Full Text Obama Presidency December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Nominating Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Senator John Kerry to Serve as Secretary of State

Source: WH, 12-21-12

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Sen. John Kerry to serve as Secretary of State (December 21, 2012)President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Sen. John Kerry, right, to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 21, 2012. Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, watch at left. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

This afternoon, speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry to serve as Secretary of State.

“Over these many years, John has earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world,” the President said. “He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training. He has earned the respect and trust of his Senate colleagues, Democrats and Republicans. I think it’s fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers, or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry. And this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.”

The President also made a point to thank Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator Kerry’s wife.

“As someone who came to this country as an immigrant, she understands the shining values that America represents to the world,” he said. “As a former interpreter at the United Nations, she appreciates how our interests can be advanced in partnership with others. Teresa, thank you so much for being John’s partner in this next endeavor.”

Read the full remarks here

Remarks by the President at Nomination of Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State

Roosevelt Room

1:40 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  When I took office, our nation was engaged in two wars, and al Qaeda was entrenched in their safe havens.  Many of our alliances were frayed, and America’s standing in the world had suffered.

Over the past four years, we’ve begun a new era of American leadership.  We ended the war in Iraq, put the al Qaeda core on the path to defeat, and we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan.  We’ve strengthened our alliances, including in Asia; forged new coalitions to meet global challenges; and stood up for human dignity, from North Africa to the Middle East to Burma.  We still, of course, face great challenges.  But today, I can say with pride that the United States is safer, stronger and more respected in the world.

In this work, I’ve been grateful for an extraordinary national security team.  Tom Donilon has been a part of that, and I’m grateful to him.  Of course, one of the most important people in this whole transformation has been our outstanding Secretary of State, my friend, Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Hillary wanted very much to be here today, but she continues to recuperate.  I had a chance to talk to her earlier today, and she is in good spirits and could not be more excited about the announcement that I’m making.

Over the last four years, Hillary has been everywhere — both in terms of her travels, which have seen her represent America in more countries than any previous Secretary of State, and through her tireless work to restore our global leadership.  And she’s looking forward to getting back to work, and I am looking forward to paying tribute to her extraordinary service in the days to come.

Today, though, I’m looking ahead to my second term, and I am very proud to announce my choice for America’s next Secretary of State — John Kerry.

In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role.  As the son of a Foreign Service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the State Department — the role they play in advancing our interests and values, the risks that they undertake and the sacrifices that they make along with their families.

Having served with valor in Vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use American power wisely, especially our military power.  And he knows, from personal experience, that when we send our troops into harm’s way, we must give them the sound strategy, a clear mission, and the resources that they need to get the job done.

In an extraordinarily distinguished Senate career — and as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee — John has played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years.

As we turn the page on a decade of war, he understands that we’ve got to harness all elements of American power and ensure that they’re working together — diplomatic and development, economic and political, military and intelligence — as well as the power of our values which inspire so many people around the world.

As John has said, we are an exceptional nation “not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things.”  And I’d say that one of the more exceptional things we’ve seen in recent decades was when John helped lead the way, along with folks like John McCain and others, to restore our diplomatic ties with Vietnam.  And when he returned to the country where he and so many others had fought so long ago, it sent a powerful message of progress and of healing.

Over these many years, John has earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world.  He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training.  He has earned the respect and trust of his Senate colleagues, Democrats and Republicans.  I think it’s fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers, or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry.  And this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.

On a personal level, John has been a great friend.  I’ve appreciated John’s partnership in helping to advance so many of my foreign policy priorities, including the ratification of the New START Treaty.  I’ve called on his talents and diplomatic skills on several occasions, on complex challenges from Sudan and South Sudan to the situation in Afghanistan.  And each time he has been exemplary.

Of course, I also have to say thanks because John invited a young Illinois state senator to address the Democratic Convention in Boston.  I was proud to serve with him on the Foreign Relations Committee under the tutelage of Joe Biden — (laughter) — and where we all became friends.  But of course nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep.  (Laughter.)

John, I’m looking forward to working with you instead of debating you.  (Laughter.)

Finally, I want to thank Teresa.  As someone who came to this country as an immigrant, she understands the shining values that America represents to the world.  As a former interpreter at the United Nations, she appreciates how our interests can be advanced in partnership with others.  Teresa, thank you so much for being John’s partner in this next endeavor.

I have to say I think I speak for John and Joe and myself  — we just left Danny Inouye’s funeral, a man who exemplified the very best of the U.S. Senate tradition.  And so, I know that, John, it won’t be easy to leave the Senate that you love.  And I think it’s fair to say that there are going to be some great challenges ahead.  An uncertain world will continue to test our nation.

But even with all the challenges that we face, I have never been more confident, more optimistic, that if we act with wisdom and with purpose, and if we’re guided by our values, and we remind what binds us together as Americans, the United States will continue to lead in this world for our lifetimes.

So, John, I am very grateful that you’ve agreed to take on this new assignment.  I’m confident that the Senate will confirm you quickly.  I guess you won’t be able to actually appear and preside at the same time — (laughter) — so we’ll have to figure out how that works, but I know that you are going to be an outstanding Secretary of State.

Thank you so much.  Congratulations.  (Applause.)

END
1:45 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Funeral Service for Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye at Washington’s National Cathedral

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Pays Tribute to Senator Daniel Inouye

Source: WH, 12-21-12

President Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel InouyePresident Barack Obama speaks at the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This afternoon, President Obama spoke at the funeral service for Daniel Inouye, the late senator from Hawaii.

President Obama explained that he first took notice of Senator Inouye as an 11-year-old boy, watching the Watergate hearings on TV.

Now, here I was, a young boy with a white mom, a black father, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.  And I was beginning to sense how fitting into the world might not be as simple as it might seem.  And so to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who wasn’t out of central casting when it came to what you’d think a senator might look like at the time, and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.

This was a man who as a teenager stepped up to serve his country even after his fellow Japanese Americans were declared enemy aliens. A man who believed in America even when its government didn’t necessarily believe in him. That meant something to me. It gave me a powerful sense — one that I couldn’t put into words — a powerful sense of hope.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel InouyePresident Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attend the funeral service for Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2012. Senator Inouye’s family is at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration,” President Obama said.

And as I watched those hearings, listening to Danny ask all those piercing questions night after night, I learned something else. I learned how our democracy was supposed to work, our government of and by and for the people; that we had a system of government where nobody is above the law, where we have an obligation to hold each other accountable, from the average citizen to the most powerful of leaders, because these things that we stand for, these ideals that we hold dear are bigger than any one person or party or politician.

And, somehow, nobody communicated that more effectively than Danny Inouye.

Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton also spoke at the service.

Remarks by the President at the Funeral Service for Senator Daniel Ken Inouye

Source: WH, 12-21-12

National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

11:50 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  To Irene, Ken, Jennifer, Danny’s friends and former colleagues, it is an extraordinary honor to be here with you in this magnificent place to pay tribute to a man who would probably we wondering what all the fuss is about.

This Tuesday was in many ways a day like any other.  The sun rose; the sun set; the great work of our democracy carried on.  But in a fundamental sense it was different.  It was the first day in many of our lives — certainly my own — that the halls of the United States Congress were not graced by the presence of Daniel Ken Inouye.

Danny was elected to the U.S. Senate when I was two years old.  He had been elected to Congress a couple of years before I was born.  He would remain my senator until I left Hawaii for college.

Now, even though my mother and grandparents took great pride that they had voted for him, I confess that I wasn’t paying much attention to the United States Senate at the age of four or five or six.  It wasn’t until I was 11 years old that I recall even learning what a U.S. senator was, or it registering, at least.  It was during my summer vacation with my family — my first trip to what those of us in Hawaii call the Mainland.

So we flew over the ocean, and with my mother and my grandmother and my sister, who at the time was two, we traveled around the country.  It was a big trip.  We went to Seattle, and we went to Disneyland — which was most important.  We traveled to Kansas where my grandmother’s family was from, and went to Chicago, and went to Yellowstone.  And we took Greyhound buses most of the time, and we rented cars, and we would stay at local motels or Howard Johnson’s.  And if there was a pool at one of these motels, even if it was just tiny, I would be very excited. And the ice machine was exciting — and the vending machine, I was really excited about that.

But this is at a time when you didn’t have 600 stations and 24 hours’ worth of cartoons.  And so at night, if the TV was on, it was what your parents decided to watch.  And my mother that summer would turn on the TV every night during this vacation and watch the Watergate hearings.  And I can’t say that I understood everything that was being discussed, but I knew the issues were important.  I knew they spoke to some basic way about who we were and who we might be as Americans.

And so, slowly, during the course of this trip, which lasted about a month, some of this seeped into my head.  And the person who fascinated me most was this man of Japanese descent with one arm, speaking in this courtly baritone, full of dignity and grace.  And maybe he captivated my attention because my mom explained that this was our senator and that he was upholding what our government was all about.  Maybe it was a boyhood fascination with the story of how he had lost his arm in a war.  But I think it was more than that.

Now, here I was, a young boy with a white mom, a black father, raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.  And I was beginning to sense how fitting into the world might not be as simple as it might seem.  And so to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who wasn’t out of central casting when it came to what you’d think a senator might look like at the time, and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation I think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life.

This was a man who as a teenager stepped up to serve his country even after his fellow Japanese Americans were declared enemy aliens; a man who believed in America even when its government didn’t necessarily believe in him.  That meant something to me.  It gave me a powerful sense — one that I couldn’t put into words — a powerful sense of hope.

And as I watched those hearings, listening to Danny ask all those piercing questions night after night, I learned something else.  I learned how our democracy was supposed to work, our government of and by and for the people; that we had a system of government where nobody is above the law, where we have an obligation to hold each other accountable, from the average citizen to the most powerful of leaders, because these things that we stand for, these ideals that we hold dear are bigger than any one person or party or politician.

And, somehow, nobody communicated that more effectively than Danny Inouye.  You got a sense, as Joe mentioned, of just a fundamental integrity; that he was a proud Democrat, but most importantly, he was a proud American.  And were it not for those two insights planted in my head at the age of 11, in between Disneyland and a trip to Yellowstone, I might never have considered a career in public service.  I might not be standing here today.

I think it’s fair to say that Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration.  And then, for me to have the privilege of serving with him, to be elected to the United States Senate and arrive, and one of my first visits is to go to his office, and for him to greet me as a colleague, and treat me with the same respect that he treated everybody he met, and to sit me down and give me advice about how the Senate worked and then regale me with some stories about wartime and his recovery — stories full of humor, never bitterness, never boastfulness,  just matter-of-fact — some of them I must admit a little off-color.  I couldn’t probably repeat them in the cathedral.  (Laughter.)  There’s a side of Danny that — well.

Danny once told his son his service to this country had been for the children, or all the sons and daughters who deserved to grow up in a nation that never questioned their patriotism.  This is my country, he said.  Many of us have fought hard for the right to say that.  And, obviously, Rick Shinseki described what it meant for Japanese Americans, but my point is, is that when he referred to our sons and daughters he wasn’t just talking about Japanese Americans.  He was talking about all of us.  He was talking about those who serve today who might have been excluded in the past.  He’s talking about me.

And that’s who Danny was.  For him, freedom and dignity were not abstractions.  They were values that he had bled for, ideas he had sacrificed for, rights he understood as only someone can who has had them threatened, had them taken away.

The valor that earned him our nation’s highest military decoration — a story so incredible that when you actually read the accounts, you think this — you couldn’t make this up.  It’s like out of an action movie.  That valor was so rooted in a deep and abiding love of this country.  And he believed, as we say in Hawaii that we’re a single ‘ohana — that we’re one family.  And he devoted his life to making that family strong.

After experiencing the horror of war himself, Danny also felt a profound connection to those who followed.  It wasn’t unusual for him to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with a veteran or a fellow amputee, trading stories, telling jokes — two heroes, generations apart, sharing an unspoken bond that was forged in battle and tempered in peace.  In no small measure because of Danny’s service, our military is, and will always remain, the best in the world, and we recognize our sacred obligation to give our veterans the care they deserve.

Of course, Danny didn’t always take credit for the difference he made.  Ever humble, one of the only landmarks that bear his name is a Marine Corps mess hall in Hawaii.  And when someone asked him how he wanted to be remembered, Danny said, “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability.  I think I did okay.”

Danny, you were more than okay.  You were extraordinary.

It’s been mentioned that Danny ended his convention speech in Chicago in 1968 with the word, “aloha.”  “To some of you who visited us, it may have meant hello,” he said, but “To others, it may have meant goodbye.  Those of us who’ve been privileged to live in Hawaii understand aloha means I love you.”

And as someone who has been privileged to live in Hawaii, I know that he embodied the very best of that spirit, the very best of “aloha.”  It’s fitting it was the last word that Danny spoke on this Earth.  He may have been saying goodbye to us.  Maybe he was saying hello to someone waiting on the other side.  But it was a final expression most of all of his love for the family and friends that he cared so much about, for the men and women he was honored to serve with, for the country that held such a special place in his heart.

And so we remember a man who inspired all of us with his courage, and moved us with his compassion, that inspired us with his integrity, and who taught so many of us — including a young kid growing up in Hawaii –– that America has a place for everyone.

May God bless Daniel Inouye.  And may God grant us more souls like his.

END
11:58 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Headlines December 21, 2012: Speaker John Boehner & Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Press Conference on Fiscal Cliff: House Has Passed Bills to Avert Entire Fiscal Cliff; Now President Obama & His Senate Must Take Action

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Speaker Boehner: House Has Passed Bills to Avert Entire Fiscal Cliff; Now President Obama & His Senate Must Take Action

Source: Speaker Boehner Press Office, 12-21-12

At a press conference today with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) underscored the need for President Obama and his Democratic-controlled Senate to take action to avert the massive tax hikes and replace the defense sequester scheduled to take effect in just 10 days.  As Speaker Boehner noted, the House has already passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff, and it is now up to the Democrats who run Washington to get serious about the spending cuts and entitlement reforms needed to address our debt and resolve the fiscal cliff. Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks:

“As you know, the House did not take up the tax bill last night because we didn’t have the votes to pass it.  It’s not the outcome that I wanted, but that was the will of the House.

“So, unless the President and Congress take action, tax rates will go up on every American taxpayer and devastating defense cuts will go into effect in ten days.

“The House has already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff.  We passed a bill replacing the president’s sequester with responsible spending cuts and did it last May.  We passed a bill to stop all the tax hikes on the American people scheduled to take effect January 1, and we did that on August 1.  And we’ve proposed plans over and over again that Democrats used to support, but now they won’t.

“I don’t want taxes to go up. Republicans don’t want taxes to go up.  But we only run the House, the Democrats continue to run Washington.

“What the president has proposed so far simply won’t do anything to solve our spending problem.  He wants more spending and more tax hikes that will hurt our economy.  And he simply won’t deal honestly with entitlement reform and the big issues that are facing our country. 

“We need significant spending cuts and real tax reform to address our long-term debt problem and pave the way for long-term growth and real growth in jobs in our country.

We’ll continue to work with our colleagues in the House and the Senate on a plan that protects families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff.”

Political Headlines December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama to Nominate John Kerry to Succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry to Be Nominated to Succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-21-12

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

President Obama will on Friday nominate Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state, likely succeeding Hillary Clinton, sources confirmed to ABC News.

Kerry, 69, the Massachusetts Democrat who was his party’s nominee for president in 2004, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is unlikely to face fierce opposition from senators across the aisle….READ MORE

%d bloggers like this: