Monday, June 22, 2015
Good morning! In the news today: Bush, Rubio acceptable to broad array of Republicans; Obama drops the “N” word; Gruber’s role was understated by White House; wife of Israeli official cracks Obama race joke; Iran boosts terror activities; and Taylor Swift tames Apple.
Have a great day.
Bush, Rubio solidify front-runner statues . . . Longtime friends and political allies Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have broken away from the large pack of Republicans seeking the White House, garnering the support of three-quarters of GOP primary voters saying they could see themselves supporting one of the men, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The figure — 75 percent for Bush; 74 percent for Rubio — represents a wide swath of Republicans, ranging from those who identify as liberals to gun-rights advocates, the Journal reports. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the next closest, with the support of 65 percent of GOP primary voters, but after him the rest of the pool of candidates drops significantly. Newsmax
Obama: America not cured of racism; uses “N” word . . . President Barack Obama said the United States has not overcome its history of racism and is using the N-word to make his case. “Racism, we are not cured of it,” Obama said. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.” Associated Press
Obama has secret dinner with Spielberg, Katzenberg . . . In a preview, perhaps, of the post-presidency lifestyle President Obama intends to lead, Obama had dinner Thursday with film moguls Stephen Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. White House Dossier
Gruber played bigger role than revealed . . . MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who claimed the authors of ObamaCare took advantage of what he called the “stupidity of the American voter,” played a much bigger role in the law’s drafting than previously acknowledged, according to a published report. Gruber was frequently consulted by staffers and advisers for both the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services about the Affordable Care Act. Among the topics that Gruber discusses in the emails are media interviews, consultations with lawmakers, and even how to publicly describe his role. Fox News
White House plays down China OPM hack . . . Weeks after the discovery that millions of personal records on federal workers was stolen by Chinese hacker in an intelligence operation, the president and his advisers failed to condemned the state-sponsored security breach whose damage continues to worsen almost weekly. Washington Free Beacon
Veterans’ wait times now even worse . . . The number of veterans seeking health care but ending up on waiting lists of one month or more is 50 percent higher now than it was a year ago when a scandal over false records and long wait times wracked the Department of Veterans Affairs. Associated Press
Court ruling could prompt Obamacare death spiral . . . The court is expected to rule soon on King v. Burwell, a case that challenges the federal government’s authority to provide subsidies for 34 states that did not set up their own healthcare exchanges. More than 6 million people could lose subsidies if the court rules in favor of King. If such a ruling occurs and no action by Congress is taken, there is a “100 percent chance” of a death spiral for the insurance marketplaces in those states, said Gary Claxton, vice president of the left-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation. Washington Examiner
Obama pursuing gun control without Congress . . . In the wake of the shooting deaths at a black church in South Carolina, President Obama sounded as if he has abandoned gun control laws, but his administration is steadily pursuing a wide variety of gun regulations through executive action. Washington Times
Iran boost terror activities . . . Iran has increased its efforts to finance and carry out terrorist activities across the world and remains a top nuclear proliferation threat, according to a new State Department assessment. Washington Free Beacon
Iran bans accès to military sites . . . With some lawmakers chanting “Death to the America,” Iran’s parliament voted to ban access to military sites, documents and scientists as part of a future deal with world powers over its contested nuclear program. Associated Press
Is there anything they can do to make Obama and Kerry realize they aren’t serious about living up to a deal? No, apparently.
Khamenei fatwa complicates Iran deal . . . “It is not necessary, nor do I think it is realistic to expect that Iran will admit that it was conducting nuclear weapons research activity,” says Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the nonpartisan Arms Control Association, which has supported Obama’s nuclear diplomacy. A central reason, sources say, is the humiliation such a disclosure would cause for Khamenei, who issued the October 2003 fatwa stating that Islam forbids the production, stockpiling or use of weapons of mass destruction. Politico
Marco Rubio, everyman . . . Americans say they empathize all too well with the GOP candidate’s financial struggles. Politico
Perry blames back surgery for 2012 fiasco . . . GOP presidential contender Rick Perry blamed “major back surgery” as one of the reasons for his embarrassing performance in 2012, saying he wasn’t prepared to run for president then and underestimated the knowledge and expertise required to compete for the presidency. Washington Examiner
Mitt Romney tweets: “Take down the #ConfederateFlag at the SC Capitol,” he wrote. “To many, it is a symbol of racial hatred. Remove it now to honor #Charleston victims.”
AP photo seems to show gun to Cruz’s head . . . In an Associated Press image that drew comment and criticism on Twitter on Sunday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is seen speaking with what appeared to be a gun aimed straight at him. The photograph — taken by the AP’s Charlie Neibergall — actually captured a background poster, with a large semi-blurred image of a handgun pointed at Cruz’s forehead, straight between the eyes. Politico
Taliban advance, attack Parliament . . . A Taliban suicide bomber and six gunmen attacked the Afghan parliament on Monday as lawmakers met to consider a new defense minister, and another district in the volatile north fell to the militants as they intensified a summer offensive. Reuters
Another Obama foreign policy smash success story brewing here.
Wife of Israeli leader tweets Obama race joke . . . The prominent wife of an Israeli Cabinet minister tweeted a racially charged joke about President Barack Obama on Sunday, then subsequently deleted it and apologized. “Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak,” tweeted Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, the wife of Silvan Shalom, who is Under criticism, she then deleted the tweet, adding an apology: “I apologize, that was a stupid joke somebody told me.” Politico
Germans dampen hope for Greece rescue . . . German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has taken a consistently hard line with Athens, was pessimistic. “There is nothing new beyond many trying to create expectations which are not supported by substance,” he said. “Without substantial proposals which can be examined seriously, we can’t seriously prepare a euro summit.” Reuters
Tensions build as Court rulings near . . . Tensions are building inside and outside the white marble facade of the U.S. Supreme Court building as the nine justices prepare to issue major rulings on gay marriage and Obama’s healthcare law by the end of the month. Of the 11 cases left to decide, the biggest are a challenge by gay couples to state laws banning same-sex marriage and a conservative challenge to subsidies provided under the Obamacare law to help low- and middle-income people buy health insurance that could lead to millions of people losing medical coverage. Reuters
Evangelicals draw battle line against same-sex marriage . . . With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule by the end of the month on whether same-sex marriage is legal, many Christian evangelicals say they would refuse to obey a decision allowing gay unions. The Defend Marriage pledge, signed by more than 50,000 people, is one of a series of measures launched by social conservatives to push back against same-sex unions. Reuters
Taylor Swift slays Apple . . . Apple Inc reversed its policy and said it would now pay artists during free trials of its new Apple Music streaming service, after pop star Taylor Swift said she would hold back her latest hit album “1989” from the service. Reuters
White House Dossier
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