Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie Headline Clinton Global Initiative America Conference

June 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Clinton Global Initiative America is an event taking place June 13-14 in Chicago, Illinois. The Clinton Global Initiative is a foundation that convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s challenges. Annual meetings have brought together heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, and the world’s leading CEO’s and philanthropists. CGI was founded in 2005 by Bill Clinton and advisor Doug BandCGI

The CGI America conference will focus on solutions to promote economic recovery and  how to create jobs. Classified as a “working meeting,” business, foundation, NGO and government leaders will be on hand to collaborate and present ideas.

Headlining the event will be Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Secretary Clinton will be participating at CGI America for the first time, and will give featured remarks along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner of The Prtizker Group. Moderated by President Clinton, participants will also include:

Eva Longoria, Founder, The Eva Longoria Foundation

Sara Martinez Tucker, Chief Executive Officer, National Math + Science Initiative

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, President and CEO, Chobani, Inc.

Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations, Target Corporation

The focus of the group will be “American Dreams, American Realities: Achieving Economic and Social Mobility.”

Governor Christie will take the stage in the final session of the conference on Friday with President Clinton. They will participate in the plenary session “Cooperation and Collaboration: A Conversation on Leadership.”

Other notable participants at CGI America include, Jacob J. Lew, US Treasury Secretary, Chelsea Clinton, Clinton Foundation board member, and Bill Simon, President and CEO of Walmart US and Walmart Stores, Inc.

Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel Nomination

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Chuck Hagel was confirmed as Defense Secretary on Tuesday after a strong opposition from Senate Republicans. Despite being a Republican himself, Hagel had to face a possible filibuster in the process of his confirmation, which came with a 58-41 vote, the smallest margin for a defense secretary since 1947.

52 Democrats, two independents and just four Republicans voted to confirm Hagel, with 41 Republicans opposing him. The Senate had voted earlier in the afternoon 71-27 to end the debate of the nomination. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska was nominated by President Obama to the post. Obama released the following statement:

“I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world.”

Hagel will be sworn in tomorrow morning and face spending cuts as they are set to automatically kick in on March 1. In a statement, Hagel said,  “I will work closely with Congress to ensure that we maintain the strongest military in the world and continue to protect this great nation.”

Republicans opposed the nomination in part because of Hagel’s opposition to the troop surge in Iraq. There were also concerns about comments Hagel had made that put into question is commitment to Israel and suggestions were made that he received money from North Korea.

Politics Put Aside in Hurricane Sandy Response

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, leaders at all levels of government are putting politics aside to form the best disaster response possible for the regions effected by Sandy. President Obama, in what was just a week from election day, joined a conference call with utility executives to express the fact that turning power back on for the millions without it was a top priority  Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate had also joined the call in an effort to find out what assistant FEMA could provide in assisting the companies in getting the power turned back on.

8 million homes across 18 states had lost power the AP reported.

The White House said, “The President also commended the dangerous and exhausting work being undertaken by the lineman and utility workers on the front lines in the field, repairing downed power lines and conducting other important tasks.”

The following day, President Obama flew to New Jersey to meet with Republican Governor Chris Christie and other state and local officials. Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media, “It is entirely appropriate for the president to visit New Jersey …and to view first hand the damage inflicted by Sandy. This is not a time for politics.”

President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talk with local residents at the Brigantine Beach Community Center in Brigantine, N.J.

Upon meeting with Governor Christie, he and President Obama toured damaged areas on the Jersey Shore and Long Beach Island in a helicopter. Following the tour, they spoke at a shelter, offering one another praise.

President Obama said, “I want to just let you know that your governor is working overtime to make sure that as soon as possible everybody can get back to normal. Christie returned praise adding, “I want to thank the president for coming here today. It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey and I appreciate it very much. We’re going to work together to make sure we get ourselves through this crisis and get everything back to normal. Thank you for coming, sir.”

Categories: Current Events, Politics

Health Care Debate Playing Role in Campaigns

July 4, 2012 Leave a comment

While the public is divided on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll show’s that President Obama holds a significant lead on the issue over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Only 30% of people polled have a favorable opinion of Governor Romney’s stance on health care, while 47% view it negatively. The 17% deficit also comes with 23% of those polled undecided.

The spit on the law in general came with 43% of Americans seeing it favorably while 42% view it unfavorably. That was a shift prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling as 52% viewed it negatively, to 36% who viewed it positively.

ABC News wrote:

“A challenge for Romney, in addition to his weaker support overall, is the fact that critics of the Supreme Court ruling don’t flock to him as an alternative. Among people who see the ruling unfavorably, Romney’s plans for the system get a tepid 45-36 percent positive rating. Among those who see the ruling favorably, by contrast, 86 percent also see Obama’s plans favorably.

Obama’s plans for the system are 12 points more popular than Romney’s among independents, the customary swing voters in national elections. But both men do poorly in this group – 38 percent positive for Obama, 26 percent for Romney. And Obama tips into majority negative territory among independents; 52 percent see his plans for health care unfavorably. Romney’s at 46 percent negative, again with more undecided.”

Obama Team Releases Short Film and Fires Up Supporters

March 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The Road We’ve Traveled, a new 17 minute short film about the first term of President Obama was unveiled to campaign volunteers to get them ready for the road ahead.  The Obama re-election campaign produced the film, with Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim directing the short film. Narrated by Tom Hanks, it includes sit down interviews with President Obama’s closest advisors and other politicians. Those featured include, VP Joe Biden, David Axelrod, Elizabeth Warren and Rahm Emanuel.

The film touches on the killing of Osama bin Laden, the economic stimulus, the auto industry bailout, the wind-down of the Iraq war, the health care law, repealing don’t ask-don’t tell, the women’s equal pay act, among other accomplishments.

“It’s really effective to see everything summarized like that,”  27-year-old Alison Shurtleff told Politico. Shurtleff had volunteered for Obama in 2008. He added, “You kind of forget some of the stuff from the beginning, right after his election.”

Guggenheim won his Oscar for directing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

The film can be seen in its entirety below.

Elizabeth Warren’s Senate Run

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment
One of the biggest surprises of the Republican victories in the tumultuous 2010 mid-term elections was the election of Republican Scott Brown to the Massachusetts senate seat. Riding a wave of Tea Party support and Republican momentum, Brown out campaigned and out maneuvered a weak Democratic candidate, Martha Coakly, who thought that due to Massachusetts’ historically liberal leanings the senate seat was all but hers. She was mistaken of course and Brown won the senate seat shocking much of the nation.

However, now Scott Brown has a new challenger and holding on to that senate seat as an incumbent might prove to be a bit more difficult than winning it was back in 2010. Elizabeth Warren has recently thrown her hat into the ring for Kennedy’s long held senate seat and is proving a formidable challenger. Warren, a Harvard professor and long time consumer advocate who is mostly known for helping create the Consumer Protection Bureau and then being passed over by Obama to head it, has devoted much of her professional life researching working against large financial special interest groups. In addition to her scholarly work, she was appointed by senator Reid to the TARP oversight committee in 2008 and testified before congress on numerous occasions on financial issues. It was her tenacity and success in this arena that most likely lead Obama to pass her over in hopes that a more moderate head of the newly created Consumer Protection Bureau would be less controversial to newly elected conservative house members, who vowed to block her nomination.

While early predictions either favored Brown or put Brown and Warren neck and neck, a few missteps by Brown and the rising tide of anti-financial sector sentiments have begun to swing the tide slightly in Warren’s favor. Recently, Brown invoked angry sentiments when he made unflattering quips about Warren’s physical appearance when questioned about his nude photo spread in Playgirl. If Brown continues such missteps, and if public opinion against big moneyed interests continue to rise, then Warren, who is seen among many as a stalwart defender of the middle-class consumer against big money, could easily ride that wave to a Democratic victory in 2012.

In fact, it appears that public opinion is beginning so slowly turn. The New York Times reported on October 10, 2011 that Warren is out fundraising Brown and far out fundraising her democratic primary candidates, two of who have withdrawn from the race, and that favorable opinions of her amongst likely voters are growing. Current polls have Warren and Brown tied in the Massachusetts senate race. Not a bad performance for someone who just entered the race a month ago.

Politics Heating Up – Justice Department Scorching

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Politics is heating up across America, and one place the heat is getting absolutely scorching is within the Justice Department. Internal Justice Department documents obtained by media outlets on October 3, 2011 reveal that Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial ATF gun-running program known as Fast and Furiousin July, 2010, directly contradicting Mr. Holder’s statement to Congress.

On May 3, 2011 Holder stated in a Judiciary Committee hearing “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”Of course, the Justice Department now claims that the released memos were discussing a “different case started before Eric Holder became Attorney General”, and Mr. Holder claims to have “misunderstood” the question from the Committee back in May.Operation “Fast and Furious” was a covert ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) program where firearms were legally purchased by straw buyers in the U.S. and then smuggled into Mexico to be sold to drug cartels. Letting the guns “walk” was the term used for allowing the straw purchases to be sent south. The operation remained secret until last December when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered during a drug interdiction operation. Two guns were recovered from the scene that proved to be part of the Fast and Furious straw purchases, and the operation was publically revealed by ATF whistleblower, John Dodson.

The ostensible purpose of the operation was to track the weapons in order to combat the drug cartels, but many political rivals of the Administration see the operation as cynical ploy to push a domestic gun control agenda, and point to numerous instances of left wing commentary before the Fast and Furious story broke that claimed a connection between lax U.S. gun laws and gun violence in Mexico. Others on the opposite side of the spectrum claim that these operations were the work of “rogue” elements within the ATF and that the gun running operations originated under the auspices of the Bush Administration.

What is clear is that William Newell, the ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix area where most of the straw purchases occurred, has admitted in sworn testimony that “the DHS, IRS, DEA, ATF, ICE and the Obama Justice Department were all involved” in the Fast and Furious operation. President Obama says he knew nothing about Fast and Furious, even though $10 million in stimulus funds were set aside for the operation in February of 2009 and he referred to “gun tracing” and “gun enforcement policies” in a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in April 2009.

The media’s reluctance to report on this story lends credence to the claim that the media is largely compliant and partisan, but as more facts come to light that illuminate trails leading high up into the Justice Department, the media can no longer ignore the story, and Operation Fast and Furious may become the singular issue of the 2012 Election.

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