By Jueseppi B.
Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to Romania and Cyprus
WASHINGTON, DC – The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Romania and Cyprus from May 20-23, 2014. The Vice President will discuss with the leadership of both countries the international community’s response to Russia’s illegal military intervention and destabilizing actions in Ukraine. The Vice President will also address the need to deepen economic ties, including through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP); to recommit to strengthening democratic institutions across the region; and to undertake a sustained and collective effort to bolster Europe’s energy security.
In Bucharest, the Vice President will meet with Romanian President Băsescu and Prime Minister Ponta. He will also deliver remarks to Romanian civil society and youth leaders, and will meet with American and Romanian troops conducting a joint capacity-building exercise. The Vice President will underscore the United States’ ironclad commitment to the collective defense of NATO under Article 5, and express appreciation for Romania’s contributions to regional and global security.
At the invitation of President Anastasiades, the Vice President will visit Cyprus, where he will meet with political leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, civil society representatives, and faith leaders. The Vice President will emphasize the United States’ strong support for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. The Vice President will urge all parties on the island to intensify their work on behalf of peace and security in the region, and stress the important role that all citizens can play in promoting mutual understanding between the two communities.
H.S. Student Invites Biden to Prom
Published on May 20, 2014
High school student Talia Maselli from Newington, Connecticut wrote to Vice President Biden last fall, inviting him to the prom. Biden wrote back last week, saying he couldn’t make it but inviting her to the White House instead. (May 20)
Biden’s Cyprus stop will honor slain ambassador
Vice President Joseph R. Biden will travel to a Mediterranean country this week to pay his respects to a U.S. ambassador killed during an attack on the American diplomatic facility.
No, Mr. Biden won’t be honoring Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed with three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012. Instead the vice president will attend a brief ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the slaying of Ambassador Rodger Davies in Cyprus.
Mr. Davies was shot to death at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia in 1974 by Greek Cypriot gunmen who were protesting Washington’s failure to stop Turkish troops from taking control of part of the island. The ambassador was seeking shelter in a hallway when a bullet struck him in the chest. An embassy secretary, Antoinette Varnavas, also was killed.
An aide to Mr. Biden briefing reporters Monday didn’t say whether the vice president plans to draw any comparisons with the death of Mr. Stevens, who was killed during a terrorist attack that the administration initially blamed on a protest over an anti-Islamic video. A special House committee has been appointed to investigate the slayings in Libya.
Time magazine said the Cyprus incident was “eerily similar” to the Benghazi attack, with initial media reports claiming that gunmen stormed the embassy in Nicosia under cover of demonstrators screaming “Kissinger! Kissinger!” (Henry Kissinger was U.S. Secretary of State at the time).
But the culprits were brought to justice in the 1974 killings, while no perpetrators have been located in the Benghazi attack. The Cypus government charged six people. Two men charged with manslaughter received lengthy prison sentences, although the sentences were later reduced and they were freed after 18 months.
The anniversary of the Cyprus attack is actually Aug. 19, but a senior administration official said Mr. Biden will lay a wreath at the embassy on Thursday after meeting with civil and religious leaders on the still-divided island nation in the eastern Mediterranean.
In August, embassy staff in Nicosia will hold another ceremony in which the ambassador’s residence will be renamed the Davies House, and a lounge in the embassy will be named after Ms. Varnavas.
Mr. Biden’s trip will start on Wednesday with a visit to Romania, where he will meet with the country’s leaders to reassure them of the U.S. commitment to protect its NATO allies in light of Russia’s “destabilizing” actions in Ukraine, a senior administration official said.
The vice president’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will accompany him on the trip.
REMARKS BY VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
TO JOINT UNITED STATES AND ROMANIAN PARTICIPANTS
IN CARPATHIAN SPRING MILITARY EXERCISE
Otopeni Military Airbase
Being Biden Vol. 15: Coffee
In this audio series Vice President Biden will tell the story behind a photo – of where he was, why it matters to him, and how the experience fits into the broader narrative of this Administration. From meetings at the White House to travels around the country, the Vice President will share his perspective in candid, behind-the-scenes snapshots. In other words, he’ll explain what it’s like “Being Biden.”
What does a cup of coffee mean? For Vice President Biden and Officer Peter Laboy of the Alexandria Police Department, quite a bit.
After Officer Laboy was injured in the line of duty last year, Vice President Biden visited him in the hospital and brought coffee for his unit. Last week, Officer Laboy returned the favor — bringing the Vice President a cup of coffee here at the White House.
As the Vice President says in this edition of Being Biden, Officer Peter Laboy represents the tens of thousands of police officers across the country who put their lives on the line for Americans every single day, “So, the next time you’re drinking a cup of coffee think of them.”
Hear the story in Vice President Biden’s own words:
White House Schedule – May 20th, 2014
President Barack Obama will gather executives from several major international companies including Ford Motor Co and Deutshe Lufthansa AG on Tuesday to discuss a White House initiative to encourage investment in the United States.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20th, 2014
WEEKEND GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
TUESDAY, MAY 20th, 2014
Tuesday May 20th, All Times EDST
10:45 PM: President Obama meets with business leaders on jobs, The Roosevelt Room.
12:25 PM: Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press, The Brady Press Briefing Room.
2:50 PM: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show, The White House. White House LIVE!! Streaming.
5:00 PM: The President meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel, The Oval Office.
The Week Ahead Schedule – May 20th – 23rd, 2014
On Tuesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House.
On Wednesday, the President will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office. At this event, the President will receive the credentials from foreign Ambassadors recently posted in Washington. The presentation of credentials is a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington. Afterward, the President will welcome the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks to the White House to honor the team and their Super Bowl XLVIII victory.
On Thursday, the President will travel to Chicago, IL to participate in two events for the DSCC. The President will remain overnight in Chicago. Barack is coming home to Chicago next Thursday for fundraisers to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill. and will remain in the city overnight.
On Friday, the President will return from Chicago.
5/19/14: White House Press Briefing
Published on May 19, 2014
White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.
May 20, 2014 8:10 AM EDT
Vice President Biden Speaks to Joint U.S. and Romanian Participants in the Military Exercise “Carpathian Spring”
Otopeni, Romania. White House LIVE!! Streaming
May 20, 2014 12:45 PM EDT
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The White House. White House LIVE!! Streaming
May 20, 2014 2:50 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show
The White House. White House LIVE!! Streaming
May 20, 2014 2:50 PM EDT
The White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show
The White House. White House LIVE!! Streaming
President Obama Warms Up for Cooperstown at Little League Game
Obama surprised Little Leaguers in DC yesterday when he stopped by.
President Barack Obama made an unannounced stop at a Little League game in Northwest Washington, ahead of a planned visit later this week to Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the baseball Hall of Fame.
President Obama shook hands and spoke to the four co-ed teams at the park, who were warming up for their games. He also stepped up to the pitcher’s mound and threw a ball to 10-year-old Danny Ringel of the Tigers.
President Obama made the stop while headed to a dinner fundraiser at a home in suburban Potomac, Md. He heads to Cooperstown on Thursday.
Think Tank: Primary challenges to Boehner, McConnell and Cantor reveal a lot about the state of the GOP.
Primary Challenges to GOP Leaders Say a Lot About the State of the Party
By JOHN FEEHERY
Think Tank is Capital Journal’s home for outside analysis from policy and political thinkers.
Leadership is hard, especially in the U.S. Congress and especially if you are a Republican.
House Speaker John Boehner easily survived his primary last week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to survive his primary on Tuesday. And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor should be able to handle his Republican opponent next month.
But the fact that all three have had to spend their time and resources battling primary opposition says a lot about the state of the party.
Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Cantor are all very conservative in the traditional understanding of conservative politics. All are pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-spending. And all are proponents of a much smaller government than we have today.
But they aren’t fanatics, and because they are the ones who have to make final decisions on legislative strategy, their lack of fanaticism has proven to be a liability to some Republican primary voters.
That, however, is the price of leadership. You have to make the tough calls, and you can’t make everybody happy, especially in this political environment.
Making some fanatics unhappy seems a small price to pay to gain a governing majority in Congress.
John Feehery is president of QGA Public Affairs and former spokesman for then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Thank you Think Tank.
From Ms. Lynn Sweet:
President Obama here for fundraisers as outside groups target Senator Durbin
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Thursday to headline major-money fundraisers for Sen. Dick Durbin and Senate Democrats as two outside conservative groups recently spent $554,480 to defeat Durbin — one of them bankrolled by Lake Forest business executive and mega-donor Richard Uihlein.
Obama visits Chicago for a reception at the Gold Coast home of Invenergy LLC CEO Michael Polsky and his wife, Tanya, followed by a dinner at the Lincoln Park residence of Fred Eychaner, the chairman of Newsweb Corp. and one of the biggest Democratic donors in the nation.
Eychaner in March donated $4 million to the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to keeping the U.S. Senate in Democratic control. The Thursday proceeds will be split between Durbin’s campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which would spend it on Durbin if he needed help.
The Chicago price points, according to the invite:
* The ask is $35,000 per couple for the Eychaner dinner and a photo with Obama, or $17,500 per person. I hear about 50 people are expected for the dinner.
* $15,000 to be listed as a Polsky reception co-chair, with a photo.
* $10,000 to be a reception sponsor, with a photo.
* $1,000 reception guest, no photo.
Obama is expected to overnight in Chicago after the events. He was in Chicago last for an April 2 major-money fundraiser to benefit the Democratic National Committee.
Though Durbin had $6,062,115 in his campaign fund as of March 31, which seems a lot when compared to the $473,081 cash-on-hand of GOP Senate nominee state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, Durbin is worried about money from outside groups and the ability of the wealthy Oberweis to write big checks for his long-shot bid.
Cases in point: In March, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, a super Pac, spent $56,000 against Durbin, mainly in direct mail and telemarketing.
And since March, Americas PAC has poured $498,480 into anti-Durbin radio spots, according to Federal Election Commission Independent Expenditure records, including a May 14 filing reporting a $110,000 media buy.
Where does money for the Marion, Iowa-based Americas PAC come from?
A lot of it from Uihlein, the CEO of the Uline Corp., who is emerging as a major GOP Illinois political money player, bankrolling conservative and tea party movement candidates and causes.
One of Americas PAC funds is organized as a tax-exempt political organization and according to an IRS report (covering through March 31), Uihlein donated $350,000 on March 13.
An IRS report for 2013 shows Uihlein contributed $600,000 to Americas PAC last year.
That’s a combined $950,000 for 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 from Uihlein, making him Americas PAC’s biggest donor for that time period.
Days after Uihlein’s March donation to Americas PAC, according to IRS records going through March 31, money started flowing to Illinois radio stations for the anti-Durbin spots: $17,200 to WPJX in Waukegan on March 19, the day after the Illinois primary; $29,000 to WRPW in Bloomington on March 26 and $31,360 to WIBL in Normal on March 27.
Uihlein also has contributed $350,000 to GOP Illinois governor nominee Bruce Rauner’s warchest. In 2010, Uihlein kept the GOP governor bid of Dan Proft, the WLS radio host, alive with $550,000 in contributions.
With Durbin so far ahead, the obvious question is why would outside groups throw money in so early?
One theory: The early spending could bring donors to Oberweis, since money begets money in politics.
And another theory I like better: Since Durbin has money and is a popular surrogate for other Democrats, the idea may be to keep him in Illinois and to make him spend it all.
LYNN SWEET: Lynn Sweet is the Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief. She writes a column, a blog and files on Twitter.
It’s Primary Day:
5 things to watch as Tea Party faces primary test
Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania go to the polls Tuesday to pick their nominees in some of the hottest races for Senate, House and governor this year.
Here are five things to watch from today’s results, as the Tea Party is tested on the biggest primary date yet in the 2014 midterm elections:
How big is Mitch McConnell’s GOP victory in Kentucky? The Senate GOP leader is a favorite to defeat Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin, setting McConnell up to run for a sixth term. Bevin, a businessman, has spent about $3.4 million and gotten help from Tea Party allies such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks. McConnell’s campaign adviser, Josh Holmes, told reporters in a memo Monday that primary challengers to sitting U.S. senators, who have spent more than $1 million on their races, have averaged about 48% of the vote. The final Bluegrass Poll had McConnell easily defeating Bevin, 55%-35%. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes will be waiting to face McConnell in November.
Does Sarah Palin propel Karen Handel into the GOP Senate runoff in Georgia? Businessman David Perdue, a political novice and former CEO of Dollar General, is expected to be the top vote-getter in the seven-candidate race on Tuesday night. The question is who will be Perdue’s opponent in the July 22 GOP runoff. Palin said Monday the “good old boys are ganging up” on Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of State and the only woman in the race. Handel gained ground in the crowded field with Palin’s help and a flub by Perdue, who referred to his rival as only a “high school graduate.” Handel must get past Rep. Jack Kingston, an 11-term congressman who has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Democrat Michelle Nunn is expected to easily win her party’s nomination.
Can the Tea Party defeat veteran House members in Idaho and Pennsylvania? Conservative groups say the news media are making too much of the Tea Party vs. Republican establishment theme. Primary challenges to veteran Republican Reps. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who is seeking a ninth term, and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, running for a seventh full term, are an example. The Club for Growth, which helped identify lawyer Bryan Smith as Simpson’s challenger, has spent more than $700,000 on the Idaho race but stopped paying for TV ads a few weeks ago.
Will Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law win the Democratic House nomination in Pennsylvania? Marjorie Margolies, whose son is married to the former first daughter, lost her House seat 20 years ago when she provided a decisive vote for Bill Clinton’s budget. Margolies is locked in a four-way primary in the Philadelphia suburbs for the seat of Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., who is running for governor. Margolies’ final TV commercial featured Bill Clinton, who said the ex-congresswoman “saved the economy” with her 1993 budget vote.
Will any of the Senate Democratic nominees who win Tuesday campaign with President Obama? Obama is unpopular in Arkansas, Kentucky and Georgia – three states that figure prominently in the battle for Senate control. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor welcomed Obama to Arkansas for a tour of tornado damage earlier this month – but that wasn’t a campaign event. Grimes has campaigned with Clinton, a family friend, but has distanced herself from Obama’s coal policy, which is reviled in Kentucky. Nunn has had to walk a tightrope on Obama’s health care law, by saying she would not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act but wants to reverse cuts to rural Georgia hospitals that were caused by the state not expanding Medicaid.
Thank you USA TODAY.
Primary day: 6 states to watch
Fight Night Preview: Primaries From Georgia to Idaho
It’s primary night in six states, with plenty of races to watch in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
The only night with more states holding consequential primaries? In two weeks, on June 3.
(For a full list of the primary calendar, check out CQ Roll Call’s Primary Dates chart.)
There are no fewer than five competitive primary races in Georgia. Beyond that, three Republican incumbents steeped in the establishment will, by all appearances, swat back tea party rivals after the polls close. Unless there is a sleeper primary upset, the only incumbent who is in any sort of political trouble is a Democrat, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia.
Our Politics Team will have a live blog in this space tonight to keep up with the latest results. After polls close, @Alexis_Levinson and@KyleTrygstad will track the Senate races, while @CahnEmily and @RollCallAbby will watch the House side of politics.
Here are the races to watch, accompanied by each race’s Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race rating:
Kentucky – Polls close at 7 p.m. EST
- Senate: At first, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin seemed to pose a serious threat to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But over the last year, McConnell stomped his primary rival in fundraising and discredited the tea party challenger. So much so, that McConnell telegraphed weeks ago that he was moving his campaign on to the general election. Race rating: Leans Republican
Georgia – Polls close at 7 p.m. EST
- Senate (open): Georgia Republicans have a lot of options on Tuesday when they go to the polls to pick their nominee for Senate. Businessman David Perdue, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun are all vying for the nomination to succeed Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who is retiring. The race is expected to go to a July 22 runoff between the top two candidates. Perdue has consistently led in polling, but it’s likely a three-person race, with Handel and Kingston. The winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn. Race rating:Favored Republican
- 1st District (open): Six Republicans are vying for the change to replace Kingston in this southeastern Georgia district. With such a crowded field, the race is expected to head to a runoff. Georgia GOP operatives say state Sen. Buddy Carter is favored to advance, while former Capitol Hill aide John McCallum, state Rep. Jeff Chapman and surgeon Bob Johnson all could find a path to that second-place spot.Race rating: Safe Republican
- 4th District: Political junkies should also keep a close eye on Georgia’s 4th District — this race could be the sleeper contest of the evening. Johnson, a Democrat known for his unscripted comments, faces a serious primary threat from former DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown. Local operatives say Brown has been visible on the trail and kept pace with Johnson in fundraising, giving him a good shot at ousting the incumbent. Race rating: Safe Democrat
- 10th District (open): With seven Republicans looking to succeed Broun in this heavily Republican district, this contest is also assured to head to a July runoff. GOP operatives say trucking company executive Mike Collins and Baptist Pastor Jody Hice are likely to land in the top-two. In a low-turnout situation, Republicans note there is also a path for state Rep. Donna Sheldon to advance. Race rating:Safe Republican
- 11th District (open): Look for former Rep. Bob Barr to advance in this Atlanta-area district, open because of Gingrey’s Senate bid. Former state Sen. Barry Loudermilk is also expected to advance to the July runoff. Race rating: Safe Republican
- 12th District: Five Republicans are competing for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. John Barrow, a top GOP target. With such a crowded field, this race also likely headed to a runoff. Construction company owner Rick Allen is likely to advance, with state Rep. Delvis Dutton and businessman Eugene Yu running for second-place. Race rating: Leans Democrat
Pennsylvania – Polls close at 8 p.m. EST
- 8th District: National Democrats have avoided many competitive primaries in targeted districts, but this race to take on Republican Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick is one of the few exceptions. Veteran Kevin Strouse, who has the support of the DCCC, is expected to defeat small business owner Shaugnessy Naughton, who had marginal support from EMILY’s List. Race rating: Favored Republican
- 9th District: Some Pennsylvania Republicans were alarmed last fall that six-term Republican Bill Shuster had a tea party challenge on his hands in the form of retired Coast Guard Captain Art Halvorson. But Shuster took the threat seriously and raised nearly $3 million over the course of the cycle. Halvorson raised a total of $261,000, and $175,000 came in the form of candidate loans. It should be an early night here. Race rating: Safe Republican
- 13th District (open): State Rep. Brendan Boyle is the front-runner in this Philadelphia-area district. But ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies is also running. If she wins, it will likely have to do with the fact that an old friend – and in-law – by the name of Bill Clinton campaigned on her behalf. The Democratic nomination in this race to replace Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz will likely determine her successor. Race rating: Safe Democrat
Idaho – Polls close at 11 p.m. EST
- Idaho 2nd District: The nuclear war between the tea party and Boehner’s inner circle was supposed to come down to this district on this night. Attorney Bryan Smith earned endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund. But even operatives who would like to see Smith win say this race is Simpson’s to lose.Race rating: Safe Republican
Arkansas – Polls close at 8:30 p.m. EST
- 2nd District (open): Banker French Hill is expected to defeat state Rep. Ann Clemmer in the Republican primary — an open seat thanks to GOP Rep. Tim Griffin’s bid for lieutenant governor. While Clemmer is an elected official, Republican operatives say Hill’s cash advantage makes him the favorite on Tuesday. Whoever emerges from that primary will face former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Race rating: Leans Republican
- 4th District (open): State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman faces a tough Republican primary against energy executive Tommy Moll in the race to replace Rep. Tom Cotton, who is running for Senate. Westerman went into the primary with $83,000 in cash on hand to Moll’s $345,000. GOP operatives say Westerman’s leadership role in the legislature makes him a known quantity in the district and could help him emerge victorious Tuesday. The winner faces James Lee Witt, a Democrat who served as FEMA director under President Bill Clinton. Race rating: Safe Republican
Oregon – Polls close at 11 p.m. EST
- Pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby and state Rep. Jason Conger face off in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. This is not among the top tier of Senate races this cycle, but it could enter the limelight, especially if Wehby wins. Oregon recently announced it would abandon it’s state-run exchange, potentially putting health care at the forefront. Still, Oregon remains a solidly Democratic state and opposition research on Wehby is already flying. Race rating: Safe Democrat
Thank you ROLL CALL.
President Obama to discuss U.S. investment with corporate executives
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama will gather executives from several major international companies including Ford Motor Co and Deutshe Lufthansa AG on Tuesday to discuss a White House initiative to encourage investment in the United States.
The White House says the program, SelectUSA, has assisted in winning more than $18 billion in business investments in 17 states and territories.
Obama, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and other economic advisers will join the executives in a discussion about their U.S. investments.
“These businesses have recognized the many advantages of locating, growing and hiring in the United States,” said Jeff Zients, director of the White House National Economic Council, in a conference call with reporters on Monday.
“We will discuss why they chose to invest and hire in the U.S. and how we can get even more investment from companies like theirs.”
Other companies involved include Swedish telecom supplier Ericsson and Zurich NA, a subsidiary of Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance, according to the White House.
Thank you Reuters.
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