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Posts tagged ‘Oprah Winfrey’

Chris Christie on Defense as NJ Hosts Super Bowl.


Gov. Chris Christie was born and raised in New Jersey, but his football allegiance is to the Dallas Cowboys. He played catcher on his high school baseball team and has been a lifelong Mets fan, though his friends and foes alike probably would agree he governs like a linebacker.

In case you missed the highlights of his exploits on the political playing field, here’s how the tough-talking governor, caught up in the first scandal of his administration, got to where he is today as New Jersey finds itself in the spotlight as host of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

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FIGHTING CORRUPTION

Christie’s first attempt at elected office didn’t go well. He was a one-term county office-holder before being voted out of office. But he found a different and more noticeable way to burst onto the state political scene: He became a prolific fundraiser for George W. Bush in 2000.

Once elected president, Bush rewarded Christie by making him his surprise pick to be U.S. attorney for New Jersey, the state’s top federal law enforcement official, starting in 2002.

The former corporate lawyer quickly made a name for himself as a corruption-buster, winning convictions of more than 130 public officials over seven years. He reveled in talking about putting away politicians on the take, even for seemingly minor offenses.

“The longer we vote them in,” he said in a 2008 speech, “the more bulletproof they feel, and the more entitled they feel to become corrupt.”

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OVERCOMING THE ODDS

There was speculation Christie would run for governor in 2005, but he decided to keep his job as U.S. attorney. By the time the 2009 gubernatorial election rolled around, however, the state’s Republican powerbrokers were lined up behind him.

Still, Christie was the underdog to Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat who spent tens of millions of his own money on his campaigns in a state where Democrats enjoy home-field advantage.

Christie hammered away at discontent with Corzine, who had raised taxes.

He was the first Republican elected statewide in New Jersey in 12 years and came into office pledging “to pick Trenton up and turn it upside down.”

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TALKING TOUGH

Once in office, Christie introduced himself to the state anew by holding frequent town hall-style meetings where he showed himself adept at calling audibles and going off-script.

At one forum, a teacher complained that Christie was not being fair to public schools. As he denied that, he noticed the educator rolling her eyes. Then he went off: “I stood here and very respectfully listened to you,” he told her. “If you want to put on a show and giggle every time I talk, I have no interest in answering your question.”

The mostly Republican crowd cheered.

As he built a reputation for bluntness, he also showed he could get difficult things done, forging agreement with the Democrat-controlled Legislature on bills to make public workers play more for pension and health care benefits and eliminate lifetime tenure protections for teachers.

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AIMING HIGHER

The Grand Old Party, and the country, took notice.

“Big Boy,” as Bush called him, created such buzz that some deep-pocketed donors were urging him to run for president in 2012.

The closest Christie would come— after repeatedly stating his disinterest in seeking his party’s nomination — was making Mitt Romney’s short list for VP. Christie would give the keynote address at his party’s nominating convention, a speech that was televised in prime time, adding to his national exposure.

Though he said he wasn’t ready to be president, Christie told Oprah Winfrey in 2012: “I’ll be much more ready four years from now.”

Adding to speculation that he would indeed jump into the 2016 presidential campaign, Christie had gastric banding surgery a year ago to help him lose weight, addressing what some believed to be his biggest liability in seeking national office.

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BUILDING A BRAND

Willing Democrats in the Legislature helped Christie demonstrate his skill at bipartisanship, providing a stark contrast to the perennial gridlock in Washington.

Superstorm Sandy, the state’s worst-ever natural disaster, helped cement his reputation as a leader. His job approval rating soared as he tirelessly traveled the state to comfort victims and rally devastated communities afraid they would never be the same.

It was hardly noticed that he was unable to usher in a tax cut during his first term, or that he lost a court battle over gay marriage, which became legal in his state last year.

With his popularity in the stratosphere, no big-name Democrat was willing to challenge him during his run for a second term. He swamped a relatively little-known state senator, Democrat Barbara Buono, by 22 points, securing endorsements from more than 50 elected Democrats and winning about half the Hispanic vote.

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HITTING THE BRAKES

Documents released Jan. 8 revealed that aides to the governor were involved in blocking local-access lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge, apparently to cause delays to punish a Democratic mayor in a community at the foot of the span leading to New York City.

The governor issued a public apology while denying any personal knowledge or involvement in the political vendetta. Four of his top aides or associates resigned or were fired.

Now a state legislative committee and federal prosecutors are investigating.

The scandal threatens to undermine Christie’s second term and upend any ambitions to run for president.

 

© 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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Gallup: Americans Rank Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton as Most Admired.


Image: Gallup: Americans Rank Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton as Most Admired

Americans named President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the world’s most admired living man and woman in 2013, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

Obama topped the annual list for the sixth consecutive year, a typical ranking for a sitting U.S. president, the polling organization said.

But the percentage of those surveyed who choose him as the most admired man fell to 16 percent this year, down from 30 percent in 2012.

The president’s job approval rating has dropped during a year marked by a botched healthcare rollout and stalled legislative initiatives at the start of his second term.

Clinton earned the top spot among most admired women for the 12th consecutive year and 18th time overall, more than any other woman in the poll’s history.

Fifteen percent of Americans surveyed gave the former first lady and U.S. senator the highest ranking, down from 21 percent who named her as the most admired woman last year, the poll showed.

Gallup said its data came from a poll of 1,031 adults between Dec. 5 and 8, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Other men named to the list included former U.S. presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; Pope Francis and the Reverend Billy Graham; actor and director Clint Eastwood; Microsoft Corp co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates; U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

The women who finished behind Hillary Clinton included talk show host Oprah Winfrey, first lady Michelle Obama, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and actress Angelina Jolie.

Also on the list were Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding education for girls; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

‘The Butler’ Snubbed by Golden Globes.


Image: 'The Butler' Snubbed by Golden Globes

By Lisa Barron

Lee Daniels’ controversial movie “The Butler” was dealt a major blow in Thursday’s Golden Globe nominations, being shut out in all categories.

The movie which had gone into the annual awards season as one of the favorites failed to get a single nod from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the host of the glitzy  showpiece.

The story of a black man from the south who served eight American presidents over three decades in the White House received nominations from the actors union on Wednesday for best ensemble, lead actor for Forest Whitaker and supporting actress for Oprah Winfrey.

“What the Screen Actors Guild giveth, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association taketh away,” film critic John Horn said in The Los Angeles Times.

The film, which opened this summer, earned mixed reviews and came under fire for its portrayal of former President Ronald Reagan as being racist, in part because he was not in favor of imposing economic sanctions on South Africa, and for casting Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. It grossed $116 million at the box office.

Making the decision more startling is that the Golden Globes has nominations for both dramatic movies and for musicals or comedies, doubling the amount of nominations of most other award shows.

The Foreign Press Association instead chose “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity,” “Captain Phillips,” “Rush,” and “Philomena” ahead of “The Butler,” in the dramatic category.

Following the Globe announcements at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, there were several startled responses to “The Butler” snub.

“Well, the HFPA was clearly not having this movie at all!” said New York magazine, adding, “Just a complete and total shutout across the board.”

“Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ was high on early lists, then fell back (and didn’t even make the American Film Institute’s Top 10 movies-of-the-year roster),” noted The New York Times.

Director Daniels revealed to The Hollywood Reporter last month that he initially had trouble getting financing for the film, which was based on a story by Washington Post reporter Wil Hargood, who tracked down then-89-year-old former White House butler Eugene Allen for a piece celebrating President Barack Obama’s election.

In that story, Allen fondly recalled first lady Nancy Reagan inviting him and his wife to a state dinner. “She said, ‘You and Helene are coming to the state dinner as guests of President Reagan and myself,” he told Hargood.

“I’m telling you! I believe I’m the only butler to get invited to a state dinner,” he grinned.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Giuliani: Mafia Offered $800G to Kill Me.


Rudy Giuliani has claimed that the mafia in Italy put an $800,000 contract on his head while he was mayor of New York City.

Giuliani, who was praised for his leadership during the 9/11 terrorist attacksy, revealed to Oprah Winfrey on her OWN cable-channel show “Oprah: Where Are They Now” that as a former prosecutor he was a target for criminals who he’d put behind bars, especially mobsters.

“I don’t think anybody prosecuted more mafia members than I did,” said Giuliani, who was U.S. Attorney before becoming the mayor from 1994-2001.

“Certainly, no one sent them to prison for the lengthy periods of time that I did.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Story continues below video.

Giuliani, a Republican, said that a contract to kill him was put out by the Sicilian mafia the first year he was mayor.

“They offered $800,000 to kill me. Then, toward the end of the time I was the mayor, a particular mafia guy who we convicted and put in jail for 100 years put out a contract to kill me for $400,000.”

Giuliani, who turns 70 in May, added with a laugh, “I kind of felt bad that I went down in value. I started at 800, I went down to 400.”

But, he said, he never was that concerned about threats from members of organized-crime gangs.

“Now, when we start talking about Islamic extremist terrorism — that worries me more, because they are suicidal.

“Part of why I didn’t worry about the mafia was because there was a certain rationality to their kind of violence. This other kind of violence is completely irrational violence.”

Giuliani, who runs the security consulting service Giuliani Partners, that helps companies and governments deal with terrorism and crime, pointed out that New York has bounced back since 9/11 and is now doing “fabulous” with a record 50 million tourists last year.

“Even though we were attacked, even though there were threats of attacks, people know how to process it correctly. They realize it’s a small, small risk in comparison to the wonderful things you can do here.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 


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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Why the Atheist Agenda Is Furious at Oprah.


 

Oprah

Oprah

What was supposed to be a touchy-feely, one-on-oneinterview by Oprah Winfrey with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has morphed into a broader, sometimes angry exchange about what it means to be an atheist.

Earlier this month (Oct. 13) Winfrey, 59, hosted Nyad on Super Soul Sunday, her weekly talk program on cable’s Oprah Winfrey Network. Nyad, 64, recently completed a 53-hour solo swim from Cuba to Florida.

During the hourlong segment, Nyad declared herself an atheist. She then explained, “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”

“Well, I don’t call you an atheist then,” Winfrey said. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is. That is what God is. It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

Nyad reiterated her lack of belief in a divine being, but the exchange upset many nonbelievers. They took to the Internet and social media to express outrage at Winfrey’s assumption that only believers can experience the transcendent or spiritual.

“As an atheist I am even more in AWE and WONDER about the Universe and Nature,” tweetedsomeone called “Mark Secular.” “I don’t need a god @Oprah to see the beauty of it.”

“[I]t’s ‘difficult’ enough being an atheist in these parts,” Stacypie tweeted from Dallas. “I don’t need her defining MY spirituality for all.”

And Boston Atheists, which draws members from across New England, launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to get Winfrey to officially apologize.

Within a day or two of the broadcast, several prominent atheist leaders and organizations issued statements expressing disappointment with Winfrey. Most saw in the talk show host’s rejection of Nyad’s atheism what polls, studies and often their own experience tell them—that atheists are among the least trusted and least liked Americans.

“Oprah … does more to perpetuate negative attitudes toward nonbelievers than Pat Robertson or James Dobson ever could,” wrote David Niose, president of the Secular Coalition for America, on the website ofPsychology Today. “Oprah, as a media tycoon and a beloved celebrity whose opinions are taken seriously by millions, has just confirmed that atheists are ‘the other,’ outsiders who just don’t belong in the in-group.”

On CNN’s Belief Blog, Chris Stedman, Harvard University’s assistant humanist chaplain, wrote, “Winfrey’s response may have been well intended. But it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.”

Others weighed in on Salon.com, Patheos.com, Skepchick and other atheist and humanist blogs. Even Fox News’ The Five weighed in, with co-host Eric Bolling saying, “Oprah shouldn’t have an opinion whether Nyad believes in God or not.”

Why has this struck such a deep chord? Ryan Cragun, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa who studies atheists, said it may be because atheists are beginning to be more public about their lack of belief, seeing this as an opportunity to express their difference, their presence and their rights—much like the gay community has done before.

“Americans are beginning to realize that there are atheists, but they don’t really know who and whatatheists are,” Cragun said. “They likely still think atheists are just crotchety old men saying, ‘Your god doesn’t exist!’ Thus, when they encounter an actual atheist who says, ‘I’m constantly amazed at the world we live in and it makes me stop and wonder all the time,’ they are surprised.”

Marcia Z. Nelson, author of The Gospel According to Oprah, agreed, saying Winfrey may be exhibiting more unawareness than intolerance.

“As I see it, Oprah was being her spiritually and professionally curious self,” Nelson said. “The problematheists have is partly one of language; the God and religion people have been working on refining their descriptive languages for millennia. Oprah was actually doing atheists a favor by quizzing Nyad. Atheists need to concentrate more on expressing awe and less on taking hyperbolic offense where none is intended.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Oprah Tells Obama ‘No’ for Obamacare Help.


Image: Oprah Tells Obama 'No' for Obamacare Help

By Sandy Fitzgerald.

Celebrities may be lining up to push the president’s healthcare insurance plan, but Obamacare will not be getting any Oprahcare any time soon.

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, who went all out during the 2008 presidential election to help President Barack Obama win the White House, is spurning the Oval Office‘s advances when it comes to promoting the troubled Affordable Care Act, wrote best-selling author Ed Klein in a New York Post piece Sunday.

“The story of why Oprah has changed her tune and gone AWOL on ObamaCare goes well beyond mere gossip,” wrote Klein, author of “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.”

Editor’s NoteObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

“It speaks volumes about the convergence of celebrity and politics under Obama and about a president who thinks nothing of using and then discarding his most loyal supporters.”

In fact, Klein says a close advisor of Winfrey’s reported the media mogul gave the White House an “immediate, flat-out, unequivocal no” when she was invited to the White House in August to discuss publicizing the president’s health care plan.

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett had phoned Winfrey in August to invite her to the White House to meet with a host of other stars, including Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys to meet with Obama to discuss publicizing the law.

Winfrey instead sent a lower-level representative from one of her talent agencies. As the president’s healthcare plan has turned into the train wreck its Republican opponents have been calling it all along, the woman who brought millions of votes to Obama’s first presidential campaign has not lifted a finger to help him out.

Klein said Winfrey is still feeling snubbed because she did not get the unfettered access she expected to the Obama White House when she was stumping nationwide for him. While she campaigned heavily for him in 2008, giving her first-ever presidential endorsement,she backed away for the 2012 race, saying that she was too busy launching her new cable network, OWN, to join in the campaign.

“What was not reported was that, in return, Oprah was promised unique access to the White House if Obama won,” Klein said. “She’d get regular briefings on initiatives and a heads-up on programs to give her material for her fledgling cable network, OWN.”

A source close to Winfrey told Klein that there were big plans, and a team was put together to come up with proposals that would benefit them both, but nothing happened, and OWN has struggled since its debut.

“Oprah sent notes and a rep to talk to Valerie Jarrett, but nothing came of it,” the source said. “It slowly dawned on Oprah that the Obamas had absolutely no intention of keeping their word and bringing her into their confidence.”

And while Winfrey has claimed she is too busy to become involved in politics, she did find time to host a recent huge fundraiser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who ended up winning his state’s Senate seat this past week.

Winfrey’s friends protest that the first lady of talk shows is on the outs with Obama and his wife Michelle. They note that Winfrey called the first lady after the 2012 election to congratulate her, and that Michelle Obama invited her to dinner with the family. But that dinner hasn’t happened.

“Oprah was hoping there would be a genuine change in the atmospherics,” a friend told Klein, “But there hasn’t been. Clearly, she is being rebuffed at the level of Michelle and Valerie. And, just as obviously, President Obama hasn’t interfered on Oprah’s behalf.”
Klein noted that in “The Amateur,” the first lady is jealous of Winfrey and furious that her husband was seeking her advice.

“For her part, Oprah doesn’t like being with Michelle, because the first lady is constantly one-upping the president and anybody else around her,” an Oprah advisor told Klein. “Oprah has struck back by banning the Obamas from her O, The Oprah Magazine.”

Editor’s Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

The advisor said that Oprah is “hurt and angry…she knows how to hold a grudge.”

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Oprah Winfrey Nearly Had Nervous Breakdown Last Year, Mogul Says

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Michael Reagan: ‘The Butler’ Disparages Memory of Ronald Reagan.


Image: Michael Reagan: 'The Butler' Disparages Memory of Ronald Reagan

Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan and Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan in a scene from “Lee Daniels‘ The Butler.”

By Courtney Coren

Former President Reagan‘s administration is currently on display in the new movie “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” where the 40th president is portrayed as a racist because he was in favor of lifting economic sanctions against South Africa.

“My father was not a racist, but the whole story … is really a bogus story,” says his son and Newsmax contributor Michael Reagan in an exclusive Newsmax interview.

Reagan said the movie, which supposedly is based on the life of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler in the White House for 34 years, is filled with inaccuracies for the purpose of disparaging his father’s name.

Story continues below video.

 

“Eugene Allen — whom I knew, by the way — is a guy who comes from segregated Virginia, gets a job at the White House, works there 34 years, retires in 1986.

“The story in the movie about Cecil Gaines, he was born and raised in Georgia, his mother was raped, his father was shot, he got a job at the White House, then he quit the White House to join a protest against America and what’s going on in Vietnam and race, which is the farthest from the truth about Eugene Allen,” Reagan explains.

“You could have done a movie just about Eugene Allen and it would have been a great movie about somebody working at the White House. But instead, Hollywood decided they want to make this about Ronald Reagan and disparage Ronald Reagan and others, and did the same thing to Eugene Allen’s wife. To sit there and take his wife, make her an alcoholic, as Oprah Winfrey did, and have her have an affair with the neighbor is outrageous.

“I hope people who go see it don’t believe it’s a true story. Once again, it’s a fictionalized account of a true person at the White House, but it’s written and directed by a person who, in fact, has another agenda, and that’s to disparage the memory of Ronald Reagan.”

The son of the 40th president adds that it was his father — “that ‘racist’ Ronald Reagan” — who signed the law that gave us Martin Luther King Day. “People have forgotten that,” he said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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