Ronald Ayers

Posts Tagged ‘White House’

For Obama, a sudden struggle with personal appeal

In Barak Obama, General News, Political News on November 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm
Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear Pre...

Hundreds of FBI employees gathered to hear President Barack Obama’s speech and greet him afterward during his visit to FBI headquarters. White House photographer Pete Souza is to Obama’s left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign.

But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. And perhaps most concerning for the White House: an Associated Press analysis of public polling shows it has become more difficult over time for Obama to fully rebound from dents in his favorability ratings.

“It’s a slow cumulative effect,” Republican pollster David Winston said, adding that personal favorability “is a much harder number to move if it starts to go south.”

The public’s increasingly negative view of Obama may be less of a concern for his future given that he is barred from running for re-election. But the president still needs a strong connection with the public in order to rally Americans around his policy proposals and, in turn, to show Congress he remains politically relevant at a time when lame duck status is lurking.

The president’s advisers need only look at Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, to see the impact of a crumbling relationship with the public. Positive impressions of the Republican trailed off in the beginning of 2005 amid public frustration with the Iraq war and the government’s flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s favorability rating never recovered and he struggled to fulfill significant policy goals throughout the rest of his presidency.

A series of recent polls show Obama’s personal favorability now leaning negative, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week that found positive views of Obama at the lowest point of his presidency and down 6 points from earlier in October. The drop follows the 16-day government shutdown, the cascade of problems during his health care law’s rollout, and another flood of revelations about U.S. government spying.

White House officials blame the shutdown in particular for Obama’s falling favorability, given that it resulted in shuttering many federal services and furloughs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, while again highlighting the troubled ties between the president and Capitol Hill. But Obama aides note that the impact of the shutdown on congressional Republicans has been even worse, with both their personal and job performance ratings at record lows.

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Logo of the United States White House, especially in conjunction with offices like the Chief of Staff and Press Secretary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Everybody gets hurt when there’s dysfunction in Washington,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Throughout Obama’s presidency, his job approval and personal favorability ratings have generally risen and fallen in tandem. But his favorability numbers, which often reflect the public’s gut-level reaction to a politician, generally remained the more positive of the two measures.

That, the president’s supporters argue, made the public more likely to give him a chance even when they disagreed with his policies or the direction the country was headed. His strong likability was seen as a particular asset during his 2012 re-election campaign when most polls showed that voters saw him in a more favorable light than his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“For the president, it’s meant that people have cared about what he had to say because they liked him,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

The question for the White House now is whether that dynamic will hold if the public’s personal opinions of the president continue to sour. An Associated Press-GfK poll from early October found that 52 percent of Americans didn’t think Obama was very honest and were split on whether he was even likable.

The president’s favorability has taken hits during other points in his presidency. Most polling found the public’s impression soured in late summer 2011 around the first round of debt ceiling negotiations and again last summer in the midst of his presidential campaign.

Although Obama’s favorability improved somewhat after each hit, he never fully recovered, with each rating rebound peaking below earlier average favorability ratings.

For example, Obama began 2011 with majority favorable ratings in most polling. When the debt ceiling fight pushed his favorability below 50 percent in late 2011, he came back to an average right around 50 rather than above it. This latest battle has led to average ratings in the mid-40s, worse than he’s seen at any point previously.

Past presidents have also struggled to recover from dips in their favorability ratings.

Bush left office with majorities saying they had both a negative impression of him personally and disapproved of his job performance. And former President Bill Clinton’s favorability numbers never recovered after a fall in 1998 as the Monica Lewinsky story unfolded, though his job approval remained strong through his last days at the White House.

Republican President Ronald Reagan evoked the warmest reaction from the American public, leaving office with high job approval numbers, 63 percent according to Gallup polling in December 1988, and a majority holding a favorable impression of him personally.

Source: Associated Press



Obama Declares Big Banks Too Big to Jail

In Barak Obama, Economic News, Financial News, General News on December 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm

hsbc (Photo credit: dumyat)


Decision not to prosecute bank’s money laundering sparks outrage


 The Obama administration officially bought into the idea that big banks are “too big to jail” yesterday, by deciding to fine HSBC instead of criminally prosecuting its vast money laundering operation—which funneled cash to Mexican drug cartels and Saudi banks with ties to al-Qaeda. The stated reason? The White House thought prosecution would upset markets.


“It is a dark day for the rule of law,” the New York Times laments in an editorial today. If prosecutors can’t pursue “a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished.”


Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian is even more outraged, pointing out that “the US is the world’s largest prison state, imprisoning more of its citizens than any nation on Earth.” The poor, and racial minorities in particular are locked up at an astonishing rate, often for minor drug offenses. Yet HSBC gets off the hook. “It is truly difficult to imagine corruption and lawlessness more extreme than having the government explicitly place the most powerful factions above the rule of law.”


Source: Associated Press




Obama says he ‘won’t compromise’ on taxes

In Barak Obama, Democrats, Political News on December 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm



President Obama  warned Monday that he “won’t compromise” on his demands that the wealthiest Amereicans 

pay more in taxes, digging in on the chief sticking point between the White House and Republicans asthey seek a way to avert the “fiscal cliff.” 

Obama brought his pressure-Congress campaign to the heart of industrial America, ripping lines from his own reelection bid as the nation inched closer to a perilous economic cliff. He said the country couldn’t afford a”manufactured” crisis and pledged to cheering auto workers that he would fight to extend tax cuts for the middle

class before they expire at year’s end. 

“That’s a hit you can’t afford to take,” Obama declared. 

Obama’s campaign-style trip to Michigan came one day after he and House Speaker John Boehner met privately at the White House. While neither side would characterize the meeting, the mere fact that the two leaders talked face-to-face was seen as progress in negotiations to avoid a series of year-end tax hikes and spending cuts. 

Republicans have long opposed Obama’s call for higher tax rates on the wealthy, but some GOP lawmakers are suggesting the party relent on taxes in order to win concessions from the president on changes to benefit programs such as Medicare. Still, Boehner’s office indicatedMonday that the speaker wasn’t ready to take that step. 

“The Republican offer made last week remains the Republican offer,” said Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman. He was referring to a GOP plan that offered $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade through reducing or eliminating unspecified tax breaks on upper-income earners, but not by raising tax rates. 

Source:  Associated Press.

10-part report raises questions about narrative of Obama’s early life

In General News on September 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm


By Ronald Ayers


A newly published report raises questions about some established narratives in the early life of President Obama, suggesting the president’s upbringing was one of privilege and not hardship. 




The Washington Examiner published a 10-part report detailing Obama’s path to the White House. Some of the information appears to conflict with the narratives the Democratic Party has pushed, most recently at the party’s convention in Charlotte.


At the convention, Michelle Obama said they:


“were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions.”


Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott questioned that.


“I’m sure he had a difficult childhood given the circumstances with his parents, but from a financial standpoint and social standpoint and so forth , it was not an underprivileged childhood,” Tapscott said.


The Examiner reports that the Indonesian neighborhood, Menteng, where Obama’s mother and step-father raised the young Barry Soetoro was the most exclusive in Jakarta.


Later sent to live with his grandparents in Hawaii where his grandmother was a bank vice president, Obama attended the exclusive Punahoe school. He later went on to Columbia University and Harvard Law School.


In his first job as a Chicago community organizer, Obama rejected more lucrative offers.


But while he worked in the city’s impoverished Southside, he lived in exclusive Hyde Park.


Of his 12 years as a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, Time Magazine said in 2008: “Within a few years he had become a rock star professor with hordes of devoted students.”  But student evaluations obtained by the Examiner tell a different story. In 2003, only a third of students recommended his courses.


“It went steadily down in the last five or six years that he was there. He was among the lowest-ranked professors,” Tapscott said.


Nor did the future president leave any record of scholarly writings, while similarly credentialed colleagues had a prolific presence in law journals.


“He showed up to class, he gave his lectures and he was gone,” Tapscott said.


The Examiner found sharp contrasts between Obama’s memory of his legal work, and the record of it.


In “Dreams From My Father,” he wrote: “In my legal practice, I work mostly with churches and community groups, men and women who quietly built grocery stores and health clinics in the inner city, and housing for the poor.”


But a document filed with the Illinois Secretary of State shows the young lawyer represented some well-heeled clients. In one case, he represented a politically connected preacher and real estate developer, Bishop Arthur Brazier, who had failed to provide heating and running water to 15 apartments in the dead of winter.  Obama’s client had all the tenants forcibly removed from the building, yet paid only a $50 fine under Obama’s legal counsel.


For all of his critics on the right, community organizer Obama left many colleagues on the left disheartened, by allegedly selling out to the Chicago establishment.


The late radical journalist Robert Fitch, who specialized in urban politics, said:


“What we see is that the Chicago core of the Obama Coalition is made of blacks who’ve moved up by moving poor blacks out.”


D’Anna Carter, a neighborhood activist, singled out the president’s closest aid, Valerie Jarrett, for criticism. Jarrett was CEO of Habitat Co., a low-income real estate firm that made millions of dollars in part by leveraging federal programs like the Low Income Housing Tax Creditwith subprime lending to poor people.


Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President B...

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Barack Obama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“They were never interested in poor people. They would sell poor people a bill of goods,” Carter said.


Some argue that President Obama won office on his strength as a reformer – he did vow to “fundamentally transform America.” But the Examiner found as a state senator he rejected overtures to reform the Chicago machine.


“He made it pretty clear he wasn’t interested in risk-taking or challenging the Chicago machine’s lock on a lot of mechanics of government in Cook County in Chicago,” said one frustrated former colleague, former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger.


Mayor Richard J Daley — the last of the big city bosses — built that machine by rewarding allies with patronage positions. Today, Obama’s choice of aides suggests an unbreakable bond to that machine. Closest aide Valerie Jarrett, campaign adviser David Axelrod, and former chiefs of staff Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley all cut their political teeth in the Daley machine.


Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The legendary Chicago Tribune writer Mike Royko once penned this advice to mayoral candidate Richard M. Daley, the son of the big city boss:


“Reward your friends and punish your enemies.”


It is a phrase the president once used to describe how Latinos should think about elections.


In a 2010 interview, Obama urged Latinos to say:


“We’re gonna punish our enemies and reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”


To that end, The Examiner says 31 Obama campaign bundlers received clean-energy loans and grants totaling more than $16 billion. The auto bailout favored the United Auto Workers — over secured creditors — and eight of the 10 states getting the most contracts from the stimulus program were heavily Democratic.

Source: The Washington Examiner and Fox News



A look at President Barack Obama’s inner circle

In Barak Obama, Political News on July 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm


Barack Obama has made “change” the hallmark of his presidency. For his team of advisers, “continuity” might be a more operable term.

Obama has surrounded himself with a tight-knit group since he first ran for the White House in 2007. This core team is marked by a “No-Drama Obama” credo and strong loyalty to their man’s message and unconventional path.

Many of the advisers who helped Obama chart his first campaign never left, and they’re now playing important roles in the White House and at Obama’s re-election headquarters in Chicago.

They’re battle-tested from the lengthy primary race against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, the following campaign against Republican John McCain and then a White House tenure marked by fights over the economic recession, health care and now the drive for a second term.

This is the first time that a modern re-election campaign has not been run out of Washington, placing a premium on a seamless back and forth between Obama’s political advisers in the White House and his Chicago campaign’s upper echelon. Members of Obama’s inner circle meet regularly at the White House to discuss strategy and have thus far avoided major messaging gaps between the two time zones.

“This is a team or a group that has worked together, even since when he ran for the Senate, for a long time. There are benefits to that,” said Karen Finney, a former spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

If there’s a knock on Obama’s campaign structure, it’s the lack of an inflow of outside voices. Most of Obama’s team has remained with him throughout his presidency, though Rahm Emanuel left as White House chief of staffin late 2010 to run for Chicago mayor, and Emanuel’s successor, William Daley, the brother of former Chicago mayor Richard Daley, left in January.

English: Springfield, Illinois, USA. Barack Ob...

English: Springfield, Illinois, USA. Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and daughters. “The Future First Family Waves. Senator Obama’s family was on hand for the announcement, and he invited them on stage to wave to the crowd before he began his speech.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The continuity and cohesion of Obama’s team suggests the president values loyalty and a small inner circle that can give him unfettered advice. The team has allowed Obama’s campaign to focus on efforts to undermine Republican challenger Mitt Romney while laying out an agenda to appeal to Obama’s key voting constituencies — women, minorities, young people and college-educated whites.

A look at some of the president’s chief advisers:


_David Plouffe. Obama’s 2008 campaign manager is helping shape the president’s re-election strategy from the West Wing. The Delaware native returned to Obama’s side after Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 elections and is arguably the most important person in melding Obama’s policies with politics. Plouffe is in constant contact with Obama and has been at the center of a number of tactical efforts to position him for re-election.


_Jim Messina. As Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, he oversees the president’s operation from Chicago. Plouffe’s former deputy during the 2008 campaign, Messina has likened the re-election headquarters to a Silicon Valley startup company, demanding metrics and results from his aides. Messina has kept close watch over the electoral map, trying to give the president as many paths to victory as possible and not become reliant on winning either Florida or Ohio, a difficulty that hurt Democratic nominee John Kerry’s campaign in 2004.


_David Axelrod. A former political reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Axelrod has known the president since the early 1990s and was a driving force behind Obama’s message of change during the 2008 campaign. A former top adviser to Obama in the White House, Axelrod is a calming influence on the campaign team and has helped focus on middle-class voters.


_Stephanie Cutter. Obama’s deputy campaign manager has become a forceful voice in the campaign. Cutter, a veteran of Kerry’s presidential campaign, has been a blunt defender of Obama’s policies on cable television while criticizing Romney’s business record and tenure as governor of Massachusetts, Cutter’s home state. She drew protests from Romney’s team when she suggested that he either committed a “felony” when he signed Securities and Exchange Commission documents for Bain Capital or lied when he denied working for the private equity firm after 1999.


_Valerie Jarrett. A top adviser in Washington, Jarrett is a longtime friend of the Obamas and has become a trusted aide to the president. At the White House, she has been Obama’s conduit to the business community and an important sounding board for the first couple. In a nod to their friendship, the Obamas attended the wedding of Jarrett’s daughter in Chicago.


_Robert Gibbs was Obama’s top campaign spokesman in 2008 and then became White House press secretary. After leaving the podium in early 2011, Gibbs emerged as one of Obama’s most ardent defenders during the 2012 Republican primaries and on cable television as the general election took shape. Gibbs was with Obama before Obama gained national prominence during the 2004 Democratic National Convention and understands Obama’s message as well as anyone.

Source: Associated Press

Ariz. sheriff says Obama birth certificate is fake

In Barak Obama, General News on July 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Investigators for an Arizona sheriff’s volunteer posse have declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.
Members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio‘s posse said in March that there was probable cause that Obama’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 was a computer-generated forgery.

Now, Arpaio says investigators are positive it’s fraudulent.

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011.

speaking in Phoenix, Arizona on February 26, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike Zullo, the posse’s chief investigator, said numeric codes on certain parts of the birth certificate indicate that those parts weren’t filled out, yet those sections asking for the race of Obama’s father and his field of work or study were completed.

Zullo said investigators previously didn’t know the meaning of codes but they were explained by a 95-year-old former state worker who signed the president’s birth certificate. Zullo said a writer who published a book about Obama’s birth certificate and was aiding investigators let them listen in on an interview he conducted of the former state worker.

The Obama campaign declined to comment on Arpaio’s allegations.
The Arizona Democratic Party said in a statement that Arpaio’s investigation is intended to draw attention away from problems within his own agency, such as hundreds of sex-crime cases that the sheriff’s office failed to adequately investigate over a three-year period.

So-called “birthers” maintain Obama is ineligible to be president because, they contend, he was born in Kenya.

Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and state officials did again Tuesday.

Barack Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate

Barack Obama’s Long Form Birth Certificate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama was born in Honolulu and his birth certificate is valid,” Joshua A. Wisch, a special assistant to Hawaii’s attorney general, said in a statement. “Regarding the latest allegations from a sheriff in Arizona, they are untrue, misinformed, and misconstrue Hawaii law.”

Wisch also said that “not only are Hawaii’s vital records some of the best managed, but they also have some of the strongest restrictions on access to prevent identity theft and fraud.”

Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in an attempt to quell citizenship questions.

Courts have rebuffed lawsuits over the issue.

Source: Associated Press.

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