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Rule changes forced through by Romney campaign at RNC provoke grassroots backlash

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Rule changes pushed through by the Romney campaign that appear designed to prevent an insurgent candidacy like that of Ron Paul from mounting any meaningful challenge to the party establishment in the future are provoking a strong grassroots reaction.

One blogger at the website of the pro-Tea Party organization FreedomWorks complained on Sunday, “As you may know the Romney camp is pushing new rules that would strip grassroots activists of any meaningful ability to participate in presidential politics. The process has always been bottom-up, but Romney officials have rewritten the rules so that the nominee can stifle any dissent on the platform committee and even unseat delegates.”

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As described by Business Insider, the trouble began at a meeting of the Rules Committee on Friday, when leaders of the Romney campaign, led by lawyer Ben Ginsberg, forced through a series of changes designed to make it more difficult for insurgent candidates to win convention delegates..

“Make no mistake,” the FreedomWorks piece complains, “this will weaken the process by which Republicans chose their candidate for president and push the grassroots out of the party process. … Please locate the phone number of your State Republican Party Headquarters below, call them immediately, and tell them to oppose Romney’s new rules.”

According to Buzzfeed, Ginsberg had spent six hours successfully putting through his amendments, but when he proposed raising the threshold required for minority reports from 25% of a committee to 40%, the members rebelled.

“He is systematically trying to prevent minorities from having even any remote opportunity of being heard,” longtime GOP operative Morton Blackwell objected. “This is wrong, it’s gonna hurt us, it’s gonna hurt our presidential candidate.”

That particular amendment was withdrawn, to cheers from the committee, but the others stood. According to a source who described the meeting to Business Insider, “the saga ended with former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, the committee chair, hightailing it out of the building before committee members could submit dissenting minority opinions, or ‘minority reports.'”

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Maine state committeewoman Ashley Ryan told Business Insider that committee members had immediately drafted two minority reports objecting to the changes, but that Sununu’s disappearance made it impossible to know whether they had reached him within the one-hour time limit needed for them to be accepted.

Ginsberg has had a bad reputation on the left for years, stemming from his role in the 2000 Florida recount, his service as legal counsel to the Swiftboat Veterans in 2004, and similar episodes. Now he may have made himself just as cordially disliked by the right.

Photo of Ben Ginsberg during the 2009 Norm Coleman recount by Chuck Olsen via Flickr

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2012

Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’

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On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.

As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.

Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:

1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."

Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR

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2012

British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate

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Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.

The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.

In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.

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2012

Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6

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President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.

Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.

Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019

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