Review Category : Poltics

College Democrat Tells Jeb Bush ‘Your Brother Created ISIS’

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) — Jeb Bush found himself on defense after his town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada Wednesday after a young voter told him, “your brother created ISIS.”

Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old student at University of Nevada who said she was a registered Democrat, approached Bush after the event and told the likely presidential candidate he was wrong about the origins of the terror group.

“You stated that ISIS was created because we don’t have enough presence and we’ve been pulling out of the Middle East. However, the threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi coalition authority, which ousted the entire government of Iraq,” Ziedrich said. “It was when 30,000 individuals who are part of the Iraqi military were forced out. They had no employment, they had no income, yet they were left with access to all the same arms and weapons. Your brother created ISIS!”

Bush, the former Florida governor and likely Republican presidential candidate, unsuccessfully tried to interject. When he reached out, Ziedrich snapped back: “You don’t need to be pedantic to me sir. You could just answer my question.”

“We respectfully disagree,” Bush said, explaining his view that more American troops in Iraq would have prevented ISIS from forming.

“So look, we can rewrite history all you want, but the simple fact is that we’re in a much more unstable place because America pulled back,” he told Ziedrich.

Ziedrich said she is a member of the Young Democrats at her university although in an interview with ABC News Wednesday she said she was not speaking as a representative of the group.

She said she likes to attend political events across the ideological spectrum so she can be as informed as possible, said she did not intend to come across as hostile in her exchange with Bush, which occurred after the town hall meeting had concluded. She added that she respects Bush as a politician.

“I think he’s telling the truth as he understands it,” Ziedrich said in a telephone interview. “I think it’s important when we have people in positions of authority we demand a dialogue and accountability.”

She added: “I see his response as a lack of perspective. We deserve more than this as voters.”

Will Ziedrich make an appearance at similar events?

“If there are other town halls here, and if any presidential candidate comes to an open event, I would love to attend,” she told ABC News.

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House Democrats Warn Hillary Clinton to Be ‘Very Explicit’ on Trade

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Senate Democrats blocked a motion this week to proceed with President Obama’s proposed trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP). And although they reached an agreement with the president Wednesday afternoon to “fast-track” the trade deal forward, the issue remains a controversial one.

But two top House Democrats say another important leader among their party needs to clarify her position on trade for American people: Hillary Clinton.

“If we’re going to win in 2016 and retain the presidency, Hillary and all the candidates running for it are going to have to be very explicit with the American people — and certainly with the Democratic base — about trade, about jobs and about wages,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz, told Power Players in a recent interview with his colleague Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.

“If you can’t talk explicitly about those, our base is not going to have the energy, the desire, or put a lot of hope into the candidates,” he added. “I think Hillary needs to be more explicit, I think she’s beginning to do that, and we look forward to more detail, because I think that only helps us into ’16.”

Ellison mirrored the sentiment, explaining, “I believe that Hillary Clinton cares about working people, it would be helpful if she were more definitive on the transpacific partnership.”

What’s more, Ellison suggested, it would behoove the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates to align themselves with their base on the matter.

“People know that part of the reason their wages have stagnated and their jobs are gone is because of these trade deals that have not worked for American workers; it’s going to make a difference,” he said. “I can tell you it’s applause line at a rally to say, ‘We’re going to make sure that these trade deals work for American workers.’”

For Grijalva’s part, the House Democrat warned members of his party running in 2016 not to make the same mistake twice in ignoring the issue. “We’ll repeat 2014,” he said. “We didn’t have an economic agenda, we didn’t talk directly to the base, and we paid the price for it.”

On the power progressive candidates who have to create real change in the 2016, Ellison implored those running to consider a group of core, key issues.

“Here’s a chance for us to shape this country in a way for shared prosperity, so that we can do something about student debt,” he said. “We can get more project labor agreements and good collective bargaining rights for workers. This is an opportunity,” Ellison added.

Agreeing with his colleague, Grijalva explained, “This is an opportunity to invest in American people … it’s a great opportunity, as Keith said, and we hope to energize our base, people that believe in our ideals and get them to vote and make a tremendous change in [2016.]”

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Obama Set Goals Too High for Gulf Rebalance, Experts Say

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration is likely to fall far short of the lofty goals it set for itself at Thursday’s summit with Gulf leaders, several experts on the region said.

While the White House has framed the seven-nation meeting as an opportunity to deepen and strengthen Gulf nations’ security relationship with the United States in light of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, the six foreign leaders attending have set out bargaining chips that the administration has already shot down, and it’s not exactly clear what else, besides those tangible items, either side wants.

“There’s a very real prospect that this exercise could end up looking like the February Countering Violent Extremism summit,” Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress, which is aligned with the Obama administration, said, referring to a 60-plus-country confab that issued a lengthy joint statement with few specifics.

“Something that actually offers a couple of news stories and visuals, but leaves the participants very much perplexed as to what comes next.”

The White House has already ruled out a formal mutual defense treaty, which several of the Gulf nations were advocating, and is also unlikely to approve Saudi Arabia’s request for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. Even still, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes laid out an ambitious, if ambiguous, agenda for the daylong meeting during a conference call with reporters Monday.

“The purpose of this meeting is to sit down with some of our key partners in the region and to review U.S. policy and GCC policies related to the situation in the region and to determine ways in which we can strengthen our partnership and our security cooperation going forward,” he said.

Many observers also have in their minds the goal set out by President Obama during a 2014 interview with The New Yorker, in which he laid out his vision for a “new equilibrium” in the region: “If we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion — not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon — you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.”

But given the Gulf nations’ own tangles with Iran and its proxies — including Saudi Arabia fighting the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates ending up on opposing sides of the fight for control of Libya — Katulis said it’s unlikely they can put all those regional concerns aside at the Camp David table.

“This is a fractious bunch, it’s one that actually feels insecure about their own regional and domestic environments, so they need reassurance in various forms,” he said.

David Andrew Weinberg of the conservative anti-Iran think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said the possible results from this summit were likely limited even more when several top Gulf leaders, most notably the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, decided not to attend and send deputies in their place.

“Now the administration has further justification to play down the sorts of things that it will be providing and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is much more of a technocratic summit than a new horizon in bilateral relations,” he said.

But others, including the Saudis, have argued that just because the titular heads of their nations are not attending doesn’t mean they are not taking the summit seriously, however limited its results may be.

A source familiar with the Camp David arrangements said the Saudi representatives — interior minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and defense minister Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — were more than capable of handling these discussions in the place of the almost 80-year-old king.

“They’re the guys who are going to have the technical wherewithal to really understand and discuss directly the arms deal with Iran and regional security needs,” the source said.

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Obama Set Goals Too High for Gulf Rebalance, Experts Say

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration is likely to fall far short of the lofty goals it set for itself at Thursday’s summit with Gulf leaders, several experts on the region said.

While the White House has framed the seven-nation meeting as an opportunity to deepen and strengthen Gulf nations’ security relationship with the United States in light of a possible nuclear deal with Iran, the six foreign leaders attending have set out bargaining chips that the administration has already shot down, and it’s not exactly clear what else, besides those tangible items, either side wants.

“There’s a very real prospect that this exercise could end up looking like the February Countering Violent Extremism summit,” Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress, which is aligned with the Obama administration, said, referring to a 60-plus-country confab that issued a lengthy joint statement with few specifics.

“Something that actually offers a couple of news stories and visuals, but leaves the participants very much perplexed as to what comes next.”

The White House has already ruled out a formal mutual defense treaty, which several of the Gulf nations were advocating, and is also unlikely to approve Saudi Arabia’s request for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. Even still, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes laid out an ambitious, if ambiguous, agenda for the daylong meeting during a conference call with reporters Monday.

“The purpose of this meeting is to sit down with some of our key partners in the region and to review U.S. policy and GCC policies related to the situation in the region and to determine ways in which we can strengthen our partnership and our security cooperation going forward,” he said.

Many observers also have in their minds the goal set out by President Obama during a 2014 interview with The New Yorker, in which he laid out his vision for a “new equilibrium” in the region: “If we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion — not funding terrorist organizations, not trying to stir up sectarian discontent in other countries, and not developing a nuclear weapon — you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.”

But given the Gulf nations’ own tangles with Iran and its proxies — including Saudi Arabia fighting the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates ending up on opposing sides of the fight for control of Libya — Katulis said it’s unlikely they can put all those regional concerns aside at the Camp David table.

“This is a fractious bunch, it’s one that actually feels insecure about their own regional and domestic environments, so they need reassurance in various forms,” he said.

David Andrew Weinberg of the conservative anti-Iran think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said the possible results from this summit were likely limited even more when several top Gulf leaders, most notably the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, decided not to attend and send deputies in their place.

“Now the administration has further justification to play down the sorts of things that it will be providing and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is much more of a technocratic summit than a new horizon in bilateral relations,” he said.

But others, including the Saudis, have argued that just because the titular heads of their nations are not attending doesn’t mean they are not taking the summit seriously, however limited its results may be.

A source familiar with the Camp David arrangements said the Saudi representatives — interior minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and defense minister Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — were more than capable of handling these discussions in the place of the almost 80-year-old king.

“They’re the guys who are going to have the technical wherewithal to really understand and discuss directly the arms deal with Iran and regional security needs,” the source said.

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Drinking ‘Likely’ Played Role in Secret Service Barricade Incident at White House

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Alcohol “more likely than not” played a role when two veteran Secret Service agents drove through a crime scene barricade at a White House entrance after a night of partying. That’s the conclusion of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, whose investigation of the embarrassing, March 4 incident was released.

The IG report found that the agents came “within inches” of driving over a potential bomb when their car pushed past a makeshift barricade intended to protect a suspicious package left at the E Street entrance to the White House. Fortunately, that suspicious package turned out to be a book.

The boozy episode came on the heels of a series of Secret Service gaffes — from agents cavorting with prostitutes overseas, to a White House fence jumper who made it all the way inside the president’s home. It set off a renewed firestorm of criticism of the agency, prompting Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy to ask the DHS inspector general to investigate.

In response to the IG report, Clancy said in a statement: “I am disappointed and disturbed at the apparent lack of judgment described in this report. Behavior of the type described in the report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Our mission is too important.”

The investigation is complete, and it contains some damning new details about the behavior of agents Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie on the night of the incident, and raises questions about accountability at the agency charged with protecting the president.

Agents Connolly and Ogilvie “displayed poor judgment and a lack of situation awareness in driving into the scene. … We conclude that it was more likely than not that both Connolly’s and Ogilvie’s judgment was impaired by alcohol,” the report says.

A Night of Partying

The evening of March 4 began with a two-hour, open-bar, retirement party for a Secret Service colleague. After the party wrapped up, Connolly, Ogilvie and two other unnamed Secret Service personnel lingered at the bar, according to the investigation.

“Ogilvie opened a tab at 7:44 p.m. and paid it three hours later, at 10:45 p.m. On his bill, there were charges for eight glasses of scotch, two vodka drinks, one glass of wine and three glasses of beer.” The report says that Ogilvie acknowledged having two scotches and a beer, but Connolly maintained he only had two beers during the open-bar portion of the party, and drank ginger ale after that.

According to the IG report, at 10:45 p.m. the group left the bar and Connolly asked Ogilvie for a ride back to the White House. The two men badged their way through a Secret Service traffic stop at 15th and F Streets that was set up to keep traffic away from the suspicious package investigation. They turned into the 15th and E Streets entrance to the White House complex just before 11 p.m.

The IG report says the two men have different recollections of what exactly happened, but in short they tried to maneuver through the bike racks and an orange traffic barrel set up to protect the suspicious package investigation.

The report says, “It appears from the review of the video that the barrel moved more than five feet, being pushed along the concrete and brick walkway. This was no mere “bump,” but rather extended contact to shove the barrel out of the way. Additionally, apparently unknown to Ogilvie, his car passed within inches of the suspicious package during this process.”

Three uniformed Secret Service officers approached the car at that point and started asking questions. The report says, “All three officers at the scene thought something was ‘not right.’ They did not smell any alcohol, and none of them noted that either agent slurred their speech or otherwise appeared intoxicated, but each of the officers thought that the agents ‘were not making sense.”

The Chain of Command Breakdown

One of the officers called the watch commander. The officer told investigators that he told the commander that he didn’t smell alcohol, and could not know if alcohol was involved. But the watch commander said he recalls that the officer saying that the two agents “may be drunk.” Agent Ogilvie conceded to the watch commander that he had been drinking, but the commander told investigators that he did not believe Ogilvie was intoxicated.

However, the watch commander’s statement about Ogilvie was “contradicted by his statement to other witnesses that night,” according to the IG report. Other officers on the scene said the watch commander had told them that both agents were under the influence, and described their condition as being “hammered.” One officer said that the watch commander told him he did not perform a field sobriety test on the agents because that would be a “career killer.” The long and short of it was that both Ogilvie and Connolly were allowed to leave, and drive home in their government cars.

Accountability?

According the IG report, “neither Connolly nor Ogilvie notified their superiors of the incident,” in apparent violation of Secret Service policy. Moreover, the report found, “The incident with Connolly and Ogilvie was not memorialized in writing by any Secret Service personnel.” Even the report that was written about the suspicious package incident by the watch commander “omitted the incursion of the crime scene by Ogilvie and Connolly.”

The watch commander, who reported under the chain of command to Agent Connolly, “reported the facts” to two superiors that night, but no action was taken and no report was filed. The IG found that “The watch commander and his subordinates should have been able to rely on their superior officers to … report the situation.”

Although a number of officers and agents were aware of the incident, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy only learned about it five days later because of an email from a retired agent. At first, the report says, Clancy thought the email was bogus. But after finding out the allegations had merit, he asked the DHS IG to investigate. The IG found that there was no evidence that any “video of the incident was intentionally deleted or destroyed.”

Conclusions

The report is highly critical of both Connolly and Ogilvie, not only for their behavior on the night of March 4, but for their lack of reporting. “Both Connolly and Ogilvie had a duty to report the incident, but did not do so,” the report states.

And it is highly skeptical of the agents’ stories about how much they drank that night:

“While during their interviews each denied drinking to excess that evening, we must assess those denials in light of the UD’s [Uniform Division officers’] observations of the officer’s behaviors, the fact that they had just spent the last five hours in a restaurant/bar in which Ogilvie ran up a significant bar tab (at least some of which he was unable to account for), and that two highly experienced SS supervisors drove into a crime scene inches from what the rest of the SS was treating as an explosive device.”

Some sources who were in attendance at the party questioned the thoroughness of the IG investigation and say they were never interviewed for their perspective on the evening’s events.

Both Connolly and Ogilvie have been placed on administrative leave and any additional disciplinary action is pending the outcome of a review by the Secret Service Office of Integrity.

“The Secret Service takes allegations of employee misconduct very seriously,” Clancy said in a statement.

“Any employee, regardless of rank or seniority, who has committed provable misconduct, will be held accountable,” he added.

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Drinking ‘Likely’ Played Role in Secret Service Barricade Incident at White House

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Alcohol “more likely than not” played a role when two veteran Secret Service agents drove through a crime scene barricade at a White House entrance after a night of partying. That’s the conclusion of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, whose investigation of the embarrassing, March 4 incident was released.

The IG report found that the agents came “within inches” of driving over a potential bomb when their car pushed past a makeshift barricade intended to protect a suspicious package left at the E Street entrance to the White House. Fortunately, that suspicious package turned out to be a book.

The boozy episode came on the heels of a series of Secret Service gaffes — from agents cavorting with prostitutes overseas, to a White House fence jumper who made it all the way inside the president’s home. It set off a renewed firestorm of criticism of the agency, prompting Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy to ask the DHS inspector general to investigate.

In response to the IG report, Clancy said in a statement: “I am disappointed and disturbed at the apparent lack of judgment described in this report. Behavior of the type described in the report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Our mission is too important.”

The investigation is complete, and it contains some damning new details about the behavior of agents Marc Connolly and George Ogilvie on the night of the incident, and raises questions about accountability at the agency charged with protecting the president.

Agents Connolly and Ogilvie “displayed poor judgment and a lack of situation awareness in driving into the scene. … We conclude that it was more likely than not that both Connolly’s and Ogilvie’s judgment was impaired by alcohol,” the report says.

A Night of Partying

The evening of March 4 began with a two-hour, open-bar, retirement party for a Secret Service colleague. After the party wrapped up, Connolly, Ogilvie and two other unnamed Secret Service personnel lingered at the bar, according to the investigation.

“Ogilvie opened a tab at 7:44 p.m. and paid it three hours later, at 10:45 p.m. On his bill, there were charges for eight glasses of scotch, two vodka drinks, one glass of wine and three glasses of beer.” The report says that Ogilvie acknowledged having two scotches and a beer, but Connolly maintained he only had two beers during the open-bar portion of the party, and drank ginger ale after that.

According to the IG report, at 10:45 p.m. the group left the bar and Connolly asked Ogilvie for a ride back to the White House. The two men badged their way through a Secret Service traffic stop at 15th and F Streets that was set up to keep traffic away from the suspicious package investigation. They turned into the 15th and E Streets entrance to the White House complex just before 11 p.m.

The IG report says the two men have different recollections of what exactly happened, but in short they tried to maneuver through the bike racks and an orange traffic barrel set up to protect the suspicious package investigation.

The report says, “It appears from the review of the video that the barrel moved more than five feet, being pushed along the concrete and brick walkway. This was no mere “bump,” but rather extended contact to shove the barrel out of the way. Additionally, apparently unknown to Ogilvie, his car passed within inches of the suspicious package during this process.”

Three uniformed Secret Service officers approached the car at that point and started asking questions. The report says, “All three officers at the scene thought something was ‘not right.’ They did not smell any alcohol, and none of them noted that either agent slurred their speech or otherwise appeared intoxicated, but each of the officers thought that the agents ‘were not making sense.”

The Chain of Command Breakdown

One of the officers called the watch commander. The officer told investigators that he told the commander that he didn’t smell alcohol, and could not know if alcohol was involved. But the watch commander said he recalls that the officer saying that the two agents “may be drunk.” Agent Ogilvie conceded to the watch commander that he had been drinking, but the commander told investigators that he did not believe Ogilvie was intoxicated.

However, the watch commander’s statement about Ogilvie was “contradicted by his statement to other witnesses that night,” according to the IG report. Other officers on the scene said the watch commander had told them that both agents were under the influence, and described their condition as being “hammered.” One officer said that the watch commander told him he did not perform a field sobriety test on the agents because that would be a “career killer.” The long and short of it was that both Ogilvie and Connolly were allowed to leave, and drive home in their government cars.

Accountability?

According the IG report, “neither Connolly nor Ogilvie notified their superiors of the incident,” in apparent violation of Secret Service policy. Moreover, the report found, “The incident with Connolly and Ogilvie was not memorialized in writing by any Secret Service personnel.” Even the report that was written about the suspicious package incident by the watch commander “omitted the incursion of the crime scene by Ogilvie and Connolly.”

The watch commander, who reported under the chain of command to Agent Connolly, “reported the facts” to two superiors that night, but no action was taken and no report was filed. The IG found that “The watch commander and his subordinates should have been able to rely on their superior officers to … report the situation.”

Although a number of officers and agents were aware of the incident, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy only learned about it five days later because of an email from a retired agent. At first, the report says, Clancy thought the email was bogus. But after finding out the allegations had merit, he asked the DHS IG to investigate. The IG found that there was no evidence that any “video of the incident was intentionally deleted or destroyed.”

Conclusions

The report is highly critical of both Connolly and Ogilvie, not only for their behavior on the night of March 4, but for their lack of reporting. “Both Connolly and Ogilvie had a duty to report the incident, but did not do so,” the report states.

And it is highly skeptical of the agents’ stories about how much they drank that night:

“While during their interviews each denied drinking to excess that evening, we must assess those denials in light of the UD’s [Uniform Division officers’] observations of the officer’s behaviors, the fact that they had just spent the last five hours in a restaurant/bar in which Ogilvie ran up a significant bar tab (at least some of which he was unable to account for), and that two highly experienced SS supervisors drove into a crime scene inches from what the rest of the SS was treating as an explosive device.”

Some sources who were in attendance at the party questioned the thoroughness of the IG investigation and say they were never interviewed for their perspective on the evening’s events.

Both Connolly and Ogilvie have been placed on administrative leave and any additional disciplinary action is pending the outcome of a review by the Secret Service Office of Integrity.

“The Secret Service takes allegations of employee misconduct very seriously,” Clancy said in a statement.

“Any employee, regardless of rank or seniority, who has committed provable misconduct, will be held accountable,” he added.

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The Obama-Warren Tiff Gets Cranked Up a Notch

Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest doubled down on his call for Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to apologize to President Obama for accusing the president of being “disrespectful” to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“Sen. Brown is a stand-up guy, and given the opportunity to review the comments that seemed like they were made in some haste, that I feel confident that he’ll do the right thing and apologize,” Earnest told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing. “I wouldn’t necessarily expect a public apology, but we’ll see how Sen. Brown chooses to pursue this.”

The White House’s call for an apology from Brown comes after the Ohio senator accused President Obama of being “disrespectful” of Warren for suggesting in an interview with Yahoo News over the weekend that Warren was politically motivated in her opposition to the president’s fast-track trade agreement.

“Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Obama told Yahoo. “She’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”

Asked about the public tiff by ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Wednesday, Earnest sought to clarify that the president’s remarks were meant to relay that Warren is making a political argument. “The president’s making a political argument, too,” Earnest said. “And we can have a robust difference of opinion and a robust debate.”

Earnest also took issue with Brown’s suggestion that the president had been sexist by referring to Sen. Warren by her first name in the interview. “I think referring to her as first name when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps — I’ve said enough,” Brown said Tuesday.

“Well, Jon — you don’t mind if I call you Jon, do you?” Earnest quipped in reply when asked about it by Karl.

“There are a number of instances where the president has used the first name of the senator to reference them in public, both men and women, including multiple instances in which he’s referred to Sherrod Brown as Sherrod in public setting,” he said.

Earnest first called on Brown to apologize for his comment in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe early Wednesday. But in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Wednesday afternoon, the Ohio Democrat stopped short of offering an apology.

“Yeah, I don’t want this to be personal either way,” Brown told Mitchell, while not responding directly to a question about whether he would apologize.

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Senate Leaders Reach Deal to Move Trade Deal Forward

Image Source Pink/Image Source/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Less than 24 hours after Senate Democrats blocked President Obama’s free-trade deal, Senate leaders Wednesday afternoon announced that they have reached a deal to move President Obama’s “fast-track” trade deal forward.

The agreement will allow the regular order on the trade bill, but also will allow senators to take votes on all four bills, as Democrats have demanded.

“So the plan I am about to offer will provide our Democratic colleagues with a sensible way forward without killing the bill. The plan I’m about to offer will allow the regular order on the trade bill, while also allowing senators the opportunity to take votes on the customs and preference bills in a way that will not imperil the increased American exports and American trade jobs that we need,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said. “It’s reasonable, so I look forward to our friends across the aisle now joining with us to move forward on this issue in a serious way.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, commended McConnell on moving forward. “I extend my appreciation to the Majority leader for having this suggestion to go forward. We have worked together the last 24 hours and I think we have come up with something that is fair,” Reid said.

The Senate will proceed to the immediate consideration of the bill Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

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Snafu: The White House Word of the Week

kropic/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Have you heard about the “procedural snafu” in Washington?

Because the White House press corps has — a lot.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday used the term 11 times to refer to the move by Senate Democrats to block trade promotion authority for the president. This comes after he used the phrase 10 times at Tuesday’s briefing to explain the stalled trade bill.

The overuse of “snafu” was funny at first.

“Remind me, what does snafu stand for?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl jokingly asked Earnest on Tuesday.

“This is a family program, Jon,” the normally earnest Earnest responded.

On Wednesday, the “snafu” became, well, a bit SNAFU.

“I don’t know how a snafu translates into a variety of Asian languages,” Earnest confessed, when asked if the White House had been receiving calls from other nations concerned about the trade flap.

The quip was met with groans from White House reporters, but that didn’t stop Earnest.

He went on to explain that there is still strong support for the bill, bemoaning “this is why less patient observers of the Senate are ready to pull their hair out when they observe these kinds of procedural snafus.”

The press corps is beginning to share that sentiment, when it comes to the term “snafu.”

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Jeb Bush Suggests Asking ‘Hypothetical’ Questions About Iraq ‘Does a Disservice’ to Dead American Soldiers

Charles Sykes/NBC(WASHINGTON) — At a town hall meeting in Nevada on Wednesday, likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush attempted once again to refine his answer to a question that has dogged him ever since Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked him recently, “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion” of Iraq in 2003.

After telling Kelly in the interview, which aired on Monday, that he “would have,” and then clarifying to Sean Hannity on Tuesday that he “interpreted the question wrong” and didn’t know “what that decision would have been,” on Wednesday he unveiled a fresh explanation.

“If we’re going to get into hypotheticals I think it does a disservice for a lot of people that sacrificed a lot,” Bush said after explaining that as governor of Florida he called the family members of servicemen and women who lost their lives in the war.

He added: “Going back in time and talking about hypotheticals — what would have happened, what could have happened — I think, does a disservice for them. What we ought to be focusing on is what are the lessons learned.”

But several of his potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have been less reticent to engage in hypotheticals this week.

“Knowing what we know now, of course we wouldn’t go into Iraq,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told The Hill newspaper.

“I don’t think you can honestly say that if we knew then that there was no WMD that the country should have gone to war,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in an interview with CNN.

And Ohio Gov. John Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch: “If the question is, if there were not weapons of mass destruction should we have gone, the answer would’ve been no.”

As he travels the country ahead of opening a formal White House bid, Bush has been poked and prodded — by the press and voters alike — about how and to what extent his views differ from those of his brother, former President George W. Bush.

“I’m much better looking than my brother, I’m younger than him,” Bush joked in response to a reporter’s question. “If I run it’ll be 2016, not 2000. The world has changed dramatically. The context of the campaign will be different, the whole country’s different. It’s obvious that my life experience is different.”

And with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton facing growing scrutiny for taking very few questions from reporters since formally announcing her candidacy just over a month ago, Bush did not miss an opportunity to take a swipe on Wednesday.

“I think everybody else does speak to the press and have town hall meetings where it’s unscripted and, as you saw, it’s a little rambunctious,” Bush said. “That’s all part of the process. You can’t script your way to the presidency.”

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