oh dear, oh dear….

Steve Benen: Jon Huntsman certainly isn’t the only Republican presidential candidate who supported an individual health care mandate. He is, apparently, the only one who persists in fudging the truth about it.

Two weeks ago, Huntsman and his team assured reporters that the former governor did not back a mandate as part of his reform package in Utah, adding that Huntsman’s record on health care reform stands in stark contrast to the measures backed by President Obama and Mitt Romney.

There’s ample evidence that Huntsman just wasn’t telling the truth, and that as governor, he threw his support to a reform package that included a mandate. Today, a conservative blog moves the ball forward with a video clip from 2007.

Full post here

Verum Serum: In light of this clip, you have to love the headline from the Salt Lake Tribune piece (May 23): “Huntsman considered health care mandate for Utah, some say”. Some? I have to say it really was not that difficult to dig up this clip and there was even a reporter from the Tribune at the press conference. Is it really too much to expect local media to look through their own archives and report accurately on questions of national significance like this? It seems to me that Huntsman’s support for the mandate would have been common knowledge amongst the reporters assigned to cover the governor in this timeframe, and I suspect this wasn’t the only time he was questioned about this.

Full post here


I see Huntsman has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (where else?) and he’s worried about America becoming a “declining power”. He doesn’t mention the President once, though – but then, he’s a “remarkable leader”, isn’t he? 😉

MSNBC (April 2011)


PM Carpenter: For Huntsman, a new low – This is pathetic. Just pathetic. More evidence that no low is too unthinkably low when it comes to “getting right” with 2012’s increasingly isolated pseudoconservatives.

….”the two living Republicans” the congenitally moderate Jon Huntsman says he “most admires” are – ready ? – Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee….

Mr. Ambassador, by selling your soul now you’re only creating your own demons for 2016; they’ll come back to haunt you at the most inopportune time – that is, when the GOP has rendered the likes of Ryan-Huckabee scurrility to the flaky, untouchable margins of third-party Tea Partyism.

Full post here

Thanks Betsey

86 Responses to “oh dear, oh dear….”

  1. 1 theo67
    May 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    These idiots on the right are distancing themselves from a plan that provides health care to 32 million people, and health SECURITY for all Americans. Given that 80% of all working Americans get their health insurance from their employers, the mandate really doesn’t affect a lot of people. They have no alternative plans, and the only true better alternative is a single payer plan. In a year, more of the HCR benefits will have been implemented, and right wingers won’t have a leg to stand on. They’ve chosen to oppose something that is really good for America, and they will ultimately pay for it.

  2. 3 VC prezOfan2
    May 31, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Huntsman sounds sane and intelligent in this clip. Maybe we shouldn/t pass this one on. 😉

    • May 31, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      That’s exactly why he won’t get through the Teapublican primaries! It’s just hilarious that he tried to deny he ever supported the mandate …. he must surely have known this video (and others) would pop up? His attempt to appeal to the right by lying about his relatively moderate record is a sight to behold.

      • 5 UT Austin Liberal
        May 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

        I’m so with you Chips. Did he never think that someone could unearth this video? He basically recites everything that PBO said about the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act or ACA for short. Affordable healthcare for all Americans, covering patients with pre-exisitng conditions, having an individual mandate and if people can’t afford it, then the govt can help, giving the patient more buying power by having a wide pool of consumers and health insurance providers, stream lining the testing process by having 21st century Health Information Technology. This is PBO’s healthcare reform word for word. John Huntsman is such a hypocrite. He’s here , he’s there, he’s up, he’s down. He doesn’t seem to know left from right.

        • May 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm

          Hiya UT, I can’t wait to hear him explain away this video (and others) to his opponents in the GOP debates …. if he gets that far!

        • 7 Naijas
          June 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

          Hey UT,

          You know that the repub mantra is to confront evidence of hypocrisy is to be belligerent – “are you going to believe me or you lying eyes”, or “it is the lame street media that is trying to spread disinformation.” The repub base is so gullible an so overcome with hate of PBO they will overlook anything that makes someone their side look bad.

          That said, as I posted in another thread, Huntsman is the one possible candidate that gives me pause or concern.

    • 8 Eleroy
      June 1, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Sounds like any other sly, non-comittal politician hamming it up for good measure and trying to side step a straight forward question!!!

    • 9 anniebella
      June 1, 2011 at 4:43 am

      But you have to hear the new conservative Huntsman, yes he sounds like he has some sense, but we must remember most Republicans were for mandates, till they learned President Obama supported mandates.

  3. 10 Me4obama
    May 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Chipsticks am sorry to hijack this post, but am really trying to figure out if these allegations against rep Anthony Weiner are true or not. I just saw the interview he gave on CNN and it looked creepy to me and it didn’t help his case. I hope my fears are not realized but if anyone here knows more details please assure me that this isn’t going to ruin this young man’s political life.

    • 11 Doris
      May 31, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Didn’t hear the CNN piece but Chris Hayes just said that it is a Frank Luntz stunt. Waiting to see what he will say, however, any story with Andrew Breitbart reminds me of the Shirley Sherrod smear that got her fired. Breitbart is pond scum and imho anything connected to him is a lie. Weiner is of course known for taking on repugs, so he’s a big target.

      • 12 Me4obama
        May 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Thank u Doris, I was starting to get worried. If u watched the CNN interview weiner was not answering the questions if he sent the picture or if he knew the woman. I will patiently wait for more details and hope this nightmare goes away.

        • 13 UT Austin Liberal
          May 31, 2011 at 9:01 pm

          I know that he said late last week that his facebook account was hacked, then over the weekend PBS’s website was hacked and then Anthony Weiner’s twitter account gets hacked. From all I’ve heard, a lot of people and media outlets are saying that this might be an Andrew Breitbart, Frank Luntz or other right wing stunt. I know he’s hired a lawyer and the DOJ might look into it. It’s a wait and see approach now.

          • 14 Doris
            May 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

            They may have messed with the wrong one this time. Anthony is a little tough guy and he just may be getting ready to wipe the floor with these two. I don’t always agree with Anthony’s style, but I do agree with his democratic/progressive principles and values. These two better get lawyered up!

          • 15 Me4obama
            May 31, 2011 at 9:07 pm

            UT I agree it’s a wait and see approach but that interview he did with Dana Bash made him look like he is not telling the truth and CNN is covering it like a real story.

            • 16 anniebella
              June 1, 2011 at 4:49 am

              He shouldn’t have talk to Dana Bash, John King sidekick. He should do the Palin dance, just run around saying no interviews and watch the media chase her like a dog chasing a cat. A stupid dog chasing a stupid cat. Sorry animals lovers.

          • May 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

            Don’t know what Frank Luntz has to do with it. He is a Republican strategist but I’ve never heard of him pulling a stunt like this. The hack on pbs was revenge for showing a critical piece of Wikileaks and Manning.

            Even if its his ‘weiner’ I don’t see how this could be a problem. What breitbart is doing is saying that Weiner sent a pic of his goods to his young lover. If THAT part is all true, which I don’t believe it is, then Weiner has a problem. Otherwise its just an embarrassing moment for Weiner not a career killer.

            What I hope Weiner would do is to yell to the media, seeing he has a lot of mouth, that the RW is going after him because he is going their hero Clarence Thomas.

            • May 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

              I meant he is going after their hero Clarence Thomas.

              • 20 Doris
                May 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm

                OOOOO I forgot about the Clarence Thomas thing. bet that’s it. I mentioned Frank Luntz because Chris Hayes did on the Last Word, but yes he doesn’t usually get into stuff like this.

        • May 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

          Couldn’t agree more with Doris, M4O – Breitbart’s involvement tells me it must be a pack of lies. But I don’t think Weiner has handled it very well, which has left me a little worried.

          • 22 Doris
            May 31, 2011 at 9:09 pm

            Anthony’s a smart cookie and the interviews I saw today were a little evasive, but he was calm, strong, and said with saying, “I got this.”

          • 23 Me4obama
            May 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm

            I worry so much when it comes to Anthony Weiner, he has so much to offer to progressives values though i get mad at him most of the time with his rants against PBO and CNN gave Breitbart airtime this afternoon to spread more lies that he had been tracking Weiner follow young women on Twitter including this woman in question. It’s ashame that he never learnt from Sherrod’s story.

            • 24 Doris
              May 31, 2011 at 9:33 pm

              Remember CNN is sponsoring a Teaparty Debate. Did we see a Teaparty Bus too from CNN. I this so. This told me exactly where CNN is coming from. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that they have Breitbart on. Breitbart said, lol, that he got this information through a third party, just like he did with Shirley Sherrod, some unknown phantom person told him this. I was through right there, lol. Chris Hayes read a statement from the woman in question and she said that it was a false story and that she received nothing.

    • 25 theo67
      May 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      As soon as Breitbart entered the scene, the story took on it’s true colors. Anything Breitbart touches is garbage and not worthy of serious consideration. The way he works is to open the door to a lie, which can’t ever be deleted and will forever raise doubt. He peddles in the dark science of lies and innuendo to destroy reputations and confuse people. I’m not a fan of Weiner, but I certainly gave him the benefit of the doubt once Breitbrt got involved.

    • 26 lmrj
      May 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Read an article earlier (forget where) that the young lady in question had her account hacked as well and her personal info (past address & past phone number & contacts) were exposed over the weekend. The scum was trying to get current her current phone number from her family & friends after she was hacked. She supports that Anthony Weiner has been hacked and she is an innocent victim in this mess.

    • 27 Chi
      June 1, 2011 at 5:56 am

      Oh Me4Obama, don’t worry about Anthony Weiner, he’ll be just fine…

      He’s got people in the media who’ll reshape the story whatever it turns out to be, in his favor…

      His former roommate Jon Stewart for starters…

  4. 28 dotster
    May 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Someone probably mentioned this here today but I was amused by the poll in Iowa of 400 something Republicans and Huntsman was the choice of 1, not 1% as reporter noted, but one person.
    And even thought Huntsman seems to be more of the decent sort, for a Republican that is, I bet he forgets all about that “great honor” he felt getting to know President Obama. He’s going to leave that all behind, just as he’s running away from all his previous policy positions.

    • May 31, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      You know Dotser, I honestly find Huntsman more objectionable now than anyone else in the GOP field. He appears to be smart (unlike most of them), he held a lot of honorable and relatively moderate positions, but he doesn’t have the courage to stand by them because he knows they are unacceptable to Teapublicans. At least most of the rest of the field have been consistently obnoxious, this guy is now just selling his soul and any integrity he ever possessed to prove himself to be as bat-shit-crazy as the rest of them.

      • 30 dotster
        May 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

        I actually find that true of most Repubs—no deeply held core beliefs, able and willing to switch positions with the political winds. Shallow and unworthy.

      • 31 theo67
        May 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm

        Huntsman is studying at the feet of John McCain – master flip-flopper, and responsible for foisting palin on the world.

        • 32 Eleroy
          June 1, 2011 at 12:05 am

          He is not only a flip-flopper, he is swine jjust like McCain who never deserved the false projections made on him as a “moderate”. More like a desperate!!!

          McCain like Huntsman, will do and say anything to get the power he wants and just like McCain, Huntsman will be a sore loser. Lool at those evil, plotting, empty, deceitful eyes!!!

          Then look at President Obama’s strong, determined and all knowing eyes!!!

          President Obama has always known wxactly what Huntsman stood for and what he is all about. And President Obama will without leaving home, teach Huntsman a lesson Jon will never forget!!!

          • 33 Eleroy
            June 1, 2011 at 12:06 am

            Exactly, geez!!!

          • 34 theo67
            June 1, 2011 at 12:52 am

            I agree with you – President Obama had Hunstman’s number when he shipped him off to China. Hunstman should have followed the President’s lead, and stayed in China until 2016. He’s going to be soundly thrashed by President Obama in 2012, if he gets that far.

        • 36 Naijas
          June 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm


          I agree with your comment, but don’t you think that he is doing it with more flair than McCain ever could, and thus is able to come across as sincere/principled with the MSM?

          • 37 Eleroy
            June 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm


            What part of Huntsman is a FRAUD do you not get!!!

            And this “flair” you speak of, don’t see it – sorry!!!

            And the man has hardly taken a position on anything and is barely out there, so I am wondering how you’ve been able to sum up his sporadic appearances and found him “sincere/principled”!!!

            Enough of this Huntsman as “reasonable amongst the crazies” propaganda!!!

            The man is a cheap immitation and like all cheap immitations, will not hold up after the first wash!!!

    • 38 meta
      May 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      He’s decent except for all the lying.

      • 39 EDP4BHO
        May 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm

        I disagree. He’s a rethug. He can’t be decent 😀

      • 40 Sue in Minnesota
        May 31, 2011 at 9:35 pm

        Exactly….why do Americans tolerate lying politicians? I place a high value on honesty, and frankly do not find it difficult to be honest…..does not seem to be a widely shared value, at least not in politics.

        Huntsman would never get my vote…I think he is has Koch stamped on his forehead, I consider him spawn of the Koch cabal. I somehow think Sarah Palin is part of the theatrics orchestrated to make him look, by contrast, to be the Republicans answer to Barack Obama. I trust nothing the Republicans say or do. And the fact of the matter is I hate that we are subjected to all this gamemanship and political machination.

        • 41 Proud of Obama
          May 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

          Sue, I totally agree with you. And when I see him, I see a man who absolutely cannot be trusted. I just see a snake. An opportunist. And I want to know about this “wonderful” record as governor of Utah. I mean how hard could it have been to govern that state.

          • 42 Sue in Minnesota
            May 31, 2011 at 10:05 pm

            We should have a reality show….Snake Huntresses…each week we track and catch a new Republican …
            with all the “snakes” slithering in the Republican party, we would never run short of programming material….Snakes Alive:D

          • 44 Eleroy
            May 31, 2011 at 11:58 pm

            Hi is not only a snake, but a flimsy, fake, greedy, desperate, shallow phony!!!

            There’s nothing worse than a man with no honor desperately trying to play at being honorable!!!

      • 45 anniebella
        June 1, 2011 at 4:53 am

        Decent ecept for all the lying. You have to be joking right. How can a liar be decent?

        • 46 anniebella
          June 1, 2011 at 4:55 am

          Decent except for all the lying. You have got to be joking right. How can a liar be decent?

  5. 48 CEB
    May 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Chipsticks, I agree.

  6. 50 bjw2
    May 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    As the saying goes Karma is a you-know-what.

    I went to the conservative blog site listed in the article and there were only two posts and neither were kind.
    What poor Hunstman fails to realise is that as far as teaparty far right republicans are concerned he is tainted goods, the president sealed his fate when he asked him to be ambassador.

    You tell me this president is not playing checkers.

    • May 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Hi bjw2, I went to a right-wing-nutjob site too to see what they were saying about Huntsman. There was nothing much on this story, but in other threads about him the anti-Mormon hate was incredible (obviously for Romney too). I knew these people didn’t like Mormonism much, but I didn’t realize just how much they despise it. And they just seem to hate everything else about Huntsman too, not least that he served in this President’s administration. Jeez …. almost made me feel sorry for him!

      • 52 M
        May 31, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        Chips, I can’t even imagine what you read on those sites. Hope you took a long bath to get the filth off of you and to calm your mind.

      • 53 bjw2
        May 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

        Chips, I think he would have stood a better chance if had waited for 2016. I have a feeling that every republican that participates in this primary is going to come out damaged goods.

        I think the smart ones knows this that’s why they’ve bowed out.

  7. 54 Tulips
    May 31, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    i Hate to say this about Weiner, he has been the loudest and rudeness congressman on the left, who goes on tv and makes some awful claims against the president. When they go against him unfairly it comes back. He is part of that PL group who helps distract from getting anything done. I hate to see him gett trash like this, maybe he will think twice about trashing others.

    • 55 Proud of Obama
      May 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Tulips, you said it. Our magnificent and brilliant President never strikes back. Karma does it for him. Maybe all the dems will think twice from now on.

      • 56 hopefruit2
        May 31, 2011 at 10:32 pm

        If you think about it, Weiner was one of those house Dems who voted to defund ACORN after Breitbart & Co did that smear job against the agency. I don’t condone Breitbart’s behavior on any level; however, Weiner needs to understand that what goes around comes around. The same MSM that gave him a platform to tear down the President may now assist Breitbart & FOX News in tearing him down.

  8. 58 Proud of Obama
    May 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    OT: But Rachel Maddow is practically begging the quitter governor to come on her show. Pathetic. I turned the channel.

    • 59 UT Austin Liberal
      May 31, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Hey POB I’m with you. I saw a little bit of TRMS and I just couldn’t stomach her tonight, so I just switched to TBS’s The Office Marathon. Better for my constitution

      • 60 Eleroy
        May 31, 2011 at 11:55 pm

        You guys should not forget that this same Rachel Maddow was flattered to spend “some time having a private and exclusive chat” with Roger Ailes just a while back!!!

        She just might go if offered enough money. Notice how most of them try not to be as passionately progressive any longer!!!

    • 61 Sue in Minnesota
      May 31, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Palin would probably soil herself at the mere thought of Dr. Maddow interviewing her. Besides she has publically ridiculed Dr. Maddow, and if I know one thing about Palin, she is a yellow belly coward. Ever see the video clip of her descending a staircase, spots a reporter at the base of stairs, turns on a dime, tucks tail, and bolts back up the stairs from whence she came. Now there’s a portrait in courage for ya.

      • 62 M
        May 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm

        Oh we must find that video!

      • 63 theo67
        May 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

        I’m pretty sure Maddow would giggle with her, ask fluffy questions, maybe pose one good question but then almost immediately wash it away. I hate how she is with Michael Steele, and I can’t imagine that palin would get the same soft treatment.

    • 66 Sue in Minnesota
      May 31, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Rachel can conduct a mean interview. But I wonder if she would be as deferential to Palin (who would never, ever submit to appearing on her show) as she been to Meghan McCain. I don’t like it when Progressives go soft on Republicans.

      • 67 Proud of Obama
        May 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm

        Rachel would go soft the way she plays palsy with that creep Michael Steele. Even Oprah went soft on the quitter. I was sooooo disappointed in Oprah for that. We know that the quitter would never go on any show except Faux because she doesn’t know a darn thing.

      • 70 Eleroy
        May 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm

        Rachel is a disgrace!!! When she did that suck up to that little twerp Megan McCain just a few days after she went ont on Jay Leno to bash President Obama and talk up Romney, I knew I was completey done with Rachel Maddow!!!

        Where is the integrity???!!!

    • 71 anniebella
      June 1, 2011 at 5:02 am

      Maddow knows Palin don’t have the guts to come on her show. Heck Palin couldn’t even answer little Miss Sunshine question, you remember Kathie Couric, Palin couldn’t even answer her simple question about what do she read? You know she couldn’t handle Maddow. Palin will never come on, because Maddow will never give her the questions she plan to ask up front and she will never give Palin the answers, like FOX.

  9. 72 Carolyn
    May 31, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I live in the buckle of the Bible belt, and a Mormon would have no chance in the Republican primary here. They would either hold their noses and vote for one in the general, or just not vote, if a Mormon was the nominee.

  10. 73 louc1
    May 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Totally off subject – but did you all see this interview on C-Span – Janny Scott – the author of the book about the President’s mother. It is a great interview and gives a lot of insight into the President and his mother. Major Garrett is the interviewer and it is almost an hour long – but despite Major – it was a good interview. I can’t wait to read the book.

    • 74 Eleroy
      May 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      Major Garrett!!! Ugh!!! Forever tainted by FOX news and now still part of the right-wing funded paper!!!

      No thanks!!!

  11. 75 Kasai
    May 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    I, too was so disappointed about Oprah having quitter on her show. , hearing all the vile and the cruel words that she uttered, during the campaign I couldn’t believe it, being a friend of the Obama’s, it was a shocker to say the least.

    I respected Oprah for things she stood for, including integrity, but I realized that she lost quite a few viewers when she went public in her support of then Candidate Obama, and maybe she was trying to regain them back…I guess Business over Principles ..was too hard of a decision for her to make, but our First Family graciously granted her another interview.

    • 76 Proud of Obama
      May 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm

      Again I don’t know how they continue to be so gracious in the face of such insults. I didn’t like Oprah’s last interview with them either. She had to nerve to ask the President why he waited so long to show his long-form birth certificate. That was a disgusting tea bagger question to me. I subscribe to her magazine and when my subscription ends I will not be renewing it.

      This is totally off topic but just another example. She truly treated that lying former NJ governor McGreevey’s (the one who left his wife and child for his male lover) ex-wife as if she was the one who had done something wrong. And she treated him as if he was a victim when she had him on. That totally made me angry.

      • 77 theo67
        May 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm

        I wrote Oprah a long, disappointed letter over those stupid tea bagger questions she asked the President. I stopped taping her when she interviewed Bill Clinton after he wrote his autobiography, and only focused on the Lewinsky affair – ignoring a lifetime of achievement (although my admiration of Clinton has dimmed since President Obama came on the scene and Clinton has behaved very badly on occasion). And then I nearly lost it when she had palin the quitter on her show – and lobbed softball questions. And this last interview with the Obamas was the last straw for me.

        • 78 Chi
          June 1, 2011 at 5:23 am

          Look at Oprah’s producers and you’ll quickly figure out a lot…

          When the Palin supporters called for a boycott of Oprah during the 2008 elections when Oprah wouldn’t have Palin on her show, I decided to counter their boycott by subscribing to O magazine which I’d never read before then…

          I bought a subscription for every woman I thought might enjoy it…10 subscriptions 6 of which I’ve kept going till now…

          I’ve decided not to renew beyond this year…

          As some have aptly pointed out; if a woman with Oprah’s wealth, ability and influence won’t or can’t speak up and instead chooses to play footsie with objectionable people like Palin, offering only half-hearted, muted and rare responses in defense of President Obama in the face of brazen and unwarranted attacks…

          I think, what’s the point…

          What’s the point in having all that independent wealth and influence if you still worry about “repercussions” for standing up for the truth and for what’s right and honorable…

          With 2 billion dollars in the bank, there can’t possibly be the same feeble excuses as those who claim to ‘play along’ and refuse to speak up for fear of ‘compromising’ their income sources…

          If I cannot excuse these others, how could I possibly excuse Oprah…

          It makes me very sad that Oprah with her billions and all her successes, still embodies the mindset of an oppressed black girl from Mississippi…

      • 80 Chi
        June 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

        I agree ProudofObama…

        I watched her gushing and very respectful interview with Ralph Lauren who I like…I even cast my mind back to her interview with Laura Bush; Laura was cold and removed and her body language screamed repulsion and yet, Oprah kept sucking up to her…It was embarrassing.

        I then compared it with her awkward and self-conscious, at times snarky and off-hand interview with President & Mrs Obama…

        And I was very saddened…

        But over the years, it’s been quite clear to see that with Oprah, familiarity does breed contempt…

        A good rule of thumb would be to keep her at arms length…

        She seems to respond better to those she has to work hard to reach…and people who look down on her…

  12. 81 Street_Smart
    May 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I don’t know if you guys saw this article, it was on Yahoo’s front page today. I think these people have truly lost their minds…


    Republicans question healthier eating proposals
    By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
    28 mins ago

    .WASHINGTON – House Republicans are pushing back against Obama administration efforts to promote healthier lunches, saying the Agriculture Department should rewrite rules it issued in January meant to make school meals healthier. They say the new rules are too costly.

    The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Committee late Tuesday, also questions a government proposal to curb marketing of unhealthy foods to children and urges the Food and Drug Administration to limit rules requiring calorie counts be posted on menus.

    The overall spending bill would cut billions from USDA and FDA budgets, including for domestic feeding programs and international food aid. The panel also cut some farm subsidies to cut spending.

    Republicans are concerned about the cost of many of the Obama administration proposals, which they regard as overregulation, said Chris Crawford, a spokesman for the chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

    Crawford said the marketing guidelines, released last month, are “classic nanny-state overreach.” Though the guidelines, which would restrict which foods could be marketed to children, are voluntary, many companies are concerned that they will be penalized if they don’t follow them. The bill questions whether the Agriculture Department should spend money to be part of the marketing effort.

    “Our concern is those voluntary guidelines are back-door regulation,” he said, deploring the fact that kids can watch shows that depict sex and drugs on MTV, but “you cannot see an advertisement for Tony the Tiger during the commercial break.”

    The school lunch guidelines are the first major nutritional overhaul of students’ meals in 15 years. Under the guidelines, schools would have to cut sodium in subsidized meals by more than half, use more whole grains and serve low-fat milk. They also would limit kids to only one cup of starchy vegetables a week, so schools couldn’t offer french fries every day.

    The starchy vegetable proposal has been criticized by conservatives who think it goes too far and members of Congress who represent potato-growers. They say potatoes are a low-cost food that provides fiber and other nutrients.

    The Republican spending bill also encourages the FDA to limit new guidelines that require calories to be posted on menus to restaurants, asking that grocery stores, convenience stores and other places whose primary purpose is not to sell food be excluded from the rules.

    The effort would dial back many of first lady Michelle Obama’s priorities in her “Let’s Move” campaign to curb childhood obesity and hunger.

    “This shows a very clear trend in trying to undermine some of the important gains in nutrition policy,” said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    The overall spending bill would cut billions from USDA and FDA budgets, including for domestic feeding programs and international food aid. Even after some of the money was restored Tuesday, the bill would still cut about $650 million — or 10 percent — from the Women, Infants and Children program that feeds and educates mothers and their children. It would cut almost 12 percent of the Food and Drug Administration’s $2.5 billion budget, straining the agency’s efforts to implement a new food safety law signed by the president early this year.

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    • 82 UT Austin Liberal
      May 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      My goodness is there no level these hateful repugs won’t sink to? This is for CHILDREN! So they are saying that kids don’t deserve healthy food b/c it’s too costly; but millionaires and billionaires need tax cuts b/c they are the disenfranchised in society. They want children to continuously eat unhealthy food, become obsese, have diabetes, have heart problems and basically have generation after generation of unhealthy individuals. Shame on them! This is what all MSM and news stations should be covering. The state of journalism in our country is appalling.

      • 83 theo67
        May 31, 2011 at 11:50 pm

        They are just bad people – Rahm was right.

        • 84 anniebella
          June 1, 2011 at 5:10 am

          This is what happen when alot of people didn’t go vote in 2010. Alot of Democrats didn’t go vote, they claim to be disappointed in the President, well do you see what you let take over the House? These Republicans are playing around with the debt ceiling. Knowing the harm it could do if it is not raise. We are just seeing examples of what these tea-republicans are like, and we better get out to vote in 2012. The Pl might be disappointed in President Obama, but look at what the Republicans will and have done. And plan to do if they can. President Obama is a million times better than them.

      • 85 Sue in Minnesota
        June 1, 2011 at 3:29 am

        The Republicans never want to weigh the social costs of the policies they support. They suffer from tunnel vision. I guess they don’t take our military leaders seriously when they say obesity is a major security issue for this country. Then of course you have the impact on medical delivery systems. On the cost of our health care…I bet we could come up with a rather lengthy list of the detremental impacts this could have on the lives of our citizens and the social costs that collectively we would come to bear. I find it very difficult to embrace their way of thinking. Ugly, nasty people IMO.

    • 86 blondegrrl
      June 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

      Yes, the Republicans are against this because the corporations that supply food to the school food programs would have to completely retool their production lines to accommodate the new guidelines (hence calling it more regulation by the Republicans). These same corporations in turn support the Republicans with tons of PAC and lobbying money. Tit for tat, right?

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