Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 15, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.


1. Joe Biden Being Joe Biden (link)

Vice President Joe Biden was speaking to a largely black crowd yesterday when he said that Republicans want to put the chains back on you. No, seriously.

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign denounced Vice-President Joe Biden’s inflammatory claim today that GOP policies would put Democratic voters “all back in chains.”

“President Obama should tell the American people whether he agrees with Joe Biden’s comments,” said a statement from the Romney campaign.

The incendiary comments were delivered in a morning stump-speech in Danville, Va., which is near the border with North Carolina.

President Barack Obama will likely lose those states in November, unless there’s a high turnout of his African-American supporters. A recent survey by Public Policy Polling, however, found that Romney stands to gain as much as 20 percent of the African-American vote in North Carolina.

Also, Obama’s team is generally trying to focus attention away from the economy, which is stalled, amid high unemployment and high deficits.

In his speech, Biden declared that “Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s gonna let the big banks again write their own rules — unchain Wall Street.”

“They’re going to put y’all back in chains,” he added, in a low, threatening voice.

Roughly 40 percent of the 800-person audience was African-American, according to news reports.

“After weeks of slanderous and baseless accusations leveled against Governor Romney, the Obama Campaign has reached a new low,” the Romney campaign announced midday.

“The comments made by the Vice President of the United States are not acceptable in our political discourse and demonstrate yet again that the Obama Campaign will say and do anything to win this election,” he said.

The Obama campaign didn't denounce the Vice President and naturally liberal pundits are defending the VP. Of course these are the same folks who say that showing an ID to vote is racist.

2. Take Hike in Texas on Small Tobacco? (link)

It's tobacco vs. tobacco in Texas. Small tobacco companies could be facing a tax hike if the big boys get their way. According to the Texas Tribune:

The Texas House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing Tuesday in anticipation of a tobacco tax bill that will probably come up in the next session. The bill would essentially levy an extra tax on small tobacco companies to equalize what the big companies call a competitive advantage because of pricing. In a similar bill that failed to pass in the last session, officials estimated that the taxes would result in an extra $25 million for the state.

The three large tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Lorillard Tobacco Company, already pay the state extra fees under a 1998 lawsuit settlement in which the Texas alleged they were misleading consumers about the health repercussions of their products, and advertising to children. Because they pay more fees, their cost per carton of cigarettes is more.

Keith Teel, a lawyer who represents the big companies, told the committee that this competitive disadvantage has resulted in those companies losing 10 percent or more of their market share, which used to be 98 percent before the fee was imposed.

The smaller companies argue that they did not mislead their consumers, so they weren't sued and are therefore not part of the settlement. But Teel argued that the settlement was about more than that. He said that the fees make up for health care costs incurred by the state because of smoking and that all tobacco companies should therefore be subject to such a fee.

What do you think about this?

3. People Kind of Like Paul Ryan (link)

Well here is a shocker! The more people hear about Paul Ryan, the more they like him.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s favorables are up after the first blush of national media exposure following Mitt Romney’s selection of him as his vice presidential running mate. But as is generally the case with running mates, Ryan gives only a slight boost to Romney.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of Ryan, while 32% view him unfavorably. This includes 29% with a Very Favorable view of Romney’s vice presidential pick and 13% with a Very Unfavorable one.  Only 13% are now unfamiliar with Ryan, and five percent (5%) are not sure about him.

Just prior to being picked as Romney’s running mate, only 39% viewed Ryan favorably, while 25% held an unfavorable opinion of him.

Forty-three percent (43%) of voters think Romney made the right choice when he chose Ryan to be his running mate. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree and think it was a bad choice. A sizable 35% aren’t sure.

But 36% now say they are more likely to vote for Romney with Ryan as his running mate. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say they are less likely to vote for the Republican, while just as many (30%) say the vice presidential selection has no impact on their vote.

4. Paul Ryan's Wife Lobbied for Cigars (link)

According to this report, Janna Ryan, used to lobby for different industries including the cigar industry. I knew I liked the Ryan family.

From 1998 to 2000, Ryan was part of a small team that lobbied the House, Senate and White House on behalf of the Cigar Association of America to exclude cigars from many of the same regulations placed on cigarettes, like warning labels and excise taxes. PwC received $760,000 from the cigar lobby during Ryan's tenure.

The cigar lobbying effort was launched to fend off congressional scrutiny of the industry, following revelations in the late 1990s that cigar manufacturers had orchestrated a decades-long campaign to make cigars look cool, and to minimize their health hazards. This included paying celebrities to smoke cigars at events and launching Cigar Aficionado magazine, which portrayed cigars as an elite hobby.

I like how the writer from the Huffington Post tries to dismiss Cigar Aficionado and cigar smokers... idiot. I don't know if Paul Ryan or his wife smoke cigars, but as long as they protect us and the cigar industry from big government, I'm happy.

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