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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Transcript

Obama's new fundraising speech: 2008 was really bad, so I need a second term

Air Force One lands in Chicago 8-3-11

After a rough month of enforced presidenting from within the White House, President Obama fled Washington and governing Wednesday, back to Chicago allegedly to celebrate his birthday with home folks.

But, of course, the real reason was campaigning for money, raising more of it from the Windy City for his billion-dollar reelection campaign. The Wednesday highlight was supposed to be a high-stakes dinner with the president, which isn't really dinner with the president because he just arrives late, speaks briefly and leaves without eating. The tab: $35,800 per plate.

Ticket readers get his entire expensive speech for free simply by scrolling down.

Despite enduring a newly sagging economy and the worst wrong track and job approval numbers of his presidency, this 50th birthday of Obama's is turning out to be a big deal. His Russian pal, President Dmitry Medvedev, called the other day. Jennifer Hudson sang for him Wednesday. Little Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor Emanuel, praised him highly.

Some Obama staff traveled out to Andrews Air Force Base to greet the returning POTUS at....

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With debt deal done, Obama sees need now for new spending on bridges, roads, unemployment

Obama walks away after Deficit Deal statement 8-2-11

President Obama reviewed the last few weeks for the nation today and shared his goals for the future. (Scroll down for full transcript.)

He said the debate over avoiding default was "long and contentious." He sees the deal as "an important first step" to getting the nation to "live within our means." But -- here it comes -- he said it also allows for more spending; he calls it "investments."

Back to young people, old people, sick people, unemployed, single moms, and the "balanced approach," the tax hikes he wants on those who already pay most of the taxes, which he didn't get this time but maybe next time. "That's the principle I’ll be fighting for during the next phase of this process."  

He wants to get back to creating jobs. But it won't come from easing life for business, rolling back regulations, stuff like that.

He said a lot of the nation's problems are beyond control: Japan's earthquake, the Arab spring, oil price hikes, those Europeans and their debts. He left out the Libyan war.

Obama said the different deadlines that his Treasury secretary set for default were just another Washington manufactured crisis. Oh, wait, no. He probably meant congressional disagreements over meeting his deadline.

He said the minute Congress returns from another vacation he'll be after....

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'Ramadan Kareem:' Obama marks the Muslim holiday

Indian women begin their Ramadan prayers, Aug. 1

Statement by President Obama on Ramadan, as provided by the White House

As Ramadan begins, Michelle and I would like to send our best wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world. 

Ramadan is a festive time that is anticipated for months by Muslims everywhere. Families and communities share the happiness of gathering together for iftar and prayers. Bazaars light up the night in many cities from Rabat to Jakarta. And here in the United States, Muslim Americans share Ramadan traditions with their neighbors, fellow students, and co-workers. 

 For so many Muslims around the world, Ramadan is also a time of deep reflection and sacrifice.

As in other faiths, fasting is used to increase spirituality, discipline, and consciousness of God's mercy.  It is also a reminder of the importance of reaching out to those less fortunate.

The heartbreaking accounts of lost lives and the images of families and children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa struggling to survive remind us of our common humanity and compel us to act. Now is the time for nations and peoples to come together to avert an even worse catastrophe by offering support and assistance to on-going relief efforts.

Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam -- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  In that spirit, I wish Muslims around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House. Ramadan Kareem.    ####

RELATED:

Obama on Syria: 'I am appalled'

Again, Obama warns Syria about abusing demonstrators

At Ramadan dinner, Obama supports 'Ground Zero' mosque

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Photo: Noah Seelam / AFP / Getty Images (Indian women begin their Ramadan prayers, Aug. 1).

Another Obama warning on Syria: 'I am appalled'

Syrian Crowds in Hama protest the government 7-29-11

 

Statement  by President Obama on Syria, as provided by the White House

I am appalled by the Syrian government’s use of violence and brutality against its own people.

The reports out of Hama are horrifying and demonstrate the true character of the Syrian regime. 

Once again, President Assad has shown that he is completely incapable and unwilling to respond to the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people. His use of torture, corruption and terror puts him on the wrong side of history and his people.

Through his own actions, Bashar al-Assad is ensuring that he and his regime will be left in the past, and that the courageous Syrian people who have demonstrated in the streets will determine its future.

Syria will be a better place when a democratic transition goes forward. 

In the days ahead, the United States will continue to increase our pressure on the Syrian regime, and work with others around the world to isolate the Assad government and stand with the Syrian people.    ####

RELATED:

Again, Obama warns Syria

Now, Obama warns Syria about violence

Yemen president gets stern warning from Obama press secretary

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Photo: Reuters (Syrian crowds in Hama protest the government after Friday prayers. News reports said 70 demonstrators were killed by government troops Sunday.)

Weekly remarks: Jon Kyl warns new taxes stall jobs; Obama warns time short for deficit deal

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Sen. Jon Kyl, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Good morning.  I am Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.

By now, most Americans know that lawmakers in Washington are engaged in a difficult debate about the nation’s ‘debt ceiling,’ the legal limit to the amount of money the federal government can borrow.

The debt ceiling is currently set at a little more than 14 trillion dollars, and if Congress and the president don’t reach an agreement to raise it by this coming Tuesday, the Treasury secretary tells us America will no longer be able to pay all its bills.

The consequences of missing this deadline could be severe, precisely because Washington....

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A surplus of deficit statements: John Boehner and Jay Carney speak at each other

Jay Carney answers questions on the debt talks 7-27-11

 

Statement by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, as provided by the White House

The bill passed today in the House with exclusively Republican votes would have us face another debt ceiling crisis in just a few months by demanding the Constitution be amended or America defaults. 

This bill has been declared dead on arrival in the Senate.

Now that yet another political exercise is behind us, with time dwindling, leaders need to start working together immediately to reach a compromise that avoids default and lays the basis for balanced deficit reduction. 

Senator Reid’s proposal is a basis for that compromise. It not only achieves more deficit reduction than the bill passed in the House today and puts a process in place to achieve even more savings, it also removes the uncertainty surrounding the risk of default.

The President urges Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House –- a plan the President can sign by Tuesday.    ####

 

Republican Speaker John Boehner walks to House floor for deficit bill vote, 7-29-11

Op-Ed by Speaker John A. Boehner, as provided by his office and posted at National Review Online

These are challenging days for our country and its people.

Americans are worried about jobs. They’re worried about our economy. And they’re worried about our debt. The debt-limit crisis, thrust upon our citizens this summer, has intensified these anxieties.

The U.S. House of Representatives has now sent to the Senate not one, but two bills that would bring the crisis to an immediate end.

Reflecting the will of the people, both bills passed by the House would cut trillions of....

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Obama willing to work all weekend on debt deal

Obama makes Debt statement 7-29-11

President Obama's remarks on debt-ceiling talks, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody. I want to speak about the ongoing and increasingly urgent efforts to avoid default and reduce our deficit.

Right now, the House of Representatives is still trying to pass a bill that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have already said they won’t vote for. It’s a plan that would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months, holding our economy captive to Washington politics once again.  In other words, it does not solve the problem, and it has no chance of becoming law.  

What’s clear now is that any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan. It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people -– not just one faction. It will have to have the support of both the House and the Senate.  And there are multiple ways to resolve this problem. 

Senator Reid, a Democrat, has introduced a plan in the Senate that contains cuts agreed upon by both parties. Senator McConnell, a Republican, offered a solution that could get us through this. There are....

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Obama hails Americans with Disabilities Act signing without mentioning who signed it (Hint: a Bush)

President George H W Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act 7-26-90 Evan Kemp, Rev Harold Wilke, Sandra Parrino, Justin Dart

Twenty-one years ago today on the South Lawn of the White House, a president signed into law the historic Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights measure that enhanced the United States' global role as a protector of individual rights.

Today, President Obama issued a proclamation hailing that signing (scroll down for his full text).

But the Democrat apparently didn't have room to mention the Republican president who enthusiastically advocated for and signed that pioneering piece of legislation into law, President George H.W. Bush, the father of Obama's immediate presidential predecessor.

Funny in a sad way how the Republican president who signed the bill hailed at some length the bipartisan nature of its construction and passage. Click here to watch President Bush's 1990 signing remarks.

And yet the Democratic president who ran on restoring bipartisanship to the nation's capital couldn't find the words to mention the signer. Although he had several to say about his own belated Executive Order.

(UPDATE: A White House spokesman points out that President Obama did acknowledge his predecessor's major role in ADA a year ago on the 20th anniversary with a phone call and public mention. At that time Obama said: "He was very humble about his own role, but I think it’s worth acknowledging the great work that he did." Thanks for the amplification.) 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2011
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION

Generations of Americans with disabilities have improved our country in countless ways. Refusing to accept the world as it was, they have torn down the barriers that prohibited them from fully realizing the American dream.

Their tireless efforts led to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of

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Speaker John Boehner on debt talks: Obama 'wants a blank check today'

Republican House Speaker John Boehner 7-25-11

Remarks on the debt talks by Speaker John Boehner, as provided by his office

Good evening. I’m John Boehner. I serve as Speaker of the whole House -- of the members of both parties that you elect. These are difficult times in the life of our nation. Millions are looking for work, have been for some time, and the spending binge going on in Washington is a big part of the reason why.

Before I served in Congress, I ran a small business in Ohio. I was amazed at how different Washington DC operated than every business in America. Where most American businesses make the hard choices to pay their bills and live within their means, in Washington more spending and more debt is business as usual.

I’ve got news for Washington – those days are over.

President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual -- yet another....

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Obama on the budget stalemate: 'In the past, raising the debt ceiling was routine'

Obama Debt Speech 7-25-11

President Obama's remarks on the debt talks, as provided by the White House

Good evening.  Tonight, I want to talk about the debate we’ve been having in Washington over the national debt – a debate that directly affects the lives of all Americans. 

For the last decade, we have spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card. 

As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office. To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more – on tax cuts for middle-class families; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. These emergency steps also added to the deficit.  

Now, every family knows that a little credit card debt is manageable.  But if we stay on the current path, our growing debt could cost us jobs and do serious damage to the economy. More of....

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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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