare,” said Maria Dent, AARP Nevada spokeswoman. “Any meaningful discussion of the economy during this year’s election has to include real plans about the future of Social Security and Medicare. For older voters, ‘retirement security’ and ‘economic security’ is largely the same thing.”

AARP commissioned Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group to conduct a series of surveys of registered voters aged 18 and over, which were conducted by telephone July 10 to16. The national survey included 1,852 registered voters.

The survey also focused on Nevada, where 408 voters aged 50 and older were polled. The Nevada results have a margin of error of plus/minus 4.9 percentage points.

Nevada is one of several battleground states expected to play a major role in the presidential race.

The surveys looked at five other battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as African Americans and Hispanics aged 50 and older.

The poll results show Nevada voters aged 50 and over are tied in their preference for president, with 46 percent each for President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney and 8 percent not sure.

In the Nevada Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Heller has a slight edge of 33 percent to 31 percent with 13 percent leaning to Heller, 11 percent leaning to Berkley and 12 percent not sure.

The results also show 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of President Obama’s job performance, with 43 percent in support and 6 percent not sure. The job approval rating was much lower for Congress, with 84 percent disapproving, 8 percent approving and 8 percent not sure.

The concerns of Nevada voters 50 and older highlight the importance of Social Security and Medicare as election issues. They think the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security (94 percent) and Medicare (93 percent). They also overwhelmingly (93 percent) think that these issues are too big for either party to fix alone and require Republicans and Democrats to come together.

Voters 50+ in Nevada are looking to the candidates for more information on these key issues.  These voters think the candidates have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security (74 percent) and Medicare (66 percent).

“The message from voters 50+ is clear,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, state and national group. “In a razor-tight election, candidates have a major opportunity to reach key voters by speaking about their plans on Social Security and Medicare – and they are making a huge gamble if they ignore them.”

Earlier this year, AARP launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation to ensure that Americans have a say in the future of Social Security and Medicare. To date, more than 2.1 million Americans have engaged with You’ve Earned a Say to share their thoughts about how best to protect and strengthen health and retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations.

In Nevada, the You’ve Earned a Say road tour kicked off at Lake Tahoe’s Hot August Nights the first weekend of August. AARP Nevada will also be hosting events and thought leader forums in northern Nevada during a three-day tour of northern Nevada – stopping in Reno, Carson, Fernley, Fallon and Silver Springs. A tour of southern Nevada is being planned for October.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.

Southern Nevada Veterans Medical Center Dedicated As Candidates Vie For Support From Important Constituency

By Sean Whaley | 4:57 pm August 6th, 2012

Nevada political leaders, veterans and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki gathered in North Las Vegas today to dedicate the new Southern Nevada VA Medical Center.

The state-of-the-art complex includes a full-service VA hospital, outpatient clinic and long-term care facility and will serve the needs of Nevada veterans and their families.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., locked in a tough Senate race, both attended the ceremonies, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Berkley helped secure authorization for the $600 million in funding needed to complete the trio of new facilities. She also wrote and helped pass the legislation that provided the land for the new medical center at no cost to the VA.

Rep. Shelley Berkley - D-Nev.

“Our veterans earned their benefits through their military service to our nation and this new VA medical center will provide these brave men and women the high-quality care they deserve – including vital mental health services,” Berkley said in a statement. “After working for years to turn this dream into a reality for our Nevada veterans, I’m so proud of what’s been accomplished in the construction of this new complex and what it means for our community and the vets who will receive medical care and other services at our new state-of-the-art VA medical center.”

Heller said in remarks at the dedication: “I’ve personally toured this hospital as it has been built and I’m proud to tell you that Nevada is now home to the finest VA hospital in the nation.”

“This hospital will improve the quality of healthcare for thousands of veterans from the region,” he said. “This facility includes a surgical center, nursing home and extended care unit, and space to care for veterans who suffer with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and with other mental health issues. These state-of-the-art facilities are designed to meet the needs of virtually every health and wellness issue our veterans could face.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Heller said the facility will let Nevada veterans get care at home rather than have to travel out of state.

Shinseki said the hospital keeps a promise made by the VA with the 164,000 veterans who live in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties, all 234,000 veterans who live in Nevada as well as those from surrounding states who will be able to get care at the facility.

“The Las Vegas VAMC underscores VA’s commitment to provide the best care anywhere to America’s veterans, particularly in the critical area of mental health,” said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. “The opening of this world-class facility is another milestone, and ensures VA provides the care and services our veterans have earned through their service.”

The facility will have 90 inpatient beds, a 120-bed community living center (skilled nursing home care facility), and an ambulatory care center. The 90 inpatient beds include a state-of-the-art 22-bed mental health unit, 48 medical/surgical beds, and 20 intensive care unit beds.

Candidates at both the national and state levels are reaching out to veterans as the November general election approaches.

Both President Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno last month. Vice President Joe Biden also spoke at the Disabled American Veterans’ national convention in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Heller said he has a long record of support for veterans, and his campaign recently announced his Veterans for Heller Coalition, made up of more than 140 veterans, including Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, a Democrat; Major General Drennan “Tony” Clark, a former adjutant general for Nevada and a former Republican for Reid in his 2010 Senate race; Kirk Lippold, commander of the USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemen in 2000; and Major General L.D. Johnston, a former commander at Nellis Air Force Base.

“I’m humbled by the support of so many of our nation’s heroes,” Heller said. “We can never repay these individuals for their service, but it is Congress’ responsibility to make sure those who have served in the Armed Forces receive the benefits they earned and deserve.”

Heller recently introduced the Veterans Small Business Protection Act, which ensures that surviving spouses and children are eligible for small business benefits.

Heller also introduced the Women’s Homeless Veterans Act, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to set aside 15 percent of funds provided to VA’s Grant and Per Diem Program for homeless veterans with special needs. It also directs assistance to homeless female veterans as well as children.

Berkley said she has worked for veterans throughout her career.

The Berkley campaign also criticized Heller in June when the Women’s Homeless Veterans Act had a hearing, saying that Heller “tried to fool Nevada’s veterans into believing he is a champion for their issues even though last year he voted to gut $75 million from a homeless veterans program, which would have eliminated housing vouchers for some 11,000 veterans across the country.”

“Given Senator Heller’s track record of  putting Wall Street first and gutting assistance for homeless veterans, Nevadans are not going to be fooled by this election year attempt to mask his wrong priorities,” said Xochitl Hinojosa, Shelley Berkley for U.S. Senate Communications Director. “Nevada’s veterans are counting on someone like Shelley Berkley who wakes up every morning itching to stand up and fight to protect the benefits they earned after risking their lives for this nation.”

Nevada Among States With Lowest Energy Consumption Per Capita, Gets C+ For Renewable Energy Efforts

By Sean Whaley | 1:17 pm July 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada ranks 40th among the states for the amount of energy consumed per person, according to the nonprofit website

The state rankings were released on Wednesday and show Nevadans consumed 239 million Btu per capita in 2010 compared to 303 Btu per capita in 2007.

First among the states in energy consumption was Wyoming, followed by Alaska and Louisiana. Rhode Island ranked 50th.

Photo by Tom Harpel via Wikimedia Commons.

The website, created by the Lexington Institute, has also graded the states on renewable energy efforts. Nevada received a C+ in the analysis, which was 11th best. Three states, California, Massachusetts and Colorado, received B grades, the highest awarded in the review.

Nevada ranked 17th in net renewable energy generation in 2010 with 4.444 gigawatt hours (GWh). The growth in renewable energy generation was up 35 percent from 2007 to 2010.

Nevada’s renewable portfolio standards require 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be supplied by renewable resources by 2025.

“It is our hope that the information on will be useful for everyone from schools to elected officials to keep track of their state’s critical energy consumption and generation patterns,” said Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute.

Soifer said the research is based on 2010 energy data which was recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is the most recent data available. The website tracks vital indicators for energy and electricity use, as well as which fuels (like coal, natural gas or renewables) are used to generate electricity, and ranks states in each category. It also analyzes data from recent years, providing easy-to-read indicators to show overall trends.

Renewable energy, and tax incentives to support its development, has become a major political topic in Nevada and around the nation this presidential election year.

Earlier this month, the solar manufacturing company Amonix closed its manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas 14 months after opening.

President Obama in July 2010 praised the solar manufacturing tax credits that generated $6 million to help build the facility, which was under construction at the time. Obama’s support of the facility was recently used as fodder for criticism by the Mitt Romney campaign. But a news article in Politico noted that the Bush Administration first backed the project in 2007.

The company also issued a statement saying it never utilized the tax credit for the Las Vegas facility.

“The only federal incentive Amonix received for the North Las Vegas facility was a $5.9 million federal manufacturing incentive tax credit that was never utilized,” the statement said. “Tax credits can only be used to offset taxable income, and Amonix has not realized taxable income to utilize the tax credits. Thus, those tax credits have not been claimed and have had no cost to U.S. taxpayers.”

It also became a campaign issue in the Nevada Senate race between U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas. Heller called the closing proof of the failure of federal stimulus spending supported by Berkley. Berkley in turn criticized Heller for failing to show any concern for the Nevadans who lost their jobs because of the closing.

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, a candidate for the 4th Congressional District, defended the use of clean energy incentives in an interview last week on the Face to Face television program.

“This sector of renewable energy should not be based on the success or failure of one company alone,” he said. “There was tremendous subsidies for traditional energy, coal and other energy sources, for decades so it isn’t like this is some new thing, that the government helps subsidize a growing and emerging industry.”

But a recent report has questioned the value of tax incentives and regulations approved by many states around the country, including Nevada, to create “green jobs,” noting that subsidies used for such programs can take away revenue for other needs such as public education.

Nevada was identified as having seven separate financial incentives for green jobs, three of which are property tax exemptions in the report.

“States face a hard and fast budget constraint; they cannot deficit spend or take on debt for general operating expenses,” said Bryan Leonard of State Budget Solutions in his report, “Green Jobs Don’t Grow on Trees.”

“This means that every dollar spent by states on green job training programs, grants to green firms, or subsidies for renewable energy producers is a dollar that cannot be spent on teachers’ salaries, educational tools, or social safety nets,” he said.

Soifer said the Lexington Institute supports renewable energy, “but realizes that if renewables are really going to take hold in the United States, and particularly solar and wind are the two that everybody talks about most, they are going to need to stand on their own without having to depend on government subsidy.”


Audio clips:

Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute, says Nevada ranked 11th best for its renewable energy efforts:

072612Soifer1 :28 the whole country.”

Soifer says the Lexington Institute supports renewables but that they will need to stand on their own:

072612Soifer2 :25 the United States.”


Romney Hammers Obama On Foreign Policy, National Security Leaks, In Comments In Reno

By Sean Whaley | 2:30 pm July 24th, 2012

RENO – Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney went on the attack against President Obama today in a speech to attendees of the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention here, criticizing him for national security leaks, weak foreign policy and a failure to seize on political opportunities in such countries as Iran.

Romney, speaking to the same group that Obama addressed on Monday, spent his 27-minute talk focusing on his foreign policy views and the need to maintain a strong military presence.

He called Obama’s first term a “time of declining influence and missed opportunity.”

Mitt Romney speaks at the VFW convention today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

The nation’s economy has not recovered and at the international level, the world faces an increasing likelihood of a nuclear-armed Iran, Romney said.

“These clear measures are the ultimate tests of American leadership,” he said. “And by these standards, we haven’t seen much in the president’s first term that inspires confidence in a second. The president’s policies have made it harder to recover from the deepest recession in 70 years. Exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify. Compromised our national security secrets.

“And in dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it was not deserved and apology where it is not due,” Romney said.

The audience at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center broke into applause frequently during Romney’s remarks. After his speech, Romney was set to leave on an overseas strip starting in London and including visits to Israel and Poland.

Romney criticized Obama for impending across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect for the military next year if a deal is not reached in Congress on a deficit reduction plan. The military would see funding cuts of $492 billion over 10 years, with an equal size cut coming to domestic programs. The cuts are the result of the failure of Congress in 2011 to come up with a deficit-reduction plan.

The cuts will weaken an already stretched Veterans Administration, and Romney said he will not let them take effect if elected president.

“This is no time for the president’s radical cuts in our military,” he said.

But Obama, in his remarks on Monday, noted that  most Republicans in Congress supported the automatic cuts, and he urged Congress to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan. Obama has proposed eliminating tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest residents as one way to help reduce the federal deficit and avoid the automatic cuts.

Some of Romney’s most blistering comments focused on national security leaks in the Obama administration. He called the leaks “contemptible.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on Monday called for President Obama to stop the flow of information out of the White House.

“This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a national security crisis,” he said. “It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence. What kind of White House would reveal classified material for material gain? I will tell you right now, mine will not.”

Romney also criticized Obama for congratulating Vladimir Putin for winning the Russian presidency in a “corrupt” election and for failing to take advantage of a public uprising in Iran that could have led to political reforms.

“That terrible misjudgment should never be repeated,” he said.

Romney also said the U.S. needs to do more to support Israel, its closest ally in the Middle East, and work with its allies to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

“It’s a mistake, and sometimes a tragic one, to think that firmness in American foreign policy can only bring tension or conflict,” he said. “The surest path to danger is always weakness and indecision.”


Audio clips:

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney says President Obama’s achievements in his first term don’t make a strong case for reelection:

072412Romney1 :26 national security secrets.”

Romney says Obama’s foreign policy is full of failures:

072412Romney2 :11 is not due.”

Romney says the Obama administration foreign policy leaks require an independent investigation:

072412Romney3 :12 explanation and consequence.”


President Obama Touts His Accomplishments For Veterans, Military In Reno Visit

By Sean Whaley | 4:27 pm July 23rd, 2012

RENO – President Obama told members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars today that he has fulfilled the promises he made four years ago to make America safer, strengthen jobs programs for returning military personnel and fight homelessness, suicide and posttraumatic stress disorder among the nation’s veterans.

Obama, appearing at the 113th convention of the group, acknowledged in a 30-minute speech that more needs to be done to help returning military personnel find jobs. He took the opportunity to announce a major overhaul of the transition assistance program.

President Obama speaks to the VFW in Reno today.

“We’re going to set up a kind of reverse boot camp for our departing service members,” he said. “Starting this year, they will get more personalized assistance as they plan their careers. We’ll provide the training they need to find that job, or pursue that education or start that business. And just as they have maintained their military readiness, we’ll have new standards of career readiness.”

He also urged Congress to find a solution to the nation’s deficit spending to protect the military budget from automatic cuts set to take effect next year without an agreement.

“Because people in Congress ought to be able to come together and agree on a plan, a balanced approach that reduces the deficit and keeps our military strong,” Obama said. “It should be done.

“If the choice is between tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and funding (for) our troops that they definitely need to keep our country strong, I will stand with our troops every single time,” he said. “So let’s stop playing politics with our military.”

Obama said he promised four years ago, to “take the fight to our enemies and renew our leadership in the world.”

“As president, that’s what I’ve done,” he said.

Not only did his administration kill Osama bin Laden, but it has also taken out more top al-Qaeda leaders than at any time since 9-11, Obama said.

Obama also highlighted his decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in what he said was a responsible manner, and the administration plan now under way to withdraw all U.S. military from Afghanistan, completing a transition to Afghan military control by 2014.

Obama received a number of cheers and applause from the crowd of men and women, some young and others veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Korea, among other conflicts.

He took a few minutes at the beginning of his remarks to talk about those with military connections who were victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting rampage Friday, including Jonathan Blunk, a 2004 graduate of Hug High and a Navy veteran.

His appearance, the second visit to Reno this year, will be followed tomorrow by remarks from Mitt Romney, his presumed GOP rival in the November general election.

Romney has attacked Obama’s record on the military. On his website, he says: “President Obama came into office with a military in serious need of modernization. However, instead of rebuilding our strength, President Obama has put us on course toward a ‘hollow’ force. President Obama has repeatedly sought to slash funds for our fighting men and women, and over the next ten years nearly $1 trillion will be cut from the core defense budget. This budget cutting enterprise is proceeding while American troops are in combat in Afghanistan, returning from their mission in Iraq, and fighting the remnants of al-Qaeda worldwide.”

In a response to Obama’s remarks, Romney campaign spokesman Mason Harrison said: “In no region of the world is our country’s influence any stronger than it was four years ago. President Obama has failed to restore our economy, is weakening our military with devastating defense cuts, and has diminished our moral authority. Governor Romney will restore the pillars of American strength to secure our interests and defend our values.”

Obama’s Nevada visit focused on his record of accomplishments in the military and Veterans arenas, but still brought him to a battleground state viewed as critical by political observers for victory by the candidates in November.

He won Nevada in 2008, but with the highest unemployment rate and one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation, the state is considered to be a toss up. Washoe County in particular is viewed as critical to which candidate will win the state’s six electoral votes.


Audio clips:

President Obama urges Congress to come up with a deficit reduction plan to avoid mandatory cuts to the military budget next year:

072312Obama1 :14 should be done.”

Obama says he will fight for military funding rather than lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans:

072312Obama2 :14 every single time.”

Obama announces a “reverse boot camp” to help returning military personnel find work:

072312Obama3 :24 of career readiness.”


Nevada Ron Paul Supporters Will Back Mitt Romney, State GOP Official Says

By Sean Whaley | 6:14 pm June 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Ron Paul supporter and national committeeman-elect James Smack said today he expects Nevada Republicans who have supported Paul in his GOP presidential quest to back Mitt Romney when the time comes to do so.

“The thing that we have assured the (Republican National Committee) is that there may be a number of us that like Ron Paul, like the Ron Paul message, but at the end of the day our concern is getting Republicans elected in the state of Nevada,” Smack said in an interview on the Nevada NewsMakers television program.

“Whether that Republican be the nominee Mitt Romney, or whether that Republican be Greg Brower (state Senate 15 candidate) or whomever, Dean Heller; those are the folks that, if they are leading the ticket after the primaries and after the convention, they are going to be the ones that have our support,” he said.

Paul supporters took 22 of 25 delegates at the Nevada Republican Convention earlier this year despite Romney’s strong win in the Feb. 5 nonbinding caucus. Romney took 50 percent of the caucus vote to 18 percent for Paul.

The Paul juggernaut at the convention has strained relations between the Romney campaign and the state GOP party.

Smack beat out RNC committeeman and former Gov. Bob List and RNC committeewoman, Heidi Smith lost to Diana Orrock at the convention in Sparks. They will begin their four-year terms following the Republican National Convention set for Tampa in August.

Smack is currently the vice-chairman of the state Republican Party.

There has some concern expressed that the Paul delegates from Nevada won’t follow the state caucus rules and back Romney on the first ballot at the national convention as required.

Smack said he has been told by the delegates he has spoken to, many of whom he said are friends and fellow Paul supporters, that they plan on following the Nevada Republican Party Caucus rules and “voting for whoever their bound for on the first ballot.”

“So I will take them at their word and I am comfortable that they will do the job that they were elected for,” Smack said. “I think their concern is they want to have participation in platform. They want to have participation in rules. And they want to be involved in the process.”

The idea of getting to the national convention is getting some of the Ron Paul message included in the national platform going forward, he said.

Smack said he is still working to mend the rift with Nevada establishment Republicans so the party can focus on defeating President Obama in November.

“We still need to all be Republicans this fall,” he said. “We need to all get behind our primary winners and get behind our nominee. And the most important thing we need to remember is that the ‘community organizer in chief’ needs to be out of the White House January 2013. We need to keep our eye on that ball.”

Nevada is considered to be a “battleground” state in the presidential race. An NBC/Marist poll released last week shows the presidential race in Nevada is a toss-up with 48 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney.


Audio clips:

James Smack says Nevada Republicans need to support the party’s candidates in the 2012 general election:

060512Smack1 :26 have our support.”

Smack says Nevada’s Paul delegates to the national convention will follow state GOP Party caucus rules:

060512Smack2 :13 in the process.”

Smack says Nevada Republicans need to focus on defeating President Obama:

060512Smack3 :16 on that ball.”