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October 20, 2014

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October 7, 2014

Biden Botches Minimum Wage Stats (Updated)

SOTU 114 012814 445x296 Biden Botches Minimum Wage Stats (Updated)

(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

biden 254 091814 445x305 Official Transcript of Biden Event Excludes Bitch Quip

(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.

September 2, 2014

Fox News Radio Reporter Mike Majchrowitz Remembered at White House

MIKEM 222x335 Fox News Radio Reporter Mike Majchrowitz Remembered at White House

(Courtesy of Fox News Radio)

Updated 4:26 p.m. | Fox News Radio White House reporter Mike Majchrowitz has died following a long struggle with throat cancer, and the White House and his colleagues are marking his passing.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest mentioned him at the top of Tuesday’s briefing.

“I did want to extend my condolences both personally, but also on behalf of everybody here at the White House, including the first family, to the family of Mike Majchrowitz. … I got to know Mike a little bit when he was covering — started covering the White House here in 2010. He was a tough reporter, but he was also somebody who showed a lot of respect for the journalistic process, certainly for his listeners, but also for those of us that he covered. And that is something that is very admirable and a quality that I certainly admire in a professional journalist.”

White House Correspondents Association President Christi Parsons also remembered Majchrowitz in an email to fellow White House reporters on behalf of the WHCA board.

“We all remember Mike’s vigorous questions in the briefing room, so hard to ignore with that booming voice of his. He made a mark immediately after joining our press corps in 2010.

“He was a true inspiration in the last years of his life, soldiering on in the Fox Radio booth while undergoing treatment for throat cancer. Sometimes he was even doing chemo while grilling administration officials in the briefing room or serving with us on pool duty.

A friend told me he asked Mike why he didn’t just take it easy. ‘I have a job to do,’ he replied.

He was proud to be a White House correspondent. We’re proud to have served alongside him. … Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

In an email, Parsons also recalled Majchrowitz often talking about his wife and family. “I competed against him in selling Girl Scout cookies for our daughters, and he always won. That job meant a lot to him, too,” she said.

Mitch Davis, the vice president of Fox News Radio, also put out a statement.

“Mike was an original — a solidly tenacious reporter, a thoughtful anchor and a good man. He earned the respect of his colleagues for many things, not the least of which was his kindness. From our earliest days he helped Fox News Radio  grow into what we are now. His voice was unique, as was his courage. Throughout his struggle, he remained positive and was an inspiration to us all. We will miss him.”

Majchrowitz had been with Fox News Radio since its beginning in 2005, first covering Congress and then the White House.

Fox News Radio also shared memorial arrangements. The funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church at 12805 Valleywood Dr. in Woodbridge, Va.

A viewing will be held Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Miller Funeral Home in Woodbridge. At 8 p.m. there will be a prayer service.

Majchrowitz is survived by a wife and three children. His family has set up a memorial fund and a Facebook page.

Fox News Radio posted a remembrance with more photos and audio from some of Majchrowitz’s stories, well worth a look, along with this 2011 story on what it’s like to ride on Air Force One.

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:17 p.m.

August 28, 2014

Obama on ISIS: ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy’ (Updated) (Video)

492587929 445x296 Obama on ISIS: We Dont Have a Strategy (Updated) (Video)

Obama said he hasn’t finalized a strategy for dealing with the jihadi insurgents who control parts of Syria and Iraq. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

Updated 6:26 p.m. | President Barack Obama said Thursday it’s premature to go to Congress to authorize a strategy to defeat ISIS — because he doesn’t have one yet.

“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama told reporters after being asked about striking ISIS in Syria, saying he didn’t want to “put the cart before the horse.”

The line — sure to be repeated often by his critics — came as Republicans have been repeatedly demanding a strategy to defeat ISIS.

Obama said he’s asked the military for options to take on ISIS, but a decision to expand strikes into Syria isn’t imminent and he suggested it would not happen before Congress returns from recess.

He said there was a role for Congress to play once that strategy is in place. But he said that he didn’t wait for Congress before launching airstrikes in Iraq because he had a responsibility to protect the American people and could not wait. He said that he has consulted with Congress on his actions to date and that feedback has been positive. Full story

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

August 14, 2014

Obama Calls for Calm, Healing in Ferguson (Video)

ferguson081414 445x296 Obama Calls for Calm, Healing in Ferguson (Video)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama called for calm in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday, and said the FBI and Department of Justice are both launching independent investigations into the police shooting of an unarmed teenager.

Speaking from a press conference near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Obama said DOJ officials are also talking with local authorities about how they can maintain public safety without obstructing peaceful protests. Conflicts and clashes between police and protesters have escalated in the days following the death of Michael Brown.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protestors,” Obama said. Full story

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