As President Barack Obama’s opponents pile on in the aftermath of multiple recent controversies–notably his reaction to the Benghazi attacks, revelations that the Internal Revenue Service focused on conservative-aligned nonprofits and the Justice Department’s unprecedented snooping on press communications–one local congressman wants it to be known that he is also not pleased.
To wit, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, released a lengthy statement this afternoon blasting Mr. Obama for “bringing Chicago-style politics to the White House.” This style of underhanded rule, Mr. Grimm said, has resulted in a presidency that is “the most secretive, deceptive, and divisive we’ve seen in modern times.”
Money money money
President Barack Obama returned to the city this afternoon for a trio of star-studded fund-raising events.
Mr. Obama’s first stop was the West Village home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, where about 65 people paying between $16,200 and $20,000 gathered around tables draped in white linen to hear the president speak.
The Greek-born John Catsimatidis is ineligible to run for President of the United States, but that doesn’t mean the GOP mayoral candidate hasn’t thought about it. Indeed, during yesterday’s rowdy event at the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, Mr. Catsimatidis talked extensively about federal policy before proclaiming that he would have defeated President Barack Obama’s re-election bid if he were in the race.
“I’m running for mayor, I can’t run for president!” he declared. “But let me tell you something, I would have won. I could have beat Obama. Buy me a box of Kleenex.”
What White House?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down a report Monday that he’s been telling confidantes he knows he can’t run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton enters the race.
“There is no truth to the assertion that I’m talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn’t do or what I’m doing presidentially,” Mr. Cuomo told WCNY’s Susan Arbetter this morning.
“The only discussions I’m having are about how to help the state, how to get the state running, how to make the government a better government,” he added. “And to the extend I’m focusing on politics, it’s my race next year.”
President Barack Obama joined other the United States officials lamenting the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher this morning. In particular, Mr. Obama touted both Ms. Thatcher’s humble upbringing and her status as one of the world’s “great champions of freedom and liberty.”
“With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Congressman Pete King was not pleased with his fellow Republicans who opposed the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package. Accordingly, Mr. King told us he was shocked to learn that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who’s widely seen as a potential 2016 presidential contender, has been raising cash on Wall Street after voting against the Sandy bill.
“Being from New York we’re not supposed to be suckers,” Mr. King told Politicker this morning. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you now make us president?’”
The Fourth Estate
In a chapel on Rikers Island today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the press shouldn’t be irked about being barred from photographing a round of golf between President Barack Obama and Tiger Woods.
“I don’t know why the president has to have people watch what he does,” said Mr. Bloomberg, responding to a question from CBS’s Rich Lamb during a press conference introducing an anti-recidivism program. “He has a right to a vacation. You take a vacation occasionally, you don’t work 24/7. He does. He works very hard and he certainly has a right to his private life.”
Charles in Charge
Earlier today, President Barack Obama held a press conference to decry the upcoming sequestration–steep automatic budget cuts set to occur in just ten days unless a debt deal is reached–as a “meat cleaver” that will cut essential services and harm the military. And in a subsequent MSNBC interview, veteran Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel weighed in on the topic and took his criticism even further, declaring the entire country “is embarrassed by this whole thing.”
“Before it was, ‘Protect the top 1 percent and don’t increase their tax rates.’ Now they’re saying, ‘If anything else is wrong with the tax system, don’t correct it if it means raising revenue,’” Mr. Rangel said, characterizing and dismissing the Republicans’ negotiating position. “That doesn’t make any sense!”
In his State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama announced a new initiative to protect American citizens and businesses from hack attacks. Cybersecurity, of course, has recently made the news as complex attacks–allegedly linked to the Chinese military–have been waged against both government institutions and the media. President Obama’s executive order, which he announced in his speech after the White House sent reporters a preview, aims to curb this activity as well as more pedestrian hacking threats.
“America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks,” Mr. Obama declared. “We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.
In his State of the Union speech tonight, President Barack Obama addressed many of the most pressing issues on the world stage including the tense diplomatic situations in Iran and North Korea and the War on Terror in Afghanistan.
On the campaign trail, President Obama vowed to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. However, shortly after the election, the White House said they would not be able to commit to a specific withdrawal schedule in Afghanistan. Addressing the nation tonight, President Obama returned to his campaign promise and said the remaining U.S. troops in that country would be withdrawn in the next 22 months.