Tag Archives: White House

The one sentence from President Obama’s press conference that Democrats should pay attention to

The Washington Post – Chris Cillizza

President Obama delivered a statement in the White House press briefing room touting the signup successes of the Affordable Care Act. He also took four questions from reporters — running the gamut from the situation in Ukraine to the ACA to the possibility of immigration reform. But, for Democrats running for office this November, there was one line in particular worth paying close attention to.

President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The president spoke about health care overhaul and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The president spoke about health care overhaul and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Asked by Politico’s Edward Isaac-Dovere whether he would advise Democrats to campaign on Obamacare this fall, the president, eventually, said this: “I think Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact….we’re helping because of something we did.”  He added that Republicans would have to defend their continued efforts to repeal the law and then quickly pivoted back to talking about the economy, which, he insisted, was the No. 1 priority for most Americans.

Parse those statements and you get this:

1. Democrats shouldn’t run from Obamacare because there is a positive story to tell (and, left unsaid, because they can’t run away from it anyway).

2. Democrats should make sure to focus voters’ attention on Republican efforts to repeal the law and ask questions about whether the GOP has its priorities mixed up.

3. The economy is the real issue and the one on which the midterms will be won or lost by Democrats.

Now, it’s not clear how many candidates will follow Obama’s strategic advice on handling the ACA — particularly given that so many of the seats up in the Senate (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina etc.) are in conservative leaning states where many likely voters probably don’t agree with the president’s assertion that “We can agree it’s well past time to move on as a country.”

But, make no mistake: This is President Obama laying out a strategic blueprint as to how he thinks Democrats can run and win in an electoral environment that, at least at the moment, doesn’t look great for them.


Filed under Affordable Care Act

10 things you need to know today: April 12, 2014

Pro-Russia militants barricaded themselves into the police station. 

Pro-Russia militants barricaded themselves into the police station. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The Week

Pro-Russia militants take over a Ukrainian police station, the White House refuses a visa to Iran’s U.N. ambassador, and more

1. Pro-Russia militants seize more Ukrainian buildings
Several dozen men took over a police station in eastern Ukraine this morning, raising a Russian flag and barricading the building. Ukrainian officials claim the militants seized at least 400 handguns and 20 automatic weapons to distribute to pro-Russia protesters. The militants appear to be Ukrainian, but the headquarters takeover is the latest building seizure by Pro-Russia forces, which come in the wake of a buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine’s border. Russian President Vladimir Putin maintains those movements are part of a military training exercise. [The New York TimesReuters ]


2. White House refuses visa to Tehran’s United Nations ambassador
In what could be an “unprecedented” move, the White House announced on Friday it will deny Iran’s pick for United Nations ambassador a visa. Citing Hamid Aboutalebi’s involvement in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, “the selection was not viable,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The decision could cool still-tentative relations between the two countries, as Tehran said it plans to challenge the visa denial. [The Washington PostTIME]


3. President Obama nominates Sylvia Mathews Burwell for health secretary
President Barack Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, as expected, for new head of the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday. The selection followed Thursday night’s resignation by Kathleen Sebelius, who quarterbacked the Affordable Care Act rollout. The Senate unanimously confirmed Burwell last year to her post of director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Obama called her a “proven manager” and “steady hand on the wheel.” [The New York Times]


4. NSA reportedly knew about Heartbleed bug for two years
Two anonymous sources told Bloomberg that the National Security Agency knew about the dangerous Heartbleed bug for at least two years, regularly exploiting the internet security flaw for its own intelligence gathering needs. Affecting as many as two-thirds of the world’s servers, Heartbleed left many sites considered secure open to data breaches by hackers. The NSA reportedly used those breaches to obtain passwords and other information. Both the NSA and the National Security Council issued flat denials of any prior knowledge of the bug. [BloombergTIME]


5. Nuclear energy firm agrees to continue supplying Ukraine
Nuclear technology company Westinghouse said on Friday it would extend a 2008 contract to supply fuel for Ukraine’s nuclear reactors. Much of the country’s nuclear fuel comes from Russia, but Moscow is threatening to cut off supplies over price disputes in the fallout over Crimea’s annexation. In light of those ongoing disputes, Ukraine also said it will reach out to European countries for new natural gas sources. [The Associated PressReuters]


6. Brazilian police evict 5,000 squatters from Rio de Janeiro favela
With this summer’s World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics set in Rio de Janeiro, officials have been trying to stamp out the city’s many favelas, slums in which more than 20 percent of Rio de Janeiro’s 6.3 million residents live. On Friday, police got the go-ahead to clear one such favela that was housing 5,000 squatters. People began protesting, throwing rocks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. While local media reported a calmer scene by Friday evening, it was the latest incident attracting international attention to a city struggling with concerns over whether it’s prepared to host high-level sporting events. [The Washington Post]


7. Ohio issues new fracking regulations in wake of small earthquakes
Following a state investigation into small earthquakes deep under the Appalachians last month, Ohio issued new fracking conditions on Friday. Calling the link between injections of sand and water into the Utica Shale and the small tremors “probable,” state officials said the quakes wouldn’t have been easily felt by people, but were still cause enough for new permit conditions. “While we can never be 100 percent sure that drilling activities are connected to a seismic event, caution dictates that we take these new steps,” James Zehringer, director of Ohio’s natural resources department, said. [The Associated Press]


8. Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priests’ sexual abuse
Speaking on Vatican Radio on Friday, Pope Francis asked forgiveness from victims of Catholic priests’ sexual abuse. The comments are being called the strongest condemnation yet of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal. Pope Francis addressed the issue after being criticized for not dedicating enough attention to the problem, saying, “the church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem.” [CNNTIME]


9. Dating app Tinder now worth $5 billion
Created just 20 months ago, the popular dating app Tinder is now worth $5 billion. The app, which syncs a Facebook profile and pings back other active profiles nearby, matches 10 million users a day. Barry Diller’s IAC, which is Tinder’s majority owner, bought another 10 percent of the company from venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya for $500 million, making Tinder’s value almost as much as its parent company. [Update: IAC CEO Sam Yagan told Forbes Tinder's $5 billion worth is "nowhere near the truth." Yagan says the firm bought a 10 percent stake for $50 million, not $500 million.] [Bloomberg]


10. Aaron Hernandez associates charged with murder
Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, associates of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, were indicted on first-degree murder charges on Friday. No arraignment date has been set yet. Hernandez had previously been charged in the June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, a fact Ortiz’s lawyer John Connors noted: “(Ortiz) started out having a gun (charge), then accessory after the fact, and now we’re up to first-degree murder,” Connors said. “This is absolutely crazy.” [The Boston Globe]


Filed under 10 things you need to know today

Keeping Tabs on Obama’s Church Attendance Is No Way to Gauge His Faith

Photo by Pool photo by Drew Angerer

The Daily Beast

President Obama has demonstrated the depth and breadth of his faith in numerous ways and in a variety of settings since taking office.
An article in the New York Times last week tallied up the number of times President Obama has attended church while in office: more than Reagan, less than Bush, and when it comes to all presidents, probably somewhere in between. The piece sought to make a broader point about the president’s religiosity based on these rough metrics–but that equation misses a lot else in the process. So I thought it might be illuminating to provide just a glimmer of Obama’s faith, a few moments out of many that stood out to me over the years of working and praying with our president.One of my favorite memories in church with Obama was from 2007, at Brown Chapel A.M.E. in Selma, Alabama. The young senator was at Brown Chapel to worship and mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the day in 1965 when civil rights activists faced dogs and batons as they marched from Selma to Montgomery.

Obama took the pulpit to deliver a powerful sermon–one of my favorites, later called “The Joshua Generation” speech, in which he masterfully linked his own diverse lineage, the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, the journey of the people of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, and the political moment of that day.

But it was what happened before his formal remarks that really stood out to me. We staff had prepared a standard “acknowledgments card” for Obama to read, with the names of clergy, elected officials, and other dignitaries to thank before his speech. He read those acknowledgments but when he was finished, Senator Obama said there was one more person who hadn’t been recognized.

He looked out into the packed congregation and saw a wizened face sitting several pews back, an old man who looked to be well north of 80 years. None of the other speakers had noticed the man at that point, and we had not introduced him to Senator Obama before the service began. But Obama pointed to him and said, “and finally friends, here with us today is Dr. C.T. Vivian. Let’s pause and thank him. That’s the man Dr. Martin Luther King called the greatest preacher to ever live.”

Vivian’s smile grew wide and eyes teary at the unexpected acknowledgment. Several of us marveled at how we had missed the great Dr. Vivian–whose activism precipitated the 1965 march in the first place–and how Obama had picked his face out from so many others in the crowd. It was a beautiful nod across generations, a pause from that pulpit that I’ll never forget.

There were many other remarkable moments of worship. I remember being at Allen Chapel A.M.E. in Washington for Easter services in 2010, when the entire Obama family–Barack, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and Ms. Robinson–knelt to take the bread and wine of communion. A week earlier, a drive-by shooting had rocked that same neighborhood, taking five lives and injuring four. The First Family’s attendance at that Easter service added a bit of temporal healing in that community to the eternal hope symbolized by Christ’s body and blood.

Continue reading here…

H/t: DB


Filed under President Obama, Religion


“You have to make it all about you, don’t you, Barack?” ~ Right Wing snark

This one is hilarious.  It epitomizes the term: Obama Derangement Syndrome…


Time’s Zeke Miller tweetered this adorbs little photo from June as part of a year-end skim of the White House Flickr stream. Photographer Pete Souza’s note:

“The President called me over to pose for a photo with a young boy who had fallen asleep during the Father’s Day ice cream social in the State Dining Room of the White House.”

So it’s not hard to imagine how this pic might hit the world of rightwing media.

Twitchy: “SNAP! Obama caught shaming small child forced to attend White House propaganda event”

Gateway Pundit: “Typical: Obama inserts himself into other people’s Fathers’ Day celebration”

Daily Caller: “Was cute sleepy child another Obama plant?”

American Thinker: “Sleepy Child Just Another Obama Plant — the evidence from photos”

Breitbart: “Sleepy Boy Reported To Be Another Plant”

Glenn Beck’s The Blaze: “No, there is no evidence that the sleeping boy was a plant. Buy Gold!”

WND: “Did ‘gay’ Obama fondle sleeping child?”

Peggy Noonan: “America. Sleeping. Where Is The Greatness? America.”

Drudge: “SIREN! Obama plays ‘Knockout Game’ on defenseless child”

Townhall/Katie Pavlich: “Pro-abort Obama With Child He Couldn’t Kill In the Womb”

Sarah Palin: “Obama’s America pointing sleep dad ice cream Obama precious child precious memories Alaska America Todd Gakk babies Willy Barstow foot American Exceptionalism Crhissmaks”

Erick Erickson: “Reagan never pointed at children” (1985 photo of Reagan pointing at child posted at Media Matters within 5 minutes)

Ben Shapiro: “Obama points finger, offers no market-based solutions to problems of black America.”

George Will: “The sleepy child and the tragedy of single black parents”

Fox & Friends: “Some people think Barack Obama is going to send this small boy to a reeducation camp! Are they right?”


Filed under Obama Derangement Syndrome

5 important political stories to watch in 2014

Would Boehner lead another shutdown? | Photo: (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Week – Taegan Goodard

1. Will Republicans win back control of the Senate?Most political forecasters give Democrats a minuscule chance of taking back the House of Representatives, so most attention will be on the six seats Republicans need to have the majority in the upper chamber.

The seven most vulnerable seats all belong to Democrats right now: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

2. Will Congress pass immigration reform? A bill has passed the Senate but House leaders refuse to bring it up. Considering the inability of this Congress to pass almost anything, it’s hard to give much hope to immigration reform — particularly in an election year.

However, two things could force the issue. First, national Republicans know they must improve the party’s standing with Hispanic voters and immigration reform is a key issue for this increasingly important voting bloc. Second, Speaker John Boehner has given signs he may move pieces of the Senate bill independently.

3. Will there be another fiscal showdown? Despite a bipartisan budget deal earlier this month, another major battle could be coming in the New Year over the debt ceiling. The federal government is expected to exhaust its borrowing authority by the end of February.

Though many Republicans want to use the event as leverage over the Obama administration to cut spending or tie it to legislation the White House opposes, the politics are brutal for the GOP. The self-inflicted wounds of the government shutdown on the Republican party are still raw and could act to prevent a major battle.

4. Will ObamaCare be a big issue for the midterm elections? Republicans will do everything in their power to tie the unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act to Democrats like they did in the 2010 midterms. It helped them retake control of the House.

But the White House is throwing every resource at their disposal to get the law implemented and move beyond the problems that crippled the health care exchange website. If millions of people are getting health insurance they otherwise could not afford by summer, it could end up being a non-issue or even a positive for Democrats.

5. Who knows? Politics is amazingly unpredictable except one thing is almost certain: There is usually a big political story we cannot predict.


Filed under GOP Leadership


The Huffington Post

These Charts Show Just How Good Congress Was At Being Terrible In 2013

Congress did very, very little in 2013 — setting all-time records for both most unproductive and most unpopular Congress ever. Both the House and Senate have passed dozens of bills that the other chamber ignored, leaving only 65 bills to make their way to the White House and be enacted into law. This count is the latest as of Monday, Dec. 23, and includes the most recent eight bills signed into law by President Obama on Friday, Dec. 20.

House Speaker John Boehner had this to say about what’s been accomplished: “The House has continued to listen to the American people and to focus on their concerns. Now, whether it’s the economy, whether it’s jobs, whether it’s protecting the American people from ‘Obamacare,’ we’ve done our work.”

Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.


Filed under 113th Congress

West Wing Week: 12/20/13 or “26 Candles”

The White House

This week, the White House honored those lost at Sandy Hook on the one year anniversary. The President met with newly elected mayors and executives from America’s leading technology companies, discussed the benefits of health care reform with a group of moms, and celebrated the holidays with Christmas in Washington.




Filed under West Wing Week

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire 12-21-2013

Obamas arrive in Hawaii 12-21-2013

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Obamas Arrive in Hawaii for Vacation [The Caucus] 12/21/2013 7:33:22 AM
After an end-of-the-year news conference, President Obama and his family touched down in Hawaii, his boyhood home, for a …

Monkey Cage: ‘Father Christmas’: The week in one song [Politico] 12/21/2013 8:00:27 AM
With the holiday five days away, I give you Christmas, as seen through the acerbic eyes of Ray Davies and the Kinks. Read full …

GovBeat: Chris Christie just took a big risk on immigration [CBS News] 12/21/2013 7:30:37 AM
In late September 2011, Rick Perry was riding high. Just a month and a half after joining the race for the Republican …

5 takeaways: Obama’s news conference [CBS News] 12/20/2013 5:13:36 PM 
Obama’s message: If you liked 2013, you’ll love 2014.

From crime to cigarettes, Bloomberg leaves his mark on New York [Reuters]12/21/2013 7:03:09 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: New Yorkers will not forget outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg …

Weekly addresses: GOP says Obamacare fails young people; White House looks ahead to 2014 [The Trail] 12/21/2013 6:00:06 AM
(CNN) – House Republicans took aim at Obamacare in their weekly address, while in his own weekly address President Obama …

Analysis: How the White House is rebranding Obamacare for ‘young invincibles’[Reuters] 12/21/2013 1:05:06 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last summer, White House officials planning a nationwide push to urge young adults to enroll in new …

Obama: Diverse Olympic delegation “speaks for itself” [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:25:29 AM
President Obama explains his decision to send LGBT athletes in the U.S. delegation to Olympics in Sochi, Russia, saying such …

Obama sidesteps question about Snowden amnesty [Politico] 12/21/2013 12:24:33 AM
President Obama says NSA leaker Edward Snowden started a worthwhile conversation about privacy, but he also damaged U.S. …

Federal Judge Rules That Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal in Utah [New York Times]12/20/2013 11:19:33 PM
The judge said that Utah’s amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the United States Constitution. If the ruling is …

2013: The year of gay marriage? [NBC News] 12/20/2013 1:17:01 PM
We’ve already published our 10 biggest political stories of the year. They include the government shutdown, the bungled …

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Filed under Political Wire, U.S. Politics

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


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.


Filed under President Barack Obama

Student Film Festival at the White House

I have two grandsons who’ve been  making amateur films since middle school but unfortunately they’re both in college now and this info applies to students in grades K-12.

So if you know of any student who falls within the guidelines, you might want to send them this message…

The White House


White House Student Film Festival



Yeah, having your schoolwork posted on the fridge at home is cool. But having a video you made posted on the White House website and screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? We think that’s pretty cool, too. That’s why we’re super-excited to announce the first-ever White House Student Film Festival: a video contest created just for K-12 students, and whose finalists will have their short films shown at the White House. Finalist videos may also be featured on the White House website, YouTube channel, and social media pages.

Continued here…


Filed under The White House