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February 6, 2016

Posts in "Politics"

February 5, 2016

On Unemployment Rate, Obama Spikes the Football


In this photo made using a teleconverter in-between two crop factors, President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of around 15,000 during a state arrival ceremony for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

In this photo made using a teleconverter in-between two crop factors, President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of around 15,000 during a state arrival ceremony for Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama on Friday took credit for the latest jobs report, saying the 4.9 percent rate shows his stewardship has made the U.S. economy the “strongest and most durable” in the world.

The Labor Department on Friday released data that was a mixed bag for both American workers and the Obama administration. The numbers showed the lowest unemployment rate in eight years and rising wages; they also concluded that 151,000 new jobs were created in January, down from three consecutive months during which nearly 300,000 jobs were created per month.

“After reaching 10 percent in 2009, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 4.9 percent even as more American joined the job market last month,” Obama told reporters during a rare appearance in the White House briefing room. “Americans are working.” Full story

February 3, 2016

At Maryland Mosque, Obama Calls Muslims ‘Real Americans’


President Obama speaks during his final State of the Union address last month. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Obama speaks during his final State of the Union address last month. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Visiting a mosque on U.S. soil for the first time, President Barack Obama urged Americans to reject politics that target those of a single faith and told Muslim-Americans “you’re right where you belong.”

Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore offered him a chance to counter anti-Muslim rhetoric from some leading GOP presidential hopefuls such as Donald Trump. And it was met with resistance from some on the country’s political right. Full story

February 2, 2016

Ryan, McConnell Find Little ‘Common Ground’ at White House


Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 3. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 3. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s private meetings with congressional Republican leaders appeared to do very little to  break the legislative impasse that largely has defined his tenure.

Descriptions of the meeting from both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. were clinical at best. Notably missing were usual Washington declarations that a high-level meeting was “productive” or “constructive.” Asked about that omission, an aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., called the speaker’s time on Tuesday with Obama “cordial.”

And, in a fitting bit of symbolism, Ryan departed the White House for yet another House attempt to derail Obamacare. The chamber, however, failed to override a veto of a bill to repeal it.
Full story

January 29, 2016

In Shift, Trump Touts ‘Great’ Relationships With Top Democrats


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with reporters and supporters at a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots on Capitol Hill on Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump is fond of calling U.S. leaders “stupid,” but he’s now trumpeting his “great” relationships with them — even name-dropping senior Democrats.

“I think that I’m going to be able to get along with Pelosi. I think I’m going to be able to — I’ve always had a good relationship with Nancy Pelosi,” Trump said this week during a television interview, referring to the House Democratic leader from San Francisco. “I always had a decent relationship with [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid.” Full story

January 28, 2016

Obama: ‘We Will Have a Democratic President Succeeding Me’


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Obama predicts a Democrat will win the White House(Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE — President Barack Obama delivered a message to House Democrats gathered for their annual retreat:

“Democrats will win in November and we will have a Democratic president succeeding me,” he said on Thursday.

“The reason I can say that with confidence is because we focus on the things that matter in the lives of American people,” Obama added.

Just a few hours after Vice President Joseph R. Biden told the same audience that Democrats would reclaim a majority in the House this year, Obama used what is likely his last formal speech to the House Democratic Caucus to focus on the 2016 campaign.

“The press has been focused on debates and divisions that they can drum up within the primary and within our party,” Obama said, noting he’s not worried about Democrats staying united. “Our trajectory is clear.”

Republicans “may have some stuff to work out,” Obama added. Later, he made a remark that played into the divisions the media has highlighted.

“We’re not going to strengthen our leadership around the world by allowing politicians to insult Muslims,” Obama said in an apparent reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The president said Republicans have offered “some slogans,” while Democrats have actual policies that would help working families, such as raising the minimum wage, and making college more affordable.

“If we stay true to those principles,” Obama said, “our party is not just going to have a good year, America will have a  good year. And we’ll have more good years after that.”

Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @lindsemcpherson.

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By Lindsey McPherson Posted at 10:50 p.m.
Politics

Bernie’s Big Day in D.C.


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a media gaggle in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 26. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a media gaggle in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 26. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a big, but mixed day in Washington Wednesday, meeting one-on-one with President Barack Obama at the White House, but also getting blasted by another key Democrat, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who criticized the presidential hopeful’s health care plan as unrealistic.

Just days before the crucial Iowa caucuses, Sanders also got a chance to reversee a previous stand on gun legislation, as Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed to roll back a 2005 law that protects firearms manufacturers from liability when their guns are used to commit crimes. Full story

January 26, 2016

‘Big Men': Is Trump America’s Berlusconi?


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in front of a wax statue of John Wayne during a news conference at the John Wayne Museum on Jan. 19 in Winterset, Iowa. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in front of a wax statue of John Wayne during a news conference at the John Wayne Museum on Jan. 19 in Winterset, Iowa. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

A wealthy businessman-turned-politician promised his countrymen a “miracle,” serving voters a cocktail of bombastic nationalist rhetoric and boasts about his business acumen.

Prominent publications such as The New York Times branded him “a man of no particular ideology,” who “exploited vague slogans” on the campaign trail. The Economist, Roll Call’s sister publication, called him “a controversial tycoon with few coherent policies,” observing that the man “acts like a businessman who has seen a market niche … and is rushing to fill it.”

One could be excused for believing that man is Donald Trump, the American real estate billionaire who is in the driver’s seat for the Republican presidential nomination. But the politician described above is Silvio Berlusconi in the early 1990s as he sought his first term as Italy’s prime minister. Full story

January 25, 2016

Will Obama Issue Executive Action on Cap-and-Trade?


Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Inhofe. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Obama administration is refusing to make his final year in office as uneventful as Republicans would like. In fact, lawmakers expect executive action on everything from terrorist detention to campaign finance to environmental issues.

One possibility is an executive action setting up a carbon cap-and-trade system, says Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla. President Barack Obama “has legacy things and he doesn’t have as much time as he would like to have,” Inhofe said in an interview. “Cap-and-trade and closing Gitmo, those are the things he wants to do.”

Full story

January 21, 2016

In Detroit, Parallels With Obama’s Broader Economy


US President Barack Obama points to his Shinola watch, which he already owned, after visiting a Shinola store January 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama points to his Shinola watch, which he already owned, after visiting a Shinola store in Detroit. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama jetted Wednesday to an American city whose economic revival mirrors both the U.S. economic comeback under his watch and the often negative perception of it.

Like the ongoing recovery in Detroit and across Michigan, the U.S. economy’s comeback often has been called sluggish and uneven. And like the revival of the Motor City and surrounding areas, economic recovery and healing in the nation has been called too slow. Full story

January 19, 2016

Was There Ever an Obama-Ryan Honeymoon?


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12: President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan greets Obama as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. looks on. It was one of Ryan’s few smiles of the evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama repeatedly had to raise his voice to be heard over cheering Democratic lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Jan. 12. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan sat motionless, his face frozen in a polite — but unimpressed — expression.

Obama used part of his likely final address to a joint session of Congress to extol policy whims long pushed by Democrats like pre-kindergarten “for all” children and a government-led effort to “to make college affordable for every American.” He also called it a “basic fact” that the U.S. “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” saying the country is “in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.”

Full story

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