In an interview yesterday on Meet the Press, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told host David Gregory that she had no regrets for her appearances on Sunday shows after the Benghazi attacks in which she said that the incident at the American outpost was a “spontaneous” reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube video.
“When you were last here, Ambassador Rice, it was an eventful morning on the story of Benghazi and the horrible attack on our compound there. We haven’t seen you in a while. As you look back in your involvement in that, do you have any regrets?” Gregory asked.
“David, no, because what I said to you that morning, and what I did every day since, was to share the best information that we had at the time,” Rice said.
“The information I provided — which I explained to you was what we had at the moment, it could change, I commented that this was based on what we knew on that morning — was provided to me and my colleagues, and, indeed, to Congress by the intelligence community,” the former U.N. Ambassador continued. “And that’s been well validated in many different ways since.”
Conservative organizations supporting Chris McDaniel, an insurgent conservative candidate running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, seizing comments made by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in 2008 about then-candidate Barack Obama.
Cochran, who is being challenged in the primary by McDaniel, told a Mississippi paper that students he had spoken to before the 2008 election were “surprised” when he said he “really like[s] both the candidates very much” and “thought we would be well served however the election comes out.” The candidates Cochran referenced were Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
After a follow-up question by the paper’s editorial board about those “who think it will be a disaster for the country if Obama was elected,” Cochran focused on the 2008 Democratic Party’s nominee personal qualities, adding that he thought Obama would do “an excellent job.”
House Republicans are planning an onslaught of legislation aimed at the Internal Revenue Service, a powerful agency that is currently considering regulations that would ostensibly legitimatize and institutionalize its targeting of conservative groups, and to promote transparency in how taxpayer dollars are spent:
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is the author of two of the bills to be considered next week, both of which respond to the targeting scandal.
One of his bills is the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530. This bill would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year.
Republicans are wary that the IRS will improperly share personal tax information with other agencies as it tries to implement ObamaCare and make determinations about who may qualify for tax credits when buying health insurance.
Another bill from Roskam up next week is the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, H.R. 2531. This bill would prevent the IRS from asking about people’s religious or political beliefs.
The House will also look at two other suspension bills mean to ensure taxpayers know how their money, once collected by the IRS, is being spent.
Following the news that President Barack Obama hasn’t bombed Pakistan for almost two months, concerns related to our presence as an active agent in the Syrian conflict have began to tickle Washington again.
Most Americans have already voiced their contrary opinion regarding any “boots on the ground” type of intervention in Syria, but that doesn’t mean that the president hasn’t been considering taking part in targeted attacks on certain Islamist fighters that have been taking vulnerable areas of the war-torn country. The White House seems to think that by targeting these fighters, the U.S. might be able to avoid conflicts that would lead to attacks against what Washington still considers U.S. allies. The problem is, will Americans go along with the idea?
In spite of what critics say concerning the inefficacy of Washington’s policies concerning shipment of heavy weaponry to rebels, the White House maintains its position. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey advised Washington to avoid offering any military help to active agents in the Syrian civil war precisely because any kind of involvement would potentially place the United States in a tough spot, causing conflicts to escalate. Interference would also further our commitment to embrace an active role in the conflicts.
During a breakfast with reporters on Wednesday, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf presented reporters with his agency’s labor force projections — the percentage of Americans available for work — over the next 10 years.
Much attention has been paid to Elmendorf’s defense of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the $10.10 minimum wage proposal amid criticism from the White House and congressional Democrats, but his presentation on labor force participation is the real story from his talk with reporters.
The side Elmendorf presented shows that the CBO expects labor force participation to continue to slide to lows not seen in decades. The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed the labor force participation rate at 63%, up very slightly from the previous month’s 62.8%, which was the lowest rate since 1978.
The Hill newspaper reports today that Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey (D-umbass) will introduce legislation to require all firearms produced in the United States to be equipped with advanced fingerprint recognition technology.
The monumental stupid and elitist of this suggestion could only have come from someone whose tongue is firmly implanted in the nether regions of Mothers for Justice and Equality, Project R.I.G.H.T. and other organizations dedicating to destroying the right of the people to keep and bear arms, stomping all over the Second Amendment and sporting a big, red “F” rating from the NRA.
A generally untested technology mandated for all firearms purchases? What could go wrong?
Well, imagine the following scenario.
You are a woman peacefully having dinner with your spouse and children. All is calm. All is peaceful. And then…
Three armed thugs stage a home invasion, threatening you and your family.
Your husband grabs his gun, equipped with the latest fingerprint-recognition technology, but the thugs mow him down in a hail of gunfire.
You grab your spouse’s pistol, hoping to protect yourself and your children, but unfortunately, the pistol does not recognize your biometrics. You and your children are helpless.
Oh, but you have your own gun that recognizes your fingerprints? So what happens if both of you are hurt or worse? Do you expect your children to grab your pistol and attempt to place it in your cold, lifeless hand in order to unlock its defensive power?
No politician who touches dares to touch entitlements comes out unscathed. Well, unless you’re Frank Underwood, who helped tackle the issue in House of Cards. But that’s fiction. This is reality, and it’s a reality that Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) is learning the hard way.
Hagan, who is facing an increasingly difficult battle for reelection, is a signer on a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that expresses concern about Medicare Advantage rate hikes for 2015.
“We write to raise serious concerns about the Medicare Advantage (MA) 2015 rate notice and the impact further cuts may have on the millions of individuals enrolled in the program,” says the letter signed by nearly two dozen senators, according to The Hill.
“We are strongly committed to preserving the high quality health plan choices and benefits that our constituents receive through the MA program,” the letter continues. “Given the impact that payment policies could have on our constituents, we ask that you prioritize beneficiaries’ experience and minimize disruption in maintaining payment levels for 2015.”
Americans for Prosperity has launched a new issue ad in Michigan targeting Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), a candidate for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. The ad features the story of Julie Boonstra, a leukemia patient who lost her health plan because of Obamacare’s narrowly-written regulations.
“I found out that I only have a 20% chance of surviving. I found this wonderful doctor, and a great healthcare plan,” Boonstra says in the ad, the latest in a series featuring individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by Obamacare. ”I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer, fighting the leukemia, and then I received a letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare.”
“Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die,” she continues. “I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to. It’s heartbreaking for me.”
“Congressman Peters, your decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health. It is time to listen to me. It is time to listen to the other Americans citizens out there who are hurting. This is serious. It’s not a game,” Boonstra adds.
A conservative primary challenger has rolled out an ad that ties Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The ad — a product of Bill Connor’s campaign — calls Graham’s purported conservative credentials into question with clips of the South Carolina senator saying that Clinton is “dedicated to her job” and “one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the United States” that he’s ever seen:
“I was at the TEA Party debate when I first saw this footage of Graham praising and hugging Hillary. I thought it represented what’s most frustrating to South Carolina conservatives about Lindsey Graham–the inherent hypocrisy of calling himself a conservative when he campaigns, but acting like and voting like a moderate or liberal the rest of the time,” Connor said in a statement from his campaign. “My plan was always to get on TV first and to stay there.”
The New York Times’ editorial board — packed with purported journalists who make their living under the protections of the First Amendment — is strongly backing the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service’s proposed rules that would limit nonprofit groups from engaging in debates over public policy:
The problem of secret money began in 2010, with the loosening of rules that was prompted in part by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Political operatives like Karl Rove realized that “social welfare” groups were allowed by the tax code to accept unlimited donations that did not have to be disclosed. They could then use that money to run political attack ads. Though the tax code says the groups, known as 501(c)(4)s, could not be engaged primarily in political activity and still keep their tax exemption, that was easy enough to get around by claiming the ads had some kind of civic purpose.
By the 2012 election, these groups were spending $300 million and were often the dominant voice in major races. The Koch brothers, in particular, got around the tax code provision by moving tens of millions among a huge number of nonprofits so that it was almost impossible to determine the purpose of each group, let alone who the donors were.