Archive for October, 2009

Obama’s Appearances at Fundraisers Outpace Presidents Bush and Clinton

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama’s Appearances at Fundraisers Outpace Presidents Bush and Clinton

Author: Associated Press

Source: Fox News, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Obama’s Appearances at Fundraisers Outpace Presidents Bush and Clinton, Retrieved Wednesday October 21, 2009 from

Just nine months into his presidency, President Obama has appeared at 23 Democratic fundraisers, including the two he attended Tuesday night, compared with George W. Bush, who did six political fundraisers, and Bill Clinton, who did five, during their first year in office.

When it comes to making appearances at political fundraisers, President Obama apparently can’t say no — especially when compared to his two predecessors.

Just nine months into his presidency, Obama has appeared at 23 Democratic fundraisers, including the two he attended Tuesday night, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who keeps a detailed log of presidential activities.

By comparison, George W. Bush attended six political fundraisers and Bill Clinton went to five during their first year in office.

“That’s a clear disparity,” said Pete Sepp, vice president for policy and communications at the National Taxpayers Union.

But when it comes to raking in the cash for fellow party members, Bush appears to be the fundraiser-in-chief.

He raised $48 million in those six fundraisers, while Obama raised $21 million in his first 20.

Obama’s whirlwind fundraising tour is far from finished. This week he’s going to a rally for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who’s locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Chris Christie; he’ll visit Boston to raise money for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is up for re-election in 2010; and he’ll be at a fundraiser for Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, who is facing a tough re-election next year.

Next week, leading up to the Nov. 3 election, Obama will campaign for R. Creigh Deeds, who trails Republican Bob McDonnell in the race for Virginia governor.

There’s plenty at stake for Obama, who is the Democrats’ top fundraiser. Dollars aren’t materializing as much as expected for Democrats. And, two weeks before off-year elections, Democrats are facing the prospect of losing the hard-fought gubernatorial race in Virginia and perhaps even in New Jersey. They are contests that depend on the Democratic base and to a certain degree are shaping up as a test of Obama’s political strength.

It’s not just this year’s races that are at issue but also the broader state of the Democratic Party — from cash-flow to enthusiasm — heading into next year. In the 2010 elections, Democrats will try to defend their majorities in Congress and seek to pick up governor’s seats in many states.

The party that controls the White House typically loses congressional seats in a president’s first midterm election. Obama wants to avoid the fate of Clinton, who like the current president swept into office with youthful energy, only to see his party lose control of Congress two years later.

Obama is calculating that he can’t afford criticism from the Democratic Party’s base supporters that he’s not helping candidates. But there also are risks to full-throttle campaigning.

“If governors and members of the House and Senate come to the conclusion that Obama’s personal support is not transferrable or that his supporters have not remained mobilized, the impact of his personal charisma will be seen as more limited than it was a year ago,” said Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College in New York.

“All in all, he gets more credit for making a public effort than for sitting on the sidelines and watching Democrats at risk fend for themselves,” Sherrill said.

The circumstances were quite different for Obama’s predecessors.

In 2001, Bush went to six fundraisers during his first few months in office — including ones for former Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson, who became the only incumbent to lose his re-election bid in 2002; Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, who decided not to seek re-election last year due to health reasons.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bush did not attend any political fundraisers for the rest of the year.

In the two gubernatorial elections that year, Democrat Jim McGreevy won in New Jersey and Democrat Mark Warner won in Virginia. In 2002, Democrats bolstered their overall number of governorships in 36 races.

In 1993, Clinton went to five fundraisers during his first year, including ones for New York Mayor David Dinkins, who would be defeated by Rudy Giuliani that year, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was re-elected the year after. Republicans reclaimed power in the gubernatorial races that year in New Jersey and Virginia. In 1994, Republicans swept to power in Congress, winning 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate races. They also won the majority of the 36 gubernatorial races in 1994.

Due to political maneuvering, it’s not clear how much of the bill taxpayers have to foot for these political fundraisers headlined by presidents.

Presidents tend to squeeze in business between political appearances to give their trips an air of official legitimacy and permit the White House to write off part of the trip under rules governing travel.

White House travel rules, developed under the Reagan administration, require the Air Force to pay all costs for the use of aircraft, but the government must be reimbursed for airfare, food, lodging and other expenses incurred during whatever portion of the trip is political.

Reimbursement for political activities is based on a tricky formula, however, and actual reimbursements usually come nowhere close to compensating the government for the cost of such trips. For example, Secret Service costs are always footed by the government.

A 2006 report for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that during 2002, political campaigns reimbursed the federal government for $198,000 of the $6.5 million flight expenses racked up by campaign-related stops made by Bush and Vice President Cheney — 3 percent of the total cost. Taxpayer paid the remaining $6.3 million.


Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative

Author: Jose Mari Lapiz

Source: Inquirer Global Nation The Home of Filipinos Worldwide, First Posted: October 15th, 2009, Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative, Retrieved October 15th, 2009 from

NEW YORK, United States—BBC World News Anchor and Pinoy pride Rico Hizon has achieved what no other Asian or Filipino journalist has done, moderate in two Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meetings.

He was first invited in Hong Kong when the former US leader hosted the first ever Clinton Global Initiative Asia last December, and in September at the 5th CGI conference in New York.

In Hong Kong, Hizon moderated the Climate Change discussion—an extremely relevant issue especially with the catastrophic natural disasters that have been hitting Asia-Pacific region in the recent weeks.

In New York, he facilitated the Emerging Markets session with renowned guest speakers President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, the World Bank’s chief economist Justin Lin, and Nobel Prize Winner for Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, together with President Clinton as the Guest of Honor.

“For me, both as an individual and in my professional capacity, these were two events I will never forget. The first invitation was an honor and the second a privilege. And in an event of this magnitude, not only am I representing my network, but more importantly raising the Philippine flag,” Hizon said.

During the four-day conference, he met and spoke with Hollywood celebrities, activists, policy experts, generals, CEOs, and everyday people working tirelessly at non-profit groups and NGOs in countries around the world.

“From them, I received a first class education, listening, as some of the world’s brightest and most committed people argued and agreed on new ways to solve the most pressing problems, from global education to climate change,” Hizon said.

Clinton letter and conversation

In President Clinton’s one-page invitation letter to Hizon, he said, “You were such a wonderful addition to our program in Hong Kong and we hope you will be able to join us once again, and serve as moderator at the Emerging Markets panel session, on September 22. We’d be delighted if you could lend your voice to this timely discussion.”

Before the session started, Hizon got his chance to speak with the President. “I was fortunate to chat with him, despite always being surrounded by numerous admirers and secret service agents. We exchanged views about climate change, the state of the US economy, and how he succeeded in freeing two American journalists from North Korea. Our conversation ended when he shook my hand and thanked me for being part of the CGI, and said that it was great to have an Asian voice in the discussions,” he said.

Ninoy tie and barong

In representing the Philippines in his own little way, Hizon described what he wore. “I wanted to show everyone that I was Filipino amongst the global crowd, so I made it a point to wear a special edition “I am Ninoy yellow and black tie” and a Philippine flag pin on my jacket lapel on the first day. On the second day, I wore a Rhett Eala Black Barong Tagalog with a Philippine map embroidered on the top left corner. It really stood out and people asked where it was made. I told them it was Philippine made,” he said proudly.

Celebrity advocacies

During his short stay in New York, most of the time at conference site at the Sheraton Hotel on 7th Avenue, Hizon personally spoke with some of Hollywood’s top stars—from Jessica Alba to Matt Damon and Michelle Yeoh, to basketball great Dikembe Mutombo. He too shook the hands of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchner.

Hizon spoke with Jessica Alba in between plenary sessions, and she shared with him her 1GOAL: Education for All advocacy, where’s she’s the US co-chair. It’s an advocacy that seeks to help about 75 million children denied access to education around the world. And she stressed, that you don’t have to be a Hollywood star to help children reach their dreams. “Jessica was great—really simple, pretty, and very accommodating,” he said.

He also spoke with Matt “Jason Bourne” Damon after he launched his non-profit group, It’s a commitment that would help provide clean water and sanitation facilities to 50,000 people in Haiti, and Damon and company also hope to provide more countries with access to safe water and sanitation.

He also crossed paths once again with Asian actress Michelle Yeoh, for a second time, as she was also one of the major participants at the 1st Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong last December.

Among the many initiatives Yeoh supports is the Make Roads Safe campaign, which advocates road injury to be recognized as a global public health and development priority. And during the New York conference, she made a commitment to launch a $10-million scheme to help the International Road Assessment Programme improve the safety of road infrastructure in developing countries.

“I felt really proud for not only being a Filipino but also representing Asia, and what really made my day was when I was told by CGI organizers that I was the only moderator flown in from Asia, and the only Asian to moderate a plenary or a sub-plenary session. It was truly an honor because I was among respected news personalities in the US broadcasting industry, such as ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, NBC Meet the Press host Tom Gregory, and CNBC’s top business news anchor Maria Bartiromo,” he said.

Clinton Global Initiative

What makes the Clinton Global Initiative fulfilling to many people is that it is an action-oriented mission to effect positive changes on a global scale and create an “integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities, and values.”

The annual meetings have brought together former and present heads of states, Nobel Prize laureates, top CEOs, philanthropists, non-governmental organizations, and international media organizations resulting in 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion and impacting 200 million lives in 150 countries.

“I am very blessed to be part of these very important events, as people from all over world unite to share and give. And never a day goes by that I do not thank God for all the blessings he has given me and my family,” he said.

Clinton Announces 2nd Annual CGI Meeting

October 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Former President Clinton Announces 2nd Annual Meeting of CGI University

Author: CGI News and Media

Source: Clinton Global Initiative, October 8th, 2009, Former President Clinton Announces 2nd Annual Meeting of CGI University, Retrieved October 9th, 2009 from

CGI U to be held at University of Texas at Austin

February 13-15, 2009

Applications available online at

October 8, 2008

New York, NY

Former President Clinton today announced the 2nd annual meeting of CGI University (CGI U) will be held February 13-15, 2009, at the University of Texas at Austin. Applications to attend are now available online at

“The burden of solving many of our world’s greatest problems will fall to the next generation, and the innovation and dedication of young people today shows they are up for the challenge,” President Clinton said. “CGI U is based on the great success of our Clinton Global Initiative – through which members have made nearly 1,200 commitments valued at upwards of $46 billion. CGI commitments have already impacted 200 million lives in 150 countries, and commitments made at this year’s Annual Meeting will impact 160 million. I am looking forward to the next meeting of CGI U to give students the opportunity to improve even more lives around the world.”

CGI U, a project of the Clinton Global Initiative of the non-partisan William J. Clinton Foundation, provides college students and university officials with a platform to address issues that are important to the next generation of leaders.

At the 2009 meeting, President Clinton will again bring together a growing community of students and university administrators to devise solutions to global challenges in the areas of education, energy and climate change, global health, human rights and peace, and poverty alleviation. Over the three day conference, attendees will participate in forums and working sessions to brainstorm ways to make a difference.

All CGI U attendees make a Commitment to Action – a comprehensive, formal plan of action to address a specific problem on their campus, in their community, or on another continent. While a commitment is a requirement for participation at the meeting, any college student or university can make a commitment throughout the year through the CGI U website. Since the inaugural meeting in March 2008 at Tulane University, nearly 1,000 commitments have already been made by students and universities worldwide.

Applications to attend the 2009 meeting are available online now at The early decision deadline is November 7, 2008, and the final application deadline is December 12, 2008. Applications will be processed on a rolling basis, and students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.