Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

The State Department press corps had boarded and had been logged in – both by the crew and on their social nets – when the secretary of state’s motorcade drove up. Hillary Clinton was about to board for her first official tour in Africa as secretary of state.  It was very exciting, but her press corps, all logged into Twitter, were disconcerted.  There was another motorcade on the tarmac. Another plane was preparing for takeoff.  The State Department press corps did not like it, and they said so on Twitter and other social nets.

What’s he doing, they queried. He’s stealing her light! There was a tweetstorm of monumental proportions.

The “he” in this case was the secretary of state’s husband and the former president who was off on a mission to rescue two journalists captured and imprisoned in North Korea.

They were employed by his former vice president, and the former POTUS went at his behest with the approval of the new president and his secretary of state, about to be bound to Africa. She knew all about it, of course. For the sake of convenience and perhaps to some degree for the sake of last minute preps and briefings, they had left their Georgetown residence together and arrived at Andrews for their separate missions. It was well-coordinated as such events go.

The DOS press corps, however did not see it that way that particular morning. They circled their wagons around the secretary of state, whose coverage was their job, and expressed their disgruntlement on Twitter where I was following several of the younger members of the corps.

Their loyalty to and protectiveness of Hillary was plain to see. No one should be stealing her steam, not even her husband, a two-term former POTUS.  This was her big trip.  They were there to make it visible to the world.

Apparently the current SOS, Rex Tillerson, missed class that day and in the days following Hillary Clinton’s flu and subsequent fainting spell and concussion, or even her bouts with spring allergies, or he would know the fealty and concern with which the DOS press corps treats coverage of the secretary of state.

Instead of giving them a fair chance to get to know him, bond, and explain and defend him in the press, he has opted to treat them as the enemy and barred them from the plane on his first official excursion to Asia. N.B. Asia was also Hillary’s first official trip as SOS.

This decision is not only folly but also speaks to the general attitude of this administration toward the press.  Without giving them the chance to get to know him and perhaps develop a sympathy toward him and his work, he has chosen to banish them as inimical – the general stance of the administration – and a dangerous and foolhardy one.

The State Department press corps tends to be very open, supportive, and defensive of the secretary of state. Tillerson, on his first official journey, has chosen to erect a wall, another symbol of this new administration, between him and those whose function is to cover his tenure.

He has decided to pare down. He will not be using the Big Blue Bird – so familiar via Condi, Hillary, and John Kerry.  He will use a smaller plane. N.B. that this does not necessarily represent any reduction of expenses since the news bureaus pay for the press transportation.  It represents, instead, a slap in the face to the free press.

The Trump administration and Tillerson as part of it have chosen to treat the press as the enemy.  They could have caught more flies with honey, but never mind. As Roseanne Rosannadanna might have said, Mr. Tillerson, you sound like a real attractive guy.  Truth is, when you have a name that sounds like it came out of an “Archie” comic book, you really needed all the help you could have gotten, and beggars cannot be choosers.


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Donald Trump came in second behind Obama.  Bill Clinton joined Bill Gates, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Dalai Lama in a four-way tie for sixth place.

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
% % % % % % % %
1. Barack Obama 22 17 19 16 30 17 22 30
2. Donald Trump 15 5 * * 1 *
3. Pope Francis 4 5 6 4
4. Bernie Sanders 2 3 *
5. Rev. Billy Graham 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
6t. Benjamin Netanyahu 1 * 1 * * * * *
6t. The Dalai Lama 1 1 * * 1 1 1 *
6t. Bill Clinton 1 1 3 2 1 2 4 1
6t. Bill Gates 1 2 1 1 * 1 2 2
10. Mike Pence 1 *
Ben Carson 1 1 1 * *
Stephen Hawking 1 * 1 * * * *
Warren Buffett 1 * * * * 2 * *
Joe Biden 1 * 1 * *
Elon Musk * 1 *
George W. Bush * 1 2 4 2 3 5 4
Jimmy Carter * 1 * 1 * * 2 1
George H.W. Bush * * 1 * 1 1 * 1
Prince William * 1 * * * *
Mark Zuckerberg * 1 *
Michael Jordan * 1 * * 1
Mitt Romney * * 1 1 2 1 * *
Thomas Monson

Michelle Obama came in second behind Hillary, and, do my eyes deceive me? Melania Trump is nowhere on that list.

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
% % % % % % % %
1. Hillary Clinton 12 13 12 15 21 17 17 16
2. Michelle Obama 8 4 3 5 5 5 5 7
3. Angela Merkel 3 2 1 1 1 1 * 1
4. Oprah Winfrey 3 4 8 6 4 7 11 8
5. Ellen DeGeneres 2 1 1 * 1 2 * *
6. Queen Elizabeth 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2
7. Malala Yousafzai 2 5 5 2 2
8. Condoleezza Rice 2 1 4 2 3 3 2 2
9. Elizabeth Warren 1 1 1 * 1
10. Sarah Palin 1 1 2 5 2 4 12 15
Dolly Parton 1 * * *
Princess Kate 1 * 2 1 1 1 *
Carly Fiorina * 2 *
Barbara Bush * * 1 1 1 1 1 *
Madeleine Albright * * * * * 1
Sonia Sotomayor * 1
Aung San Suu Kyi * 1 * 1 1 1 *
Laura Bush * * 1 1 * 2 1 1
Angelina Jolie * * 2 1 1 1 1 1
Friend/Relative 12 11 9 13 13 12 11 8

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If ever there could be a reminder of the republic that is at stake in this election, it was the optics of this rally in Philadelphia tonight. The crowd filled the space where the Declaration of Independence was first read to a crowd not quite so large.  The place where Benjamin Franklin, when asked what form of government was established, said, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it,” hosted Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, Chelsea and President Bill Clinton, in that order, Michelle Obama, President Obama, and finally, the woman of the evening, Hillary Clinton who apparently stunned Hollywood fashionistas in her scarlet pantsuit.

Those of us who had followed her through the day knew that she had not changed her attire for this event.  She looked fresh as a rose, and her busy day was not ending there!  She moved on to a late night rally in Raleigh after Barack Obama played Hillary to Hillary’s Bill and escorted her offstage at the end.

Among the many memorable moments of the evening was the way Barack Obama, famous for mic drops, introduced Hillary. Since the mic was stationary and could not be dropped, he opted for a podium pound.

What a night!  Now we all have to make sure everyone votes tomorrow!  This is no time for complacency or letting John do it.  We have to do it!  It is up to us. All of us!


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As the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nomination, Hillary received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Trailblazer Award tonight. The 46th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Phoenix Awards Dinner was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  President Obama delivered his seventh and final address as POTUS.

Congratulations, Hillary!  You always make us so proud!











At the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner, Clinton Calls on America to Choose Progress Over Prejudice

At the Congressional Black Caucus Phoenix Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Hillary Clinton asked all Americans to choose a path of unity and progress over the prejudice and paranoia of Donald Trump. Clinton again called out Trump for his leadership of the birther movement aiming to delegitimize our first black president.

Dedicating her award to those who broke down barriers before her, and to the next generation of Americans fighting to allow every child to achieve her God-given potential, Clinton said this election is about “who will fight for the forgotten, who will invest in our children, and who will really have your back in the White House. We need ideas, not insults, real plans to help struggling Americans in communities that have been left out and left behind, not prejudice and paranoia.”

Clinton’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:

“Hello. It’s so great to be back here with all of you tonight. I want to thank my friend, Congressman Jim Clyburn; Don Peebles; Representative Butterfield; members of the Congressional Black Caucus; and congratulate all of the honorees. On a personal note, I want to recognize a dear friend who is retiring after 46 years, Congressman Charles Rangel. He is one of a kind, and we are grateful for your years of service.

And what can I say about one of the best Presidents this country has ever had, Barack Obama? All through this campaign, I have made the point over and over again, President Obama saved our country from a second Great Depression. He brought Osama bin Laden to justice. And so much more. I, for one, don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for doing what he’s done on behalf of our country and the world. And it’s not just the President he’s been, but the man he is. Even when hateful nonsense is thrown their way, Barack, Michelle, their two beautiful daughters, have represented our country with class, grace, and integrity. As Michelle says, ‘When others go low, we go high.’ I know I speak for not just everyone in this room but so many tens of millions of Americans: Mr. President, not only do we know you are an American, you’re a great American! And you make us all proud to be Americans, too. Let me thank the leadership of the CBC Foundation for this great honor, and to thank all of my friends in the Congressional Black Caucus for it as well. I dedicate it to all the trailblazers who came before me who blazed trails that I could follow in their footsteps – Barbara Jordan. Shirley Chisholm. I would not be standing here without them. Generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and cleared a path for all of us.

This award is also for everyone out there helping to break down the barriers holding Americans back, to leaders like all of you, and to a rising generation of young activists. To all those on the front lines dedicated to the proposition that in America, every single child deserves the chance to fulfill his or her God-given potential. This has been the cause of my life ever since I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund all those years ago. And I’m going to close my campaign the way I began my career and the way that I will serve as your president, focused on opportunities for our children and fairness for our families.

We have so much work to do together. I’ve heard many heartbreaking stories over this campaign. One was from Tianna Gaines-Turner, a working mother to three children from Northeast Philadelphia. She testified at the DNC platform meeting in June and told us how her husband had been laid off and she worked in a part-time job. She said she’d been hungry more times than she could count, and that life felt like a maze, because she faced barriers no matter which way she turned. But despite all of this, Tianna has hope. She still believes that her 8-year-old daughter will be president one day. And she believes that this election can make all the difference in the world to her and her family. Let’s prove her right.

As a country, we have a moral obligation to give her family and every family a chance to rise up and reach their dreams. That is what’s at stake in this election. It’s not about golf course promotions or birth certificate. It comes down to who will fight for the forgotten, who will invest in our children, and who will really have your back in the White House.

We need ideas, not insults, real plans to help struggling Americans in communities that have been left out and left behind, not prejudice and paranoia. We can’t let Barack Obama’s legacy fall into the hands of someone who doesn’t understand that, whose dangerous and divisive vision for our country will drag us backwards. Instead, we need to come together, to get incomes rising with a higher minimum wage, to invest in neglected communities with efforts like Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan, to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people, to fight for a criminal justice system that actually delivers justice, and to make sure that all kids have good schools and good teachers no matter what zip codes they live in.

When you really think about it, the choice this November is about so much more than Democrats and Republicans. As Michelle Obama said at the Democratic convention, it’s about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four years of their lives. It’s also about the kind of country we want to be, what we want to leave behind for future generations. I thank everyone here, who has been fighting for this vision over so many years. I thank all who have supported me. I want you to know I’m not taking your vote or anyone’s vote for granted. I’m working every single day to earn your support. And I need your help over the next 52 days to bring our campaign across the finish line together.

Barbara Jordan famously said that a government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation. So to everyone here tonight, please, keep doing what you’re doing, but also help to register voters. Tell others about the clear choice in this election. In some states, early voting is nearly here, so we need to keep the pressure on. Let’s send a loud and clear message once and for all: We are stronger together. And no matter what, remember this: Love trumps hate. Thank you all very much!”


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Birtherism is to Trump’s political rise what his loan from his father is to his business success. It is what made him. He can never deny it.

As his starter loan from good-old-dad was not his money, birther theory was not Donald Trump’s brain child.  He didn’t start the fire.  Those who were there at the creation will remember names of the motley crew of pioneers like Philip Berg, Mario Apuzzo, Charles Kerchner, Leo Donofrio, Jerome Corsi, Orly Taitz, and Reverend James Manning who developed the ready-made-for-Trump scenario.  WorldNetDaily regularly featured their myriad quests for the grail which was, variously, the birth certificate or some kind of court decision depending on the player.  Birtherism had a history and roots in “investigative” junkets and dead-end lawsuits long before Donald Trump co-opted the movement and made it his central campaign issue.

Today, Donald Trump tried to take a page from the great Gilda Radner’s character Emily Litella and say “Never mind!”  “You know all that crap I said about Barack Obama’s BC and transcripts?  Never mind!”  It was pretty pathetic.

What will it take to wake up the media to put the screws to Donald Trump?  This is not a normal election, and he is not a normal candidate.  This birther announcement today was yet another Trump distraction where he played the press.  They gathered like iron filings to a magnet today at his new D.C. hotel for what had been billed as a major press event, an event that consisted of a grand opening¹, much misplaced praise for The Donald, and one sentence supposedly intended to allay all doubts about where the sitting president was born.  The gall!

¹Grand opening of his own hotel! Guess who profited from this event, billed as a campaign event, being booked at a Trump hotel.  Yes, indeed. Trump invoiced his own campaign for the reservation and personally profited.

Hillary, of course, had a reaction which she voiced in her remarks at the Black Women’s Agenda Symposium.

Just yesterday, Trump again refused to say with his own words that the president was born in the United States. Donald’s advisors had the temerity to say, ‘He’s doing the country a ‘service’ by pushing these lies.’  No, he isn’t. He’s feeding into the worst impulses – the bigotry and bias – that lurks in our country.

Barack Obama was born in America, plain and simple.  And Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology. So, my friends, there is no ‘new’ Donald Trump. There never will be. Donald Trump looks at President Obama after eight years as our president. He still doesn’t see him as an American.

Think of how dangerous that is. Imagine a person in the Oval Office who traffics in conspiracy theories and refuses to let them go – no matter what the facts are. Imagine someone who distorts the truth to fit a very narrow view of the world. Imagine a president who sees someone who doesn’t look like him, and doesn’t agree with him, and thinks, ‘That person must not be a real American.’

Donald Trump is unfit to be President of the United States. We cannot become insensitive to what he says and what he stirs up. We can’t just accept this.We’ve got to stand up to it. If we don’t, it won’t stop.


Trump has spent years peddling a racist conspiracy aimed at undermining the first African American president. He can’t just take it back.

The birther lie is what turned Trump from an ordinary reality TV star into a political figure. That origin story can’t be unwritten.

Hillary for America issued a statement.

HFA Statement on Donald Trump’s Press Event

After Donald Trump’s press event today, Hillary for America Campaign Manager Robby Mook released the following statement:

“Trump’s actions today were disgraceful. After five years of pushing a racist conspiracy theory into the mainstream, it was ap the palling to watch Trump appoint himself the judge of whether the President of the United States is American. This sickening display shows more than ever why Donald Trump is totally unfit be president.”

Trump’s real agenda today was to divert attention from the empty page that is his arsenal of qualifications starting with his tax returns and any assurance that he will build a wall between himself and his for-profit organization with a complex network of foreign ties should he be elected.  Let’s be clear: he should not be.  This was no come-to-Jesus moment today.  We can hope it, finally, humiliated the press into shattering his charade.


Thank you to all the generous donors!  You are really coming through for Hillary, and it’s great!




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a happy birthdaySign the card







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Some of the songs were cheerful and a few were sad. All were full of hope, promise, and affirmation. We heard from parents and relatives of children killed by gun violence as well as from law enforcement whose ranks have also suffered.  Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly spoke.  The military had their evening in the spotlight and Leon Panetta spoke.  The big speeches came from Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, and President Barack Obama who spoke about the nominee as no outgoing president ever has.

We heard our fight song.

Broadway stars serenaded the audience, and even Cagney and Lacy reunited to celebrate.

One thing was clear. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and I know a lot of people are mad at her, organized an awesome convention. So well done!  She was not there, of course, but she did leave her footprint in the sand.

“Mayor Mike” Bloomberg entered as a visitor unaligned with any party but warning about Trump.

Joe Biden touched our hearts.

Tim Kaine accepted his nomination, laid out his resumé, and, from what I can tell, charmed his party.

President Obama categorized Donald Trump’s remarks as components of a larger,  poorly organized, and dangerous Trump Doctrine in which everything depends on Donald Trump alone.  He asked us to do what, for years, I have been saying we would do – carry Hillary in.  He put her in the context of Teddy Roosevelt’s arena.  . Raise your hand if you remember me saying we would carry her into the Oval Office in Teddy Roosevelt’s chair.

Finally, with every person in the house on their feet, came the nominee and it was the best moment so far in a week of best moments.

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phone calls (2)





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