Review Category : Poltics

Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It’

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MILWAUKEE) — Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011.

“Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, of pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance.

“The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office,” he said.

Obama spoke at Laborfest 2014, a Labor Day rally in Henry Maier Festival Park. Supporters standing behind him and out in the audience wore green AFSCME and purple SEIU t-shirts.

It was a typical economic stump speech of the kind Obama has delivered over and over in American cities this year, with calls for higher wages, criticism of Republicans for blocking them, and pleas for a better life for working-class Americans.

But Monday, the president was more expressly political, exhorting the crowd to organize and vote Democratic in this fall’s midterm elections.

“I’d also want more Democrats looking out for me, I’m just saying,” Obama said, after telling the crowd that if he were a worker looking for better wages and safety protections, he’d join a union.

Shouting and appearing visibly riled, Obama reminded the crowd of union and Democratic-Party victories in securing a 40-hour workweek and supporting Medicare and Social Security.

Earlier on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a similarly political, and similarly populist speech to a Labor Day rally hosted by union organizers in Detroit.

The president traveled to Wisconsin for this one appearance and was to return to the White House before departing Tuesday for Estonia and this week’s NATO summit in Wales.

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Congresswoman and Iraq War Vet Tammy Duckworth is Pregnant

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has announced she’s pregnant.

In 2004, the veteran lost both of her legs and part of an arm when her helicopter was shot down in the Iraq War.

She says she became pregnant through a form of in vitro fertilization, and now she and her husband are expecting a baby girl in December.

The 46-year-old says due to her age and injuries the pregnancy is considered “high risk.”

Duckworth is the first female veteran of the Iraq war to be elected to congress. She will be seeking re-election in November.

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Obama Notifies Congress of Amirli Bombing, Airdrop Campaign

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of the bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by ISIS in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House on Monday.

“These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote.

Up until this point, Obama has publicly justified military actions against ISIS as protecting U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil and to assist Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. In this new letter – which could be construed as a bit unusual because it concerns an expansion of the anti-ISIS campaign he’s already announced – Obama defines the Amirli strikes as solely a humanitarian/assistance mission, not as protecting Americans.

The letter followed Obama’s standard practice, to announce strikes (usually two days later) in a letter to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution – an act of Congress that Obama and other presidents have declined to acknowledge as binding.

The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it had extended its bombing campaign southward to help the Turkmen. Strikes and humanitarian drops began on Saturday and strikes continued Sunday.

U.S. bombs have been falling mostly around Mosul and Mosul Dam since Obama authorized the anti-ISIS campaign three weeks ago. This weekend, the Pentagon announced a handful of strikes that brought the total to 120 in Iraq since they began Aug. 8.

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Obama Notifies Congress of Amirli Bombing, Airdrop Campaign

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of the bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by ISIS in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House on Monday.

“These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote.

Up until this point, Obama has publicly justified military actions against ISIS as protecting U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil and to assist Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. In this new letter – which could be construed as a bit unusual because it concerns an expansion of the anti-ISIS campaign he’s already announced – Obama defines the Amirli strikes as solely a humanitarian/assistance mission, not as protecting Americans.

The letter followed Obama’s standard practice, to announce strikes (usually two days later) in a letter to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution – an act of Congress that Obama and other presidents have declined to acknowledge as binding.

The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it had extended its bombing campaign southward to help the Turkmen. Strikes and humanitarian drops began on Saturday and strikes continued Sunday.

U.S. bombs have been falling mostly around Mosul and Mosul Dam since Obama authorized the anti-ISIS campaign three weeks ago. This weekend, the Pentagon announced a handful of strikes that brought the total to 120 in Iraq since they began Aug. 8.

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Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said Sunday on This Week that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act.

“I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said on the This Week roundtable. “I think the elements of a strategy are already there. We know we’re going to use air power. We know we’re going to use special operators. We know we’re going to have to build alliances on the ground. That’s a very doable thing.”

“They’re tougher in Syria than they are in Iraq. We don’t have any preexisting relationships there,” Cole added. “But I think at the end of the day, look I think there’s a consensus that we are going to do things, but again being a little bit thoughtful might be a good idea.”

While Cole said Obama “made some bad mistakes” in pulling all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011 and “not taking this threat seriously earlier,” he said, “I still think the elements are there to be successful.”

Cole, a member of the House Republican leadership, also said he believes “there can be bipartisan support” for action against ISIS if Obama comes to Congress.

“I think the important thing for the president here is to move with Congress — that is, to not do this on his own, to make everybody put their fingerprints on the decision and say yea or nay and go home and justify it,” Cole said.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the current foreign policy challenges a “potential 9/11 moment,” but said more has to be learned about ISIS.

“They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?” he said.

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the U.S. shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

“You do have to have a coalition,” he said.

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Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East.

Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.”

Clarke, appearing Sunday on This Week, said simply, “I think he’s wrong.”

“We’re much more capable of defending ourselves now,” said Clarke, who served under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as the nation’s top counterterrorism official. “We have the Department of Homeland Security, we have a lot of resources going into counterterrorism, but the threat has also increased. And I think the threat has probably increased more than the defenses.”

Speaking of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, Clarke told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “ISIS is highly capable. It has a lot of money. It has people from many, many countries. And our fear is it may have people in its ranks that we don’t know about. We have the names of thousands of people, and we can stop them if they try to get into this country, but if we don’t know their names, and we don’t know they’re involved, they can get in.”

Others experts on This Week echoed these concerns. Mubin Shaikh, a former Taliban jihadist who became an undercover counterterrorism operative, said that while terrorist recruiting efforts in the U.S. could eventually be brought under control, “the horse has bolted from the farm” in terms of existing efforts.

Clarke emphasized the importance of law enforcement working with the local Muslim communities to combat those recruiting efforts, saying, “our best defense are our own American Muslims who have been very cooperative. They don’t want anything to happen like this again in this country.”

On the This Week roundtable, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson called the ISIS threat to America a “potential 9/11 moment,” but sounded a note of caution on dealing with the terror group, saying, “They’re bad, but what is their goal? Can they reach the American homeland?”

Richardson acknowledged the regional threat posed by ISIS, but said the U.S. shouldn’t act without allies and “go it alone” with military action against the group in Syria.

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Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region.

The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.”

“Tonight I am officially extending an invitation for Barack Obama to come join me at the border in Texas,” Cruz said. “I figured the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come: I am inviting him to a golf course.”

Cruz told the audience that he is inviting Obama to join him at Lajitas Golf Resort in Big Bend, where, on “the 11th hole, the pin is on the other side of the Rio Grande, so you can only go for a hole in one.”

Cruz devoted much of his speech to lambasting Democratic immigration reforms and warned that it would be “utterly lawless” for Obama to offer “amnesty” without the consent of Congress. Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration sometime this fall, but it has remained unclear when or how aggressively the president would seek to change U.S. policy.

“I’m expecting to get a call back from the president any day now to accept this invitation,” Cruz said.

Cruz briefly mocked Obama’s comment that he has no “strategy” yet to attack ISIS in Syria, a remark the president made in a live news conference on Thursday, on which fellow high-profile Republicans have seized.

“I’m sure everyone was shocked to hear this,” Cruz said sarcastically, of the president’s remark, contrasting it with Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the Cold War and quoting the former president: “We win, they lose.”

Cruz railed against ISIS, the jihadist group that has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria and which shocked many in the West by executing American journalist James Foley.

“America has always been reluctant to use military force, but we have never shied away from defending the United States of America,” Cruz said. “ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity, well I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the stone age.”

Earlier this month, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS positions in northern Iraq. On Saturday, the U.S. military’s Central Command announced five more drone and fighter-jet strikes had destroyed ISIS positions near the contested Mosul Dam. Those strikes brought the total up to 115 since Obama’s authorization three weeks ago, CENTCOM said.

Cruz criticized Obama’s foreign policy in general, alleging he’s been outplayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the geopolitical stage. Cruz also blasted the FAA’s short-lived ban on flights to Tel Aviv, during the recent Gaza conflict.

“The Obama Doctrine works very, very well,” Cruz said. “You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

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California Passes Plastic Bag Ban

iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make California the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.

State lawmakers okayed the bill Friday after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.

The measure makes plastic bags illegal statewide at grocery stores and large pharmacies. It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge $0.10 each for paper and reusable plastic.

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California Passes Plastic Bag Ban

iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — California lawmakers are sending Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would make California the first to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.

State lawmakers okayed the bill Friday after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.

The measure makes plastic bags illegal statewide at grocery stores and large pharmacies. It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge $0.10 each for paper and reusable plastic.

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McConnell Campaign Manager Resigns in Wake of Scandal

US Senate(WASHINGTON) — A campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell resigned his position on Friday in the wake of a scandal from the 2012 caucuses.

Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s grandson-in-law, had worked for the McConnell campaign in 2012 and was expected to run Rand Paul’s campaign in 2016. He released a statement Friday, saying that working for McConnell was “one of the great honors of [his] life.”

Still, Benton offered his resignation effective Saturday to avoid becoming a distraction to McConnell’s reelection campaign. Benton pointed to “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors” about his role in “past campaigns” as the cause of his resignation.

“This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country,” Benton’s statement read.

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