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Hoffa Stands by ‘S.O.B.’ Remark Amid Tea Party Outcry September 7, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa vowed on Tuesday that he will “never apologize” for standing up for American workers, even in the face of considerable criticism for a Labor Day speech in which he targeted Tea Party politicians and urged supporters to “take these son-of-a-bitches out.”

In a defiant statement, Hoffa said corporate-backed conservatives have started a “war” that is destroying the middle class and that he was merely putting voice to that frustration. He said his comments have been misconstrued to suggest he was inciting violence, but said he was merely calling for Tea Party politicians to be voted out in 2012. 

“We didn’t start this war — the right wing did,” he said in a written statement. “We’re tired of seeing good-paying jobs shipped overseas. This fight is about the economy, it’s about jobs and it’s about rebuilding America. As I said yesterday in Detroit, we all have to vote in order to take these anti-worker politicians out of office.”

“I will never apologize for standing up for my fellow Teamsters and all American workers,” he said. 

Hoffa earlier described the upcoming election as a war at the rally in Detroit, as he warmed up the crowd before President Obama took the stage. 

“President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march,” Hoffa said. “But everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back, and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”

Tea Party groups and Republican candidates swiftly condemned Hoffa. The Tea Party Express called the comments “inexcusable,” saying they amounted to “a call for violence on peaceful Tea Party members.” The national group, along with Tea Party Nation, urged President Obama to condemn the remarks. 

But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stressed that Hoffa, not Obama, made the comment. He said it is a “Washington game” to play guilt-by-association, adding that Obama was not on stage at the time and the White House doesn’t have any comment beyond that. 

One of Hoffa’s two opponents for the general presidency of the Teamsters, Sandy Pope, also told Fox News she sees no reason for Hoffa to apologize. 

“I understand people want to tone things down,” Pope told Fox News in a telephone interview, “but no one is following those rules right now.” 

Tea Party groups, though, were outraged. 

“Lying attacks on the Tea Party movement have disturbingly increased in recent days. It is high time that elected leaders like President Obama were held accountable when their key supporters engage in harmful and divisive rhetoric,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said in a statement. “We at Tea Party Express demand an immediate apology from Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa. We further urge President Obama to strongly rebuke Hoffa for his dangerous comments.” 

Asked about Hoffa’s comments Tuesday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz declined to condemn them. 

“I know you’d like to focus on language — that’s not what the American people are focused on,” Wasserman Schultz told Fox News on Tuesday. 

Wasserman Schultz, whose friend Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January, heightening calls for civil discourse, suggested the rhetoric was just as fiery at Tea Party rallies. 

But Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips said that’s not the case. 

“We need to call them out on this. There is a myth that the Tea Party is the source of the heated rhetoric,” he wrote on the group’s website. 

Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry also criticized Hoffa. 

Asked about the rally on Fox News, Perry said he’s focused on the ongoing Texas wildfires but said of Hoffa’s remarks: “You wouldn’t be bleeping it out if it was appropriate.”

Confidence in Obama Slipping to New Lows as Campaign Season Ramps Up September 7, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

President Obama’s approval ratings, much like the housing market, just keep finding a new bottom. 

A pair of national polls out Tuesday showed the president’s popularity slipping to risky levels for an incumbent seeking re-election. The new polls showed Obama with record-low approval ratings, as Americans show startling levels of pessimism with the direction of the country, the economy, Congress and Obama’s presidency. 

One of the most foreboding figures came out of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. According to the survey, 54 percent think the president is unlikely to recover from his setbacks. 

The same poll showed Obama’s overall approval at 44 percent, and his approval on the economy at 37 percent. Worse, only 19 percent think the country is going in the right direction. It’s the lowest rating yet for a president who galvanized an historic coalition of supporters on a message of hope for America. 

A separate Washington Post-ABC News poll put Obama’s approval rating at 43 percent, and disapproval rating at 53 percent. Those represent a new low and high for Obama, respectively. 

Voters felt even less confident of Obama’s handling of the economy, reflecting similar results out of a Fox News poll last week. That survey showed voter disapprove of his handling on job creation by 60-35 percent. 

The numbers underscore the trouble Obama is in as he enters the election season. The president plans to deliver a major jobs address Thursday, but Republican presidential candidates have made the lack of job creation so far a focus of their campaigns. 

There were a few good signs for Obama in the latest polls. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed a majority of people find Obama likeable, and about half approve of his foreign policy handling. And while Obama’s popularity is low, congressional Republicans’ popularity is lower. Eighty-two percent of those polled disapprove of Congress, and most blame Republicans for the recent Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade. 

The poll showed Obama beating the frontrunning GOP candidates — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — in a hypothetical matchup, but losing to a “generic” Republican candidate. 

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Aug. 27-31. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. The Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,001 adults was conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1. It had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.