Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gingrich's stumble on immigration

 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich finally reached front-runner status this week after a long climb and may now have drawn the wrath of conservatives by professing a moderate position on illegal immigration.

The former speaker of the House of Representatives was sailing along confidently at a CNN-sponsored debate on Tuesday night and seemed to be wearing the front-runner label with pride after seeing his campaign nearly collapse six months ago.

But toward the end of the two-hour debate, Gingrich declared himself in favor of a comprehensive immigration overhaul that would include a guest-worker program for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.

Many Americans, including current Democratic President Barack Obama and former Republican President George W. Bush, back that approach.

But to the conservatives who tend to vote in the Republican presidential primary races, the loquacious Gingrich may have talked himself into a corner.

"If you've been here 25 years and you've got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out," he said.

Rival Michele Bachmann was quick to pounce. "He wants to legalize 11 million illegal aliens in the United States," the representative told CNN after the debate.

When Bush attempted to get a similar immigration plan through Congress in 2007, opponents called lawmakers so often in protest that it shut down the phone system. By supporting the Bush plan, Republican Senator John McCain, then running for president, almost saw his candidacy run out of money.

The collapse of the legislation has made it hard to bring up the issue again. Obama has shied away from it despite promising to do so in his 2008 campaign, saying there is a lack of political will to tackle the problem.


"It was an unnecessary position for Gingrich to take," said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. "He's surging in the polls. The last thing he wants to do is get on the other side of Republican primary voters by getting into an intellectual debate."

Gingrich will have some explaining to do in Iowa, where he has jumped into the lead in polls among the social conservatives who dominate the state's Republican Party. Iowa holds the first U.S. nominating contest of 2012 on January 3.

"There is a professional cottage industry that exists within the conservative universe that is intensely focused on the details of this issue, and Newt for better or for worse walked squarely into a hornet's nest," said Republican strategist Phil Musser.

Gingrich has risen to the top despite personal baggage and a number of questions that have dogged him for years, becoming the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney now that Rick Perry and Herman Cain have faded.

He seemed undamaged by last week's revelations he received up to $1.8 million in consulting fees from troubled mortgage giant Freddie Mac, a disclosure that made clear he is a Washington insider who has profited from the culture of consultants he likes to denounce.

It would be easy to surmise that Gingrich rival Mitt Romney could gain from Gingrich's mistake, but that may not be the case.

The former Massachusetts governor has been tough on illegal immigration throughout the campaign, and was a chief tormentor of Perry, who as Texas governor approved a plan to let the children of illegal immigration gain tuition assistance to Texas colleges.

While Romney said he disagreed with Gingrich's position, he seemed to offer a waffling response.

"I'm not going to start drawing lines here about who gets to stay and who gets to go," he said.
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thanksgiving menu thanksgiving Picture if you will, Thanksgiving 1999. Remember what you were doing or who you were spending it with? Not really? Well, I do.

I was by myself, without even a slice of turkey to call my own. That was the year the Grinch of Thanksgiving stole my celebration. Oh, never heard of him? Well, in most circles he's also known as my ex. Yep, unbeknownst to me, my ex single-handedly shut down and robbed me of spending the holiday with our two children. And, make no mistake: it was my turn to have the kids. They should have been with me. Only they weren't.

I remember it well. Back then, the ex was still living with her, aka, the other woman. For personal reasons, she didn't celebrate Thanksgiving. So, my ex had followed suit. Which, at first, was working really well for me because that meant I'd be getting the kids every Thanksgiving, since, allegedly, my ex no longer gave a hoot about the holiday.

But, on this particular year, my ex and his girlfriend decided the kids didn't need to participate in Thanksgiving either. Instead, they'd keep the kids for the day and use the time to indoctrinate them on the downside of partaking in the holiday. Except, they didn't tell me about this change of plans.

So, that morning, I waited. Watching the clock and waiting, expecting the kids to be dropped off any moment. Like most families across America, I had the whole day planned out. Cooking while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade with my kids, followed by a stroll in the park in the afternoon, and later, taking the dishes we'd prepared to a friend's house for dinner. It would be a good day.

While I was stirring the cranberry sauce on the stove, and peeling the sweet potatoes, the clock kept ticking, with no sign of the kids. Maybe, I rationalized, they stopped for breakfast and were running a bit late. Not wanting them to miss the parade on TV, I set it up to record, and continued in the kitchen. Within an hour, I was stressed. I picked up the phone and did what I normally dread doing: I phoned my ex. No answer, so I left a polite, but anxious, message. quotes
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thanksgiving jokes for kids thanksgiving By long-standing tradition, the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner has been purchased rock-hard, frozen and cheap.

That's starting to change. Turkeys are going Godiva.

The same passion for eating that brought us gourmet food trucks and swelled ratings for TV cooking shows has boosted demand for top-drawer turkeys with fancy names and even fancier price tags — up to $150 for a prized Bourbon Red heritage variety.

"People want a bird that has a name, a provenance, a pedigree — a bird you can brag about," said Kathy Gori, a 60-year-old screenwriter who splits her time between Sonoma and Santa Monica.

Lindsay Calev of Redondo Beach usually steers away from pricier items at the store, but was willing to pay extra for a Diestel brand organic turkey at Whole Foods.

"I don't eat organic every day of the year — wish I could afford to," said Calev, 28, who helps create graphics for advertising. "But Thanksgiving is a time where we're really valuing the food we're making. I was willing to spend a few extra dollars for that." jewelry
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thanksgiving raffle The numbers almost defy belief, because they put forth the proposition that Green Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers(notes) has played the position about as well as it can possibly be played over the last calendar year. In the last 16 regular- and post-season games he's started and finished, Rodgers hasn't seen a loss, and he's completed 372 of 526 attempts for 4,895 yards, 45 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

The only game he didn't finish in that time was a 7-3 loss to the Detroit Lions on December 12, when Rodgers was sent from the game with a concussion in the second quarter and relieved by Matt Flynn(notes). Before he was taken out, Rodgers had completed 7 of 11 passes for 34 yards and interception, which leads some to believe that if there's one team who has the secret to the otherwise unsolvable Rodgers, it's these Lions.

And what is that secret? According to mega-defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh(notes), there are two ways to go. "He's playing at a very high level, but the way to stop him is to continue to hit him," Suh told Shutdown Corner last week. "We had a great game plan against him last year -- he wasn't able to come back in the game, and that's one way to take care of business. Another way is to continue to be in his face and cause him problems — just don't allow him to get in a rhythm."

Well, that will keep the league posted, and you can bet that the game's officials will be all over what they deem to be Detroit's ancillary activity in the area of the quarterback. Rodgers had no trouble remembering what Suh and his buddies did to him last time.

"They gave me a concussion," Rodgers said with a laugh on Tuesday. "No, you know what, we started off hot against them at home, and then they really tightened it up and got a couple turnovers. They're a stout defense. They've got as good a front four as you're going to see in the game and they're improving everywhere else. So, you know, you see the improvements they've made and now you have an offense to help out that defense."

And that's the hidden narrative of this Thanksgiving reunion at Ford Field — as much as Rodgers can absolutely light it up against any defense with his weapons and ridiculous efficiency, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) happened to pass for five touchdowns in the last three quarters of Detroit's 49-35 win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. That could be bad news for a Packers pass defense that has struggled uncharacteristically this season.

"Matt's playing really well," Rodgers said. "Obviously [he has receiver] Calvin [Johnson] and a lot of weapons over there. So, when you've got an offense like they do, and a defense that can get after you and get after the passer with their front four and make some plays on the back end, I'm not surprised at all at the record [7-3] that they have right now."

Rodgers presents a different set of challenges to any defense daring to pressure him — if you go after him, you'd best get him, because Rodgers can be even more efficient when he's on the run. He's become one of the best mobile quarterbacks in recent years. thanksgiving restaurants nyc
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