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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Candidates React to Shooting at Sikh Temple


President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney released statements late Sunday afternoon on the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. In his statement, President Obama said:

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin. At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded. My Administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation. As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.”

And the Romney campaign released the following statement from the Rep ublican candidate:

“Ann and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of today's shooting in Wisconsin. This was a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the entire Oak Creek Sikh community. We join Americans everywhere in mourning those who lost their lives and in prayer for healing in the difficult days ahead.”

Republicans Step Up Attacks Against Reid


Top Republicans condemned Senator Harry Reid Sunday, accusing the Senate majority leader of fabricating an assertion that an unnamed Bain Capital investor had told him that Mitt Romney has not paid taxes over a 10-year period.

“I just cannot believe that the majority leader of the United States Senate would take the floor twice, make accusations that are absolutely unfounded, in my view, and quite frankly making things up to divert the campaign away from the real issues,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on CNN's “State of the Union.”

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was even more direct in his criticism of Mr. Reid on ABC's “This Week,” dismissing the speculation about Mr. Romney's tax returns as “a made-up issue” and calling Mr. Reid a “dirty liar.”

“As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road - I'm not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn't filed a single page of tax returns himself,” Mr. Preibus said.

The back-and-forth this week over Mr. Romney's unreleased tax returns spilled onto the Sunday talk shows after Mr. Reid told The Huffington Post he had learned of what he said was Mr. Romney's failure to pay taxes from a caller to his office, an assertion he repeated on the Senate floor. But the senator has provided no evidence to support his claim, and Mr. Romney has released two years of tax data showing he paid taxes for the years of 2010 and 2011.

While campaigning in Mr. Reid's home state of Nevada Friday, Mr. Romney said he had paid taxes every year, firing back, “Harry Reid really has to put up or shut up.”

Meanwhile, Democrats continued their attacks on Mr. Romney Sunday, with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, questioning why Mr . Romney won't release more of his tax returns.

“I don't know who Harry Reid's source is, but I do know that Mitt Romney could clear this up in 10 seconds by releasing the 23 years of tax returns that he gave to John McCain when he was being vetted for vice president. Or even 12 years of tax returns that his own father said were what was appropriate,” she said on ABC's “This Week.”

Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, told CNN's “State of the Union” that Mr. Romney could easily put the issue to rest with a trip to Kinko's to make copies of his tax returns.

“I'll send him the nickels,” he said.

Dueling Campaigns Ads for a Weekend Off the Trail


Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are off the campaign trail today, but their campaigns are not resting. The two sides released new ads this weekend that struck some fresh themes, with the Romney campaign seizing on the unemployment figures that came out Friday and the Obama campaign making an appeal to female voters.

The ad by the Romney campaign, called “It's Just Not Getting Better,” was released Sunday, and notes that “in July, unemployment went up again.” That assertion is true, as the jobless rate ticked up to 8.3 percent last month from 8.2 percent in June. But the Labor Department found that 163,000 jobs were created, a figure Democrats touted as evidence of a recovering economy.

The Obama campaign ad highlights Mr. Romney's comment that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood. But Mr. Romney's campaign later clarified the remarks, saying he would eliminate its federal subsidies, not get rid of th e program, an approach similar to the one he would take with Amtrak.

In a statement, Adrea Saul, speaking for the Romney campaign, criticized the Obama ad as misleading while calling it a distraction from the nation's economic problems:

“One day after the unemployment rate increased and we reached 42 consecutive months with a jobless rate greater than 8 percent, it is not surprising that the Obama campaign would release a false ad in an attempt to distract from the effects of the president's failed policies. Dishonest political attacks will not change the fact that President Obama has not turned around the economy, and his policies have hurt women and families all over the country. We tried it the president's way, and middle-class workers have paid the price. Mitt Romney has a plan for a stronger middle class that will jumpstart the economy and bring back millions of jobs.”

President Obama returns to the White House on Sunday fr om Camp David, where he was celebrating his birthday, while Mitt Romney will be at his country house in Wolfeboro, N.H.