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Posts tagged ‘Republicans’

As Putin Takes Ukraine, The Obamas Make Plans For 21st Luxury Vacation.


Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2008,  then would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

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Then in Madison, she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” (source – ABC News)

You can bet she is darn proud of her country now, the Obama’s treat America as their own personal ATM. Nothing is too good, too expensive or too out of reach for the Community Organizers from Chicago. As Russia steamrolls into Ukraine and seizes Crimea, whats the most pressing item on the Obama agenda? Why, planning for their next vacation of course.

MV Times: Like the annual return of pinkletinks and crocuses, inns and hotels around the Island are getting familiar calls this week from White House officials planning a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for President Obama and his family.

Three reliable sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to release information, told The Times that Mr. Obama will return to the Island in August. Two sources said the vacation is scheduled on or about August 9, a week earlier than the first family visited in previous years.

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The president brings a large entourage of Secret Service agents, White House staffers, and support personnel, and the White House began arranging for lodging this week, according to the sources.

Mr. Obama and his family have vacationed on the Island every year since his 2008 election, with the exception of 2012, when he was campaigning for re-election.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the First Family rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28.5-acre compound on Tisbury Great Pond. The house was sold in December 2011 to architect Lord Norman Foster and his wife, Lady Elena Foster, of Thames Bank in Great Britain under the name of a holding corporation.

Last year, the first family stayed in Chilmark, renting a 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house valued at $7.6 million just a short distance off South Road. Owned by David M. Schulte, the home has an attached, two-bedroom guesthouse, small basketball court, and water views. It is surrounded by woods. source – Martha’s Vineyard Times.

by NTEB News Desk

RED DAWN! Russian Forces Storm And Seize Ukraine Naval HQ In Crimea.


Now, I wonder whatever happened to that “red line” that John Kerry and Barack Obama said Russia better not cross? It would appear that the “red line” has become a Red Dawn of the Russian Army in Ukraine.

Memo to the White House: Now would be a good time for more sanctions, maybe against Putin’s butler and his third grade teacher?

SEVASTOPOL/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian troops and unarmed men stormed Ukraine’s naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on Wednesday and raised the Russian flag in a tense but peaceful takeover that signals Moscow’s intent to neutralize any armed opposition.

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Russian soldiers, and so-called “self-defense” units of mainly unarmed volunteers who are supporting them across the Black Sea peninsula, moved in early in the morning and quickly took control.

Shortly after the incident, Ukraine’s acting Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in Kiev that the country’s forces would not withdraw from Crimea even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make it part of Russia. But an hour later, Ukrainian servicemen, unarmed and in civilian clothing, began walking out of the headquarters.

Interfax Ukraine news agency said the commander of the Ukrainian navy, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, was among those who left and was driven away by officers of Russia’s FSB intelligence service. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The first group of servicemen was followed within a few minutes by a handful of troops in Ukrainian uniform, looking shell-shocked at the dramatic turn of events.

“This morning they stormed the compound. They cut the gates open, but I heard no shooting,” said Oleksander Balanyuk, a captain in the navy.

“This thing should have been solved politically. Now all I can do is stand here at the gate. There is nothing else I can do,” he told Reuters, appearing ashamed and downcast.

Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported that Alexander Vitko, commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet which is based in Sevastopol, had been involved in talks at the headquarters. source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk

War May Have Already Begun As 3 Ukrainian Soldiers Shot Dead, Maybe More.


NTEB sources on the ground in Kiev have confirmed to us the death of 3 Ukrainian soldiers at the hands of the Russian Army. Further reports are coming in from Ukraine that ‘war has begun’.

Independent UK: In an extraordinary day which redrew the map of Europe, fears were growing that widespread violence would erupt in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. An Ukrainian officer was killed in a confrontation in Simferopol, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an incendiary speech justifying Moscow’s reclamation of the former Ukrainian territory.

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Several others were injured and the Ukrainian commander captured as the military facility in the Crimean capital was stormed by troops dressed in Russian camouflage kits and balaclavas.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister warned that  “the conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage” and claimed that “Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and that is a war crime”. His government, he added, has now authorised the use of firearms for its forces surrounded in their bases in Crimea. source – Independent UK.

by NTEB News Desk

Obama’s NSA Has A ‘Time Machine’ Voice Interception Program Called MYSTIC.


Washington Post: The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

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A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.

In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

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Bulk methods capture massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,” as President Obama put it in January. By design, they vacuum up all the data they touch — meaning that most of the conversations collected by RETRO would be irrelevant to U.S. national security interests.

The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage. source – Washington Post.

by NTEB News Desk

Immigrant Activists Push to Stop Deportations.


President Barack Obama’s surprise announcement last week that his administration would change its deportation policy to become more “humane” shows how the immigration battle has narrowed after months of congressional deadlock.

As recently as last year, immigrant rights activists, along with an unusually broad coalition of business, labor and religious groups, were united in their demand that Congress pass a sweeping bill to both remove the threat of deportation from many of the 11 million people here illegally and eventually make them citizens. But now activists just want to stop deportations.

They have pressured Obama to limit the number of people sent back overseas, which led to his administration’s announcement Thursday of a review of deportation policies after a meeting with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Activists also are pushing state legislatures to end participation in a program to help federal immigration authorities deport people and chaining themselves across entrances to local jails or immigration detention centers.

“We need relief and we need it soon,” said Reyna Montoya, 23, of Phoenix, whose father is fighting deportation and who co-wrote an open letter with dozens of other young activists urging immigrant rights groups to stand down on the citizenship issue. “People who are directly affected just want peace. Later on they’ll worry about becoming citizens.”

Immigrant rights groups still want to win citizenship for many who are in the U.S. without legal permission. But the shift to deportation relief shows the desperation felt by immigrant communities as deportations have continued, even as the president and many in Congress say they support changing the law to allow some of those people to stay in the U.S.

It also represents the possible splintering of the diverse coalition for an immigration bill that would overhaul the system by expanding citizenship. And the more aggressive, confrontational tactics also raise the risk of a public backlash.

“One picture of a cop with a bloody nose and it’s all over for these people,” Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors greater restrictions on immigration, said of the activists.

The change comes after many expected Congress to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul last year. Republicans have been torn between some in their base who want to step up deportations and others alarmed at how Hispanics, Asians and other fast-growing communities are increasingly leaning Democratic.

The Senate in June passed a bipartisan bill to legalize, and eventually grant citizenship to, many of the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. But the bill died in the Republican-controlled House. Republican leaders there floated a proposal that could stop short of citizenship for many people here illegally. But Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged it stood little chance of passing.

Meanwhile, Obama’s administration is on track to having deported 2 million people during the past six years. Critics say that’s more than President George W. Bush’s administration deported, though some who push for a tougher immigration policy argue the Obama administration’s numbers are inflated.

Obama already has eased some deportations. In 2012, as he was trying to generate enthusiasm among Hispanic voters for his re-election, Obama granted people who were brought to the country illegally as children the right to work in the United States and protection from deportation if they had graduated high school or served in the military. Advocates are pressuring the president to expand that to other people here illegally. The administration has said it cannot make sweeping changes without Congress, and it is unclear what steps it will take after its review is completed to limit deportations.

Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said it’s inevitable that Obama makes changes. “This is a White House that has told the immigrant rights community that they had to build up enforcement massively to create the political climate for comprehensive immigration reform,” Newman said. “Well, that gambit failed.”

Roy Beck of Numbers USA, which pushes for a more restrictive immigration policy, said expanding deportation relief could also fail. “It looks radical,” he said of the notion of sharply limiting removals.

Activists are willing to take that risk and have grown tired of waiting for Washington.

Late last year the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition’s members acknowledged there were no hopes of a big immigration bill anytime soon. They began pushing the local sheriff’s office to end its participation in the Secure Communities program, which checks the immigration status of anyone booked into local jail and refers people here illegally to federal authorities. Last month, six coalition members were arrested after locking themselves together to block entrance to the county jail.

“We decided we needed to change our focus because this is a more winnable campaign,” Executive Director Alejandro Laceres said. Of Congress, he added, “We don’t have the luxury of moving at their pace.”

In Arizona, activists have launched a series of protests, including blocking buses transporting immigrants to courts. “We just realized we are losing too many people in our community,” Carlos Garcia of the group Puente Arizona said in a telephone interview minutes before he was arrested outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix. Worries about whether their tactics could cause a backlash “go out the window,” he added. “Our heads hurt from thinking about the politics around it.”

At the state level, activists have had notable successes. The biggest victory came last year in California when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Trust Act, barring California police from participating in Secure Communities. Immigrant rights groups are trying to replicate that legislation in Illinois and Massachusetts.

Driving the efforts are cases like that of Abel Bautista, who was stopped for traveling 8 miles per hour over the speed limit on a Colorado interstate in 2012 and has been fighting deportation ever since. At first he was not too worried, because he expected an immigration overhaul last year to make the case moot. Now he worries about the lack of legislative action and the trauma inflicted on his three U.S. citizen children as his case drags on.

“We’re just left hanging at loose ends,” Bautista said in an interview, recounting how his children’s performance at school has deteriorated and how they sob when he leaves for court hearings. “If the community unifies and has more demonstrations, maybe they will listen to us.”

 

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

Mary Matalin: Nancy Pelosi, Democrats Running ‘Scared’.


Top Republican political strategist Mary Matalin says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing a “Kabuki dance” by claiming Republicans are “wasting their time” using the Affordable Care Act as a campaign issue.

“It’s all a Kabuki dance. Obviously, they are scared and they’re trying to scrounge off a strategy and they’ve come up with, let’s see Obamacare on the offense and attack Republicans,” Matalin told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“Do you think anyone is listening to Nancy Pelosi?”

Story continues below video.

Pelosi took on the GOP after Republican newcomer David Jolly beat well-known Democrat Alex Sink in a special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday. Many see the victory as a referendum on Obamacare.

“Sink — the kitchen sink had him, pun intended — [she] lost and that is not a Republican district,” Matalin said.

“I don’t see anything in the midterm elections that would portend anything but a positive outcome for Republicans.”

Matalin — who served under President Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H.W. Bush, and was an assistant to President George W. Bush — said she was impressed by this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I love when Republicans, conservatives, talk the talk. When they have open debates. When they fight, when they get into it. I love the Rand [Paul]-[Ted] Cruz different approaches,” Matalin said.

“You saw a very deep back-bench of intelligent, articulate candidates, would-be candidates or incumbents who can carry that message. I was in heaven …

“My personal opinion, the guy who’s going to end up in the top tier wasn’t there, which is [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker.”

Matalin added that she doesn’t believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will ultimately be the Democrats’ choice for the 2016 presidential race.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Obamacare to Cover Married Gay Couples in 2015.


Married gay couples will be eligible for a family health policy under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law beginning in 2015, the government said on Friday, encouraging insurers to begin offering coverage this year.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also announced it would extend for one month a temporary program that offers insurance to some of the sickest Americans, who have had trouble finding private plans in new health insurance marketplaces set up in all 50 states under Obamacare.

Friday’s announcements add to the series of delays and modifications the administration has made to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, since the law was enacted in 2010 and formally launched last October.

Obamacare’s six-month enrollment period ends March 31. And with volume expected to surge in the final two weeks, officials say the website HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly after technical problems in October and November paralyzed the portal for consumers in 36 states. The remaining 14 states run their own markets.

About 4.2 million people have enrolled in private Obamacare health plans so far, and millions more have been found eligible for the Medicaid program for the poor, according to the administration.

It continues, however, to wrestle with complicated and controversial issues related to the law.

In its decision on gay couples, HHS exercised federal authority to prevent discriminatory insurance market practices on an issue that has been caught up in state marriage laws.

The move follows a February lawsuit filed by an Ohio gay couple, who were unable to obtain family coverage under Obamacare, they said, because their state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The gay community is a key constituency for Democrats, who are facing a Republican onslaught over Obamacare in this year’s midterm elections for control of Congress.

“If an insurance company offers coverage to opposite-sex spouses, it cannot choose to deny that coverage to same-sex spouses,” Dr. Matthew Heinz, who heads HHS outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities, said in a posting to a government website.

“In other words, insurance companies will not be permitted to discriminate against married same-sex couples when offering coverage. This will further enhance access to health care for all Americans, including those with same-sex spouses.”

A formal clarification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the lead Obamacare agency within HHS, said the administration is encouraging insurers to voluntarily implement the non-discrimination policy for the 2014 coverage year under the Public Health Service Act.

Compliance will be required starting in 2015.

“We expect issuers to come into full compliance with the regulations as clarified in this guidance no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” CMS said.

“We also expect states to begin enforcing the regulations in accordance with this clarification no later than for plan or policy years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015,” it said.

Administration officials said the gay marriage decision and extension of the program for people with pre-existing conditions, known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), were both intended to help Americans transition to the new healthcare era established by Obamacare.

The law requires most Americans to pay a penalty unless they are enrolled in insurance coverage by March 31, which is also when the PCIP program was set to expire.

Patient advocates welcomed the move, saying people with cancer, multiple sclerosis or other serious disorders need time to find insurance plans that meet complicated healthcare needs.

“We encourage patients in PCIP to look at other insurance options, including the health insurance marketplace at HealthCare.gov, as soon as possible so they are assured of coverage beyond the short term,” the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a statement.

The extension came a day after U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers in Congress that the enrollment deadline would not be delayed.

Administration officials said the PCIP program was being extended through April 30, under congressional authorization that has already allowed for two other extensions. PCIP was originally intended to expire at the end of 2013, but was extended first through January and later through March. (Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Karey Van Hall and Gunna Dickson)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Jeb Bush Leads GOP Contenders Against Hillary Clinton.


By Drew MacKenzie

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the strongest potential GOP contender against the likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows that Bush only trails Clinton by a margin of 3  points, 47-44 percent while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is close behind with a 4-point deficit, 46 percent to 42 percent.

Clinton, who has not yet decided whether she will run, leads Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky by 47-42 percent and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by 48-43 percent.

The former secretary of state is well clear of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio by an 8-point gap, 48-40 percent, and she has an 11-point margin over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 51-40 percent.

“At this point, the contrast for 2016 is pretty stark, Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “If Hillary Clinton runs, Democrats are favored to keep control of the White House. If she doesn’t run, voters are more inclined to vote for the GOP nominee.”

When it comes to who is the most favored of the potential Republican candidates for president, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field with 18 percent support compared to 15 percent for Bush, 14 percent for both Christie and Paul, and 11 percent for Cruz.

Rubio received 6 percent while Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had 5 percent each, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had 4 percent.

The survey was conducted among 1,152 registered voters from March 6 to 9 and has an overall margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Pelosi: Dems Have ‘Embraced’ Obamacare, Will Not Shy Away From It.


Image: Pelosi: Dems Have 'Embraced' Obamacare, Will Not Shy Away From It

By Cathy Burke

Republicans are “wasting their time” trash-talking Obamacare on the campaign trail — Democrats have “embraced” the law and will be “proud” of it in upcoming races, according to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Republican David Jolly’s win Tuesday in Florida over Democrat Alex Sink was a fluke, Pelosi said Thursday, pushing back at the GOP’s characterization of the victory as a harbinger of elections to come, and a reflection of voter anger over Obamacare. 

“The fact that it is an off-year election — in other words, a non-presidential year — and a special election is like a double-whammy in terms of reducing turnout,” she said, according to The Hill. 

“We feel confident about the fuller participation in November, and what that will mean for that election.”

Jolly on Tuesday had chided Pelosi for her “spin control.”

“The president’s health-care plan has hurt the people in this county, and a number of people came out to the polls today to express that concern to the president and to Congress,” he said, telling Fox News: “I think my new colleague Nancy Pelosi might be engaging in some spin control this evening,” the Daily Caller reported. 

On Thursday, Pelosi insisted the GOP is misreading Jolly’s victory.

“I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their electoral issue, and they will find that out,” she warned, adding Democrats were “absolutely not” avoiding the issue of the controversial law.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats and how they’ve not only embraced the Affordable Care Act … but how proud they are of it,” she said.

“There are many good things about the Affordable Care Act that are good for the health and well-being of the American people. There are some things that need to be fixed, let’s do that. And that is the message of our members.”

But The Hill reported the National Republican Congressional Committee contends that message “failed.”

“If you’re a Democrat in one of those crossover seats, I’d be panicked this morning, because their playbook they’ve given [Democrats] is to run on ObamaCare,” Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, head of the NRCC said Wednesday, The Hill reported.

“Go support the president and go support Obamacare, and they tried that out and it failed.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

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

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