Jay Leno · President Barack Obama

Obama: We won’t “be terrorized” — addressing for the first time a potential terrorist plot, he advises “caution” in travel

President Barack Obama talks with host Jay Leno during a taping of “The Tonight Show.”

NBC News – First Read

President Barack Obama urged Americans to continue to “live our lives” on Tuesday amid a suspected al Qaeda threat that has closed more than a dozen U.S. embassies.

In his first public comments about the potential plot, Obama told “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that the threat was significant.

However, the president pointed out that the odds of dying in a terrorist attack were less than dying in a car accident.

“Terrorists depend on the idea that we’re going to be terrorized,” Obama added. “We’re going to live our lives.”

Asked if the message was for Americans to delay travel plans, Obama said no, but Americans should exercise “some common sense and some caution.” He encouraged people to check with the State Department or embassies before trips to any potentially dangerous areas.

Obama praised American resilience after tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing, saying it is important not to let terrorists “shut us down” over fears of violence.

He added: “It’s a reminder that for all the progress we’ve made, getting [Osama] bin Laden, putting al Qaeda in between Afghanistan and Pakistan back on its heels, that this radical, you know, violent extremism is still out there, and we’ve got to stay on top of it.”

Obama’s sixth appearance on the NBC show came days after the State Department shuttered more than a dozen U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East and North Africa for the remainder of the week. That action sprung from intercepted messages between top al Qaeda leaders who appeared to be plotting a major attack in or around Yemen.Almost 100 U.S. personnel were evacuated from the country early Tuesday.

Addressing concerns about an NSA information collection program that stores phone record metadata in the effort to prevent terrorist attacks, Obama acknowledged that some are skeptical of the program’s impact on privacy but defended some government surveillance as a “critical component to counterterrorism.”

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” Obama said. “What we do have are some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack,” he said. “That information is useful.”

The president also addressed the ongoing diplomatic fracas with Russia, which offered temporary asylum to alleged NSA leaker Edward Snowden and has cracked down with policies targeting gays and lesbians as the 2014 Sochi Olympics approach.

He confirmed that he will attend the G-20 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin but warned that his forward-looking message will be clear.

“There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality,” he said of the Russian government. “What I continually say to them and  to President Putin, that’s the past.”

Domestic issues also came up – including Obama’s emotional impromptu speech in the wake of the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.

He described his remarks then as an effort to aspire to “fairness” in the justice system while acknowledging the realities that face young African American men.

“What we also believe in is that people – everybody – should be treated fairly and the system should work for everyone,” he said to applause.

Not all of the conversation revolved around the most weighty issues faced by the commander-in-chief: Obama joked about his love of broccoli and his recent birthday, and he quipped that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had “that post-administration glow” when they lunched privately last month.

Asked if his onetime presidential rival was “measuring the drapes” during the visit, Obama reminded Leno that Clinton knows her way around the White House from her tenure as first lady.

“Keep in mind she’s been there,” he said. “She doesn’t have to measure them.”

U.S. Politics

Blog Round Up – 6-22-2012

Scarborough’s Rant Pep Talk

Mitch McConnell’s Meanderings

Rick Scott is the New Civil Rights Movement

Romney vows long-term immigration plan

Kudos to Jay Leno for Challenging Santorum

Gun rights fanatics invent violence conspiracy…

Fox Covers Up GOP Obstruction Of The DREAM Act

Why Republicans Worry About Hurting Corporate Feelings

Mitt Romney tries to soften image among Hispanic voters

Rove Touts His Super PAC’s Record While Fact-Checkers Disagree


Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Huntsman, Leno, Perry


The top quotes in politics …

“When’s the delivery food coming?” — Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman making a cringe-worthy joke about China.

“It’s fun to poke at him a little bit.” — GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on bringing up the Obama birther debate.

“Right now a lawn gnome can beat Obama.” — Former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell knocking the president’s re-election odds.

“This election will not be as sexy as the first one.” — President Obama talkingabout 2012.

“Can I get you a teleprompter?” — Comedian Jay Leno joking with Obama before his “Tonight Show” interview.

“Can I send you a fleece?” — The subject line of an e-mail from Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign.

“I’m not the kind of plumber who uses duct tape.” — Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher announcing his congressional run.

“He was drunk or stoned.” — Democratic strategist James Carville hypothesizing that Herman Cain’s adviser was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while taping this ad.

President Barack Obama

Obama: “Reality Check”



REALITY CHECK: President Obama told Jay Leno this morning that he’s not going to pay attention to the GOP candidates until they’re narrowed down “Survivor” style.

“I’m going to wait until everybody’s voted off the island,” he said, according to excerpts released by NBC. “Once they narrow it down to one or two, I’ll start paying attention.”

Despite what he said, Obama is paying at least a little attention to the Republican field — he’s called the candidates out for not wanting to raise any “revenue” through taxes.

Related articles

Politico · Politico Top 10 Quotes of the Week · Politico's Best Quotes of 2010

Politico’s:The Week In One Liners


The week’s top 10 quotes in politics:

“I am not going to shut up.” – Sarah Palin, responding to criticism she faced over her rhetoric in the wake of the Tucson shootings. 

“I’m so pyscho-busy, my days don’t finish until really late.” – Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, explaining why he’s single. 

“Finally a piece of good news this week.” – Director Michael Moore, tweeting his reaction to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election. 

“Finally I met somebody that makes me look laid back.” – Former President Bill Clinton, describing Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel. 

“Slow down.” – Newt Gingrich, offering some advice to Sarah Palin. 

“Reince Priebus is also the name of a car often seen driven by Jay Leno.” – David Letterman, spoofing the new RNC chair’s unusual name. 

“She should stop talking now.” – Former Bush speechwriter David Frum, on Palin. 

“I promise you, that when Regis leaves television, I’ll leave the Senate.” – Lieberman, joking about how he arrived at his decision to retire. 

“I know how Caesar felt.” – Former RNC Chair Michael Steele, explaining what it felt like to be replaced by Priebus, a one-time aide. 

“If you take a shot whenever Republicans say something that’s not true, please assign a designated driver.” – Rep. Anthony Weiner, attempting to create a drinking game about politics.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin Blindsided By Mainstream Press & Mitt Romney’s Jab

Huffington Post

When Sarah Palin returned to Iowa on Thursday to promote her new book, America By Heart, the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential hopeful found herself caught off guard when confronted by reporters about whether she plans to mount a bid for the White House in the next election cycle.

The unanticipated run-in between Palin and the press went down at a local Walmart in the Hawkeye State. With supporters of the conservative star on the scene, a crew from CNN cut straight to the chase and asked if she was any further along in her decision-making process about a presidential run. Jim Acosta and Bonney Kapp report:

The country music that Palin’s handlers had blaring at the signing station presumably to drown out such questions suddenly stopped. We asked the question again.”Am I doing interviews?” the former Alaska governor asked. “I thought I got to talk to the nice people. And where’s our music and where’s our good enthusiasm?” she persisted.

We repeated the question. “Not any closer. No,” she responded.

 Since breaking onto the political scene during the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin has developed a reputation for maintaining an icy relationship with the mainstream media — or the “lamestream” media as she often puts it. Despite embarking on a book tour packed with public events, the Tea Party favorite has reportedly made attempts to dodge the press along the way.

Nevertheless, the CNN crew managed to hit Palin with one more question during Thursday’s book signing. The topic: an apparent shot taken by rumored 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney the night earlier on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

“What did Governor Romney say on the ‘Tonight Show’?” responded Palin when asked about the criticism in question, which seemed to take aim at her decision to resign as governor of Alaska.

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Politics · President Obama · Republican Secret Donors · Republicans

White House Goes Into Bunker Mode

Today begins the last full week before the midterm elections…

Daily Beast

As the GOP prepares for landslide in November (The Daily Beast’s Election Oracle forecasts a 50/50 split in the Senate and a substantial Republican lead in the House), the Obama team seems powerless to stop it. Howard Kurtz on its fascinating belief that the bully pulpit has been downsized, forcing the leader of the free world to shout for attention.

Imagine if the Chilean mining disaster had happened here in the States. President Obama would have been hammered for 69 days for failing to rescue the men, right up to the moment the first one was pulled to safety.

That’s the sensibility inside the White House these days: If there’s a bad story out there, even one far removed from the presidential orbit, the Obama crowd will own it. Every administration feels besieged at times, pilloried by the press, misunderstood by the public. But conversations with White House officials suggest a team that feels almost snakebit during a midterm election that is likely to produce substantial losses.

“There’s an alternative story here that we’re trying to tell,” says Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director. “But there’s an element of spitting in the ocean.”

During the long election slog, “a narrative takes hold, and trying to beat those narratives can be challenging and frustrating,” he says. “Some of the news coverage is focused on more of the negatives and few of the positives. But I don’t think that’s surprising, given the environment.”

Obama certainly bears responsibility for a wide range of missteps and a perverse talent for turning winning (on the Hill) into losing (in the court of public opinion). But what’s fascinating is the belief that the bully pulpit has been permanently downsized, forcing the leader of the free world to shout for attention in a cacophonous world.

It sounds absurd: Obama can instantly command attention any time he wants. He can pop onto the Today show, plop himself on Jay Leno’s couch, get himself on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, chat up the kids on MTV, diagram basketball brackets on ESPN. This week he’ll drop by The Daily Show and match wits with Jon Stewart. Everything he says is news.   Continue reading…