Tag Archives: herman cain

Tea Party could hold rally before Republican convention

Two dozen tea party and like-minded groups are trying to organize a rally that would take place the day before the Republican National Convention begins and feature former presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the conservative Unity Rally 2012 could take place in a parking lot outside Raymond James Stadium, though details are still unclear.

The Tampa Sports Authority says the group has expressed interest but there has been no contract signed yet.

In St. Petersburg, the RNC itself is holding its official welcome event at Tropicana Field on Aug. 26.

In Tampa, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is holding a free public rally at the University of South Florida. A group of Paul supporters also is organizing a festival at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

The left-leaning Occupy Wall Street movement also is planning a presence outside of the convention.

GOP candidates ratchet up anti-gay rhetoric in New Hampshire

Republican presidential candidates are joining New Hampshire’s intensifying same-sex marriage debate – whether they like it or not.

State lawmakers plan to vote on a measure to repeal the law allowing same-sex couples to wed in January, the same month that New Hampshire holds the nation’s first Republican presidential primary contest. Already, candidates have been put on the spot over marriage equality when most, if not all, would rather be talking about the economy, voters’ No. 1 concern.

The impending focus on marriage carries risk for several White House contenders, including former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former businessman Herman Cain. Their inconsistencies on the topic are well documented.

Recent polls have shown former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at or near the top of the field, along with Romney. With a little less than six weeks to go until the lead-off Iowa caucuses, people are listening to the former nemesis of Bill Clinton and would-be challenger to President Barack Obama.

But this issue may cause Gingrich problems. Earlier in the fall, he told an Iowa audience that gay marriage is a “temporary aberration” likely to go away because it defies convention. Gingrich, who has been married three times, has a half-sister in a same-sex marriage.

“The truth is that you’re living in a world that no longer exists,” Candace Gingrich-Jones wrote the former speaker in a letter posted on the Huffington Post in 2008: “In other words, stop being a hater, big bro.”

The Republican candidates’ increasingly vocal condemnation of LGBT people also threatens to alienate a growing number of younger Republicans and independents here who support equality. That note of divisiveness could bode poorly for the eventual Republican challenger to Obama in the general election.

Even so, the Republican candidates aren’t shying away from the topic as they run for the nomination of a party that’s been pushed ever further to the extreme right by the Tea Party over the last few years.

“As conservatives, we believe in the sanctity of life, we believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage, and I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage between one man and one woman realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father,” Perry told a New Hampshire audience recently, becoming the latest contender to address the issue directly.

Although the issue hasn’t yet become a regular talking point on the campaign trail, most Republican candidates declare support for the effort to repeal the law. And groups like the National Organization for Marriage hope to force the presidential contenders to publicly embrace the repeal.

Romney was the Massachusetts governor when his state legalized gay marriage. The Romney administration, as directed by the courts, granted nearly 200 same-sex marriage requests for gay and lesbian couples in 2005.

Campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said the former governor had little choice but to follow the state Supreme Court ruling at the time. He noted his candidate’s consistent opposition to both civil unions and same-sex marriages, adding that Romney openly supports the New Hampshire repeal effort.

But Romney has reversed himself on whether same-sex marriage should be addressed at the state or federal level.

This past June, he said during a debate that he favors a federal constitutional amendment banning the practice. That’s been his position at least since the beginning of his 2008 presidential bid, when he was the only major Republican candidate to support such an amendment.

But as a Massachusetts Senate candidate back in 1994, Romney told a Boston-area gay newspaper that same-sex marriage is “a state issue as you know – the authorization of marriage on a same-sex basis falls under state jurisdiction.”

His aides say it’s unfair to scrutinize Romney’s position in 1994, when there was virtually no discussion of a federal amendment. And they suggest Romney’s rivals have demonstrated far more blatant inconsistencies in recent months.

Both Perry and Cain have drawn conservative criticism for recent comments related to same-sex marriage.

Asked in mid-October whether he supports a federal marriage amendment, Cain told the Christian Broadcasting Network that federal legislation is necessary to protect traditional marriage. That seemed to be a direct contradiction from his statement of just six days earlier, when he told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory that states should be allowed to make up their own minds.

“I wouldn’t seek a constitutional ban for same sex marriage, but I am pro traditional marriage,” Cain told Gregory.

In Perry’s case, the Texas governor says he supports the New Hampshire repeal. But in July he said that New York’s move to legalize gay marriage was “fine by me.” A week later, facing criticism from the anti-gay Christian right, he walked back the comments.

“It’s fine with me that the state is using their sovereign right to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me,” he said then.

Herman Cain says people choose to be gay

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told CNN’s Piers Morgan last night that people chose to be gay, although he did not explain what caused people to make that choice or when and why he apparently made the decision to be straight.

“Although people don’t agree with me, I happen to think that it is a personal choice,” Cain said of same-sex attraction in the Wednesday night interview.

When Morgan responded that he believed Cain’s comments were like a gay person telling the candidate he chose to be black, Cain responded: “You know that’s not true. I was born black,” adding that his race “doesn’t wash off.”

Cain, who is running even in national polls with Mitt Romney, is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and an associate minister of an Atlanta-area Baptist Church. He has made other controversial statements in recent weeks, including, “If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

In response to a question while campaigning in Iowa in June, Cain said he would have no problem appointing gay staff members to work in his administration as long as they were qualified. That prompted conservative bloggers to point out that a gay man – Scott Toomey – held a high-level position in Cain’s campaign.

In response, Cain’s then-campaign spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael told the staff to tell anyone who asked about Toomey that he was no longer involved with the campaign in any capacity.

But another campaign staffer said he learned weeks later that Toomey was still being paid by the campaign as an independent consultant.

LGBT leaders in Madison told WiG that Toomey bankrupted Madison Pride Board, which used to put on the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade. Toomey served as treasurer of the group until other board members learned that bills related to their 2007 event had not been paid. They also discovered “financial discrepancies” in Toomey’s reporting that doomed the organization.

The group’s financial records were destroyed and no charges were brought against Toomey.

In addition to saying that sexual orientation is a choice, Cain told Morgan that life begins at conception and that he opposes terminating a pregnancy under any circumstances.

But he also said the decision on whether to have an abortion must ultimately be made by a woman and her family.

“I can have … an opinion with it being a directive to the nation,” he said. “The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions they have to make.”

Cain’s campaign tried to hide gay staffer charged with ripping off Madison Pride

Just days after GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain said he would have no problem hiring gay employees, his campaign took steps to cover up the employment of a top gay adviser with a record of controversy in Madison’s LGBT community, according to a former Cain staffer.

Cain’s former Iowa straw poll coordinator, Kevin Hall, made the allegation in a letter applying for unemployment benefits and also in testimony during an unemployment insurance hearing last month.

The alleged cover-up involves Scott Toomey, treasurer of Cain’s political action committee and former senior political adviser of the campaign. According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, Hall wrote that Toomey’s sexual orientation and allegations of misconduct in his role as treasurer of the Madison Pride Board “had become an issue” for several Cain supporters.

Madison Pride Board put on the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade before folding due to financial problems. The group removed Toomey as treasurer after learning that bills related to its 2007 event had not been paid and discovering other “financial discrepancies” that Toomey had failed to report.

Toomey held the event’s bank account and all of the money in it, as well as all of the financial records,  said Steve Starkey, executive director of Madison’s Outreach.  The records “just disappeared,” he said.

“(Board members) had no evidence against him because all the records had gone,” Starkey said.

According to Starkey, Toomey, who operated an event promotion company in Madison, was pocketing payments that his clients thought they were making to vendors, leaving the vendors unpaid.

“There were several examples of him doing that to Madison print companies,” Starkey said. “He did it at least three times that I know of. Then he moved to Florida after burning all his bridges with the gay and the business community here.”

After Toomey’s scam came to their attention, Madison Pride Board apologized to its supporters, scaled back its 2008 event and eventually folded.

Toomey reportedly filed for bankruptcy in 2009. He later surfaced in Iowa as part of the anti-gay Cain’s presidential campaign.

The only African-American in the GOP presidential field, Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Since generating some initial support when he announced for the White House, Cain’s campaign has floundered and he has since remained mired in the lower tier of candidates.

In response to a question in Iowa on June 6, Cain said he would have no problem appointing gay staff members to work in his administration as long as they were qualified. That prompted conservative bloggers to point out Toomey’s role with the campaign.

In his testimony, Hall said that on June 9, campaign spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael told the staff to tell anyone who asked about Toomey that he was no longer involved with the campaign in any capacity.

But Hall said he learned weeks later that Toomey was still “very much involved” as an outside consultant through his firm The Soarin’ Group.

Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Toomey was last paid salary from the campaign June 13, but The Soarin’ Group started receiving payments the same month. Hall said he was not bothered by Toomey’s background, but aides knew it exposed Cain to charges of hypocrisy.

“A conservative candidate, Mr. Cain is on the record as stating that he believes homosexuality is a sin and a choice. And they know that, if his top adviser, his highly paid adviser, is openly gay that it would cast a negative light on Mr. Cain and would cost him in his efforts to become president,” Hall testified. “Basically the campaign was trying to cover up the fact that Mr. Toomey was still involved. They asked … me to help them cover up that fact.”

A Cain campaign lawyer did not dispute Hall’s allegations. Hall was awarded the benefits he sought, with the judge ruling that he resigned only after the campaign tried to get him involved in the alleged cover-up, which could have damaged Hall’s career as a political consultant.

 – The Associated Press contributed to this story

GOP presidential field tilts far to the right

Michele Bachmann got a boost and Newt Gingrich took the boot from voters in the Iowa Straw Poll. The event was viewed as the first test of the presidential election in November 2012.

Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, placed first with 28 percent of the vote in the Aug. 13 poll held at Iowa State University in Ames. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed second, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty placed third and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania placed fourth.

The National Organization for Marriage, which has funded numerous anti-gay campaigns in recent years, heralded Bachmann’s win as proof that opposing same-sex marriage is a “winning issue.”

“Iowans showed the country that judges do not speak for the people and that Iowans, like the majority of the country, support marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

In the three weeks before the poll, NOM and Family Research Council activists worked in 22 Iowa cities to get voters to Ames, where each paid $30 to attend the fair-like event and cast a ballot for a candidate who signed NOM’s anti-gay marriage pledge. Bachmann signed the pledge, as did former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Pawlenty and Santorum.

Nine names were on the straw poll ballot prepared by the Iowa Republican Party: Bachmann, Paul, Pawlenty, Santorum, Gingrich, businessman Herman Cain, Romney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan.

Huntsman, Gingrich and Romney – who won the Ames poll in 2007 – did not attend the event.

Neither did two GOP celebrities – one who announced his candidacy the day of the poll, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and another who continues to test temperatures in Iowa and New Hampshire, 2008 VP candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

As a write-in candidate in Ames, Perry placed sixth, followed by Romney, who leads in national polls. Huntsman, McCotter and Gingrich barely registered with the voters.

The field shifted slightly after the poll in Iowa, where in five months the candidates will compete in the first-in-the-nation caucus. As Bachmann, who had been the predicted favorite, celebrated her win, Pawlenty abandoned his campaign. The results also gave Bachmann a needed boost as Perry, expected to syphon from her Tea Party base, entered the race.

Now, with the first vote in the GOP contest held in neighboring Iowa, WiG offers an early look at where the candidates are on LGBT issues.

None of the top declared or potential candidates support marriage equality for gays and lesbians or boast pro-gay records, but some have deeper anti-gay records than others. After the first debate of the 2012 race, People for the American Way, a watchdog of the right wing, concluded, “Not a single candidate can credibly be called ‘moderate.’ On issue after issue, the positions staked out at the debate were far to the right of the average voter and significantly more conservative even than previous Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.”

Consider:

  • Michele Bachmann was the first candidate to sign a 14-point pledge being circulated by Iowa’s Family Leader, an organization that successfully removed several state Supreme Court justices from office because they ruled in favor of marriage equality. A candidate who signs the pledge is committing to personal fidelity, opposing any “redefinition” of marriage and vowing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Bachman also voted against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the hate crimes reform bill. As a state lawmaker, she spearheaded an effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning gays from marrying.

    Bachmann has referred to homosexuality as “personal enslavement” and a “sexual identity disorder.” She has said she thinks gays can become heterosexual through prayer. Bachmann rates a zero with the Human Rights Campaign.

  • Ron Paul once said that recognizing same-sex marriages at the federal level would be “an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty.” But he voted against the anti-gay Marriage Protection Amendment.

    On marriage at the state level, Paul takes a libertarian approach. He says governments should enforce contracts and grant divorces but stay out of marriage.

    During a debate in Iowa, Paul said, “Why do we have to have a license to get married? Why don’t we just go to the church? What other individuals do, why can’t we permit them to do whatever they call it that is their problem not mine. Just so nobody else forces their definition of marriage on you. That is what we have to prevent.”

    Paul voted for the bill to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but he also voted to ban gays in D.C. from adopting,

    His mixed record is reflected in his rating from HRC – 59 out of 100.

  • Rick Santorum, during the first 2012 presidential debate, called repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy a “social experiment.” That was a tame comment compared with the former senator’s statement that sparked condemnations from the White House to the streets in 2003.

    Discussing a Supreme Court ruling decriminalizing same-sex sex, Santorum told an AP reporter that the U.S. Constitution did not contain a “right to privacy” and that “in every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality…”

    Santorum didn’t finish the statement, because the reporter said she was freaked by his “man on dog” comment.

    At the recent Iowa debate, he boasted about his opposition to same-sex marriage and his involvement in the campaign to oust from office the Iowa justices who ruled for marriage equality.

  • Herman Cain supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. After the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality in 2004, Cain said the court had failed the American people.

    “Congress needs to enact a constitutional amendment to protect the sacred institution of marriage,” he said. “Liberal-minded judges have opened a floodgate of judicial tyranny that will chip away at the core values of this country until nothing sacred is left!”

    Cain refused to sign the Family Leader’s pledge, calling it “undignified.”

    But Cain issued a statement clarifying that he stands “firmly with the Family Leader.”

    “I am, and will continue to be, an ardent defender of traditional marriage and will work to preserve and protect the sanctity of human life, which I believe begins at conception,” Cain said.

  • Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian who organized a massive prayer rally on Aug. 6, opposes marriage equality and supports a federal anti-gay marriage amendment.

    “To not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas and other states not to have marriage forced upon them,” Perry said. “I have long supported the appointment of judges who respect the Constitution and the passage of a federal marriage amendment. That amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman and it protects the states from being told otherwise.”

  • Mitt Romney offers a record on LGBT equality as mixed as his record on abortion and healthcare. But in recent years, he has strongly advocated a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

    At the Iowa debate this month, he said, “I believe the issue of marriage should be decided at the federal level. … Marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state. …I believe we should have a federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.”

    Romney signed NOM’s anti-gay marriage pledge, but he declined to sign the Family Leader pledge.

  • Newt Gingrich was the speaker of the U.S. House in 1996, when Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act. He has touted his support for DOMA recently, as well as his co-authorship of the conservative Contract with America that guided the House in the mid-1990s.

    Earlier this summer, Gingrich said that if the Obama administration continued to refuse to defend DOMA, a federal amendment on marriage would be the only answer.

    In 2002, Gingrich said he opposed gays adopting children and in a 2005 interview he said homosexuality is a sin, but “all of us are sinners.”

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In the running

Official candidates for the GOP presidential nomination: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Thaddeus McCotter.

Potential candidates for the GOP nomination: John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Jim DeMint, George Pataki and Paul Ryan.

– L.N.

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