Madness of King O

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Obama’s sequester deal-changer

By Bob Woodward, Published: February 22

Bob Woodward (woodwardb@washpost.com) is an associate editor of The Post. His latest book is “The Price of Politics.” Evelyn M. Duffy contributed to this column.

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

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The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”

The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.

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Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”

A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.

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At the Feb. 13 Senate Finance Committee hearing on Lew’s nomination to become Treasury secretary, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked Lew about the account in my book: “Woodward credits you with originating the plan for sequestration. Was he right or wrong?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Lew responded, “and even in his account, it was a little more complicated than that. We were in a negotiation where the failure would have meant the default of the government of the United States.”

“Did you make the suggestion?” Burr asked.

“Well, what I did was said that with all other options closed, we needed to look for an option where we could agree on how to resolve our differences. And we went back to the 1984 plan that Senator [Phil] Gramm and Senator [Warren] Rudman worked on and said that that would be a basis for having a consequence that would be so unacceptable to everyone that we would be able to get action.”

In other words, yes.

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But then Burr asked about the president’s statement during the presidential debate, that the Republicans originated it.

Lew, being a good lawyer and a loyal presidential adviser, then shifted to denial mode: “Senator, the demand for an enforcement mechanism was not something that the administration was pushing at that moment.”

That statement was not accurate.

On Tuesday, Obama appeared at the White House with a group of police officers and firefighters to denounce the sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize military readiness and investments in education, energy and readiness. He also said it would cost jobs. But, the president said, the substitute would have to include new revenue through tax reform.

At noon that same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney shifted position and accepted sequester paternity.

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“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”

This was an acknowledgment that the president and Lew had been wrong.

Why does this matter?

First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)

Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”

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In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bob-woodward-obamas-sequester-deal-changer/2013/02/22/c0b65b5e-7ce1-11e2-9a75-dab0201670da_story.html

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 Exclusive: The Woodward, Sperling emails revealed
By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
February 28, 2013 08:30 AM EST

POLITICO’s “Behind the Curtain” column last night quoted Bob Woodward as saying that a senior White House official has told him in an email he would “regret” questioning White House statements on the origins of sequestration. The official in question is Gene Sperling, economic adviser to the president. The White House has since pushed back, saying the exchange was far more innocuous than Woodward claims.

We have obtained, exclusively, the exchange. Here it is:

From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

Bob:

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

© 2013 POLITICO LLC

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=5AA01667-EE95-4BB2-9CE8-93FE70D11EE8

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Woodward at war
By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
February 27, 2013 08:01 PM EST

Bob Woodward called a senior White House official last week to tell him that in a piece in that weekend’s Washington Post, he was going to question President Barack Obama’s account of how sequestration came about — and got a major-league brushback. The Obama aide “yelled at me for about a half-hour,” Woodward told us in an hourlong interview yesterday around the Georgetown dining room table where so many generations of Washington’s powerful have spilled their secrets.

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Digging into one of his famous folders, Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

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Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’”

“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.”

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UPDATE: The official Woodward is referencing is Gene Sperling, a top economic aide, as BuzzFeed reported last night and we confirmed. Sources tell us the White House might release the full exchange to show it was much more innocuous than Woodward suggests.

ANOTHER UPDATE. We have obtained the actual email exchange and posted it here.

A White House official said: “Of course no threat was intended. As Mr. Woodward noted, the email from the aide was sent to apologize for voices being raised in their previous conversation. The note suggested that Mr. Woodward would regret the observation.”

Woodward — first in “The Price of Politics,” his best-seller on the failed quest for a grand budget bargain, and later with his opinion piece in the Post — makes plain that sequestration was an idea crafted by the White House. Obama personally approved the plan and later signed it into law. Woodward was right, several congressional officials involved in the talks told us.

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And that contention has made Woodward, once Public Enemy No. 1 to a generation of Republicans, the unlikely darling of the right wing. Conservatives suddenly swoon over him, with his stepped-up appearances on Fox News and starring role in GOP press releases. And while White House officials are certainly within their rights to yell at any journalist, including Bob Woodward, this very public battle with a Washington legend has become a major distraction at a pivotal moment for the president.

The feud also feeds a larger narrative because, like many others, Woodward thinks this is a very thin-skinned White House that does not like being challenged on the facts. He said that explains the senior aide’s in-your-face email. “I think when they get their rear end in a crack here, they become defensive,” he said. “This could be a huge issue if the economy takes a hit. And people are going to go back and say exactly what happened and who did it and so forth.”

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The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time. The president was running around the country, campaign-style, warning that Republicans were at fault for the massive cuts set to hit Friday. What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes — aimed at replacing half of the cuts — were never part of that very specific plan.

The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did — after Obama conceived it.

The truth is that Obama and Republicans supported it because everyone believed it was a such a stupid idea that the grown-ups in Washington would never actually let it happen. They thought Obama and Congress would come up with a grand bargain on spending, entitlement cuts and tax increases, instead of allowing the sequestration ax to fall. They were wrong.

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So the blame game is in full swing — and Woodward is smack in the middle of it. The Obama White House is out to discredit him. Behind the scenes, Obama allies are spreading word that the Woodward book broadly — and his reporting on sequestration specifically — are misleading because Republicans, especially House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, were so clearly among the chief sources.

It is no secret on Capitol Hill that Cantor and his staff cooperated extensively with Woodward. It is fairly obvious as you breeze through the opening chapters of the book. But we have talked with many Democrats and Republicans who cooperated with the book. And all of them say that while they might dispute some of the broader analytical points Woodward makes, the play-by-play is basically spot on.

David Plouffe, the longtime political adviser to Obama, taunted Woodward on Twitter shortly after this column was published. “Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again,” he tweeted. “Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.”

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Watching and now having interviewed Woodward, it is easy to see why White House officials get worked up about him. He clearly is skeptical of Obama’s approach to the job. “I’m not sure he fully understands the power he has,” Woodward said. “He sees that the power is the public megaphone going around to these campaign-like events, which is real, but the audience he needs to deal with is on this issue of the sequester and these budget issues is John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.”

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Woodward also said that based on his reporting for the book, Obama deserves more of the blame for scuttling the grand bargain of 2011 that would have put sequestration to rest long ago. “He changed the deal and it blew up,” Woodward said. “I mean, you look at the facts, and even by the White House accounts by his aides, he was making a last-minute change.”

Woodward thinks there is still a grand bargain to be had between Obama and Boehner, with tax reform as a huge component. “Sit down and work through this,” he said. “I can see exactly how you come up with a deal that would dispose of lots of things.” Woodward, who helped bring down one presidency and has written instant history on every one since, added: “Color me a little baffled. I don’t understand this White House. Do you?”

© 2013 POLITICO LLC

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/woodward-at-war-88212.html?hp=t1_3

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Obama White House: Prevarication and intimidation

By Jennifer Rubin, Updated: February 28, 2013

For some people, the worst comes out when they are under stress. President Obama is under a lot of stress, having predicted budgetary Armageddon and failed to stir the Republican House on the sequester. And sure enough, we see the worst aspects of his character and his presidency.

First, he has a nasty habit of making stuff up. Now that he is sending out his Cabinet officials to scare the public he finally is being called on it. His education secretary gets a rare four Pinocchios from The Post’s Glenn Kessler:

There is little debate that across-the-board spending cuts in education funding will cause pain for some schools and states. But there is no reason to hype the statistics — or to make scary pronouncements on pink slips being issued based on misinformation.

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Indeed, Duncan’s lack of seriousness about being scrupulously factual undercuts the administration’s claim that the cuts are a serious problem.

Duncan made this claim not once, not twice, but three times.

So much for his reputation.

online-reputationEven worse are the White House’s bullying tactics, which treat all dissent — even inconvenient facts! — as treachery. Bob Woodward described what ensued after a half-hour “tirade” by a White House aide [ later revealed by the White House to be Gene Sperling] about his reporting on the White House’s authorship of the sequester:

Woodward said the tirade was followed by a page-long email from the aide, one of the four or five administration officials most closely involved in the fiscal negotiations with the Hill. “I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today,” the official typed. “You’re focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. … I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. “ ‘You’ll regret.’ Come on,” he said. “I think if Obama himself saw the way they’re dealing with some of this, he would say, ‘Whoa, we don’t tell any reporter ‘you’re going to regret challenging us.’ ”

“They have to be willing to live in the world where they’re challenged,” Woodward continued in his calm, instantly recognizable voice. “I’ve tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there’s a young reporter who’s only had a couple of years — or 10 years’ — experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, ‘You’re going to regret this.’ You know, tremble, tremble. I don’t think it’s the way to operate.” The White House declined to comment for this story.

This is monstrously stupid of the White House displaying what we have seen repeatedly: The administration cannot defend its positions on the merits, so it attacks critics. It also suggests a level of desperation rarely seen from the arrogant Obama White House. [UPDATE: the full emails reveal less  bullying and far more pomposity, suggesting the White House would have its critic’s best interest at heart. ]

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The president risks not only losing the sequester battle but also going from halo-crowned messiah to nasty bully in the eyes of at least some in the media and, more important, in the view of the country. The voters have maintained an extraordinarily high level of personal support for Obama (although he got only 51 percent of the vote), despite really rotten economic results. That goodwill may fray or even break if he keeps prevaricating and throwing his weight around.

Well, at least we don’t have politics “as usual,” which Obama bemoaned in the 2008 campaign. No, it is much, much worse. It’s impossible for Obama to achieve Reagan-like status (for reasons discussed here), but he just might become the left’s Nixon if he keeps this up.

© The Washington Post Company

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/02/28/obama-white-house-prevarication-and-intimidation/

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Pain

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Harry Alford CEO of the National Black Chamber Of Commerce On Fox News

Published on Feb 26, 2013

Black Chamber of Commerce CEO on Obama: ‘I had hopes because he was black, shame on me’
National Black Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Harry C. Alford told The Daily Caller that he “ignored” President Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment in 2008 and “had hopes” for him “because he was black.”

“I don’t really support him too well and he knows it and that’s a badge of honor. He’s bad. He’s bad and I supported him. I voted for him the first time around. I had hopes because he was black. Shame on me,” Alford told The DC at the National Press Club after an anti-gun control news conference.
While running for president in 2008, Obama said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

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When reminded Obama’s comment, Alford said, “I kind of ignored it. I said, ‘well, maybe he’s just talking.’ He was serious. He was real serious and it is truly — if you read the Communist Manifesto — that’s that philosophy. He is not Adam Smith. He does not believe in capitalism the way American, our Founding Fathers did. He is very social and it’s getting borderline communist.”

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is “dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States.”

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http://www.nationalbcc.org/

Black Chamber of Commerce CEO: Obama doesn’t feel pain of Americans

Published February 26, 2013 | Hannity | Sean Hannity With: Harry Alford

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/2013/02/27/black-chamber-commerce-ceo-obama-doesnt-feel-pain-americans#ixzz2M848LHOn

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Seques’CAS’tration

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Sequestration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Sequestration or Sequester may refer to:

Legal

Science

Other uses

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequestration

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A Day Late and a Dollar Short or as the present day White House likes to say, A Day Late and Several Billion or is it Trillion (?)  Short – O to meet on Friday with congressional leaders to discuss the sequester.  “D’Oh!”, thanks Homer. Again, say it aint so Chester?  Oh it be so, Chester.

s2 = ss = stylish satirist

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Obama to meet congressional leaders on ways to avoid sequester impact

By Zachary A. Goldfarb, Wednesday, February 27, 10:36 AM

President Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday at the White House to discuss a way to avoid the fallout of deep spending cuts after they have technically begun, a top congressional aide familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Weeks of finger-pointing on both sides have not led to an agreement to avoid the cuts, known as the sequester. The meeting will be the first between Obama and congressional leaders on the issue.

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House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are expected to attend.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel confirmed the meeting and noted that because of its scheduled date, “at this point, the Obama administration isn’t even pretending to try to stop the sequester.”

Obama has said the $85 billion in cuts in domestic and defense spending would have a devastating impact on the government and harm the economy. Republican leaders agree that an alternative to the sequester is necessary.

But the two sides have clashed over whether new tax revenue should be part of the solution. Senate Democrats and Republicans are expected to advance dueling proposals Thursday to resolve the sequester, but neither is expected to get the votes necessary to pass.

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Shortly after the White House meeting was announced, McConnell said Republicans would work with Obama, but only to replace the sequester with other spending cuts. He reiterated Republicans’ opposition to Obama’s central demand of higher tax revenues.

“The message my constituents keep sending is simply this: Replacing spending cuts that both parties have already agreed to and which the president has already signed into law with tax hikes is simply unacceptable,” McConnell said. Obama “wasn’t elected to work with the Congress he wants. He was elected to work with the Congress he has. That means working with both parties to get things done. It means leaving the gimmicks behind and working with us to hammer out a smarter solution to his sequester.”

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“We’re still ready to work with them to get something responsible done,” McConnell said. “But we can’t do it alone.”

The sequester technically begins Friday, but the effects won’t be felt for several weeks, as they are implemented. Federal furlough notices are likely to be among the first steps the government takes.

Both sides are hoping to resolve the battle by late March, when a stopgap measure funding the government expires.

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ABC News first reported the expected White House meeting Wednesday morning.

Ed O’Keefe and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-to-meet-congressional-leaders-on-ways-to-avoid-sequester-impact/2013/02/27/b28a46d2-80ef-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html

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OFA

Maybe it stands for “Organizing for Access”…

s2 = ss = stylish satirist

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Organizing for Action – Statement of Purpose

Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun control, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.

http://www.barackobama.com/about/about-ofa?source=footer-nav

Does President Obama support the establishment and activities of OFA?

OFA is advocating for the agenda that President Obama has presented to the nation, and as an organization dedicated to this purpose, OFA has been grateful for the expression of support for its work by the President, Vice President and First Lady. Although it was privately established and will be privately operated, without government funding, OFA will work hard to retain the support and confidence of the President by effectively advocating for his Administration’s core agenda. It also looks forward to working with other civic organizations that are similarly committed to the successful enactment of this agenda.

http://www.barackobama.com/faq

 Cuts we can’t afford

By Alex on February 26, 2013

If Congress doesn’t act by Friday, severe spending cuts would slash vital services for children, seniors, the mentally ill, and our men and women in uniform.

Share how these cuts could affect your family—and why Congressional Republicans should protect middle-class families over tax loopholes for millionaires.

 Cuts

Share your story

http://www.barackobama.com/?source=action-bar

February 22, 2013

Obama’s Backers Seek Big Donors to Press Agenda

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE

President Obama’s political team is fanning out across the country in pursuit of an ambitious goal: raising $50 million to convert his re-election campaign into a powerhouse national advocacy network, a sum that would rank the new group as one of Washington’s biggest lobbying operations.

But the rebooted campaign, known as Organizing for Action, has plunged the president and his aides into a campaign finance limbo with few clear rules, ample potential for influence-peddling, and no real precedent in national politics.

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In private meetings and phone calls, Mr. Obama’s aides have made clear that the new organization will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors, not unlike the “super PACs” whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored.

At least half of the group’s budget will come from a select group of donors who will each contribute or raise $500,000 or more, according to donors and strategists involved in the effort.

Unlike a presidential campaign, Organizing for Action has been set up as a tax-exempt “social welfare group.” That means it is not bound by federal contribution limits, laws that bar White House officials from soliciting contributions, or the stringent reporting requirements for campaigns. In their place, the new group will self-regulate.

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Officials said it would voluntarily disclose the names of large donors every few months and would not ask administration personnel to solicit money, though Obama aides will probably appear at some events.

The money will pay for salaries, rent and advertising, and will also be used to maintain the expensive voter database and technological infrastructure that knits together Mr. Obama’s 2 million volunteers, 17 million e-mail subscribers and 22 million Twitter followers.

The goal is to harness those resources in support of Mr. Obama’s second-term policy priorities, including efforts to curb gun violence and climate change and overhaul immigration procedures. Those efforts began Friday, when thousands of Obama supporters were deployed through more than 80 Congressional districts around the country to rally outside lawmakers’ offices, hold vigils and bombard Congress with e-mails and phone calls urging members to support stricter background checks for gun buyers.

“There are wins we can have on guns and immigration,” Jon Carson, the group’s new executive director, told prospective donors on a conference call on Wednesday, according to people who participated. “We have to change the conventional wisdom on those issues.”

Organizing for Action: You In?

Our work didn’t end on Election Day.

Organizing for Action will support the legislative agenda we voted on, train the next generation of grassroots organizers and leaders, and organize around local issues in our communities.

Watch this video the First Lady recorded about the next step of this grassroots movement, and say you’re in:

https://my.barackobama.com/page/s/organizing-for-action

But those contributions will also translate into access, according to donors courted by the president’s aides. Next month, Organizing for Action will hold a “founders summit” at a hotel near the White House, where donors paying $50,000 each will mingle with Mr. Obama’s former campaign manager, Jim Messina, and Mr. Carson, who previously led the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Giving or raising $500,000 or more puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.

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“It just smells,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause, which advocates tighter regulation of campaign money. “The president is setting a very bad model setting up this organization.”

Mr. Obama’s new organization has drawn rebukes in recent days from watchdog groups, which view it as another step away from the tighter campaign regulation Mr. Obama once championed. Over the past two years, he has reversed course on several campaign finance issues, by blessing a super PAC created by former aides and accepting large corporate contributions for his second inauguration.

Many traditional advocacy organizations, including the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association, are set up as social welfare groups, or 501(c)(4)’s in tax parlance. But unlike those groups, Organizing for Action appears to be an extension of the administration, stocked with alumni of Mr. Obama’s White House and campaign teams and devoted solely to the president’s second-term agenda.

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Robert K. Kelner, a Republican election lawyer who works with other outside groups, said the arrangement “presents a rather simple loophole in the otherwise incredibly complex web of government ethics regulations that are intended to insulate government officials from outside influence.”

The closest precedents for Organizing for Action exist at the state level. In New Jersey, a 501(c)(4) called the Committee for Our Children’s Future, set up by friends of Gov. Chris Christie, has run hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of advertising praising Mr. Christie’s proposals.

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo encouraged the formation of a nonprofit group, the Committee to Save New York, that is run by business leaders allied with him, and it has raised millions of dollars from corporations, private sector unions, and individuals. The group supported Mr. Cuomo’s agenda — but it also thrust him into controversy when The New York Times revealed that gambling interests poured $2 million into the group as Mr. Cuomo was developing a proposal to expand casino gambling.

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Organizing for Action said it would accept unlimited personal and corporate contributions, but no money from political action committees, lobbyists or foreign citizens. Officials said they would focus — for now — on grass-roots organizing, amplified by Internet advertising. Friday’s “day of action” involved half a million dollars’ worth of targeted Internet ads and events in Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania and California, among other states.

“O.F.A.’s first day of action was about bringing the issue of closing background-check loopholes into communities across the country that feel very strongly about supporting the president’s plan to reduce gun violence,” said Katie Hogan, a spokeswoman for the group.

Organizing for Action has also promised to steer clear of electoral politics, unlike the politically active nonprofit groups like the right-leaning Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and Americans for Prosperity. Such groups spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising during the recent election campaign season, ostensibly for issue advocacy, spurring a wave of lawsuits, ethics complaints from campaign watchdogs and criticism from Mr. Obama himself.

But the distinction between campaigning and issue advocacy may be hard for Organizing for Action to maintain in the prelude to the 2014 elections, especially if it continues its emphasis on pressing lawmakers on delicate issues like immigration and guns.

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“It’s Up To You”
1958
From: 1950-1959 Brown & Bigelow, The 50’s

In Wednesday’s conference call, Mr. Carson said the group hoped to form partnerships with other 501(c)(4) groups on the left, including America Votes, which was at the center of Democratic efforts to defeat President George W. Bush in 2004 and now serves as a coordinator for progressive advocacy organizations. He also said Organizing for Action wanted to be a counterweight to grass-roots organizations on the right, like the N.R.A., according to people who took part in the call.

There should be “as much of a price to pay if you tick off the gun violence people” as there is for angering the N.R.A., Mr. Carson said, according to those people. “Let’s build an organization that means that Republicans are embarrassed to have climate change deniers running for office.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/politics/obamas-backers-seek-deep-pockets-to-press-agenda.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

O Ver X Posure

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Why oh why must Barry the POTUS and Mickey the FLOTUS inject themselves into every part of Americans’ lives?

Can’t one watch an over-hyped, overrated, self-congratulatory, narcissist infused Hollywood awards show without fear of the PO or FLO showing up? Can’t we just enjoy celebrities being savaged by Joan and Melissa Rivers?

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Besides the PO and the FLO appearing on bedding, toys, calendars, key chains, jewelry, commemorative plates, T-shirts, magazine covers they are now seeping onto Oscar.  Messy and unseemly, both.  Say it ain’t happening, Chester!!!  Oh it be happening, Chester.

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I bet it’s not too late to fly through the air, a la Howard Stern, at the MTV Video Music Awards this April 14th  or the People’s Choice Awards, oh wait, “mandate” = “WINNING”, thanks Charlie.

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In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.[1]

  ^ “Mandate”. Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03.

The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of democracy. New governments who attempt to introduce policies that they did not make public during an election campaign are said to not have a legitimate mandate to implement such policies.

Elections, especially ones with a large margin of victory, are often said to give the newly elected government or elected official a mandate to put into effect certain policies.[2] Also, the period during which a government serves between elections is often referred to as a mandate and when the government seeks re-election it is said to be seeking a “new mandate”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_%28politics%29

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2012 results

Votes

% won

Barack Obama 62,611,250 50.6%
Mitt Romney 59,134,475 47.8
Others 1,968,682 1.6

47.8 + 1.6 = 49.4 %

50.6 – 49.4 = 1.2 %

Let me see 1.2 % is a “large margin of victory.  Me thinks not.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/election-map-2012/president/

Being see and not heard used to be an aspiration now it is seen and be heard as loudly and as ostentatiously as well as often as possible  and for any purpose and at any venue.

Instead of gushing at an awards ceremony might you get to work on the economy, unemployment and the debt, amongst others?

Good overexposure:

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Film Set: Casino Royale

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Inside Story (Over Exposure)
Gil Elvgren, 1959

Bad overexposure:

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A KARDASHIAN FAMILY AFFAIR:  Kim and Kourtney Kardashian with Kendall, Kylie, and Kris Jenner at the opening of Scott Disick's RYU Restaurant in New York City

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Get back to work!

s2 = ss = stylish satirist

O Mickey

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s surprise Oscar appearance sparks debate

By Hollie McKay | Pop Tarts Published | February 25, 2013 | FoxNews.com

LOS ANGELES –  The Dolby Theater at Hollywood and Highland was filled with A-listers for the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday night, but the coveted task of presenting the final award was given to someone not even on the premises.

Instead presenter Jack Nicholson cut to First Lady Michelle Obama, featured on a drop-down screen, flanked by military servicemen and women, to deliver a passionate monologue live from the White House.

“(These films) taught us that love can beat all odds,” Obama said of the nominees. “They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves.”

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the FLOTUS appearance was the work of Obama supporter and friend Harvey Weinstein and his daughter Lilly, who arranged for Academy representatives and show producers to secretly fly (via Disney’s jet) to D.C. just two weeks ago to make the magic happen.

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And let’s not forget that last month former President Bill Clinton made an unexpected cameo and drew a standing ovation at the Golden Globes when he presented “Lincoln.” That guest list addition was rumored to have been a last-minute favor pulled by director Steven Spielberg, one of the entertainment industry’s most dedicated Democratic donors.

So not to be outdone, the Academy went for a one-up: a reigning White House resident.

“I was hallucinating at that point,” Ben Affleck said backstage with regards Obama’s presentation of the Best Picture Oscar to his film “Argo.” “I was asking people, ‘was that Michelle Obama?’ It was a huge honor, and the fact she was surrounded by servicemen and women. It was very cool.”

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However, instead of inspiring, the surprising presenter instantly drew a few head shakes and loud groans from journalists backstage.

“This makes no sense, it adds nothing to the show,” one industry expert told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column with a bemused laugh, while another surmised it as something of a “suck job.”

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“They threw all the campaign parties, I guess it was Hollywood’s way of acknowledging their continued love and support of the Obama’s,” said another. “It was stupid and pointless.”

Indeed FLOTUS’ presentation drew mixed reviews and ignited quite the debate in the twitterverse.

“Forget separation of church and state – we need a separation of Hollywood and state,” conservative journalist Michelle Malkin retweeted, while others weighed in that it was “tacky and tasteless” and cheapened the Presidency.

Scores of other viewers gave Obama rave reviews, however, calling her appearance “amazing,” “show stealing” and placing her and her designer Naeem Khan gown at the top of the Oscars best dressed list.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/02/25/first-lady-michelle-obama-surprise-oscar-appearance-sparks-debate/?intcmp=HPBucket#ixzz2LvBRNzBX

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Why was Michelle Obama at the Oscars?

Posted by Jennifer Rubin on February 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

It was the average too-long, unfunny, over-produced Academy Awards TV show and then, after suffering through the 10-hour (well, it seemed like it) show, there was the first lady. In a ball gown. With military service personnel in dress uniform behind her.

She declared of the Best Picture nominees, “They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves.” Alas, none of the films nor her aides reminded her to mention the military, not those personnel behind her nor those serving overseas, an odd omission for the White House that nevertheless was pleased to have them arrayed behind her like, well, set decoration.

She did have time to give a crumb to the gay community, applauding the movies that inspire us ”no matter who we are or what we look like or who we love,” adding that “they are especially important for our young people.” (Except when they contain gruesome violence, traffic in stereotypes or use gratuitous profanity, I guess.) Real heroes, such as our servicemen and servicewomen, inspire us, too, I would think.

It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband’s election). I’m sure the left will holler that once again conservatives are being grouchy and have it in for the Obamas. Seriously, if they really had their president’s interests at heart, they’d steer away from encouraging these celebrity appearances. It makes both the president and the first lady seem small and grasping. In this case, it was just downright weird.

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This image released by NBC shows host Jimmy Fallon dressed as a mom, left, dancing with first lady Michelle Obama during an appearance of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 in New York. Obama returned to the show to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign and to perform in a skit called “Evolution of Mom Dancing.” (AP)

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No one, it seems, gets within a mile of the White House with any sense of restraint. No one there would dare suggest nearly half the country didn’t vote for him and doesn’t much like him and might want to be left to their small daily pleasures. (Greta Garbo said it best.) And no one there is apt to explain that the White House, the military and the first lady (not this one in particular) are institutions bigger than the Obamas and their e-mail list.

Still, it would have been grand if the lefty-maligned “Zero Dark Thirty” (which showed the nasty interrogation techniques her husband deplored) had won Best Picture. Unfortunately, that sort of perfect karma happens only in the movies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/02/25/why-was-michelle-obama-at-the-oscars/?hpid=z3

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OSCARS: How Michelle Obama’s Surprise Appearance Came Together – Video

By DOMINIC PATTEN Sunday February 24, 2013 @ 10:10pm PST

UPDATED: The Golden Globes got Bill Clinton but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got First Lady Michelle Obama tonight at the Oscars – in part thanks to Harvey Weinstein. Before the ceremony, the White House was very “hush-hush” about the surprise appearance, according to pool reports Sunday. At tonight’s Oscars, Obama appeared via satellite to help Jack Nicholson introduce the Best Picture category and announce Argo as the winner. Afterward, the Obama staff put out a statement on how it came together: “The Academy Awards approached the First Lady about being a part of the ceremony. As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all — especially our young people — with their passion, skill and imagination.”

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The idea of getting the First Lady on the show first came from Lily Weinstein, who mentioned it to her big Obama contributor dad Harvey, who suggested it to the Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Academy president Hawk Koch. The group flew to DC a week and a half ago to put the logistics together with the White House. The Oscar producers told Deadline’s Pete Hammond earlier this week that they “were being like the CIA” about a couple of surprises on the show, keeping things top secret. In towns like Hollywood and DC where people love to talk, they pulled it off. There was no indication on the show’s rundown and most of the people on the Oscars had no idea who the secret guest would be. “I knew we could do it and we did it,” Koch told Deadline tonight about keeping Obama’s name under wraps.

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The First Lady was actually handed the envelope with the winner’s name in it by the head of PricewaterhouseCoopers at the White House, where she and President Obama hosted a dinner for the nation’s Governors tonight. Nicholson had a back-up envelope just in case.

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There was a lot of politics in this year’s Oscar race, from Lincoln to Zero Dark Thirty to Best Picture winner Argo. There were also a lot of politicians in this year’s race. On November 14, President Obama hosted a special screening of Steven Spielberg’s film about the 16th President at the White House. Lincoln was seen by the Senate in December. Also in December, a trio of Senators wrote a letter to Sony Pictures’ boss Michael Lynton protesting depictions of torture in Zero Dark Thirty and later began investigating the CIA’s involvement in the making of the film. Argo was of course about the CIA getting Americans out of revolutionary Iran in 1980. And then there was former President Clinton introducing Lincoln at the Golden Globes — not that the movie won that night either.


This article was printed from http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/oscars-2013-michelle-obama-surprise-appearance-video/

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Benghazi

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Published on Feb 10, 2013

2/10/13 – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on CBS News’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday where he pledged to try to block the nominations of both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan in an effort to get more information about the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi out of President Barack Obama. Graham told Schieffer that he thought it was unfortunate that Obama did not place a personal call to officials in the Libyan government on the evening of September 11, 2012, when an American consulate in Libya was overrun by militants.

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“I do believe, if he had picked up the phone and called the Libyan government, these folks could have gotten out of the airport to the annex and the last two guys may very well be alive,” Graham said. “If he failed to call on behalf of those people under siege, then I think that’s a massive failure of leadership by the commander-in-chief.”

“This seems to be a very disengaged president,” Graham said. “I’m not going to stop until we get an accounting.”

“If they don’t give you an answer, what can you do?” Schieffer asked. Graham replied that he was not prepared to vote to confirm either Brennan as CIA Director or Hagel as Secretary of Defense unless the White House comes forward with more information about the president’s actions on the night of the Benghazi attack.

“Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?” Graham asked.

“What did he do that night?” Graham asked regarding the president’s activities on the night of the attack. “That’s not unfair. The families need to know, the American people need to know.”

“You are saying that you are going to block the nominations, you’re going to block them from coming to a vote, until you get an answer to this?” Schieffer asked.

“Yes,” Graham replied, though ruled out filibustering the president’s nominees on the Senate floor. “This is complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham declared.

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White House: Obama Called Libyan President Day After Benghazi Attack

By Jonathan Karl Feb 14, 2013 2:47pm

ABC News has learned that the White House, in a bid to clear the way for a vote on Chuck Hagel’s delayed nomination to be Defense Secretary, has turned over more information on the President’s activities during the 24 hours after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

Among other things, the letter points to an accountability review conducted by the State Department which found the response from Washington to the attack was “timely and appropriate.” The letter argues the “intensive response” was “directed by the President.” On the day of the attack – Sept. 11 – then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Libyan President Magariaf. President Obama called Magariaf the next day, Sept. 12, according to the White House.

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A Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, in this Sept. 13, 2012 photo. (Mohammad Hannon/AP Photo)

The information on the President’s involvement in the response to the Benghazi attack comes in the form if a letter from the White House Counsel addressed to Senators McCain, Ayotte and Graham — who had demanded it.

Here is a key passage from the White House letter:

“This intensive response, which was directed by the President, included 13 meetings of interagency Principals and Deputies within a week of the attack and involved continuous outreach by senior administration officials to the Government of Libya, includingby the President and members of his Cabinet. As to the specific question in your February 12 letter, Secretary Clinton called Libyan President Magariaf on behalf of the President on the evening of the September 11, 2012 to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya and access to the Libyan territory. At that time, President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation. The President spoke to President Magariaf on the evening of September 12th.”

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Hagel was not in government service when the consulate was attacked, but Republicans lead by Sen. Lindsey Graham have used the Hagel nomination as a way to further investigate the Benghazi attack.

Graham insisted that outgoing Defense Sec. Leon Panetta testify on Capitol Hill with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey about the reaction to the attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Amb. Chris Stevens.

At that hearing, Graham asked Panetta and Dempsey if they had personally heard from President Obama on the night of the attack and implied that the President was not enough engaged in the response.

It is unclear if this new disclosure by the White House will clear the way to a vote on the Hagel nomination, but it is an effort to do just that.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/02/white-house-obama-called-libyan-president-day-after-benghzai-attack/

John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, speaks as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., left, listen while they discuss the investigation of the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

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Senator Graham: “Benghazi Was About Breakdown of Security, Failure of Leadership, and a Prez Who Was Virtually Disengaged” (Video)

February, 14, 2013 — nicedeb

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) held a press conference, today, to make a statement in response to Obama’s letter acknowledging he did not call anyone in Libya on September 11, 2012 during the 8 hours the U.S. mission was under attack. He didn’t pick up the phone to call any government officials in Libya until Sept. 12, after everyone was dead.

If it were not for the three of us and other colleagues, you would still believe – the American people would still believe that this was a spontaneous event caused by a hateful video, Graham told reporters.  “That’s what was being told by Susan Rice five days after the attack, that’s what was being said by the POTUS for weeks. The reason we know that’s not true, is because we dug, and we pushed, and we prodded. And now we know, that during the entire attack, POTUS never picked up the phone to put the weight of his office into the mix, and there’s no stronger voice in the world than the President of the United States.”

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Graham noted that during the three and a half hours the rescue team was waiting at the Benghazi airport to get to the annex, “Sec. Clinton said that she was on the phone yelling at the Libyan government to help, and my belief is that if the POTUS had picked up the phone and lent the weight of his office, it could have made a difference because the last two guys died within the last hour of the attack.”

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And finally, he asked, “who changed the talking points? How could  the President and Susan Rice tell the country that there’s no evidence of coordinated, pre-planned  terrorist attack when the Sec. of Defense and  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs described in detail how they knew that night it was a pre-planned coordinated terrorist attack.”

“The record needs to be clear”, Graham continued, “this was not about a hateful video, it was about a breakdown of national security, it was about an ambassador who was begging the State Dept. to send reinforcements for months, this was about a deteriorating security situation, this is about a attack you could see coming, this is about a complete failure of leadership in a Sec of Defense who never talked to the Sec of State,  and a President who as far as we know was virtually disengaged.”

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He concluded, “America needs to learn what happened, and we need to learn from our mistakes.”

http://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/senator-graham-benghazi-was-about-breakdown-of-security-failure-of-leadership-and-a-pres-who-was-virtually-disengaged-video/

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Hillary Clinton Testifies Before Senate Hearing On Benghazi Attacks

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Pinups

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PINUPS (My Journalistic Valentines):

Greg Gutfeld, Art Buchwald, Bernie Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer,

Andrew Beitbart, Bernard “Bernie” Shepard and Carole “Sark” Sarkisian-Bonard

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Nancy

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Nancy in three parts.

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Nancy Pelosi on Fox News Sunday, Part 1

Nancy Pelosi on Fox News Sunday, Part 2

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: Spending cuts hinder growth

February 10, 2013 – 14:42 -House Democratic leader on ‘Fox News Sunday’

The following is a rush transcript of the February 10, 2013, edition of “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace.” This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.

What is the state of our union, foreign and domestic?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: As President Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday, he faces a buzz saw of issues — automatic spending cuts, gun control, immigration reform, and the resurgent Al Qaeda. We’ll talk about all of this, with two of Washington’s heavy hitters: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator John McCain.

Pelosi and McCain, only on “Fox News Sunday.”

Then, senators grill the president’s nominee for CIA director over the targeted killing of terror suspects. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about new demands to lift the veil on drone strikes.

And, our Power Player of the Week can tell you almost everything the president does, and how often he does it.

All, right now, on “Fox News Sunday.”

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And, hello again, from Fox News in Washington.

When President Obama delivers his State of the Union speech Tuesday, one big issue will be sequestration — $85 billion in automatic spending cuts due to kick in March 1st.

The White House now warns this will mean damaging layoffs of teachers, law enforcement and food safety inspectors. And, the Pentagon will be hit, too. They propose a mix of spending cuts and, yes, more taxes, through limiting deductions, for the wealthy.

I sat down late Friday with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and asked her about the fast-approaching deadline.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: Congressman Pelosi, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”

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HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: Welcome to the Capitol.

WALLACE: The White House says, sequestration will have a severe effect on many Americans. House Republicans agree. But they say the answer is to find other spending cuts, not tax hikes.

PELOSI: Well, I think that the sequestration is a bad idea, all around. It is something that is out of the question. The fact is, we have had plenty of spending cuts, $1.6 trillion in the Budget Control Act.

What we need is growth. We need growth with jobs. And if you have spending cuts, education of our children, other investments, on the National Institutes of Health, where you are hindering growth, you’re no going to reduce the deficit.

So, what we do need is more revenue, and more cuts, but I would like to see that a big, balanced, bold proposal. Short of that, we should — we must do something to avoid the sequester.

WALLACE: But here’s what House Speaker Boehner said this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: At some point, Washington has to deal with its spending problem. I watched them kick the can down though road for 22 years I have been here and I have had enough of it. It’s time to act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Congresswoman, let’s look at this numbers. Are you really saying that in a government that spends $3.5 trillion a year, that increased federal discretionary spending by 14 percent, over the last four years, you can’t find $85 billion to cut, to avoid the sequester?

PELOSI: Well, we have cut in terms of agriculture subsidies, there are tense of billions of dollars in cuts there and that should be balanced with eliminating subsidy for big oil. Why should we do — why should we lower Pell Grants instead of eliminating the subsidies for big oil?

WALLACE: Why not just cut spending? Eighty-five billion dollars in a $3.5 trillion government.

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PELOSI: Let’s back up from — with all due respect to the speaker, what he said is not the gospel truth. The fact is that a lot of the spending increases came during the Bush administration. Two unpaid for wars we got ourselves engaged in. A prescription drug plan that added enormous amounts to our spending, and the tax cuts at the high end that did not create jobs and create revenue coming. So that’s —

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But the total debt has increased $5 trillion since this president came in.

PELOSI: Well, part of that is from the — what we had to do to avoid going over the cliff of the recession — depression. Yes, we had the Recovery Act which saves or created 3.5 million jobs. You know the record of job growth in the private sector has been consistent from many record number of months.

So, again, we have to make a judgment about what — how do we get growth with jobs? That’s where the revenue comes from. You don’t get it by cutting down your (INAUDIBLE) or cutting in education, cutting back on investments in science, and National Institutes of Health, food safety, you name it.

So, it isn’t as much you a spending problem as a priorities, and that is what the budget is, setting priorities.

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WALLACE: But you talk about growth. Even Christina Romer, the former head of the Council of Economic Advisers for the president, says you increase taxes, that also hurts growth.

PELOSI: Well, it’s about timing. It’s about timing. And it’s about timing as to when make cuts, as well. We —

WALLACE: But you — the fiscal cliff, you raised taxes $650 billion, right away.

PELOSI: Yes, and that was a very good thing to do on people making over — the high end in our population.

So, here’s the thing, though — we are here to have a budget that has revenue coming in, that has investments made, into the future. We also want to make decisions in those two areas where growth with jobs are created, because more jobs, more revenue coming in. Nothing brings more money to the Treasury of the United States, than investment in education of the American people.

So, we need to recognize that, which cuts really help us and which cuts really hurt our future. And, cuts in education, scientific research and the rest are harmful, and they are what are affected by the sequestration.

So, it is almost a false wrong to say we have a spending problem. We have a deficit problem that we have to address. Right now, we have low interest on the national debt and it’s a good time for us to act to lower the deficit.

We think the deficit and the national debt are at immoral levels. We think they must be reduced. We’re sick and tired of paying interest on the national debt. And that 15 percent, that’s a large percentage of the budget, the interest on the national debt. It’s lower now because of the lower interest rates.

WALLACE: But again, all I would say is: we’ve got a $3.5 trillion budget and they are talking about $85 billion in cuts.

Let me — let’s go to the taxes, though —

PELOSI: OK. But we agreed in spending — we agreed to $1.6 trillion in spending, in discretionary, domestic spending.

WALLACE: But the sequestration is just spending cuts.

PELOSI: Right. Secondly, we have gone to Medicare and had savings of over a trillion dollars in Medicare already. And when I say we, I mean the Democrats. And what the Republicans are proposing is to make a voucher of Medicare, no longer making it a guarantee. There are other things in this discussion that I think American people make fully aware —

WALLACE: We’re going to touch on them —

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PELOSI: — understand what it means in their daily lives.

WALLACE: Let’s talk about taxes. You keep talking about raising taxes and you talk about making the wealthy — let me ask the question first.

PELOSI: Yes.

WALLACE: Let me ask the question — you keep talking about making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.

PELOSI: Right.

WALLACE: The top 1 percent —

PELOSI: Right, right.

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WALLACE: — the top 1 percent pay 37 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent pay 59 percent of all federal taxes. If you took the total income of everyone making more than $1 million a year, if you taxed it all, at 100 percent, that’s only $726 billion, which is less than the projected deficit for the year.

I mean, the bottom line, Congresswoman, is you can’t raise taxes enough to solve the deficit problem.

PELOSI: Nobody is saying that. We are saying it has to be balanced. Now, on the subject of the high end, we’re not talking about raising rates. We did that. We eliminated the high end tax cuts of the Bush years which only increased the deficit, and didn’t create jobs.

We kept the middle income tax cuts. The — what we have in our proposal that Congressman Van Hollen has put forth, our top Democrat on the Budget Committee, is to say we’ll eliminate subsidy to big oil. And it gives us a lot of money, eliminating the subsidy for big oil.

We also have the Buffett Rule which says all of the high income people would pay a minimum of — they would have to pay —

WALLACE: So, you’re raising tax on the wealthy.

PELOSI: No, you are saying they should pay their fair share, which is 30 percent, which is even lower than 39.6, which is the rate — the bracket they are in.

WALLACE: But you are saying that if they have a deduction from a home mortgage —

PELOSI: They take advantage of so many loopholes.

WALLACE: Well, deductions that are on the books. But the point is —

PELOSI: Thirty percent.

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WALLACE: The point is, that you can’t raise enough money. I mean, the main driver of the debt is entitlements. Sixty percent of our budget, our spending, is on entitlements.

When Medicare started life expectancy was 70. It’s now 79. Don’t you have to raise the eligibility age and slow the growth of benefits? Isn’t that the way to deal with the deficit?

PELOSI: OK. I’m glad you brought up Medicare because don’t you think you should — to use your question — don’t you think you ought to see if raising the age really does save money?

Those people are not going to evaporate from the face of the Earth for two years. They’re going to have medical need and they’re going to have to be attended to. And the earlier intervention for it, the less the cost will be and the better the quality of life.

I do think we should subject every federal dollar that is spent to the harshest scrutiny. And I do think the challenge with Medicare is not Medicare, the challenge is rising medical health care costs in general and prescription drugs and the rest of that, that driver those costs. So, that’s what we have to address, which we did in the Affordable Care Act and we are about to see some reports from the Institute of Medicine, about how we reduce the cost of health care, in Medicare, because we are paying for quality, not quantity of procedures, but quality of performance.

And I think that there is money to be saved there. And I don’t think it has to come out of benefits, or beneficiaries, and I don’t think you have to raise the age.

WALLACE: Gun control will be a big part of the president’s agenda in the State of the Union address Tuesday night. But I want to ask you about another part of the effort to stop these horrible, repeated acts of mass violence. As part of your plan, you call for more scientific research on the connection between popular culture and violence.

We don’t need another study, respectfully. I mean, we know that these video games, where people have their heads splattered, these movies, these TV shows, why don’t you go to your friends in Hollywood and challenge them, shame them, and say, “Knock it off”?

PELOSI: Well, I do think, whatever we do, because when you talk about evidence-based, we have that throughout our proposal. In other words, we don’t want to just anecdotally writing bills. We want to have the evidence to say —

WALLACE: Well, I’m not sure you want to write bills anyway. But don’t you — I mean, what would — you have a lot of friends in Hollywood. Why don’t you go to them and publicly say I think challenge you to stop the video games?

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PELOSI: I do think — see, I understand what you’re saying. I’m a mother, I’m a grandmother. But, they tell — not they, not Hollywood, but the evidence says that, in Japan, for example, they have the most violent games and the rest, and the lowest — death, mortality from guns. I don’t know what the explanation is for that except they may have good gun laws.

But I think you took one piece of it. We are talking about — we are talking about stop — no further sales of assault weapons. What is the justification for an assault weapon? You know, no further sales of those.

No further sales of the increased capacity, 30 rounds in a gun. We are talking about background checks which is very popular, even among gun owners, and, hunters. We avow the First Amendment, we stand with that, and say that people have a right to have a gun to protect themselves in their homes and their jobs, whatever. And that they — and their workplace — and that they, for recreation and hunting and the rest.

But we are in the questioning their right to do that —

WALLACE: I guess the question is — I think a lot of people say, here it is, liberals like Nancy Pelosi want to go after gun owners. But, when it comes to mental health laws, when it comes to their liberal friends in Hollywood, they don’t want to make them ante up.

PELOSI: Well, mental health laws, I have to tell you, when I was speaker and we couldn’t get a hearing on this before that we passed the mental health parity act and, in the Affordable Care Act we took it to the next step and in another year you — we’ll have many more services available, because of mental health parity.

We certainly have to do more. And, I salute the — applaud all of those who are saying we have to do more in mental health. But we have to do it, I think, we have to do it all and that is why we said — we included in there we have to look at what these games are.

I don’t think we should do anything anecdotally. We have a saying here — the plural of anecdote is not data. And so, we want to know what is the evidence, what would really make a difference here. And I think it has to be comprehensive.

WALLACE: Finally, President Obama predicted this week that you will once again be speaker — his words — pretty soon.

What do you think of the chances of you regaining the majority in the House and you, once again being Speaker Pelosi after the 2014 midterms?

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PELOSI: Well — that’s nice he said that. But the fact is, what is important, the Democrats regain the majority in the House. Between now and then, we have a lot of work to do.

We want to pass comprehensive immigration reform. We want to pass, keep our kid safe and pass some initiatives that relate to gun violence, prevention. We want to create jobs and have initiatives for growth with jobs.

We want to make our country more democratic in terms of how elections are conducted, reducing the role of money, increasing the level of civility so that more women and young people participate. It’s about confidence — confidence in our democracy, confidence in our children’s safety, confidence in our economy, confidence as to who we are as a people.

So, we have plenty to do before then. But what the president said was complimentary, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s about the issues and the issues are better served by a Democratic majority in my view, and that’s what I’m hoping that we will achieve in 2014.

But as I say, that — we have a lot of work to do, hopefully in a bipartisan way, between now and then. And I think that in the issues that I named, we could get bipartisan collaboration.

WALLACE: Congresswoman Pelosi, thank you.

PELOSI: Lovely to see you.

WALLACE: Always a pleasure to talk to you.

PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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