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November 29, 2014

Posts in "Politics"

November 6, 2014

White House May Change, Or May Not — They’re Not Telling

For the second straight day after Tuesday’s electoral earthquake remade the political map, the White House had no discernible scintilla of change in approach, other than to say that the president might change his approach. Just how, exactly, is still a mystery.

After President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he heard the voters but declined to say what he thought they were telling him, Press Secretary Josh Earnest didn’t have anything new for reporters either.

The Democrats look set to have the same leadership teams they’ve had for more than a decade on Capitol Hill, and Obama isn’t about to make wholesale changes in his own staff, Earnest suggested, though he did allow that maybe the president would “look at his team” and that some might decide to go in the normal course of events. But that’s what Earnest was saying in the weeks before the voters body slammed Democrats across the map.trans White House May Change, Or May Not — Theyre Not Telling

Earnest said that Obama could “probably” have done a better job reaching out to Republicans, but also noted that Republicans had made opposition to all of his policies their political agenda. Now that they’ve taken over Congress, Earnest expressed some hope that they might now change their obstructionist approach and try to get some things done.

Earnest said that could start with things like transportation spending and trade — areas where both sides agree.

And he dismissed calls from the new Republican leadership for the president to forego executive actions on immigration lest he poison the well.

“The answer is yes, the president is going to take that action,” Earnest said.

The president, meanwhile, looks forward to having lunch with the leadership Friday.

Your move, GOP.

Related:

White House Dismisses David Krone’s Criticism

Pelosi’s Allies Blame Obama

Boehner Warns Obama’s Going to ‘Burn Himself’ if He Acts on Immigration

Obama Struggles to Read the Public, Congress

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:54 p.m.
Politics

November 5, 2014

Obama Struggles to Read the Public, Congress

492587929 445x296 Obama Struggles to Read the Public, Congress

Obama signaled little course correction Wednesday in response to Tuesday’s blowout losses for Democrats. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

For any politician, losing the public — and the message they are sending — is a dangerous thing. And in the wake of one of the worst drubbings for his party in memory, due in large part to his own persistent unpopularity, President Barack Obama didn’t seem to have any answers Wednesday.

At a lengthy news conference after another shellacking, the president avoided using any new word to describe his party’s epic defeat and offered up no plans for substantive change either in his policy approach or his personnel.

He offered no new legislative olive branch to Republicans other than his desire to listen to their ideas.

He doubled down on his plans to thumb his nose at Congress and act on immigration on his own.

He offered no mea culpa to angry Democrats on Capitol Hill, who have fumed ever more openly about a White House they see as overly insular, politically tone-deaf and prone to gaffes. Full story

October 7, 2014

Obama Cheers Gay Marriage Decision

Gay Marriage 11 062613 445x295 Obama Cheers Gay Marriage Decision

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama cheered the legalization of gay marriage in states across the country today at a fundraiser in New York following yesterday’s surprise Supreme Court decision to let lower court rulings stand.

“All across the country, now couples who love each other are able to join in that most meaningful of unions,” Obama said in a reference to the court, according to a pool report. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 5:37 p.m.
Politics

September 22, 2014

Obama Won’t Withdraw Boggs Nomination (Updated)

luncheons002 071514 445x298 Obama Wont Withdraw Boggs Nomination (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:20 p.m. | President Barack Obama still supports the nomination of Michael P. Boggs for a federal judgeship in Georgia, even though Sen. Patrick J. Leahy told The New York Times there aren’t enough votes for confirmation.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at Monday’s briefing that the president still supports Boggs and said the president was not considering withdrawing the pick despite the report quoting Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a Vermont Democrat.

Leahy confirmed his statement to CQ Roll Call Monday, and said he also spoke to the two Georgia Republican senators backing Boggs — Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss.

“After talking with Judiciary Committee members, I advised the Georgia Senators that Judge Boggs does not have the votes in committee to be reported. His nomination should be withdrawn,” Leahy said in a statement late Monday.

The nomination of Boggs, a Democrat, has been extremely controversial, with numerous liberal groups blasting the pick as well as Georgia Democrats, led by Rep. David Scott, who has ripped Boggs’ record as a state legislator on the Confederate flag, abortion and other issues. Full story

September 10, 2014

Menendez Drafting New Authorization for ISIS War

menendez 172 071514 445x327 Menendez Drafting New Authorization for ISIS War

Menendez wants to get to work on the ISIS issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s new plan to “destroy” ISIS will eventually require congressional authorization, and promised his committee will begin drafting one.

Menendez’s statement came as vulnerable Democrats generally praised the president’s decision to take on ISIS but split over pieces of his strategy — while liberals demanded Congress vote to authorize the war.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:11 p.m.
Iraq, Politics

August 18, 2014

Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

492587929 445x296 Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

Obama sends Holder to Ferguson, reports progress in Iraq. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 7:03 p.m. | President Barack Obama, back in Washington for a day of meetings in the midst of his August vacation, on Monday reported “progress” in the expanded campaign of U.S. airstrikes on Iraqi insurgents near Mosul, and again called for calm in the riot-torn streets of Ferguson, Mo.

He announced that Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to talk with local leaders about the riots that have rocked the St. Louis suburb since the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Asked about the militarization of American law enforcement that some have said is exacerbating clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Obama said it may be time to review the use of federal dollars to purchase surplus military vehicles and gear.

“There’s a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement,” he said. “And we don’t want those lines blurred.”

Some civil rights leaders have urged the president to speak out more forcefully on the shooting of Michael Brown, but on Monday, Obama instead called for restraint on the part of both police and protesters. Full story

May 27, 2014

Obama: We Restored ‘Trillions of Dollars of Wealth’

parks012 022713 246x335 Obama: We Restored Trillions of Dollars of Wealth

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has a new line he’s been trotting out as he talks to Democratic party donors — a claim that “trillions of dollars of wealth” have been restored on his watch.

Turns out, the line is true.

Household wealth has soared by trillions since Obama’s inauguration. And it’s now at an all-time high.

In 2008 alone, the total net worth of households and nonprofit organizations plummeted by more than $10 trillion to $57.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. Since then wealth has soared more than $23 trillion to $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013. (See page 108, Line 42).

That’s $13 trillion above the pre-Obama yearly all-time high of $67.7 trillion at the end of 2007. Net worth now amounts to about $250,000 per U.S. resident.

Nearly $10 trillion of that improvement in net worth came just in 2013.

What Obama doesn’t mention is that federal debt has also soared since he took office. The national debt is now close to $17.5 trillion — up nearly $7 trillion — or $22,000 per U.S. resident — since he took office.

Full story

May 20, 2014

Carney Touts Obama’s Fundraising, Turnout Efforts

sotu tw009 012814 445x296 Carney Touts Obamas Fundraising, Turnout Efforts

Obama’s focus during the upcoming elections likely will be on fundraising. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the president’s efforts to help his party in the midterms Tuesday after recent reports of grumbling among Democrats and party donors.

“The president is focused on what he can do to help Democrats in this midterm cycle,” Carney said, emphasizing President Barack Obama’s fundraising, his grass-roots network and the technology behind it and work to boost turnout among the party’s most loyal voters.

“Midterms, as all you expert political reporters know, are about turnout, getting the base out. And no one is better at doing that than President Obama, at least in the Democratic Party,” Carney asserted. Full story

May 17, 2014

Obama Goes Populist (Video)

491358061 445x293 Obama Goes Populist (Video)

 (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With midterm elections just around the corner, President Barack Obama is sharpening his populist rhetoric against the GOP.

In his weekly address, Obama accused Republicans of backing big new tax breaks for millionaires while cutting transportation grants that have created jobs.

He also spotlighted the looming expiration of transportation programs, potentially putting projects on hold.

“If Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year,” he said. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 9:24 a.m.
Budget, Politics

May 15, 2014

Obama: Senate Needs to Change ‘How a Filibuster Works’

obama051514 445x296 Obama: Senate Needs to Change How a Filibuster Works

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama endorsed more changes to the filibuster rules in the Senate in a speech Wednesday, remarks that will encourage senators who want to deploy the “nuclear option” again.

At a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York, Obama said Democrats need to change “how a filibuster works,” without going into specifics.

Some Democrats want to force talking filibusters, requiring senators to be on the floor around the clock if cloture is not invoked. Others want to reduce or eliminate the 60-vote threshold for overcoming a filibuster on legislation, as the Democrats did last year for nominations other than Supreme Court picks. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has recently been considering if he went far enough in changing the rules given the GOP’s procedural retaliation, which has chewed up weeks of floor time.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:47 a.m.
Politics, Procedure

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