Category Archives: President Barack Obama

President Obama Makes Republicans Pay For Trying to Take Away Your Right To Vote

obama-national-action

PoliticusUSA

President Obama gave a rousing and passionate call to action where he told Republicans that he will continue to challenge every single attempt to suppress the vote.

The president said:

Opportunity means making the minimum wage a wage you can live on. It means equal pay for equal work. It means overtime pay for workers who have earned it. It means continuing to extend the right of quality, affordable health care for every American in every state, because we’ve got some states that aren’t doing the right thing. We have states who just out of political spite are leaving millions of people uninsured that could be getting health insurance right now. No good reason for it. If you ask them what’s the explanation they can’t really tell you.

The principle of one person, one vote is the single greatest tool we have to redress an unjust status quo. You would think there would not be an argument about this anymore. But the stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago.

Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote. In some places, women could be turned away from the polls just because they’re registered under their maiden name but their driver’s license has their married name. Senior citizens who have been voting for decades may suddenly be told they can no longer vote until they can come up with the right ID.

And as President, I’m not going to let attacks on these rights go unchallenged. We’re not going to let voter suppression go unchallenged. So earlier this week, you heard from the Attorney General — and there’s a reason the agency he runs is called the Department of Justice. They’ve taken on more than 100 voting rights cases since 2009, and they’ve defended the rights of everybody from African Americans to Spanish speakers to soldiers serving overseas.

What the president was talking about was all part of the same Republican agenda. Denying people access to healthcare while also denying them access to the vote is all part of punishing the “takers” in order to give more to the “makers.”

Republicans deny millions of Americans their fundamental rights, and President Obama isn’t going to tolerate it. President Obama has fought the Republican effort to suppress the vote for years. This president understands that inequality begins with unequal access to the polls.

The Republican governors who refuse to expand Medicaid can’t offer a justification for their actions, but they think that denying people healthcare is good politics. President Obama is the last line of defense for equality, and opportunity. Obama will not be a candidate in another campaign, but he is going fight to make sure that all Americans have access to the polls for years to come.

 

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Secret Service agents on Obama detail sent home from Netherlands after night of drinking

Barack Obama leaves after the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands on March 25, 2014.

The episode comes after nearly two years of reflection and reform at the agency. | AP Photo

The fact that these people were assigned to protect the POTUS while overseas makes this a big deal.   So many people hate the President and I’m hoping those guys were not among the haters.   I’m hard-pressed to recall this happening to any of the other President in my lifetime…from Eisenhower to George W. Bush.  In my opinion, this is really scary…

The Washington Post

Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of them was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said.

The hotel staff alerted the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands after finding the unconscious agent Sunday morning, a day before Obama arrived in the country, according to two of the people. The embassy then alerted Secret Service managers on the presidential trip, which included Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed Tuesday evening that the agency “did send three employees home for disciplinary reasons” and that they were put on administrative leave pending an investigation. Donovan declined to comment further.

According to two people familiar with the Amsterdam incident, the three individuals are all members of the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team, known in the agency as CAT.

The alleged behavior would violate new Secret Service rules adopted in the wake of a damaging scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012, when a dozen Secret Service agents and officers had been drinking heavily and had brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms prior to the president’s arrival for an economics summit.

Under the requirements, anyone on an official trip is prohibited from drinking alcohol 10 hours prior to being on duty. As members of the advance team for a presidential trip, the CAT members would have been called to duty sometime on Sunday for a classified briefing a day prior to the president’s arrival on Monday. Drinking late into the night Saturday evening and Sunday morning would have violated that rule.

Obama landed in the Netherlands on Monday for the start of a high-stakes week-long trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia in the midst of a tense standoff with Russia over its incursion in Crimea. The agents involved in the misconduct were among hundreds of U.S. personnel from the Secret Service, military, State Department and other agencies sent to prepare for his arrival and ensure his safety, including during his attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague with dozens of world leaders.

The president’s visit started with a brief stop at the Rijksmuseum, a fine-arts museum in Amsterdam, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Obama traveled from the Hague to Brussels on Tuesday night.

The three involved in the drinking incident were GS-13-level agents, according to one person familiar with the investigation of the case. One of the three was a “team leader” on counterassault, but he was not in a supervisory position in the agency, the person said.

All three people familiar with the case requested anonymity in order to discuss details of an ongoing investigation. Pierson traveled on Air Force One with Obama, and she is scheduled to remain on the trip with the president as he continues to Rome and Saudi Arabia, one of the people said.

The Counter Assault Team’s job is to protect the president if he or his motorcade comes under attack and to fight off assailants and draw fire while the protective detail removes the president from the area.

Two former agency employees with experience on foreign trips described the counterassault team as one of the most elite units in the agency, responsible for “the last line of defense” for the president. Those selected for CAT are required to be highly skilled shooters and extremely physically fit, with a demanding training regimen, said the two former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal operations.

There are also high expectations for personal conduct on the squad, they said. On foreign trips, one former agent recalled, the counterassault team often worked shifts as long as 12 hours, the former agents recalled, and agents were expected to get rest during their time off to be in prime condition.

“They received the best technical training in the service,” said one of the former agents. “They were the only team constantly training — training on assaults, on evacuations, all sorts of things. They were very squared away. It was really difficult to get on CAT.”

In the Cartagena scandal, the Secret Service employees’ actions were discovered when one prostitute got into a noisy dispute with agents in a hotel hallway about an agent’s refusal to pay her fee. Colombian police reported the incident to the U.S. Embassy there.

Obama said at the time that the agents’ behavior was unacceptable. “We’re representing the people of the United States, and when we travel to another country I expect us to observe the highest standards because we’re not just representing ourselves,” he said in Cartagena.

The revelations in Cartagena led to the removal of 10 agents from their jobs, multiple federal and congressional investigations and the rules aimed at preventing similar activity in the future. Mark Sullivan, the Secret Service director at the time, apologized for his employees’ conduct. Sullivan retired in February 2013 after 30 years in the agency.

 

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McCain Laments Obama’s Lack of Outreach to GOP: ‘He Was Smarter Than the Rest of Us’

Sen. John McCain | Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

That’s the one statement from Sen. John McCain that I can agree with.  Oh and by the way Mr. McCain, he still is

Mediaite

Senator John McCain has been one of President Obama‘s fiercest critics on foreign policy, and in a new interview with TIME magazine, McCain continues to hammer the president on Ukraine (while denying he has any interest in sending in U.S. troops), saying that “his actions contradict his statements” and it’s a problem if the U.S. cannot “live up to its commitments.” That being said, McCain is also disappointed with Obama for his lack of outreach with Republicans, saying that they could get plenty of domestic and foreign policy work done if they collaborated more.

McCain ends up giving Obama a compliment or two even as he takes on his lack of engagement with the other side.

“I thought when he had a couple of dinners with Republican senators, we really had a good environment there. Because he is a very very articulate and attractive guy in a setting with eight or nine senators and him. Because he was smarter than the rest of us… But I don’t see that now. I don’t see any of that.”

McCain also opens up about Syria, showing support for rebel fighters and expressing the hope of getting anti-aircraft weapons “into the hands of the right people.”

McCain even weighs in on 2016, calling Chris Christie a “very viable candidate” and crediting his handling of the BridgeGate scandal, while acknowledging that unlike last time there is no clear Republican frontrunner, and so anyone from Ted Cruz to Jeb Bush is equally viable despite the baggage they all hold.

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President Obama Brilliantly Take Down a Heckler Who Thinks He’s Going to Blow Up Russia

obama-wtf

PoliticusUSA

During his speech at the DNC, President Obama was interrupted by a heckler who claimed that he is planning a nuclear war with Russia. The president’s reaction was priceless.

Video:

Transcript:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: — I consider Republicans patriots who love this country just as much as we do.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tell us about your plans for nuclear war with Russia!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, who’s that back there? (Laughter.) What the heck are you talking about? (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Obama! Obama! Obama!

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t worry about it. We’re okay. Have a seat. I don’t know anything about that plan. (Laughter.) I don’t know what you’ve been reading. (Laughter.) Let me return to what I was talking about. (Applause.) See, he thought happy hour started earlier. (Laughter and applause.)

The look on President Obama’s face was priceless. If that wasn’t the ultimate WTF look, I don’t know what is. When protesters have an issue that they care about, this president has been very generous in letting them speak. However, this particular heckler was a crackpot.

President Obama doesn’t want to go to war with Russia. He most definitely has no interest in starting a nuclear war. This isn’t the Cold War. Obama isn’t going to nuke Russia over the events in Ukraine. It’s silly to think that is a possibility.

It is even less likely to happen because the president made a statement today that emphasised that the consequences for Russia’s actions in Ukraine will come from the international community. For the millionth time, Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. Even George W. Bush wasn’t cowboy enough to threaten to drop a nuke on somebody.

This heckler was a bit of a paranoid freak, and the president handled this individual’s rude interruption incredibly well.

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No, Barack Obama Isn’t a Lame Duck (Yet)

Image Associated Press

The Wire

Wall Street Journal columnist Neil King ponders a question that seems to have begun on or around January 21, 2013: Is President Obama a lame duck? The answer, as with all questions involving gauzy terms, is: depends on what you consider a lame duck.

King doesn’t really offer an answer to the question he poses, calling the current situation in D.C. “lame duckish.” “An eerie calm has fallen over the nation’s capital,” he writes, “and it feels like a premature case of the lame duck.” In part, he suggests, it’s because no one expects anything to get done, and even Obama’s insistence that he’ll act unilaterally seems like so much wing-flapping.

It seems more than a little premature to declare Obama a lame duck. It seems that way, anyway.

Prior to the 20th Amendment, ratified in 1933, lame duck sessions were inevitable and lengthy. Congresses generally didn’t convene until the December a year after their election, and the old Congress — including people who’d already lost their elections — would serve in the interim. As University of Notre Dame professor John Copeland Nagle explained to NPR in 2010, those lame duck politicians would pass legislation without having to worry about the consequences.

After the 20th Amendment, which moved new sessions up to January, lame duck sessions of Congress still occurred, but with less regularity. (As Nagle notes, the impeachment of President Clinton occurred in one such session.) So the term “lame duck” has been stretched backward, now being applied more broadly to legislators that have lost reelection — including a primary — or who have declared that they will not seek reelection.

 QuantcastWhat’s happening to Obama is slightly different. The latter lame duck definition above — someone who can’t seek a new term — has melded with our relatively new perpetual presidential campaign cycle. In other words, we already feel to some extent as though the 2016 campaign has begun (admittedly thanks to the enthusiasm of members of the media like ourselves), and so it is almost as though Obama is already the bystander he will be in December of 2016.

To King’s point, the stasis on Capitol Hill contributes to that sense. If Obama isn’t doing anything, if Congress isn’t getting anything done, it’s almost as though everyone is just waiting for the new Congress.  This isn’t unusual in an election year; already, members of Congress are thinking ahead to the Spring primaries and November general election. But the slow pace of legislative action goes back to last year, too, which was Congress’ least productive in recent history. That’s in part because of a divided Congress, in which the Republican House and Democratic Senate fail to agree on legislation. And it’s in part thanks to a deliberate effort by House Republicans to keep the gears of Congress moving slowly, which culminated in the October 2013 shutdown. And that slow legislative pace makes indulgence in 2016 speculation one of the few stories in town.

But stasis and lame-duckishness are not the same thing. Something will happen on Capitol Hill over the short- to medium-term that will make clear that neither Obama nor Congress are lame ducks, and that this is just a winter lull. Otherwise, everyone who wins an election but has to face retirement or a reelection in the future becomes something of a lame duck — meaning everyone elected to office is at all times seen as a temporary placeholder. And that’s not a particularly helpful way to look at Congress.

H/t: DB

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Obama Talks Health Care In Bill O’Reilly Interview


Obama Bill O'Reilly Interview

 

Fox News full interview video

I understand that Bill O’Reilly’s questions pertained to the IRS, Benghazi and Obamacare, the three issues that prompts the Right Wing base to have a feeding frenzy.

The Huffington Post

Ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII, President Barack Obama addressed the botched health care rollout in an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.

“I think we all anticipated that there would be glitches,” Obama said. “I don’t think I anticipated or anybody anticipated the degree of the problems with the website.”

The president celebrated the fact that three million Americans have signed up for Obamacare since its implementation last fall.

O’Reilly repeatedly asked Obama why Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, hasn’t been fired since the enrollment website faced such a tumultuous rollout.

“My main priority right now is making it sure it delivers for the American people,” Obama said. “I promise you we’ve held everybody up and down the line accountable.”

The Fox News host then asked whether repeatedly telling Americans that, if they liked their health care plan, they could keep it under the new health care law, was “the biggest mistake of his presidency.”

“This is one I regret and I’ve said I regretted,” said Obama.

Obama participates in an interview with the network airing the Super Bowl every year. In the past, he’s sat down with Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Scott Pelley.

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President Obama’s Message To House Republicans Talking Impeachment: Bring It On

obama-cnn

Ha!  Harvard Law School grad v Tea Party knuckle-draggers.  I’m with the POTUS…bring it on!

PoliticusUSA

During his CNN interview President Obama not only shrugged off Republican claims of an imperial presidency, but he appeared to challenge the Republicans who are talking lawsuits and impeachment to bring it on.

Video:

Transcript:

TAPPER: And let’s talk about House Republicans, because – and – and Senate Republicans. There has been a large contingency of Republicans critical of your new approach. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who might run for president, calls this the imperial presidency. And in the House, there is this thing, as you know, called The Stop Act. They want to rein in what you’re trying to do.
How do you respond to that?

OBAMA: Well, I don’t think that’s very serious. I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that every president engages in executive actions. In fact, we’ve been very disciplined and sparing in terms of the executive actions that we have taken. We make sure that we’re doing it within the authority that we have under statute. But I am not going to make an apology for saying that if I can help middle class families and folks who are working hard to try to get in the middle class do a little bit better, then I’m going to do it.

And, you know, I think it’s – it’s a tough argument for the other side to make that not only are they willing to do an – not do anything, but they also want me not to do anything in which case I think the American people who’s, right now, estimation of Congress is already pretty low might might have an even lower opinion.

TAPPER: The Stop Act is not something you take seriously?

OBAMA: I – I am not particularly worried about it.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan appeared to be laying the groundwork for impeachment by claiming that President Obama routinely violates the Constitution by exercising powers that he doesn’t have.

The president’s point was that House Republicans can pass their little legislation. They can cry about imperial powers all they want, but he is not going to apologize or back off because he is trying to help people who are working hard and getting the short end of the economic stick.

President Obama is calling the GOP’s bluff. He seems to be coming from a belief that that this is all just election year hot air from the GOP, but if they want to sue him, pass legislation to stop him for helping the American people, or talk impeachment, he isn’t afraid. This president isn’t going to fall for the Republican bully routine and back down.

Obama is treating the Republicans like they are irrelevant, because that is what they have earned through their obstructionist behavior. The president knows that they aren’t going to pass anything, or lift a finger to help the American people, so he is doing what he can by himself.

If Republicans don’t like it, they should do something about it. If they are too scared to do something about it, then they need to shut up and get out of the way.

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President Obama to meet with Pope Francis in March

NBC News

President Barack Obama will pay a visit to Pope Francis in March, the White House announced.

Obama will meet the pope at the Vatican on March 27 as part of a European tour that will include stops in the Netherlands and Belgium as well as Italy.

“The president looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” a White House statement said.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama met Pope Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor, at the Vatican in July 2009.

While in the Netherlands on March 24-25, Obama will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit, hosted by the Dutch government, where world leaders will highlight progress made to secure nuclear materials and commit to future steps to prevent nuclear terrorism. He will also hold bilateral events with Dutch officials.

The president will travel to Brussels on March 26 for a U.S.-EU Summit with the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.

While in Belgium, Obama will also hold bilateral events with Belgian government officials and with the NATO Secretary General.

In Rome, the oresident will meet with Italy President Napolitano and Prime Minister Letta.

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Obama warns Congress he will act alone to help the jobless: ‘I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone’

Barack Obama (AFP)

The POTUS’ takes a bold stance on the issue…

The Raw Story

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he was pleased Congress had passed a sweeping $1 trillion spending bill, but warned he would wield power alone if lawmakers blocked his policy plans.

The omnibus spending bill reached by negotiators from the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-run Senate funds the government until the end of the fiscal year in September, averting another government shutdown in the medium term.

“I’m very pleased to see the House and the Senate agreed to a budget,” Obama said as he met his cabinet at the White House.

The president encouraged Congress to pass the measure as “quickly as possible” to offer budget certainty for government agencies and departments.

Obama also called on Congress to act on his other priorities, including an extension of jobless insurance for the long-term unemployed and comprehensive immigration reform.

But White House hopes for an unblocking of the partisan gridlock snarling his second term look likely to be unfounded, a fact Obama appeared to recognize in his remarks, as he promised to wield the power of his office to mitigate the travails of the struggling middle class.

“We’re not just going to wait for legislation,” Obama said.

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive action and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”

While Obama can use his authority to implement policy changes on issues ranging from immigration to climate change and other issues, he must pass laws through Congress to enact the kind of sweeping political change he envisages and to deploy the power of the public purse.

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An alternative look at Obama’s 5th year

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to media before a meeting with mayors and newly-elected mayors from across the country, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks to media before a meeting with mayors and newly-elected mayors from across the country, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. CAROLYN KASTER/AP PHOTO

MSNBC

When books are written on Barack Obama’s presidency, it’s unlikely that his fifth year will be celebrated as the pinnacle of his tenure. On the contrary, it’s a year White House officials almost certainly consider a disappointment.

But I’m not sure it’s been quite as disastrous as advertised.
For much of the Beltway, that the year was an abject disaster is a foregone conclusion. “Little seems to have gone right for the White House in 2013,” Politico noted this morning in a piece asking which administration had the worst fifth year. Obama had the “worst year in Washington,” the Washington Postconcluded last week. 2013 “has been a pretty terrible year” for the president, BuzzFeed argued.
This has been “Obama’s year from hell,” The New Republic said. When Beltway pundits aren’t comparing Obama’s 2013 to George W. Bush’s 5th year, they’re comparing it Richard Nixon’s 5th year.
Even the most enthusiastic Obama supporter would probably balk at heralding 2013 as a success, but the premise of these analyses seems a little excessive. Consider:
* Twice congressional Republicans threatened debt-ceiling default; twice Obama stood his ground; and twice the GOP backed down before Congress did real harm. The presidential leadership helped establish a new precedent that will benefit Obama, his successors, and the country.
* Congressional Republicans shut down the government to extract White House concessions. Obama and congressional Democrats stood firm and the GOP backed down.
* The Obama administration forged an international agreement to rid Syria of chemical weapons, struck a historic nuclear deal with Iran, and brought Israelis and Palestinians to the table together for the first peace talks in years.
* The economy has steadily improved, and 2013 is on pace to be the best year for U.S. job creation since 2005 and the second best since 1999.
* The “scandals” the media hyped relentlessly in the spring proved to be largely meaningless, and while the president’s poll numbers have dropped, his standing is roughly at the same point as two years ago.
Obviously, the Affordable Care Act’s open-enrollment period got off to a dreadful start, though there’s ample evidence that the system is the midst of a dramatic turnaround. Besides, two months of website troubles do not a year make.
And while Obama’s detractors will also note that no major legislation was signed into law this year, that just makes 2013 identical to 2011 and 2012 – when Americans elected a divided government featuring radicalized Republicans unwilling to compromise, the fate of good bills with popular support was sealed, but that’s hardly the White House’s fault.
Songs will never be sung in honor of Obama’s fifth year, but the “year from hell” talk seems disproportionate given the circumstances. There have been disappointments, but 2013 just hasn’t been that bad.

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