Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chicago the Capital of Illinois: NATO

Chicago, the Capital of Illinois?
A video produced by NATO states Chicago is the capital of Illinois and that it's the city where President Barack Obama grew up. The rest of the video features shots of the city and explains why Europeans will feel right at home during the NATO Summit.
2 hours ago
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"No-Fly Zone" Over Chicago During NATO Summit
A Temporary Flight Restriction issued this week states the "no-fly" zone will be in place from May 19 to May 21 as part of NATO security measures.
May 2, 2012

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NATO Officials Meet With Streeterville Residents
Hundreds of Streeterville residents packed a downtown ballroom to talk to those in the know about safety and security during this month's NATO Summit. Dick Johnson reports.
May 2, 2012

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In Advance of NATO, Culinary Students Connect With Chefs
The Illinois Restaurant Association, through their Culinary Crossroads program, connected international chefs working with Chicago-area restaurants with students learning about the industry.
May 2, 2012

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Rahm Reiterates 'No Tax' Pledge for NATO
The Mayor has said repeatedly that the tax payers of Chicago will not have to pay a dime for hosting the annual summit.
Apr 30, 2012

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NATO Host Predicts Revenues
Lori Healy, of the NATO Welcome Committee and World Business Chicago, Monday said Chicagoans can expect a boon from the arrival of foreign leaders for NATO.
Apr 30, 2012

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Chicago the Capital of Illinois: NATO

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a notorious Type A personality, might be miffed at a NATO video spreading misinformation about his city.

In fact, all Chicagoans should be miffed.

Chicago, for example, is not the capital of Illinois, nor is it where President Barack Obama grew up.

But those are two statements made in a video released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ahead of the Chicago summit in May.

"On the 20th and 21st of May Chicago is going to be at the center of attention," the voiceover states in a video on NATO's official YouTube channel. "More than 60 heads of state in government will meet to discuss crucial matters of security and stability. ... And so the leaders of the member nations of the organization created by the 1949 Washington Treaty will meet in the capital of Illinois."

Whoops. Actually, the Illinois capital is Springfield.

"The decision was made by the American President Barack Obama, who wanted this event to take place in the city he grew up in."

Obama moved here a couple years after college to take a job with a local community group.
The rest of the video features shots of the city and explains why Europeans will feel right at home during the NATO Summit.

Sign the petition to bypass Roe v. Wade

I got this as an email. And of course they want money  to help fund their cause. 


There are men out there who understand and who side with us. Do not fail us stand up with your wives, girlfriends, daughter, nieces, and for some your grand daughters.  Do not let the party extremes take away our lives, and our freedom. 

How far right does the Tea Party want to go.  The Roe vs wade decision gave women the right to make our own choice.  Does the Republican Party with the Tea Partiers want to take us back to the 50's. When women and girls went to back street slaughter houses and were maimed and killed because we did not have the right to seek good medical services, or forced to move away from our families to unwed girl jail houses to have babies that were stripped away right after birth and given away sometimes without our consent.  I only speak the truth.  

Senator Rand, would take away our freedoms, make us second class citizens, would keep us at home because we are the weaker sex and should be little house keepers like the 50's & 60's. I love when the Republican women, who have to speak when spoken to and deliver their messages on cue, talk about wage disparity and say it is because men work longer hours than women do. Bull shit.,  We who stay at home should be getting paid for the work we do at home, just like those who have maids, housekeepers, cooks, babysitters, laundry and dry cleaners, chauffeurs, tutors, etc., 

That is our choice, we work long hours at home, we do not quit at 5 pm, why? there is dinner, baths, school work, bedtime, dishes, catching up with what we could not do during the day.  We clean the house, some mow yards, prepare meals, chauffeur the kids to school, to sports, to dance, music, stay home with the pre-school kids, do the laundry, shop, pick up dry cleaning, and that's just some of what stay at home moms do. 

I am tired of listening to the republicans making fun of us and making light of what we do and what we contribute to for our families, our children, and I salute those who work, like my daughter, sometimes leaving at 5:30 in the morning and not getting home until 5 or 6 at night. or going to work at 12 noon and not getting home until 10 or 10:30 pm.  She shops for groceries on the weekend, cleans, does laundry on Sundays.  I made a statement a while back in which I argued that the Tea Party extremes would surprise most people, with their  position on women, that they wanted us pregnant, at home, not working, not  voting, not taking part in what makes this country tick.  It is a man's world, and we (women) have no place in it. 

Dear Friend,

For 39 years, nine unelected men and women on the Supreme Court have played God with innocent human life.

They have invented laws that condemned to painful deaths without trial more than 56 million babies for the crime of being "inconvenient."

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling forced abortion-on-demand down our nation's throat.

In the past, many in the pro-life movement have felt limited to protecting a life here and there -- passing some limited law to slightly control abortion in the more outrageous cases.

But some pro-lifers always seem to tiptoe around the Supreme Court, hoping they won't be offended.

Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over.

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.

That is why it's so urgent you sign the petition to your Senators and Congressman that I will link to in a moment.

You see, while the national media has talked a lot about the impact of economic issues on this past election, the untold story is just how well pro-life candidates did.

So it is vital every Member of Congress be put on record.

And your petition will help do just that.

Signing the Life at Conception Act petition will help break through the opposition clinging to abortion-on-demand and get a vote on this life-saving bill to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children "persons" as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.

This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to "collapse."

When the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Roe v. Wade decision, it did so based on a new, previously undefined "right of privacy" which it "discovered" in so-called "emanations" of "penumbrae" of the Constitution.

Of course, as constitutional law it was a disaster.

But never once did the Supreme Court declare abortion itself to be a constitutional right.

Instead the Supreme Court said:

"We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man's knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer."

Then the High Court made a key admission:

"If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [i.e., "Roe" who sought an abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment."

The fact is, the 14th Amendment couldn't be clearer:

". . . nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law."

Furthermore, the 14th Amendment says:

"Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

That's exactly what a Life at Conception Act would do.

But this simple, logical and obviously right legislation will not become law without a fight.

And that's where your help is critical.

You see, it will be a tough fight, but I believe with your signed petition it is one we can win.

Please click here to sign your petition right away.

By turning up the heat through a massive, national, grass-roots campaign in this session of Congress, one of two things will happen.

If you and other pro-life activists pour on enough pressure, pro-lifers can force politicians from both parties who were elected on pro-life platforms to make good on their promises and ultimately win passage of this bill.

But even if a Life at Conception Act doesn't pass immediately, the public attention will send another crew of radical abortionists down to defeat in the next election.

Either way, the unborn win . . . unless you do nothing.

That's why the National Pro-Life Alliance is contacting hundreds of thousands of Americans just like you to mobilize a grass-roots army to pass a Life at Conception Act.

The first thing you must do is sign your petition by clicking here.

They are the key ingredient in the National Pro-Life Alliance's plan to pass a Life at Conception Act. They'll also organize:
... Hard-hitting TV, radio and newspaper ads to be run just before each vote, detailing the horrors of abortion and mobilizing the American people.
... Extensive personal lobbying of key members of Congress by rank and file National Pro-Life Alliance members and staff.
... A series of newspaper columns to be distributed free to all 1,437 daily newspapers now published in the United States.
... An extensive email, direct mail and telephone campaign to generate at least one million petitions to Congress like the one linked to in this letter.
Of course, to do all this will take a lot of money.

Just to email and mail the letters necessary to produce one million petitions will cost at least $460,000.

Newspaper, TV and radio are even more expensive.

But I'm sure you'll agree pro-lifers cannot just sit by watching the slaughter continue.

The National Pro-Life Alliance's goal is to deliver one million petitions to the House and Senate in support of a Life at Conception Act.

When the bill comes up for a vote in Congress, it is crucial to have the full weight of an informed public backing the pro-life position.

I feel confident that the folks at National Pro-Life Alliance can gather those one million petitions.

But even though many Americans who receive this email will sign the petition, many won't be able to contribute. That's why it's vital you give $10, $25, $50, $100, or even more if you can.

Without your help the National Pro-Life Alliance will be unable to gather the one million petitions and mount the full-scale national campaign necessary to pass a Life at Conception Act.

A sacrificial gift of $35 or even $100 or $500 now could spare literally millions of innocent babies in years to come.  But if that's too much, please consider chipping in with a donation of $10.

You should also know that a National Pro-Life Alliance supporter wants to make your decision to give easier by agreeing to match your donation, no matter the size, increasing its value by 50%!

So please respond right away with your signed petition.

And please help with a contribution of at least $25 or $35. Some people have already given as much as $500. Others have given $50 and $100.

But no matter how much you give, whether it's chipping in with $10 or a larger contribution of $150, I guarantee your contribution is urgently needed and will be deeply appreciated.

That's why I hope and pray that you will not delay a moment to make a contribution of $1000, $500, $100, $50, $25, or even $10 if you can.

Your contribution to the National Pro-Life Alliance and your signed petition will be the first steps toward reversing Roe v. Wade and waking up the politicians about where our barbarous pro-abortion policy is taking us.


Rand Paul,
United States Senator
P.S.  The Supreme Court itself admitted -- if Congress declares unborn children "persons" under the law, the constitutional case for abortion-on-demand "collapses."
That's why it's so critical to work to get a vote on the Life at Conception Act, legislation that would reverse Roe v. Wade.

Please help make that happen. Sign your petition today to the National Pro-Life Alliance to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Your petition is the critical first step in fighting to end abortion.

Along with your signed petition, please consider making a sacrificial contribution of $100, $50, $25.  If that's too much, please consider chipping in with a donation of $10.

You should also know a generous donor has agreed to match all contributions, no matter the size, increasing your gift to the National Pro-Life Alliance by 50%!

Excerpts: The Bin Laden ‘Letters From Abbottabad’Report

AFP.Department of Defense
This still file image from video released May 7, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Defense shows Osama bin Laden wrapped in a blanket watching television.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had a contentious and troubled relationship with al Qaeda’s affiliates around the world,according to a new study of documents seized during the raid on his compound one year ago.  Documents from the bin Laden compound reveal the al Qaeda leader’s frustration with what he saw to be the incompetence of the affiliates, according to the report by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Here are some excerpts from the report. The full report is posted here, and here are  the actual (translated) letters. We’ll also update this post with more excerpts as we go through it.
The Scope of the Report
It was reported that “thousands of items” were captured from Usama bin Ladin’s compound during the Abbottabad raid. To date, however, only 17 documents have been declassified and provided to the CTC, all of which are hereby released with the publication of this report. They consist of electronic letters or draft letters, totaling 175 pages in the original Arabic and 197 pages in the English translation. They were written over several years. The earliest is dated September 2006 and the latest April 2011, a week before Bin Ladin’s death.
Management Trouble
Rather than a source of strength, Bin Ladin was burdened by what he viewed as the incompetence of the “affiliates,” including their lack of political acumen to win public support, their media campaigns and their poorly planned operations which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Muslims.
The documents show that some of the affiliates sought Bin Ladin’s blessing on symbolic matters, such as declaring an Islamic state, and wanted a formal union to acquire the al- Qa`ida brand. On the operational front, however, the affiliates either did not consult with Bin Ladin or were not prepared to follow his directives. Therefore, the framing of an “AQC” [Al Qaeda Central] as an organization in control of regional “affiliates” reflects a conceptual construction by outsiders rather than the messy reality of insiders.
If the criticisms of AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] in the documents are not particularly surprising, the concerns Bin Ladin expressed about AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] will no doubt be revealing to many. It is widely believed that AQAP is a success story from al-Qa`ida’s perspective, especially since it is regularly described by senior U.S. government officials as the “most dangerous” of al- Qa`ida’s affiliates. Yet the documents show that at least in 2010 Bin Ladin was far from being impressed with the  brothers in Yemen.” He comes across as critical of both their words and deeds, in particular the group’s attacks in Yemen, its lack of acumen to win the Yemeni people’s support, and the ill-advised public statements of its leaders. In fact, with the possible exception of AQI, none of the other “affiliates” appear to be more of a source of concern for Bin Ladin than AQAP.
Not Friendly With Iran
Relations between al-Qa`ida and Iran appear to have been highly antagonistic, and the documents provide evidence for the first time of al-Qa`ida’s covert campaign against Iran. This battle appears to have been an attempt to influence the indirect and unpleasant negotiations over the release of jihadis and their families, including members of Bin Ladin’s family, detained by Iran.
Unlike the explicit and relatively substantive references to the Iranian regime, the documents do not have such references about Pakistan. Although there are notes about “trusted Pakistani brothers,” there are no explicit references to any institutional Pakistani support. The one instance Pakistani intelligence is mentioned is not in a supporting role: in the course of giving detailed instructions about the passage his released family from Iran should take, Bin Ladin cautioned `Atiyya to be most careful about their movements lest they be followed. More precisely, he remarked that “if the [Pakistani] intelligence commander in the region is very alert, he would assume that they are heading to my location and he would monitor them until they reach their destination.” This reference does not suggest that Bin Ladin was on good terms with the Pakistani intelligence community.
On Their Own
Rather than outright protection or assistance from states such as Iran or Pakistan, Bin Ladin’s guidance suggests that the group’s leaders survived for as long as they did due to their own caution and operational security protocols. While the release of new documents may necessitate a reevaluation of al-Qa`ida’s relations to Iran and Pakistan, the documents for now make it clear that al-Qa`ida’s ties to Iran were the unpleasant byproduct of necessity, fueled by mutual distrust and antagonism.
Arab Spring and the Final Letter
Bin Ladin’s last private letter is dated 25 April 2011. By then, events in the world, as he was observing them on his television screen, were unfolding at a pace that caused him to reassess his worldview. He saw the revolutions sweeping the Arab world to represent a “formidable event” (hadath ha’il), a turning point in the modern history of the umma. At the time he was writing, the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, Zein al-`Abidin bin `Ali and Husni Mubarak, had fallen. Bin Ladin was convinced that their fall was bound to trigger a domino effect, and “the fall of the remaining tyrants in the region was inevitable.” Thus, “if we double our efforts towards guiding, educating and warning Muslim people from those [who might tempt them to settle for] half solutions, by carefully presenting [our] advice, then the next phase will [witness a victory] for Islam, if God so pleases.”
Conclusion: No Puppet Master
On the basis of the 17 declassified documents, Bin Ladin was not, as many thought, the puppet master pulling the strings that set in motion jihadi groups around the world. Far from being pleased with the actions of regional jihadi groups claiming affiliation with or acting in the name of al-Qa`ida, Bin Ladin was burdened by what he saw as their incompetence. Their lack of political acumen to win public support along with their indiscriminate attacks resulting in the deaths of many Muslims is a subject that dominates Bin Ladin’s private letters composed in recent years.
Bin Ladin was not even inspired by Inspire, AQAP’s English-language magazine designed to appeal to Muslim Americans to launch random attacks in the United States. He warned of its “dangerous consequences,” presumably due to its tasteless content and no doubt to the poor planning of the operations it promotes.
In comparison to regional jihadi groups, Bin Ladin comes across as an outmoded jihadi. In contrast to their indiscriminate jihad, he was more interested in carefully planned operations.


Occupy Chicago Calls for Boeing Shutdown During NATO Summit

An Occupy Chicago notice on Facebook warns members of the organization plan to shut down Boeing on May 21

By Phil Rogers
|  Wednesday, May 2, 2012  |  Updated 6:10 PM CDT

Occupy Calls for Boeing Shutdown During NATO
Occupy Chicago posted a notice on its Facebook page calling for the shutdown of Boeing’s Chicago headquarters building during the NATO Summit later this month
Photos and Videos
Occupy Chicago has posted a notice on the organization’s Facebook page calling for the shutdown of Boeing’s Chicago headquarters building during the NATO Summit later this month.
“Boeing has received over $12,231,152,299 from the U.S. Department of Defense to produce war machines, which are used to terrorize civilians and communities the world over” the posting states.  “These tools of destruction are produced using prison labor, allowing Boeing to make weaponized products for pennies on the dollar.”
The Occupy notice calls Boeing a “war criminal” and states that members of the organization will shut down Boeing on May 21, the Monday of the NATO Summit.
Boeing has manufacturing facilities across the United States. They relocated their world headquarters to Chicago from Seattle in 2001.

Chicago pays $45 million in 3 years to settle complaints against cops

On a sunny day in July of 2006, Rennie Simmons was out doing his job.
Despite suffering a stroke three years earlier that left him with a noticeable limp, Simmons continued to work at his long-time job at the Chicago Water Department. His job that day in July was to deliver a bright-orange notice to a resident on Chicago’s south side, warning that his water would be cut off if he did not make arrangements to pay an overdue bill.
Simmons pulled up in his car, then walked up to the front of the house to deliver the notice. The resident, Glenn Evans, saw him and met him at the front stairs.
"He pushed me and said, 'Get off my porch,'" Simmons recalled.

Millions Paid to Settle Police Misconduct Suits

The city has paid millions of tax dollars to settle claims against a small group of police officers who have been repeatedly accused of police brutality and misconduct, a joint investigation by Unit 5 and The Chicago Reporter has found. This story was published May 10, 2012 at 10 p.m.

May 2, 2012
Simmons retreated to car, but he said Evans followed him and then attacked.
"He was beating me, choking me," said Simmons. "I said, 'I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe! I’m a stroke patient! I’m a stroke patient!’ And he finally let me go."
Simmons called 911 from his car, and Chicago police officers arrived soon after. They got out their handcuffs, and they put them on Simmons.
"I said, 'Why are you putting me in the car and not [Evans]?’ They said, 'Because he’s our boss. He’s a lieutenant.’ I said, 'He’s off-duty, though.' They said, ‘He’s never off-duty.'"
In fact, Evans was a veteran tactical officer -- claiming that Simmons had threatened and shoved him. Simmons stood firm.
"He’s lying," he told the police.
Documents in the case posted by

Nevertheless, he was booked and charged with battery against Evans. The case went to Cook County Criminal Court, where Judge Adam Bourgeois found Simmons not guilty. He even admonished Evans: "Lieutenant, there is a lot I can say this morning, but I’m going to hold my tongue. The State has failed to meet its burden. The next time you pick somebody to come in here as a witness, make sure they lie a little better."
Simmons filed a complaint against Lt. Evans with the police department’s Office of Professional Standards, which was the agency -- at the time -- that handled citizen complaints.
That complaint was not sustained, meaning that OPS determined there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Evans. Simmons also filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Chicago, Evans, and others, alleging that Evans had falsely arrested him to cover up his beating. In that case, the city admitted no wrongdoing, but did eventually pay Simmons $99,999.00 to settle the case.
The complaint was neither the first nor the last one to be filed against Evans, who remains on the force today, collecting a six-figure salary as a tactical lieutenant, most recently stationed at the 6th district in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on the south side.
The Unit 5 Investigative team along with The Chicago Reporter magazine, found that Evans is a member of a small group of officers who have been repeatedly accused of police brutality and misconduct, and the city has paid millions of tax dollars to settle claims against them.
"Nobody knows who the repeat offenders are, because the names are kept under wraps," said Angela Caputo, wrote the cover story for The Chicago Reporter’s May/June, 2012 issue.
State law and the Chicago police union contract require that Chicago policemen who are accused of brutality and misconduct be protected from identification unless a victim signs a sworn affidavit and the police officer is ultimately found guilty by the Chicago Police Board and the Chicago Police Superintendent.
A federal appeals court in November 2009 dismissed a court order that would have revealed the names of 662 police officers with 10 or more abuse complaints.
But Caputo was able to uncover some names of these "repeaters" by digging through more than four hundred lawsuits -- filed primarily as civil rights cases in U.S. District Court -- over the past decade. In all, she found, the city paid out more than $45 million in the three years from 2009 through 2011 for all settlements and judgments involving police brutality and misconduct.
Her findings on officers who were repeatedly accused of brutality show that payments for these "repeaters" are significant:
Of 441 police misconduct lawsuits that led to city payments between January 2009 and November 2011, Caputo’s article states, nearly a third -- or 145 -- involved "repeaters." This small group -- 140 in all -- proved costly. Despite making up one percent of the police force, they accounted for more than a quarter -- or $11.7 million -- of all damage payments incurred from police misconduct lawsuits. The city defended a good number of those officers in additional cases as well; nearly a third of the 140 officers were named in at least five misconduct lawsuits since 2000."
In the case of Evans, Unit 5 found five lawsuits filed over the past decade which accuse him of police brutality. Two cases are still pending, but three were settled by the city, although -- once again -- it admitted no wrongdoing in any of those cases.
One of those settled cases involved a 24-year-old man named Cordell Simmons (no relation to Rennie), a community college student with a long history of marijuana-related arrests. Cordell Simmons was arrested for marijuana possession in June of 2007 and taken to the Chicago Police Department’s 6th district at 78th and Halsted, where he crossed paths with Evans.
According to the police report detailing his arrest, Cordell Simmons kicked Evans in the legs. Then -- according to Cordell Simmons’ court complaint -- officers pulled off his pants and shoes, and held him down while Lt. Evans "…Taser[ed] [him] in the groin, under his testicles."
The complaint goes on to say that Cordell Simmons rolled on to his stomach in agony, and Lt. Evans shot him a second time with the Taser gun, in his rectum.
That court case was eventually settled by the city, which admitted no culpability but paid Cordell Simmons $19,000.00.
So does the City of Chicago or the Chicago Police department have any way to keep track of officers -- like Lt. Evans -- who are repeatedly accused of brutality or misconduct?
The answer is complicated, because there is a series of steps required to get a formal complaint on the record against a police officer in Chicago. A victim must sign a formal affidavit with the Independent Police Review Authority -- IPRA-- which is the city agency charged with investigating police officers.
Chicago police union rules and state law prohibit IPRA from launching a complete investigation until that formal affidavit gets filed. So even if a victim of police brutality files a lawsuit in federal court, IPRA can’t launch a full investigation into the accusations.
IPRA does monitor these kinds of lawsuits, but Caputo and The Chicago Reporter found that 91 percent of the suits monitored by IPRA were tagged "no affidavit" -- meaning that they were closed because the plaintiff never came in to sign a sworn statement.
Rennie Simmons’ complaint was filed before IPRA was created. It came in to existence, in large part, because of a push by several citizens' groups: The agency charged with investigating Chicago police, they said, should be completely independent of the Chicago Police department.
While IPRA is charged with investigating citizen complaints, it can only make recommendations for discipline. The ultimate decision to discipline or fire a Chicago police officer rests with the Chicago Police Superintendent and the Chicago Police Board.
Since September of 2007, when Ilana Rosenzweig became chief investigator at IPRA, IPRA has recommend that sixty officers be "separated" -- or fired -- from the Chicago Police Department. Thirty-eight of those cases are pending.
Of the 22 that have gone through the entire review process, the Chicago Police Board found one of those officers not guilty (because the key witness ultimately refused to cooperate); two officers resigned; and the remaining 19 were fired.
For Simmons, though, it all comes down to the fact that Evans is still on the job as a lieutenant with the Chicago Police Department.
"I’m doing my job, and he’s still there?" Simmons said. "There is something wrong. There’s something wrong."

Romney Team May Have Stirred Storm Over Gay Aide

It was the biggest moment yet for Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team: a conference call last Thursday, dialed into by dozens of news outlets from around the globe, to dissect and denounce President’s Obama record on national security.

Osamu Honda/Associated Press

Richard Grenell, left, in 2006, when he was an aide to John R. Bolton, right, then United States ambassador to the United Nations.

The Election 2012 App
But Richard Grenell, the political strategist who helped organize the call and was specifically hired to oversee such communications, was conspicuously absent, or so everyone thought. 

It turned out he was at home in Los Angeles, listening in, but stone silent and seething. A few minutes earlier, a senior Romney aide had delivered an unexpected directive, according to several people involved in the call. 

“Ric,” said Alex Wong, a policy aide, “the campaign has requested that you not speak on this call.” Mr. Wong added, “It’s best to lay low for now.” 

For Mr. Grenell, the message was clear: he had become radioactive. 

It was the climax of an unexpectedly messy and public dispute over the role and reputation of Mr. Grenell, a foreign policy expert who is gay and known for his support of same-sex marriage, his testy relationship with the news media and his acerbic Twitter postings on everything from Rachel Maddow’s femininity to how Callista Gingrich “snaps on” her hair. 

From Mr. Grenell’s hiring three weeks ago, which prompted an outcry from some Christian conservatives, it became clear that the appointment of the former Bush administration official with pristine Republican credentials had become entangled in the unforgiving churn of election-year politics, leading to his resignation on Tuesday and the Republican candidate’s first public misstep since effectively clinching the nomination. 

On one level, Mr. Grenell’s short-lived and rocky tenure as Mr. Romney’s foreign policy spokesman is the story of how halting attempts by the campaign to manage its relationship with the most conservative quarter of the Republican Party left an aide feeling badly marginalized and ostracized. 

But according to interviews with more than a dozen aides and advisers, it is also about how a fast-growing campaign, operating under the sharp glare of a general election, failed to spot the potential hazards of a high-profile appointment.   

Aides to Mr. Romney insist they did everything they could to keep Mr. Grenell from resigning, sending the campaign’s highest-level officials to try to persuade him that they valued his expertise and that the matter would soon die down. In the end, they said, he chafed at the limitations of a disciplined presidential campaign. 

But those close to Mr. Grenell, known as Ric, insist that when he had sought forceful support from those who had entrusted him with a major role, the campaign seemed to be focused, instead, on quieting a political storm that could detract from Mr. Romney’s message and his appeal to a crucial constituency. 

“It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” one Republican adviser said. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.” Like many interviewed, this adviser insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Mr. Grenell, a 45-year-old with a sharp wit, had joined the Romney campaign in April with sterling recommendations from Bush-era foreign policy figures, and an impressive résumé.  He had served as a United States spokesman at the United Nations under four ambassadors during the Bush administration. 

Rich Williamson, a senior diplomat under several Republican presidents, and John R. Bolton, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations, had both urged his appointment.
In mid-April, Mr. Grenell sailed through an interview with Eric Fehrnstrom, Mr. Romney’s senior adviser, and Gail Gitcho, his communications director. 

But before he left the Romney headquarters in Boston, he felt compelled to say that he is gay. “It could be an issue,” he volunteered.   

“It’s not an issue for us,” Mr. Fehrnstrom replied firmly. 

Aides called around to Mr. Grenell’s colleagues, seeking references, but as the warm reviews flowed in, a campaign known for its no-stone-unturned meticulousness overlooked his electronic footprints: namely, dozens of cutting Twitter postings. One swipe at Newt Gingrich’s weight, for example, went like this: “I wonder if newt has investments in Lipitor.”
Mr. Grenell trumpeted his new position in a message to friends on April 19. He signed the note, “My next adventure.” He made preparations to move from Los Angeles. 

Within days, stories about Mr. Grenell’s Twitter feed surfaced, prompting him to delete more than 800 posts. Mr. Grenell apologized for what he called “hurtful” comments, but the campaign privately dismissed the issue.   

At the same time another, more troubling, protest that was harder to ignore was taking shape among some Christian conservatives: Mr. Romney, who opposes same-sex marriage, had betrayed them by hiring a gay man and an outspoken supporter of the cause. 

The day after Mr. Grenell was hired, Bryan Fischer, a Romney critic with the American Family Association, told  nearly 1,400 followers on Twitter: “If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.” The next day, the conservative Daily Caller published an online column that summed up the anger of the Christian right, linking Mr. Grenell’s hiring to the appointment of gay judges to the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

As the critiques from conservatives intensified, Mr. Grenell pressed senior aides to allow him to speak about national security issues, arguing that the best way to soothe the ire over his appointment would be to let him do his job: defend his boss and take swipes at President Obama. 

But Mr. Romney’s advisers balked at the idea of his taking a public role, saying that the best way to get beyond the controversy was for Mr. Grenell to lower his profile until it blew over. A big worry: that reporters would ask Mr. Grenell about his Twitter feed or sexuality, turning him rather than Mr. Romney’s foreign policy into the story. 

And with Mr. Grenell not scheduled to start work officially until May 1, the advisers argued that there was no rush to push him into the spotlight. 

Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman, issued a statement of support for Mr. Grenell on April 24. But it made no mention of the attacks on his sexuality: “We hired Ric Grenell because he was the best qualified person for the job and has extensive experience representing the U.S. Mission to the U.N.” 

Yet foreign policy debates, the kind that Mr. Grenell was eager to wade into, kept sprouting up on the campaign trail, and he kept pressing for a chance to jump in.  Each time, he was rebuffed. He was, friends said, a spokesman with no voice. 

Romney advisers attribute at least some of Mr. Grenell’s frustration to the inevitable complications of starting a new job within a large, competitive and rigid organization filled with big egos. 

But the final straw, for Mr. Grenell, was the conference call on April 26. After being told not to speak, he felt deeply undermined, worrying it would erode his credibility with journalists who had expected to hear from him, friends said.  One, R. Clarke Cooper, the executive director of Log Cabin Republicans,  called it a missed opportunity. 

“If one wanted to look at how it could have been done differently, they could have gotten Ric off the bench and onto the field,” he said. “There’s been a lot going on this week on foreign policy, with Syria, Hillary Clinton in China, Obama in Afghanistan. There’s a lot happening where Ric could have been present.” 

The day after the call, complaints from the religious right picked up steam. In the National Review on April 27, Matthew J. Franck wrote: “Whatever fine record he compiled in the Bush administration, Grenell is more passionate about same-sex marriage than anything else.”
“So here’s a thought experiment,” he continued. “Suppose Barack Obama comes out — as Grenell wishes he would — in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?” 

Over the past weekend, Mr. Grenell sent word to Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fehrnstrom that his position was untenable. He planned to resign. 

At least six top aides and advisers called Mr. Grenell, asking him to reconsider, among them Mr. Fehrnstrom, Mr. Bolton, Mr. Williamson and the campaign’s manager, Matt Rhoades.
Several of them said they were baffled. They felt the storm had largely passed.  “We were shocked,” one caller said. “We could not persuade him to stay.” 

Several gay leaders said the campaign failed to grasp the message it had sent when it told him to lie low.  “Clearly, the Romney campaign thought if they could put him in a box for a while it would go away,” said Christopher Barron, a founder of GOProud, a gay Republican group in Washington. “It is an unforced error on their part.” 

He added, “It doesn’t bode well for the Romney campaign going forward if they couldn’t stand up to the most outrageous attacks about him being gay.” 

Ms. Gitcho, of the campaign, disputed that characterization. Mr. Romney, she said, “has condemned voices of intolerance within the party. We tried to persuade Mr. Grenell to stay on, and we were disappointed that he chose to resign.” 

 Jim Talent, a former senator from Missouri who is a campaign adviser, called the episode a loss for the Romney campaign. 

“People with the kind of expertise that Ric has don’t grow on tree,” he said. “It’s a real setback for us, I think.”

Jeff Zeleny and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributed reporting from Washington.

FEC Questions Donations to Marco Rubio’s PAC

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Sen. Marco Rubio has lost no time paying an $8,000 civil penalty to the Federal Election Commission for taking campaign donations beyond the legal limit in his 2010 Senate race. But the Florida Republican’s disputes with the agency may not be over.
The FEC has also raised questions about irregular contributions to Rubio’s leadership political action committee, the Reclaim America PAC, which has collected $826,000 since it was launched nine months ago.
In a March 9 letter to the PAC, the FEC pointed to one or more donations in excess of federal limits and to at least one prohibited corporate contribution. While a 2010 Supreme Court ruling freed corporations to spend campaign money independently, direct corporate donations to candidates and parties remain illegal.
The PAC alerted the agency in mid-April that it had made two refunds of $5,000 each to donors who exceeded the contribution limit. But FEC records don’t show any response to the request for information about corporate contributions. The FEC letter to the PAC cites donations totaling $3,250 from Van Wagner Miami, an outdoor advertising firm based in New York City.
A Rubio spokesman said by email that he would look into the matter but didn’t provide further information as of press time. He also declined to comment on the $8,000 FEC penalty, the outcome of a March settlement between Rubio and the FEC involving about $210,000 in what the commission called “prohibited, excessive, and other impermissible contributions” that were not fully refunded in time.
Such FEC penalties and inquiries are common in federal campaigns but have drawn notice in Rubio’s case because of his potential role as a running mate to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Rubio has said the vice presidency does not interest him, but he campaigned with the former Massachusetts governor in Pennsylvania last month.
Rubio has recently addressed questions about financial controversies dating to his tenure as the Speaker of the Florida House, including his use of a state Republican Party credit card to cover personal expenses. Rubio said on Fox News this week that he directly paid the credit card company for personal expenses — which reportedly included a new kitchen floor, groceries and car repairs — but he acknowledged that the arrangement “looks bad” in hindsight.
Rubio’s financial problems in the Legislature, which also included a dispute with a bank over mortgage payments and reports that he double-billed taxpayers and the state GOP for airplane tickets, didn’t hurt him during a hard-fought Senate campaign against former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.
Rubio remains one of the most popular politicians in the state, with a 49 percent job approval rating in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, ahead of both Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott.
Voters tend to tune out such election law disputes, said Dario Moreno, professor of political science at Florida International University, who added that Rubio’s recent FEC violations “seemed more like a case of bad bookkeeping than anything intentional.” But he noted that further allegations could prove damaging “if this becomes a consistent pattern and if other revelations come out.”
Former Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer’s scheduled testimony in a criminal fraud trial later this summer could cause headaches for Rubio, according to political observers. Rubio has also answered questions recently about his longtime friendship with Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.), who reportedly is under federal investigation for financial irregularities of his own.
Rubio spent $2.6 million on his Senate race in 2010, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, ranking him seventh in a tally of the top 10 Congressional spenders. His leadership PAC and his Senate campaign have drawn heavily on the health care, real estate and legal industries for donations, CRP data show. Koch Industries donated $32,000 to his Senate campaign in this election through its employees and its PAC and also gave the $10,000 maximum to his leadership PAC.
The leadership PAC’s letter responding to the FEC this month shows two $5,000 refunds, one to Maximo Alvarez, president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, and another to Mario Murgado, president and CEO of Brickell Motors, both in Miami. FEC records show two apparent corporate contributions to Rubio’s leadership PAC. In addition to the donation from Van Wagner Miami cited by the FEC, public records show a second donation from Poseidon Resources, a Connecticut-based developer of water infrastructure projects.

Romney Foreign Policy Spokesman Quits

Richard Grenell, an openly gay and longtime Republican foreign policy spokesman hired last month by Mitt Romney’s campaign, abruptly resigned on Tuesday after anti-gay elements in the party criticized his appointment and some Republican advisers said Mr. Grenell had been sidelined by the campaign during a busy foreign policy week.

Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg News

Richard Grenell in 2006. His hiring last month was criticized by anti-gay Republicans.

The Election 2012 App
The Romney campaign issued a statement saying that it had sought to keep Mr. Grenell from quitting. And according to some Republicans, while Mr. Grenell’s sexual orientation was not an issue for the campaign, the Romney team had cut Mr. Grenell out of the loop on some issues after feeling a surprising pressure from some social conservatives. 

The departure underscores some of the challenges the Romney campaign faces as it tries to broaden its appeal to more moderate voters without alienating the social conservatives who make up the party’s base. 

Mr. Grenell’s appointment drew quick criticism from some on the Christian right, with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association saying on Twitter, “Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.” 

Mr. Grenell had also been criticized for writing snarky Twitter messages before joining the campaign, including an attack on Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, that suggested she looked like Justin Bieber, and another that questioned whether Callista Gingrich’s “hair snaps on.” 

According to three Romney campaign advisers with knowledge of the conversations between Mr. Grenell and the campaign, the resignation came despite calls from many of Mr. Romney’s most senior staff members, including his campaign manager, who pleaded with Mr. Grenell not to leave. But Mr. Grenell was emphatic that the controversy would leave him marginalized and overshadow the benefits he might bring to the organization, they said. 

Mr. Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, said in a statement: “We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications.” 

In a statement, Mr. Grenell said that “while I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyperpartisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a nonissue for him and his team.” 

The pressure from the right was all the more surprising because Mr. Grenell was widely seen as a loyal conservative during eight years as the director of communications for four ambassadors to the United Nations during the Bush administration. He was particularly close to John R. Bolton, the diplomat and lawyer known for his personal bluntness and hawkishness.
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican advocacy group, said in a statement that Mr. Grenell “was essentially hounded by the far right and far left.” He added, “Ric made the choice that he feels is best for the Romney campaign.”

Michael Barbaro contributed reporting from New Haven, Conn.

Matt Bai's Excellent Piece...Shows 2011 Was Pointless

Noam Scheiber

Matt Bai’s long-awaited, 10,000-word opus on the rise and fall of last summer’s deficit grand-bargain is finally out and very much worth a read. ( 1 )( 2 ) My posting of article back in March
Bai adds a lot of new detail affirming what we thought we knew—which is that Obama was ready to do a deal and Boehner wasn’t—but which got much hazier in recent weeks amid Team Boehner’s furious spin.

Still, for my money, Bai puts too little emphasis on the much deeper problem looming over the whole exercise, which is that it didn’t actually matter whether Boehner was willing to strike a deal. Even if he had been willing, the House rank-and-file would have opposed the deal because they objected to the faintest whiff of a tax increase, and Obama needed a tax increase to secure Democratic support. Or, put differently, the implicit premise of Bai’s piece is that a deal was actually possible when in fact it never was, something I drive home in my recent book.

In fairness, there are several points when Bai either directly or indirectly (by transmitting the anxieties of White House officials) questions whether an Obama-Boehner deal could have passed the House. But he presents this sticking point as a mere possibility—a nagging concern that would eventually have to be addressed—rather than the hopelessly insurmountable obstacle it actually was.

Only late in the piece does Bai let on that the fix may have been in from the beginning. His retelling of the dramatic endgame, in which Boehner walks away from the negotiation once and for all, goes roughly as follows:

On Tuesday, July 19, Obama tells Boehner he can’t do a $4 trillion deal involving only $800 billion in revenue, which the two men had kinda-sorta agreed to in principle. Obama says he’s going to need more revenue to make those kinds of cuts, at which point the two sides keep negotiating. Then, late in the day on Thursday, July 21, Obama tells Boehner they can either do a $4 trillion deal involving $1.2 trillion in revenue, or a smaller (presumably $2-$3 trillion deal) involving $800 billion in revenue. It’s at this point that Boehner bolts and is never heard from again.

The reason Boehner walked, as Bai explains, is twofold. First, Boehner had had a conversation with the number two House official, Eric Cantor, a few hours earlier, in which Cantor told him any deal that raised more than $800 billion in revenue was a nonstarter among Republicans.
Second, upon reflection (a reflection likely induced by the same conversation with Cantor), Boehner realized that even the $800 billion in revenue he and the president had already agreed to in principle probably wouldn’t pass the House. Which is to say, even the original Boehner offer Obama was countering was doomed thanks to Republican opposition. As Bai tells it, Boehner didn’t even call Obama back to turn down the president’s counter-offers for fear that Obama might then retreat to the original deal, which Boehner couldn’t accept either:
Boehner didn’t want to talk with Obama because he feared … that Obama would respond by offering him the original terms from the previous Sunday, and that Boehner would then find himself trapped. … It was safer for Boehner to walk away and accuse Obama of having sabotaged the deal than to risk that Obama would retreat to the earlier terms on which they had agreed, forcing the speaker to backtrack himself.
Bai treats this is a kind startling revelation that only became clear in the final hours of the negotiation. Prior to that, in his telling, it seemed distinctly possible that there was a deal to be had. But it was crystal clear at least a week-and-a-half earlier that Boehner would have zero success getting even $800 billion in revenue through the House. In fact, this was pretty clear a month or two beforehand had anyone sized up the situation realistically. The relevant data points were as follows:
1. Back in March and April, months before the longer-term grand-bargain came into view, the administration had to negotiate with Boehner over the 2011 budget, which Congress had failed to pass the previous fall. It became obvious several times during this negotiation that Boehner couldn’t control the House Republicans. At one point in March, he lost a key vote over a temporary budget extension that conservatives deemed mealy-mouthed. Then, in April, the White House struck a deal with Boehner only to watch him renege under pressure from House conservatives. Suffice it to say, this was not a man who was going to be leading his troops anywhere, much less into territory they considered utterly anathema (i.e., revenue increases).
2. In May and June, the White House sent a delegation of top economic officials, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to start negotiating with Cantor and Jon Kyl, the number two Republican in the Senate, over the long-term deficit deal. As I report in my book, the talks repeatedly stalled and eventually broke down over the absolute refusal of Cantor and Kyl to even consider revenue increases. 
3. There was no sign at any point after this that either the House GOP or Cantor in particular (who really was just a reflection of the House rank-and-file) had moved a millimeter closer to accepting revenue increases. There were several instances in which this became apparent, but my favorite came on Saturday, July 9. That was a day when the White House and Boehner were in the middle of trading serious, detailed proposals, all of which came to a halt when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial dumping all over the contours of the emerging plan and inciting conservatives to oppose it. Aside from the fact that a scathing Journal editorial is never helpful when you’re trying to round up conservative support, it clearly indicated that someone on the inside of the House leadership (almost certainly Cantor) was leaking details in an attempt to kill the negotiation, and that Boehner had better think twice about going forward. No surprise, then, that the speaker promptly withdrew from the talks, though he later returned with Cantor at his side. 
Suffice it to say, it should not have come a shock to anyone in the White House when Boehner walked away from the negotiating table for good in late July. Nor, for that matter, should Boehner have been surprised to find himself facing total resistance within his own ranks.
Which brings us to the strangest part of Bai’s piece. After persuasively showing that Boehner gave up negotiating because he realized there was no deal his House colleagues would agree to, Bai writes:
And yet the failed attempt at a grand bargain wasn’t necessarily an unmitigated disaster. … They didn’t get the sprawling deal they were after, but they did produce a serious blueprint for bipartisan reform, a series of confidential memos that left them just a few hundred billion dollars apart. 
But, again, that misses the point. Yes, we learned that the two parties’ leaders can get within a few hundred billion dollars of a $4 trillion deficit deal. But we also learned that, even if one of those leaders (Obama) were to concede the entire amount of that difference (i.e., rolling back his revenue demands back from $1.2 trillion to $800 billion), the other leader (Boehner) still couldn’t sell it to his own team. Which means we didn’t actually end up within a few hundred billion dollars of a deal. We ended up pretty much where we started: With one side absolutely refusing to raise even a miniscule amount of revenue and the other side willing to do trillions in cuts as long as it got some new revenue in return, but never getting it. Unlike Bai, I see little grounds for optimism here. In fact, it just affirms my view that the entire exercise was a waste of time.

Update: Credit where due: The Washington Post ran a long account of the run-up to last summer's failed negotiations in August, co-written by my now-colleague Alec MacGillis, that did show how they were essentially doomed from the start.

Follow me on twitter: @noamscheiber

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng: 'I want to leave China on Hillary Clinton's plane'

Hours after leaving his refuge in the U.S. embassy, Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has said he fears for his life and wants to leave China.  NBC's Ian Williams reports.

BEIJING – Frantic efforts to resolve the diplomatic wrangle surrounding blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng continued in Beijing Thursday after he appealed for asylum following what was described as a "change of heart" over an earlier deal.

U.S. officials said they are still trying to help the lawyer, who says he fears for his family's safety, and denied he was pressured to leave the American Embassy to resettle inside China in exchange for guarantees about his future treatment.

Chen said by telephone from hospital, where he was escorted by U.S. officials and was being treated for a broken foot, that he had changed his mind about the resettlement deal after talking with his wife who spoke of recent threats made against his family.

In a string of interviews he said he now wants to leave China as soon as possible. “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” he told the Daily Beast.

A senior State Department official told reporters on Thursday that officials were "trying to get full, frank and candid conversation with him," adding: "We are not there yet. If he is changing his view, we're starting from square one with the Chinese."

"When we feel that we have a clear view of what his final decision is, we will do what we can to help him achieve that," the official said.

A source familiar with the situation said Chen and his wife appeared to have had "a change of heart" about a deal, agreed on Tuesday, to remain in China after receiving guarantees about their safety.

U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke discusses the blind activist Chen Guangcheng's apparent 'change of heart' and how the U.S. is trying to help resolve the issue.

China censors 'Shawshank' as Clinton heads to Beijing amid dissident drama

"We don't know if there was intimidation or pressure from friends who think he made the wrong choice, or whether he got in the room with his wife and she was looking at a different situation," the source added.

The New York Times reported that the saga leaves Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's scheduled summit meeting in Beijing "under a cloud of confusion".

It reported that the Obama administration was "exposed to criticism from Republicans and human rights groups that it had rushed to resolve a delicate human rights case so that it would not overshadow other matters on the bilateral agenda," such as the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs and China's currency and trade policies.

'I feel unsafe'

Chen, a self-taught legal activist, explained his change of mind: "I feel very unsafe. My rights and safety cannot be assured here," he said. His family, who were with him at the hospital, backed his decision to try to reach the United States, he added.

Blind activist: Chinese officials threatened my wife

The activist, citing descriptions from his wife, Yuan Weijing, said his family had been surrounded by Chinese officials who menaced them and filled the family home. Chen, from a village in rural Shandong province, has two children.

"When I was inside the American Embassy, I didn't have my family, and so I didn't understand some things. After I was able to meet them, my ideas changed."

Us Embassy Beijing Press Office / AFP - Getty Images

In handout photograph from the US Embassy Beijing Press office taken on Wednesday, Chen Guangcheng together with US ambassador to China Gary Locke as Chen's wife Yuan Weijing and children meet him in Beijing.

Gary Locke, the U.S. ambassador, told reporters he could say unequivocally that Chen was never pressured to leave the embassy.

Locke said Chen had two conversations with his wife before agreeing to the original deal on Tuesday. "We waited several minutes and suddenly he jumped up very eager and said 'let's go' in front of many witnesses," the ambassador said.

Clinton urged China to protect human rights but made no specific mention of Chen, whom she had spoken to on Wednesday after he left the embassy. As of midday Thursday local time, the two had not met face to face.

Blind dissident's case a 'hot potato' for US-China relations

"Of course, as part of our dialogue, the United States raises the importance of human rights and fundamental freedoms," Clinton said. "We believe all governments have to answer our citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights."

US-China relationship under pressure.  Despite Chen's change of heart about staying in China, it was unclear if he would be able to travel to the United States. Having left the embassy and the protection of U.S. authorities, his fate is now in the hands of the Chinese government.

U.S. officials appeared no longer to be with him on Thursday, with the dissident saying he had still not had an opportunity to explain his change of heart to the U.S. side.

"I hope the U.S. will help me leave immediately. I want to go there for medical treatment," Chen said from the hospital, where a pack of camera crews and reporters was waiting outside, kept away from the entrance by a few police.

Chen, 40, is a legal activist who campaigned against forced abortions under China's "one-child" policy. He escaped 19 months of house arrest, during which he and his family faced beatings and threats, on April 22.

Us Embassy Beijing Press Office / Reuters

An handout photo from US Embassy Beijing Press office shows blind activist Chen Guangcheng making a phone call as he is accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Wednesday.

Chen's dramatic escape from house arrest and his flight last week to the U.S. Embassy have made him a symbol of resistance to China's shackles on dissent, and the deal struck by Beijing and Washington would have kept him an international test case of how tight or lose those restrictions remain.

Now, however, his change of mind throws not only his own future into doubt but also raises questions about the wider U.S.-China relationship.

Reuters, The Associated Press and's Alastair Jamieson contributed to this report.