September 15, 2013

Obama says he's staying neutral in Biden vs Clinton

President Obama says he's sticking to the sidelines when it comes to the 2016 presidential campaign -- but offered tributes to both his vice president and former secretary of state -- two potential Democratic candidates.

"We are tremendously lucky to have an incredible former Secretary of State who couldn’t have served me better, and an incredible vice president who couldn’t– who couldn’t be serving me better," Obama said in the interview with ABC New's This Week. "And I suspect if you asked both of ‘em, they’d say, 'It's way to premature to start talkin' about 2016."

At that point host George Stephanpoulos noted, that Biden, however, was in Iowa - one of the early voting states.

"Well you know, Iowa’s a big state, and he’s an old friend of Tom Harkin's," Obama said, referring to the Iowa senator who hosts an annual steakfry.

Asked if he'd be staying neutral, Obama laughed: "I think – as you pointed out - I just got reelected last year. My focus is on the American people right now. I’ll let you guys worry about the politics."

September 09, 2013

Clinton backs Obama on Syrian strike

Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate, made her her first public remarks on Syria Monday after attending a meeting at the White House on wildlife trafficking. Clinton spoke to Obama about Syria.

 "The Assad regime's inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women, and children, violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order. And therefore, it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States."

Clinton said if Assad surrendered its stockpiles to international control -- as was suggested by Russia -- that would be an "important step." But, she said, it can't be another excuse for delay.

"It is very important to note that this discussion that has taken hold today about potential international control over Syria's stockpiles only could take place in the context of a credible military threat by the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria like Russia," she said.

August 16, 2013

DNC says GOP debate move further marginalizes party

The Democratic National Committee criticized the decision by the Republican Party to ban CNN and NBC from GOP primary debates if they air specials on Hillary Clinton.

“After last year’s electoral losses, the RNC pledged to do a better job reaching out to the voters they had systematically alienated like women, African Americans, LGBT Americans, Hispanics, and more," said DNC National Press Secretary Michael Czin.

"But instead of modifying their policies to actually present smart solutions for middle class families, the only thing the GOP can unite behind is a plan to continue to limit the audiences—and voters—to whom they will communicate.

"Now with reports that they are looking to have Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin moderate their debates, it raises questions about whether the RNC will ever be serious about outreach, or if they will continue to speak to -- and for -- the fringes of their party."

GOP votes against CNN, NBC

The Republican National Committee voted unanimously today to bar any primary debate partnerships with CNN and NBC if they go ahead and air movies about Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"CNN and NBC have both announced programming that amounts to little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton," the RNC said in its resolution.

"These programming decisions are an attempt to show political favoritism and put a thumb on the scales for the next presidential election."

The party also said that Robert Greenblatt, the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, contributed to Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, her "2012 Victory Fund," and to the Democratic National Committee.

"If CNN and NBC continue to move forward with this and other such programming, the Republican National Committee will neither partner with these networks in the 2016 presidential primary debates nor sanction any primary debates they sponsor," it said.

August 12, 2013

DNC hires former Clinton alum, Democratic consultant

The Democratic National Committee has tapped longtime Democratic consultant Mo Elleithee to be its next communications director.

Elleithee is taking a leave of absence from his firm, rom his firm, Hilltop Public Solutions. 

"I’m eager to join Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the outstanding DNC team to help advance President Obama’s agenda, and support our great Democratic candidates to secure victories up and down the ticket," he wrote in an email today. "Whether its implementing health care reform, fighting for an economic agenda that will help the middle class, pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, protecting voting rights, or ensuring equal rights for all Americans – Democrats are leading the way. This is an exciting time for the Democratic Party, and I’m excited to help share that story."

Elleithee, 40, worked for the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008, and in Virginia and Florida for Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. and Florida Attorney General Janet Reno. 

He replaces Brad Woodhouse, who left earlier this year to head up a liberal advocacy group, Americans United for Change. 

August 05, 2013

Drop the Hillary Clinton projects, GOP chairman warns, or no primary debates

Go ahead with your HIllary Clinton projects, the Republican party chairman warned Monday, and we won't cooperate in your efforts to hold primary debates.

NBC and CNN have announced they're developing programs focusing on the life of the former Secretary of State and First Lady. Clinton is considered as a leading contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Monday, Republican Chairman Reince Priebus sent a letter to Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide, urging them to cancel the projects.

If the produtions proceed and are not cancelled prior to the start of the Republican summer meeting, which begins August 14, Priebus vowed to seek a vote of the Republican National Committee to bar the RNC from joining with those networks in 2016 primary debates or sanctioning debates they sponsor.
 
“It’s appalling to know executives at major networks like NBC and CNN who have donated to Democrats and Hillary Clinton have taken it upon themselves to be Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives,” Priebus wrote.

“Their actions to promote Secretary Clinton are disturbing and disappointing. I hope Americans will question the credibility of these networks and that NBC and CNN will reconsider their partisan actions and cancel these political ads masked as unbiased entertainment. If they have not agreed to pull this programming prior to the start of the RNC’s Summer Meeting on August 14, I will seek a binding vote stating that the RNC will neither partner with these networks in 2016 primary debates nor sanction primary debates they sponsor.”
 

Christie, Clinton hot; Congressional leaders not

Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton are hot. Congressional leaders, cold.

Those are among the findings of a new Quinnipiac poll released Monday. The survey asks people to rate their feelings toward major political figures.

Christie, the Republican govenor of New Jersey, registers 53.1 degrees, followed by Clinton, the former Secretary of State, at 52.1. Next is freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, at 49.2 President Barack Obama rates 47.6.

The four top congressional leaders are all at the bottom: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, 33.8; House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, 36.7; Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, 37.5 and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, 38.4.

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's score is not surprising given her lengthy political career and especially strong support among Democrats and women," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 

"But Gov. Christopher Christie's rating is impressive given that  his experience - less than four years as governor - pales compared to Mrs. Clinton' s resume.  What is interesting is that only two of the 22 figures rate better than the absolute middle of the scale, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the nation's political establishment."

July 29, 2013

WH: Friendship on the agenda for Clinton-Obama lunch

President Obama's lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was just a chance for two friends to catch up, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday -- noting that it was Obama who issued the invite.

Earnest said the former rivals "have developed not just a strong working relationship, but also a genuine friendship.

"And so it's largely friendship that's on the agenda for the lunch today," Earnest said. "Not a working lunch, as much as it is an opportunity for the two who saw each other on a pretty frequent basis over the course of the last four years to get a chance to catch up."

Clinton's widely viewed as likely to run for the presidency in 2016, but Earnest refused to speculate on whether Obama has expressed his preference for a successor: "Not that I'm aware of," Earnest said, adding, "2016, despite the intense media interest, is something that is still quite a ways away." Vice President Biden -- also a potential 2016 candidate dines with Obama weekly, but wasn't at today's lunch: "I think the table was set for two," Earnest said.

P072913CK-0090

Obama, Clinton to dine together at the White House

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will have lunch today at the White House.

No other details were provided about the lunch, which will take place in the president’s private dining room. 

It isn't the first time the two have seen each other since Clinton left the administration in February.

Obama invited the Clintons to dinner at the White House in March and they all attended the dedication of the George W. Bush library and museum in Texas in April.

July 22, 2013

Clinton far ahead among Democrats in NH primary poll; GOP field wide open

Former Secretary of State is far ahead of potential 2016 presidential rivals, according to a poll released Monday by New England College for NH Journal.

The survey found 65 percent of Democrats preferred Clinton, followed by "unsure" at 19 percent, Vice President Joe Biden at 8 percent and "favorite daughter" Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire at 6 percent. New Hampshire traditionally holds the nation's first presidential primary.

The Republican field is wide open. "Unsure" led with 20 percent. Next were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul,  19 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 17 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 13 percent and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, at 9.5 percent.

According to NH Journal, "The NEC Poll uses Interactive Voice Response technology to enable high response, accurate data collection on political races, policy issues and commercial considerations. This poll was conducted across a random sample of registered voters from New Hampshire. For the presidential polls there were 333 responses and a margin of error of 5.37 percent for the Democratic Primary and 326 responses and a margin of error of 5.42 percebt for the Republican."

To read more: http://nhjournal.com/2013/07/21/clinton-out-front-republican-field-wide-open/

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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