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Posts tagged ‘Meet The Press’

James Baker: Ukraine Crisis is New Cold War.


The crisis in Ukraine has the potential for spiraling out of control and could lead to “serious problems in the heart of Europe,” says former Secretary of State James Baker.

“It is clearly the most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Cold War,” Baker said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

“For someone who was the last U.S. secretary of state during the Cold War, it’s very disappointing to me to see that we’re moving now from cooperation with Russia to confrontation again.”

Story continues below video.

Baker was secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992.

Baker said he has no substantial disagreement with the way the Obama administration has handled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine so far, but added, “I’m not sure that all of this would have happened had we stuck with our red lines.”

Many Republicans have blamed President Barack Obama’s waffling over a “red line” he set with Syria over use of chemical weapons. When it was revealed last year the Bashar Assad regime had used the weapons on Syrian civilians, Obama first promised action, then went to Congress and allies.

Both Congress and the United Kingdom balked at backing an attack, and the situation was resolved only after Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to monitor Syria’s elimination of its chemical weapons stockpile.

Baker said he doesn’t agree with those who think Putin sees Obama as weak after that confrontation. But he does think Putin sees Obama as inconsistent.

Baker said he hopes a diplomatic solution can be reached because he thinks there’s no good endgame for the Russian Federation.

The risks are “very substantial,” Baker said, of the situation turning into more than a “small new Cold War, which I think we are pretty much in right now. I look at this as a Cold War lite.”
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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

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Franklin Graham Disagrees With Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“I want to warn people that I think he [the pope] is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Rev. Graham, the head of his father’s ministry, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, adding: “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.”

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“God would have to shift — and God doesn’t. God’s word is the same, yesterday and today and a million years from now. It’s a sin. I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they stand before God.”

Franklin also said on the program that his 95-year-old father is still “very weak.”

“His vitals are good, blood pressure, heart rate, these things are good. And he’s eating a little bit, but he’s just extremely weak. So I’ve asked people to pray. People who are watching this program, I hope they would pray for him. He would appreciate it very much.”

Billy Graham has been battling to regain his strength since celebrating his birthday last month by posting a personal, 30-minute video message online called “My Hope America,” which was described by some as possibly his final sermon.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Franklin Graham Disagrees with Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

“I want to warn people that I think he (the pope) is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Rev. Graham, the head of his father’s ministry, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, adding: “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.” 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

“God would have to shift — and God doesn’t. “God’s word is the same, yesterday and today and a million years from now. It’s a sin. I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they stand before God.”

Franklin also said on the program that his 95-year-old father is still “very weak.” 

“His vitals are good, blood pressure, heart rate, these things are good. And he’s eating a little bit, but he’s just extremely weak. So I’ve asked people to pray. People who are watching this program, I hope they would pray for him. He would appreciate it very much.”

Billy Graham has been battling to regain his strength since celebrating his birthday last month by posting a personal, 30-minute video message online called “My Hope America,” which was described by some as possibly his final sermon. 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Issa: Despite NYT, al-Qaida Involved in Benghazi.


A group affiliated with the al-Qaida terrorist organization was involved in the deadly Sept. 11, 2011 attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, Rep. Darrell Issa insists, despite a New York Times investigation that suggests otherwise.

“There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al-Qaida,” Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told NBCMeet the Press” host David Gregory Sunday.

Issa has long been one of the more outspoken critics of how the Obama administration handled the attack, including claims made by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice that the embassy attack was a mirror image of an attack in Egypt after Muslims reacted over an inflammatory video about the Prophet Muhammad.

Story continues below.

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Issa and other Republicans have maintained that the attack was a planned and organized raid backed by al-Qaida, but The New York Times lengthy investigative report, written by journalist David Kirkpatrick, concludes that local militants conducted the raid, not al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups. The report also says that while the video itself was not the entire cause of the attack, it helped inflame some of the attackers.

Issa conceded Sunday that Kirkpatrick did “very good work,” but he still has not seen conclusive evidence that the video led to the attack. Further, he said that it is time for the Obama administration to tell the truth about its misstatements.

“They went out on five stations and told the story that was at best a coverup for the CIA or at worst something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in Benghazi,” Issa told Gregory.

Kirkpatrick, appearing at the beginning of the program, told Gregory that Issa and other Republicans may be combining the goals of Islamic groups with the al-Qaida network and its infamous leader, Osama bin Laden.

“If you’re using the term al-Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al-Qaida,’ then, okay,” the New York Times journalist said.

Kirkpatrick denied Sunday that his piece bolsters Rice’s comments about the attacks being conducted by a mob inflamed by the video, however.

“No, we’re not bolstering that statement,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was not a street protest. This was not a copycat of Cairo. This was a group of armed men.”

But Kirkpatrick said the United States misunderstood the Libyan militias on the ground at the time.

“The attackers were the militias the Americans thought were there to protect the mission,” said Kirkpatrick.

Meanwhile, Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro told Gregory that he hopes Issa and other Republicans have learned a lesson from the report.

“They crusaded for over a year over what’s basically a fairy tale,” said Castro. He noted that as in an any other major event, there was a great deal of information released that needed to be verified.

“Susan Rice and the administration were doing their best to provide information,” said Castro. “Issa and the others took it and crusaded with it.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Paul Ryan: Keep Conservative Debate Within ‘Family’.


Image: Paul Ryan: Keep Conservative Debate Within 'Family'

By Newsmax Wires

Rep. Paul Ryan says he was frustrated with conservative groups that protested the bipartisan budget deal he helped engineer.

The House Budget Committee chairman tells NBC’sMeet the Press” that these groups are “very important elements” of the conservative movement. But the Wisconsin Republican says such discussions should be kept “within the family.”

Ryan says he and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio were frustrated that the groups voiced opposition to the budget agreement before it had been reached.

The 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate says he shares the same goals as the groups — trying to balance the budget and pay off debts without raising taxes. But Ryan says they sometimes differ on tactics.

Ryan says the compromise agreement is an important first step.

“Government has to function, and we saw the specter of two possible government shutdowns in 2014, one in January and one in October,” Ryan said. “It’s not good for the country. It adds more instability to the economy.”

The budget deal, likely to win Senate approval this week following House passage on Dec. 12, would avoid a partial government shutdown when spending authority expires Jan. 15. It funds the government for the 2014 fiscal year that began Oct.1 and for the 2015 fiscal year.

The agreement lessens the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration by $40 billion in the 2014 budget and by $20 billion in fiscal 2015. It sets spending at about $1.01 trillion for this fiscal year, higher than the $967 billion required in a 2011 deal that set sequestration in place.

The deal would cut the deficit by $23 billion and cancel planned cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursement rates. It doesn’t extend emergency benefits for 1.3 million unemployed workers.

“Getting a budget agreement that reduces the deficit without raising taxes and prevents two government shutdowns from occurring in 2014, in my opinion, is the right thing to do and it’s a good thing to do,” Ryan said on NBC.

Shutdown’s Impact

A 16-day partial shutdown starting Oct. 1 resulted from an impasse between President Barack Obama and Republicans who demanded changes to his 2010 health-care law as a condition for funding government operations. The shutdown took at least $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The budget agreement was crafted by a bipartisan committee led by Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat.

“One of the things we had to learn to do is to listen to each other and to respect each other and to trust each other,” Murray, who leads the Senate Budget Committee, said on the NBC program.

Some of Ryan’s fellow Republicans balked at the deal because of the additional spending it allows by easing the automatic cuts. Still, the Republican-controlled House passed the accord 322-94, with majority support from both parties. The Democratic-led Senate will begin considering the measure on Dec. 17, with a final vote later in the week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada predicted strong Democratic support for the budget deal.

“We’ll get our votes,” Reid said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “It would be suicide if the Republicans didn’t pass it,” Reid said.

The White House supports the bill, according to a statement of administration policy released Dec. 11.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Cardinal Dolan: Obamacare Asks Catholic Church to Violate Convictions.


U.S. bishops have been seeking affordable and universal healthcare since 1919, and were early supporters of the Affordable Care Act, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, but they have been put in a “tough place” because of mandates that go against church teaching.

“We started bristling and saying, ‘Uh oh, this isn’t comprehensive because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and its excluding the unborn baby,'” Dolan said in an interview with NBC’s David Gregory that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

The church backed Obamcare because of religious conviction and dictates of conscience, Dolan told Gregory. “And now we’re being asked to violate some of those.”

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Turning to the issue of gay marriage, Dolan admitted he would be

Pollyanna to deny there is a strong push to legalize same-sex unions nationwide.

“We’ve been outmarketed,” Dolan said. “We’ve been caricatured as being anti-gay. When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion molders that are behind it, it’s a tought battle.”

Dolan noted that people said after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion that the issue would go away in a couple of years.

“To this day it remains probably the most divisive issue in American politics,” he said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

White House: We’re Not Dropping ‘Obamacare’ Label.


Image: White House: We're Not Dropping 'Obamacare' Label

By Courtney Coren

The White House isn’t running away from the term “Obamacare,” despite President Barack Obama saying it’s time to “remarket and rebrand” his signature healthcare law.

“No, I think the president has taken on that — you know, that was a label that was applied by our opponents and welcomed with open arms by this president and our allies,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday, The Hill reported. 

However, the White House and Democrats are now increasingly using the law’s formal name, the “Affordable Care Act,” and appear to be scrubbing away the oft-used “Obamacare.”

Obama embraced the term on the campaign trail in 2012, going so far as to tell GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in their first debate that he liked it. But on Tuesday, speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit, he said Obamacare was in need of rebranding, according to Breitbart.com. 

“We are going to have to obviously remarket and rebrand,” Obama said. “And that will be challenging in this political environment.”

Politico noted that the term “Obamacare” wasn’t used once during the president’s almost hour-long news conference last week. Instead he repeatedly used “Affordable Care Act.”

The White House referred to the law as the Affordable Care Act in talking points it sent last week to Democrats appearing on Sunday talk shows.

On NBC’sMeet the Press,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the same point, correcting host David Gregory on the proper terminology. Speaking at an event hosted by BuzzFeed, she insisted that she had “always called it the Affordable Care Act.”

In his comments Thursday to reporters, Earnest stressed that Obama wasn’t referring to the law’s name when he mentioned the need to rebrand.

“The point that the president was trying to make is that people have understandably — many people have been understandably frustrated with the flawed rollout of the website,” he said. “And it would be a shame if that experience soured them on the broader law.”

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