Posts Tagged ‘Galifianakis

14
Mar
14

President Obama Talks ObamaCare

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Sierra Marquina: President Barack Obama Talks Affordable Care Act, Zach Galifianakis, And Shopping At Gap

The Affordable Care Act was signed in to law by Obama in 2010 with the goal of increasing the quality, affordability, and attainability of health insurance and to date, over 4.2 million people have signed up. But President Obama stresses there are many more who need and should sign up for ObamaCare. However, for those who do not have health insurance, Obama stresses: “You should go to healthcare.gov and compare the prices that are available for various private plans. And they’re the same kind of plans that you’d get on the job that people are familiar with, things like Blue Cross and Aetna, depending on the state. And what healthcare.gov will show is the kinds of plans that are available, the prices that are available and whether you’re eligible for some sort of tax credit. And for a lot of people, they will find that for $100 or less, they can get really good health insurance – in some cases, it’s going to be less than the cost of their cellphone bill or their cable bill.” Why is it so important to make sure you’re covered? Obama explains it’s because “you never know what kind of curveballs life throws at you.”

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The president feels so strongly about the ACA, he even faced comedian Zach Galifianakis on his Funny or Die comedy series Between Two Ferns, where Zach called him a nerd, amongst other things. “Zach actually was pretty nervous,” Obama reveals with a laugh. “It was funny to watch because this whole Between Two Ferns schtick – which I wasn’t familiar with before my staff told me that we had been pitched to do this – his whole character is to go after the guest and I think he was looking around and seeing all these Secret Service guys with guns and thinking, ‘I wonder what happens here if I cross the line?’ But we had a great time.” “And as I said, I wasn’t familiar with this thing, but when I was at the dinner table with the girls and I said, ‘Well today I did something with Zach, it’s called Two Ferns I think?’ Malia was so excited! She had seen all the previous episodes, so I figured it was going to reach our target audience, which is a lot of young people and it turns out we’ve had close to 15 million hits. And the amazing thing is afterwards people actually did link to healthcare.gov and people actually signed up for health insurance, so it ended up working, but I think I have to keep my day job.”

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Yes Sir, you really, really, really, really do

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“I’ve been unfairly maligned about my jeans,” Obama jokes. “The truth is, generally I look very sharp in jeans. There was one episode like four years ago in which I was wearing some loose jeans mainly because I was out on the pitcher’s mound and I didn’t want to feel confined while I was pitching and I think I’ve paid my penance for that. I got whacked pretty good. Since that time, my jeans fit very well.”

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Sierra Marquina: Gap Employee Gives Details On Shopping With President Obama

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12
Mar
14

Comedian-In-Chief

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Jesse David Fox: Behind The Scenes Of Obama’s ‘Between Two Ferns’

Obama didn’t just do “Between Two Ferns,” he did “Between Two Ferns.” He took host Zach Galifianakis’s harsh burns and hit back with even harsher ones — “If I ran a third time, it’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?” — all in the name of promoting the Affordable Care Act. To find out exactly how it happened and what it was like to work with the Commander-in-Chief, we spoke with Scott Aukerman, host of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! and executive producer and director of “Between Two Ferns.” He talks about how the White House let them get away with basically everything, how the president was easier to work with than some celebrities, and what it was like to give notes to the most powerful man on earth.

You said the idea had been floated before. Was the president familiar with the videos?
I can’t really speculate as to whether he is a fan of the videos or has seen them at all. Because every time we do one of these, we’re told the person is a fan of it and then you find out that the person has never seen it before. We were told that he took a look at the videos, but the most important thing to me is whoever’s idea it was — whether it was someone on his team or he himself — the fact that they would do it and the fact that they would keep it such a pure experience was really kind of amazing. I mean, they were easier to work with than some people we’ve had on the show before who should have been easy to work with. [Laughs.] So, it was really not only cool like, “Oh, it was cool we did it,” but it was actually a really good artistic experience.

President Obama’s Between Two Ferns Appearance Here

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Were there certain things that you had to go back and forth on or cut out?
Zach and I both at a certain point in the process were looking at each other going, “I can’t believe they’re letting us do this,” so pretty much the whole thing — we definitely couldn’t believe it. We kept expecting resistance, but there wasn’t any. It was really an incredible situation. We kept expecting them to say “No, no, no, you can’t have that joke,” or “No, no, no, you can’t be funny, it has to all be about the Affordable Care Act,” but to their credit they really wanted it to be what it was and got out of our way.

Did he pitch jokes?
I don’t think the president has to pitch jokes, he just says jokes and we enjoy them.

Do you remember one thing specifically that you enjoyed? 
I just loved how he was going for the jugular with Zach regarding Bradley Cooper. I could tell the president was really enjoying that, and that’s obviously a funny sore spot for Zach. I really enjoyed that exchange.

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You directed it. Did it ever feel normal? What was it like to give the president notes? 
It was definitely something I was very concerned about. I remember asking someone, “Am I allowed to speak to the president?” And they said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m the director, am I allowed to direct the video?” They said, “Of course!” It was strangely collaborative. It wasn’t that we went in there and did our regular process and they worked with us on it. I think people in Hollywood are so used to getting their own way with how they’re treated in interviews that they’re more difficult than people at the White House, who are just excited to be in there.

Now that the video is out there, have you read any comments from conservatives saying it demeans the presidency?
I’ve seen some tweets about that kind of stuff. Like someone wrote like, “How does the president have time to do this?” And it’s like, how does anyone have time to do anything? The great part about it is, this president knows how to reach young people in a way that no other president has, and it’s very important that he reach young people with this issue. This is so much better and will attract so much more attention than him going on a Sunday morning show and talking about this issue when most people I know of this generation aren’t even up that early on a Sunday morning. The outrage about it is from a different generation, and the younger people really get it.

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Pete Souza

12
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama waits for a heavy rain to pass before crossing West Executive Avenue from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to the West Wing of the White House, March 12, 2013 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

2:45: The President holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk; the Vice President also attends

4:0: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at a Special Screening of Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted

4:15: The President drops-by meeting with women Members of Congress, The Roosevelt Room

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Michael Hiltzik: New Data Show Obamacare Gaining Traction

The percentage of uninsured Americans is falling sharply, reaching 15.9% as of the end of February, according to Gallup. That’s the lowest rate the survey firm has measured since 2008. The greatest gains in insured status were shown by people earning less than $36,000 — a prime target for the act — and black Americans. Hispanics still lag. – The cost of health insurance and medical care came sharply down in January, according to number-crunchers at Goldman Sachs and the Commerce Department. Goldman Sachs attributed the slide to cuts in the reimbursement formulas for Medicare services, which are written into the law. The ACA is effectively putting more money in people’s pockets –

the Commerce Department estimated that the expansion of Medicaid benefits under the ACA amounted to $19.2 billion in January. – The grand total of Obamacare enrollees — including insurance exchanges, Medicaid members, and young persons kept on their parents plans — can be estimated as high as 13 million, according to independent statistician Charles Gaba, whose conclusions and methodology can be found here. The ACA is making increasingly deep inroads into the population of uninsured persons, not merely those who had insurance previously and have just switched over to exchange plans or Medicaid.

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Michael Hiltzik: High Deductibles And Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

We’ve remarked before on the tendency of businesses and others to use the Affordable Care Act as a scapegoat for changes in their healthcare benefits or in the healthcare landscape that have other causes — such as their own greed or long-term trends. Galen Benshoof, a guest contributor at theincidentaleconomist.com, identifies a good case of what we might call Obamacare derangement syndrome — the conviction that everything that happens in healthcare today must have been caused by the ACA. Benshoof’s example involves rising deductibles. His jumping-off point is a recent review of a book by Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the ACA’s architects, by David Goldhill in the Wall Street Journal.

Goldhill is a businessman who, judging from his earlier writings, is predisposed to expect the ACA to fail — in fact, prefers catastrophic coverage to almost all other forms of health insurance. In his review, Goldhill cites “the rapid spread of high-deductible insurance among employers and on the exchanges” as “one of the immediate unanticipated consequences of the ACA.” Benshoof calls him on this misstatement. The truth is that the rapid spread of “high-deductible” health plans (based on IRS regulations, that’s technically any plan with a deductible of $1,250 per person and $2,500 per family, or above) is very much an artifact of the pre-ACA healthcare landscape. Indeed, one of the goals of the ACA is to relieve the economic pressures that prompted employers to jack up deductibles on their employees toward this level every year.

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NYT: Titans In Russia Fear New Front In Ukraine Crisis

When Vladimir V. Putin returned to the Russian presidency in 2012, one of the first messages he sent to his political elite, many of them heads of banks and large corporations, was that the times had changed: Owning assets outside Russia makes you too vulnerable to moves by foreign governments, he told them. It is time to bring your wealth home. Nearly two years later, those words seem almost prophetic. After a week of escalating tensions between Russia and the United States, it has become clear that the conflict over Ukraine will move to the battlefield of finance. Those same business titans are now contemplating the damage that the crisis could inflict on Russia’s economy.

Financial sanctions, which the United States and the European Union have suggested they will impose if the conflict escalates, are intended to test the cohesion of the political system. Still, the prospect of losing access to Western finance is a frightening thought for Russian business leaders, whose voice in foreign policy decision-making is muted compared with the tight circle of Mr. Putin’s former K.G.B. colleagues, for whom economic factors may be secondary. Anxiety over possible economic fallout has begun to radiate from business circles, and some wondered whether Mr. Putin had been warned clearly about the magnitude of the possible damage to the economy. One analyst described their mind-set as one of “cognitive dissonance.”

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BBC: US Man Walks Free After 25 Years On Death Row

A man who spent more than 25 years on death row in the US state of Louisiana has walked free from prison after his murder conviction for the 1983 killing of a jeweller was overturned. Glenn Ford, 64, had been on death row since August 1988. He had been found guilty of killing 56-year-old Isadore Rozeman, a jeweller for whom Mr Ford occasionally worked. US media reports say that he is one of the longest-serving death row inmates in modern US history to be exonerated. Mr Ford had always denied killing Mr Rozeman. Asked by a reporter how he was feeling as he left the high security prison in Angola, Louisiana, Mr Ford said: “My mind is going in all kinds of directions but it feels good.”

He said that he did harbour some resentment because he had been locked up for almost 30 years “for something I didn’t do” and had lost years of his life. “Thirty years, 30 years of my life if not all of it. I can’t go back and do anything that I should’ve been doing when I was 35, 38 and 40 – stuff like that. My son when I left was a baby, now they’re grown men with babies.”  The many flaws in the case against Mr Ford have been listed by the US press: No murder weapon was ever found and there were no eyewitnesses to the crime Mr Ford was initially implicated in the killing by a woman who later testified she had lied Mr Ford’s original court-appointed lawyers had never tried a murder case. Mr Ford, a black man, was convicted by an all-white jury who recommended the death sentence

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NYT: Obama Will Seek Broad Expansion Of Overtime Pay

 President Obama this week will seek to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated.  On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.  Under current federal regulations, workers who are deemed executive, administrative or professional employees can be denied overtime pay under a so-called white-collar exemption.

Under the new rules that Mr. Obama is seeking, fewer salaried employees could be blocked from receiving overtime, a move that would potentially shift billions of dollars’ worth of corporate income into the pockets of workers. Currently, employers are prohibited from denying time-and-a-half overtime pay to any salaried worker who makes less than $455 per week. Mr. Obama’s directive would significantly increase that salary level. In addition, Mr. Obama will try to change rules that allow employers to define which workers are exempt from receiving overtime based on the kind of work they perform. Under current rules, if an employer declares that an employee’s primary responsibility is executive, such as overseeing a cleanup crew, then that worker can be exempted from overtime.

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Yahoo: Ukraine Won’t Intervene In Crimea, President Says

Ukraine’s acting president said the country would not use its army to stop Crimea from seceding, the latest sign that a Russian annexation of the strategic peninsula may be imminent. Oleksandr Turchynov’s comments came after the Crimean parliament voted for independence ahead of a Sunday referendum on joining Russia, while Washington and Moscow locked horns in one of their fiercest clashes since the Cold War. The interim leader said intervening on the southeastern Black Sea peninsula, where Kremlin-backed forces have seized de facto control, would leave Ukraine exposed on its eastern border, close to Russia.

“We cannot launch a military operation in Crimea, as we would expose the eastern border and Ukraine would not be protected,” Turchynov told AFP. Describing the secession vote as a “sham”, he said: “What they call the referendum will not happen in Crimea but in the offices of the Kremlin.” The latest escalation in the crisis also saw Moscow lash out at Washington for promising “illegal” financial assistance to Kiev’s new leaders, who rose to power on the back of three months of deadly protests that toppled a Russia-friendly regime. Undeterred, the European Union announced trade breaks worth 500 million euros ($690 million) Tuesday that could ease Ukraine’s burden from restrictions that Russia has threatened in response to Kiev’s tilt toward the West.

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LA Times: Funny Thing Is, Barack Obama’s ‘Between Two Ferns’ Segment Works

Something historic happened in the early hours of Tuesday, March 11, 2014. The President of the United States was a guest on “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis,” a highly occasional semi-fake talk show that lives on the website Funny or Die.  Obama went to the Web to promote the Affordable Care Act to the people — the young people — who hang out there. The choice of “Between Two Ferns,” with its cable-access vibe, eight-bit graphics, halting pace and awkward, unprepared, inappropriate and antagonistic host seems an odd one, certainly, an unwelcoming or unseemly platform either for the president or his pitch. But that is part of what makes it funny. And being funny is what makes it good.

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Randy Ludlow: ‘Voters Bill Of Rights’ Gets One Step Closer To Ohio Ballot

Supporters of an effort to add an “Ohio Voters Bill of Rights” to the Ohio Constitution soon could begin collecting signatures in their bid to place the measure on the statewide ballot. The office of Attorney General Mike DeWine yesterday certified language for the petitions as acceptable after rejecting previous wording on Feb. 13. Black legislative leaders, clergy members and civil-rights advocates are behind the initiative, which would require gathering 385,247 valid petition signatures of registered voters by July 2 to make the Nov. 4 ballot.

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Time: G-7 Nations Won’t Recognize Crimea Referendum

The leaders of the G-7 countries issues a stern admonition Wednesday to Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, warning that it would not recognize the outcome of a referendum in Crimea and would take collective action if Russia moved to annex the region. Russia’s annexation of Crimea would be a violation of the United Nations charter, said the G-7 in a statement, as well as several treaties Russia is party to. Crimea’s referendum would be a “deeply flawed process” held under the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it said.

“In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states,” said the G-7. “Should the Russian Federation take such a step, we will take further action, individually and collectively.”

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Fuel Fix: Judge Rejects BP Bid To Halt Gulf Spill Payments

BP’s bid to temporarily halt payments under its $9.2 billion oil-spill settlement so that heightened accounting and fraud safeguards can be established was rejected by a federal judge in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, in a three-sentence ruling Tuesday, denied BP’s request without an explanation. BP has said widespread fraud and a faulty interpretation of settlement terms have caused the claims administrator to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in unwarranted claims for damage from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst U.S. offshore spill.

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It’s good to be President

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Vanity Fair: The Game Of Thrones TV-Show Creator Already Know What Happens At The End Of The Book Series

Benioff and co-creator D. B. Weiss tell Windolf that the show has a lifespan, and they would like to wrap it up after seven or eight seasons. “It doesn’t just keep on going because it can,” Weiss says. “I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.”

Windolf also asks Benioff and Weiss about the recent rumors that President Obama receives screeners of the show to watch before the general public. In an e-mail, they jointly reply, “One perk of being the most powerful man in the world: yes, you get to see episodes early.”

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Yes it is. Congratulations, GOP. Your Obama Derangement Syndrome is at full blast

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On This Day:

Sen. Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in Chicago on March 12, 2008

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President Obama looks through the Oval Office door peephole as his personal secretary Katie Johnson watches, March 12, 2009 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to soldiers and family members during a visit to the Iron Mike Dining Facility at Fort Bragg, N.C., March 12, 2009

President Obama arrives for the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Hall at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington on March 12, 2009. Applauding are Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen

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President Obama has lunch with, from left: Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan; General John Allen, Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; and Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, in the Oval Office Private Dining Room, March 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with the 2011-2012 White House Fellows in the Oval Office, March 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama arrives at the U.S. Capitol to meet with members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, March 12, 2013

11
Mar
14

ObamaCare: #GetCoveredNow

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Joshua Axelrod: Obama’s 10 Funniest Moments With Galifianakis

It was only a matter of time before Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” landed a high-profile interview subject. No, not small potatoes like Justin Bieber, James Franco or Jennifer Lawrence. They were all just warm-ups for the guest of the century: President Barack Obama, who took a break from running the free world to take on Galifianakis’s hard-hitting and inappropriate interviewer.

For once, it was Galifianakis who couldn’t take the heat. Every barb he threw the president’s way (“What’s it like to be the last black president?”) was returned with a healthy dose of snark from the usually stoic Obama (“What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?”).

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TPM: Obama’s Funny-Or-Die Appearance Driving Top Traffic To HealthCare.gov

President Barack Obama’s appearance with actor Zach Galifianakis on FunnyOrDie.com has made the website the top referrer to HealthCare.gov Tuesday, a White House official said. Tara McGuinness, a senior communications adviser who focuses on Obamacare, tweeted the news. The plug was the point of the interview, for which Galifianakis knowingly chided Obama. “Have you heard about HealthCare.gov?” Obama asked after Galifianakis inquired about his online browsing habits.

“Okay, here we go,” the actor lamented. “Let’s get this out of the way. What’d you come here to plug?” “I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t be here with you if I didn’t have something to plug,” Obama cracked before touting Obamacare and its website. At the end of the video, a link to HealthCare.gov flashes on the screen. The video has been viewed nearly three million times, according to FunnyOrDie.com’s stats.

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President Obama’s hilarious appearance on Between Two Ferns. Good luck trying to imitate President Obama; GOP. Tell us how that works out for you. At this moment, the video has 5.4M hits.

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White House: Twenty Reasons To Get Covered, Twenty Days Left To Enroll

As of today, there are just 20 days left to enroll in health care coverage at healthcare.gov before open enrollment ends on March 31. If don’t already have health insurance, head over to healthcare.gov to get covered now. You can compare your options based on price, benefits, quality and other features, and enroll in a plan that fits your needs and your budget. Six in ten uninsured Americans can get coverage for less than $100 a month. Preventive services like well-woman visits, cancer screenings, flu shots and more cost you nothing out of pocket. Health insurers are prohibited from charging women more than men for the exact same coverage.

It’s illegal for insurance companies to charge more or deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition.Birth control for women is covered with no out-of-pocket costs or co-pays. Insurance companies can’t cancel your coverage when you get sick. All plans must cover essential health benefits including outpatient care, hospital visits, prescriptions, and more. Because accidents happen, and no one is invincible.  You can apply for coverage online at healthcare.gov. on the phone by calling 1-800-318-2596, in person (find local help here) or by mail (download the application to mail in here) — the whole process takes most people about 15 to 20 minutes.

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Funny Or Die: GIFs From The Barack Obama Between Two Ferns

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11
Mar
14

President Obama Wins Tuesday

This cannot be posted and watched enough times. It is going viral on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TV, etc. Bravo, Mr. President!

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Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Obama

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Between Two Ferns and #BetweenTwoFerns has been trending on Twitter

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Continue reading ‘President Obama Wins Tuesday’




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