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Clinton/Bush: Haiti

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are spearheading a fundraiser relief effort for Haiti at the request of President Obama.  While Bush said he doesn’t miss the spotlight, he says he believes his role post presidency is to use his resources to help where he can.  He believes the immediate goal for the relief effort is to save as many lives as possible and then develop a strategy from there.  Bill Clinton said that his role Post Presidency is not to tell the current President [Obama] what to do but to show up and help when asked to do so.  Together they should be able to raise a significant amount of money and resources for Haiti.  It’s a very unique situation to see them working together.  However, despite the fact that they do not always agree on everything, they’ve always considered each other good friends.  In this particular case, they do not have to worry about choosing political sides since they both agree that the right thing to do is help Haiti in every way possible.

Read more about Bush, Clinton and gain a perspective from Clinton’s counselor, Doug Band, on the collaboration of the two by following the embedded link to the NY Times article.

Categories: Current Events Tags: , , ,

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: FoxNews.com Fox News, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Obama’s Appearances at Fundraisers Outpace Presidents Bush and Clinton, Retrieved Wednesday October 21, 2009 from http://sitemirror.tpa.foxnews.com/politics/2009/10/21/obamas-appearances-fundraisers-outpaces-predecessors/

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.

Bush-Clinton || Rwanda\AIDS\Border Issues

Rwanda, AIDS, Border Issues Dominate Bush-Clinton Talk

Author: Andrew Davidson, Kas Roussy and Mark Gollom of CBC News from the George Bush-Bill Clinton debate of U.S./Canadian issues in Toronto:

Source: CBC News, Posted on May 29th, 2009 06:03pm, Rwanda, AIDS, border issues dominate Bush-Clinton talk, Retrieved on May 29th, 2009 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/politicalbytes/2009/05/post_40.html

As the discussion between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton continued Friday afternoon, moderator Frank McKenna, Canada’s former ambassador to the U.S., brought up the issue of Rwanda.

“You were the president of the United States,” he said to Clinton, asking why the former president hadn’t stepped in to stop the killing.

Clinton responded that the decision not to act was “one of my greatest regrets” as president.

“We couldn’t have saved all of them,” he said. “[But] we could have saved as many as 300,000 lives … I have no defence.”

He said Rwandans were the most “astonishing” people for their ability to forgive.

Bush defended Clinton’s stand on Rwanda, saying that it’s “not realistic” to think you could just pick up the phone and order 20,000 troops into a conflict zone.

Asked whether the U.S. should have intervened in Darfur, Bush replied: “I was confronted by a situation of where do I send in marines?” The broad consensus among NGOs and government advisors was to not intervene unilaterally, he said, ‘”So I didn’t.”

Bush added that Hu Jintao, leader of the People’s Republic of China, “needs the energy,” so he won’t support a Sudan resolution at the UN. “We are trying to expedite troops to Darfur, but getting the international community together is hard … [diplomacy] only works with leverage.”

Clinton jumped in to defend Bush on Darfur, calling the attempts to build an international consensus an “agonizing process” and comparing it to Bosnia. “It’s not as simple as saying ‘he should have done something’ … He [Bush] did about all he could do.”

On the issue of same-sex marriages, Bush said he doesn’t agree with the repeal of the Defence of Marriage Act.

“I was hoping we’d stay away from national amendments,” Clinton added, saying it should be a matter for the individuals to decide, along with state laws and the rules of their respective faiths.

McKenna said Canada feels its history of mutual respect is being torn apart by new U.S. border restrictions, a statement that drew broad applause from the audience.

Bush replied, “I don’t know about the passport issue,” and added that he had tried to get a simpler “EZ-Pass” passport project through government. He seemed genuinely unaware of passport requirement changes that go into effect at the Canada-U.S. border June 1.

Clinton added that he didn’t know about the passport changes until it was mentioned to him Thursday. “We need to find a less severe alternative,” Clinton said, but added that he wants to hear more from Homeland Security on the matter.

“Let me just say you’ve got my attention with this and I’m going to go home and ask more about it,” Clinton said.

On the cross-border trade issue, Bush said: “Buy American provisions are bad for our business and I’m against them.”

McKenna brought the discussion back to issues in Africa, telling Bush, “The world owes you a debt of gratitude” for his administration’s massive anti-retroviral AIDS drug program for Africa.

“To whom much is given, much is required,” replied Bush. “Don’t thank me, thank the taxpayers of the United States of America.”

He added that the best way to counter terrorist killers recruiting from the world’s hopeless and poor is through the efforts of “armies of compassion.”

Clinton in turn praised Bush for bringing a Christian appeal to the members of the Republican-dominated Congress, as well as church groups and non-governmental organizations. He also hailed the racial and ethnic diversity of cabinet choices under Bush.

“What he did on the AIDS drugs and the diversity in the cabinet … he deserves a lot of credit.”

The discussion ended with a standing ovation from the crowd, but some left with a feeling of disappointment that the debate hadn’t gone deeper into major issues.

Jonathan Tucker, a chartered accountant in the audience, said he was surpised there wasn’t more disagreement between the ex-presidents.

“Clinton could have taken some shots, but he didn’t” Tucker said as he left the auditorium.

Heather Williams, another member of the audience, said she was disappointed Bush didn’t face a direct question over Iraq. “It was eye-opening, but I wanted to hear his justifications for going to war,” the 29-year-old said.