Thursday in South Carolina at the Politico event on the economy and the election, Gene Sperling, the former director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, slammed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and declared he was “reaching the worst instincts in people.” Sperling said, “This is a person who is running a campaign that is appealing to the worst instincts in people. He has mocked a person with disabilities openly and then asked the person with disabilities to apologize for it. He has maligned Latino Americans calling them rapists. He has had the most anti-freedom of religion position with Muslim.” He added, “Bernie Sanders should not be mentioned in the same breath with him and either should Hillary Clinton.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
Email from David Axelrod: Warm Memories of a Chilly Day
February 12, 2016 at 3:43 PM ET by Melanie Garunay
David Axelrod sent the below message to the White House email list, reflecting?on President Obama’s return visit to Springfield this week.?Didn’t get the email??Sign up for updates.?
The last time I stood in the plaza outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, I lost the feeling in my toes.
I was huddled with 17,000 others in near zero temperatures to help Barack Obama launch an improbable challenge to the prevailing politics and policies of Washington.
Men, women, and children from around the country shivered together in the shadow of the hulking capitol where Abraham Lincoln once served. They had come, an aroused citizenry, to change the course of history, and the sheer joy and energy of that mission made the threat of frostbite a trivial concern.
I returned to Springfield on Wednesday, not in a rented campaign van, but on Air Force One, accompanying the President of the United States on the anniversary of his audacious announcement.
Watch some behind-the-scenes footage of President Obama’s return visit to Springfield, the place where it all began.
As we walked into the empty plaza, the scene came alive in my memory: A young man at the podium, his voice booming off the surrounding buildings. Thousands of supporters shaking handmade signs, roaring their approval.
“I’d crawl to Iowa to work for this guy,” one middle-aged man told us that day, a sentiment I heard from so many others. Frigid cold be damned! They came to make history and change the country’s course. And they would.
So much of what Obama promised nine years ago has come to pass. He has turned around an ailing economy, enacted health reform, promoted clean energy, wound down two wars, lifted up diplomacy, and so much more. But people of all political stripes also responded to his call for national unity, healing, and renewal.
And on that score, we as a country have more work to do.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has announced he’s dropping out of the presidential race, after being the only candidate not to make the cut for Saturday’s GOP debate.
Video footage has emerged documenting the outrage and desperation of 1,400 American workers as they are informed that their company will be sending their jobs to Mexico. As Mediaite reports: “A cell phone video taken at Carrier Air Conditioner in Indianapolis shows the exact moment that the plant and union workers were told that the company had decided to shift production south of the border. ‘The best way to stay competitive and protect the business for longterm is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico,’ says the company representative at the microphone.” “Let’s quiet down,” the company representative says as the American workers of different races and ethnicities begin to shout out after being told that they will soon be out of a job. Although the establishment media seems loath to report it, globalist trade deals and the off-shoring of American jobs have become a central focus of the 2016 race– as earlier this month President Obama’s signed what could arguably be one of the impactful trade agreements in modern history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Economic Policy Institute has documented that “Between 1993 (before NAFTA took effect) and 2013, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada
Friday at the Republican presidential Faith & Family Forum in South Carolina, addressing the recent presidential primary issue of women becoming part of a military draft, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said due to modern warfare a draft will never be necessary again. Rubio said, “I think there was a question in the last debate, they asked about select service. First of all, I don’t even think we need selective service anymore. I don’t think we will ever have a draft again. Modern warfare — if it ever reaches that level, because of the weapons that exist I dont think you are ever going to see a draft instituted. Second of all, I do not support drafting woman and forcing them to be combat solders. I don’t support that. I never have and I don’t now.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
President Obama said that what he has done for the gay community is “one of the things I’m proudest of, because my whole political career has been based on the idea that we constantly want to include people, and not exclude them” on Friday’s broadcast of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” DeGeneres thanked Obama for “what you have done for the gay community.” He responded, “It’s one of the things I’m proudest of, because my whole political career has been based on the idea that we constantly want to include people, and not exclude them. How do we bring more and more people into opportunity, and success, and feeling hopeful about their lives?” He continued, “[C]hanging hearts and minds, I don’t think anybody’s been more influential than you on that. I really mean that. That’s true. And so, your courage and — you’re just really likable. And so, as soon as — you being willing to claim who you were, then suddenly empowers other people, and then suddenly, it’s your brother, your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your co-workers, and then attitudes shift, and the laws followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.” Follow Ian
An Update on How We’re Leading the Counter-ISIL Coalition
February 12, 2016 at 3:29 PM ET by Secretary Ashton Carter
This week in Brussels, I convened the first-ever meeting of defense ministers from 27?countries involved in the military coalition to defeat ISIL. ?
As I explained to my counterparts, when ISIL’s continued existence threatens not only the lives of the Iraqi and Syrian people, but also the security of our own citizens, all of our nations have a responsibility to accelerate this fight. There must be no free riders. ?
The United States will continue to lead this coalition, providing it with a campaign plan and a unique set of capabilities.?We are also prepared to do more to hasten ISIL’s lasting defeat and are actively taking steps to do so. At the same time, the campaign has enduring requirements that other nations have the capability to meet.
Last December, I reached out personally to dozen of defense defense ministers to urge them to consider filling critical military and non-military needs in the campaign.?
“Nearly 90 percent of the countries participating in the coalition’s military campaign have either stepped up their role or committed to do so in the coming days.”
I am gratified to report that coalition members responded to our challenge. This week, Canada announced a commitment to triple its training mission in Northern Iraq and double its intelligence efforts throughout the region. The Netherlands recently expanded its current air campaign over Iraq to include targets in Syria, and is contributing funds for medical assistance and rebuilding. In Brussels, I received additional commitments to the fight from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Denmark pending final approval by their respective parliaments.
Contributions from Gulf nations, both in delegitimizing ISIL’s toxic ideology and confronting ISIL fighters on the ground, are particularly important to our larger effort. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia agreed to expand its role in the Coalition air campaign and provide additional support on the ground. Today, the United Arab Emirates said it will do the same. I appreciate both countries willingness to help us accelerate the campaign.
These new additions add to the substantial existing contributions from countries like Australia, France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom which have significantly increased their efforts since the attacks in Paris, Istanbul, and beyond this fall.
In sum, nearly 90 percent?of the countries participating in the coalition’s military campaign have either stepped up their role or committed to do so in the coming days. Their decisions to expand air operations, provide additional trainers, logistical support, reconstruction assistance, or some other contribution will all help the coalition intensify the counter-ISIL campaign.
Our objectives are clear. We must destroy the parent tumor in Iraq and Syria by collapsing ISIL’s grip on its power centers in Mosul and Raqqa. That will destroy the false notion that this barbaric group maintains any semblance of a state. At the same time, we must confront the metastasis of the cancer. That means being prepared to confront ISIL and its offshoots in Libya, Afghanistan, and wherever it spreads. Since no nation is immune to this threat, we must do everything we can to protect our homelands.
“Any nation that cares about the safety of its people or the future of civilization must engage in this fight.”
Any nation that cares about the safety of its people or the future of civilization must engage in this fight. We need the full involvement of every government, not just every military. That means political engagement to help craft the long-term security architecture for the region. It means – in today’s connected world – cutting off ISIL’s finances, stemming the flow of foreign fighters, and countering ISIL’s wicked messaging on social media and elsewhere. And there’s even more that can be done. Humanitarian and reconstruction aid can be just as powerful a weapon in this fight as any precision guided munition.
I’m very pleased that so many nations have stepped up and answered the call in recent days, and I am encouraged by our meeting. But my challenge to coalition members to accelerate our military campaign will not end in Brussels, any more than America’s resolve to lead and make more contributions itself will end there. It will continue.?
Indeed, the determination my counterparts brought to our Brussels Ministerial?–?and the accelerated actions we take against ISIL on the battlefield?–?must continue so that we can truly deal ISIL a lasting defeat.
This week, Family Research Council Action, one of America’s most prominent social-conservative advocacy groups, recognized Marco with its “True Blue” Award. The award recognizes legislators who have a 100 percent rating according to FRC Action’s legislative scorecard, as he did last year. Here’s what the group’s president, Tony Perkins, had to say about Marco: We…
President Obama argued, “there are a bunch of folks who say that we’re wildly overspending, even though we aren’t” and that many things on the Internet and news broadcasts “are just factually inaccurate” on Friday’s broadcast of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Obama said, “The amount of stuff that is just put out there on the Internet, or on, sometimes news broadcasts that are just factually inaccurate is surprising, and it’s really hard to catch up. Since I came into office, we reduced the deficit by two-thirds. But if you ask the average person, they’re sure that spending has shot up, and the reason is because, there are a bunch of folks who say that we’re wildly overspending, even though we aren’t. And that’s just one small example, but it happens all the time, and that’s something that we have to fix, partly by people paying more attention to what’s going on every single day. And it’s hard. People are busy.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
Friday at the Republican presidential Faith & Family Forum in South Carolina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, citing the example of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and his brother, former President George W. Bush, spoke of respect for the office of the presidency as he asked, “Is anybody here worried about the front-running candidate shouting out obscenities in front of children?” Bush said, “I think how you lead your life as a president is as important as your five point plan to deal with whatever subject it is. And restoring decency back to the public life — I mean is anybody here worried about the front running candidate shouting out obscenities in front of children? This is like — what is going on? I guess I have had a little front row seat watching history unfold just given the uniqueness of my family — I can’t imagine my dad — It’s just it—yeah, not going to do it — or my brother who always wore a suit into the Oval Office because he walked in there and he thought, this is hollowed ground, this is important.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN