April, 2013

Obama Vows to New Push to Close Guantanamo

President Obama vowed to make “a new push to close the Guantanamo detention center, where about 100 inmates are on hunger strike, saying it was damaging to U.S. interests to keep holding prisoners there in legal limbo,” Reuters reports.

“Obama, who repeatedly vowed to close the camp, which now holds 166 detainees, when he was campaigning for a first term and when he first took office in 2009, said he would re-engage with lawmakers to find a way to shut the facility and make good on an unkept promise. However, he offered no new path to overcoming congressional, political and legal obstacles that blocked his earlier efforts to close Guantanamo, where many of the prisoners have been held for more than a decade without being tried or charged.”

Why Congress Really Fixed the Airport Delays

Joshua Green notes that the decision to reverse the automatic cuts that were causing air-traffic controllers to be furloughed — delaying hundreds of flights — wasn’t about rich air travelers.

“The group that Congress is helping the most by lifting the FAA sequester isn’t business flyers. No, lawmakers are helping themselves. There is no more pampered class of air traveler than members of Congress… The point is, Congress’s decision to lift the sequester was even more self-serving than you probably imagined. After casting their votes on Friday, most members raced to the airport and went home.”

Jon Stewart had his own hilarious take on the subject last night.

Cuomo Has a Book Deal

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a book deal, the AP reports.

HarperCollins says Cuomo will write “a full and frank account” about his private life and the “profound moments” of his first term in office, including signing gay-marriage legislation.

The book is scheduled to come out next year.

100 Days In

“You might not have been keeping track, but we’ve now reached the 100-day
mark in President Obama’s second term. And possibly to mark the
occasion, the president is holding a news conference at 10:15 am ET,” First Read reports.

Al Hunt: “The 100-day mark is a measure for first-term presidents, not
re-elected ones. Yet the end of April is a propitious moment for an
early evaluation of how President Barack Obama and congressional
Republicans are meeting the aspirations set out in January. The answer:
Both are falling short.”

Exchange of the Day

The State has this exchange from last night’s debate in South Carolina’s first congressional district:

Elizabeth Colbert Busch: “When we talk about fiscal spending and we talk about
protecting the taxpayers, it doesn’t mean you take that money we saved
and leave the country for a personal purpose.”

Moderator John Avlon: “She went there, Gov. Sanford.”

Mark Sanford: “I couldn’t hear what she said. Repeat it, I didn’t hear it.”

Colbert Busch: “Answer the question.”

Sanford: “What was the question?”

Special Election Primary in Massachusetts Today

Voters head to the polls in Massachusetts for the special election Senate primary today with a light turnout expected.

Boston Globe: “Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin today predicted an overall lower turnout for Tuesday’s special US Senate primary election than in the same contest in 2009. Galvin said he expected about 550,000 Democratic ballots would be cast Tuesday in the two-person contest, down from the 669,000 in the 2009 US Senate special primary election. On the Republican side, he said he predicts about 200,000 people will cast primary ballots in the three-person race, up from 165,000 in 2009.”

Polls close at 8:00 pm ET.

Republicans Target Mommy Blogs

“House Republicans are targeting popular ‘mommy blog’ websites in a
digital ad campaign beginning Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to
repair the GOP’s image with certain voting blocs — in this case swing
female voters — who have sided decisively with Democrats in recent
elections,” USA Today reports.

“The banner ads will be featured on over 100 websites popular
among women and geo-targeted to be viewed by residents in 20
Democratic-held congressional districts targeted by the GOP for 2014.”

The GOP Immigration Nightmare

McKay Coppins notes that as conservative criticism of the immigration reform effort “grows louder, many Republican operatives, donors, and consultants are bracing for an outcome that would be even worse, politically, than the demise of the bill: A fierce, national, right-wing backlash that drowns out the GOP’s friendlier voices, dominates Telemundo and Univision, and dashes any hopes the party had of making inroads to the Hispanic electorate by 2016.”

Said GOP media strategist Paul Wilson: “We are really balanced here on a little precipice and if this, pardon the pun, goes south, we could be in very serious trouble. If [the legislation] stalls or is killed off by conservatives, we could take the Hispanic community and turn them into the African-American community, where we get four percent on a good day… We could be a lost party for generations.”