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Entries in President Barack Obama (86)

Thursday
Dec092010

Obama Doesn't Mention God Enough, Says Prayer Caucus

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama doesn't mention God frequently enough in his speeches, a group of religious House Republicans said in an open letter to the president, chastising him for skipping over mention of the "Creator," especially in a recent overseas address.

Forty-two members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus complained in a letter sent to the White House Monday that in a speech delivered last month in Indonesia, the president substituted the U.S.'s religious-themed national motto for a more secular alternative.

The letter suggests the speech was not an isolated incident, but part of a series of remarks that "establishes a pattern" of the president intentionally excluding talk of God from his public remarks.

In a Nov. 10 speech at the University of Jakarta, Obama compared the diversity of Indonesia with that of the United States, saying, "In the United States, our motto is 'E pluribus unum' -- out of many, one."

The president was wrong. Though "E pluribus unum" appears on the Great Seal of the United States and was for centuries an unofficial motto, in 1956 Congress established "In God We Trust" as the official motto.

In addition to the misstep in Indonesia, the caucus, which includes Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., accuses the president of intentionally editing God out of other recent speeches, too.

"Additionally, during three separate events this fall, when quoting from the Declaration of Independence, you mentioned we have inalienable rights, but consistently failed to mention the source of those rights. The Declaration of Independence definitively recognizes God, our Creator, as the source of our rights. Omitting the word 'Creator' once was a mistake, but twice establishes a pattern," reads the letter.

The prayer caucus members who signed the letter, however, neglected to mention that in the Indonesia speech, Obama mentioned God four times.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

House Democrats Reject Obama-GOP Tax Deal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats voted Thursday to reject a controversial tax deal brokered between President Obama and the incoming Republican leadership, highlighting the growing rift inside the president's own party.

By voice vote, House Democrats overwhelmingly passed a resolution Thursday that said the tax package should not come to the floor of the House for consideration.

"When faced with take it or leave it, we'll leave it," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D- Texas, after leaving the heated closed-door meeting of the caucus.

The proposed package would extend the Bush tax cuts across incomes, extend benefits to the unemployed, and cut payroll taxes.

"In the caucus today, House Democrats supported a resolution to reject the Senate Republican tax provisions as currently written," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"We will continue discussions with the president and our Democratic and Republican colleagues in the days ahead to improve the proposal before it comes to the House floor for a vote."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the vote to reject the deal "was nearly unanimous."

Democrats, he said had a "large number of objections and concerns" with the proposed plan.

The surprise insurrection against the president seems motivated mostly by anger at extending cuts to the wealthiest Americans and a provision that would raise taxes on inherited income -- the estate tax.

"The caucus has no clue as to how that got included," Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., told ABC News, referring to the estate tax provision in the deal.

Some Democrats also argue that the plan would add $700 billion to the national debt.

Those additions were a bridge too far for Democrats, who said they would only consider the proposal if it was changed.

As of this morning there were just over 50 House Democrats who said they would vote down the proposal if it came to the floor, but most observers expected it would come to a vote.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec022010

President Obama Urges Action on Unemployment Benefits, Tax Cuts

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, President Obama urged members of Congress to extend benefits for the unemployed, which expired Wednesday for about two million Americans, and expressed hope that lawmakers will come together on tax cuts even though Republicans and Democrats continue to squabble over both issues.

"Our hope and expectation is that unemployment insurance is something that traditionally has had bipartisan support, is something that once again will be dealt with as part of a broader package," the president said following a meeting with newly elected governors.

Obama's Council of Economic Advisors Thursday released a state-by-state breakdown on the economic ripple effect of letting long-term benefits expire.

If Congress doesn't extend the benefits, seven million unemployed Americans could lose coverage by next November, the report stated.

The report shows "the consequences that inaction on extending unemployment benefits would have on American families," a senior administration official said Thursday. "In December alone, more than two million Americans will lose the temporary support that helps them keep food on the table and make ends meet while they fight to find a job if Congress doesn't act."

Meanwhile, House Democrats are looking to extend the benefits as part of a package that extends tax cuts for lower to middle class Americans. Republicans continue to argue that Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for all Americans, regardless of income.

Obama today expressed hope for a middle ground, even as the two parties continue to spar just days after a White House summit where the president and lawmakers expressed hopes for bipartisanship,

"I believe it will get resolved," Obama said after the meeting. "That doesn't mean there isn't going to be some posturing over the next several days."

Incoming speaker of the House John Boehner accused Democrats on Thursday of playing political games when it comes to taxes.

"[I am] trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as a chicken crap, all right?" Boehner said at a press conference Thursday. "The last thing our economy needs right now is a job-killing tax hike, and that's what this plan of theirs would mean. I think it's pretty clear to get the economy going again and create jobs, we need to cut spending and stop all of the coming tax hikes."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov222010

Mike Huckabee: Divided Government May Boost Obama’s 2012 Chances

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's a question that every potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate has to ask before jumping into the race: Could I beat Barack Obama?

Sarah Palin already said she thinks so, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee acknowledged in an appearance on ABC's The View on Monday that he won't enter the GOP primary unless he comes to the same conclusion.

"I think it's going to be harder to beat Barack Obama than a lot of Republicans are thinking because he is the president, he's going to have a billion dollars starting out in his war chest, there is an extraordinary advantage of an incumbent," Huckabee said. "And I'll tell you something else people don't think about: a divided government is good for the executive branch."

He added, "When the executive and the legislative branches fight, the executive always wins," citing his own experience with a Democrat-controlled Arkansas legislature.

Some fresh polling numbers may help Huckabee, a veteran of the 2008 GOP presidential primary, make up his mind about running. A new Quinnipiac University survey released on Monday found Obama ahead of Huckabee by 2 points in a theoretical match up -- a virtual dead heat. The survey's margin of error is 2 percentage points.

Only one candidate -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- actually polls higher than Obama in a head-to-head race, and only by 1 percentage point, according to the Quinnipiac results. Among other potential GOP contenders, Huckabee comes in third in the poll, trailing Palin who gets 19 percent of Republican support and Romney who garners 18 percent. Huckabee comes up with 17 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 15 percent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

George W. Bush Spokesman Denies Report that Former President Supported Obama over McCain in 2008

Photo Courtesy - George W Bush Center dot com | John McCain dot com(WASHINGTON) -- A spokesman for George W. Bush strongly denied a report in Britain’s Financial Times that the former president supported Barack Obama over John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, calling it “ridiculous and untrue.”

“I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” the newspaper says Bush told former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a group of visiting dignitaries of McCain. “I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

The Financial Times attributed the anecdote to anonymous sources described as “two people present” for the conversation.

"This story based on information from unnamed British government staffers is ridiculous and untrue,” said David Sherzer, a spokesman for Bush. “President Bush proudly supported John McCain in the election and voted for him."

Bush and McCain have had a strained and at times sour relationship, dating back to their bitter battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

The two Republicans clashed many times during the eight years of the Bush presidency over issues like interrogation techniques for terrorist suspects and the strategy in Iraq.

When McCain wrapped up the GOP nomination in March 2008, Bush welcomed him to the White House and gave him his endorsement. “John showed incredible courage and strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment. And that's exactly what we need in a president,” Bush said in the Rose Garden at the time.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Saturday
Nov062010

High-Speed Rail Projects: Casualty of GOP Wave?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of Tuesday's election results, yet another one of the administration's flagship programs may now be in jeopardy. At least two newly elected Republican governors are taking aim at high speed rail projects in their states.

President Obama promised to develop America's first nationwide program of intercity high-speed passenger rail. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called the plan "a game changer" that "will help change our society for the better." The administration has already awarded $10.5 billion dollars in stimulus money to help pay for 54 rail projects in 23 states. $2.5 billion of that was doled out just last week.

But not everyone is eager to climb aboard. In Ohio, Governor-elect John Kasich has been quoted as saying, "Passenger rail is not in Ohio's future." Kasich minced no words in talking about the project. "That train is dead," he said.

In Wisconsin, the state department of transportation has now stopped all work on a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. In a memo to project contractors and consultants, the Wisconsin Transportation Secretary told them to stop work for a "few days." The memo indicated the temporary halt was "in light of the election results." The Governor-elect, Scott Walker, is no fan of the project and made a campaign promise to kill it.

Also in question is a high-speed rail line in Florida, designed to carry passengers at 168 miles an hour from Orlando to Tampa. The state has received $1.25 billion dollars in federal money for the project, but it could cost twice that much to complete. As a candidate, Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott questioned whether the rail line was a good deal for the state.

New York's Governor-elect, Andrew Cuomo, reassured the federal government that if other states didn't want their high-speed rail money, he would be thrilled to have it for projects in upstate New York.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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