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Feudin' Republicans

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The weeks leading up to Labor Day are slow ones on the presidential campaign trail. Real news is scarce, with candidates spending most of their time cozying up to well-heeled donors in places like Martha’s Vineyard. (The exception, of course, is Rick Perry, who doesn’t even know where the Vineyard is.)

So in an environment where candidates are largely staying behind closed doors, and this passes for a multi-day news story, somebody has to feed the beast. Thus, we have two straight days examining the origins of the blood feud between Perry and Mitt Romney, the latest stories to chart the nasty feuds among GOP presidential contenders.

The Globe checks in today with a story about how tensions between Romney and the Texas governor (and sudden GOP presidential front-runner) date back to Romney’s Olympic days. The Olympic organization Romney headed in 2002 didn’t accept any volunteers who were minors, which meant that the Boy Scouts weren’t allowed to volunteer at the Salt Lake winter games. This invited a reprisal from Perry, an Eagle Scout, who suggested in 2008 that Romney was a gay rights panderer, all evidence to the contrary aside.

The Globe story takes off where the Wall Street Journal left off yesterday. The paper described a 2006 shouting match between Romney, who was heading the Republican Governors Association, and Perry. The Journal says Perry became infuriated when Romney’s RGA hired a Republican media consultant who was working for one of Perry’s political rivals. According to the Journal, Perry retaliated by endorsing Rudy Giuliani, and then John McCain, over Romney in the 2008 presidential race. Perry also used his second book to take some gratuitous shots at the state Romney led, writing, "I would no more consider living in Massachusetts than I suspect a great number of folks from Massachusetts would like to live in Texas. We just don't agree on a number of things. They passed state-run health care, they have sanctioned gay marriage, and they elected Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barney Frank repeatedly."

The two Romney-Perry stories are the latest entrants in what’s becoming a solid body of literature on internecine GOP presidential feuds. Last month, New York described Romney and Jon Huntsman as the Cain and Abel of American politics - two wealthy Mormons with a shared family history, who just happen to be running for the same office, and also reportedly can’t stand one another. New York reported that Huntsman lost out to Romney in the race to rescue the Salt Lake Olympics, leaving the Huntsman clan “livid.” Huntsman exacted some measure of revenge six years later, when he backed McCain over Romney during the 2008 primaries. Huntsman and McCain’s former campaign architect are now touring the country, saying not-so-nice things about Romney.

Perry, of course, has room for more than one year‘s-long political feud. In addition to his scrap with Romney, he has maintained a year’s-long standoff with Bush family loyalists in Texas -- a fact that the New York Times has noted twice this summer. 

                                                                                                                                                        --PAUL MCMORROW

BEACON HILL

Former House speaker Sal DiMasi lost his appeal for a new trial and will face sentencing, as scheduled, on September 8, according to a 40-page ruling by Chief US District Court Judge Mark Wolf released today.

Once House Speaker Robert DeLeo gave up his insistence on slot licenses for race tracks, things started to fall in place for a casino deal among state government’s three top powerbrokers, the Globe reports.

Gov. Deval Patrick socks away most of 2011’s $460 million budget surplus into the state’s rainy day fund.

IRENE

Keller@Large says the “scare tactics” by federal and state officials have proven to be useful in the past and were key to keeping death and destruction at a minimum in the wake of Irene. The MetroWest Daily News says much maligned government agencies performed well. Hype aside, the Eagle-Tribune says in an editorial that Irene still packed a serious punch and forecasters did the best they could with the tools they had. MIT Professor Kerry Emanuel, on Radio Boston, says hurricanes are becoming more frequent and destructive due to global climate change. NECN puts the damage cost at between $t billion and $20 billion.

City and town officials on the South Shore are angry, not necessarily at the continued power outages but at the lack of communication from NStar and National Grid and what they say was the utilities’ lack of preparedness. More than 250,000 people south of Boston were still without power yesterday while only a handful of households remained without power yesterday in Braintree and Hingham, which have municipal light companies. In Boston, which was spared the worst of it, the biggest toll taken by the storm may be what it did to trees.

In Westport, residents of the East Beach area were told there’s no telling when they can return to their homes because of downed live power lines and scattered debris blocking the roads and those who were ordered to remove their trailers will not be able to return “for the foreseeable future.”

It is the one New England state with no ocean coastline, Vermont, that bore the brunt of the storm’s destructive damage, the Globe reports. Gov. Peter Shumlin told the AP the state hadn’t experienced flooding on this level since the early 1900s.

The lowly intercity bus was king yesterday, as air and rail travel continued to be a mess.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the GOP’s second in command in the House, says any federal expenditures on hurricane recovery efforts will have to be offset by cuts elsewhere.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Two of the four candidates for mayor in Methuen pledge not to raise taxes if they are elected, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

A paving contractor in Lynn files a complaint with Attorney General Martha Coakley alleging the city worded a contract so only one company – a firm owned by the contractor’s brother – would qualify, the Item reports.
 
Lawrence officials argue over whether the city should hire more police officers or pay bills with $1.2 million in state aid coming this fall, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The National Review posits that President Obama’s dismal approval numbers are in part due to his “hypocrisy” of bashing “millionaires and billionaires” for paying less in taxes while taking his vacation in their Martha’s Vineyard playground.

Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard says much of Obama’s problems stem from an “enabling” media that rarely challenges the president as they have others in the past and allowed him to grow lazy and complacent.

Muslim Americans have mixed views on life in the United States after 9/11.

At the risk of sounding naive, the Wall Street Journal goes looking for causes for optimism in the deficit-cutting Congressional super-committee.

ELECTION 2012

Despite his earlier dismissal of Beltway candidates, political consultant Doug Rubin defends his work for Elizabeth Warren in an interview with NECN’s Jim Braude.

The American Spectator says Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a better chance of defeating Obama than Mitt Romney because Perry has more credibility on jobs and health care than the former Massachusetts governor. Except, of course, that little thing about one in four Texans being uninsured, while only 2 percent of Bay State residents have no health insurance, and Massachusetts having a lower unemployment rate. The Atlantic breaks down just what kinds of jobs are driving the Texas employment train. Meanwhile, the Texas governor says his brain is like a chicken pot pie.

A run by Sarah Palin stands to help Mitt Romney make the argument that neither Palin nor Perry nor Michele Bachmann can pull off a general election win. That leaves only one person...

For the record: Romney is only doubling the size of his La Jolla home, not quadrupling it. The Springfield Republican says critics should get over Romney’s house explosion, since it just proves that he is a doting grandfather.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Michael Kryzanek, a Bridgewater State University political science professor who has written several books on international relations, says in the Brockton Enterprise that Gov. Deval Patrick’s overseas sojourns will pay dividends and urges the governor to take more, not less, of the trips to bolster the state’s economy.

Don’t throw a parade for housing prices just yet.

The New York Times Co. will take a $13.1 million loss when it sells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s headquarters.

EDUCATION

Research in India shows culture does matter in explaining the math gender gap, Time reports.

HEALTH CARE

We know the Internet can be addictive but, really? Teens who frequently use social media sites such as Facebook are up to five times more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol, according to a new study by National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Via US News & World Report.

The state will cut by more than half the number free flu vaccines it distributes this year, citing budget cuts, the Globe reports.

WBUR offers more insight on the $23,000 price estimate for a circumcision at Massachusetts General Hospital.

TRANSPORTATION

In the American Prospect, Michael Dukakis rails against GOP efforts in Congress to sell off Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service.

Dog bites man and the Pioneer Institute’s Steve Poftak offers some praise for an MBTA expansion project.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

National Grid and the town of Beverly battle in court over the best way to clean up contaminated soil on a Grid site along River Street next to the Bass River, the Salem News reports.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

President Obama’s uncle (his father’s half-brother) is charged with drunken driving in Framingham and now faces deportation, NECN reports. The MetroWest Daily News story is here. The Herald’s Jessica Heslam says Uncle Omar was living the dream in Framingham.

TITLE TOWN

Universal Hub wants to know when the rolling rally begins for the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, who, over the weekend, won the city’s eighth professional sports championship in the last 10 years.

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