WASHINGTON - President Obama will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, a senior administration official said Sunday, choosing a former Senate colleague and a decorated Vietnam veteran and signaling he´s ready for a contentious confirmation fight likely dominated by questions about Hagel´s stands on Israel and Iran. Obama, who avoided a Capitol Hill battle by deciding not to nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as his first choice for secretary of state, went ahead with Hagel, 66, even as leading Republicans announced their opposition — though they stopped short of saying they might try to block Hagel.
#9, her name Michele Flournoy. She holds an A.B. in social studies from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in international relations from Oxford University. Flournoy resigned her position on the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) working group in February 2012 to contribute to Obama´s re-election bid.
There is a good chance that the Hagel nomination is a ploy. He is widely unpopular among his former Senate peers, and if at some point his nomination is withdrawn as expected, Obama’s real choice will sail through confirmation as a consolation. Obama has some first-rate strategists on his team.
Obama continues with his own strategy of appointing flunkies who are less competent than he is. It´s a short list so give him time to make just the right selections. When he chooses Pelosi to head Intelligence, you will know that he has the best possible staff for bringing down the country.
The once-sleepy town of Williston sits on the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers in the US state of North Dakota. Five years ago, Williston had a population of 12,000 and was slowly dying on its feet – an agricultural hub marked out from the plains only by the grain silos that stand silhouetted against the big North Dakota skies. The fall-out from a brief oil boom in the mid-1980s had left the town with sky-high debts and a main street filled with empty shops and peeling facades. Young people looking for jobs skipped town at the first opportunity. Today, Williston is
The CIA used a secret base at Guantanamo Bay nicknamed ´Penny Lane´ to turn some of al-Qaeda´s most dangerous terrorists into double agents, US officials have admitted.Inmates languishing under Guantanamo Bay´s harsh regime were offered cash rewards, "hotel" style rooms and even pornography if they agreed to help the CIA track down and kill fellow al-Qaeda operatives. Instead of Guantanamo´s spartan cells, they would be transferred to cottages equipped with private kitchens, showers and televisions, as well as their own patio. A handful then signed agreements to work for the CIA, under which they were released and told to hook up once
DALLAS - A winter storm system blamed for at least 10 fatal accidents in the West and Texas threatens to dampen the Thanksgiving holiday for millions of Americans traveling this week.Nearly 300 American Airlines and American Eagle flights were canceled in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Monday due to the weather, spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said, mirroring disruptions at the air hub a day earlier. Some of the country´s busiest airports - New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C. - could see big delays. Icy roads led to hundreds of accidents and at least 10 deaths, half
As he climbed the political heap, a young Barack Obama roused audiences with promises to unite the nation. He was a Senate candidate in 2004 when he told the Democratic national convention, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America.” In 2007, he declared early in his presidential run that “I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the president of the United States of America.” A year later, after he won the Iowa caucus, he promised, “We are not a collection of red states and blue
Remember President Barack Obama´s mother? Though the airwaves currently echo with his vow "If you like your plan . . ." I keep remembering Obama´s account of his mother being denied coverage by her insurance company as she lay dying of cancer.The moving and infuriating story was a staple on the 2008 campaign trail. His mother had insurance, he explained, but when she came down with cancer, her insurance company claimed her disease was a "pre-existing condition" and refused to pay for her treatment. In a debate with Sen. John McCain, Obama said: "For my mother to die of cancer
Lawmakers began reacting late Saturday to news of an historic agreement that freezes key parts of Iran´s nuclear program. Here are excerpts from statements responding to the deal: House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.):"While I await specific details of the interim agreement, I remain concerned that this deal does not adequately halt Iran´s enrichment capabilities. Numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions have called for the full suspension of Iran´s nuclear activities, so it is troubling that this agreement still permits the Iranians to continue enriching. It is critical that distrust but verify be the guiding principle with which we approach
WASHINGTON — On a sultry day in late August, a dozen staff members of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gathered at the agency’s Baltimore headquarters with managers from the major contractors building HealthCare.gov to review numerous problems with President’s Obama’s online health insurance initiative. The mood was grim. Henry Chao, a 19-year Medicare agency veteran with no formal background in software engineering, was eventually left with day-to-day management of the president’s signature initiative.
At 9 a.m. on Aug. 22, a team of federal health officials sat down in a Baltimore conference room with at least a dozen employees of CGI Federal, the company with the main contract to build the online federal health insurance marketplace. For six weeks, the federal officials overseeing the project had become increasingly worried that CGI was missing deadlines, understaffing the work and overstating its progress. As the meeting began, one of the officials reminded the CGI employees that HealthCare.gov was “the president’s number one priority,” assured them that the discussion would be a “blame-free zone,” and then bored in.
Fear swept through Borough Park, Brooklyn, as soon as the news got out: A young man was randomly assaulted by strangers early Friday morning, and the attack was possibly part of the so-called Knockout Game. Four men were arrested, but on Friday night only one was charged and the others were released. The attack added to a growing log of reports of such crimes in the Northeast and beyond. Young assailants were randomly picking unlucky targets and trying to knock them out with just one punch. Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted
The extremely peculiar rules governing the United States Senate just got a little less peculiar. After a historic vote yesterday, it will now take 51 votes — a simple majority — for most presidential nominations to be approved by the 100-member Senate. One senator responded with outrage to the idea. The American people, he roared, “don’t expect .?.?. for one party — be it Republican or Democrat — to change the rules in the middle of the game.” His name is Barack Obama. Sen. Obama spoke those words in 2005 about a Republican proposal to do something very much like
President Obama held an off-the-record meeting with MSNBC hosts and liberal pundits on Thursday, POLITICO has learned.Present at the meeting: MSNBC´s Ed Schultz and Lawrence O´Donnell, Washington Post economics blogger Ezra Klein, Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum, Atlantic senior editor Garance Franke-Ruta, Salon political writer Brian Beutler and Fox News contributor Juan Williams. The participants agreed to an off-the-record classification for the meeting, though sources familiar with President Obama´s remarks said that Williams later appeared on Fox News and cite some of the president´s remarks, which he
It´s no secret that Sarah Palin is mighty steamed at MSNBC and Martin Bashir over his despicable remarks about the abusive treatment he imagines for her. And now she´s doing something about it. The former Alaska governor and Fox News contributor was scheduled to sit down with Matt Lauer for a Christmas season interview. That´s now toast. Palin has now canceled Lauer´s scheduled trip to Wasilla, a source close to her tells me. It´s not because Palin is upset with Lauer or the "Today" show, but as a protest against NBC for not taking action against Bashir. In fact, Palin once sat
Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are starting to sour on the new pope. In response to Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation, in which the pontiff denounced “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” these two paragons of the far right – both of whom regularly invoke the teachings of Jesus to bolster their own political views – have suddenly turned their backs on the man whose actual job description is to speak for Jesus. Sarah Palin complained that Pope Francis sounded “kind
President Obama requested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take a “breather” from his harsh criticism of the U.S. strategy regarding Iran during a call betwee the two leaders, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. The request came as the administration girds up for a push in the next six months to reach a final settlement on Iran´s nuclear program. The president reportedly urged Netanyahu to tone down his rhetoric for the sake of diplomacy and urged him to dispatch officials to Washington who could help negotiate a resolution agreeable to both countries. The president called Netanyahu last Sunday, promising to
In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.” I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37?percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president.
Cher told her fans on Wednesday that she does not celebrate Thanksgiving. In fact, she appears to deplore the American holiday, calling in the “beginning of a great crime.” Cher said that the American settlers were guilty of taking land from native Americans who had no concept of property ownership and also intentionally infected them with smallpox. “You don’t celebrate the holiday I thought?” a fan asked Cher. “I DON’T,” Cher replied emphatically. She said that, to her, Thanksgiving is a day to see family, eat food together and watch a movie. “Not 2 celebrate the beginning of a GREAT Crime.” When asked
The hits to President Obama´s popularity, prompted by the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, are simply a natural fluctuation every commander-in-chief faces, Obama told interviewer Barbara Walters in an interview aired Friday. "If you remember, I´ve gone up and down pretty consistently throughout," Obama said in the ABC interview on Friday. "But the good thing about when you´re down is that usually you´ve got nowhere to go but up." "I got re-elected in part because people did think I was trustworthy and they knew I was working on their behalf," Obama said in the network´s exclusive. A CNN Poll of Polls complied
For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional. Such as the one just spectacularly blown up in the Senate. To get three judges onto a coveted circuit court, frustrated Democrats abolished the filibuster for executive appointments and (non-Supreme Court) judicial nominations. The problem is not the change itself. It’s fine that a president staffing his administration should need 51 votes rather than 60. Doing so for judicial appointments, which are for life, is a bit dicier. Nonetheless, for
The human species began as the hybrid offspring of a male pig and a female chimpanzee, a leading geneticist has suggested. The startling claim has been made by Eugene McCarthy, of the University of Georgia, who is also one of the worlds leading authorities on hybridisation in animals. He points out that while humans have many features in common with chimps, we also have a large number of distinguishing characteristics not found in any other primates. Dr McCarthy says these divergent characteristics are most likely the result of a hybrid origin at some point far back in human evolutionary history. What´s more, he suggests,
Four more years. 10 trillion more dollars in debt. And by the end of it, we’ll have a nuclear war in the Middle East and mandates forcing you to buy everything from electric cars to Michelle Obama’s trademark Soy and Asphalt pie. The motives behind the Washington Post op-ed argument are… revealing. I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37?percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton
For Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, enough was enough. The Senate´s top Republican had watched a Tea Party-driven government shutdown sink the GOP´s already-weak brand and jeopardize McConnell´s own chances of ever becoming majority leader. The solution, he concluded, was that the party´s so-called Establishment had to start fighting back against its most conservative wing. McConnell, an ardent Obamacare opponent, and other Republican pragmatists in Congress, supported the conservatives´ mission to defund Obamacare during budget negotiations, which led to the 16-day shutdown. But the pragmatists also accepted that their odds of success were virtually nil. Democrats ruled the Senate and White House, those
The Washington Examiner recently reported on an academic study on the 2008 presidential election entitled "The Palin Effect" that examined the effect of then Gov. Palin on the John McCain campaign. Its conclusions run counter to conventional wisdom. The cliché, advanced by the media and the now infamous HBO TV show "Game Change," was that Palin helped to cost McCain the election because of her "controversial" personality. In fact, typical of most vice presidential running mates, Palin had a marginal but largely positive effect on McCain´s standing with the voters. She certainly did not drive away independents and moderates, who along
Progressive talk radio needs a savior. Just a few dozen stations now carry liberal talkers, as key affiliates in cities with active left-wing politics are falling like dominoes, going dark or switching formats. Detroit’s progressive outlet shut down in January, along with Seattle’s liberal talk station, which changed to sports. And after last year’s election, Portland’s progressive talk station ended its political programming. With the political battlegrounds of 2014 and 2016 on the horizon, reducing the whopping imbalance between conservative radio, with its huge fan base, and the left has become more important than ever, according to those in
He´s a proud family man already, but President Barack Obama will turn to his children when it comes to life after the White House. Sasha Obama could be the deciding factor in whether the first family stay in Washington once he leaves office in three years. In a taped interview with ABC News, the President said his now 12-year-old daughter ´will have a big vote in where we are´ because she will be a sophomore in high school. When Obama leaves office in January 2017 after two terms, eldest daughter Malia could be off in college. Both girls attend the exclusive Sidwell Friends School