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.”
The White House Press Office made a rather amusing error when they sent out the transcript of Press Secretary Jay Carney’s afternoon briefing. In the transcript, Mr. Carney’s answer to a question about rumors Vogue editrix Anna Wintour could be the ambassador to the United Kingdom was identified as coming from “Mrs. Obama” rather than Read More
Governor Andrew Cuomo spent the day in Washington yesterday lobbying for the approximately $40 billion in federal aid he is asking for to help the state recover from Hurricane Sandy. Politicker spoke with sources familiar with the governor’s schedule to get details on how he spent his time and who he met with on his first trip to Washington since taking office.
“The governor hit the trifecta; the White House, the Majority Leader and the speaker,” an administration official said.
Earlier today, the White House announced President Barack Obama and his one-time rival, Mitt Romney, would be sitting down for a bite to eat tomorrow, but outside of the event being scheduled no additional information was provided. Various journalists, naturally, weren’t satisfied and attempted to score more details from Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney. They mostly did not succeed.
Journeys With Joe
Earlier today, President Barack Obama participated in a presidential Thanksgiving tradition, officially pardoning two turkeys. In his speech announcing the move, Mr. Obama cracked a number of jokes and reminisced about the spirit of storm-damaged Staten Islanders, in addition to declaring the pair of turkeys free from human consumption, of course.
Courtesy of the White House, here is Mr. Obama’s transcribed speech in full, including multiple gobble-related interruptions:
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everybody. (Turkey gobbles.) (Laughter.)
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off voting for himself in Delaware, returned to the pivotal battleground state of Ohio this afternoon to do a final round of campaign stops before polls close. And, true to form, Mr. Biden seemed to be having fun.
Approaching a booth at a Greek diner in Cleveland, Mr. Biden apologized for causing a commotion, jesting diners just came to get some spaghetti, “and Joe Biden shows up.”
Next, the vice president met, according to a pool report, “the number one Biden superfan.” The supporter, “struggling to contain excitement,” offered Mr. Biden her food before chanting, “Biden! Biden!”
At a White House briefing this morning, President Barack Obama’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney, was asked to respond to Mitt Romney’s charge the president is running an “angry and desperate” re-election campaign. Team Romney’s complaints about the negative nature of the Obama campaign have focused on an ad run by a pro-Obama super PAC that attempted to tie Mr. Romney’s work at Bain Capital to a woman’s death from cancer, a suggestion by a top Obama campaign staffer that Mr. Romney may have committed a felony by claiming he left Bain earlier than he did and a recent remark from Vice President Joe Biden that Mr. Romney’s economic policies would enable banks to put people “back in chains.”
Mr. Carney told the reporters in attendance the complaints about the super PAC ad were an “obvious attempt to distract attention by focusing so much of your attention on an ad that never ran as I understood it.” When the reporter who asked about the Romney campaign’s complaints corrected Mr. Carney and informed him the commercial did indeed appear on television, he said it only ran “inadvertently, according to a press report and a stationery record.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns held a conference call this afternoon to discuss a report released yesterday by the Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee, which revealed former White House deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (who is currently President Barack Obama’s campaign manager) used his personal email to conduct official business and White House staffers conducted meetings outside the building to avoid being included in the official record. Mr. Priebus said this represented a hypocritical failure of the Obama administration to live up to their promises of transparency and suggested it may indicate illegal activity.
“We got more news today that the self-proclaimed ‘most transparent administration in history isn’t transparent at all. They’ve been using the Caribou Coffee shop across the street from the White House as an executive branch annex to hold secret meetings with lobbyists and political cronies,” said Mr. Priebus. “These newly uncovered emails showed one White House staffer explicitly asking an industry insider to meet him at Caribou so that he wouldn’t have to appear on the White House visitor logs. The White House doesn’t want the American people to know who they’re meeting with on a day-to-day basis. They’ve had hundreds of meetings at Caribou, so we have no way of knowing what insider deals they’re cutting.”
Reporting from the White House press pool doesn’t generally come with the dangers of covering breaking news or foreign affairs, but a group of journalists in the presidential press posse found themselves facing fluke gusts of hurricane-force winds as Marine One landed on the South Lawn of the White House this morning.
“It was a quiet, gentle rain falling on the group of us on the South Lawn–until Marine One arrived,” Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery told The Politicker. “People initially just huddled closer together as the wind picked up, but then, as the chopper touched down, the breeze turned into gales and everyone was just blown apart. Most people’s umbrellas were instantly flipped inside out and some appeared
The harrowing ordeal elicited several different reactions from the assembled journalists.