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Aug032012

Reid Challenges Media To Dig On Romney Finances | Chick-fil-A Gay Rights Kiss-In | Campari Calendar 2013

See Wall Street Journal’s interactive map that links Chick-a-Filet locations and support for gay marriage by state.

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Anne is reading …

Sen. John McCain said on CNN last night that Sen. Harry Reid might have gone “over the line” in his full-court press against Mitt Romney with allegations that a Bain Capital source told him that the presidential candidate paid no income taxes for 10 years.

For Republicans who are crying foul against Reid, arguing that Reid’s allegations against Romney are just as contemptible as Michele Bachmann’s against Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin, one can only imagine that they wish McCain’s remarks about Harry Reid were half as strong as his senate floor condemnation of Michelle Bachmann.

It’s generally believed that if he hasn’t seen Romney’s tax returns up close and personal, Sen. McCain knows whether Reid’s accusations have substance. When Romney was vetted as a possible vice presidential candidate in 2008, the McCain campaign reviewed 23 years of Romney tax returns.

Sen. Reid challenged the media to be more aggressive in digging into Romney’s finances, writes the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“What if he has paid no taxes, like I am saying he hasn’t,” Reid said. “What if he has all these moneys as we already know … in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Swiss banks. I mean, gee whiz, rather than ask me why I should do this, that is a story you should be writing.”

Mitt Romney will be in Las Vegas today, talking about his new five-point plan “for a stronger Middle class” before attending a fundraiser with leading Nevada Republicans.

CNN’s Dana Bash has followed Reid for years and said on air that she spoke with a private source very close to the Senate Majority leader who also knows the identity of the Bain investor and insider. The Bash source says Reid’s informant is “a credible person and this person if we knew the name we would understand they would have the authority and the ability to know about Romney’s tax returns.”

Dana Bash continued:

There are times [Reid] says things off the cuff that make his aides wince, like talking about smelly tourists in the Capitol — I’m not making this up. This is not one of those times. This is one of those times he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s doing it on purpose, he is doing it for political reasons, because he wants this issue — Romney’s taxes — talked about on programs like yours, wants it to be headlines in newspapers and wants Mitt Romney to respond on this issue which they think is a negative for Romney, as opposed to issues Romney wants to talk about.

The CNN reporter said that Reid’s decision to enter the Romney tax return foray is “very personal”. Bash continued saying: “”When Harry Reid doesn’t like somebody, he goes for the jugular.”

Reid’s allegations come on the heels of the Romney campaign’s failure to follow up with an ABC News reporter David Muir’s question as to whether or not he has ever paid less than the 13.9 percent tax rate revealed in his 2010 return.

“I haven’t calculated that,” said Romney. “I’m happy to go back and look, but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law.”

ABC News has followed up with a request for an answer to Muir’s question, with no response from the Romney campaign.

Flying Chicken Feathers!!!

Wednesday — dubbed ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ by talk show host and former governor Mike Hukabee — was the largest day in the company’s history.

Today the LGBT community responds with a national ‘Kiss In’ at Chick-fil-A restaurants, to protest the fast-food founder Dan Cathy’s opposition to same-sex unions. The Southern Baptist Cathy family respects many other tenets of their faith, including not being open on Sunday.

Today’s participants are encouraged to visit one of the company’s 1600 fast food chains and kiss a fellow demonstrator of the same sex. Marci Alt is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga, about 20 miles from the company’s headquarters in Atlanta. About 150-200 folks are expected at a Chick-a-Filet in New York at 8pm tonight. Follow the event on Facebook.

A thoughtful Huff Po piece interviews gays who work at Chick-fil-A, many of them caught in the middle of the controversy.

Chick-fil-A has long come under fire from activists for giving millions to groups that advocate against gay rights and even support ex-gay therapy, but the fire has ratcheted up in recent weeks, following interviews in which Cathy said he was “guilty as charged” of supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit” and that gay marriage invites “God’s judgment on our nation.”

While city officials send messages that Chick-fil-A is not welcome in their cities, thinking people agree that the Cathy family is free to express its beliefs. They are free to donate money to The Family Research Council — a staunch advocate against same-sex marriage — just as Jeff Bezos is free to give $2.5 million to the pro gay marriage Referendum 74 factions in Washington state.

Issues raised by Huff Po’s Lila Shapiro resonate not only in her focus on the gay and straight employees of Chick-a-Filet and how they feel being caught in the crossfire on the front line of the controversy. Employees who love their jobs are now faced with reconciling their own beliefs and identities with those of the Cathy family.

In today’s age of social media, Chick-fil-A suddenly has an anti-gay rights identity based on the beliefs of its founder. The Wall Street Journal makes the point that while the company may get a boost on the short term from older social conservatives who showed up on Wednesday, the long-term impact could be much more serious.

It’s true that Domino Pizza founder Tom Monaghan, a devout Catholic, supported activist antiabortion groups in the 90s, and suffered little public backlash when his antiabortion views were established.

“No public figure tweeted on Tom Monaghan,” says Irv Schenkler of New York University’s Stern School of Business. “It’s social media that creates a larger ripple of knowledge and adds complexity to who hears what about whom.”

Support for gay marriage in America is at an all-time high with 53% supporting it. Without a doubt, the strongest opposition against gay marriage is in the south. Because young people — even young evangelicals — don’t share the views of their parents on gay marriage, most observers and researchers put the future of gay marriage acceptance in America on a forward-leaning course.

With divisions between progressives and social conservatives so deep in America, Chick-a-Filet may be no Domino’s in how this story plays out.

Anne of Carversville

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