Political Headlines April 18, 2013: Bipartisan Gang of 8 Senators Unveiled Historic Immigration Bill

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Bipartisan Senators Roll Out Historic Immigration Bill

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-19-13

There they stood: four Democrats and four Republicans, the Senate Gang of 8, publicly promising to fight for an immigration reform bill introduced Tuesday.

The bill would beef up border security with $4.5 billion worth of drones, sensors and border patrol agents, while offering America’s undocumented a 13-year path to citizenship if they undergo background checks, pay fines, keep clear of felonies, and learn English and civics….READ MORE

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Political Headlines April 18, 2013: Harry Reid to ‘Hit Pause’ on Gun Background Check Bill

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Harry Reid to ‘Hit Pause’ on Gun Background Check Bill

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-18-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that it was time to take a breath and regroup in the wake of a sweeping defeat on gun legislation this week.

“I’ve spoken with the president,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “He and I agree that the best way to keep working towards passing a background check bill is to hit a pause and freeze the background check bill where it is.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines April 18, 2013: How much grief can we and President Obama take?

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

How much grief can we and Obama take?

Source: Washington Post (blog), 4-18-13

How many times has President Obama had to do this? How many times has he had to console a grieving community and a shocked nation?…READ MORE

Political Headlines April 18, 2013: House Speaker John Boehner & Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Upcoming Congressional Showdowns

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Boehner, Pelosi on Upcoming Congressional Showdowns

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-18-13

Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg

After a “rough” week across the country, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both addressed tragedy and strategy in their weekly news conferences on Thursday, offering their condolences to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

“Words alone cannot console the loved ones, but we will do what we can to care for them,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “With the investigation ongoing, we will make sure that justice is done.”

“Our hearts go out to the victims and the people of Boston,” Boehner, R-Ohio, added. “[I’m] glad the president’s up there today, and I add my prayers to his.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech to First Responders and Volunteers About their Response to the Boston Marathon Bombing, at Cathedral High School, Boston, MA

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President to First Responders and Volunteers in Boston, MA

Source: WH, 4-18-13 

Cathedral High School
Boston, Massachusetts

12:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.  Well, listen, we just had a wonderful interfaith service, and I want to thank Governor Patrick for helping to organize that.  I want to thank both the Governor and your extraordinary Mayor, Tom Menino — (applause) — for the incredible leadership and cool under pressure, the organization, the mobilization and the courage that they have shown reflective of this great city and reflective of this great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Now, I’m not going to speak long.  I’m just — he started calling me Reverend Obama, so I know — (laughter) — I know I was — I don’t want to go on any longer than I need to.  The main message, in addition to just giving — having a chance to shake some hands and give some hugs, is just to say how proud the whole country is of you — (applause) — how grateful we are — how grateful we are that in the face of chaos and tragedy, all of you displayed the very best of the American spirit.

You displayed grit.  You displayed compassion.  You displayed civic duty.  You displayed courage.  And when we see that kind of spirit, there’s something about that that’s infectious.  It makes us all want to be better people.  You’ve inspired the entire country.  You’ve inspired the world.  And for that, you should be profoundly proud.

But as Deval and I were talking as we were driving in from the airport, the key is that we hang on to a little bit of that, because it’s right there under the surface every day.  And it expresses itself, obviously, in the Marathon.  It expresses itself in Patriot’s Day.  It expresses itself in all the small interactions, the gestures of kindness and generosity and tolerance and compassion that make up the fabric of our lives.  And we don’t always pay attention to it, and we don’t always celebrate, and it’s certainly not usually on a television screen, it’s not always reported on.  But that’s who we are.

And if there’s anything that was a theme in that interfaith service it’s that out of these ashes, out of the blood that’s spilled and the injuries borne, out of that, we get a chance to see and highlight and appreciate that spirit.  And we’ve got to sustain it, because in all of our lives at some point there are going to be some troubles, and there’s evil in the world, and there’s hardship.  But if that spirit is evident and manifest, and that’s what we’re teaching our kids and that’s what we’re embodying in our own lives, then who can stop us?  Who can touch us?  (Applause.)

So thank you, everybody.  I’m proud of you.  I’m proud of Boston.  And as I just said, I’m looking forward to the 118th Boston Marathon.  God bless you.  (Applause.)

END
12:39 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama to Boston at the Memorial Service for Boston Marathon Bombing Victims: ‘You will run again’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

President Obama to Boston: ‘You will run again’

Source: Politico, 4-18-13

President Barack Obama delivered a message of resilience and recovery as he renewed his pledge that the country would stand by this city still recovering from Monday’s Marathon bombings — and that those responsible would be found.

“We may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up, we’ll keep going. We will finish the race,” he said, speaking at the end of the interfaith “Healing Our City” service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at an Interfaith Memorial Service for Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston — Transcript

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama’s Remarks at Boston Service

Source: NYT, 4-18-13

In Boston, Obama Praises Spirit of City: Mourning the victims of the marathon bombings, President Obama spoke at a church service titled “Healing Our City” at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He also praised the spirit of the city.

The following is a transcript of President Obama’s remarks at an interfaith memorial service for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on Thursday, as provided by the White House.

MR. OBAMA: Hello, Boston!

Scripture tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Run with endurance the race that is set before us.

On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened off the Statehouse dome. In the Common and the Public Garden, spring was in bloom. On this Patriot’s Day, like so many before, fans jumped onto the T to see the Sox at Fenway. In Hopkinton, runners laced up their shoes and set out on a 26.2-mile test of dedication and grit and the human spirit. And across this city, hundreds of thousands of Bostonians lined the streets — to hand the runners cups of water and to cheer them on.

It was a beautiful day to be in Boston — a day that explains why a poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place. Boston, he said, “is the perfect state of grace.”

And then, in an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy. And so we come together to pray, and mourn, and measure our loss. But we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace — to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted, and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed.

To Governor Patrick; Mayor Menino; Cardinal O’Malley and all the faith leaders who are here; Governors Romney, Swift, Weld and Dukakis; members of Congress; and most of all, the people of Boston and the families who’ve lost a piece of your heart. We thank you for your leadership. We thank you for your courage. We thank you for your grace.

I’m here today on behalf of the American people with a simple message: Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you.

Because, after all, it’s our beloved city, too. Boston may be your hometown, but we claim it, too. It’s one of America’s iconic cities. It’s one of the world’s great cities. And one of the reasons the world knows Boston so well is that Boston opens its heart to the world.

Over successive generations, you’ve welcomed again and again new arrivals to our shores — immigrants who constantly reinvigorated this city and this commonwealth and our nation. Every fall, you welcome students from all across America and all across the globe, and every spring you graduate them back into the world — a Boston diaspora that excels in every field of human endeavor. Year after year, you welcome the greatest talents in the arts and science, research — you welcome them to your concert halls and your hospitals and your laboratories to exchange ideas and insights that draw this world together.

And every third Monday in April, you welcome people from all around the world to the Hub for friendship and fellowship and healthy competition — a gathering of men and women of every race and every religion, every shape and every size; a multitude represented by all those flags that flew over the finish line.

So whether folks come here to Boston for just a day, or they stay here for years, they leave with a piece of this town tucked firmly into their hearts. So Boston is your hometown, but we claim it a little bit, too.

I know this because there’s a piece of Boston in me. You welcomed me as a young law student across the river; welcomed Michelle, too. You welcomed me during a convention when I was still a state senator and very few people could pronounce my name right. (Laughter.)

Like you, Michelle and I have walked these streets. Like you, we know these neighborhoods. And like you, in this moment of grief, we join you in saying — “Boston, you’re my home.” For millions of us, what happened on Monday is personal. It’s personal.

Today our prayers are with the Campbell family of Medford. They’re here today. Their daughter, Krystle, was always smiling. Those who knew her said that with her red hair and her freckles and her ever-eager willingness to speak her mind, she was beautiful, sometimes she could be a little noisy, and everybody loved her for it. She would have turned 30 next month. As her mother said through her tears, “This doesn’t make any sense.”

Our prayers are with the Lu family of China, who sent their daughter, Lingzi, to BU so that she could experience all this city has to offer. She was a 23-year-old student, far from home. And in the heartache of her family and friends on both sides of a great ocean, we’re reminded of the humanity that we all share.

Our prayers are with the Richard family of Dorchester — to Denise and their young daughter, Jane, as they fight to recover. And our hearts are broken for 8-year-old Martin — with his big smile and bright eyes. His last hours were as perfect as an 8-year-old boy could hope for — with his family, eating ice cream at a sporting event. And we’re left with two enduring images of this little boy — forever smiling for his beloved Bruins, and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster board: “No more hurting people. Peace.”

No more hurting people. Peace.

Our prayers are with the injured -— so many wounded, some gravely. From their beds, some are surely watching us gather here today. And if you are, know this: As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you. Your commonwealth is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again. You will run again.

Because that’s what the people of Boston are made of. Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that Deval described, the values that make us who we are, as Americans — well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. Not here in Boston. Not here in Boston.

You’ve shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion. In the face of those who would visit death upon innocents, we will choose to save and to comfort and to heal. We’ll choose friendship. We’ll choose love.

Scripture teaches us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” And that’s the spirit you’ve displayed in recent days.

When doctors and nurses, police and firefighters and EMTs and Guardsmen run towards explosions to treat the wounded — that’s discipline.

When exhausted runners, including our troops and veterans — who never expected to see such carnage on the streets back home — become first responders themselves, tending to the injured — that’s real power.

When Bostonians carry victims in their arms, deliver water and blankets, line up to give blood, open their homes to total strangers, give them rides back to reunite with their families — that’s love.

That’s the message we send to those who carried this out and anyone who would do harm to our people. Yes, we will find you. And, yes, you will face justice. We will find you. We will hold you accountable. But more than that; our fidelity to our way of life — to our free and open society — will only grow stronger. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline.

Like Bill Iffrig, 78 years old — the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast — we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race. In the words of Dick Hoyt, who’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, in 31 Boston Marathons — “We can’t let something like this stop us.” This doesn’t stop us.

And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us — to push on. To persevere. To not grow weary. To not get faint. Even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches. We summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on. We finish the race. We finish the race.

And we do that because of who we are. And we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody is there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. We know that.

And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence — these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build, and think somehow that makes them important — that’s what they don’t understand. Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be — that is our power. That’s our strength.

That’s why a bomb can’t beat us. That’s why we don’t hunker down. That’s why we don’t cower in fear. We carry on. We race. We strive. We build, and we work, and we love — and we raise our kids to do the same. And we come together to celebrate life, and to walk our cities, and to cheer for our teams. When the Sox and Celtics and Patriots or Bruins are champions again — to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans — (laughter) — the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street.

And this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it.

Tomorrow, the sun will rise over Boston. Tomorrow, the sun will rise over this country that we love. This special place. This state of grace.

Scripture tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” As we do, may God hold close those who’ve been taken from us too soon. May He comfort their families. And may He continue to watch over these United States of America.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Explosion in West, Texas

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement from the President on the Explosion in West, Texas

Source: WH, 4-18-13 

Today our prayers go out to the people of West, Texas in the aftermath of last night’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant.   A tight-knit community has been shaken, and good, hard-working people have lost their lives.  I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to contain the situation and treat the wounded.  My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue.  West is a town that many Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people.

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