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Rice: People will soon thank Bush for what he”s done

(CNN) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that despite President Bush”s low approval ratings, people will soon "start to thank this president for what he”s done."

"So we can sit here and talk about the long record, but what I would say to you is that this president has faced tougher circumstances than perhaps at any time since the end of World War II, and he has delivered policies that are going to stand the test of time," Rice said in an interview that aired on CBS” "Sunday Morning."

The secretary of state brushed off reports that suggest the United States” image is suffering abroad. She praised the administration”s ability to change the conversation in the Middle East.

"This isn”t a popularity contest. I”m sorry, it isn”t. What the administration is responsible to do is to make good choices about Americans” interests and values in the long run — not for today”s headlines, but for history”s judgment," she said.


Bush said he is ready to go when the time comes.

Nov 28, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Politics

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Bush: Time for klieg lights to go ‘somewhere else’

WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush is relishing the chance to see “the klieg lights shift somewhere else,” although he admits he’ll miss perks like White House cooking and flying on Air Force One.

“Frankly, I’m not going to miss the limelight all that much,” Bush said in an intimate family conversation with his sister, Doro Bush Koch, about how he’ll feel when he leaves the White House to make way for Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

“Been a fabulous experience to be president,” Bush told Doro in the conversation recorded for the oral-history organization StoryCorps. But he said he’ll be ready to go when the time comes.

Bush did acknowledge in the Nov. 12 conversation — aired Thursday on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” — that he would miss the trips on the presidential jet and not having to worry about traffic. He and first lady Laura Bush both agreed in the talk that they would miss the chefs at the Executive Mansion, but disagreed about who would be in charge of meals when they move back to Texas in January.

“I’m sure I’m going to lose a lot of weight, because Laura’s going to be the cook,” Bush deadpanned. The first lady responded, “You’re going to be the person grilling, though, I think.”

The president also said he would miss spending time with his sister, who lives in the District of Columbia area.

“This is a job which, you know, obviously had a lot of stress to it; it has a lot of pressure,” Bush said. “But when you’re around your family at all, all that pales.”

Since 2003, the nonprofit StoryCorps has helped people record nearly 25,000 interviews at stationary booths in New York and with mobile operations traveling around the country. Participants receive a CD of their 40-minute interview, and all recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.

Lieberman Contributed to GOP Senate, House Candidates

Nov 27, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Politics

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Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) support of John McCain’s presidential campaign was well known. His contribution to Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) was not. (By Melina Mara — The Washington Post Photo)

By Paul Kane

Here’s a story of the Thanksgiving spirit, forgiving and forgetting senatorial style.

When Democrats gathered last week to decide the fate of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), a pair of senators-elect, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, stepped up to offer symbolically important speeches.

Having ridden the wave of support for President-elect Barack Obama, Udall and Merkley spoke out in favor of the spirit of reconciliation and moving on from the campaign, in which Lieberman was one of the highest profile supporters of the Republican presidential ticket.

But no one in the room knew, as Merkley spoke, that Lieberman had supported Merkley’s opponent, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). Lieberman, through his Reuniting Our Country PAC, gave Smith’s reelection bid $5,000 on Oct. 10, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Lieberman’s support of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the presidency was well known, punctuated by his nationally televised speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul criticizing Obama as not prepared to be president. His endorsement of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has served as the top Republican beside him at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also was well known in Democratic circles. (more…)

Death toll mounts in Mumbai terrorist attack

Nov 26, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Politics

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MUMBAI, India – Teams of gunmen stormed luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, hospitals and a crowded train station in coordinated attacks across India”s financial capital Wednesday night, killing at least 101 people and taking Westerners hostage, police said. A group of suspected Muslim militants claimed responsibility.

On Thursday morning, police and gunmen were exchanging occasional gunfire at the hotels and an unknown number of people still were being held hostage, said A.N. Roy, a top police official.

Later Thursday morning, police loudspeakers declared a curfew around Mumbai”s landmark Taj Mahal hotel, and black-clad commandos ran into the building as fresh gunshots rang out from the area, apparently the beginning of an assault on gunmen who had taken hostages in the hotel.

Ambulances drove up to the entrance to the hotel and journalists were made to move even further back from the area.

The NDTV news channel reported that an explosion had been heard at the Trident hotel and that several Israelis were among hostages being held on the 19th floor. NDTV said commandos were preparing for a counterassault there.

Pradeep Indulkar, a senior official at the Maharashtra state Home Ministry said 101 people were killed and 287 injured. Officials said at least six militants had been killed since the overnight attacks began around 9:30 p.m. (more…)

Rising Hope For Fixing Health Care

Nov 23, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Opinions, Politics

By David S. Broder
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Things are looking up for substantive reform of America’s troubled health-care system.
No one who knows the history of such efforts, from Harry Truman’s administration through Bill Clinton’s, needs to be reminded of the difficulties that inevitably confront any plan to overhaul one-seventh of the U.S. economy and bring high-quality medicine to millions of the uninsured.

But developments at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue last week — and across the country — pointed up both the urgency of the problem and the prospects for seeing significant action.

When Barack Obama’s transition team let out word that former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle would be his choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services and to quarterback his work on health reform, it signaled that Obama is serious about his campaign promise to make that issue a first-term priority.

Daschle would not leave a lucrative job at a law firm to twiddle his thumbs. Only with a clear understanding that the new president will put his own political capital at risk in this cause would the South Dakotan sign up for the job. (more…)

It’s My Party, But I Don’t Feel Part of It

Nov 23, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Opinions, Politics

By Sophia A. Nelson
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Election night was a bittersweet night for me. Like most Americans, and especially as an African American, I found it deeply moving to watch President-elect Barack Obama and his family — soon to be our nation’s first African American first family — stride onstage for his victory speech. I welcome the positive role models they’ll present to black families and the American public at large.

But as a black Republican, I was chagrined that the political party I’ve belonged to for 20 years had just suffered a blistering electoral defeat. And that along the way, it had lost 96 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote — the worst showing for the Republican Party among minorities in its 150-year history.

After such a devastating loss, Republicans will have to do some retooling. We’ll have to decide whether we want to be the party that believes in smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation, or whether we’re going to be a litmus-test party that responds only to the demands of social conservatives. But most important, we’ll have to confront our most disastrous modern legacy: our poor relationship with black Americans, the very people the party was formed to protect from the expansion of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska in 1854.

That relationship may be lost for generations, thanks to a campaign by Sen. John McCain that seemed to simply concede the black vote. According to one senior aide, McCain had been polling close to 20 percent of the black vote before the primaries ended. But then his “Forgotten America” tour, which started soon after, never seemed to go anywhere. I knew of only one high-level black adviser or spokesperson on his full-time paid campaign staff. The GOP convention was embarrassingly devoid of people of color — among more than 2,000 delegates, only 36 were black. (more…)

President-elect’s Barack Obamas Weekly Address

Nov 23, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: News, Politics

President-elect Barack Obama has directed the Transition’s economic team to develop the details of a bold plan to save or create 2.5 million American jobs by 2011.

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Posted BY: divine

Secret service steps up inauguration security
Posted: 04:55 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) – Law enforcement officials bracing for the largest crowds in inaugural history are preparing far-reaching security — thousands of video cameras, sharpshooters, air patrols — to safeguard President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing-in.

People attending the ceremony and parade on Jan. 20 can expect to be searched by machines, security personnel or both. Precautions will range from the routine — magnetometers like those used at airports — to countersnipers trained to hit a target the size of a teacup saucer from 1,000 yards away. Plus undercover officers, bomb sniffing dogs and air patrols.

The Secret Service — the agency coordinating the security – also has assigned trained officials to identify and prevent cyber security risks. And, as it does at every inauguration, the service has mapped out escape routes for the 44th president.

In addition Washington’s 5,265 surveillance cameras, spread around the city, are expected to be fed into a multi-agency command center.

“When you have an event like the inauguration, the more eyes we have in and around the city the better off we are,” District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. Streets will be closed within seven-to-eight blocks on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, and two-to-three blocks around each inaugural ball site, she said. (more…)

Gaspard to be White House Political Director

Nov 22, 2008 Author: VP | Filed under: Politics

By Chris Cillizza
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Patrick Gaspard, a longtime labor operative, will be the White House political director for President-elect Barack Obama, sources with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Fix.

Gaspard served as national political director for much of Obama’s general election campaign and was named deputy director of personnel for the transition effort. Prior to his work with Obama, Gaspard was the lead political operative for the 1199 branch of the Service Employees International Union, a huge and hugely influential union representing health care workers in New York. He spent the 2004 general election as the national field director for America Coming Together.

“Patrick is a talented leader of our union and has made an incredible contribution to workers as an organizer and a political strategist,” said Anna Burger, the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU. “We celebrate with him his new role. He’s earned it and will serve our country well.”

Gaspard was featured prominently in Ryan Lizza’s recent New Yorker piece detailing how Obama won.

Of his job interview with the Illinois senator, Gaspard recalled Obama saying: “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Following the first general election debate between Obama and John McCain, Gaspard emailed his boss to praise him as “more clutch than Michael Jordan.” The Democratic nominee replied: “Just give me the ball.”

With the news of Gaspard’s hire, Obama has filled out much of his White House senior staff with Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel to be chief of staff, Greg Craig to be White House Counsel, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen will be deputy chiefs of staff while Pete Rouse and David Axelrod will serve as senior advisers to the president. Robert Gibbs, one of Obama’s closest confidantes, is widely expected to be White House press secretary but no announcement has been made yet by the transition team.

Posted By: 8SupremoDivino8
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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson speaks to Latino voters during an early-vote rally in Denver””s Rude Park on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008. The rally was one of nine in seven Colorado cities, featuring local and national elected officials stumping for Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Ivan Moreno)

Latinos push for Cabinet posts

Weeks before Barack Obama won the presidency, he met privately in Washington with his former Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, and Latino political leaders who had fervently backed her bid.

The cards were laid upon the table, according to one of the participants. The Hispanic leaders said they expected at least two Latinos to be named to an Obama Cabinet — meeting the standard set by President-elect Bill Clinton in 1992 — but preferred three. Of course, they also wanted sub-Cabinet-level posts.

In return, Obama needed assurances that Hispanics — who had overwhelmingly voted for Clinton during the Democratic primaries — would be mobilized in large enough numbers to make him the winner in the battleground states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Florida.

On Election Day, Obama won all four states over Republican John McCain largely because of the Latino vote.

Florida Hispanics voted 57 percent-42 percent for Obama, 1 percentage point more than they gave President Bush in 2004. In Colorado, Obama’s Latino margin was 73-27, in Nevada it was 76-22 and in New Mexico, 69 percent of Hispanics backed Obama versus 30 percent for McCain, according to news media exit polls.

Latinos in Virginia, another key state, also picked Obama by a 2-1 margin. Nationally, only 30 percent of Hispanics backed McCain, 10 points lower than for Bush in the last election. (more…)


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