Republican Congressman Pete King today took aim at the Tea Party, launching a PAC to promote what he dubs “common sense” candidates–and to lay the groundwork for his potential run for president.
Speaking to Politicker by phone as he drove across New Hampshire, Mr. King said the new effort, unveiled today in the crucial early voting state, was aimed at helping Republican candidates who reject the Tea Party’s isolationist, anti-government message.
WASHINGTON — Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio went down to Washington, D.C. today to meet with President Barack Obama, emerging emboldened that a “progressive movement” was sweeping the nation.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, which included 15 other newly-elected mayors, Mr. de Blasio said it was clear to him that the fight against inequality–which formed the centerpiece of his campaign–was gaining steam far beyond the five boroughs.
Big in DC
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani thinks Chris Christie has the potential to win the White House.
Campaigning with the New Jersey governor in Bergen County today, Mr. Giuliani, himself a failed presidential contender, told Politicker’s sister site, PolitickerNJ, that he has no doubt Mr. Christie could be elected president.
Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander’s interest in local issues has resulted in some national attention.
Tomorrow morning, the White House will be honoring Mr. Lander as an “open-government and civic hacking” “Champion of Change” for his work on behalf of participatory budgeting in the City Council.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
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.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a plea from a group of sixth graders who had their tour of the presidential residence canceled due to the so-called “sequester” cuts in a press briefing this afternoon. Mr. Carney described the situation as “extremely unfortunate,” but unavoidable due to the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 after lawmwakers were unable to reach a deficit reduction deal.
“The President and the First Lady have throughout the time that they’ve been here made extraordinary efforts to make this the people’s house, and it is extremely unfortunate that we have a situation like the sequester that compels the kinds of tradeoffs and decisions that this represents,” Mr. Carney said. “The fact is the Secret Service, like other agencies of government, is affected by the sequester. And the Secret Service presented options that ranged from canceling tours to potential furloughs and cuts in overtime. And in order to allow the Secret Service to best fulfill its core mission, the White House made the decision that we would, unfortunately, have to temporarily suspend these tours.”
A group of sixth graders from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa has turned to the internet to save their school trip to the White House. The children were scheduled to tour the White House on March 16, but their visit was cancelled yesterday along with all other tours of the presidential residence due to “staffing reductions” caused by the so-called “sequester” budget cuts that took effect last Friday after lawmakers failed to make a deficit reduction deal. In an effort to muster support and salvage their trip, the school posted a brief video on Facebook featuring a plea from the children.
“The White House is our house, please let us visit!” the sixth graders say in the clip.
Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden attended a gun violence conference a few miles from the location of last year’s infamous Newtown school shooting massacre. And Mr. Biden, who has led the White House’s push for stricter policies on guns in the shooting’s wake, passionately argued that gun control is no longer the untouchable “third rail” in our political system. Indeed, Mr. Biden took his contention in the opposite direction and said politicians are now compelled to engage the issue.
“Our understanding assumption is–in American politics today–[is] that this is kind of a third rail of politics,” Mr. Biden declared. “That if you take this on, somehow there will be a severe political price to pay for doing it because that’s what happened in the past. That’s what happened in the past. People say–and you read, and people write about–the political risk and why they’re unacceptable to take on. I say it’s unacceptable to not take these on. It’s simply unacceptable.”
The Fourth Estate
In his State of the Union address this evening, President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button political issues including climate change, immigration reform and gun control. Overall, the president’s speech struck a populist tone, but when bringing up his proposals to address some of these more controversial issues, he characterized them as making good business sense.
Beyoncé Knowles may or may not have sung the “Star Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, but the country’s executive branch seems disinclined to find out.
Ever since reports first accused Ms. Knowles of lip-syncing the patriotic anthem, inaugural news coverage has sharply focused on the issue, including front-page treatment from New York City’s two tabloid dailies. Yet asked about the ongoing controversy during today’s media briefing, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, had no significant comment on the matter.