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Category Archives: OBAMA WATCH 2008-2012

Obama Biden Watch – Volume 1 Issue 1 – January 2009

In This Issue:

  • Obama’s Inaugural Address Falls Flat?
  • Change We Can Believe In? Looks Like the Usual Suspects!
  • Obama’s First Actions Not Making America Safer
  • Geithner’s Tax Problems
  • Obama-Blagojevich Report Contradicts Public Record
  • Political Panetta at CIA?
  • Pelosi’s Power Grab
  • Bill Richardson Out As Commerce Secretary
  • Citizens United Productions Presents: Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny Documentary
  • Final Thoughts from Citizens United President David N. Bossie

Stay tuned for more updates as we will be updating this site frequently.

Copyright 2009 by Citizens United

Read More »

Massive Conservative D.C. Protest Buried and Dismissed, But Smaller Liberal Rallies Hailed
A conservative protest at the Capitol numbering in the tens of thousands was worth an unfavorable story on page 37. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering…40 people.

Posted by: Clay Waters
9/14/2009 3:43:28 PM

There was a huge protest against Obama’s big-government plans at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but one was hard-pressed to find evidence of it on the Times home page Sunday morning: A small headline tucked under the Political subhead.

The print edition wasn’t much more forthcoming. Although the Washington D.C. Fire Dept. estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people attended the 9/12 protest, and many estimates are higher, the Times made do with one medium-sized story buried on page A37 of the Sunday paper, “Thousands Attend Broad Protest of Government,” teasing it on the front page in a below-the-fold photo from the march. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement in the Times, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering…40 people.

Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted protesters as “angry” and “profane” and that the rally contained “no shortage of vitriol,” as if there were never raised voices and obscene signage at left-wing anti-war rallies:

A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.

On a cloudy and cool day, the demonstrators came from all corners of the country, waving American flags and handwritten signs explaining the root of their frustrations. Their anger stretched well beyond the health care legislation moving through Congress, with shouts of support for gun rights, lower taxes and a smaller government.

But as they sang verse after verse of patriotic hymns like “God Bless America,” sharp words of profane and political criticism were aimed at Mr. Obama and Congress.

….

The atmosphere was rowdy at times, with signs and images casting Mr. Obama in a demeaning light. One sign called him the “parasite in chief.” Others likened him to Hitler. Several people held up preprinted signs saying, “Bury Obama Care with Kennedy,” a reference to the Massachusetts senator whose body passed by the Capitol two weeks earlier to be memorialized.

Other signs did not focus on Mr. Obama, but rather on the government at large, promoting gun rights, tallying the national deficit and deploring illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Check out this backhanded compliment:

Still, many demonstrators expressed their views without a hint of rage. They said the size of the crowd illustrated that their views were shared by a broader audience.

Zeleny found some unnamed “Republican officials” to fret over a backlash, and downplayed the significance of those who turned out:

Mr. DeMint and a few Republican legislators were the only party leaders on hand for the demonstration. Republican officials said privately that they were pleased by the turnout but wary of the anger directed at all politicians. And most of those who turned out were not likely to have been Obama voters anyway.

Did the Times ever suggest anti-war demonstrators “were not like to have been Bush voters anyway”?

While there was no shortage of vitriol among protesters, there was also an air of festivity. A band of protesters in colonial gear wended through the crowd, led by a bell ringer in a tricorn hat calling for revolution. A folk singer belting out a protest ballad on a guitar brought cheers.

Obama’s health-care speech on Saturday actually got slightly better placement. It landed on page A35 under a similar headline, “Thousands Rally in Minnesota Behind Obama’s Call for Health Care Overhaul,” although the attendance at the Target Center in Minneapolis was reliably estimated at around 15,000, making it at least four times smaller than the D.C. rally. Obama and his fans also got more positive coverage from reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg:

Thousands of roaring supporters turned out Saturday to rally behind President Obama’s call to overhaul the nation’s health care system, packing a basketball arena here as Mr. Obama warned that nearly half of all Americans under 65 could lose their insurance at some point during the next decade….On a day when demonstrators crammed onto the west lawn of the Capitol to protest what they regard as Mr. Obama’s brand of big government, including his health plan, the images of screaming, cheering Obama supporters here provided a welcome visual counterpoint for the White House. The White House estimated that 15,000 people attended the rally here; the applause was thunderous when the president bounded onto the stage, shirtsleeves rolled up, as he revived an old campaign rallying cry: “Are you fired up?”

In fact, the Times’ coverage of the huge anti-government rally in the nation’s capital was on the same level as the coverage of an ACORN-organized left-wing “bus tour” of homes of American International Group executives back in March, a piece of Astroturf so blatant even the Times admitted the media outnumbered the protesters. Yet while 40 left-wing protesters in Connecticut were worth a 724-word Times story back in March, an estimated 70,000 anti-Obama protesters in D.C. garnered a 932-word story on Saturday. A slight anomaly?

There was nothing on the Times’ “Caucus” blog from the actual march, although the blog did preview it Saturday morning with a pessimistic estimate of the crowd size (“as many as 30,000 demonstrators are expected”), in a post marked with suspicion of the protest’s origin and motives. That post also granted top billing to Obama’s speech.

Another telling contrast: The coverage of Saturday’s march (and the previous Tea Party protests) with the fawning coverage of the pro-illegal immigration protests of 2006, when amnesty for illegals was on the agenda. The Times didn’t find much “vitriol” at the massive rallies in support of illegal immigration. Here’s Robert McFadden in the April 10, 2006 Times, describing the largest of the nationwide rallies in Dallas:

The Dallas protesters were young and old. Some were families pushing baby strollers. Some walked with canes, others rolled along in wheelchairs. There were members of unions, churches, civil rights organizations and business groups, but many were strangers to one another. Some spoke passionately about their desire to be Americans, to vote and to hold a job without fea

Sara Palin in WSJ on Obamacare, Your Money AND Your Life Posted: 08 Sep 2009 07:25 PM PDT There is a Classic Jack Benny routine that reminds me of Obamacare. In the routine Benny is accosted on the street by a robber with a gun, “your money or your life,” threatens the thief. The master comedian takes his classic pose with his open palmed fingers on the side of his face and remains silent. “Well ?” says the gunman. “I’m thinking” says Benny, “I’m thinking” If Obamacare gets passed in its present form that choice will not be open to many Americans, the government will definitely take out money and,in some cases, as heath care gets rationed they will take your life also. That is the message that former Alaska Governor gives in an Op-ed in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal; Obamacare is too expensive, will lead to health care rationing, and will build a massive and inefficient federal bureaucracy. Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care The president’s proposals would give unelected officials life-and-death rationing powers. By SARAH PALIN Writing in the New York Times last month, President Barack Obama asked that Americans “talk with one another, and not over one another” as our health-care debate moves forward. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s engage the other side’s arguments, and let’s allow Americans to decide for themselves whether the Democrats’ health-care proposals should become governing law. Some 45 years ago Ronald Reagan said that “no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds.” Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us. We also know that our current health-care system too often burdens individuals and businesses—particularly small businesses—with crippling expenses. And we know that allowing government health-care spending to continue at current rates will only add to our ever-expanding deficit. How can we ensure that those who need medical care receive it while also reducing health-care costs? The answers offered by Democrats in Washington all rest on one principle: that increased government involvement can solve the problem. I fundamentally disagree. Common sense tells us that the government’s attempts to solve large problems more often create new ones. Common sense also tells us that a top-down, one-size-fits-all plan will not improve the workings of a nationwide health-care system that accounts for one-sixth of our economy. And common sense tells us to be skeptical when President Obama promises that the Democrats’ proposals “will provide more stability and security to every American.” With all due respect, Americans are used to this kind of sweeping promise from Washington. And we know from long experience that it’s a promise Washington can’t keep. Let’s talk about specifics. In his Times op-ed, the president argues that the Democrats’ proposals “will finally bring skyrocketing health-care costs under control” by “cutting . . . waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies . . . .” First, ask yourself whether the government that brought us such “waste and inefficiency” and “unwarranted subsidies” in the first place can be believed when it says that this time it will get things right. The nonpartistan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn’t think so: Its director, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee in July that “in the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.” Now look at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He’s asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . .” Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats’ proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through “normal political channels,” they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats’ proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we’ve come to expect from this administration. Speaking of government overreaching, how will the Democrats’ proposals affect the deficit? The CBO estimates that the current House proposal not only won’t reduce the deficit but will actually increase it by $239 billion over 10 years. Only in Washington could a plan that adds hundreds of billions to the deficit be hailed as a cost-cutting measure. The economic effects won’t be limited to abstract deficit numbers; they’ll reach the wallets of everyday Americans. Should the Democrats’ proposals expand health-care coverage while failing to curb health-care inflation rates, smaller paychecks will result. A new study for Watson Wyatt Worldwide by Steven Nyce and Syl Schieber concludes that if the government expands health-care coverage while health-care inflation continues to rise “the higher costs would drive disposable wages downward across most of the earnings spectrum, although the declines would be steepest for lower-earning workers.” Lower wages are the last thing Americans need in these difficult economic times. Finally, President Obama argues in his op-ed that Democrats’ proposals “will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable.” Of course consumer protection sounds like a good idea. And it’s true that insurance companies can be unaccountable and unresponsive institutions—much like the federal government. That similarity makes this shift in focus seem like nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the details of the Democrats’ proposals—proposals that will increase our deficit, decrease our paychecks, and increase the power of unaccountable government technocrats. Instead of poll-driven “solutions,” let’s talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let’s give Americans control over their own health care. Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don’t need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats’ proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not “provide more stability and security to every American.” We often hear such overblown promises from Washington. With first principles in mind and with the facts in hand, tell them that this time we’re not buying it. Today Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) circulated a draft outline for healthcare reform legislation. The outline does not include a public option, however, it creates Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OP)s- which are nonprofit, member-run health insurance companies. The framework also suggests a few revenue provisions for healthcare reform, including a 35 percent tax on insurance companies and insurance administrators for any health insurance plan that is above $8,000 for singles and $21,000 for family plans. It would also impose an annual fee of $2.3 billion on the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector and an annual fee of $6 billion on the health insurance sector, both beginning in 2010. Higher rates would be paid by larger families, older people and smokers. That’s just what people need more taxes. Baucus gave the Republicans on the committee 24 hours to agree with his proposal. I’m not sure what he meant by this maybe after 24 hours he will begin to kill one Senior per hour until they agree. Wednesday Night the President will be making his “revised sales pitch” to Americans, it is almost certain that the President will not substantially address the issues that Palin addresses above. Until then it will be difficult for the POTUS to change very many minds.

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Exclusive: July 16, 2009

The Ten Commandments According to Obama

By: Patriot Update
http://patriotupdate.com/home/exclusive/13

© 2009 The Patriot Update. Feel free to circulate this article, but please link / give credit to The Patriot Update.

After observing Obama on the campaign trail and during his first six months in office, we have concluded that our President lives and governs according to his own set of “Ten Commandments.” They’re certainly NOT the Ten Commandments you learned in Sunday School. In fact, many are the direct opposite! To prove that our conclusions are correct, you will find a link to source documentation for each commandment on the Patriot Update web site.

I. Thou shalt have no God in America, except for me. For we are no longer a Christian nation and, after all, I am the chosen One. (And like God, I do not have a birth certificate.) SOURCE

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, unless it is my face carved on Mt. Rushmore. SOURCE

III. Thou shalt not utter my middle name in vain (or in public). Only I can say Barack Hussein Obama. SOURCE

IV. Remember tax day, April 15th, to keep it holy. SOURCE

V. Honour thy father and thy mother until they are too old and sick to care for. They will cost our public-funded health-care system too much money. SOURCE

VI. Thou shalt not kill, unless you have an unwanted, unborn baby. For it would be an abomination to punish your daughter with a baby. SOURCE

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery if you are conservative or a Republican. Liberals and Democrats are hereby forgiven for all of their infidelity and immorality, but the careers of conservatives will be forever destroyed. SOURCE

VIII. Thou shalt not steal, until you’ve been elected to public office. Only then is it acceptable to take money from hard-working, successful citizens and give it to those who do not work, illegal immigrants, or those who do not have the motivation to better their own lives. SOURCE

IX. Thou shalt not discriminate against thy neighbor unless they are conservative, Caucasian, or Christian. SOURCE

X. Thou shalt not covet because it is simply unnecessary. I will place such a heavy tax burden on those that have achieved the American Dream that, by the end of my term as President, nobody will have any wealth or material goods left for you to covet. SOURCE

– Boycott The New York Times – http://boycottnyt.com

Times Asserts Americans Want Bigger Government

By Don Feder
February 17, 2009 <!– In Articles | No Comments –>

One of The New York Times’
favorite techniques for indoctrinating in the guise of news coverage is
to casually assert something that advances its agenda and expect
readers to take it at face value. Read More »

– Boycott The New York Times – http://boycottnyt.com

Times Glosses Over Kansas Gov’s Radical Pro-Abortion Record

By Don Feder February 19, 2009

In a story today on President Obama’s likely choice of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services, The New York Times glossed over the nominee’s radical pro-abortion record in two sentences: “One issue that could draw attention is her stance on abortion. A Roman Catholic who says abortion’s wrong, Ms. Sebelius vetoed a bill requiring clinics to report information on why a late-term abortion was performed, drawing the condemnation of the archbishop of Kansas City, Kan.” The Times [1] refuses to call the procedure what it manifestly is — a partial-birth abortion — choosing instead the values-neutral expression “late-term abortion.” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann has asked Sebelius to refrain from taking communion, due to “scandalous behavior that has misled people into dangerous behavior,” on the abortion issue. In a May 26, 2008 [2] column in The Washington Post, Robert Novak called the governor “the national pro-choice poster girl.” Last April, Sebelius vetoed a bill to strengthen regulation of late-term abortions. She vetoed other restrictions on abortion in 2003, 2005 and 2006. The governor personally recruited and funded a candidate to run against then-Attorney General Phil Kline, who was prosecuting partial-birth abortionist George Tiller. Thanks largely to money Sebelius raised for his opponent, Kline was defeated at the polls. Tiller donated $120,000 to the Democratic Governors’ Association, which in turn contributed $200,000 to Sebelius’ PAC to fund pro-choice candidates, in what right-to-lifers allege to be a money-laundering scheme. In April, 2007, Sebelius reportedly held a private party in the governor’s mansion for Tiller and the staff of his clinic, at a time when the abortionist was under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. If George W. Bush had nominated for Secretary of HHS a governor associated with Operation Rescue, you can bet The New York Times would have reported it in more than two sentences buried in an article touting the nominee as a well-qualified moderate. Article printed from Boycott The New York Times: http://boycottnyt.com URL to article: http://boycottnyt.com/times-glosses-over-kansas-govs-radical-pro-abortion-record/ URLs in this post: [1] refuses: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/us/politics/19health.html [2] column: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/25/AR2008052502275.html Click here to print. Copyright © 2008 Boycott The New York Times. All rights reserved.


Posted 1 hour, 18 minutes ago in OpinionPolitics

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s cabinet picks have elicited howls from the political left, but he won’t sell out his progressive supporters, E.J. Dionne, Jr. writes in The New Republic. First off, Obama never was a true economic leftie—that was John Edwards’ role. But like John F. Kennedy 45 years ago, Obama will probably push a progressive agenda through a team that conservatives can accept.

Lefties in Congress still like him, too. Obama knows that “the country faces more problems than at anytime since 1933,” says liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders. Obama is also entering the White House as most of the country is leaning left; even conservatives want to partly socialize Wall Street these days. “Reality has moved left, particularly over the last six months,” Dionne writes.

Source New Republic

· Time, CNN Top College Faves

Dec 1, 08 6:34 AM CST
Time, CNN Top College FavesCollege students took a break from beer pong to take stock of the world, a study of their favorite brands suggests. Time unseated Cosmopolitan as top magazine among the 1,000 students surveyed, while CNN.com bumped Perez Hilton off the list of top websites, Advertising Age reports. “World peace” became the fourth most desired wish for this election year—though, to be fair, the No. 6 most cherished was the ability to fly. More »

· Clinton at State Troubles Obamanauts

Nov 18, 08 9:55 AM CST
Clinton at State Troubles ObamanautsWhile a Hillary Clinton appointment as secretary of State has been greeted with enthusiasm worldwide, Barack Obama’s own team of believers is feeling some confusion and dissonance, reports Politico. “These guys didn’t put together a campaign in order to turn the government over to the Clintons,” says a Democrat close to Obama. “I can’t stand her,” said another—”but I think she’s a great choice.”
More »

· Has Obama Tipped Murdoch Left?

Nov 17, 08 9:35 AM CST
Has Obama Tipped Murdoch Left?Media watchers have been tracking the post-election New York Post with particular interest: Instead of being dyspeptic over the Democratic presidential win, Rupert Murdoch’s gleefully right-wing tabloid has treated Barack Obama to coverage ranging, as the New York Times puts it, “from warm and fuzzy to downright heroic.” Which fuels speculation, first raised by biographer Michael Wolff in a book excerpt in Vanity Fair, that the 77-year-old media magnate (and owner of Fox News) is veering leftward.
More »

· Gen X to Boomers: We Get It Now

Nov 9, 08 5:09 AM CST
We Get It NowSorry, boomers, for taking so long to drop the cynicism and eye-rolling, writes Heather Havrilesky in Salon. But to those who “became rational adults at the exact moment a reckless frat boy boomer became president,” your generation’s idealism and tales of ’60s radicalism fell flat, she spills. Barack Obama’s win changed that. Gen X’ers get it now, understanding “there’s no shame in throwing ourselves into this new future with full hearts, with tears in our eyes.” More »

· DC Anticipates 1.5M for Historic Inauguration

Nov 8, 08 6:35 AM CST
DC Anticipates 1.5M for Historic InaugurationHotel rooms will be as scarce as McCain-Palin T-shirts in Washington on Inauguration Day, the Wall Street Journal reports, as a record-breaking tide of Obama supporters—especially black Americans—makes a pilgrimage to witness the historic moment. More than 1.5 million people are expected to flood the city for the Jan. 20 event. Hotel rooms, even at rates above $1,000 a night, are booking three times faster than for the last inauguration.
More »

President-elect Barack Obama walks towards the podium during a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Would-be appointees quizzed on guns
By: Jonathan Martin
November 20, 2008 06:51 PM EST

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is asking potential appointees detailed questions about gun ownership, and firearms advocates aren’t happy about it.

The National Rifle Association has denounced the move, which has already led one Republican senator to consider legislation aimed at ensuring a president can’t use an applicant’s gun ownership status to deny employment.

It’s just one question on a lengthy personnel form — No. 59 on a 63-question list — but the furor over the query is a vivid reminder of the intensity of support for Second Amendment rights and signals the scrutiny Obama is likely to receive from the ever-vigilant gun lobby.

Obama’s transition team declined to go into detail on why they included the question, suggesting only that it was done to ensure potential appointees were in line with gun laws.

“The intent of the gun question is to determine legal permitting,” said one transition aide.

But even some Democrats and transition experts are baffled by the inclusion of the question.

Tucked in at the end of the questionnaire and listed under “Miscellaneous,” it reads: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, said there was no such question for potential appointees when President George W. Bush took office in 2000.

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” Light said.

He expressed uncertainty over why it was included but surmised it was out of an abundance of caution, a desire to avoid the spectacle of a Cabinet-level or other high-ranking appointee who is discovered to have an unregistered handgun at home.

“It’s the kind of thing that, if dug out, could be an embarrassment to the president-elect,” Light said.

Clay Johnson, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget and the head of Bush’s 2000 transition, also didn’t quite understand the purpose of the question.

“It could be their way to say to prospects that they will have to answer all these questions sooner or later, so be prepared,” Johnson observed.

Matt Bennett, a veteran campaign operative who did a stint at Americans for Gun Safety and who now works for the moderate Democratic think tank Third Way, was equally befuddled.

“It strikes me as overly lawyerly,” he said, noting that only a small percentage of guns owned by adults are ever used improperly.

Only half-joking, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) alluded to the shooting accident involving Vice President Dick Cheney, suggesting the query could be a better-safe-than-sorry measure.

“Given the behavior of the vice president under the last administration, you may want to know these things,” Ryan said.

On a more serious note, Ryan suggested that the new president was being “very, very thorough” in his approach.

An Obama ally and pro-gun Democrat from a blue-collar region of Ohio, Ryan dismissed the notion that the inclusion of such a question would do any political harm to the incoming president.

But other gun rights supporters want Obama to know the question has raised their antennae.

“It’s very odd and very concerning to put out a question like that,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), adding that it may also be “unprecedented.”

The freshman senator, who is up for reelection in 2010, had his campaign organization send an e-mail to supporters this week, pledging to enact legislation to bar federal hiring discrimination on the basis of gun ownership.

“Barack Obama promised change, and this is proof positive that we are going to see some of the most liberal change in our nation’s history,” wrote DeMint’s campaign in the e-mail.

DeMint conceded it was unrealistic to try to get a bill on the matter through during the lame duck session this week.

Still, it’s the sort of symbolic issue that may provide a political opening for Republican members of Congress from conservative-leaning states to contrast themselves with the new Democratic administration.

“I want him to know that we’re looking for areas we can work with him but also looking for areas of concern that we want to let him know we’re going to fight on,” DeMint said.

The NRA, the gun-rights group that spent millions to defeat Obama, only to see him easily carry sportsmen-heavy states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, is signaling that it intends to keep up the fight.

“Barack Obama and his administration are showing their true colors and true philosophy with regard to the Second Amendment,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s top political official. “It shows what we’ve been saying all along — this guy doesn’t view the Second Amendment as a fundamental constitutional right.”

Cox said the group had put the word out to their members on the question.

Bennett, though, argued that approach would have little resonance.

“The real question is whether he’s doing harm to the broader image of Democrats on guns, and the answer is probably no,” he said. “It may gin up 350,000 hard-core NRA types, but it won’t really bother 65 million other gun owners.”

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

Yahoo! News

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer Hope Yen, Associated Press Writer 2 hrs 1 min ago

Sunday, December 07, 2008

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama has chosen retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, turning to a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy.

Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home,” Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” to be broadcast Sunday.

NBC released a transcript of the interview after The Associated Press reported that Shinseki was Obama’s pick.

Shinseki’s tenure as Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003 was marked by constant tensions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which boiled over in 2003 when Shinseki testified to Congress that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion.

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, belittled the estimate as “wildly off the mark” and the general was marginalized and later retired from the Army. But Shinseki’s words proved prophetic after President George W. Bush in early 2007 announced a “surge” of additional troops to Iraq after miscalculating the numbers needed to stem sectarian violence.

Obama said he chose Shinseki for the VA post because he “was right” in predicting that the U.S. will need more troops in Iraq than Rumsfeld believed at the time.

“When I reflect on the sacrifices that have been made by our veterans and I think about how so many veterans around the country are struggling even more than those who have not served — higher unemployment rates, higher homeless rates, higher substance abuse rates, medical care that is inadequate — it breaks my heart,” Obama told NBC.

Shinseki, 66, is slated to take the helm of the government’s second largest agency, which was roundly criticized during the Bush administration for underestimating the amount of funding needed to treat thousands of injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of veterans currently endure six-month waits for disability benefits, despite promises by current VA Secretary James Peake and his predecessor, Jim Nicholson, to reduce delays. The department also is scrambling to upgrade government technology systems before new legislation providing for millions of dollars in new GI benefits takes effect next August.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, praised Shinseki as a “great choice” who will make an excellent VA secretary.

“I have great respect for General Shinseki’s judgment and abilities,” Akaka said in a statement. “I am confident that he will use his wisdom and experience to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and care they have earned in defense of our nation. President-elect Obama is selecting a team that reflects our nation’s greatest strength, its diversity, and I applaud him.”

Veterans groups also cheered the decision.

“General Shinseki has a record of courage and honesty, and is a bold choice to lead the VA into the future,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “He is a man that has always put patriotism ahead of politics, and is held in high regard by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Obama’s choice of Shinseki, who grew up in Hawaii, is the latest indication that the president-elect is making good on his pledge to have a diverse Cabinet.

In Obama’s eight Cabinet announcements so far, white men are the minority with two nominations — Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Robert Gates at Defense. Three are women — Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Hillary Rodham Clinton at State. Eric Holder at the Justice Department is African American, while Bill Richardson at Commerce is Latino.

Shinseki is a recipient of two Purple Hearts for life-threatening injuries in Vietnam.

Upon leaving his post in June 2003, Shinseki in his farewell speech sternly warned against arrogance in leadership.

“You must love those you lead before you can be an effective leader,” he said. “You can certainly command without that sense of commitment, but you cannot lead without it. And without leadership, command is a hollow experience, a vacuum often filled with mistrust and arrogance.”

Shinseki also left with the warning: “Beware a 12-division strategy for a 10-division army.”

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