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Posts tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

Obama, Hillary Join Forces to Raise Money for Democrats.


President Barack Obama is bolstering his party’s campaign coffers, joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit. It’s the latest alignment of the Obama and Clinton orbits, as the former first lady considers a White House bid in 2016.

Obama is traveling to New York Tuesday to raise money for the party at two events, including a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Alan Patricof, the founder of a New York venture capital fund. Patricof is a longtime Clinton friend and financial bundler for her Senate and presidential campaigns.

The event illustrates the overlapping fundraising draw that Obama and the former first lady, senator and secretary of state represent for the party at a crucial time for the cash-strapped DNC. It also helps bridge some internal party tensions between donors who are merely interested in presidential politics and the Democrats’ needs during this year’s midterm elections.

Patricof wrote in a February email to contributors that he and his wife, Susan, had been “relatively quiet on the political front” following Clinton’s loss to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

“The most effective way that we all can be helpful to Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general, is to make sure that the Democratic National Committee is as strong as possible if Hillary should decide to run in 2016 and, for that matter, if any other good candidate appears on the scene if she decides not to be in the race,” Patricof wrote in the email, first reported by Politico.

He called the fundraiser with Obama a “fireside chat” that would include 13 couples — 26 people — paying $32,500 per person.

The DNC has been trying to pare down millions of dollars in debt accumulated during Obama’s re-election campaign; through the end of January the DNC owed more than $15 million.

Obama, who will also raise money at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser while in New York, has been making a sober fundraising pitch of late, warning that Democrats run the risk of losing control of the Senate if the party doesn’t have the resources to motivate voters this November.

The president’s cash-raising comes amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine and a fast-approaching health care sign-up deadline that have been preoccupying the White House, underscoring the competing demands on Obama. It also comes as Obama is struggling with tepid approval ratings. Recent Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research polls place his job approval at 45 and 43 percent respectively. Over the past year, Obama’s approval ratings as measured by Gallup have fluctuated between a high of 51 percent last April and 39 percent in January.

If Clinton runs and wins the party’s nomination in 2016, the DNC would serve as a platform of continuity between the Obama White House and a future Clinton campaign. Party leaders recently outlined plans to build upon its technological advantage over Republicans and expand its voter registration and protection work in key states, steps that will help Obama’s successor.

The DNC already has plenty of Clinton connections. Committee members include Harold Ickes and Minyon Moore, both longtime advisers to Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. One of its top fundraisers is Michael Kempner, a New Jersey public relations executive who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 national finance committee and was a top bundler for Obama in 2012.

For many Clinton backers, the DNC is a natural place to offer help while the former New York senator mulls her future.

“It’s a clear signal that the Clinton faction of the party is seeking to help the president any way possible,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s campaigns. “Money is still the mother’s milk of American politics.”

The fundraiser is the latest in a series of steps that have helped bring together the Obama and Clinton camps after the bitterness of the 2008 primary fight.

Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action recently brought on board Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, to lead the group. It made clear that it will back Clinton if she seeks the nomination. The super PAC’s executive director is Buffy Wicks, a former top Obama campaign staffer.

Ready for Hillary, a grassroots group aiming to lay the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, is advised by former Obama campaign aides Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. In Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus, the super PAC dispatched 250 volunteers last weekend to sign up new members at county Democratic conventions. The group covered 84 of the state’s 99 counties.

Patricof is managing director of Greycroft LLC, a venture capital firm he founded in 2006. In November, Obama appointed him to the President’s Global Development Council.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer’s Hand.


Image: Dick Morris: NFL, Flake Forced Brewer's HandArizona Gov. Jan Brewer and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a Super Bowl host committee handover ceremony in New York.

By Todd Beamon

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious protection bill concerning gay rights because she was pressured by the state’s business community and the National Football League, which is scheduled to hold the Super Bowl in the state next year, political analyst Dick Morris told Newsmax late Wednesday.

“I think she vetoed the bill because of pressure from the Arizona business community,” Morris, who served as an aide to President Bill Clinton, told Newsmax in an email. “When Sen. Jeff Flake, a tea party conservative from Arizona, joined his colleague John McCain in urging a veto, it gave her political cover on the right to veto the bill,” Morris said.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

“I think the [National Football League] had a lot to do with it also,” he said. “By threatening to move the Super Bowl, they epitomized the harm that would flow to Arizona had she signed the bill.

“I don’t think she realistically had any choice. It became a jobs issue — and she had to veto the bill.”

In vetoing the legislation, Brewer said the controversial measure could “create more problems than it purports to solve.”

State Senate Bill 1062 would have allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as legal grounds for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customer. It was passed by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature last week.

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona,” Brewer said in a brief statement from her office as she announced her decision. “I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.”

She then attacked the bill as a broadly worded proposal that “could result in unintended and negative consequences.”

Brewer had come under mounting pressure to veto the measure after both McCain and Flake, both Republicans, opposed it. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, also spoke against the bill.

Three state Republicans who voted for the bill last week also reversed course and urged Brewer to veto it.

“I appreciate the decision made by Gov. Brewer to veto this legislation,” McCain said in a statement posted on his website. “I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and assure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful State of Arizona.”

Flake said on Twitter:

He added in a later post:

The legislation was backed by the Center for Arizona Policy, a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage.

Cathi Herrod, the group’s president, said Brewer’s veto marked “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

The bill, she said, “passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

“Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits,” Herrod said. “Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”

Perhaps the strongest opposition to the legislation came from business leaders. Some who had opposed it threatened to boycott Arizona if Brewer approved it, similar to what many groups did after the state passed a tough anti-illegal immigration law in 2010.

That possibility worried some companies and business organizations, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Among the companies opposing the bill were Apple, American Airlines, Marriott International, and Delta Air Lines.

The Arizona Super Bowl Committee also voiced its opposition to the bill, contending that it would “deal a significant blow” to the state’s economy, the Times reports.

The 2015 Super Bowl is scheduled to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, just outside Phoenix.

In addition, the Hispanic National Bar Association said on Wednesday that it would move its 40th annual convention, scheduled for September 2015 in Phoenix, to another city because of the legislation, the Times reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Mitt Romney: Hillary Clinton — Not Bill — Is the Issue in 2016.


Former President Bill Clinton “breached his responsibility” and embarrassed the United States while having an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky while in office, former candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday, but he doesn’t think his issues are relevant to a potential campaign for Hillary Clinton.

“She has her own record and her own vision,” Romney told NBC’ “Meet the Press” host David Gregory Sunday.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who is a likely candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016, is leading a charge against the Clinton campaign by calling the former president a “sexual predator,” saying the affair shows hypocrisy in the Democrats’ accusations that Republicans are spearheading a “war on women.”

Editor’s Note: Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

But Romney said it is not Hillary Clinton’s job to explain her husband’s actions, and the Republican Party and its presidential candidates would be better off focusing on her history as a New York senator and as secretary of state.

“I think Hillary Clinton if she becomes the nominee will have plenty to discuss about her own record,” said Romney. “I don’t imagine that Bill Clinton will be a big part of it.”

He also acknowledged that while Bill Clinton was in office, the nation enjoyed economic prosperity, but the former president’s private life and mistakes embarrassed the nation.

Romney insisted again on Sunday that while he’ll support the GOP candidate who is matched up against Clinton or whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be, he won’t be the one seeking the nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor has sought the presidency twice, but now thinks “by and large people who lose a presidential race, well, they step aside.”

But even though he isn’t planning another presidential run, Romney said, that doesn’t mean “I’m going to quit fighting for the American people.”

In other discussions on the show, Romney said he does not believe security concerns about the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, were overblown, but the games have proven so far to be safe.

“I think Russia has shown not only through the application of their security forces, but also through their intelligence work, that they have the capacity to keep the games reasonably safe,” said Romney, who is credited with bringing the 2002 winter games to Salt Lake City in 2002.

Meanwhile, the former governor continued his complaints about Russia’s more-than $50 billion budget for the games, saying the Olympics can be held for as little as $2 billion. Countries hosting the games should instead spend their billions on efforts to fight poverty and disease, he said.

“That’s what we really ought to be using those resources for, as opposed to wasting them, in many cases, to show off a country or, I think more cynically, to show off the politicians in a country,” he said.

Romney, who wrote an opinion piece for USA Today this past week about curtailing the Olympic costs, said Sunday that the International Olympics Committee should step in to curb the costs.

Despite his concerns about the costs, Romney still calls hosting the games “a great experience.” He is an adviser to a possible bid from Boston to host the 2024 Olympics, and limits on spending could help that city, or cities in other parts of the world compete with countries such as Russia, where billions of government dollars can be promised.

But in the United States, the Olympics are funded, for the most part, by private donors. sponsorships, broadcast revenue and tickets, Romney said in his opinion piece.

Politicians such as Russian President Vladimir Putin think it’s worth it to spend extravagant amounts of money to promote themselves on a world stage, said Romney, and “the politicians who take this money and spend $50 billion to host the world for TV appearances, they think it’s worth it or they wouldn’t do it.”

Romney also discussed the issue of same-sex rights in Russia and the United States, reiterating that he believes marriage is “a relationship between a man and a woman” and the “ideal” for raising a child is with a father and mother.

“If gay couples want to live together, that’s fine,” said Romney, while acknowledging it’s too soon to determine if same-sex marriages are having a negative impact on the country.

In addition, he doesn’t think Republicans or other should worry about who has won or lost the fight on gay marriage.

“You have to stand behind your principles,” said Romney. It continues to be an issue that people find relevant and important … I do think it’s best decided by the people than by the courts.”

Editor’s Note: Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

More Gun Buyers OK’d Under Obama Than Clinton or Bush.


More gun purchases are being approved after federal background checks under the Obama administration than the previous presidential tenures of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, The Washington Times reported.

Figures obtained by the newspaper reveal that nearly everyone who applies for a gun from a federally licensed dealer and is vetted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System is handed the weapon, regardless of what party is in power.

The security system was introduced in 1998 to prevent potential buyers with criminal records or mental illness from obtaining guns. Sales of firearms by private sellers don’t require background checks unless required by state law.

In 1999 and 2000, during Clinton’s presidency, 0.83 percent of applicants, fewer than one in 100, were denied firearms, according to statistics obtained by the Times under the Freedom of Information Act. And from 2001 to 2008 under Bush’s tenure, the percentage of refusals was even less at 0.67 percent, also less than 100.

Under the current Obama administration, the average denial rate is just 0.46, or fewer than one in 50 applicants, which is nearly half of Clinton’s numbers and also much lower than Bush’s.

The statistics show that the percentage of denials was even lower than 0.46 in the six months directly after the Sandy Hook school massacre by deranged shooter Adam Lanza.

The rampage resulted in an outcry from gun control advocates, including President Barack Obama, for stricter gun controls and an expansion of the background check system.

Astonishingly, there were just over 171,028,000 federal background checks carried out on potential gun buyers run from Jan. 1, 1999, to June 30, 2013 — with about 1,024,000 denied. The factors that prevent would-be buyers getting firearms include a criminal history, illegal immigration, or a dishonorable discharge from the military.

Thomas Baker, assistant professor of criminology at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the number of gun applicants has increased rapidly in recent years because of the fierce political controversy surrounding gun controls that could result in them being barred from getting a weapon.

And he noted that people unlikely to be approved for a gun purchase are getting around the federal system by buying firearms privately.

“The unfortunate fact is that political rhetoric on gun control is likely increasing firearm purchases by those legally prohibited from owning firearms, too,” said Baker. “The only difference is that with the private-sale loophole, these sales go entirely undetected.”

Earlier this week in New Hampshire, a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales and transfers to include gun shows, the Internet, and flea markets was killed by the state’s Legislature, The Associated Press reported.

The bill would have required most private sellers to conduct background checks through federally licensed dealers. State Rep. Richard Meaney, a Republican, said the bill infringed upon New Hampshire gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Dick Morris: Re-Election Worries Fueled McConnell’s Vote on Debt.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted on Wednesday to end debate on a bill to increase the nation’s debt ceiling because “he didn’t want to have a government shutdown or bill stalling in the Senate because of him when he had a general election that was tough,” political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

“But in his mind, the villain is Ted Cruz,” Morris told John Bachman on “America’s Forum.” “The Democrats were perfectly prepared to pass this and let all the Republicans vote against it.

“The American people get more and more sophisticated as each of these things happen — and they realize the debt limit is now just a political football” he added. “In 2011, right after the tea party controlled the House, it became very good because we got a trillion dollars in cuts.

Story continues below video.

“Everybody was so scared by the abortive October shutdown that they’re not willing to do it again — and everybody realizes the debt limit is just a symbolic fight that doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

In the run-up to Wednesday’s vote to increase the nation’s borrowing authority, Kentucky Republican McConnell came forward to cast a vote toward ending debate on the bill and sending it to the full Senate floor for a vote.

McConnell’s “aye” vote, along with Minority Whip John Cornyn’s, bucked Cruz’s demand that a 60-vote threshold be in place to end the debate, or to invoke what is called “cloture.”

Ten other Republicans joined McConnell and Cornyn to end Cruz’s filibuster. That final vote was 67-31.

The bill, which suspends the nation’s debt limit through March 15, 2015, later passed the Senate on a 55-43 vote along party lines. It was expected to be quickly signed by President Barack Obama.

Both Cornyn and Cruz are from Texas, and McConnell and Cornyn face tough primary elections this spring against candidates backed by the tea party.

In his Newsmax interview, Morris, who was an aide to President Bill Clinton, said that Republican leaders supported ending debate because “the Senate was a bit chaotic because the Democrats control it, so it was hard for the Republicans to orchestrate.

“Raising the debt limit is unpopular in the United States,” he added. “Borrowing more money without cutting the budget is unpopular.”

Morris explained: “The debt limit is not about borrowing the money for 2013; we’ve already done that. It’s about borrowing the money for ’14 and ’15 and ’16. We haven’t done that yet.

“It’s fully appropriate to make cuts in those out-years, because it’s not a question of the bills coming due. All that’s coming due is your intention to buy it.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Todd Beamon

Obama, Hollande Resurrect US-French Relations.


President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to dismiss the notion that France has replaced Britain as the main U.S. partner in Europe, but it was clear during the state visit of President Francois Hollande that the two have the closest relationship between the nations’ leaders since Presidents Bill Clinton and Francois Mitterrand two decades ago.

Laure Mandeville, Washington, D.C., bureau chief of the venerable French publication Le Figaro, best captured this situation when she pointed out to Obama at his joint news conference with Hollande, “You have actually praised France very warmly today and granted our president the first state visit of your second term …

“Does that mean that France has become the best European ally of the U.S. and has replaced Great Britain in that role?”

Obama replied that he has two daughters who are “both gorgeous and wonderful. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways.”

However, as Obama and Hollande went through a welcoming ceremony at the White House, their news conference, and a state dinner, reporters from France and the United States recalled the sharp tensions between their countries after the U.S. strike against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003.

The strong opposition by then-President Jacques Chirac to the Iraq offensive resulted in a modern-day low point of relations between Paris and Washington. In the United States, this was symbolized by the congressional cafeterias offering “Freedom Fries” in lieu of French fries.

All that was in the dim past Tuesday during the first state visit of a French president to the United States since 1996.

Hollande said Obama’s election as president in 2008 “had been welcomed in France” because “America was able to make something possible, to make progress possible.”

He went on to recall his decision last summer to stand with Obama on a strike on Syria, saying, “We were prepared to resort to force, but we found another option — negotiation.”

From France and the United States being “extremely attentive” in helping Lebanon deal with its massive influx of refugees, to his commitment to the cause of climate change, Hollande repeatedly underscored his solidarity with the American president.

The French Socialist president was warm and positive, even regarding the spy controversy by National Security Agency renegade Edward Snowden.

“Following the revelations [of European eavesdropping by the NSA] that appeared due to Mr. Snowden,” Hollande told reporters, “President Obama and myself clarified things. This was in the past.”

Hollande said, “Mutual trust has been restored, and that mutual trust must be based on respect for each other’s country, but also based on the protection of private life, of personal data — the fact that any individual, in spite of technological progress, can be sure that he is not being spied on.”

Obama’s response to Le Figaro’s Mandeville notwithstanding, there is a strong case to be made that Obama works more closely with France’s Hollande than with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Where Hollande stood firm with Obama on Syria, Cameron was unable to join any military alliance against the Assad regime when the British House of Commons voted down his proposal.

In addition, it is obvious that France is now the key conduit in trying to help Obama craft a new U.S. relationship with Iran.

Hollande said as much when he told reporters: “Nothing prevented us from having bilateral contacts, and I had some bilateral contacts. In New York I received [Iranian] President [Hassan] Rouhani during the General Assembly. So it is perfectly legitimate for discussions to take place.”

Ken Weinstein, president of the Hudson Institute, summarized the Obama-Hollande friendship to Newsmax.

“Unlike President Bush, Barack Obama has a tough time turning foreign leaders into confidants — and his judgment, as when he chose [Turkish Premier] Erdogan as a preferred interlocutor, has been wrong,” Weinstein said.

“It’s clear that Obama and Hollande have a real and deep rapport. Both need each other — Obama for guidance on Syria, where his policies have failed, and to show that he does have European allies after Snowden, and Hollande, these days, to prove that he isn’t a laughingstock but a world leader.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

What to Expect From Friday’s Jobs Report.


Friday, economists expect the Labor Department to report the economy added 181,000 jobs in January, up from the disappointing 74,000 scored in December. That’s about half the pace needed to bring unemployment down to acceptable levels and motivate the Federal Reserve to raise targets for short-term interest rates.

The economy did grow at a solid 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending accelerated and growth was more broadly supported by business investment and improvements in exports.

The Fed has well-founded confidence in the long-term stability of the recovery and is well-advised to continue tapering purchases of longer-term Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. Recent turmoil in currency and stock markets notwithstanding, the fundamentals underneath U.S. equities remain sound.

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However, expansion in the housing, autos and manufacturing sectors — the bright stars of the 18-quarter expansion — showed signs of tiring, and these trends carried over into January data. For example, contracts for sales of new and existing homes and the Institute for Supply Management data for manufacturing have not been encouraging.

The unseasonably cold winter slowed housing sales, which should rebound by March. Autos and other manufacturing activities are troubled by Japan’s efforts to suppress the value of the yen against the dollar and accomplish price competitiveness and exports unjustified by underlying comparative advantages.

The jobs report may reflect continued restructuring among large retailers — many big names sold large volumes of goods at very thin margins during the holiday season and remain overexpanded — and uncertainty in healthcare owing to the rocky rollout of Obamacare.

Economists generally believe consumer spending got out ahead of income gains in the fourth quarter, and households will consolidate their finances and slow purchases through the spring. Overall, first quarter growth in the range of 2 to 2.5 percent — in line with the trend for the recovery since 2009 — is expected, and jobs growth in the range of 180,000 for January would support that expectation.

The unemployment rate should stay at about 6.7 percent, largely because so many adults remain discouraged or stuck in part-time jobs, with the latter condition worsening as Obamacare mandates for full-time employees in 2015 come into more immediate focus.

Going forward, the December termination of federal support for unemployment benefits administered by the states in excess of the customary 26 weeks will likely help depress the unemployment rate. The experience of North Carolina, which ended long-term benefits in July, indicates many adults will cease actively looking for work and not be counted in federal jobless statistics.

That experience does raise serious questions about the need for long-term assistance among many who have been collecting benefits, especially given that extended unemployment benefits raise wages demanded, generally, and discourages hiring on a broad scale.

Factoring in part-time employees who would prefer full-time work and discouraged adults, the jobless rate is 13.1 percent.

Getting headline unemployment down to 6 percent, while employing those folks at the margins of the labor market, would require about 365,000 jobs each month for three years — about double the pace accomplished since the economic recovery began and during the George W. Bush expansion.

It bears noting Presidents Reagan and Clinton accomplished more robust growth and jobs creation with lighter regulations, lower taxes, less emphasis on entitlement programs and fewer efforts to suppress criticism of their administrations’ policies.

Both capitalized on the dynamic opportunities offered by new technologies and private initiative by encouraging robust public debate about appropriate directions for public policy, as opposed to tolerating efforts to quiet their voices through law enforcement and muffle dissent through the administration of the tax laws.

Throughout the world, over and over again, new technology and private initiative have instigated more growth and created more good-paying jobs when debate is untethered by fears of retribution and unsettling to those in power.

Editor’s Note: 38 Trades That Could Turn $1,000 Into $49,000 

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

By Peter Morici Twitter @pmorici1

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