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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Speeches

Obama on Libya: Intervention prevented more bloodshed

President Obama 

The President’s Address to the Nation on Libya

(As prepared by the White House)

National Defense University Washington, D.C., March 28, 2011

Good evening. Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya –- what we have done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.

I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved.

Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe. As Commander-in-Chief, I am grateful to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, as are all Americans.

For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges.

But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That is what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.

Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt – two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant – Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.

Last month, Gaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”

Faced with this opposition, Gaddafi began attacking his people. As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our Embassy and...

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Sunday shows: Rumsfeld, Clinton, Gates, McCain

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Donald Rumsfeld, secretaries Robert Gates of Defense and Hillary Rodham Clinton of State with George Will, Joe Sestak, Jeffrey Goldberg and Mona Eltahawy.Donald Rumsfeld Book cover 2011

Bloomberg's "Political Capital" with Al Hunt: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

CBS "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Clinton and Gates.

CNN "Fareed Zakaria GPS": Jane Harman, Robert Kagan, Richard Haas, John Negroponte and Malcolm Gladwell.

CNN "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Gen. Michael Hayden, Stephen Hadley,  Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Alice Rivlin and Joe Cirincione.

"Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz). and Newt Gingrich, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, Juan Williams and Nina Easton.

NBC "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Gates and Clinton, with Savannah Guthrie, Tom Ricks, Ted Koppel and Bob Woodward.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek / Associated Press

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: 'Government always takes more than it gives back'

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott delivers his first state of the state address 3-8-11

Florida's new Republican governor, Rick Scott, is not your standard politician. Nor is he an experienced one who worked his way up from town council to county board and then the state Legislature.

The tall, gangly newcomer in Tallahassee worked his way up all right, but it was in business. The son of a JC Penney clerk and a truck driver, Scott was born in Illinois and raised in Kansas City.

After serving as a radarman in the Navy, he graduated from Southern Methodist University Law School and worked in a Dallas firm before entering the business world. His full biography is available here.

He then launched a long, successful and sometimes controversial career in the healthcare industry, driving innovation and cost-cutting, at one point even offering a ...

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Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard: 'There is a reason the world always looks to America'

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard addresses a joint session of the US Congress 3-9-11

Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to remind.

Washington, of course, knew that Julia Gillard became Australia's 27th prime minister and the first female to hold that office last June.

When Americans think of Australia, as they have during this year's awful floods, the assumption with Aussies is that we're good friends, chums, mates, having gone through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan together, even if our seasons are reversed.

Yes, yes, Gillard's the leader of Australia's Labor Party. But Tony Blair came from Britain's Labour Party and he turned into a domestic demigod in North America. Margaret Thatcher, of course. Before her, Winston Churchill.

Born in the same year of 1961 and both the offspring of immigrants to the land they now rule politically, President Obama and Gillard met during those ubiquitous G-something-or-other meetings that seem to occur in some fancy resort every six or eight weeks.

But Obama's appearance with Gillard on Monday involved mere mutual statements; No Q and A for Gillard to show her stump stuff.

So Wednesday's rare address by the Australian leader to a....

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich: 'We will not be raising taxes in this state'

KasichJohnSOTS3-8-11sidehandspocket

After but 58 days in office, Ohio's new Republican Gov. John Kasich has already driven through the legislature several major reforms and, now, presented his first State of the State Address.

Ohio is crucial politically to both parties next year but especially Republicans, who haven't won the presidency without Ohio for more than a century. The state will lose two House districts as a result of the 2010 Census, but worse, it has lost thousands of citizens and companies in recent years.

Like Obama, Kasich is an ex-state senator. But In his hourlong speech Tuesday afternoon the veteran Kasich gave it the way he likes it -- from notes, not a text or Teleprompter, a method not for the faint-hearted or those whose mind is not chock-full of readily-available details.

The address reads that way (full transcript below), allowing for Kasich to throw in spontaneous thoughts and the names of audience members he happens to be looking at. The less....

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As other state Capitols wake to harsh budget realities, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie lays down his 'New Normal'

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie 2-11

Speaking of the ongoing budget fight in Wisconsin, New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie is making a growing name for himself by doing what so many other governors are talking about doing: Not only cutting outgo to live within available income but fundamentally changing his state government's budgeting process to start over fresh every year.

Elected in 2009 as part of the coalescing grass-roots revolt over government inattention, Christie's had one year of cutting and name-building already. So his Garden State successes and struggles can be seen as a precursor for the political outbreaks now erupting in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere.

As usual, the full text of the Republican's 2012 budget message is below. But here's how Christie put it this week:

For too many years, our government has operated under the belief that the baseline -– the place you begin -– is to continue to fund every program in the budget: regardless of the fiscal climate, regardless of the economy, and regardless of the effectiveness of the program.  Not anymore.

Our process is based on the belief that to survive and to grow, you need to build a realistic budget from the bottom up. You fund what you need –- this year -– to succeed, not every relic from two decades ago that is still on the books.

The baseline is zero. Zero-based budgeting, which I promised in the campaign, has finally come to New Jersey.

While similar budget maneuvering is underway in Washington, the actual....

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: 'We have to deal with a $1-billion shortfall'

Colorado Democrat governor John Hickenlooper state of the state address 1-13-11

The problem is familiar: A projected government deficit with nine 0's.

The appeal is somewhat familiar: Let both sides of the aisle work together for our mutual futures. "The only way we are going to succeed," he says in the full text below, "is if we work together."

The governor, however, is somewhat unusual.

John Hickenlooper was an unemployed geologist who set out to build and run his own brew pub, did so, then became mayor of Denver as his first political job, attracted his Democratic Party's National Convention in 2008 (remember those Greek columns at Obama's triumphant speech?), and then last November was elected governor of one of America's geographical gems. Hickenlooper's full bio is here.

He displays a kind of down-home humility and Western pragmatism that appears uncomfortable with partisanship outside a campaign. (Look at the photo above; Does he look like one of these imperial federales who strut around Washington?)

"Sustainable jobs," says the Democrat, "are created by the private sector." That's his top stated priority, helping job creation.

Hickenlooper suggests, for instance, that each new piece of legislation come with a kind of regulation impact statement, similar to an environmental impact statement, that would list what the bill's costs would be in terms of new red tape and money.

Unlike the head of his party in Washington, Hickenlooper says his goal is....

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Guest blogger John Phillips on the lessons of a political visit to Washington and Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter at CPAC 2-11

The Ticket invited Los Angeles talk-show host John Phillips to guest-blog on his impressions of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington over the weekend. The annual gathering draws conservatives from across the country, including many seen as possible presidential candidates someday.

Here's Phillips' first report right X. His second report is right here. Given reader response, here's a third piece written on the airplane transiting flyover country. We'll try to keep luring him back. Meanwhile, scroll down to see how to hear Phillips every weeknight on the radio and online:

To keep myself from indulging in a $45 Cinnabon at Dulles Airport,  I've decided to review what happened this weekend at CPAC 2011. Here are my highlights, and what we learned.

Best speech of the conference:  Ann Coulter, hands down.  She didn't have Donald Trump's drama, but then again....

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Americans' unemployment concerns worst in 28 years

president Obama Waves to the TV screen in a Teleconference at Northern Michigan University 2-10-11

Forget all the futuristic talk about solar panels. Windmills. And the high-speed trains that someday might move a handful of people very quickly at enormous expense.

Americans have collectively ruled on what is their top issue right now. And it's none of the above.

It's unemployment. Make that, Unemployment.

A new Gallup Poll out this morning finds more Americans saying unemployment is the most important issue than at any time in nearly three decades, a span involving five presidents.

Thirty-five percent now say that.

And Americans don't seem fooled either by the latest national unemployment rate of 9%.

It drifted down there last month from 9.4% not because a puny 36,000 new jobs were created, but because so many thousands of Americans gave up looking for work, thus removing themselves from that bellwether unemployment count.

People with a memory going all the way back to 2010 recall Vice President Biden's emphatic repeated promises that the Recovery Summer would produce hundreds of thousands of new jobs every single sunny month.

Of course, he also predicted his Democrats would maintain control of both houses of Congress in November's midterm elections.Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden enjoy a large laugh, file

The national unemployment rate has been at or above 9% since the fourth month of the Obama era.

Of course, the entire economic problem is clearly the fault of Obama's predecessor president.

Obama recently agreed to extend the Republican's signature tax cuts in desperate hope they would stimulate the economy more than his $787 billion of stimulus spending that was going to hold unemployment below 8% but didn't come close.

Not surprisingly, Gallup has found the economy a major concern throughout the recession. But in the last two months unemployment has surged into the top concern spot by a considerable margin. The general economy is rated the top concern by 29% with healthcare trailing at 16% and dissatisfaction with government at 12%.

The federal deficit that so many D.C. pols are talking up these days comes in No. 5 at 11%.

Egypt and Hosni Mubarak's forced retirement, the topic that has dominated broadcast news for two weeks now and even drew the presence of Katie Couric, doesn't show up on the list of concerns.

There are 634 days left before the next national election. If unemployment remains a top voter concern anywhere close to that time, it could cause additional unemployment -- in the ranks of Washington politicians.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press (Obama waves at the screen during a teleconference in Michigan, Feb. 10, 2011); Larry Downing / Reuters (Obama and Biden share a large laugh).

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead: The 'healthcare bill may be the best Congress could do; it is not the best we can do'

Wyoming Republican Governor Matt Mead state of the state address 1-12-11

This is another in our continuing series of State of the State addresses by the nation's governors. This one is by Wyoming's new governor, Matt Mead, a former federal prosecutor who restores traditional Republican control of the Cowboy State after eight years of Democratic rule.

Mead's official biography is here.

(A full list of links to previous State of the State addresses published on The Ticket is available at the very bottom of this item.)

Mead states up front that he is a conservative, one who appreciates his state's currently favorable fiscal weather but one who prepares for likely rainy fiscal days, when so much of Wyoming's economy depends on variable resource prices.

Mead was a narrow victor in his state's real gubernatorial election, last summer's GOP primary struggle, mainly with State Auditor Rita Meyer. An Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan, Meyer would have been only the second female governor in the first state (actually a territory at the time) to grant women the lasting right to vote.

Mead has been in office just five weeks today and is enjoying improved ...

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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