Political Wire · U.S. Politics

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 …

113th Congress

Least Productive Congress EVER – House Only Working 8 More Days This Year

house calendar 2013
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) | AP

The Huffington Post

Working during the holidays sucks. Luckily for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, they don’t have that much of it before the new year begins.

The House is only scheduled to work eight days between now and January 7, when members return for the second session of the 113th Congress.

The House had 239 days off scheduled during 2013, and they have even more off days scheduled for next year.

The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work only 113 days. That’s down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days. Only 107 days were scheduled in 2012.

As HuffPost reported in July, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productivein modern history. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been defensive of that report.

“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in July. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”

Political Wire

Political Wire – 11-05-13

Taegan Goodard’s Political Wire

Election Day 2013: Six Races to Watch [The Trail] 11/5/2013 7:03:55 AM
Here’s a rundown of some major races Tuesday across the country, including closely watched governor and mayoral races, plus a …

The Fix: How to watch the exit polls in the Virginia governor’s race [CBS News]11/5/2013 6:32:24 AM
Tuesday’s elections bring an early Christmas gift for election watchers: exit polling! The data gathered from people leaving …

She The People: Ratiu Democracy Award winner fights ‘anti-gypsy’ prejudice [CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:32:12 AM
“If it’s not careful, the media can sustain centuries-old stereotypes about Roma,” says Roma activist Dr. Angela Kocze, …

Tea Party figure, Democratic fundraiser face off in Virginia vote [Reuters] 11/5/2013 6:20:28 AM
(Reuters) – Virginia voters went to the polls on Tuesday in a closely watched election for governor that has put the …

As New York votes for mayor, de Blasio poised for landslide [Reuters] 11/5/2013 6:17:25 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democrat Bill de Blasio faces the challenge of high expectations as he goes into Tuesday’s New York City …

GovBeat: Getting Connecticut’s books in order requires half a billion in state bonds [CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:01:32 AM
Imagine recording expenses as money is actually spent, and recording revenue as money actually comes in. Hardly sounds …

Federal Eye: Federal judge grants search warrant in LAX shooting investigation[CBS News] 11/5/2013 6:01:22 AM
Federal authorities are searching for cell phone evidence that Paul A. Ciancia planned Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles …

In New York mayor’s race, de Blasio’s children front and center [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is poised to become the city’s next mayor, and he may have his kids to thank for …

Can Chris Christie win New Jersey – in 2016? [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
The question about tonight’s N.J. governor’s election isn’t whether Christie will win, it’s how large his margin of victory …

Voters head to the polls to elect governors in Va., N.J. [NBC News] 11/5/2013 6:00:00 AM
Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a slight lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie …

Jay Carney

Jay Carney smacks down ABC’s Jonathan Karl: ‘I’m sure you’ll represent’ GOP talking points

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (C-SPAN)

Good for Mr. Carney.  Most reporters respect his position but some reporters sympathetic to TeaPublicans really give him a hard time on a regular basis…

The Raw Story

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took a jab at ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Monday and suggested that he was little more than a Republican Party stenographer who would “represent” House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) point of view.

During Monday’s White House briefing, Carney was telling Reuters correspondent Mark Felsenthal about Boehner’s insistence over the weekend that Republicans would not pass a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling when Karl broken decorum and interrupted.

“That’s not what he said, Jay,” Karl objected. “I’m telling you that’s not what he said.”

“I’m having a conversation here,” Carney shot back. “I’m sure you’ll represent what the Speaker’s saying in a minute.”

And when the ABC reporter’s turn came, he did exactly that.

“What the Speaker said is they are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” Karl explained. “He didn’t give a specific set of demands. He said he’s not going to have a clean debt limit increase. If the Speaker of the House sticks to the position, are we going to default?”

“If you’re saying, if the Speaker attaches to the debt ceiling increase a recognition of, you know, the importance of motherhood, we might accept that… I’m trying to be funny, but nobody laughed so I apologize. It’s been a long shutdown already.”

“We’re not going to negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to raise the debt ceiling,” the press secretary added.

Earlier this year, media observers called Karl’s reporting “highly problematic ethically” after he claimed that emails showed that the Obama administration had edited references to terrorism out of talking points about attacks in Benghazi for political purposes. Even after CBS News and others revealed that those emails had been doctored by Republicans, Karl continued to stand by his reporting

According to the media watchdog group FAIR, Karl’s “high profile at ABC demonstrates that conservative messages can find a comfortable home inside the so-called ‘liberal’ media.’”

Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast Oct. 7, 2013.


Government Shutdown

Fox News Poll Finds Disapproval Of GOP Skyrocketing After They Shut Down Government

John Boehner crying


Bad News is everywhere for the Republican Party. Even the Fox News poll has found disapproval of the Republican Party jumping to 59% in their latest poll.

According to the Fox News poll, disapproval of the Republican Party has jumped from 46% in September of 2012 to 59% today. Disapproval of the GOP has climbed from 54% in January to 56% in April to nearing 60% today. Approval of the Republican Party has fallen from 45% to 35%. In contrast, Democratic Party unfavorability has stayed stable in the Fox poll at between 48% and 49% all through 2013.

Support for repealing the ACA has dropped from 39% in June to 30% today. This could mean that the linking of funding the government to defunding or delaying the ACA has completely backfired on the Republican Party. The number of Americans who think that they will be better off under Obamacare has risen by 7 points from 34% to 41%, and by a margin of 36%-19% respondents thought that Ted Cruz’s fake filibuster hurt efforts to repeal the ACA.

Eighty one percent think the government shutdown is a serious problem, and they are blaming John Boehner and Ted Cruz (42%) more than they are blaming Harry Reid and President Obama (32%). A new CBS News poll confirmed the Fox News poll by finding that 44% of Americans blame Boehner and the Republicans for the shutdown, while 35% blame Obama and the Democrats.

The behavior of House Republicans isn’t just hurting their 2014 chances. It is damaging the whole Republican Party. When a Fox News poll finds a sizable margin of people are blaming the Republicans things are really bad. The Fox News polls have always shaded their questions with loaded terms, so it means a lot when a poll that is normally friendly to the GOP finds things going this badly.

Republicans dismiss most polls as “rigged by the liberal media,” but it is difficult for them to ignore a poll that cones from the supposed only real news source that they trust. The government shutdown isn’t just bad for Republicans. It’s disastrous.

All of the Republican talking points blaming Harry Reid and President Obama for the shutdown are failing miserably. Every moment that the shutdown continues compounds the damage. We all knew that this day would come someday. The Republican Party is being destroyed by their own obsession with Obamacare.

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: September 14, 2013

Residents look over a road washed out by a torrent of water near Left Hand Canyon, south of Lyons, Colo.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)


The Week

The U.S. and Russia reach a deal on Syria’s chemical weapons, Colorado floods rage on, and more

1. U.S., Russia reach deal on Syria’s chemical weapons
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov announced Saturday that they had reached an agreement on Syria turning its chemical weapons over to international control. The deal reportedly calls for Bashar al-Assad to turn over all details of his chemical weapons arsenal within a week. Meanwhile, U.N. inspectors are expected to file their report on the alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus sometime this weekend. [CBS News]

2. Floods continue to wreak havoc in Colorado
The worst flooding Colorado has seen in three decades continued as the National Guard rescued an entire town of 1,600 people. Emergency vehicles drove through floodwaters that reached three feet high as storms continued to rage across the state. At least four people are dead and 172 unaccounted for. [Chicago Tribune,Reuters]

3. Bomb rocks area near U.S. consulate in Afghanistan
Taliban forces claimed responsibility for a car bomb that went off near the U.S. consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, on Friday. The bomb exploded as militants exchanged gunfire with Afghan security forces, damaging the front gate of the consulate but resulting in no U.S. casualties. [CNN]

4. Friends of accused Boston Marathon bomber plead not guilty
Dias Kadyrbayev, Robel Phillipos, and Azamat Tazhayakov, who are all accused of concealing and destroying evidence belonging to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, all pleaded not guilty in federal court on Friday. Kadyrbayev faces the most serious charges — two counts of obstruction of justice and conspiracy — which could result in 25 years in prison. [Boston Herald]

5. UNICEF reports that millions of children are still dying of preventable diseases
In a report released Friday, UNICEF said that 35 million children will die between 2015 and 2028 of preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. The mortality rate has actually improved over the last few decades, from 90 deaths per 1,000 children in 1990 to 48 deaths per 1,000 in 2012. [CBS News]

6. Teenagers plead not guilty to the murder of 88-year-old WWII vet
Demetruis Glenn and Kenan Adams-Kinard, both 16, pleaded not guilty in Spokane, Wash., to charges of first-degree murder and robbery in connection with the death of 88-year-old Delbert Belton. The World War II veteran was allegedly beaten to death while waiting for a friend in front of an Eagles Lodge. [The Spokesman-Review]

7. Fire in Russian psychiatric hospital kills 37 people
A fire broke out early Friday morning in a psychiatric hospital in northwestern Russia, killing 37 people, including patients and at least one nurse. A similar incident killed 38 people in April, raising concerns about the poor maintenance of some of Russia’s state-run institutions. [New York Times]

8. Tropical storm heads towards Texas
Tropical Storm Ingrid formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, creating fears that eastern Mexico might experience floods and mudslides in the next few days. The storm, which had winds of 45 m.p.h., could hit south Texas sometime early next week. [USA Today]

9. Man fails to cross the Atlantic Ocean with helium balloons
Balloonist Jonathan Trappe was forced to land in a remote part of Newfoundland on Friday after attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat lifted by 300 helium balloons. He was rescued by the crew of a helicopter commissioned by the CBC after taking off from Maine on Thursday. [CBC]

10. Oklahoma State possibly used sex to woo football recruits
More than a dozen former football players at Oklahoma State told Sports Illustrated that female hostesses had sex with them when they visited the campus as recruits. The 10-month investigation also found evidence of players being paid in violation of NCAA rules, academic misconduct, and even drug dealing. [Sports Illustrated]

Barack Obama

Obama’s time away from the office

The Obamas’ vacation home in Hawaii. (http://www.washingtonpost.com)

The more I interact via social networking, with people on “the right”, I hear them say that President Obama has taken more vacations than G.W. Bush and spent more money on those vacations than Bush.   I’m certainly going to pass this article on, but I also know that they won’t read it.  They’d rather remain in their little bubble and get their facts from the right-wing media…who seem to have a huge problem with facts.

The Maddow Blog

As August approaches, and President Obama schedules a little r-and-r at Martha’s Vineyard, there are apparently some predictable gripes on the right about his time off. The AP provides some context: “Obama has taken far less time away from the White House than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who spent weeks at a time at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Obama has taken 87 days off, compared with 399 days for Bush at a similar period in his presidency, according to CBS News’s Mark Knoller, who keeps detailed records of presidential travel.”

Let’s put that in chart form to help drive the point home.

A lot of folks forget this, but Ronald Reagan set the record for most vacation days for a sitting president — a record that stood until George W. Bush passed Reagan’s seemingly unbreakable benchmark.

As for the current president, conservative gripes not withstanding, it’s just not realistic to think Obama has a credible chance of even coming close to GWB’s record. At comparable points in their presidencies, for every day Obama has taken off, Bush had already taken 4.5 days off. Obama could stay on vacation for the rest of 2013 and still not be within striking distance of Bush’s hyper-lazy pace. The former two-term Republican just didn’t care for working particularly hard.

I don’t imagine this will curtail criticisms of the president from the right, but unless these same folks complained about his predecessor, their objections are better left ignored.

GOP · United States Congress

Four Better Ways To Spend The $55 Million Wasted On Votes To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

The irony seems to escape the GOP and their sycophants  in Congress.  They’ve implemented “sequestration” to curb superfluous spending yet waste $55 million dollars on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act thirty-seven times

Think Progress

For the 37th time since 2011, House Republicans will hold a vote to repeal Obamacare on Thursday, bringing the total cost of all of their failed repeal votes to roughly $55 million in taxpayer money, according to one estimate.

Last year, CBS News calculated that the number of hours spent on 33 repeal votes — then roughly 80 hours, or two full work weeks — cost taxpayers an estimated $48 million. Since then, Republicans have held three more votes (another $4.5 million) and will add another $1.5 million with their latest.

At a time when lawmakers have implemented $85 billion in across-the-board cuts on top of$1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade, no dollar can be spared. And the country has serious health-related needs that could use funding. Here are some better health care uses for the more than $50 million these symbolic votes against the Affordable Care Act have wasted:

1. Restore cuts from sequestration to Title X family planning programs and Title V maternal and child health services. The National Women’s Law Center calculates that a 5 percent cut to the budgets of each program will reduce them by $15 million and $32.5 million, respectively. Rather than voting to repeal a bill that expands women’s access to preventative services, the House could use the money to expand them.

2. Double the Department of Justice’s budget for sexual assault services, which has currently been authorized a $50 million budget. The program gives money to states so that they can support rape crisis centers and other nongovernmental organizations that provide direct intervention, core services, and other assistance to the victims of sexual assault. Current funding is inadequate, as some states receive less than $300,000 and many programs lack the resources to meet victims’ needs.

3. Grant a request for $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals as part of a new initiative to expand mental health treatment and prevention services. This proposal came in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting to address gaps in the mental health system.

4. Help states implement paid leave policies. President Obama included a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund in his 2011 budget to provide start-up support for states that want to enact paid leave for workers. More than 40 percent of workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, heading to work when they or their family members experience an illness, but this funding could help give them a better option.

The current Congress is on track to be the most unproductive since the 1940s, but still has time to hold votes that won’t result in actual legislative change. There are many other priorities lawmakers could focus on instead and better ways to spend taxpayer dollars.

Benghazi · House Oversight Hearings


The Blaze

May 7, 2012

The House Oversight Committee has released excerpts of their interview with Gregory Hicks, one of the two high-profile whistleblowers who will be testifying at tomorrow’s hearing. From what we have heard thus far from Hicks, his account of the events that took place between high level security and State Department officials on September 11, 2012 as a U.S. consulate in Libya was under siege differ drastically from what we have been told by the Obama administration.

CBS News reports:

According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

No assistance arrived from the U.S. military outside of Libya during the hours that Americans were under attack or trapped inside compounds by hostile forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.

“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.

During an interview with CBS , Hicks says that everyone knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack “from the get-go.”

As Washington braces for the hearing Wednesday, the Benghazi attack, response and investigation is once again turning into a major scandal that conservatives lament Obama dodged in the fall shortly after the attack and amidst the presidential campaign. Jim Geraghty notes though in his column on the conservative National Review Online that Republicans should go into the hearings dedicated strictly to unearthing facts, rather than showboating.

Dear Republicans on the House Oversight Committee:

Please do not grandstand. Please do not take the time before the television cameras to tell us how outraged you are, even though what you are investigating is, indeed, outrageous. There will be plenty of time for that after the hearing. All day Wednesday, give us the facts, and then more facts, and then more facts….

On ‘Real News‘ Tuesday the panel previewed what to look for from tomorrow’s hearing, namely, if we get answers to two questions: Were military forces told to stand down? And, did the administration lie to the American people afterward about the events that took the lives of four Americans?

Watch clip here.

Fox News Lies · Fox News Lower Ratings

Fox News’ Credibility At ‘Record Low’: PPP Poll

The Huffington Post

Fox News’ credibility has fallen 9 percent since three years ago, according to new Public Policy Polling (PPP) results released on Wednesday.

The annual poll asks participants to rate their trust in multiple networks including Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News. According to PPP’s press release:

Just like its actual ratings, Fox News has hit a record low in the four years that we’ve been doing this poll. 41% of voters trust it to 46% who do not. To put those numbers into some perspective the first time we did this poll, in 2010, 49% of voters trusted it to 37% who did not.

Just like last year, researchers also found that Fox News is both the least trusted and most trusted network when compared to the other networks in the survey. Thirty-four percent said they trust Fox News the most, while 39 percent said they trust it the least.

Other news outlets are not entirely better off. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they trust MSNBC, while 44 percent said they do not. When it comes to CNN, 38 percent of voters said they trust the network, but 43 percent said they trust the cable network the least.

PBS is the only outlet that respondents trust more than distrust, with 52 percent of voters saying they trust the network, and 29 percent saying they do not.

Click over to PPP for the full report.