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November 26, 2014

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November 10, 2014

Report: U.S. Wealth Grows By $31.5 Trillion During Obama Presidency

492329565 445x296 Report: U.S. Wealth Grows By $31.5 Trillion During Obama Presidency

(Andrew Burton/Getty Images File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s tenure hasn’t done much for the Democratic Party given the shellacking at the polls last week, but it’s coincided with a huge surge in wealth.

According to Credit Suisse’s annual report on wealth, the net worth of United States households has soared $31.5 trillion since the 2008 economic collapse to $83.7 trillion.

The average net worth for the United States is $348,000 per adult, according to the report — a new all-time high.

There are now 14 million millionaires in the United States out of 35 million worldwide.

But the median net worth is just $53,000 per adult, suggesting most people aren’t seeing the benefits in their own pocketbooks. Full story

November 7, 2014

Will Loretta Lynch Be the Next Attorney General? (Updated)

Updated 12:22 p.m. | While CNN is reporting that President Barack Obama is expected to pick Loretta E. Lynch — a U.S. attorney in New York — to succeed Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general, the White House is denying that President Barack Obama has made a decision.

“The president has not made a decision,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday.

“We don’t have any personnel updates for you, and I’m certainly not going to speculate on any decisions before the President announces them,” Eric Schultz, deputy White House press secretary, said earlier in an email when asked about the CNN report. The New York Times called Lynch a “leading candidate” for the job.

Full story

November 6, 2014

White House Dismisses David Krone’s Criticism

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David Krone, Harry Reid’s chief of staff, blamed much of the party’s poor performance on the White House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s relationship with Harry Reid is just fine, and “if” they need to work to repair anything, they’ll do it out of the public eye, Obama’s spokesman said Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dismissed acid criticism of the White House from Reid’s hard-charging chief of staff, David Krone, about the administration’s handling of a number of issues, including fundraising, in The Washington Post.

“I don’t think they actually reflect the true nature of the relationship that exists between President Obama and Senator Reid, that Senator Obama when he served in the United States Senate, and Senator Reid struck up a genuine friendship when the two men served together in the United States Senate,” Earnest said. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:20 p.m.

October 28, 2014

Terrorism Threat Prompts Jeh Johnson to Order Security Upgrade at Federal Buildings

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Johnson wants security tightened. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is ordering a security upgrade against the threat of terrorism for federal buildings across the country, he announced Tuesday.

Johnson declined to detail the upgrades that will be put in place by the Federal Protective Service.

Johnson cited the recent attack in Canada as well as the ongoing global terrorism threat faced by the United States.

“Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel,” he said in the statement. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 5:41 p.m.

October 7, 2014

Biden Botches Minimum Wage Stats (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:33 p.m. | Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s trip to Los Angeles to talk up a minimum wage increase was marred by a misstatement about the impact of said wage hike.

Biden appeared to confuse his talking points; the White House claims increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would give 28 million people a raise. Biden said it would lift 28 million people “out of poverty.” Big difference.

“If we raise the minimum wage nationally to $10.10, that takes 28 million people out of poverty: 28 million people out of poverty,” Biden repeated.

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this year predicted a $10.10 minimum wage would lift about 900,000 people out of poverty. Full story

October 3, 2014

Official Transcript of Biden Event Excludes ‘Bitch’ Quip

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you were relying on the White House transcript of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s visit to Harvard, you would have missed the best quote.

Biden’s joke to a student body vice president about the No. 2 job being “a bitch?” It took place during a question-and-answer session following the speech at the John F. Kennedy Forum at the Harvard Institute of Politics that followed the remarks, which ended at 7:20 p.m. Full story

October 2, 2014

Obama: My Policies Are on the Ballot

456536104 445x296 Obama: My Policies Are on the Ballot

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama made the November elections about him during a speech Thursday, touting economic progress since he took office, laying out a list of Democratic favorites — from a minimum wage hike to an unemployment extension — and even trying to play offense on Obamacare.

“I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them,” Obama said in prepared remarks at Northwestern University.

“This isn’t a political speech, and I’m not going to tell you who to vote for — even though I suppose it is kind of implied,” Obama said, in a sentence that became an immediate head-scratcher as the president launched into a litany of attacks on the GOP. Full story

September 26, 2014

Eric Holder Lame-Duck Fight? White House Points to McConnell Precedent

mcconnell 266 091814 445x286 Eric Holder Lame Duck Fight? White House Points to McConnell Precedent

Earnest offered to the 2006 lame-duck confirmation of Robert Gates, supported then by McConnell, as precedent for confirming Holder’s successor.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is citing Sen. Mitch McConnell’s support for the lame-duck confirmation of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in 2006 as precedent for a quick confirmation of a replacement for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Earnest made the reference Friday at the his daily briefing, although he did not lay out a timetable for the president to make his decision.

He noted unprompted that the Gates nomination came the day after midterm elections with Democrats winning control of the chamber, and McConnell, R-Ky., did not propose waiting until the new Democratic Senate took over before holding a vote.

Gates, however, won overwhelming support — a 95-2 vote — and a delay would not have affected the outcome.

Earnest also noted the swift confirmation of Michael Mukasey as attorney general in 2007 by a Senate of the other party.

The Mukasey vote was narrow — 53-40.

The White House hopes for quick consideration under either scenario.


Lawmakers Weigh In on Holder Resignation

Senate Democrats Will Have Chance to Confirm Successor

Holder Resigns With a Wink and a Nod (Video)

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 10, 2014

Obama Speech Excerpt: We’re Going to (Air) War Against ISIS

President Barack Obama will call for a new war to “destroy” ISIS in his speech tonight — one that will include air strikes against the group in Iraq and Syria.

The excepts make clear Obama will no longer merely engage in strikes against ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, just in Iraq.

“So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” Obama will say, according to the excerpt.

Obama also is expected to draw a contrast with the ground wars he inherited. Air strikes yes, ground troops, no:

“But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”

The White House has previously said Obama believes he has the authority to implement his strategy without new authority from Congress, but would welcome Congress’s support.

Obama also has been lobbying lawmakers today for authorization for arming and training Syrian rebels.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 6:30 p.m.

September 9, 2014

Obama Asserts Authority to Take on ISIS Without Congress

President Barack Obama told Congressional leaders that he already has the authority he needs to take on ISIS but would welcome the support of Congress, according to a White House readout.

“The President told the Leaders that he has the authority he needs to take action against ISIL in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address tomorrow night. He reiterated his belief that the nation is stronger and our efforts more effective when the President and Congress work together to combat a national security threat like ISIL. The President told the Leaders that he would welcome action by the Congress that would aid the overall effort and demonstrate to the world that the United States is united in defeating the threat from ISIL. The President and his team look forward to continuing extensive consultation with Congress.” Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 5:44 p.m.

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