President Obama Speaks At House Democratic Issues Conference

By Jueseppi B.





President Obama arrives to make remarks to the House Democratic Issues Conference at the Lansdowne Resort in Virginia, February 7.




Statements and Releases


February 07, 2013

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate



February 07, 2013

Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate



February 07, 2013

President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit





Speeches and Remarks


February 07, 2013

Remarks by the President at House Democratic Issues Conference




President Obama Speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference


Published on Feb 7, 2013

President Obama delivers remarks to the House Democratic Issues Conference. February 7, 2013.







The White House

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release  February 07, 2013

Remarks by the President at House Democratic Issues Conference



Lansdowne Resort
12:49 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Xavier, thank you for that very gracious introduction and your outstanding leadership.  
Let me begin by saying that I could not be happier that one of my most important friends and partners is still leading our Democrats in the House of Representatives.  I love Nancy Pelosi. Give her a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Love Nancy Pelosi.  (Applause.)  Also, she just generates good-looking grandbabies.  (Laughter.)  They’re all so handsome and sharp and beautiful.  
To Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn, as well as Xavier and Joe Crowley, thank you so much for the great work that you guys are doing each and every day.  And to Steve Israel, who worked tirelessly to bring on 49 new outstanding members of this caucus. (Applause.)  I am looking forward to spending time with all 49 of you.  And hopefully we’ll be seeing you over at the White House and at various events, but obviously I know that you came here to get something done.  And I am looking forward to working with you every single day to make sure that we’re doing right by the people who sent us here.
Now, I actually just changed the format here.  I called an audible — because originally the way this was scheduled was I was just going to talk and then I was going to shake some hands, and I thought, since this is not a shy bunch, it might make sense for me to take some questions and some advice I’m sure you guys have for me.  (Laughter.)  So what I’m going to do is I’m just going to make s few points at the top, and then what I’d like is maybe Xavier or Steve or somebody can come up here, you can call on folks, and we’ll spend a little time with Q&A before I get a chance to say hello to everybody.  
And part of the reason I want to keep my remarks short is because I just made a pretty long speech a couple of weeks ago, and I’m about to make another next week, and I don’t want you guys tired of me.  (Laughter.)  
But, obviously, I’m deeply grateful to have been reelected, and I’m humbled by the support that I received from all across the country.  (Applause.)  And I said at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning — and I was telling the truth — I genuinely am humbled.  The fascinating thing about this job is the longer you’re in it, the more humble you get, and the more you recognize your own imperfections.  And you try to make up with effort and hard work those gaps in your personality or your intelligence that become so apparent to everybody on the daily news every day.  (Laughter.)  
But even as I think it’s important to be humbled by the privilege of this office and the privilege of serving in the United States Congress, even as it’s important not to read too much into any particular political victory — because this country is big, it is diverse, it is contentious, and we don’t have a monopoly on wisdom, and we need to remember that — despite all those things, I think it’s also important for us to feel confident and bold about the values we care about and what we stand for.  
And I tried to do that in my inauguration speech, and I’m hoping that we all do that over the next four years.  Because when I think about what it means to be a Democrat in this day and age, I start with the basic proposition that we are all created equal, that we’re all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.  And my governing philosophy and my interest in public service grows out of how we make that union more perfect for more people, day in, day out.  
And that starts with an economy that works for everybody.  Throughout my campaign, and throughout many of your campaigns, we talked about this bedrock notion that our economy succeeds and our economy grows when everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is getting a fair shake and everybody is playing by the same rules.  That we have an economy in which we’re growing a vibrant middle class — that it grows from the middle out and the bottom up, not from the top down.  
And over the next four years as I work with this caucus and every caucus, the question I will ask myself on every item, every issue is, is this helping to make sure that everybody has got a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.  Because I believe that is a growth agenda — not just an equity agenda, not just a fairness agenda  — that is a growth agenda.  That is when we have grown fastest.  
And that means that what you’ll hear from me next week, I’m going to be talking about making sure that we’re focused on job creation here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  It means that we’re focused on education and that every young person is equipped with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century.  (Applause.)  It means that we’ve got an energy agenda that can make us less dependent on foreign oil, but also that we’re cultivating the kind of clean energy strategy that will maintain our leadership well into the future.  
It means that we’re going to talk about, yes, deficits and taxes and sequesters and potential government shutdowns and debt ceiling — we’ll talk about that stuff, but all from the perspective of how are we making sure that somebody who works hard in this country — a cop, or a teacher, or a construction worker, or a receptionist — that they can make it if they work hard, and that their kids can make it and dream even bigger dreams than they have achieved.
And obviously a lot of what we’ll be working on initially over the next few weeks is going to be on how do we deal with the sequester issue.  And I just want to make this quick point.  I had a press conference this week in which I reiterated I am prepared, eager, and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this “governance by crisis” — (applause) — where every two weeks or every two months or every six months, we are threatening this hard-won recovery — where finally housing is starting to pick up, and commercial real estate is starting to do better, and the unemployment numbers are still too high, but we’re seeing some job growth, and businesses are investing and manufacturing is doing well — and we continue to have these self-inflicted crises here in Washington that suddenly leads everybody to tap the brakes.  
And so what I said this week was I want to do something big to provide certainty and steadiness for the economy and for American families.  And that means a balanced package that will reduce our long-term deficit and debt, but that still allows us to invest in those things that we need to grow right now — (applause) — because that’s also a deficit reduction agenda, us growing faster.
And in order to have a balanced package, that means that — we’ve already done a lot of cuts.  We’ve done some revenue now.  And so the rest of the way moving forward, we can do some additional reforms, and make our health care programs work better and make them more efficient, and we can cut our programs that we don’t need.  But it also means that we’ve got to be able to close some tax loopholes and deductions that the average American cannot take advantage of, to raise the revenue to actually do the job in a way that allows us to continue to grow.  (Applause.) 
Now, the reason this is relevant is because I gather — and I haven’t gotten this from firsthand sources, but from secondhand sources in the press — that our friends on the other side of the aisle, their position is:  We’re concerned about the sequester.  We recognize that just cutting the federal spending with a meat ax, as opposed to scalpel is probably damaging — it will damage our national security; it will damage our educational system.  We’ll have kids getting kicked off of Head Start.  It will mean people who have disabled kids suddenly having less help.
They recognize that the sequester is a bad idea, but what they’ve suggested is that the only way to replace it now is for us to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, and not close a single loophole, not raise any additional revenue from the wealthiest Americans or corporations who have a lot of lawyers and accountants who are able to maneuver and manage and work and game the system.  
And I have to tell you, if that’s an argument that they want to have before the court of public opinion, that is an argument I’m more than willing to engage in.  (Applause.)  Because I believe the American people understand that, yes, we need to reduce the deficit, but it shouldn’t just be on the backs of seniors; it shouldn’t just be on the backs of young people who are trying to get a college education; it should not just be on the backs of parents who are trying to give their kids a better start in life; that all of us have to participate — and that if, in fact, it’s important for us to make sure we’ve got a strong national defense and that we reduce our spending in a smart way, we sure as heck should be willing to ask those of us who are luckiest in this society to close a few loopholes and deductions that the average American doesn’t get.  
And if that’s the choice that we’ve got, I promise you we can win that debate because we’re on the right side of this argument.  And I expect that you guys will be with me on that.  (Applause.) 
Last point I’ll make — obviously economic growth is a priority.  But making sure that we’re opening up opportunity for everybody is also important.  And that’s why immigration reform is so critical.  (Applause.)  I said this is going to be a top priority and an early priority of my administration.  I am heartened to see Republicans and Democrats starting to be in a serious conversation about getting this done.  Now is the time.
I recognize that the politics aren’t always easy.  There are regional variations.  I understand that in some places this may end up being a tough issue.  But what I also know is that part of our strength is our youth and our dynamism, and our history for attracting talent from all around the globe.  And I’ve seen that talent in some of the young DREAMers that I’ve met who want to serve in our military, want to get an engineering degree, want to help build this country, want to start a business.  And I want to make sure that that American future is secured.
So we need to get immigration reform done.  And I’m going to be pushing hard to get it done early.  (Applause.)  
And we’re also going to have to make sure that we keep the American people safe, which means that we’re going to continue to work, even as we draw down our troops in Afghanistan, to go after those who would attack America.  
And we’ve got to be mindful about steps we can take to end the cycle of gun violence in this country.  And we should do so  — (applause) — recognizing that, again, there are regional differences here and we should respect those, and guns mean something different for somebody who grew up on a farm in a rural community than somebody who grew up in an inner city and they’re different realities and we have to respect them.  But what we know is the majority of responsible gun owners recognize we cannot have a situation in which 20 more of our children, or a 100 more of our children, or a 1,000 more of our children are shot and killed in a senseless fashion, and that there are some common-sense steps that we can take and build a consensus around. And we cannot shy away from taking those steps.
So the bottom line is this, people — we’ve got a lot of work to do.  What we’ve learned over the last four years — at least what I’ve learned over the last four years — is that it won’t be smooth; it won’t be simple.  There will be frustrations. There will be times when you guys are mad at me — (laughter) — and I’ll occasionally read about it.  But as long as we keep in mind why we came here in the first place; as long as we think back to whatever inspired each of us to say, maybe I can give something back, maybe I can make a difference, maybe my purpose here on Earth is not just thinking about what’s in it for me, but thinking about what’s in it for the broader community — for my neighborhood, for my state, for my country — if we keep that in mind every single day, I have no doubt that we will continue the extraordinary progress that we’ve made already.  
And as a byproduct of doing that good work and keeping that focus, I would expect that Nancy Pelosi is going to be Speaker again pretty soon.  (Applause.)   
All right?  So thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
1:12 P.M. EST



Make It In America Press Conference: New Additions to Job Creation Plan

By Jueseppi B.








House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), joined Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), John Tierney (MA-06), Mike Honda (CA-15), Linda Sanchez (CA-39), Kathy Hochul (NY-26), and other House Democrats at a press conference to discuss additional bills added to Democrats’ Make It In America plan.

“With millions of Americans still out of work through no fault of their own, we must approach job-creation with the seriousness and urgency this challenge deserves. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership has chosen instead to hold a vote repealing health reform again — a vote the House has already held thirty times this Congress.

“Our focus ought to be on finding economic solutions that will create jobs now and boost our competitiveness over the long term. Democrats’ Make It In America plan will do just that. And it does so by revitalizing our manufacturing sector.

“Indicators have shown that manufacturing is a bright spot in our recovery, but after two years of strong gains, we just witnessed a month of manufacturing contraction and slowed growth in earnings. We cannot risk letting our manufacturing growth falter. We must take this warning sign and treat it as a turning point.

“Over the past two years, Democrats have put forward Make It In America bills that will help us out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build our competitors — and create millions of well paying, middle-class jobs in the process. This week we are adding additional proposals to our Make It In America plan, and we are calling on the House leadership to put them on the Floor before the summer is over.

“These bills would invest in rebuilding our infrastructure to help move goods to market, enhance job skills training and education to prepare our workforce for manufacturing jobs, and enforce trade rules to ensure a level playing field.

Speaker Boehner said that he would allow the majority to work its will in this House. If these bills came to the Floor, I believe there would be a large, bipartisan majority of members voting in favor. That’s because Make It In America combines the best ideas from both parties and has strong support from both business and labor.

“Now is not the moment to hunker down; rather, it is a time to go on offense. And Make It In America is our economy’s best offensive play. Everyone here with me has been a leader in the Make It In America effort, and I’m going to give them the opportunity to talk about several of these new proposals in more detail.”









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“BARACK” The Vote



Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan “The First Gay President” Article.

By Jueseppi B.









Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama: The First Gay President

May 13, 2012 12:00 AM EDT

“The president’s bold support shifted the mainstream. Andrew Sullivan on why it shouldn’t be surprising—Obama’s life as a biracial man has deep ties to the gay experience.


It was the spring of 2007, back when Barack Obama’s bid for the presidency seemed quixotic at best. I’d seen Obama speak to a crowd and was impressed but wanted to see if what I’d seen from afar held up under closer scrutiny. So I asked to attend a private fundraiser in a tony apartment in Georgetown. I promised not to write anything. I just wanted to see the man up close and get a better sense of him and his character.


At one point in the question-and-answer session, a woman looked him square in the eyes with what can only be called maternal grit. “My son is gay,” she said, and the room went suddenly quiet. “I don’t understand why you don’t support his right to marry the person he loves. It’s so disappointing to me.” Obama, without losing eye contact for a second, told her: “I want full equality for your son—all the rights and benefits that marriage brings. I really do. But the word ‘marriage’ stirs up so much religious feeling. I think civil unions are the way to go. As long as they are equal.”


My heart sank. Was this obviously humane African-American actually advocating a “separate but equal” solution—a form of marital segregation like the one that made his own parents’ marriage a felony in many states when he was born? Hadn’t he already declared he supported marriage equality when he was running for the Illinois Senate in 1996? (The administration now claims that the questionnaire from the gay Chicago paper Outlines had been answered in type—not Obama’s writing—by somebody else.)


Hadn’t Jeremiah Wright’s church actually been a rare supporter of marriage equality among black churches? The sudden equivocation made no sense—except as pure political calculation. And yet it also felt strained, as if he knew it didn’t quite fit. He wanted equality but not marriage—but you cannot have one without the other. On this issue, Obama’s excruciating nonposition was essentially “Yes we can’t.” And yet somehow, simply by the way he answered that mother’s question, I didn’t believe it. I thought he was struggling between political calculation and his core belief in civil rights. And it was then that I realized he was both: a cold, steely, ruthless, calculating politician who nonetheless wanted to do the right thing in the end.


Last week he did it—in a move whose consequences are simply impossible to judge. White House sources told me that after the interview with ABC News, the president felt as if a weight had been lifted off him. Yes, he was bounced into it by Joe Biden, the lovable Irish-Catholic rogue who couldn’t help but tell the truth about his own views on TV (only to be immediately knocked down by David Axelrod on Twitter).


But Obama had been planning to endorse gay marriage before his reelection for a while. White House sources say that if Obama had been a state senator in New York last year when the Albany legislature legalized gay marriage, he’d have voted in favor. But no one asked. The “make news” reveal was scheduled for The View. In the end, scrambling to catch up with his veep, he turned to his fellow ESPN fan, Robin Roberts, a Christian African-American from Mississippi, to quell the sudden kerfuffle. Even this was calculated: to have this moment occur between two African-Americans would help Obama calm opposition within parts of the black community.


The interview, by coincidence, came the day after North Carolina voted emphatically to ban all rights for gay couples in the state constitution. For gay Americans and their families, the emotional darkness of Tuesday night became a canvas on which Obama could paint a widening dawn. But I didn’t expect it. Like many others, I braced myself for disappointment. And yet when I watched the interview, the tears came flooding down. The moment reminded me of my own wedding day.


I had figured it out in my head, but not my heart. And I was utterly unprepared for how psychologically transformative the moment would be. To have the president of the United States affirm my humanity—and the humanity of all gay Americans—was, unexpectedly, a watershed. He shifted the mainstream in one interview. And last week, a range of Democratic leaders—from Harry Reid to Steny Hoyer—backed the president, who moved an entire party behind a position that only a few years ago was regarded as simply preposterous. And in response, Mitt Romney could only stutter.


There was, of course, cold politics behind it. One in six of Obama’s fundraising bundlers is gay, and he needs their money. Wall Street has not backed him financially this year the way it did in 2008. A few Jewish donors have held back over Israel. And when Obama announced recently that he would not issue an executive order barring antigay discrimination for federal contractors, the gay donors all but threatened to leave him high and dry. The unity and intensity of the gay power brokers—absent in the defensive crouch of the Clinton years—proved that FDR’s maxim still applied: “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”


f money was one factor making the move necessary, the youth vote—essential to his demographic coalition and overwhelmingly pro–marriage equality—clinched the logic of it. The under-30s were looking worryingly apathetic, especially compared with 2008. This would fire them back up. And by taking a position directly counter to that of Mitt Romney, who favors a constitutional amendment to ban all rights for gay couples across the entire country, Obama advanced his key strategy to winning in the fall: to make this a choice election. If it is a choice election, he wins. If it is a referendum on the last four years of economic crisis, he could lose. And last week, especially after The Washington Post broke the news of Romney’s adolescent assault on a gay student, the choice could not have been starker.


The latest Gallup poll, moreover, offered another incentive. Marriage equality is now supported by half of Americans in polls. But more important is the nature of the support. Sixty-five percent of Democrats back marriage equality, compared with only 22 percent of Republicans. But independents favor gay marriage by 57 percent—far closer to the Democrats than the GOP. So it’s been confirmed: gay rights is indeed a wedge issue. But now—unlike 2004—it’s a wedge issue for the Democrats. Women, too, are more supportive of marriage equality—a further shoring up of the gender gap already widened by the spring’s chatter about contraception. Catholics? Whatever the bishops say, Catholics are second only to Jews in their support for gay marriage. Biden speaks for a lot of them.


All these are reasons to be skeptical of Obama’s motives, of how long it took, of whether this is pure and late opportunism. But when you step back a little and assess the record of Obama on gay rights, you see, in fact, that this was not an aberration. It was an inevitable culmination of three years of work. He did this the way he always does: leading from behind and playing the long game. He learned from Clinton that tackling this issue up front would only backfire, especially in a recession. So he bided his time. His first step was getting rid of the HIV travel ban, already signed by Bush, but not yet implemented. Again, the process dragged on for months—but the White House insisted it was better to have everything in perfect legal order so the change could not be challenged. It came through.




Don't Ask Don't Tell Repealed

President Barack Obama after signing “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal legislation. (Evan Vucci / AP)




Then he endured a hazing by gay activists and writers (including me) on his slow pace on gays in the military. But we were wrong. He made the brilliant calculation that he would not push it right away, as Clinton did, and he would not be the front person to advocate the change. Adm. Michael Mullen would do it, backed by Republican Defense Secretary Bob Gates. By bringing the military top brass and Gates slowly on board, he outmaneuvered the Republicans.


Even then, he almost ran out of time, but clinched it after the 2010 midterms. He worked our last gay nerves. But when an openly gay solider asked a question at a Republican debate, a photo of a lesbian couple kissing during a Navy homecoming was reprinted around the country, and a Navy veteran asked his Marine boyfriend to marry him in what was the first proposal involving two gay men on a U.S. military base, the sheer scope of the cultural change was astonishing.


On marriage too, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had already made the critical decision that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional on its face, that discrimination against homosexuals warranted heightened legal scrutiny, and that therefore the administration would no longer defend DOMA in court, as it had in its first two years. In other words, by February 2011, Obama and Holder put the significant weight of the Justice Department behind the constitutional logic of marriage equality. Immediately, the lawyers in the Proposition 8 case in California claimed this as a “material” or legally significant development.


It was. And, of course, if discriminating against gays in marriage violates the equal-protection clause, as the Justice Department claims, then DOMA is doomed. And in making that decision, Obama did far more to advance marriage equality substantively than he did in his recent interview. To add icing to the cake, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech for the first time asserting that, for the United States, gay rights were integral to human rights across the globe, and the U.S. would conduct diplomacy accordingly.


This, by any measure, is an astonishing pace of change in one presidential term. In four years Obama went from being JFK on civil rights to being LBJ: from giving uplifting speeches to acting in ways to make the inspiring words a reality. And he did so by co-opting the forces of resistance—like the military leadership. He fooled most of us much of the time, our outbursts often intemperate—I went on CNN at one point to say that the president had betrayed the gay community on the military ban. We snarked about the “fierce urgency of whenever.” Our anger built. And sometimes I wonder if he goaded us into “making him do it.” If he did, it worked.


And yet there is something on this subject with Obama that goes deeper in my view than cold, calculating politics and a commitment to civil rights. The core gay experience throughout history has been displacement, a sense of belonging and yet not belonging. Gays are born mostly into heterosexual families and discover as they grow up that, for some reason, they will never be able to have a marriage like their parents’ or their siblings’. They know this before they can tell anyone else, even their parents. This sense of subtle alienation—of loving your own family while feeling excluded from it—is something all gay children learn.


They sense something inchoate, a separateness from their peers, a subtle estrangement from their families, the first sharp pangs of shame. And then, at some point, they find out what it all means. In the past, they often would retreat and withdraw, holding a secret they couldn’t even share with their parents—living as an insider outsider.


And this, in a different way, is Obama’s life story as well. He was a black kid brought up by white grandparents and a white single mother in Hawaii and Indonesia, where his color really made no difference. He discovered his otherness when reading an old issue of Life magazine, which had a feature on African-Americans who had undergone an irreversible bleaching treatment to make them look white—because they believed being white was the only way to be happy. He wrote:


I felt my face and neck get hot. My stomach knotted; the type began to blur on the page … I had a desperate urge to jump out of my seat, to show [others] what I had learned, to demand some explanation or assurance. But something held me back. As in a dream, I had no voice for my newfound fear. By the time my mother came to take me home, my face wore a smile and the magazines were back in their proper place. The room, the air, was quiet as before.



Barack Obama had to come out of a different closet. He had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family. The America he grew up in had no space for a boy like him: black yet enveloped by loving whiteness, estranged from a father he longed for (another common gay experience), hurtling between being a Barry and a Barack, needing an American racial identity as he grew older but chafing also against it and over-embracing it at times.


This is the gay experience: the discovery in adulthood of a community not like your own home and the struggle to belong in both places, without displacement, without alienation. It is easier today than ever. But it is never truly without emotional scar tissue. Obama learned to be black the way gays learn to be gay. And in Obama’s marriage to a professional, determined, charismatic black woman, he created a kind of family he never had before, without ever leaving his real family behind. He did the hard work of integration and managed to create a space in America for people who did not have the space to be themselves before. And then as president, he constitutionally represented us all.


I have always sensed that he intuitively understands gays and our predicament—because it so mirrors his own. And he knows how the love and sacrifice of marriage can heal, integrate, and rebuild a soul. The point of the gay-rights movement, after all, is not about helping people be gay. It is about creating the space for people to be themselves. This has been Obama’s life’s work. And he just enlarged the space in this world for so many others, trapped in different cages of identity, yearning to be released and returned to the families they love and the dignity they deserve.”


Thank You Mr. Andrew Sullivan.







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