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Ron Paul honored for 1979 'out of the park' home run

This Thursday night, Congressman Ron Paul from Texas will become the 22nd Member of Congress inducted into the Congressional Quarterly Roll Call Baseball Hall of Fame. The only other sitting Member in the Hall of Fame is 2011 inductee Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.).

The award is going to Paul for a particular moment in 1979 when he smacked a pitch from former Ohio Democratic Rep. Ron Mottl over the left-field wall at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria, Va.  The distance is equivalent to a shot at Fenway Park of 310 feet.

According to Ripleys.com, Paul is the only member of Congress to ever hit a baseball out of the park during the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

In an interview with CQ Roll Call, Paul said he thinks they honored him with an award the same night he hit the ball out of the park. “It was a lot of fun, that’s all,” he said. “There was no long-lasting significance.”

“I remember the one I missed,” Paul said. “I hit the top of the wall and got a double.” That moment happened at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the former home of the Orioles.

He ended his baseball career with a .294 batting average, six runs scored and six RBIs during seven games. A video clip of Paul playing in the 1983 Congressional baseball game can be found on YouTube.

Paul is well-known for being a staunch Libertarian, standing firm in his principles even in the face of strong criticism.  He ran for President of the United States three times in 1988, 2008, and 2012.  Paul will leave the House of Representatives in six months at the end of the 112th Congress.  Many speculate that Paul will be retiring from politics altogether.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place before the start of the 51st Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday night at Nationals Park. According to the Office of the Clerk, the “Congressional Baseball Game has evolved into one of Congress’s most anticipated annual pastimes.” The tradition, which began in 1909, has raised millions of dollars for charities in D.C. and is often watched by Capitol Hill staffers and, occasionally, the President.

If Paul had been in Congress between 1958 and 1962 he wouldn’t have been able to play in the game, as Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas put an end to the Congressional Baseball Game. In 1962, with the support of Roll Call, the Congressional Baseball Game was relaunched under the leadership of Speaker John McCormack of Massachusetts.

This year, the proceeds from the game will benefit The Washington Literacy Center and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

 

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Rielle Hunter: Loving John Edwards was 'absolutely not' a mistake

Rielle Hunter, the mistress of two-time presidential nominee John Edwards, announced today that she and Mr. Edwards are no longer a couple, according to ABC.

Speaking to George Stephanapoulos on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, Ms. Hunter, who gave birth to Mr. Edwards’ child during the affair, said “We are a family, but as of the end of last week John Edwards and I are no longer a couple. Not at all.”

When pressed, Ms. Hunter claimed that although she still loves Mr. Edwards, the public scrutiny of their relationship was difficult to bear. “For me, for my part in it, it’s because I’m no longer interested in hiding, hiding our relationship, not living out,” she said.

Mr. Edwards, who was once considered one of the Democratic Party’s most promising leaders, engaged in an extramarital affair with Ms. Hunter before and during his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, fathering a child with her. Ms. Hunter, a videographer, was originally hired by the Edwards campaign to produce promotional material for Mr. Edwards’ 2008 effort.

During the affair, Mr. Edwards’ wife Elizabeth was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. While the affair did not appear to be a significant factor in Mr. Edwards’ withdrawal from the 2008 Democratic primary, Mr. Edwards did admit to the affair during an ABC interview, and the fallout, particularly from Ms. Edwards’ medical condition, eventually led to his political demise. Mrs. Edwards eventually divorced Mr. Edwards and died of breast cancer in 2010.

The Edwards affair continued to make headlines this year, as Mr. Edwards was tried in May for alleged misuse of campaign donations in relation to the affair, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Edwards and his aides allegedly used the donations to hide the affair. A mistrial was ultimately declared, but the sordid facts that emerged from the trial further contributed to Mr. Edwards’ political downfall.

For her part, Ms. Hunter claims that she regrets some of the mistakes she made, but that she still loves Mr. Edwards. When asked by Mr. Stephanopolous if, knowing what she knows today, she would have made the same decisions in regards to her relationship with Mr. Edwards, Ms. Hunter emphatically replied “No way. Absolutely not.”  However, she caveated her claim, saying “I know many things, many things in the relationship were a mistake, but I don’t regret loving him.”

Ms. Hunter has also published her account of the affair in book titled What Really Happened, which hits bookstores today, according to ABC.

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Gary Johnson to attend Ron Paul festival in bid to court supporters

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson will be speaking to Ron Paul supporters at a festival in Tampa days before the Republican convention in August. The former governor of New Mexico hopes to rally support among independent minded voters at the Paul Festival going on August 25-26.

The festival, which brings together speakers, rock bands, and entertainers, is planned as a tribute to Ron Paul and grassroots activism. Organizers say they continue to emphasize liberal, conservative, and libertarian elements in the event and believe the theme resonates well with individuals from across the political spectrum. Over the weekend it was announced that Johnson, as well as his running mate Jim Gray, will be speaking at the festivities. Other speakers include Peter Schiff, financial analyst and author, Thomas Woods, historian economist and political analyst, and Michael Scheuer, former CIA intelligence officer.

“Governor Johnson’s attendance furthers Paul Festival’s goal to band together against the political establishment,” said Bryan Simeon, the chief organizer of Paul Festival, in a press release issued on Friday. “Gary Johnson spent a career unifying both the left and right and and fighting to allow all voices to be heard.”

Johnson hopes to capitalize on the fact that Paul is not expected to endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee. He will most likely be emphasizing his commitment to fiscal discipline and opposition to drug laws during his two terms as governor. Gray, a trial court judge based out of Orange County, Calif., has also been very critical of the drug laws.

“I am grateful and excited to receive an invitation from Paul Festival and look forward to joining such a great gathering for liberty,” said Johnson in the Paul Festival press release. “I proudly stand by my record as a governor who united voters from all parties and beliefs.”

Johnson endorsed Paul for the Republican nomination in 2008. His hopes to appeal to the Texas congressman’s supporters as a Republican nominee in 2012 were thwarted when Paul himself entered the race. Johnson was excluded from almost all of the major debates, with the exception of the forum held in Orlando at the Republican Party of Florida’s Presidency 5 event in September. He then attempted to focus on New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, but gained little ground at the state or national level. Johnson announced at the end of December that he was leaving the Republican Party to continue his presidential bid as a Libertarian.

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Ron Paul collects Social Security checks

One of the most vocal critics to the nation’s Social Security system, Texas congressman Ron Paul admitted Wednesday that he collects Social Security checks.

When asked if he receives Social Security checks during an appearance on MSNBC, Mr. Paul said, “I do,” and then stated that he did not believe he should decline the government benefit in an effort to set an example for so many of the young supporters that have heard his campaign rhetoric bashing Social Security.

“Just as I use the Post office, too, I use government highways, you do that too, I use the banks,” said Mr. Paul. “I use the Federal Reserve system, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work to remove this. In the same way on Social Security, I am trying to make a transition. If I were 20 years old and was offered the chance, I’d jump at it, and the young people are jumping at it because they know this is not solvent.”

Overall, Mr. Paul ran in 2012 on a political platform that called for a smaller government, a balanced federal budget and a drastically reduced military presence abroad.

The Texas congressman went on to attempt to justify his receiving of Social Security checks by stating that he still pays for the program.

“I still pay Social Security, I pay more into than I get out,” said Mr. Paul.

His “Plan to Restore America,” as stated on his presidential campaign website calls for a change to government entitlements such as Social Security, however he does not call for outright banning them.

“Honors our promise to our seniors and veterans, while allowing young workers to opt out. Block grants Medicaid and other welfare programs to allow States the flexibility and ingenuity they need to solve their own unique problems without harming those currently relying on the programs,” states the “Plan to Restore America.”

Mr. Paul’s admission comes as he continues to meet with campaign supporters, many of whom have urged the Texas congressman to continue his crusade against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Speaking earlier this year, Mr. Paul said he supports a movement among younger voters to opt out of Social Security, saying the current system would leave current participants with less money than they contributed.

That said, the Texas congressman seems to have felt a backlash against his earlier statement. Mr. Paul later clarified his remarks, saying he would preserve the Social Security system.

“I would preserve Social Security as best I can, but we want to get off,” said Mr. Paul.

The Texas Republican recently released a video to his website asking his supporters to remain peaceful at the Republican party’s upcoming national convention in August. He recently refused to endorse presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and with a significant amount of delegates on his side, Mr. Paul is hoping to have his views injected into the Republicans’ final national gathering prior to the general election in November.

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Did the Department of Homeland Security just steal a dinosaur skeleton?

The Department of Justice is beginning to resemble something out of Jurassic Park.

Officials at the DOJ announced Wednesday that they will take hold of a rare Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton thought to belong to the government of Mongolia. A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday ordered the transfer of the bones to U.S. custody, saying it appeared likely the U.S. government will challenge a Dallas-based company’s right to ownership over the matter.

Heritage Auctions Co-Chairman Jim Halperin said the Dallas-based company, the current custodian of the fossilized remains, will begin the process of releasing the dinosaur. Speaking Thursday, Mr. Halperin said that his staff would begin preparations fro the move after it was assured it will be properly and carefully transported and stored by the government in a secure, climate-controlled, and fully insured art storage facility.

“We hope arrangements can be made for the public to view the Tyrannosaurus bataar at a museum or other convenient venue while efforts continue to reach a fair and just resolution,” said Mr. Halperin. “We have cooperated in the investigation process for paleontologists to expeditiously examine the skeleton, and we will continue to cooperate with authorities.”

A federal judge authorized the Department of Homeland Security to seize the ancient dinosaur, which the house had auctioned off for over $1 million, The Associated Press reports. On Monday, The United States filed a lawsuit against the auction house, seeking to return the artifact to Mongolia.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Luis Martinez said the dinosaur’s remains will be taken in boxes to a government warehouse, where they will be protected. The spokesman noted that the agency would not release the location or name of the location, citing the need to protect priceless items.

“We do not release the name or address of the storage site because we keep other priceless antiquities at this location,” he said.

The dispute over the ownership of the remains arose earlier this month when the dinosaur skeleton was slated for auction. Officials in Mongolia allege that the bones were illegally imported to the United States from the united Kingdom in 2010. In 1924 Mongolia enacted laws to protect fossils found in the region which in turn declared those remains as property of the state.

Before the dinosaur skeleton went on sale in May officials from Mongolia objected to the sale. After the auction sale the money was placed in an escrow account until a New York court was able to rule on the ownership of the dinosaur bones. The dinosaur was sold at the auction in New York last month by Heritage Auctions, for more than $1m (£600,000).

The deal who sold the skeleton says it was taken in “good faith,” which led to the sale being delayed until a court ruling was issued.

Officials plan to seize the skeleton — which measures 8 feet by 24 feet — on Friday. It is currently being stored at Heritage Auctions’ facility in in Sunnyside, New York.

The first Tyrannosaurus Bataars were discovered in the Gobi desert in 1946 by archeological expeditions which were supported by the Soviet Union.

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Marco Rubio left off list of attendees at Mitt Romney's weekend retreat

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s exclusive “Romney Victory Founding Members Retreat, ” this weekend will feature guest appearances from several potential vice presidential candidates, excluding Marco Rubio, according to The Daily Caller.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush are among the potential vice presidential running mates that have been invited to the event. However, Mr. Romney has left Mr. Rubio, one of the more popular potential vice presidential running mates, off the list.

Mr. Romney and his wife Ann are hosting the event in Park City, Utah from Friday through Sunday. The invite-only event was organized for top donors to the Romney campaign, supporters that have given over $50,000 as individuals or $150,000 as couples.

The Rubio snub is interesting, considering the back and forth statements that have been made by Mr. Rubio and the Romney campaign. Although he has been a popular Tea Party figure, Mr. Rubio has maintained his stance that he will not be a vice presidential running mate, but has voiced his support for Mr. Romney.

After recent rumors of Mr. Rubio not being considered as a possible VP candidate by the Romney campaign surfaced in news stories by ABC News and The Washington Post, Mr. Romney directly dismissed the rumors as false.

“There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself. I know Beth well. She doesn’t talk to anybody. The story was entirely false. Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” said Mr. Romney on Tuesday.

Mr. Rubio endorsed the former Massachusetts governor back in March, and has not responded to not being invited to Mr. Romney’s weekend retreat.

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Ron Paul on endorsing Mitt Romney: 'No. Not Ready. No way.'

Texas congressman Ron Paul said he was “not ready” to endorse Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during an appearance on CNN’s “The Situation Room” Tuesday.

“No. Not ready. No way, ” said Mr. Paul when asked directly whether he would endorse Mr. Romney.

Mr. Romney rarely attacked Mr. Paul during the competitive stages of the Republican primary race, and the two were even rumored to have a secret alliance at one point, but their political views are quite polarizing as are their supporters. Mr. Paul hauled in $1.78 million in fundraising in May, and still has a strong base of supporters looking to move their libertarian towards the Republican party establishment.

The Texas Republican also said that he would like to see the Republican national convention “mean something” in August, and have a debate at the convention about what the Republican political agenda should focus on leading up to November.

Last month Mr. Paul announced that he would no longer be campaigning, but on Tuesday he made his case that Mr. Romney still has not convinced him that he is ready to be the party’s nominee.

“Well it looks like he has the delegates yes, but he doesn’t have the control of the hearts and the minds of the people,” said Mr. Paul. “Right now a lot of delegates that have pledged to vote for Romney, are actually strong supporters of ours and will be strongly supporting us when we want to put things onto the platform and say hey we don’t need another war, yes we do need to audit the Federal Reserve, yes we ought to cut spending.”

Ron Paul supporters recently sued the Republican National Committee (RNC), on the basis that the “binding delegate” rules have impeded on the delegates Constitutional right to “vote on their conscious” at the convention in August. Mr. Paul has not become involved in the lawsuit, but has said the he supports their beliefs in suing the RNC.

Mr. Paul’s son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, endorsed Mr. Romney in early June, despite the stark contrasts in the political platforms of his father and Mr. Romney. The Texas congressman is focused on getting his views heard at the convention, and an endorsement of Mr. Romney would likely weaken his stance in Tampa.

“I’d like to have these conventions mean something and continue the debate and decide what we as a party actually believe in,” said Mr. Paul.

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Ron Paul secures major victory in Iowa; Defeats Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum

Ron Paul supporters showed in Iowa that they are still among the most passionate Republican voters in 2012, helping the Texas Republican secure a major victory over the weekend.

Appearing in bunches at the Iowa Republican convention Saturday, Mr. Paul’s supporters helped him win 21 out of the 25 contestable delegates from Iowa.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucus back in January, however the Iowa Republican party still has unbound delegates, which means they can vote for any number of candidates at the Republican convention set to take place later this year.

“Dr. Paul’s victory in the Hawkeye State affirms his delegate-attainment strategy and it has the added benefit of having occurred in the first-in-nation voting state, also a swing state,” said Doug Wead, a senior Ron Paul campaign adviser.

In January Mr. Paul came in third place in the Iowa caucuses, behind the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. The defeat was seen as a major victory for Mr. Romney, who later lost to Mr. Santorum after a recount of ballots.

The delegate victory in Iowa further strengthens the message that Mr. Paul sent out to his supporters via a video and written statement posted to his website on Friday. In the message the Texas Republican was critical of former rival Rick Santorum for being a big government Republican and insinuating that Mr. Paul and his supporters wanted to cause a convention fight in Tampa. The Texas congressman encouraged his backers to remain peaceful in supporting his call for limited government and a reduced military presence abroad.

The resulting animosity between Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum has yet to abate. It remains unclear whether supporters of either will defect and join Mr. Romney’s campaign.

The results from the weekend were largely unexpected, although Mr. Paul has announced victories at a number of state conventions in recent months, including capturing the support of a majority of delegates in Maine and Nevada.

Iowa Republicans not supporting Mr.  Paul slammed supporters of the Texas Republican, saying he has manipulated the process to his benefit.

“A third individual, who came in distant third, could actually can carry a majority of votes at the national convention—is a tragedy. And it really causes people in RNC to question whether Iowa should be the first in the nation caucus state,” said Jamie Johnson, who served as Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director.

On Sunday the Ron Paul campaign team reacted to the good news for the Texas congressman, issuing a statement announcing the results.

“We thank the many Iowa Republican activists for working tirelessly toward this meaningful victory, in particular the work they performed in the service of constitutional government and personal liberty,” Ron Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton said.

“This win is a real validation for our campaign and its many supporters in Iowa and across our great nation,” he added. “We look forward to bringing the Ron Paul delegation to Tampa and to making a significant, positive contribution to the 2012 Republican Party platform.”

It remains unclear whether the victory will truly provide Mr. Paul with an advantage in August. The Texas Republican announced earlier this month that he would no longer campaign against Mr. Romney’s bid for the Republican nomination, although he noted that he would continue to meet with supporters in various states. Mr. Romney has unofficially clinched the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and he is widely seen as the Republican presidential nominee.

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John McCain: Mitt Romney PAC is funded by 'foreign money'

Arizona Senator John McCain accused a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC of accepting “foreign money” from Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, in an interview posted online Friday.

“Obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” Mr. McCain said.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee accused Mr. Adelson of using profits from properties that he owns in Macau to influence the general election. Mr. Adelson made a $10 million contribution to the Restore Our Future PAC Wednesday. Federal campaign laws prohibit foreign individuals from making campaign contributions.

“That is a great deal of money. And, again, we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had: that we have to have a limit on the flow of money and that corporations are not people,” Mr. McCain said in an interview with PBS’ “NewsHour.”

The Arizona senator is one of Mr. Romney’s top supporters, but he has been critical throughout his political career of large campaign contributions from wealthy individuals. After endorsing Mr. Romney prior to the New Hampshire Republican primary in January, he was critical of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for accepting money from Mr. Adelson. The casino magnate and his family contributed $21.5 million to a pro-Gingrich super PAC.

During the interview, Mr. McCain also commented on Mr. Romney’s widely-criticized remark to a heckler in 2011: “Corporations are people, my friend.”

“I think that in that context he was talking about they are made up of people and that’s true in that context,” Mr. McCain said. “But to be corporations for purposes of involving campaigns, to be treated the same as people, I just don’t agree with that.”

Neither Mr. Romney or Mr. Adelson has responded to Senator McCain’s comments about “foreign money.”

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Ron Paul wins Iowa

The Ron Paul for President Campaign released the following statement:

2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has won a significant majority of Iowa’s Republican delegates to the national convention in Tampa.

Dr. Paul won 10 of 13 delegates elected at today’s state convention in addition to having won 11 of 12 delegates elected at last night’s district conventions, for a weekend total of 21 of 25 contestable delegates, all unbound.

Dr. Paul’s victory in the Hawkeye State affirms his delegate-attainment strategy and it has the added benefit of having occurred in the first-in-nation voting state, also a swing state.

“We thank the many Iowa Republican activists for working tirelessly toward this meaningful victory, in particular the work they performed in the service of constitutional government and personal liberty.  This win is a real validation for our campaign and its many supporters in Iowa and across our great nation,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton.

“We look forward to bringing the Ron Paul delegation to Tampa and to making a significant, positive contribution to the 2012 Republican Party Platform,” added Mr. Benton.