Posts Tagged ‘newtown



12
Dec
13

Rise and Shine

On This Day: A Christmas tree frames President Obama as he talks on the phone in the Oval Office, Dec. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern):

12:45: Jay Carney briefs the press

7:15: VP Biden delivers remarks at U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Annual Tribute Dinner

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@WhiteHouse: Holiday lights in the Rose Garden

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Steve Benen: Obamacare enrollment soars in November

About a month ago, the Obama administration released its enrollment totals for the Affordable Care Act, offering data that covered just the first month of the open-enrollment period. Given the systemic problems with healthcare.gov, the figures were expected to fall far short of projections, and they did – 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange in October, and only about a quarter of that total signed up by way of the federal marketplace.

The totals were vastly improved in November …. Note that the enrollment totals do not include 1.9 million Americans who have not yet selected a plan, but who’ve gone through the eligibility process. Also note, these totals include the period before the darn website got fixed.

….Whether the right wants to admit it or not, I can think of about 1.2 million reasons – and growing – why the Affordable Care Act isn’t going away.

Full post here

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Brian Beutler: How to tell which Republicans care about their constituents’ health

A new moral dilemma: Now that Healthcare.gov is working, some Republicans have a moral quandary to consider

…. Healthcare.gov is now working well enough to sign up tens of thousands of people a day. The improvement is both anecdotal and rooted in data. The administration, its allies, and insurance companies are now stepping up enrollment campaigns that were put on ice in October and November. Thousands of people whose insurers canceled their coverage, or who got stuck on Healthcare.gov last month, are now relieved to find reasonable options available on the federal exchange ahead of the Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

…. But if the big story is the turning tide of Healthcare.gov, the corollary is that committee Democrats don’t have to sit around playing defense against GOP attacks. They can attempt to reorient the debate around Republican efforts to discourage enrollment — particularly now that their constituents can, for the most part, actually access the law’s benefits.

Full post here

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David Ignatius: Obama’s relentlessly pragmatic diplomacy

This has been a year when America re-embraced diplomacy after a frustrating decade of war, displaying a relentlessly pragmatic approach that recalls the days of such deal-making secretaries of state as Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III.

The secret diplomatic machinations have been dizzying, and sometimes disorienting. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have opened doors and created opportunities for settling intractable conflicts…..

The Iran nuclear agreement was the most striking example of the willingness to engage former adversaries…..

Israelis I talked to afterward were impressed (if not always convinced) by the dry, precise clarity of Obama’s argument for testing the Iranians

More here

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The People’s View:  As Usual, Liberals Attacking Budget Deal Miss the Long Game

Yesterday, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced a budget deal that eases up on the dumb sequestration, meets the House and Senate budget numbers in the middle, raises minimal revenue and avoids another government shutdown. And right on cue, ideologues on the Right and Left have begun to pounce at any hint of compromise.

John Boehner is taking flack from – and lashing out at – the right wing of activists who are incensed at the fact that House Republicans would strike any deal at all that could win President Obama’s blessing, even a qualified one. Groups like Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity (hmm… they seem to have a funding source in common) are lobbying Republicans to scuttle the deal, crying foul at the GOP’s agreement of $45 billion in higher spending than their previous position.

But if the Right wing fanatics are good at whipping up the Republican party into a frenzy, our own ideologues have also been honing their skills of whining and short-sightedness. Yesterday, it started with Ezra Klein….

More here

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ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Budget Deal

Late Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that they had come to an agreement on a budget deal, ending negotiations begun as part of the agreement to re-open the government in October. The deal still has to be passed by the House and Senate and then implemented by appropriations committees by January 15. Here’s what you need to know about what’s in the Murray-Ryan agreement….

More here

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USA Today: Obama to hold moment of silence for Newtown victims

President Obama will lead a moment of silence Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama will honor the lives of the 26 people — including 20 children — who died in the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

More here

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TPM: Biden Says His Ancestors ‘Didn’t All Come Here Legally’

Before you decry “illegal immigrants,” Joe Biden thinks you ought to check your own familial history. That’s what the vice president said Wednesday during an online forum in response to a questioner who claimed her family immigrated to the United States legally from Ireland in the 19th century.

“My great-great grandparents came escaping the famine and they didn’t all come here legally,” Biden said, as quoted by Politico. “They didn’t all come legally. And the existence of the system isn’t all truncated like it is now. I’d check your ancestry to make sure that they did come legally if that’s a concern to you.”

More here

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This might just be the greatest toon in the history of tooniness:

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On This Day:

President Obama smiles while talking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the phone in the Oval Office, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

The First Family at “Christmas in Washington” at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama and Bo, the Obama family dog, greet audience members at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2011.

President Obama walks along the Colonnade of the White House, Dec. 12, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!

26
Oct
13

Comforter-In-Chief

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Joshua Dubois: What Obama ‘Did In Secret’ In Newtown

The White House is not supposed to be a place for brokenness. Sheer, shattered, brokenness. But that’s what we experienced on the weekend of December 14, 2012. I was sitting at my desk around midday on Friday the 14th when I saw the images flash on CNN: A school. A gunman. Children fleeing, crying. But the private facts we received in the White House from the FBI were even worse. How the gunman treated the children like criminals, lining them up to shoot them down. How so many bullets penetrated them that many were left unrecognizable. How the killer went from one classroom to another and would have gone farther if his rifle would’ve let him.

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“The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The President later said during a TV interview that this was the worst day of his Presidency.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of. The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, “The president will be here soon.” A few were visibly angry—so understandable that it barely needs to be said—and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence.

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“The President works on his Newtown speech at an auditorium in suburban Washington. Two days earlier, I had photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, at her rehearsal for the Nutcracker; he would be unable to attend her performance because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on his speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and he knew the importance of this speech for the nation.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son. . . . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

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And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer.

More here

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“Two days after the shootings at Newtown, the President traveled to Connecticut to meet with the victims’ families and give remarks at a prayer vigil. The President spent hours greeting family members. Difficult as that was for everyone, the one moment that helped sooth the pain was when he posed for a photo with the siblings and cousins of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died that day in Newtown. I see both sadness and hope in this photograph, and I know after a lot of tears that day, it meant so much to the President that everyone was able to smile for a moment in this family photo. Thanks to the Parker family for allowing us to show this photograph publicly.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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18
Jul
13

The Time is Now

Erica Lafferty, daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, stops at her mother’s grave on her wedding day

People: ….. “I wanted to let her know how much I missed her,” Lafferty says. “No daughter should ever have to do that on her wedding day … and I make sure she is always part of every day, like she always had been.”

…. For her bridal ensemble, Lafferty wore custom-dyed converse sneakers, something she and her mom often joked about.

“My mom always teased me because I was such a tomboy,” she says. “When I was picking out my dress, we found you could custom Converse sneakers, so she knew I had ordered them.”

Lafferty works with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, “to fight common-sense gun laws and join with others who’ve lost loved ones. I’m using my voice to make sure that things change and ensure no one else has to experience one of the most important days of their life without their mother due to gun violence.”

Full article here

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The most heartbreaking graveyard image I’ve seen since:

Both lives utterly, pointlessly wasted.

13
Jun
13

Rise and Shine

President Obama greets the crowd after campaigning in support of Rep. Edward Markey at a rally in Boston, June 12

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Today:

11:40: The President meets with Congressman John Dingell (at 3:30 there will be a ceremony on Capitol Hill to honor the longest-serving member of Congress)

12:0: Newtown Action Alliance holds press conference at Capitol to mark 6 month anniversary of Sandy Hook shootings. Live on C-Span

12:15: Press Briefing by Jay Carney

5:05: The President delivers remarks at LGBT Pride Month celebration

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In case you missed this incredible photo – See Smartypants

In a protest, Renata Teodoro, right, and her mother, Gorete Borges Teodoro, who was deported in 2007, met at a Mexican border fence.

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Steve Benen: Jobless claims show unexpected improvement

Lately, just about all of the news on initial unemployment claims has been good, and the new figures out this morning were unexpectedly encouraging.

…. In terms of metrics, when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape, and when the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are being created rather quickly. We’ve been below the 370,000 threshold 23 of the last 26 weeks, and below 350,000 in 7 of the last 10 weeks.

More here

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NY Post: In a stunning move, the Obama Administration has thrust itself into the middle of the explosive federal stop-and-frisk trial and is taking sides against the NYPD, raising the odds of a outside monitor being appointed to oversee the controversial crime-fighting program.

…. The source said that Attorney General Eric Holder’s office notified the city that it intends to file briefs in support of claims by the Center for Constitutional Rights that cops are stopping suspects on the basis of race.

More here

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Legal Times: When President Barack Obama nominated two women to a key appeals court last week, he was adding to his lead when it comes to adding women to the federal bench, according to a new study.

Obama has successfully appointed a greater percentage of women to federal judgeships than any other president in American history …. The study doesn’t include the two recent nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard. (Neither pick has been confirmed.)

Forty-two percent of Obama’s successful nominations have been women, according to the study. That’s well above the rates of President George W. Bush (22 percent) and President Bill Clinton (29 percent), the study found. President Obama is the first president to appoint two women to the Supreme Court.

“This administration deserves credit for working to create a federal judiciary that more closely reflects the richness and diversity of the American people,” said AFJ President Nan Aron.

More here

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NYT: Six months after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and with no major gun legislation on the horizon in Congress, the White House is quietly moving forward on an executive package of gun safety measures.

The package, which includes 23 executive actions announced by President Obama earlier this year, is intended to bolster the nation’s database used for background checks and make it harder for criminals and people with mental illnesses to get guns.

Among other things, the executive orders relax health care privacy regulations that some state executives say prevent them from putting the names of those Americans with mental health records into the database. The orders also give states more money to help them add data to the system and compel federal agencies to share more mental health data on workers. The goal is to add thousands of new people into the database — those with a history of mental illness, for example — who would not legally be allowed to buy a gun under current law.

More here

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Kevin Drum: …. there’s a little piece of me that admires such naked chutzpah. Issa is basically saying that it’s OK to release little pieces of the interviews that are ripped out of context to create a false impression of White House involvement, but it would be reckless to release full transcripts that pretty clearly shows the White House had nothing to do with any of this.

Who thinks up this stuff?

More here

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Bill Scher (The Week): Why conservatives can’t whitewater Obama – The Republican Noise Machine is falling on deaf ears

Twenty years ago, conservative media mavens seemed able to turn any minor flap into scandal gold …. yet today, no matter how loud conservatives scream “Benghazi,” “Solyndra,” “Fast and Furious” and even “Intim-O-Gate” (Glenn Beck’s failed attempt to brand the IRS and leak investigation controversies), President Obama glides past. His poll numbers remain relatively stable.

There is not really a “what did the president know” drumbeat, and no suggestion he warrants independent investigation. Calls for Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation died down following his meeting with Washington media bureau chiefs. Benghazi lightning rod Susan Rice just got a promotion, and her Republican antagonists are pledging cooperation.

What happened to the Republican Noise Machine? Here are three reasons it’s sputtering….

More here

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Mediaite: …. Stephen Colbert sent up the NSA’s expansive surveillance programs, saying, “Millions of Americans whose privacy has been invaded were shocked to learn that anything on the internet was ever private.”

“Now, I have to admit, at first I found this program to be a shocking breach of the public trust,” Colbert said of PRISM. “The intimate details I share from my Gmail account are no business of big government. They are for one purpose only: so I can get targeted ads for boner pills.”

“But then I learned that PRISM targets only foreigners!” Colbert put up a photo of the Statue of Liberty. “Evidently that torch of freedom is only for Americans. For the rest of the world, she’s holding a boom mic.”

More here – including the video

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Washington Post: The CIA’s deputy director plans to retire and will be replaced by White House lawyer and agency outsider Avril D. Haines, Director John O. Brennan said Wednesday.

Haines, who will succeed career officer Michael Morell on Aug. 9, has served for three years as President Obama’s deputy counsel in charge of national security issues and as legal adviser to the National Security Council. Although she has never worked inside the intelligence agency, “she knows more about covert action than anyone in the U.S. government outside of the CIA,” Brennan said in his first interview since becoming CIA director in March.

More here

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Steve Benen: ….. Wisconsin Republicans are poised to approve a rather remarkable piece of legislation. The state Senate, led by an enraged Senate President Mike Ellis, pushed through an anti-abortion measure that would, among other things, require women in Wisconsin to have an ultrasound before terminating an unwanted pregnancy….

…. It is a profound example of big government run amok: the bill Scott Walker intends to sign puts politics between people and their doctors, on purpose, requiring invasive medical procedures to satisfy the agenda of a right-wing culture war.

…. This is, of course, exactly the kind of right-wing agenda voters rejected in 2012, when Republicans were slammed for having launched a “war on women,” giving Democrats a crucial gender-gap advantage.

More here

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itsnotjustakin.com

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Greg Sargent: House GOP stomps all over Republican rebranding

Consider what the House GOP is up to right now. House Republicans recently passed an immigration amendment, pushed by anti-reform diehard Steve King, that would effectively mandate the deportation of the “DREAMers” who were taken to the U.S. as children. House Republicans are planning a vote next week on a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, after defeating amendments that would exempt cases of rape or incest. And yesterday, House Republicans approved a version of the 2012 National Defense Reauthorization Act that contains what The Advocate calls “three controversial, antigay amendments, one of which is aimed at delaying repeal implementation of don’t ask, don’t tell.”

More here

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ThinkProgress: Connecticut is on the cusp of enacting a major new law to protect people who are homeless from discrimination.

Last week, Connecticut lawmakers passed the “Homeless Person’s Bill Of Rights” at the literal 11th hour — 11:30pm on June 5th, one half hour before the legislative session ended. The bill, SB 896, a landmark piece of legislation to protect homeless individuals’ rights, adds homeless people as a protected class who can’t be discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations. It also includes protections for homeless people to move freely in public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks, without being singled out for harassment by law enforcement officers.

More here

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Headline of the Week?

‘Congressman Demands Obama Apologize To Oklahoma For Investing In Climate Change Research’

ThinkProgress

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TPM: A survey released Wednesday by a Republican-aligned pollster found Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) earning the support of nearly half of voters and claiming a decisive 12-point edge in the Massachusetts special U.S. Senate election.

The automated survey from Harper Polling showed Markey with the support of 49 percent of Massachusetts voters, while Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez trailed with 37 percent support. Harper launched in December with the intention to rival Democratic-leaning outlets such as Public Policy Polling that have long owned the automated poll market.

More here

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A year ago….

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama present a birthday cake to Assistant Usher Reggie Dickson following a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony and dinner, June 13, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning!

09
Jun
13

‘After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet’

A booster seat, once used regularly by 7-year-old Daniel Barden, remains in the family van. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

This is journalism:

Eli Saslow (Washington Post): They had promised to try everything, so Mark Barden went down into the basement to begin another project in memory of Daniel. The families of Sandy Hook Elementary were collaborating on a Mother’s Day card, which would be produced by a marketing firm and mailed to hundreds of politicians across the country. “A difference-maker,” the organizers had called it. Maybe if Mark could find the most arresting photo of his 7-year-old son, people would be compelled to act.

It hardly mattered that what Mark and his wife, Jackie, really wanted was to ignore Mother’s Day altogether, to stay in their pajamas with their two surviving children, turn off their phones and reward themselves for making it through another day with a glass of Irish whiskey neat.

“Our purpose now is to force people to remember,” Mark said, so down he went into his office to sift through 1,700 photos of the family they had been.

….  Mark turned on his computer and began looking for the right picture. “Something lighthearted,” he said. “Something sweet.” He had been sitting in the same chair Dec. 14, when he received an automated call about a Code Red Alert, and much of the basement had been preserved in that moment. Nobody had touched the foosball table, because Daniel had been the last to play. His books and toy trains sat in their familiar piles, gathering dust. The basement had always been Daniel’s space, and some days Mark believed he could still smell him here, just in from playing outside, all grassy and muddy.

Now it was Daniel’s face staring back at him on the computer screen, alit in an orange glow as he blew out seven candles on a birthday cake in September…..

Read the complete article here

After their children leave for school, Mark and Jackie walk back up the driveway to their house, back to the emptiness. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

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Click to see the rest of the post

13
May
13

Rise and Shine

(London, May 2011)

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Today:

10:0: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron

11:15: The President and PM Cameron hold a joint press conference

White House live * C-Span

1:55: The President departs the White House

3:05: Arrives New York City

4:30: Delivers remarks at a DNC event (Private Residence)

6:05: Delivers remarks at a DNC event (Private Residence)

8:40: Delivers remarks at a DCCC/DSCC event (The Waldorf Astoria Hotel)

10:0: Departs New York City

11:05: Arrives the White House

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Most ‘amusing’ headline of the morning ….. “may be asked” ….. may? He’ll be asked about nothing else – because, you know, nothing else matters :roll:

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The week ahead:

Tuesday: The President attends meetings at the White House

Wednesday: Delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty in the previous year

Thursday: Welcomes Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey to the White House for meetings and a working dinner

Friday: Travels to Baltimore, Maryland in his second Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour

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ThinkProgress: Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a Republican who was appointed to the position by George W. Bush, told CBS News on Saturday that he would have handled the situation in Benghazi the same way that the Obama administration did last September.

During an interview that aired on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday morning, Gates defended the administration’s reaction to the attacks in Libya and dismissed many of the criticisms leveled by his fellow Republicans as “cartoonish”….

More here – and see Steve Benen too

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Steve Benen: There were several oddities about the House Oversight Committee’s Benghazi hearing last week, but one of the unanswered questions related to Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) choice of witnesses. Yesterday, on “Meet the Press,” this grew even more problematic.

The hearing was supposed to be about the committee getting more answers about the attack, but Issa chose not to invite former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a veteran diplomat from the Reagan and Bush administrations, who helped oversee the independent investigation into the events in Benghazi. If the goal was to get more information, why not ask Pickering to appear?

More here

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Addicting Info: 10 Examples Of Why The Republican ‘Benghazi’ Talking Point Is Hypocritical

At this point it’s well-established there was no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when it came to the response to the terror strike in Benghazi that Fox News and conservatives around the nation have been trying to use to score political points against the high-profile Democratic leaders.

Unfortunately for Republicans, the fact that they have pushed so hard when there was no “scandal” shows that they were only out to use Benghazi for the political ammunition. Here’s even more proof, with 10 examples of other things that Republicans didn’t seem nearly so upset about or interested in investigating….

More here

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In case you missed it: ‘Republicans raising money off Benghazi effort’ (Washington Post)

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Michael Cohen in The Guardian

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Click here to see the rest of the post

17
Apr
13

“….we are going to get this right, the memories of these children demand it”

President Obama embraces Nicole Hockley, who lost a son in the Sandy Hook shootings, after he delivered a statement on the Senate’s failure to pass a measure to expanded gun background checks

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Text of remarks here

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… with the Newtown families before the Rose Garden statement (Photo: Pete Souza)

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