A Foreign Policy Debate, How Cain Confounds Politicos, Vouchers for Veterans… the PM Note

Nov 11, 2011 6:24pm

A portrait of military veterans by the numbershttp://abcn.ws/unJjHA  

Obama at Arlington: “In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end,” he said to applause. “Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward. My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.” http://abcn.ws/t1ACZ5 

Foreign Policy Ho! – Politics next week starts over the weekend when there is a debate in South Carolina, sponsored by National Journal and CBS News. The subject: foreign policy.

Between Rick Perry’s suggestion that Obama missed a chance to overthrow the regime in Iran and Romney’s increasingly tough talk on the subject and New Gringrich’s promise today to make John Bolton his secretary of state, there will be plenty of grist for a lively discussion. http://abcn.ws/w2K9Di

This is also an area of some disagreement between the GOP candidates. Think of Afghanistan, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Foreign Policy was also the subject of #2 on the list of Rick Perry’s debate gaffes. Remember when he talked about calling Pakistan at 3 a.m.? http://abcn.ws/w2K9Di  

Why hasn’t Herman Cain stumbled? Is he Howard Dean or Bill Clinton? – He’s confounded pundits and Washington insiders who just don’t understand why despite the harassment allegations and the unconventional infrastructure Cain hasn’t stumbled.

Is the mainstream media out of touch with the main stream of America?

“I think it’s all about context,” Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher for The Rothenberg Political Report tells ABC’s Matthew Jaffe. “Right now, I think Republicans are making a statement about the direction of the country, Barack Obama, the national news media, the business side of the Republican Party. When we hit late December or early January, that’s not just about making a statement. That’s about picking a nominee. I think as we move through the cycle, Republicans will be thinking more about how do we beat Barack Obama, not about making a statement.”

More from Jaffe: “Take the Democrats’ race eight years ago. In late 2003, Howard Dean led John Kerry in the race for the Democratic nomination, but ultimately it was Kerry – viewed as a less radical, more electable option – whom voters backed when it mattered most.” http://abcn.ws/uEEAdO  

In an extended appearance on Fox News with Neal Cavuto he said he’s doubled staff in the last 30 days.

On Veterans Day, Romney Suggests Private Element to VA Care - “If you’re the government, they know there’s nowhere else you guys can go, you’re stuck,” Romney told a group of veterans at Mutt’s BBQ restaurant in South Carolina, according to ABC’s Emily Friedman. “Sometimes you wonder if there would be some way to introduce private sector competition, somebody else who could come in and say each solder has x thousand dollars attributed to them and then they can choose where they want to go in the government system or the private system with the money that follows them.

“Like what happens with schools in Florida where people have a voucher that goes with him,” Romney said.

Friedman: “Democrats immediately pounced on Romney’s remarks, blasting out information about Sen. John McCain’s plan to privatize the VA in 2008 and articles that suggested veteran’s at the time weren’t happy with the proposal.” http://abcn.ws/sHv5vy

Coming up? Further into next week things become less clear. Mitt Romney teased a “big announcement” in his Twitter feed. This might be the week Newt Gingrich’s boomlet becomes a boom in the polls.

Carrier Classic: Obama will watch NCAA game on Navy Ship – How’d they put a basketball court on a Navy Ship? Jake Tapper has the answer: http://abcn.ws/s47qpr

Aloha, HI Senate – Obama is also headed to his birth state of Hawaii, where Democrats face a tough bid to keep the Senate seat – http://abcn.ws/vHW75c

Bachmann and Perry Cross Paths at Veterans Day paradehttp://abcn.ws/t8Usju

Settlement: Bank of America wrongfully foreclosed on Service Membershttp://abcn.ws/tBh0rx  

Broad disapproval of wars is the norm since World War IIhttp://abcn.ws/uBKWW1  

Perry’s Pickle -  Rick Perry is still reeling from the last debate. He’s spending a million dollars in ads on Fox News, according to ABC’s John Berman.

Mitt Romney was benevolent – “We all make mistakes,” he said of Perry’s Wednesday night Oops. http://abcn.ws/vRxFSg  

Down: Employer-Sponsored Health Care -  Thanks to steady high unemployment, the percentage of Americans who got their health coverage from employers dropped to 44.5 percent. Just two years ago, more than half of all Americans had employer-provided health insurance. Meanwhile, more than a quarter percent of U.S. population relies on government-sponsored health coverage. http://abcn.ws/uJRdYg   

Beau Biden on Penn State scandal – “The nation and Americans need to realize that one out of four girls is sexually assaulted before they’re 18. One out of six boys is sexually assaulted before they’re 18. Only one out of 10 of those victims ever reports their crimes,” said Biden, who has established himself as something of a national expert on child sex-abuse cases, starting with his aggressive and successful prosecution of a pediatrician convicted of sexual contact with more than 80 children.

“This is a national problem. And unfortunately what’s happened in the tragedy that’s befallen the victims up at Penn State and College Station highlights a tragedy that exists everyday in America that sometimes those people don’t want to face.”

The Top Line Interview: http://abcn.ws/uN7zJw  

Super Pac Pack – Elizabeth Hartfield’s official tally of the ones that are active and the ones that seem to be gathering dust – http://abcn.ws/tUMs2X  

Next week –

Wives Club Nov. 17-19: The wives of Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman participate in the Women Working For Change conference at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, M.D. These women have developed a friendship despite their husband’s rivalry. Arlette Saenz’s story: http://abcn.ws/u3I81b   

Rahm in Iowa – Nov. 19: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2011 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines at 7 p.m.

ABC News’ Sarah Parnass contributed to this report.

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