Since last Friday’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, President Barack Obama has used vague phrases like “meaningful action” to express his administration’s response to the slaying, while avoiding delving too far into specific plans. At a media briefing earlier today, however, White House press secretary Jay Carney listed some of the gun control measures Mr. Obama would actually support.
“He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” Mr. Carney said. “He supports and would support legislation that addresses the problem of the so-called ‘gun show loophole,’ and there are other elements of gun legislation that he could support. People have talked about [restricting] high capacity ammunition clips, for example. That is certainly something he would be interested in looking at. My point is that it goes beyond that.”
War & Peace
Earlier this morning, Speaker John Boehner and the U.S. House Republican leadership held a press conference to announce a new proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy and avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” or the steep set of spending cuts and tax increases that will arrive by the end of the year if a deficit deal is not reached. Specifically, Mr. Boehner’s plan would extend the current tax rates on everyone making less than $1 million a year, a sharp jump from President Barack Obama’s own counteroffer yesterday, which conceded a $400,000 ceiling. Mr. Obama had previously stood firm on allowing the tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $250,000, a number that GOP lawmakers apparently found unacceptable.
“Our hope continues to be to reach an agreement with the president on a balanced approach that averts the fiscal cliff. What we’ve offered meets the definition of balance, but the President is not there yet,” Mr. Boehner began. “What the White House offered yesterday was essentially $1.3 million in new revenues, for only $850 billion in net spending reductions. That’s not balanced in my opinion. So, at the same time that we’re going to talk to the President, we’re going to also move ‘plan B.’”
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.”