Politics http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics The latest Politics news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers including Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and more. Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:19:57 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Eric Cantor’s Defeat Pays Off With $1.4M Wall St. Signing Bonus http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/eric-cantors-defeat-pays-off-with-1-4m-wall-st-signing-bonus/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/eric-cantors-defeat-pays-off-with-1-4m-wall-st-signing-bonus/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:45:39 +0000 Benjamin Siegel http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893342 AP Eric Cantor ml 140610 16x9 608 Eric Cantors Defeat Pays Off With  $1.4M Wall St. Signing Bonus

Steve Helber/AP Photo

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is riding his unexpected primary defeat straight to the bank.

The seven-term Virginia Republican has joined New York investment bank Moelis & Company and will receive a $1.4 million signing bonus. He will get the titles of  vice chairman and managing director, the company announced  today.

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Cantor, who will also join the company’s board, will make at least $3.5 million over two years with Moelis— nearly equivalent to 20 years’ work as House majority leader, which pays $193,000 annually.

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” said Ken Moelis, the company’s CEO and chairman, in a statement.

Moelis, a boutique investment firm with offices around the world, will pay Cantor $1.4 million signing bonus this year, assured him “minimum incentive compensation” of $1.6 million in 2015, according to the firm’s Securities Exchange Commission filing.

In addition, Cantor will receive a $400,000 base salary—the same amount economics professor Dave Brat spent in his primary campaign against the former GOP leader.

Cantor “knew  I wanted to join a firm with a great entrepreneurial spirit that focused on its clients,” he said in a statement. “The new model of independent banks offering conflict free advice, in a smaller more intimate environment, was a place where I knew my skills could help clients succeed.”

Cantor’s move to Wall Street was unsurprising to his conservative detractors.

“After Dave Brat’s upset victory in June, many analysts accused Eric Cantor of paying more attention to Wall Street than to the people of Virginia’s 7th District,” said Kevin Broughton, a spokesperson for the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, in a statement. “He certainly didn’t waste any time validating that theory.”

While Cantor will reside in Richmond, he will be reimbursed for any living expenses in New York City, and plans to work out of the firm’s New York and soon-to-be-opened Washington office. A source close to Cantor said he will be “actively engaged” with Moelis’s full roster of clients around the world.

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The Note: Obama Prepares NATO Pitch http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/the-note-obama-prepares-nato-pitch/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/the-note-obama-prepares-nato-pitch/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:03:37 +0000 John Parkinson http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893328 By John R. Parkinson (jparkABC) 

NOTABLES

  • OBAMA JETS TO ESTONIA: President Obama heads to Europe today, first stopping off in Estonia where the president there wants to establish a permanent NATO base. This week, Obama will to try to build an international coalition in the fight against ISIS, but those aren’t the only leaders he’ll need to persuade if he decides to expand airstrikes into Syria, ABC’s JEFF ZELENY reports. Congress remains skeptical and divided, but they speak in unison about one thing: the president must seek Congressional approval before going forward. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, says it boils down to this: “The question is not whether these are bad guys. The question is whether the side effects of long-term engagement is worse for the United States than the cure we’re seeking.” http://abcn.ws/Y5Uyzo
  • FOUR THINGS TO WATCH ON OBAMA’S TRIP Can the Obama Doctrine neutralize the Putin Doctrine? Can it quash the terror threat from radical Islamic extremism? The answers may well depend on President Obama’s trip this week to Russia-bordering Estonia and a summit of NATO allies in Wales, perhaps the group’s most consequential meeting since the Cold War, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER notes. http://abcn.ws/W5JnF7
  • PRESIDENT OBAMA NOTIFIES CONGRESS OF AMIRLI BOMBING, AIRDROP CAMPAIGN: President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of an expanded bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by Sunni militants fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL or ISIS, in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House Monday, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. “These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote in his letter to Congress. http://abcn.ws/1qwxGlT

THE ROUNDTABLE 

ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Vice President Joe Biden figures to be quite the draw for Democrats this fall, behind perhaps only a few people named Clinton, and maybe one named Warren, as the Democrat other Democrats want alongside them to help them in closely contested elections. To that end, Biden’s rousing Labor Day speech in Detroit is worth paying attention to. “It’s time to take back America,” said the man who’s been vice president of the United States for almost six years. Amid his calls for middle-class ownership opportunities and a “fair wage” came this: “I know I’m out of sync here, because I continue to believe middle class is not a number … it’s a value set.” Biden went on to deride “what the pollsters tell me now” about the middle class. On the presumption that Biden is talking to Democratic pollsters, possibly even pollsters employed by the White House, this is an admission with deep implications for the midterm year. The kinds of Democrats Biden was exhorting to vote aren’t likely to do so this year, at least not for Democrats. As much as the midterms will make judgments about President Obama’s vision for the nation, the Biden vision is worth measuring against election realities, too.

ABC’s TOM SHINE: It is so new it doesn’t even have a name yet, but it does have a price: $7 a day, $2500 a year per patient to treat millions who suffer from chronic heart failure.  It would replace far less effective drugs that cost only $4 a month, according to the New York Times’ Andrew PollackThen there’s that $1,000 a pill, $84,000 Hepatitis C cure which some private and federal programs are already rationing.  And apparently there are a slew of other promising miracle drugs in the pipeline.  So much hope for millions of Americans who are real sick!  But who will get these pricey drugs?  And more importantly who will play God in making that decision?   Or as Jason Millman, Oregon’s drug buyer put it: “How far should society go to make sure the poor get the best treatment available?”

THE BUZZ
with ABC’s ERIN DOOLEY (@erindooley1)

Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age.’ Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD reports. The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.” http://abcn.ws/1sS4VQ2

Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS. While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said on “This Week” that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act, ABC’s IMTIYAZ DELAWALA notes. “I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said. http://abcn.ws/1lDhoc4

Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers. President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East, according to ABC’s ADAM TEICHOLZ and KARI REA. Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.” Clarke, appearing Sunday Morning on “This Week,” said simply, “I think he’s wrong.” http://abcn.ws/1px201K

3 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria, UN Agency Says. More than 3 million people have sought refuge from the fighting in Syria, the United Nations’ refugee agency announced Friday, according to ABC’s ALI WEINBERG. That means the Syrian crisis, which has persisted since a civilian uprising began in 2011, is the biggest refugee operation in the UNHCR’s 64-year history, the agency said. http://abcn.ws/1osNPo9

President Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It.’ Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011, ABC’s CHRIS GOOD notes. “Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance. “The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office.” http://abcn.ws/1nQ0G4i

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Newest Fight Is Over Her Louisiana Residency. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is the latest Washington veteran being forced to fend off a challenge to her reelection that alleges she is no longer a resident of her home state, but lives in DC, according to ABC’s JORDYN PHELPS and CHRIS GOOD. A similar challenge succeeded in knocking off former Indiana senator Richard Lugar in 2012, despite – or because of – his 35 years in Congress. http://abcn.ws/1sRhBGW

Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid To Overturn Gop Runoff Results. A Mississippi judge on Friday tossed out a lawsuit filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who was seeking to overturn Republican incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff, ABC’s NOAH WEILAND and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE note.  Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law. http://abcn.ws/1CbfIeM

ABC/Fusion Investigation: Military Guns Missing From Police Agencies. The guns-drawn streets of Ferguson jolted America awake to the militarization of the nation’s police. Local cops, often untrained in military tactics, may be carrying assault rifles used by our Marines and even Special Forces, commanding American boulevards from atop armored personnel carriers — all using surplus weaponry donated by the Pentagon in a program designed to better equip civilian police against terrorists and heavily armed criminals, ABC’s JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL and Fusion’s DANIEL RIVERO report. However, some police forces are not keeping track of these high-powered weapons, an ABC News/Fusion investigation revealed. http://abcn.ws/1pBjOsq

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

ABC’s DAVID MUIR DEBUTS ON WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH DAVID MUIR: http://abcn.ws/1w1q2lh

POWER PLAYERS: ON THE FRONT LINES WITH A U.S. BORDER PATROL AGENT: For border patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border, intercepting migrants is daily business, ABC’s JIM AVILA reports. http://yhoo.it/W5y67P

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

CANTOR LANDS JOB ON WALL STREET: National Journal’s Marina Koren explains how former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who resigned from office August 18, landed a job on Wall Street, where the former House Majority Leader will join the investment bank Moelis & Co. as vice chairman and board member. http://bit.ly/Z5zFV9

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX 

DAVE BRAT PICKS UP ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT: Dave Brat, this election year’s ultimate spoiler who knocked off former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in June, has received the support of another key conservative group in his bid to represent Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. “Dave’s recent primary victory demonstrated that grassroots candidates can take on powerful incumbents and win against all odds,” Senate Conservatives Fund President and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli stated in a release this morning.

VETERANS GROUP DINGS MCCONNELL: The veterans group VoteVets.org is launching a $300,000 broadcast and cable ad buy across Kentucky, hitting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking a $21 billion Democrat veterans bill last February. VoteVets says McConnell’s “bullheadedness against funding veterans care into raw perspective” as the ad features a veteran expressing his frustrations to the 30-year incumbent. http://youtu.be/XTqdMgJo-sw

NRCC TARGETS BARROW IN NEW AD BUY FEATURING COCAINE MONKEY: The National Republican Congressional Committee is up today in Georgia’s 12th Congressional District with a new TV ad attacking John Barrow for supporting President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package and voting for $800,000 studying how monkeys react to cocaine. The ad is running in Savannah on broadcast and in Augusta on broadcast and cable, according to the NRCC spokeswoman.

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@ScottWalker Had no problem greeting the President just like I have no problem explaining how I differ with him. pic.twitter.com/HScGL4zjRR

@RepDuckworth Bryan and I are expecting! Thank you for your kind words and support. http://youtu.be/K94gcK-KGuo

@USAID 600 million people in Africa don’t have access to electricity. See how energy poverty affects students: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpo1uXC1KQo … #PowerAfrica

@markknoller Estonia will be the 46th foreign nation Pres Obama has visited. At same point, Pres GWBush had visited 34 nations; Pres Clinton 53.

@DavidMuir Can’t wait to visit my friends @KellyandMichael this morning! Talking #WorldNewsTonight #MadeInAmerica

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4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/4-things-to-watch-as-obama-heads-to-estonia-nato-summit-in-wales/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/4-things-to-watch-as-obama-heads-to-estonia-nato-summit-in-wales/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:56:05 +0000 Devin Dwyer http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893295 GTY obama kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

   (Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Can the Obama Doctrine neutralize the Putin Doctrine? Can it quash the terror threat from radical Islamic extremism?

The answers may well depend on President Obama’s trip this week to Russia-bordering Estonia and a summit of NATO allies in Wales, perhaps the group’s most consequential meeting since the Cold War.

Obama will arrive in Europe Wednesday determined to show that coalition-building and multilateral diplomacy is the best weapon against imminent security threats from a common enemy.  So far, the approach has done little to deter Russian incursions into Ukraine, or stunt the rise of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

“What we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet,” Obama told donors at a private fundraiser Friday in New York. “And it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process.”

A rocky and dangerous test, as a defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin asserts a right to defend ethnic Russians wherever they are and ISIS militants vow a fight to extend their caliphate across the globe.

As the world watches Obama’s huddle with NATO allies, here are four things to look out for:

1. TOUGH TALK FOR PUTIN: ‘DON’T MESS WITH’ US

Obama kicks off his three-day European swing with a stop on Putin’s doorstep in Tallinn, Estonia, a former Soviet Union country and NATO member unnerved by Russia’s push into Ukraine. He’ll also meet with the presidents of neighboring Latvia and Lithuania.

While there has been no shortage of tough talk about Russia or Putin, look for Obama to be more assertive about the U.S. military commitment to defending NATO allies.

“The message the president will be sending is, ‘We stand with you. Article 5 constitutes an ironclad guarantee of your security,’” Charles Kupchan of Obama’s National Security Council said. “‘Russia, don’t even think about messing around in Estonia or in any of the Baltic areas in the same way that you have been messing around in Ukraine.’”

Article 5 of the NATO charter means an attack on one member is treated as an attack on all, a key difference from the crisis in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

 

AP nato2 ml 140902 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Gero Breloer/AP Photo)

2. NATO RETOOLS ITS MILITARY MIGHT

For NATO, the first major summit since 2012 will be a defining moment. Leaders will agree to modernizing its military might, creating a “spearhead” rapid-response force of 4,000 troops that is nimble and fast, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says. It will “travel light, but strike hard” and “deploy at very short notice,” within hours.

The White House says the move is aimed specifically at the “hybrid or asymmetric warfare” tactics that the Russians have been using effectively in eastern Ukraine. “Guys coming across in masks, you don’t know who they are” have become the most urgent concern, as opposed to trundling armored columns “which you can normally see in advance,” official said.

NATO is also for the first time prepared to deploy forces at new military installations along Russia’s western border; what Rasmussen calls “reception facilities.”  These would be bases in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia to host NATO troops pretty much all the time, administration officials say, though the nationality of the units and composition will rotate.

Also look for the alliance to announce new financial support for Ukraine’s military, including logistics, command and control systems and cyberdefense, even if NATO cannot and will not deploy forces in Ukraine, officials said.

GTY putin kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

3. NOT INVITED: HOW WILL PUTIN RESPOND? 

Putin wasn’t invited to the NATO summit, but he will still be the center of attention for 67 heads of state and government assembled in Wales. Obama administration officials say NATO’s military posturing is more protective than provocative, but what may matter more is how Putin perceives it.

He has been defiant after months of Western condemnation and economic sanctions over Russian intervention in Ukraine. He reportedly boasted to some European leaders Saturday that, “If I want, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” according to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Will talk of yet another round of U.S. and European sanctions influence Russia’s plan in Ukraine?  Will NATO’s new “spearhead” force be a deterrent?

“I am sure the reaction will be strong. It will probably, again, provoke the additional force; Russian forces along in this area, so we will see a buildup on both sides,” Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said. “There are Cold War elements of it, and this is going to be one of them, where you will see a response, but we have to react to the instability, and quite frankly, it ensures stability.”

RT isis kab 140901 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

4. STILL ‘NO STRATEGY’?  OBAMA’S PLAN TO FIGHT ISIS IN SYRIA

President Obama says “strong regional partnerships” are the cornerstone of any comprehensive strategy to confront Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and this week he will have a face-to-face opportunity to shore up an international coalition.

But will allies like the U.K.’s David Cameron press him to do more, and fast?

Obama arrives in Great Britain with a national terror alert at its highest level in five years on account of the threat from ISIS.

Cameron Monday declared ISIS a “direct threat to every European country,” calling for a “firm security response with a military action to go after terrorists.”

Obama, by contrast, has said ISIS is merely “an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region.”

“Rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I’m confident that we can and we will, working closely with our allies and our partners,” he said in a measured statement before Labor Day.

Administration officials say the NATO summit will include discussions on possible engagement in the “Iraq and Syrian theater.”  Look for what concrete military commitments and strategies may emerge.

 

AP nato ml 140902 16x9 608 4 Things to Watch as Obama Heads to Estonia, NATO Summit in Wales

 (Photo Credit: Cpl. Phil Major/RAF/AP Photo)

 

 

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President Obama: ‘Every Gray Hair Is Worth It’ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/president-obama-every-gray-hair-is-worth-it/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/president-obama-every-gray-hair-is-worth-it/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 19:52:20 +0000 Chris Good http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893288 Fired up and in campaign form, President Obama delivered what appeared to be a pre-midterm stump speech on Monday to labor activists in Wisconsin, the state that became the labor movement’s political epicenter in 2011.

“Every gray hair is worth it,” he told the crowd, of pressing for economic policies such as a higher minimum wage in the face of GOP resistance.

“The American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office,” he said.

PHOTOS: Barack Obama Through the Years 

 

First Lady Says Obama’s Gray Hair ‘Proof’ He Deserves Second Term 

Obama spoke at Laborfest 2014, a Labor Day rally in Henry Maier Festival Park. Supporters standing behind him and out in the audience wore green AFSCME and purple SEIU t-shirts.

It was a typical economic stump speech of the kind Obama has delivered over and over in American cities this year, with calls for higher wages, criticism of Republicans for blocking them, and pleas for a better life for working-class Americans.

But today, the president was more expressly political, exhorting the crowd to organize and vote Democratic in this fall’s midterm elections.

“I’d also want more Democrats looking out for me, I’m just saying,” Obama said, after telling the crowd that if he were a worker looking for better wages and safety protections, he’d join a union.

Shouting and appearing visibly riled, Obama reminded the crowd of union and Democratic-Party victories in securing a 40-hour workweek and supporting Medicare and Social Security.

Earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a similarly political, and similarly populist speech to a Labor Day rally hosted by union organizers in Detroit.

The president traveled to Wisconsin for this one appearance and was to return to the White House before departing Tuesday for Estonia and this week’s NATO summit in Wales.

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President Obama Notifies Congress of Amirli Bombing, Airdrop Campaign http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/president-obama-notifies-congress-of-amirli-bombing-airdrop-campaign/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/09/president-obama-notifies-congress-of-amirli-bombing-airdrop-campaign/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 18:31:46 +0000 Chris Good http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893283 President Obama notified Congress of his authorization of the bombing and humanitarian airdrop campaign to help Shiite Turkmen surrounded by ISIS in the town of Amirli, Iraq, according to a letter released by the White House today.

“These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli,” Obama wrote.

Up until this point, Obama has publicly justified military actions against ISIS as protecting U.S. personnel stationed in Erbil and to assist Yezidis trapped on Mt. Sinjar. In this new letter – which could be construed as a bit unusual because it concerns an expansion of the anti-ISIS campaign he’s already announced – Obama defines the Amirli strikes as solely a humanitarian/assistance mission, not as protecting Americans.

The letter followed Obama’s standard practice, to announce strikes (usually two days later) in a letter to Congress “consistent with” the War Powers Resolution – an act of Congress that Obama and other presidents have declined to acknowledge as binding.

The Pentagon announced on Saturday that it had extended its bombing campaign southward to help the Turkmen. Strikes and humanitarian drops began on Saturday. Strikes continued Sunday.

U.S. bombs have been falling mostly around Mosul and Mosul Dam since Obama authorized the anti-ISIS campaign three weeks ago. This weekend, the Pentagon announced a handful of strikes that brought the total to 120 in Iraq since they began Aug. 8.

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Rep. Tom Cole: Be ‘Smart About What We Do’ on ISIS http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/rep-tom-cole-be-smart-about-what-we-do-on-isis/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/rep-tom-cole-be-smart-about-what-we-do-on-isis/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:51:18 +0000 Imtiyaz Delawala http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893274

While some Republicans have criticized President Obama for not acting quickly enough to combat the growing threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said today on “This Week” that the U.S. has to be “smart about what we do” and not rush to act.

“I think frankly there’s way too much emphasis on acting now and doing something immediately instead of being smart about what we do,” Cole said on the “This Week” roundtable. “I think the elements of a strategy are already there. We know we’re going to use air power. We know we’re going to use special operators. We know we’re going to have to build alliances on the ground. That’s a very doable thing.

“They’re tougher in Syria than they are in Iraq. We don’t have any preexisting relationships there,” Cole added. “But I think at the end of the day, look I think there’s a consensus that we are going to do things, but again being a little bit thoughtful might be a good idea.”

At a news conference Friday, President Obama said, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet” when asked about seeking Congressional approval for U.S. strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

The administration approved military surveillance flights over Syria last week, but airstrikes in Syria have not been authorized.

The U.S. has carried out more 100 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS positions here. You can also follow the show on Twitter here.

Go here to find out when “This Week” is on in your area.

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Richard Clarke Calls Obama ‘Wrong’ on World’s Dangers http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/richard-clarke-calls-obama-wrong-on-worlds-dangers/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/richard-clarke-calls-obama-wrong-on-worlds-dangers/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:14:02 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893252

ABC News’ Adam Teicholz and Kari Rea report:

President Obama is “wrong” to downplay the dangers facing the United States, longtime counterterrorism official and ABC News contributor Richard Clarke said in response to the president’s attempts to calm concern over the escalating threat from ISIS and turmoil in the Middle East.

Obama told an audience at a Democratic fundraiser in New York Friday that the “world has always been messy” but added, “I promise you things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.”

Clarke, appearing this morning on “This Week,” said simply, “I think he’s wrong.”

“We’re much more capable of defending ourselves now,” said Clarke, who served under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as the nation’s top counterterrorism adviser.  “We have the Department of Homeland Security, we have a lot of resources going into counterterrorism, but the threat has also increased. And I think the threat has probably increased more than the defenses.”

READ: How Entrenched Is ISIS in Syria?

Speaking of the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, Clarke told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, “ISIS is highly capable. It has a lot of money. It has people from many, many countries. And our fear is it may have people in its ranks that we don’t know about. We have the names of thousands of people, and we can stop them if they try to get into this country, but if we don’t know their names, and we don’t know they’re involved, they can get in.”

Other experts on “This Week” echoed such concerns. Mubin Shaikh, a former Taliban jihadist who became an undercover counterterrorism operative, said that while terrorist recruiting efforts in the United States could eventually be brought under control, “the horse has bolted from the farm” in terms of  existing efforts.

Former Homeland Security Department counterterrorism coordinator John Cohen noted that recruiting efforts by groups like ISIS have become more modern, using tools such as social media and even rap music to recruit new followers.

“They are very sophisticated in their use of social media,” Cohen said on “This Week.” “They have Westernized their message.  They’re specifically seeking to either recruit or inspire Westerners, and in particular, people in the U.S… So we have to be concerned and we have to take steps to neutralize that.  And it’s not just countering their message, it’s understanding why their message is resonating and what we can do in the community to lessen the impact that that message has.”

Clarke emphasized the importance of law enforcement working with the local Muslim communities to combat those recruiting efforts, saying, “our best defense are our own American Muslims who have been very cooperative. They don’t want anything to happen like this again in this country.”

“It’s supporting efforts at the community level to empower those communities to better recognize, better detect those individuals who may be potentially a threat and then to work together to deal with them,” Cohen added.

Concerns of a potential attack became more real when Great Britain raised its terror alert level to “severe” on Friday, saying a  terrorist attack from foreign fighters on the West is “highly likely.”

“There is something very specific going on. They’ve got hundreds of individuals who have gone and become trained in Syria and Iraq with ISIS in a particularly bloody kind of terrorism, bloody kinds of attacks, who have the freedom to travel back home,” said former Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Jane Holl Lute on “This Week.” “So everyone is on alert.”

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Cruz Invites Obama to Border, Calls for Bombing ISIS ‘Back to the Stone Age’ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/cruz-invites-obama-to-border-calls-for-bombing-isis-back-to-the-stone-age/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/cruz-invites-obama-to-border-calls-for-bombing-isis-back-to-the-stone-age/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 00:42:23 +0000 Chris Good http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893242 Sen. Ted Cruz today invited President Obama to accompany him to a golf course on the Texas-Mexico border, telling conservatives at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas he thought that was “the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come” to the region.

The Texas Republican and potential 2016 presidential contender also heavily criticized the president’s foreign policies and suggested that the U.S. should bomb ISIS “back to the stone age.”

“Tonight I am officially extending an invitation for Barack Obama to come join me at the border in Texas,” Cruz said. “I figured the only way there is a chance in heaven that he might come: I am inviting him to a golf course.”

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Cruz told the audience that he is inviting Obama to join him at Lajitas Golf Resort in Big Bend, where, on “the 11th hole, the pin is on the other side of the Rio Grande, so you can only go for a hole in one.”

Cruz devoted much of his speech to lambasting Democratic immigration reforms and warned that it would be “utterly lawless” for Obama to offer “amnesty” without the consent of Congress. Obama is expected to take executive action on immigration sometime this fall, but it has remained unclear when or how aggressively the president would seek to change U.S. policy.

“I’m expecting to get a call back from the president any day now to accept this invitation,” Cruz said.

Cruz briefly mocked Obama’s comment that he has no “strategy” yet to attack ISIS in Syria, a remark the president made in a live news conference on Thursday, on which fellow high-profile Republicans have seized.

“I’m sure everyone was shocked to hear this,” Cruz said sarcastically, of the president’s remark, contrasting it with Ronald Reagan’s strategy in the Cold War and quoting the former president: “We win, they lose.”

Cruz railed against ISIS, the jihadist group that has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria and which shocked many in the West by executing American journalist James Foley.

“America has always been reluctant to use military force, but we have never shied away from defending the United States of America,” Cruz said. “ISIS says they want to go back and reject modernity, well I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the stone age.”

Earlier this month, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes against ISIS positions in northern Iraq. On Saturday, the U.S. military’s Central Command announced five more drone and fighter-jet strikes had destroyed ISIS positions near the contested Mosul Dam. Those strikes brought the total up to 115 since Obama’s authorization three weeks ago, CENTCOM said.

Cruz criticized Obama’s foreign policy in general, alleging he’s been outplayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the geopolitical stage. Cruz also blasted the FAA’s short-lived ban on flights to Tel Aviv, during the recent Gaza conflict.

“The Obama Doctrine works very, very well,” Cruz said. “You simply let Putin eat your lunch every day.”

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Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid to Overturn GOP Runoff Results http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/mississippi-judge-rejects-bid-to-overturn-gop-runoff-results/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/mississippi-judge-rejects-bid-to-overturn-gop-runoff-results/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 23:31:32 +0000 Noah Weiland http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893228 gty ht cochran mcdaniels split kb 131210 16x9 608 Mississippi Judge Rejects Bid to Overturn GOP Runoff Results

(J. Scott Applewhite/ AP Photo | Chris McDaniel For Senate)

A Mississippi judge threw out a lawsuit today filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who was seeking to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

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The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which  Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

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Sunday on ‘This Week’: The ISIS Terror Threat http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/sunday-on-this-week-the-isis-terror-threat/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/08/sunday-on-this-week-the-isis-terror-threat/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:17:00 +0000 ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/?p=893217  Sunday on This Week: The ISIS Terror Threat

Reuters

This Sunday, “This Week” covers the latest on the terror threat warnings over ISIS.

And the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week’s politics, with Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts.

Check the “This Week” page for full guest listings. See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”

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