Congressman Charlie Rangel sat down with a small group of reporters yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion at his office. One of the main topics was the brewing battle over the debt ceiling and Politicker asked the congressman for his take on the idea President Barack Obama can avoid a fight with congressional Republicans who won’t raise the debt cap by having the Treasury Department mint a $1 trillion coin.
“I’m working on the design, one for the president and one for me,” Mr. Rangel said with a smile.
We wondered whether that meant he wanted to see his portrait depicted on the coin.
“No, I want one of the coins,” the congressman responded as the assembled reporters laughed. “The president gets one, he puts it in the treasury. I get one, I keep it. Makes sense to me.”
Earlier in the conversation, Mr. Rangel criticized Republicans who have said they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts because he said they are solely focused on slashing “so-called entitlements” that are social programs for “vulnerable” portions of the population.
War & Peace
This afternoon, the White House Press Office released a report sent from President Barack Obama to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate notifying them “about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.” In his report, the president said he “will direct additional measures against al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and associated forces,” but said, “it is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of U.S. Armed forces to counter this terrorist threat to the United States.”
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that, as of this writing, left at least 27 people dead including the alleged gunman and 18 children, Congressman Jerry Nadler issued an impassioned statement calling for stricter gun control legislation.
“I am absolutely horrified by news of the cold-blooded shooting of dozens of children in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children,” Mr. Nadler said. “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
President Obama’s trip to Staten Island today was filled with thanks from local elected officials and residents who praised him for showing up and for the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. However, there were also signs some Staten Islanders were dissatisfied with the aid they’ve received since the storm.
The ongoing scandal over former CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair and the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were two of the main topics when President Barack Obama had his first post-election White House press conference this afternoon. President Obama promised thorough investigations would be done to uncover details about the FBI investigation that unearthed the Petraeus scandal and the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack. He also had high praise for Mr. Petraeus and harsh words for anyone who might attempt to block him from nominating diplomat Susan Rice as secretary of state because her role in the widely-criticized shifting explanations for the Libyan embassy attack.
This afternoon, President Barack Obama held his first solo press conference with the White House press corps since June 8. One question that came up during the lengthy grilling was whether President Obama has met with his erstwhile election rival, Mitt Romney, or made plans to do so in the future.
“We haven’t scheduled something yet,” the president said. “I think everybody forgets that the election was only a week ago. I know I’ve forgotten. I forgot on Wednesday.”
by the numbers
During the waning weeks of the election, New York Times poll wonk Nate Silver served as a totem for many liberals in the face of pundits and pollsters who predicted a victory for Mitt Romney. Mr. Silver’s predictions for the outcome of the election ended up being accurate; however, in an email to supporters this morning, Obama For America campaign manager Jim Messina included a not-so-subtle reminder of a time Mr. Silver was off the mark.
“So many times in this election, this campaign was counted out … Last year, a major American newspaper asked, ‘Is Obama toast?’ As recently as two weeks ago, another ran this headline: ‘Can Obama win?’” Mr. Messina wrote. “Tuesday night, you all answered all of those doubts with a resounding YES WE CAN.”
The first headline Mr. Messina referred to in his email was a piece from the New York Times Magazine written by Mr. Silver almost exactly one year ago. In that piece, Mr. Silver speculated President Barack Obama might not win re-election because voters had “fundamental misgivings” about him and the state of the American economy.
Law & Order
This election may have been far more exciting than anyone realized. According to a GQ story about Mitt Romney and his security entourage, “several assassination plots were nipped in the bud” by the Secret Service during this year’s presidential campaign.
Staying on Message
When President Barack Obama first hit the campaign trail this year, he tried to silence his doubters by insisting his re-election bid was “still about hope,” the slogan that propelled him to the White House in 2008. Almost exactly six months later, he took the stage in Chicago’s McCormick place to deliver a rousing victory speech in which he aggressively defended his promise of hope and change after a first term filled with partisan gridlock and a long, bitter presidential race.
“Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you,” President Obama began. “It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and oppression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation.”
Back on Top
President Barack Obama has been declared victorious in the presidential election, earning himself another four years in the White House. NBC News projected President Obama the winner shortly after 11 p.m. making him just the fourth Democrat in the last 100 years to win a second term.