Politics Today: Palin Launches Nationwide Bus Tour, Lawmaker Tells Women To "Plan Ahead" For Rape, And More
The cross-country road trip, however, is just one indicator that Palin may be gearing up to enter the race. As Politico reported:
Palin herself has stoked the fires with her comments, including telling Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren that she indeed has “the fire in the belly” to make a bid for the White House.
The launch of a new SarahPAC website last month also fanned speculation since it provided a vehicle to collect email addresses of her supporters and start interacting more directly with her potential donors and activists. Palin recently used the growing list to send a fund-raising mailer to supporters in South Carolina, a common strategy that those close to Palin say will continue to bring money into her organization.
Details are still being hammered out, but Palin's tour is expected to last at least several weeks and will include stops in key early primary voting states.
Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has thrown his support behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan. Pawlenty said on Thursday that he would sign off on the plan if elected president, but said he would offer up his own blueprint first.
"We'll have our own plan," Pawlenty said, according to a transcript released by his campaign." But ... if I can't have that, and the bill came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not Congressman Ryan's plan, of course I would sign it."
A "money-bomb" held by potential 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann went off with a fizzle. On Wednesday, the candidate emailed her supporters asking them for their help. "We've set a goal to raise $240,000 in 24 hours, but we can only do this if you act now," she wrote. By Thursday morning, however, the campaign was still well short of its goal, with a counter on Bachmann's campaign site indicating the fundraiser had netted just $165,151.
Kansas state Rep. Pete DeGraaf is coming under fire for remarks he made that essentially compared being raped to getting a flat tire. The controversy started when he made comments during a debate over a bill that would prohibit general health insurance plans from covering abortions, including for rape and incest victims.
The Associated Press reported:
Rep. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican who supports abortion rights, questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.
During the House's debate, Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a Mulvane Republican who supports the bill, told her: "We do need to plan ahead, don't we, in life?"
Bollier asked him, "And so women need to plan ahead for issues that they have no control over with a pregnancy?"
DeGraaf drew groans of protest from some House members when he responded, "I have spare tire on my car."
"I also have life insurance," he added. "I have a lot of things that I plan ahead for."
The Kansas National Organization for Women is asking for DeGraaf to apologize for his remarks. The organization is also collecting $5 donations to buy model-sized spare tires, which they will deliver to DeGraaf.
The Senate passed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act late Thursday afternoon by a 72-23 vote.
The Huffington Post reported: "It extends two provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, one allowing for roving wiretaps and the other allowing searches of business records in the pursuit of terrorist threats. A third provision gives the government power to watch non-American "lone wolf" suspects with no certain ties to terrorist groups. All three provisions are viewed as valuable tools by law enforcement officials but are opposed by some who say they can lead to privacy right abuses."
The House is expected to follow the Senate's lead and pass the legislation. Without passage, the provisions would expire tonight at midnight.