Back during the 2008 election, then-candidate Barack Obama promised Americans that he would keep lobbyists out of his administration. Unfortunately, like so many other promises he made, Obama hasn’t quite lived up to the “hope” and “change.” But don’t tell that to Anna Palmer of Politico, who recently wrote that lobbyists are “ready for a comeback under Mitt Romney.”
This piece caught the eye of Tim Carney, who frequently shows the connections between big business and big government — what many would call “corporatism” — at the Washington Examiner. Carney took Palmer’s assertion that Obama has run a lobbyist-free administration completely apart, numbering 55 different registered lobbyists who have work for the Obama Administration — ranging from inside the White House to important cabinet-level positions.
Here’s a taste of Carney’s epic takedown of Palmer (numbers next to the names are part of the count of lobbyists in the administration):
Palmer writes of the possibility of Romney
“Allowing lobbyists back into the White House”
You mean after he kicks out the lobbyists in Obama’s White House like Patton Boggs lobbyist Emmett Beliveau (7), O’Melveny & Myers lobbyist Derek Douglas (8), and Pfizer’s, AT&T’s lobbyist at Akin Gump Dana Singiser (9)?
Romney would have to toss out Obama’s orders, which shook up how President George W. Bush did business and let Obama claim his agenda wouldn’t be hijacked by special interests.
On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprising move by accepting responsibility for lack of security at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and by extension the deaths of four Americans who killed in the terrorist attack last month. As explained yesterday, Clinton has essentially fallen on her sword for President Barack Obama by doing so.
But based on other comments she has made, Clinton isn’t accepting responsibility for the reason for the attack, which was the video, “Innocence of Muslims,” pushed by some White House and Obama Administration officials in its aftermath:
In an interview with Margaret Brennan on CBS, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to say where U.N. ambassador Susan Rice got her talking points in response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
“Who briefed Ambassador Rice that day? Did you sign off on that briefing and those speaking points?” asked Brennan.
“You would have to ask her,” Clinton replied, admitting that she did not speak to Rice before her media appearances.
“Everybody had the same information,” Clinton insisted. “I mean, I’m – I have to say I know there’s been a lot of attention paid to who said what when, but I think what happened is more important. We were attacked, and four brave Americans were killed.”
“I think it’s part of what the fog of war causes,” Clinton added.
As the debate continues on over the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, which took the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted responsibility last night in an interview with CNN for the security failures that led up to the incident:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bucks stops with her when it comes to who is blame for a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
“I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, were the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said.
“I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she added, noting that it is close to the election.
Clinton also sought to downplay the criticism that administration officials continued to say the attack was a spontaneous product of a protest over an anti-Muslim film, a theory that has since been discarded.
In the wake of an attack, there is always “confusion,” Clinton said. But the information has since changed, Clinton said in the interview.
This one had to hurt. The tension that developed between Clinton and Obama during the 2008 Democratic primary was, well, evident. It was obvious that Obama offered her a role in his administration to keep her close, rather than to appease her.
After the protests irrupted in the Middle East last week, the United States Embassy in Egypt sent out a statement condemning the video created the Obama Administration insists created the outrage. It was a startling condemnation of free speech and expression, which protect not only speech with which the majority of Americans may agree, but also unpopular or even hate speech that some may otherwise find objectionable.
Some have defended the actions of President Obama since the controversy has erupted, but the reaction from the United States Embassy in Egypt was typical of the Obama Administration, which has fought to curb political speech. But more details have come to light in recent days, such as the White House privately asking Google, which owns YouTube, to review the video. Access to the video has already been restricted in Middle Eastern countries where violence has broken out.
Moreover, the person who made the video, a convicted felon, has been questioned by federal authorities because his activities may have violated the conditions of his release. Obviously, that is a separate issue and not necessarily one that we should say is an attempt to silence speech. However, it does make one question whether federal authorities would bother with him if he had put out a video denigrating Christianity.
If you’ve been paying attention to President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress over the last few years, then you know the appreciation for free speech is, well, non-existent. This problem isn’t limited to the Obama Administration or Democrats; after all, a Republican Congress and Republican president brought us one of the worst pieces of legislation in the last decade with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. However, the Obama Administration does bring us examples of contempt for free speech.
The exercise of free political speech is one of our bedrock principles in this country. Our Founding Fathers fought against the tyranny of King George III, who frequently sought to take the liberties of colonists and burden them with oppressive taxes. The Founding Fathers, using their natural right to free speech, fought back, condemning King George. With the Bill of Rights, they sought to recognize certain fundamental, natural rights to ensure that the federal government knew its bounds; among them was right to free speech.
The very clear wording of the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” — hasn’t always prevented the federal government from passing laws to silence critics. Not long after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law, which made it a criminal offense to criticize his policies.
During his daily briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took issue with the Supreme Court for upholding the individual mandate, a central part of ObamaCare, as a “tax” passed under the Taxing Power of Congress:
President Obama’s spokesman denied that the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is a tax, as he combated the idea that the president has raised taxes on the middle class.
“[I]t is simply a fallacy to say that this is a broad-based tax,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today. “That’s not what the opinion stated that was authored by the Chief Justice. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional under Congress’s taxing authority, but this is clearly a penalty that affects less than one percent of the American population.”
Carney added, “Look, it’s a penalty,” when reporters pressed him about the court’s ruling.
No, it’s a tax. And not just a tax because the Supreme Court says so, it’s so because the Obama Administration argued that it was a tax. That right-wing rag, The New York Times reported in July 2010, nearly four months after ObamaCare was passed, that the the administration was shifting its legal strategy in the case, now arguing that the individual mandate was a tax. And indeed, on page 56 of the Obama Administration’s brief in the case, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued (emphasis mine):
Mitt Romney’s campaign disappointed Republicans on Monday when one of his advisors, Eric Fehrnstrom, said that they agreed with Barack Obama that the recently upheld individual mandate was not a tax. This is contrary to what the High Court had said in the opinion, where Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the mandate was only constitutional due to the Taxing Power of Congress.
In an interview with CBS News, Romney backed away from that statement, noting that the Supreme Court has the final word and ruled that it is a tax:
Mitt Romney says the Supreme Court has decided that President Barack Obama’s health care mandate is a tax, but he maintains that the high court has made clear it does not consider a Massachusetts health care mandate a tax.
The Republican presidential candidate told CBS News on Wednesday that the Supreme Court opinion makes clear that states have the power to put in place a mandate or a penalty and that it is constitutional.
The former Massachusetts governor said that the court’s opinion said states have the power to pass such a penalty, but the federal government does not. And he said for the court to find Obama’s plan constitutional they had to rule his mandate was a tax.
Therefore, Romney says: “Obamacare’s a tax.”
By a vote of 255 to 67 (109 did not vote, one voted present), the House of Representatives has found Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to produce documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Seventeen Democrats voted with Republicans to find Holder in contempt.
Operation Fast and Furious allowed more than 2,000 guns, some of which were purchased by convicted felons, to walk across the border with Mexico and into the hands of violent drug cartels. More than 200 of those guns found their way to crime scenes in Mexico. Some 200 people are believed to have been killed with weapons connected to the Operation Fast and Furious. Guns connected to the operation have found their way back into the United States and have been used in crimes here, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
With a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder looming in the House of Representatives thanks to his failure to turn over documents related to the “Fast and Furious scandal, a new poll from The Hill shows that Americans believe President Barack Obama overreached last week by invoking “executive privilege”:
A clear majority of likely voters believes President Obama has exercised his executive power inappropriately — particularly in blocking the release of documents relating to “Operation Fast and Furious,” according to a new poll for The Hill.
Obama last week invoked executive privilege to stop certain Justice Department documents relating to the botched “gun-walking” operation from being disclosed to the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.
The same panel, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), voted along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
The Hill Poll found that likely voters disapproved by an almost 2-to-1 margin of Obama’s assertion of presidential power in the case. Overall, 56 percent of voters disapproved of his action, while only 29 percent approved.
Sixty-one percent of independents said they disapproved of the president’s actions, and just 25 percent approved. Among Republicans, opposition to the president’s use of executive privilege was more entrenched at 78 percent.
Even 28 percent of Democrats, and 30 percent of self-identified liberals disapproved of Obama’s position.
Via Veronique de Rugy comes video of a May 16th hearing where Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questions John Woolard of BrightSource Energy about a $1.6 billion loan his company received from the government.
Jordan directly asked Woolard whether the loan was based on the merits of the project his company was working on or some sort of political influence with the Obama Administration. Woolard, of course, says that it was the merit of the project. But in his questioning, Jordan shows an e-mail from Woolard to a Department of Energy official where he notes that there was indeed a direct conversation with President Barack Obama himself about the project.
There is more. Here is video:
The hearing was part of a push by House Republicans to look into the actions of the Obama Administration over green energy loans, many of which have went to politically connected companies, like Solyndra, which would later go bankrupt. Rep. Darrell Issa explained in a recent interview that there has to be some accountability in these loan programs, after all, this is taxpayer money that the Obama Administration has been handing out: