“The Single Biggest Threat To Our National Security”
Will either candidate discuss how the national debt is undermining American foreign policy at tonight’s debate?
Arlington, Va.—Both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will have the opportunity to address what has been described as the “single biggest threat to our national security” by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, during tonight’s debate on foreign policy in Boca Raton, Fla. Just last month, Admiral Mullen said, “A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt … cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs.” Recently, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad echoed that sentiment, asking, “How long can a government with a $16 trillion foreign debt remain a world power?”
As a result of Washington’s failure to reach a deal during debt ceiling negotiations this summer, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration are scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the year and will impact both domestic and defense programs. These cuts were intended to be a “worst-case-scenario” to compel lawmakers to come together. However, with no agreement the American people are left with looming cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending.
Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, issued the following statement prior to tonight’s debate:
“We cannot continue to borrow from other nations to feed a spending habit in Washington that’s making us more vulnerable and less secure at home. In the last year alone, our national debt has undermined our standing in the global economy, reduced our influence in the world and resulted in a ‘worst-case-scenario’ of arbitrary, across-the-board cuts to defense. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, called our debt the ‘single biggest threat to our national security,’ and any discussion of foreign policy by Mitt Romney and President Obama should include a clear plan to reduce spending and strengthen American leadership in the world.”
America’s $16 trillion national debt hasn’t gone unnoticed. Here’s what they’ve been saying:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the impending downfall of the ‘US empire,’ blaming the collapse on a combination of the country’s massive debt and its loss of legitimacy within the international community, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported Thursday. ’How long can a government with a $16,000 trillion foreign debt remain a world power? … The Americans have injected their paper wealth into the world economy and today the aftermaths and negative effects of their pseudo-wealth have plagued them.’” (“Iran: How Long Can Debt-Laden U.S. Remain World Power?,” Jerusalem Post, 10/18/12)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
“In an unsatirizable display of chutzpah, Mr. Obama reproved Europeans for not wrestling their debt problems under control. Given that Mr. Obama is responsible for spiking U.S. national debt to a record $15.8 trillion, which surpasses our gross domestic product for a whole year, his advice makes about as much sense as a hard-core drug addict telling others they shouldn’t drink too much caffeine. … ‘People are always very quick at giving others advice,’ an irritated German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday. ‘Mr. Obama should first of all take care of reducing the American deficit, which is higher than in the eurozone.’” (“Obama’s German tutorial“, Brett Decker, Washington Times 6/25/12)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waded into the nation’s fiscal debate Wednesday, calling the expected $1.3 trillion U.S. deficit a ‘message of weakness internationally.’ ‘It poses a national security threat in two ways: it undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable…’” (“Clinton Says deficit is a national security threat,” The Hill, 9/8/10)
Former President Bill Clinton
“Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us.” – Bill Clinton, Democratic National Convention, 9/5/12
Council on Foreign Relations
“‘The most important national security question for the coming year is actually the domestic set of issues that involves the economy.’ says Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.” (America’s Biggest National Security Threat: U.S. Debt, Yahoo Finance, 4/3/12)
Concerned Veterans For America
“Those who have worn the uniform know that this nation’s strength and freedoms stand on the foundation of a healthy, growing economy. They also know that when the economy struggles, the nation’s security is at risk. And when you add a towering national debt—now closing in on $16 trillion—to the mix, you have a recipe for disaster. Right now we’re seeing that disaster unfold in slow motion, as the prospect of ill-advised defense spending cuts under ‘sequestration’ are set to take place in January. Those cuts will have a huge impact on our force readiness (including, as I’ve written here before, compromised training for military personnel).” (Vets say economy, debt top national security threats, Pete Hegseth, The Hill 8/15/12)
“If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. government will be constrained in its ability to pay for what it wants to do militarily and diplomatically. And it could limit the country’s leverage with foreign powers.” (“Why debt is a threat to national security,” Jeanne Sahadi, CNN Money, 10/22/12)
Christian Science Monitor
From the article, “5 most urgent national security issues next president will face,” the Christian Science Monitor writes, “1) Come back from the fiscal cliff and shrink the debt. This is as much an issue of national security as it is domestic economics. … Leadership requires the ability to make choices and back them up with resources. But shrinking budgets, big deficits, looming debt, and a weak economy mean Washington has no resources to spare. …This leads us to eschew involvement in serious crises such as Syria, or retreat from military operations even without success.” (“5 most urgent national security issues next president will face, Kurt Volker, Christian Science Monitor, 10/22/12)
“Overseas spending is being squeezed by the inexorable increase in the number of Baby Boomer retirees collecting ever-more expensive Social Security and Medicare benefits. … Fiscal constraint is also a factor in nuclear arms control, an issue the candidates have scarcely discussed outside the context of Iran.” (“In foreign policy, both Obama and Romney face fiscal realities,” Tom Curry, NBC News, 10/22/12)
Obama Collects More Than $4.5 Million In Donations With Invalid Zip Codes
Obama Accepts 16 Times More Donations via Erroneous Zip Codes Than Romney
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (October 22, 2012) — The Government Accountability Institute (GAI), a non-partisan investigative and research watchdog group, announced today a follow-up to their original report: America The Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?
In their new report, titled: An Analysis Of FEC Campaign Donations Listing Non-Existent ZIP Codes , GAI found Federal Election Commission (FEC) data revealing that in 2012, President Barack Obama’s campaign has accepted $4,580,805.35 in campaign donations that list invalid zip codes—a figure 16 times greater than Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“The use of a robust Address Verification System (AVS) would significantly minimize donations with invalid zip codes from slipping through the net,” says GAI President Peter Schweizer. “When you use your credit card at a pay-at-the-pump gas station, you have to enter your zip code. Enter the wrong number or none at all, your transaction is denied. If that’s the standard to buy gas, surely it’s reasonable to expect the same for donating to federal candidates.”
The study found that Gov. Romney’s 2012 FEC data include $282,814.78 in donations that have invalid zip codes.
Analysis of the 2008 presidential campaign reveals a similar pattern, with then-Sen. Obama having $2,778,808.97 donations with invalid zip codes, compared to Sen. John McCain’s $431,046
GAI’s findings come on the heels of its 108-page report, America The Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S. Elections?, which found that nearly half (47.3%) of the U.S. Congress have donation websites lacking basic anti-fraud protections that make them vulnerable to foreign and fraudulent online donations.
GAI also released today raw data collected for its report on internet fundraising and placed it on www.CampaignFundingRisks.com.
“The data in these .csv files consists of webpages that link back to the primary websites we analyzed in our report,” said Schweizer. “These links were collected according to what’s known as ‘page rank.’ This was accomplished using a combination of proprietary and commercially available software. Our hope is that citizens will take the opportunity to do further exploration on this subject.”
To see the online donations, and to receive the official report, America The Vulnerable: Are Foreign and Fraudulent Online Campaign Contributions Influencing U.S Elections? visit: www.CampaignFundingRisks.com
GAI’s new report on donations from non-existent ZIP Codes:
Tonight’s final presidential debate will focus solely on foreign policy. Moderator Bob Schieffer announced that the topics will be: “America’s Role in the World,” “Our Longest War—Afghanistan and Pakistan,” “Red Lines—Israel and Iran,” “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism,” and “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.” Heritage’s foreign policy experts have written a series of tipsheets for prepping on each of these issues, featured on our Debate 2012 page and linked below.
Join us tonight at 9 p.m. ET to watch the debate live on the Debate 2012 page. In addition to the live stream, our experts will be live blogging, and you can join in the conversation on Twitter.
Our experts have submitted five questions they consider vital to the foreign policy debate:
- Given that the Taliban movement still poses a threat to the futures of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, how do you plan to ensure stability in the region and prevent either country from serving as a base for international terrorists intent on attacking the U.S.?
- Over the last several years, the Chinese have become increasingly aggressive in pressing territorial claims against their neighbors, threatening to upend peace, security, and the free flow of commerce in the region. What policies will your Administration undertake in the first year to make clear to this new Chinese leadership that the U.S. will remain committed to its friends and treaty allies in the western Pacific?
- The U.S. is not the world’s policeman, but it is a leader in world affairs. Can we maintain our influence and protect our vital national interests around the world (such as the “pivot to Asia” that the Administration has announced) if defense cuts continue? Do these cuts encourage adversaries and extremists (as in Libya) to test U.S. resolve?
- In the months since Osama bin Laden was killed, al-Qaeda franchises in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and North Africa have grown stronger and continue to pose a significant threat to Americans. Yet the U.S. appears to be stuck in a “whack-a-mole” tape loop. How should U.S. counterterrorism policy be changed to effectively counter this evolving threat?
- Although sanctions have been ratcheted up against Iran, a new study by the Congressional Research Service has concluded that sanctions have not succeeded in accomplishing their principal objective “to compel Iran to verifiably confine its nuclear program to purely peaceful uses.” Tehran has accelerated its enrichment of uranium and is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon. Can sanctions alone stop these trends? What else should the U.S. do to end Iran’s nuclear defiance?
Debate Prep: The Right Answers on China by Dean Cheng and Derek Scissors, PhD
Debate Prep: The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism by Morgan Lorraine Roach and James Phillips
Debate Prep: Red Lines for Israel and Iran by James Phillips
Debate Prep: Our Longest War—Afghanistan and Pakistan by Lisa Curtis
Sarah Palin posted this on facebook a few minutes ago:
Isn’t it a little premature to call the race for Obama two weeks before the election? It looks like a CBS News affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona did just that last Friday for 17 seconds when they flashed a graphic showing Obama beating Romney with 99% of the precincts reporting. CBS needs to explain this. But whatever their explanation, let’s make this their “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment. Please remember to tune in to the important debate tonight. The momentum for this election is not with Obama, regardless of what some in the media might want to think.
- Sarah Palin
More from the Daily Caller
Crossroads GPS is up with a new ad showing the reasons why embattled Congresswoman Berkley is not Nevada’s “Favorite.”
Nobody has more access to Obama, Biden and Hillary than Robert Roche, yet he is completely unknown to the public. As Steve Bannon notes on Breitbart today, and as the NY Post reported yesterday, Roche’s dealings are strictly in China, all his employees are Chinese and he needs good contacts with the government there to do business. Yet Roche, a bundler for Obama who owns the web site Obama.com which directs a lot of foreign traffic to Obama’s donation page – a page that DOES NOT have the common security measures to prevent illegal, foreign donations – sits between Obama and Hillary at the head table during the state dinner for Hu Jintao. He sits with Biden in high level trade meetings in Shanghai (pictures confirming this are in both stories below). Tonight is the foreign policy debate and China is as big an issue as any. Again, what does the U.S. get out of this relationship, or is this access – to the most powerful players in the administration — simply a reward for raising a lot of money, and is that money all legally raised? Perhaps someone should ask Obama or members of his administration if they have answers to these questions.
Breitbart, this morning: A Cancer at the Center of the Presidency: Robert Roche a Chinese Agent-Of-Influence?
Sunday, New York Post: PAPER: Obama’s Blind Eye to Illegal Donors…
Spending Daily | October 22, 2012
New Poll: Overwhelming Majority Say National Debt Has Direct Impact on Personal Finances
Public Notice today released the results of a national survey of likely voters on the issues ofdebt and spending, as well as which presidential candidate is more trusted to manage a family budget. On the question of whether the national debt has impacted personal or family financial situations, an overwhelming majority (88%) said it did, with a significant majority of seniors (61%), Independents (58%) and middle class families (58%) saying it had a “major impact.” The survey also found Americans were split between Mitt Romney (47%) and Barack Obama (46%) on who they trusted more to manage their family budget. Across key constituencies such as middle class families, Independents, seniors, married women and those likely to vote, however, Romney maintained an edge. Click here to read the full polling memo.
Debt Threatens National Security
Jeanne Sahadi writes in CNNMoney, “The national debt is not on the official agenda for Monday’s presidential debate on foreign policy. But it may as well as be. A chorus of former military leaders, current administration officials and fiscal hawks have all labeled the country’s debt a threat to national security. ‘A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt … cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs,’ Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month. The concern: If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. government will be constrained in its ability to pay for what it wants to do militarily and diplomatically. And it could limit the country’s leverage with foreign powers.”
“Lawmakers have ‘fiscal cliff’ menu’ of options from failed debt talks”
The Hill reports, “When Congress gets down to business on the ‘fiscal cliff’ after the election, they won’t have to look far for proposals to reverse it. Lawmakers already have a menu of policy options leftover from several rounds of bipartisan negotiations on the deficit, including the talks held last summer by Vice President Biden and the work of the failed congressional ‘supercommittee.’ Aides say lawmakers don’t need to reinvent the wheel to come up with a ‘down payment’ on the debt that could be part of an agreement to at least replace the $109 billion spending cut, known as sequestration, set for 2013.”
European Deficits Shrank, Debt Grew in 2011
The New York Times reports, “European countries sharply reduced their deficits last year, official data showed Monday, even as their overall debt grew, as governments pushed ahead with austerity measures in the face of the euro crisis. The deficit of the 17 euro zone governments fell to 4.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2011, from 6.2 percent in 2010, Eurostat, the E.U. statistical agency, reported from Luxembourg. The euro zone’s debt as a percentage of G.D.P. rose to 87.3 percent at the end of 2011 from 85.4 percent a year earlier.”
Republican Hammers President on Deficit and Unemployment
The Hill reports, “Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) hammered President Obama on Saturday for not reducing the $1 trillion budget deficit and the unemployment rate, arguing that his policies have ‘done little’ to jumpstart the economy. ‘With the school year under way across the country, it is not comforting to think that the class of 2012 who were freshmen along with this President graduated without knowing what it was like to be in high school without the term ‘trillion dollar deficit’ being ever present in the news,’ said Flake during the GOP’s weekly address. Flake argued that Obama’s ‘prolonged and record setting federal spending’ hasn’t produced results, noting that home values have dived more than 10 percent and gas prices have doubled during his time in office. ‘President Obama undoubtedly inherited a fragile economy, but he’s done little to improve it,’ Flake said. ‘In fact, rather than take a lesson, his answer to persistently weak jobs numbers is pressure to spend another half a trillion taxpayer dollars on legislation that would fail to even take steps to deal with the economic slowdown.’
Arlington, Va. – Public Notice today released the results of a national survey of likely voters on the issues of debt and spending, as well as which presidential candidate is more trusted to manage a family budget. The survey was conducted by the Tarrance Group via telephone from October 15-18, 2012, among 1,000 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
On the question of whether the national debt has impacted personal or family financial situations, an overwhelming majority (88%) said it did, with a significant majority of seniors (61%), Independents (58%) and middle class families (58%) saying it had a “major impact.” The survey also found Americans were split between Mitt Romney (47%) and Barack Obama (46%) on who they trusted more to manage their family budget. Across key constituencies such as middle class families, Independents, seniors, married women and those likely to vote, however, Romney maintained an edge.
“President Obama said earlier this year that the debt wasn’t a problem in the ‘short-term,’ yet millions of Americans believe it’s having a major impact on their personal finances. Regardless of what the pundits in Washington say, voters are looking for a plan to reduce the debt now. With just over two weeks until Election Day, both candidates would be wise to focus less on partisan one-liners and empty applause lines and more on getting our fiscal house in order.”
- Voters across the country report experiencing an impact from the level of the federal debt. A majority (56%) say the level of federal debt has had a major impact on their family’s personal financial situation, while another 32% also say it has a minor impact. Just 9% of voters say the debt has had no impact at all on their personal financial situation.
- A majority of seniors (61%), Hispanics (53%), Independents (58%), and middle class families (58%) say the debt has a major impact on their personal finances.
- The data also show that voters are statistically split on who they trust the most to set and manage their family’s budget. Overall, 47% trust Mitt Romney the most, while 46% trust Barack Obama the most. However, the results show key voter groups prefer Mitt Romney to manage their family budget.
- Mitt Romney’s support on this measure is also more bi-partisan than support for Barack Obama. While 28% of “soft” Democrats trust Romney the most to handle their family’s budget, only 6% of “soft” Republicans trust Obama the most.
Click here to read the full polling memo.
You’ve probably heard some scary things about Medicare reform lately. Words like “vouchercare” and an alleged $6,400 cost increase are now permanently etched into liberal talking points — even though these myths have been debunked time and again. Our colleagues at Heritage Action are keeping a running tally of the most outrageous myths.
Now you can play along, too. Today we introduce a new quiz show called Medicare Myths. Watch the video to see the biggest whoppers from opponents of Medicare reform. Our first episode features House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Shelley Berkley, Chris Van Hollen, and MSNBC host Al Sharpton.
Why should you care? Medicare is the fastest-growing federal program. Every day, approximately 10,000 seniors become eligible to receive benefits. Without reform, Medicare is unsustainable.
Conservatives have a plan to fix it. Heritage’s Saving the American Dream proposal does just that. We believe Americans deserve an honest conversation on Medicare. Help us debunk the myths. Share this video with your family and friends.
PPP’s newest poll of the Missouri Senate race finds little change from three weeks ago. Claire McCaskill leads Todd Akin 46-40. The only shift is Libertarian Jonathan Dine’s support dropping from 9% to 6% with those folks moving into the undecided column.
There were a lot of reasons to think this race might shift back toward Todd Akin as the furor over his controversial comments in August died down. But his image has actually just continued to get worse as the election approaches. 31% of voters now say they have a favorable opinion of him to 57% with a negative one. It was a 33/55 spread earlier this month.
McCaskill continues to be unpopular with 44% of voters approving of her to 51% who disapprove. Still that’s a significant improvement over the last couple months. In late August we found her at a 40/55 spread so her lead over Akin isn’t completely a function of him putting his foot in his mouth- McCaskill’s become stronger on her own merits as well.
There are still a few reasons to think this race is not over. By a 48/41 margin Missouri voters would like for Republicans to have control of the US Senate. Those numbers suggest that Akin is about 13 points worse than an average GOP candidate would be. Still they also give Akin and his allies a strong message they could try to hammer home in the final two weeks to win over some of the folks who don’t care for him but might not dislike him so much they want to keep Democrats in control of the Senate. Also the undecideds in the Senate race support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama 81-13. Maybe they’ll leave the Senate race blank in the end but if they end up grudgingly voting for Akin it would make the race basically tied.
We said all these same things when we released our poll three weeks ago though and there hasn’t been any movement towards Akin since then so a shift toward him may or may not ultimately materialize.
The race that has tightened a good bit over the last few weeks in Missouri is the one for Governor. Jay Nixon still has a 51/40 lead over Dave Spence, but that’s down 8 points from a 54/35 spread earlier in the month. The reason for the shift is Republicans unifying around Spence as they become more familiar with him. He’s now up 76/13 with GOP voters, compared to 65/23 on our previous poll. Still Nixon is ahead 54/35 with independents so the chances of his actually losing appear minuscule. He probably just won’t match his margin from 2008.
The contest for Lieutenant Governor looks like a toss up with Republican incumbent Peter Kinder and Democratic challenger Susan Montee both at 43%. Montee has gained 4 points on Kinder since our last poll. In the race for Attorney General Democratic incumbent Chris Koster leads Republican challenger Ed Martin 48-38. That’s closer than 52-34 earlier in the month for the same reason as the Governor’s race- GOP voters unifying around their candidate as election day comes near.
Missouri was the closest state in the country in the Presidential race in 2008, but it’s not likely to keep that status this year. Mitt Romney leads by 6 points there, 52/46. His favorability is now 52/45, a 4 point net improvement since before the first debate. Obama continues to be quite unpopular there with only 44% of voters approving of him to 54% who disapprove. On the issue of the economy Missourians prefer Romney over Obama 54/43.