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Igor Bobic

Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Igor

The U.S. government posted its first budget surplus in April, the first in more than three years and the biggest since April of 2008, reports Bloomberg News:

 Receipts topped outlays by $59.1 compared with a deficit of $40.4 billion in April 2011, the Treasury Department said today. Economists projected a $35 billion surplus, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. It was the first surplus since September 2008 and the biggest since April 2008.

Mitt Romney has commented on a Washington Post account of his prep school days that recalled some troubling incidents of bullying.

 

 

A Washington Post account details the six years Mitt Romney spent at the all-boys Cranbrook prep school. It includes several of his former classmates recalling his boisteroius nature as a prankster, and also reveals some troubling incidents of bullying.

Romney singled out one student, John Lauber, for his "bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye":

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The Post account also recalls teachers, particularly one with failing eyesight, being the "butt of Romney’s brand of humor":

One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows. Once, several students remembered the time pranksters propped up the back axle of Wonnberger’s Volkswagen Beetle with two-by-fours and watched, laughing from the windows, as the unwitting teacher slammed the gas pedal with his wheels spinning in the air.

As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the following statement following President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage:

“My personal belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. But in a civil society, I believe that people should be able to marry whomever they want, and it’s no business of mine if two men or two women want to get married.  The idea that allowing two loving, committed people to marry would have any impact on my life, or on my family’s life, always struck me as absurd. 

 

“In talking with my children and grandchildren, it has become clear to me they take marriage equality as a given. I have no doubt that their view will carry the future.

 

“I handled a fair amount of domestic relations work when I was a practicing lawyer, and it was all governed by state law.  I believe that is the proper place for this issue to be decided as well.”

 

Speaking On Fox Business, House Speaker John Boehner responded to President Obama's announcement supporting gay marriage by stating his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman:

"He made his position pretty clear... I've always believed marriage is between a man and a woman," Boehner said.

Jon Cooper, a bundler for Barack Obama's re-election campaign, believes President Obama's announcement supporting gay marriage will make fundraising "immeasurably easier," according to Capital New York:

 "I hadn't seen any diminution in support for Obama among LGBT donors or progressive donors for that over the past few weeks, despite the previous disappointment not to move forward with the executive order banning LGBT discrimination by federal contractors," Cooper said. "That being said, I think that this statement by the president expressing his personal support for same-sex marriage is going to make my life immeasurably easier raising money from LGBT donors and progressives in general."

Rick Santorum responded to President Barack Obama's announcement supporting same-sex marriage with the following statement, saying "the charade is now over": 

"The announcement today by President Obama should come as no surprise to the American public.  President Obama has consistently fought against protecting the institution of marriage from radical social engineering at both the state and federal level.  The President recently opposed the North Carolina constitutional amendment and, of course, he refused to defend President Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme court.  The charade is now over, no doubt an attempt to galvanize his core hard left supporters in advance of the November election.

Thankfully the American public, when it has had an opportunity to consider the real world consequences of such a fundamental change to our society, has consistently voted for maintaining one man one woman marriage - the basic building block of our society.  I will continue to fight to make sure that the cultural elites don't further undermine the institution that gives the best opportunity for healthy, happy children and a just and prosperous society."  

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown responded today to President Obama's announcement supporting same-sex marriage by "promising to defeat Obama this November for abandoning marriage":

“President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada,” Brown said. “Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation’s marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage. NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim. The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has every voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.”

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