Jake Tapper Kills Bambi

Gibbs should just quit…

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Daschle’s Millions

Daschle should not be approved. Now it has come to light that he waited a month before disclosing his tax evading problems. This is a direct contradiction of the news that he immediately notified the administration of his problem when he was nominated… Along with this Daschle knew of the problem back in June 2008 and only took care of it after he was nominated and knew it would be a problem… Same old same old as the Obama administation, keep quiet until you have been backed into a corner… It also shows the Obama administration lied to the public when it said that he had notified them as soon as he was nominated.

Now more disturbing than this is the fact that he made millions from the industry he will be responsible for overhauling. This is a major conflict of interest and he should withdraw his name immediately.

Change You Can Believe In!

Thomas A. Daschle waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.

Daschle, one of Obama’s earliest and most ardent campaign supporters, paid $140,000 to the U.S. Treasury on Jan. 2 and about two days later informed the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, according to an account provided by his spokeswoman and confirmed by the Obama administration.

Although Daschle had known since June 2008 that he needed to correct his tax returns, he never expected the amount to be such a “jaw-dropping” sum and “thought it was being taken care of” by his accountant, spokeswoman Jenny Backus said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last night that Obama stands behind his friend and confidant. “The president believes nobody’s perfect but that nobody’s hiding anything,” Gibbs said.

How he made millions
The disclosure of Daschle’s tax problems coincided with the release of the financial statement he submitted to the Office of Government Ethics, which details for the first time exactly how, without becoming a registered lobbyist, he made millions of dollars giving public speeches and private counsel to insurers, hospitals, realtors, farmers, energy firms and telecommunications companies with complex regulatory and legislative interests in Washington.

Daschle’s expertise and insights, gleaned over 26 years in Congress, earned him more than $5 million over the past two years, including $220,000 from the health-care industry, and perks such as a chauffeured Cadillac, according to the documents.

In mid-December, Obama’s transition team discovered that $15,000 of the $276,000 in charitable contributions claimed by Daschle and his wife over three years lacked proper receipts. But the former Senate majority leader did not mention the larger tax liability until after his accountant had filed amended returns for him.

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a private session tomorrow to discuss Daschle’s tax problems. Daschle, visiting an ailing relative, was unavailable for comment this weekend, and aides refused to release his tax returns.

Meanwhile, the disclosure of Daschle’s lucrative ties to private companies with Washington interests have begun to raise eyebrows among those who expected Obama to be wary of relying on wealthy insiders to stock his administration.

“Daschle is the quintessential Washington story. You leave a powerful position, and you leverage it to make a fortune,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog group. “He is not alone . . . [and] it would be hard for Obama to fill his administration without ever turning to someone like that. That said, these are the kind of Washington insiders that Obama campaigned against.”

The Obama team is “learning that it’s easier to campaign on that than govern under it,” Sloan added. The problem is that “it looks disingenuous.”

Obama condemned lobbyists
In his principal campaign speech on government ethics in June 2007, candidate Obama decried the “morally offensive conduct” of lobbyists and lawmakers who help large industries and special interests exercise “an effective veto on our progress.” He singled out the drug and insurance industries for particular scorn, saying that they had pushed for a new Medicare prescription drug benefit and that lawmakers and Bush appointees who made it happen were rewarded with “cushy lobbying jobs that pay millions.”

 

Americans, Obama said, “are hungry for a new kind of politics.”

In recent months, Daschle has advocated for changes to the U.S. health system that are unpopular with sizable portions of the industry, including some physicians, drugmakers and insurance companies. Daschle has nonetheless prospered from a stream of income from the health sector, including $220,000 in speaking fees in the past two years, according to the ethics filing.

He also has been a trustee of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. For part of the $2 million he received from the law firm Alston & Bird over the past two years, Daschle also reported that he gave “policy advice” to United Health, a conglomerate that sells insurance, helps the government administer Medicaid, advises drug companies and physicians and dispenses prescriptions.

The 12 organizations or companies that paid Daschle speaking fees, ranging from $12,000 to $30,000, included the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and America’s Health Insurance Plans, an influential trade group.

 

The Health Industry Distributors Association, a trade association representing medical product distributors, wrote to Daschle last week to express concerns about proposed Medicare changes and reminded him of the $14,000 speech he delivered at its conference last year.

“As you may recall from speaking to some of our members during HIDA’s 2008 Executive Conference in Miami, where you were the keynote speaker, a competitive bidding program will undermine access to quality care for millions of beneficiaries,” said the letter, which was posted on the group’s Web site.

In a letter sent to the HHS ethics office on Jan. 16, Daschle did not list any specific entities that would pose a conflict of interest; he pledged instead not to participate for the next year in particular matters in which “a former client of mine is a party or represents a party.”

 

When he left the Senate in early 2005, Daschle held a more modest portfolio, according to the financial disclosure report he filed with the Secretary of the Senate.

Four pages in length, the document listed financial holdings ranging from $255,000 to $775,000. All of his money was held in investment funds and a retirement account, the two largest being a Fidelity/First Union capital management fund and a Vanguard fund, each of which held between $50,000 and $100,000. He was paid $175,700 as Senate leader and did not have any specific stock holdings.

Daschle did not list his Washington home in the Foxhall neighborhood, which, according to records, he and his wife, Linda, purchased in 2003 for $1.9 million. It is now valued at $2.9 million.

Impossible to determine net worth
It is impossible to determine Daschle’s current net worth with precision because his assets and income are reported in ranges. He also wrote that the value of some assets was “not readily ascertainable,” including profit-sharing arrangements with InterMedia Partners, owned by Leo J. Hindery Jr., a longtime donor to Democratic campaigns and causes, and stock options granted to him by the commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis and by ethanol research company Mascoma Corp.

Spokeswoman Backus said that Daschle did “extensive work for four years, raising funds” for InterMedia from investors. Daschle, a Senate Finance Committee veteran, “naively” thought the car service Hindery provided was “nothing more than a generous offer from a friend,” she said.

Daschle collected director’s fees from five companies and organizations, including the nonprofit Freedom Forum, which advocates free press and speech rights; the bioenergy company Prime BioSolutions; and the Mascoma ethanol research company. The international energy company BP Corp. alone paid him $250,000 in director’s fees.

He also received a $21,000 advance for a book on resolving the health-care crisis.

Daschle listed two residences, each valued at $100,000 to $250,000 — one in Aberdeen, S.D., the other in Altus, Okla.

‘Gold standard for integrity’
Several Democrats on Capitol Hill defended Daschle.

“He’s the gold standard for integrity in government,” said former Daschle aide Andrea LaRue, now a partner in the government relations firm NVG. “The fact that he’s done so much to fix the honest mistakes shouldn’t be held against a man who has had such a long and distinguished career.”

via Daschle delayed revealing tax glitch – Washington Post- msnbc.com.

Obama Urges GOP to Keep Politics to a Minimum on Stimulus – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com

OK, of you want to keep politics out of it Obama let’s take Nancy Pelosi out of it… She has injected her politics into it with both pork barrel spending and trying to lock the Republicans out of the process only to try and shove this overbloated pig down the American people’s throats… That is unless that is your plan as well and these olive branches to the Republicans are nothing more than a pony show… This is more than philosophical difference, it is about identifying problems with this bill, the biggest being wasted spending for pet projects of the liberals in Congress and possibly the White House.

The spending all must be part of job creation and putting money into the hands and individuals to spend, not supplementing the states budgets or funding various liberal agendas…

Change You Can Believe In!

President Obama’s meetings with House and Senate Republicans resulted in a mutual desire to find solutions for the economy that are not ideologically driven, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

“I do think there is a genuine sense of cooperation that is involved in the meetings. I think we will have Republican support for this bill,” he said, noting that the negotiations with Republicans on tax and spending policies aren’t over. “I don’t think today was the beginning or the end or just part of that process.”

Gibbs did not say what the president was considering coming out of suggestions offered by Republicans, but not one item can fix the economy. Confronted with the scenario that maybe only a dozen Republicans would support the bill that is expected to face a vote Wednesday, Gibbs said, “We’ll take what we can get.”

He added that the process will keep moving after the vote.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill earlier in the day, Obama said he understands the concerns of House Republicans but the massive economic recovery package he has proposed is aimed at getting the country out of the ditch it’s in and on the right track. 

Obama said he is “absolutely confident” that compromises can be reached, “but the key right now is to make sure we keep politics to a minimum.”

“There is some legitimate philosophical differences with parts of my plans that the Republicans have, and I respect that. In some cases, they just may not be as familiar with what is in the package as I would like. I don’t expect 100 percent agreement but I do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the American people’s business right now,” he said. 

House GOP leaders said they were pleased with the conversation with Obama. Several said they still had the message — listen to our suggestions and use them. 

“The door of our conference will stay open to this president,” said GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence. 

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said the problem for Republicans isn’t negotiating with the president, who has “serious intent,” but working with House Democrats. 

“We are hopeful that (the president) can impose upon Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi to adopt the same attitude (as him) because frankly it has not been forthcoming whatsoever. There have been no meetings with Speaker Pelosi and Republicans. There have already been three between the president and Republicans in the House,” he said.

“We have yet to see one Republican proposal included in this plan,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington before the meeting.

Obama said the “statistics every day underscore the urgency of the situation.” He said Americans want to go back to work, gain energy independence, better schools and stronger infrastructure and they want all of it done “wisely so that we’re not wasting taxpayer money.”

Obama added his proposal is “just one leg in a multi-legged stool.” He also wants Congress and his administration to develop tighter regulations, more controls on the release of money to help shore up financial institutions and greater coordination with other countries. 

Of chief concern to Republican leaders is the amount of spending and the tax approach outlined in the proposal being considered by lawmakers this week. Many Republicans remain skeptical of provisions they say don’t match the talk about job creation.

“We have concerns that the plan that House Democrats are going to bring to the floor will not work,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner before the meeting. “And at the end of the day, our big move today will be to ask the president to help us. Help us make this plan better so that it will put Americans back to work.” 

Boehner said afterward that he thought many in the conference and the president himself “enjoyed the conversation.”

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter said before the meeting that he plans to tell Obama that he likes the approach that he’s offered, but doesn’t see that being followed on Capitol Hill.

“It’s line after line after line of favorite liberal spending programs and it amounts to a big government bill not a job creation,” Vitter told FOX News.

But Republicans did not offer any of their own changes to the Senate package that was voted out of the Appropriations Committee Tuesday morning on a largely party line vote of 21-9.
All the Democrats on the panel approved the bill while 9 Republicans voted against it.

Of the four Republicans who voted for the nearly $830 billion package, three — Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Kit Bond of Missouri — made it clear they were just voting to move the process along, reserving the right to oppose the bill in the end on the floor.

On the House side, Republicans rallied the rank-and-file to oppose measures that they say include too much spending and not enough tax incentives. Several pointed to examples of $4 billion for community development groups and millions more for the National Endowment of the Arts. More than 200 amendments had been sent to the House clerk on the legislation headed for debate on Wednesday. 

The version sent to the Senate calls for about $190 in assistance like Medicaid to the states and an extension of unemployment benefits; about $365 billion for infrastructure and science; and $275 billion in tax provisions. The Senate was also expected to add a patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, which hits middle class taxpayers hardest. That would cost $70 billion or so in 2009, which would bring the total package to about $900 billion.

According to the Congressional Budget Office about $608 billion, or 73 percent of the $830 billion, would be spent in 2009 and 2010. The quicker the money gets spent, the more stimulative it is, say economists.

The Democratic version in the House calls for about 64 percent to be spent in the first two years. Pelosi has said she thinks Congress can get a bill to the president’s desk by the President’s Day recess next month. 

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said that lawmakers who say no to the recovery plan are going to have to explain to constituents “why at this critical point in our history … why they didn’t support the economy.”

He added that Democrats have included net operating loss and energy tax provisions preferred by Republicans and suggested that Obama has worked overtime to get GOP support.

“So it’s unfortunate that the signs that we are hearing indicate that Republicans aren’t giving this as good a look as I would have hoped,” he said.

Neither Republicans nor Obama have indicated where they may be willing to make changes to the legislation, but both sides have said they don’t have any “pride of authorship” of the huge package. 

In a sign that Obama is willing to compromise, the president told Democrats to jettison from the package family planning funds for low-income people. Republicans have criticized the provision as an example of wasteful spending that would neither create jobs nor otherwise improve the economy.

“He asked them to take it out he established a set of principles for spending to boost economic growth over the course of a two-year period and the contraceptive funding was not part of those principles,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton. Burton said the contraceptive funding issue had become a “lightning rod” and that without it the large bill had a better chance of winning bipartisan support.

FOX News’ Trish Turner and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

via Obama Urges GOP to Keep Politics to a Minimum on Stimulus – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com .

ABC News: Obama to Seek Input From Republicans on Economy

Serious now that the news has reported that the republican’s ideas were shut out of any previous discussions…

I wonder how concerned he would be if the news had not reported that…

He should have had them involved from the beginning not at the end…

Especially considering his foolish and arrogant “I won” comment over the weekend to Republicans during his trying to convince them to blindly accept his stimulus BULL and then immediate dismissing some of the ideas they proposed without any consideration.

BTW great he won, that does not mean Congress has to agree with him, that is the whole purpose of separation of POWERS, Check and balances to ensure the people are served. The I won statement just shows his ignorance and contempt for our Constitution, the office of Presidentof the United States as well as the People of the United  States.

This is nothing but a pony show and a pathetic attempt to look like a bipartisan effort.

The truth is in the pudding

“I think the president is genuinely serious about this,” Gibbs added.

Gibbs is not absolutely sure that the president is genuinely serious about this, he only thinks that he is… That leaves room for the fact that he is not serious about this… Come on America wake up.

Change You Can Believe In!

President Barack Obama is making good on his promise to hear from Republicans as he pushes for swift passage and bipartisan backing of his massive $825 billion plan intended to jerk the country out of recession.

The unanswered question: whether the new Democratic president will actually listen to GOP concerns about the amount of spending and the tax approach — and modify his proposal accordingly.

With the economy worsening, Obama was making his first trip to Capitol Hill since his swearing-in last week for two private afternoon sessions Tuesday with House and Senate Republicans.

“The goal is to seek their input. He wants to hear their ideas,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “If there are good ideas — and I think he assumes there will be — we will look at those ideas.”

“I think the president is genuinely serious about this,” Gibbs added.

The presidential spokesman would not, however, reveal what concessions Obama may be willing to make, if any, to demonstrate his seriousness about working across the aisle and securing GOP support. Gibbs, however, noted that there already are tax provisions in the measure, mostly small business cuts, that are direct GOP suggestions to Obama and his economic team.

“We don’t have pride of authorship. We understand that this is a process of give and take to produce what the president believes is the strongest plan to get the economy going again,” Gibbs said.

Republican leaders sent Obama a letter last week requesting he talk with them about the stimulus. Tuesday’s meetings follow a bipartisan, bicameral White House gathering last week with congressional leaders on the economy.

Under the Obama team’s watchful eye, the Democratic-controlled House and the Senate are in the midst of modifying the package that melds new government spending with a series of tax cuts. It seems to grow with every turn as it wends its way through Congress, and it’s likely to be the largest single piece of legislation ever, once it ends up on Obama’s desk. He wants it ready to sign by mid-February.

As Senate committees prepared to take up the measure and the full House got ready to vote on it this week, the Congressional Budget Office released an analysis that found that Obama’s plan would flow into the economy a little more slowly than he predicted.

At this point, two-thirds of the package consists of new spending on everything from unemployment aid to construction projects while the rest is tax cuts for both individuals and businesses. Republicans are griping that the price tag is too high because of nonessential spending and that the tax provisions are flawed.

Obama’s meetings come as the Federal Reserve examines unconventional ways to lift the economy, and one day after several companies, including Sprint Nextel Corp., Home Depot Inc., and General Motors Corp., announced sweeping job cuts as they seek to remain solvent in an economic environment that worsens by the day amid turmoil in the financial, housing and credit sectors.

Given the gravity of the economic situation, the stimulus measure is widely expected to pass Congress with bipartisan support. The question is just how many Republicans will side with majority Democrats to pass it; House GOP leader John Boehner has said he couldn’t support the measure in its current form and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell has been noncommittal.

Obama already has had one early victory, persuading Congress to give him the second installment of the $700 billion financial industry bailout money — and that was before he even got into office.

But the stimulus package presents a huge opportunity for the president, who was elected in part by his call for a new-style politics that emphasizes solutions over partisanship to change the way frequently gridlocked Washington works. Getting a significant number of Republicans to back the measure would be a triumph for Obama that would set a bipartisan tone for his presidency and signal that he values Republican ideas — and is willing to give a little to get a little.

For all his courting of Republicans and promises to listen to their ideas, Obama has made clear that it’s his vision that will guide the country.

“I won” the election, he told Republicans on Friday when pressed about his tax policy — a comment both the White House and GOP leaders described as lighthearted, though also matter-of-fact.

 

via ABC News: Obama to Seek Input From Republicans on Economy.

Obama Lays Ground Work For Direct Negotiations With Iran

Direct diplomacy without preconditions I am sure… Just wait and see. Pretty soon we will be bending over for these asshats while they builds some nukes… Remember what happened with N. Korea under the Clinton administration… 

Change You Can Believe In!

President Obama did a quick pivot Monday, shifting his focus to foreign policy by contacting a handful of major world leaders — including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nikolas Sarkozy — as his new U.N. ambassador restated the desire for vigorous and “direct diplomacy” with Iran.

President Obama did a quick pivot Monday, shifting his focus to foreign policy by contacting a handful of major world leaders — including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nikolas Sarkozy — as his new U.N. ambassador restated the desire for vigorous and “direct diplomacy” with Iran.

Obama spoke with the foreign leaders ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who was leaving immediately afterward for a trip to the region. Mitchell will go to Cairo, Egypt; Jersusalem, Israel; Ramallah in the West Bank; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He will also visit Paris and London.

Back in the U.S., U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was confirmed last week for the post, said Monday that Iran’s refusal to meet international obligations will increase pressure on Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions and cooperate with the United States and global community.

Besides pursuing nuclear weapons, Iran has called for the destruction of Israel and support for Hamas, a terror group designated by the U.S., Israel and the European Union. 

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Rice’s remarks are not a departure from statements made previously by Obama the candidate. She merely restated the administration position that no forms of communication should be off the table with the Islamic regime. 

“Whether you were on the campaign trail or not, clearly this was something that generated a lot of coverage over the past two years. And I think Ambassador Rice was simply restating the position that the president had,” he said.

Gibbs did not offer any specific initiatives on dealing with Iran, but said Rice’s remarks should come as no surprise.

“This administration is going to use all elements of our national power to address concerns” about Iran’s nuclear program. 

As for the Mitchell trip, Gibbs said Mitchell was ahead overseas “to begin the process that the president promised to be actively engaged in, the peace process there in the Middle East.”

State Department Spokesman Robert A. Wood said the purpose of the trip is to consult with regional leaders on a range of issues, including trying to contain smuggling into Gaza to prevent the rearming of Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza. He said Mitchell will not meet with any Hamas leaders.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

via Obama, Iran Talks Next? – First 100 Days of Presidency – Politics FOXNews.com .