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Kagen’s One Pledge:Impartiality, Hard Work

Before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan says in her opening statement:”I will make no pledges this week other than this one: That if confirmed, I will remember and abide by all these lessons. I will listen hard to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. I will work hard and I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance with law.” Continue Reading →

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US Senator Robert Byrd’s Final Days: Longest Serving Congressman Dies At 92

US Senator Robert C. Byrd died this morning at age 92.  The West Virginia Democrat was the longest serving member of Congress in US History. His Senate website reports Senator Byrd died peacefully at approximately 3 a.m. at Inova Fairfax Hospital. This is video from Senator Byrd’s final hearing as chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. The video from April 13 shows he is frail, but still fiery and has a sense of humor. Continue Reading →

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US-UK World Cup Beer Bet Payoff

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron settle a World Cup bet and speak to the media after meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada. Transcript:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right, everybody set up? Careful. Don’t hurt each other.PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: — upsetting the beer, so work together here. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBMAA: Let me begin by saying that the last conversation I had with David Cameron was before the — well, I guess it wasn’t the last one, but a recent conversation was before the match between the United States and England at the World Cup. Continue Reading →

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Peace Or War On Presidential Seal?

Is it true the eagle on the Presidential seal faces the olive branches in times of peace and the arrows in times of war? White House Oval Office Operations guy Brian Mosteller explains why there are two Presidential seals. Continue Reading →

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Obama: Verge Of Victory For Financial Reform

Transcript:
 
This weekend, I’m traveling to Toronto to meet with members of the G20. There, I hope we can build on the progress we made at last year’s G20 summits by coordinating our global financial reform efforts to make sure a crisis like the one from which we are still recovering never happens again. We’ve made great progress toward passing such reform here at home. As I speak, we are on the cusp of enacting the toughest financial reforms since the Great Depression.  
I don’t have to tell you why these reforms are so important. Continue Reading →

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Toughest Financial Reform Since Great Depression

Key quote from President Obama:I’m gratified we’ve made great progress towards enacting these safeguards here at home. ; Because of the incredibly hard work of Chairman Dodd and Chairman Frank, and the strong leadership of Chairwoman Lincoln and Chairman Peterson, and the great efforts of the conferees and members of both parties — who were up very late last night — we are poised to pass the toughest financial reform since the ones we created in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Continue Reading →

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Defense Secretary Gates OK With Petraeus In Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Mike Mullen speak with reporters at the Pentagon.Defense Secretary Robert Gates is voicing support for General David Petraeus, nominated by President Obama to succeed General Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Continue Reading →

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Obama:GOP Gridlock Strategy Hurting US

In this week’s address, President Barack Obama called on Congress to put scoring political points aside, and instead to focus on solving the problems facing the nation. ; The Republican leadership is currently blocking progress on a bill to boost the economy, retain jobs for teachers and cops, and help people buy their first home; another bill which would hold oil companies accountable for any disasters they cause by removing the current $75 million liability cap; and 136 highly qualified men and women who have been nominated to government positions. Continue Reading →

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Biden Blasts Barton On BP Apology

Transcript:
Q:And also, on another subject, what are your thoughts about Mr. Barton’s comments this morning? THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, since you know I never say what’s on my mind — (laughter) — I probably shouldn’t comment on Mr. Barton’s comment. Q Oh, come on. Q Please — Q Is it that bad? THE VICE PRESIDENT: They’re encouraging me, what can I say? Continue Reading →

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Rep. Barton Apologizes For BP “Shakedown”

Representative Joe Barton of Texas uses the word “shakedown” three times describing a $20 Billion fund BP has agreed to set up for victims of it’s hemorrhaging oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. He apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward the action. Barton later issued a statement saying he is withdrawing his apology to BP, but made no apology to President Obama for hinting that the President should be thrown in jail for getting BP to put money in the escrow fund. Continue Reading →

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Obama: BP To Put $20 Billion In Spill Escrow Fund

Emphasizing it was “not a cap”, President Obama announced this afternoon after meeting with BP executives that the company would put $20 Billion into an escrow fund to compensate victims of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the escrow account, BP is putting $100 million into a fund to help unemployed oil workers. Continue Reading →

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Leaders Agree:Oil Spill Laws Need Revamping

Transcript:

 THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I want to thank all these leaders for engaging in a very substantive conversation, and I’m going to be relatively brief in summarizing it.  Obviously the top of our list was our continued response to the crisis in the Gulf and what’s happening with the oil spill.  We gave them an update on all the measures that are being taken, the single largest national response in United States history to an environmental disaster.  But we had a frank conversation about the fact that the laws that have been in place have not been adequate for a crisis of this magnitude.  The Oil Pollution Act was passed at a time when people didn’t envision drilling four miles under the sea for oil.  
     And so it’s going to be important that, based on facts, based on experts, based on a thorough examination of what went wrong here and where things have gone right, but also where things have gone wrong, that we update the laws to make sure that the people in the Gulf, the fishermen, the hotel owners, families who are dependent for their livelihoods in the Gulf, that they are all made whole and that we are in a much better position to respond to any such crisis in the future.  
     So that was a prominent part of the discussion, and I was pleased to see bipartisan agreement that we have to deal with that in an aggressive, forward-leaning way.  
     Even as we deal with that crisis, we’ve still got an economy that’s on the mend, but there are a lot of people out there who are still out of work.  There are a lot of families who are still struggling to pay the bills.  And so a major part of our discussion was how could we continue to build on the progress that’s been made in the economy and, in particular, how can we make sure that that has an impact on job growth and the day-to-day improvements that people are seeing in their own lives.  
     A couple of things that we discussed was passing the package of tax extenders and unemployment insurance and so forth that is important to give families confidence that they’re going to be able to get back on their feet but also give businesses confidence in terms of what their tax structure is going to look like going forward. Continue Reading →

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Obama Supports Iran Nuke Sanctions

 
Key quote from President Obama:
 
Today, the United Nations Security Council voted overwhelmingly to sanction Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligations. This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community’s commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.  
For years, the Iranian government has failed to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has violated its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. It has ignored U.N. Security Council resolutions. Continue Reading →

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Obama: BP Will Pay “Every Dime” For Damage, Promises Justice

Key quote from President Obama:

We’ve also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf Coast. The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments. And this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In addition, after an emergency safety review, we’re putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I’ve appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill. Continue Reading →

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Obama:More Job Gains For US In May

Key quote from President Obama:
 

A lot of businesses were hit hard during this downturn, but they’re starting to hire again. Workers who were laid off, they’re starting to get their jobs back. Companies that were almost forced to close their doors are making plans to expand and invest in new equipment.  
And this progress is reflected in the monthly jobs reports that we get each month. We received one today. Continue Reading →

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Obama Orders BP To Pay For Damage

 
Key quote from President Obama:
 
We’ve ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they deliver. The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments. We’ve stationed doctors and scientists across the region to look out for people’s health and monitor any ill effects felt by cleanup workers and residents. And we will absolutely continue to hold BP and any other responsible parties accountable for financial losses borne by the people in the region.  
 
Full text of speech:
 
 THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I just met with these gentlemen, former Senator Bob Graham of Florida and former EPA Administrator, Bill Reilly.  They will lead the National Commission on the BP oil spill in the Gulf, which is now the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.  Their job, along with the other members of the commission, will be to thoroughly examine the spill and its causes, so that we never face such a catastrophe again. Continue Reading →

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Obama On “Nobility” Of Memorial Day

Key quote from President Obama:
 
The families that I met with know in their hearts what every American must never forget. ; At its core, the nobility and the majesty of Memorial Day can be found in the story of ordinary Americans who become extraordinary for the most simple of reasons: They loved their country so deeply, so profoundly, that they were willing to give their lives to keep it safe and free.  
In another time, they might have led a life of comfort and ease. But a revolution needed to be won. Or a Union needed to be preserved. Continue Reading →

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