Full Text Political Transcripts December 1, 2016: Obamas Attend Last National Christmas Tree Lighting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Full Text Political Transcripts December 1, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump Thank You Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio

Full Text Political Transcripts December 1, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump, VP-elect Mike Pence Speeches at Indianapolis Carrier Plant

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump, VP-elect Mike Pence Speeches at Indianapolis Carrier Plant

Politics November 30, 2016: Nancy Pelosi to remain House Democratic Minority Leader after re-election vote

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 02: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), speaks to the media during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, December 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. Earlier this week Pelosi won the House Democratic Leadership election, after a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 02: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), speaks to the media during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, December 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. Earlier this week Pelosi won the House Democratic Leadership election, after a challenge from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D -CA) staved off challenger Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), to remain the House Democratic Minority Leader for the 115th Congress. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, House Democrats voted 134-63 in a closed-door meeting to keep Pelosi in as minority leader. The Nov. 15 elections were delayed at the closed-door meeting by request after the Nov. 8, election. Soon after Ryan, 43 announced his plans to challenge Pelosi, 76, but was unable to garner enough support to unseat her.

The Democratic caucus requested a delay in the elections of the Democratic House leadership posts at their Nov. 15 meeting. They were dissatisfied with Pelosi’s leadership and the direction of the party after their losses in the election. House Democrats picked up just six seats, lost the presidency and only picked up two Senate seats. Democrats wanted Pelosi to make changes in the leadership; she promises to every new session but never follows through. Democrats also needed time to reflect on the election and the message the American public sent the party.

Ryan announced his intention to challenge Pelosi on Nov. 17. Ryan argued the need for change after the Democrats crushing election defeat. He said the party needed a younger leadership and vision that would focus on the Democrats “economic message” and “geographic outreach.” Ryan told ABC News, “Donald Trump is the president, that is how bad we are out of touch, that the backbone of our party went and voted for Donald Trump, and I say that’s out fault. Clearly we have got to do something much different. We have to connect to these working-class voters and we have a broad coalition.” Ryan has been in the House representing first Ohio’s 13th district since he was elected in 2003.

The Ohio representative announced his candidacy with a letter to the Democratic caucus. Ryan wrote, “I have spent countless hours meeting and talking to Members of our Caucus, and the consensus is clear. What we are doing right now is not working. While having a position in Democratic Leadership has never been my life’s ambition, after this election I believe we all need to re-evaluate our roles within the Caucus, the Democratic Party, and our country. That is why I am announcing my run for Minority Leader of the Democratic Caucus and humbly request your support.” Only 11 House members publicly declared their support for Ryan.

At that point, Pelosi dismissed Ryan’s challenge telling the press, “I’ve regularly had some opponents. House Democrats must be unified, strategic, and unwavering.” Pelosi has been the Democratic House leader for 13 years, and during four of those years from 2007 to 2011, she was the first female Speaker of the House.  Previously, Pelosi served as Democratic Whip. President Barack Obama essentially endorsed Pelosi, saying, “I cannot speak highly enough of Nancy Pelosi. She combines strong, progressive values with just extraordinary political skill.”

The following is the lineup this far for the new House Democratic leadership positions:

Minority (Democratic) Leadership:
Minority Leader: Nancy Pelosi
Minority Whip: Steny Hoyer
Assistant Democratic Leader: Jim Clyburn

Democratic Leadership:
Caucus Chairman: Joe Crowley
Caucus Vice-Chairman: Linda Sánchez
Campaign Committee Chairman: Ben Ray Luján

Full Text Political Transcripts November 29, 2016: First Lady Michelle Obama at the Annual Holiday Press Preview

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the First Lady at Annual Holiday Press Preview

Source: WH, 11-29-16

This year’s theme: The gift of service and sacrifice

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East Room

1:35 P.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA:  Hi, everybody!  Look how good you guys look.  You ready for some action?

AUDIENCE:  Yes.

MRS. OBAMA:  Are you sure?  I don’t know, you sound like you don’t want cookies or anything like that.  (Laughter.)  You think you want some cookies?  You think so?  Okay, well, we’re going to get to it, but first I want to welcome everyone to the White House.

I want to start by thanking Hazel for that wonderful introduction and for all of her service and hard work in helping to make this home so beautiful.  I want to give a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, as Hazel mentioned, who traveled here from 33 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico to come here and put up these beautiful decorations and transform this White House into this holiday wonderland.  So I’m so grateful to you all.

And as we celebrate my family’s last holiday season in the White House, I’m thinking back to when we first came here to Washington and we promised to open up this house to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible.  And we truly wanted to make the White House the “People’s House,” particularly during the holiday seasons.  And over the past eight years, through the seasons, we’ve worked hard to achieve that goal by welcoming almost a half million guests to this house during the season.  And thanks to our amazing volunteers, we’ve adorned the White House with about a half million ornaments for our guests to enjoy, and we’ve brought smiles to the faces of all those who enjoyed the 200,000 holiday cookies prepared by our outstanding pastry chefs.  And you all will get to have some more of those today.  That will make 200,020 or so.

So, looking back, I am proud to say that we did our very best during the holidays to make Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life feel comfortable and welcome here in our nation’s house.  Now, we do all of this with the help of our extraordinary staff.  I mean, yes, we have wonderful volunteers, but we have folks who, each year, take a very limited budget and very little resources, and they make miracles happen in this house.

So, for our final holiday preview, I just want to take a moment to highlight just a few of the amazing folks who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes.  And I don’t know if they know I’m calling them out — I don’t even know if they’re in the room.  But I want to start with Deesha Dyer, who is the office — our Social Secretary.

MS. DYER:  I’m here.  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Deesha, there you are.  There’s Deesha.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Deesha.  And you’re going to see Cris Comerford and Susie Morrison.  Cris is our Executive Chef and Susie is our Executive Pastry Chef.  I want to thank them both, as well as all of the chefs, all of the staff in the kitchen who worked so hard to do everything possible to make these holidays terrific.

I want to thank all of our ushers who never get credit.  I know they’re around here working away, but they’re the people who greet you, and they make sure that things are moving like they should in this house — our florists, who are tremendous.  And I rarely get to thank our electricians, our carpenters, because they make sure that chandeliers are moved and structures are built so that we can put things on, and they do this in a matter of days.  They turn this house upside down.  And to our calligraphers — you’ll see all their handiwork throughout the ornaments.  And I also always want to thank our incredible Marine Band, who you hear from throughout the season.  My husband’s favorite musical crew are his own Marine Band.

This is all possible because of all of these people.  And on behalf of the entire Obama family — me, Barack, Malia, Sasha, Grandma, Bo and Sunny — (laughter) — we are so proud of this team here, so proud of the time that we spent with you.  We’re grateful for everything you’ve done for us over the years.  So let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)

So before I get choked up, let me officially kick off our final White House holiday season.  And as always, today, we are celebrating with our extraordinary military community, our military families.  We have our servicemembers.  We have veterans here today.  We have wounded warriors.  We have our military spouses!  (Applause.)  You go, spouses.  And of course, we have our outstanding, handsome, beautiful, smart, talented, engaging military kids.  Are there any here?  Oh here they are.  (Laughter.)  Let’s give them all a round of applause.  (Applause.)

For the past eight years, celebrating the holidays and having you all be the first that see the decorations, this has been one of our favorite White House traditions.  It reminds us that between all the shopping lists and the travel plans and all those big meals, that we cannot forget what the holidays are really about, and you all help us.  Our military families like all of you remind us of what matters.  Because even as you serve this country in uniform, or you hold everything together here at home as a military spouse, or you prepare to attend another new school as a military kid —

(A baby in the audience interrupts.)

MRS. OBAMA:  — and there’s that one back there talking about I don’t know what, but there’s a little one back there who has a lot to say.  (Laughter.)  But you all still find time to contribute even more to your communities and to this country.

You do it all.  You volunteer at local food banks.  You coach your kids’ sports teams on the weekends.  Many of you have even cut your Thanksgiving holiday short to come here and decorate the White House.

Just another example — we have Hazel up here — but one of our volunteers, her name is Jacqueline James.  She’s from Redlands, California.  Is Jacqueline here so we can really embarrass her?  She’s probably still working.  We’re going to do another reception for our volunteers later.  But let me tell you a little bit about Jacqueline.

During her husband’s 22 years in the Army, her family — she and her family, they spent the holidays in five different states and even on a base overseas.  During that time they managed to raise seven kids.  And just two weeks ago, they celebrated the birth of their fifteenth grandchild.  But their family’s service to this country did not end when Jacqueline’s husband retired, as they watched two of their sons do tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  And even though Jacqueline doesn’t consider herself the most artistic decorator, she volunteered at the White House this year because — and this is what she said — she said, “If patriotism is an art,” she said, “then I am a master.”

It’s that kind of commitment to serving others, that’s what the holidays are truly about and that’s what we honor with our holiday decorations every year at the White House.  And this year’s holiday theme is “The Gift of the Holidays.”  And as usual, we’re going to be celebrating our country’s greatest gifts with special decorations celebrating our military families.

Down in the Booksellers, when you walk in, the visitors that come will see a tree and a flag display composed of pictures of military families who my husband and I have met on bases and in communities around the world over the course of our time here.  The tree is hung with gold ornaments honoring America’s greatest heroes, the men and women who have given their lives for our country.  And right next to those displays is an iPad station that allows guests to send holiday wishes to our servicemembers, and we are hoping that each of the 68,000 guests that are going to visit during the holiday season will take a moment to pause and send a message to express their gratitude.

After that, they’ll move on to see a number of other decorations that celebrate the gifts we share as a nation.  For example, in the Library, we’re honoring the gift of a great education — which is important, right, school, college, all of that.  And we have trees in the Library made out of crayons and pencils, so you have to check that out if you haven’t already.  And to raise awareness about the millions of adolescent girls around the world who are not able to attend school, we’ve got two trees that are decorated with special ornaments, each of which has the word “girl” written in one of a dozen different languages.

So when guests head upstairs to this floor, they’re going to see that, in the Green Room, it’s filled with decorations representing the gifts provided by our White House Kitchen Garden with trees hung with ornaments in the shape of bees and fruit.  And of course, right next door, we have our 19-foot-tall White House Christmas tree.  It’s really big.  They have to take out the chandeliers and rearrange everything just to get the tree in the house.  And that’s in our Blue Room.  And in the State Dining Room, you’re going to spot the official White House gingerbread house.  So when you see it, guys, it’s made of all — everything on it is something you can eat.  And our pastry chefs have worked very hard to make this house possible.  It is beautiful.  They’ve got the replica of the new White House garden, and Bo and Sunny, and lots of cool stuff.

Now, the trees in that room — there are 56 LEGO gingerbread houses representing every state and territory in America.  And then somewhere around the house, we have supersize replicas of Bo and Sunny guarding their presents, because we don’t let them have their presents.  (Laughter.)  I’m just kidding, they get presents.  They’re fine.

Altogether, the folks who come through these halls over the next few weeks will see about — how many ornaments do you think are in this house?

CHILD:  Six.

MRS. OBAMA:  Six?  (Laughter.)  Ten?

CHILD:  A hundred.

MRS. OBAMA:  A hundred?  Getting closer.

CHILD:  Nine thousand.

MRS. OBAMA:  Nine thousand?

CHILD:  Two hundred.

MRS. OBAMA:  Let me tell you, it’s 70,000 ornaments.  I was pretty shocked at that.

So we can’t wait — that’s a lot of ornaments.  But we can’t wait to start welcoming people into their White House this holiday season.  And to everyone who created these stunning displays, all our volunteers, all our — all the folks who help make this happen, I want to once again say thank you.  You all did a phenomenal job once again in turning this house into a magical place.

And to all the military families, those of you who are here today and all those around the world, I want to once again honor you for your service and your sacrifice and your love of this nation.  It’s a lot that my family and I share along with you.  It has been such a complete pleasure to support you in this time.

So I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season, all right?  And with that, we get to have some fun, okay?  Are you guys ready — I’m just talking to the kids here.  (Laughter.)  You guys don’t get to have fun, but here’s what you get:  We will take your children from you for a moment.  (Laughter and applause.)  Don’t applaud too loudly.  They’re still here.  They can hear you.  (Laughter.)  And you can enjoy some cider and some cookies.

And you guys want to come with me?  We’ve got some surprises in the back, and your parents will be here.  We’ll try to bring them back in one piece.  I can’t guarantee that they will be neat.  (Laughter.)  There is dye and food color — sorry.  (Laughter.)  All of it is washable!

All right, you guys ready to come and join me?  You all, thank you all so much.  Come to the White House.  It’s really cool.  Take care.

END
1:47 P.M. EST

Politics November 27, 2016: Election 2016 redux Trump calls Clinton a hypocrite for recount support

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POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York. US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist "alt-right" movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to "energize" them."I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn," Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

US President-elect Donald Trump leaves after a meeting at the New York Times on November 22, 2016 in New York.
US President-elect Trump on Tuesday disavowed the white nationalist “alt-right” movement that has cheered his election, saying he did not want to “energize” them.”I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn,” Trump was quoted as saying in an interview with The New York Times, when pressed to comment on a conference at which his victory was celebrated with rousing Nazi salutes.
/ AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The harsh 2016 campaign is never ending. President-elect Donald Trump has a good reason to call his former opponent and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a hypocrite. On Saturday evening, Nov. 26, 2016, and Sunday morning, Nov. 27, Trump went after Clinton supporting Green Party nominee Jill Stein’s filing for a recount in three battleground states. The president-elect criticized Clinton on Twitter for not wanting to accept the election results when she spent nearly two months attacking him that he would not concede and accept the election results.

On Saturday evening, Trump criticized just the Democratic Party, writing, “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore! Then Trump went after Clinton specifically, writing, “Hillary Clinton conceded the election when she called me just prior to the victory speech and after the results were in. Nothing will change.”

Clinton heavily criticized Trump for refusing to agree that he would accept the election results in a response to one of the questions during the third presidential debate. Trump repeatedly said the elections were rigged against him, because of the now proved bias against him and for Clinton by both the media and the polls.

On Sunday, Trump reminded Clinton of her response attacking him for his position on election concession. On Twitter, the president-elect posted Clinton’s comments from the campaign,  “That is horrifying. That is not the way our democracy works. Been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them, and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a – during a general election. I, for one, am appalled that somebody that is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.”

In another post, Trump wrote Clinton called his position, “a direct threat to our democracy.” Trump also reposted a quote from Clinton’s concession speech, where she declared, “We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

This was the first time Trump specifically blamed Clinton for the recount effort. On Saturday, Trump disparaged just Stein and the Green Party for their “scam,” before the Clinton campaign announced they supported Stein’s efforts. President-elect said in an official Trump Transition statement, “This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn’t even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount.”

Continuing, Trump condemned the recount, “This is a scam by the Green Party for an election that has already been conceded, and the results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused, which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.” On Saturday, Trump praised Clinton for her classy concession of the election, “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.'” Later when Trump found out about the Democratic support, he tweeted, “The Green Party scam to fill up their coffers by asking for impossible recounts is now being joined by the badly defeated & demoralized Dems.”

On Friday afternoon, Nov. 25, just before the 5 p.m. deadline Grenn Party nominee Stein raised $4 million, enough money to file in Wisconsin for a recount of the votes. In Wisconsin, she requested a “reconciliation of paper records.” Stein promised to the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, three battleground states that Trump turned red but usually voted Democrat. Stein claimed the voting systems in those states were hacked.

Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias announced on Medium that the Clinton campaign would support the recount. Elias said they were doing this because of the “the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton” And the “hundreds of messages, emails and calls” from supporters requesting an investigation. Elias admitted, the Clinton campaign “quietly taken a number of steps” to investigate the results. In contradiction, New York Magazine reported this weekend, that cyber security experts convinced the Clinton campaign they had “persuasive evidence” that the votes had “manipulated or hacked.”

Elias continued, “Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.” Still, the Clinton campaign intends to support all the recounts, “If Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.”

Stein maintains, she was not doing the recount to benefit, Clinton and even criticized her as a hypocrite as well on Twitter, “Why would Hillary Clinton-who conceded the election to Donald Trump-want #Recount2016? You cannot be on-again, off-again about democracy.”

The Obama White House does not believe any hacking occurred and dismissed the recount. A senior administration official told the press, “We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people. The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day. We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

The recount needs to be completed by Dec. 13, while the deadlines to apply for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania is this upcoming week. Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump beat her in the Electoral College, she would need all three states to flip back to beat him, and that is not going to happen. The margin of victory was close but in the double digit thousands. In total Trump won 107,000 more votes in those three states than Clinton, winning by a margin of 22,000 in Wisconsin alone, “Trump won 1.404 million votes to Clinton’s 1.382 million.”

Clinton has a lead of 2.2 million votes, “64,637,140 votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 62,408,908, according to a count curated by Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.” Elias touted those numbers in his post, writing, “And most importantly, we have monitored and staffed the post-election canvasses…  During that process, we have seen Secretary Clinton’s vote total grow, so that, today, her national popular vote lead now exceeds more than 2 million votes.”

Clinton is not the first candidate to lose the election but win the popular vote. Again, there are calls to change the system from Electoral votes to a popular vote, and some electors are even trying to defect from voting for Trump. Looking at the electoral map, it hard not to notice that Trump won the most regions and states, and the map is red compared to Clinton’s blue in just some major cities.

Clinton is acting like a hypocrite; she could criticize Trump all she liked when she was positive she would win, Clinton never imagined how it would feel to lose and how much of a sore loser she would be. The American public should not be surprised, Clinton did not want to concede in the 2008 Democratic primary against now President Barack Obama, and even this year, she balked at conceding election night although Obama asked her to, Clintons just hate losing.

Politics November 25, 2016: Trump adds McFarland and McGahn to the Cabinet

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump is continuing to add to his cabinet. On Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, Trump announced that he is naming Fox News analyst KT McFarland as his deputy national security advisor and his lawyer throughout the campaign and transition Don McGahn as assistant to the president and White House counsel. Trump’s transition team made the announcement as the president-elect is spending the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, without giving the press access.

Trump in his official transition statement announcing the appointments commended McFarland, “I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team. She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”

Trump’s choice for national security advisor, former Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn also praised his deputy in a tweet on Friday, writing, “So proud & honored to have KT McFarland as part of our National Security team. She will help us #MAGA.”

Kathleen Troia McFarland ran in the 2006 Republican primary for a Senate seat in New York. McFarland is a Fox News national security analyst. She formerly was “an aide in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan,” and she was an adviser to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council.

McGahn’s addition to the White House staff is even more significant, as he has been with Trump through the campaign and transition, and will be responsible for Trump handing over his business empire to his children and ensure there is no conflict of interest. McGahn currently is a partner at the Jones Day law firm and previously served as the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, where he “loosened regulations on campaign finance.”

President-elect Trump praised his lawyer profusely in his statement announcing his appointment. Trump expressed, “Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character and a deep understanding of constitutional law. He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”

Trump is returning Monday, Nov. 28 to New York and will continue meeting with another eight possible candidates for his cabinet. Trump is still in limbo in deciding whom he will choose for the coveted Secretary of State slot. His transition team is torn between his two major candidates, Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 2012 GOP nominee and Trump critic Mitt Romney, with Giuliani being his team ‘s favorite because of his loyalty and views on foreign policy.

Politics November 25, 2016: First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes last Christmas tree of administration

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POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 25: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by her nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson and her dogs Bo and Sunny, receives the official White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House November 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. The tree, a 19 feet tall Balsam fir, arrived at the White House on Friday and will be on display in the Blue Room during the holiday season. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 25: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by her nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson and her dogs Bo and Sunny, receives the official White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House November 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. The tree, a 19 feet tall Balsam fir, arrived at the White House on Friday and will be on display in the Blue Room during the holiday season. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

It is Christmastime at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama received the day after Thanks giving Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, the last Christmas tree she will decorate at the White House of her husband President Barack Obama’s administration. Unlike the last seven years, Mrs. Obama was not joined by her daughters Malia and Sasha, who also skipped this year’s pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Instead, the Obamas are being joined this holiday season by their youngest nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson. Along with her nephews the Obamas dogs, Bo and Sunny tagged along.

This year’s winning White House Christmas tree is “a 19-foot Balsam-Veitch fir cross. The tree’s growers are Dave and Mary Vander Velden of the Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Oconto, Wisconsin the winners of this year’s National Christmas Tree Association contest. The Association has picked the tree since 1966.

CNN reported that the Vander Veldens’s tree did not grow as large as the official tree needs to be and will be placed somewhere else within the White House decorations, and instead a tree donated from a Pennsylvania farm will be used as the official tree adorning the Blue Room of the White House. The Vander Veldens presented the tree to the First Lady at the White House’s north portico after it arrived in the traditional horse-drawn carriage. The carriage had jingle bells, while “a four-piece military band played “O Christmas Tree.”

When Mrs. Obama received the tree, she asked her nephews, “What do you think?” and then joked about her holiday substitutes, “These are our replacement kids. This is what happens when you get teenagers. One is asleep – these two are up.” The First Lady enthusiastically concluded, “Christmas begins. The holiday starts! We’re ready – our last one. We’re excited about it.”

As the First Lady looked over the tree, she said, “This is the easiest part of the holiday season.” For the entire weekend the White House staff will be decorating the executive mansion for the holidays, on Tuesday, Nov. 29 Michelle presents the finished product to the press and public. Then Thursday, Dec. 1, the Obama’s will light the National Christmas Tree in the Ellipse.

Full Text Political Transcripts November 24, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving message

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-elect Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving message

Source: Transition2017, 11-24-16

President-elect Donald J. Trump asks everyone to join together under the shared resolve to Make America Great Again for all people.

Full Text Political Transcripts November 24, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Coming Together On Thanksgiving

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Coming Together On Thanksgiving

Source: WH, 11-24-16

Remarks of President Barack Obama as Delivered
Weekly Address
The White House
November 24, 2016

Hi, everybody.  On behalf of the Obama family – Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Grandma, Bo, and Sunny – I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  Like so many of you, we’ll spend the day with friends and family, turkey and touchdowns.  We’ll give thanks for each other, and for all that God has given us.  And we’ll reflect on what truly binds us as Americans.

That’s never been more important.  As a country, we’ve just emerged from a noisy, passionate, and sometimes divisive campaign season. After all, elections are often where we emphasize what sets us apart.  We face off in a contest of “us” versus “them.”  We focus on the candidate we support instead of some of the ideals we share.

But a few short weeks later, Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves.  We are communities that move forward together.  We are neighbors who look out for one another, especially those among us with the least. We are always, simply, Americans.

That’s why, through the fog of Civil War, President Lincoln saw what mattered most – the unalienable truths for which so many gave their lives, and which made possible “a new birth of freedom.”  And so precisely when the fate of the Union hung in the balance, he boldly proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, when the nation’s gifts “should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

Today, we continue to give thanks for those blessings, and to all who ensured that they would be our inheritance. We remember the determined patriots who landed at the edge of the world in search of freedom.  We give thanks to the brave men and women who defend that freedom in every corner of the world.  And we honor all people – from the First Americans to our newest arrivals – who continue to shape our nation’s story, enrich our heritage, and give meaning to our founding values, values we must never take for granted.  That in America, we are bound not by any one race or religion, but rather an adherence to a common belief – that all of us are created equal.  That we may think, worship, and speak, and love as we please.  That the gift of democracy is ours, and ours alone, to nurture and protect.

Never doubt, that is what makes us American – not where we come from, what we look like, or what faith we practice, but the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance.  It’s about our capacity to live up to the creed as old as our founding: “E Pluribus Unum” – that out of many, we are one.  And as long as we continue to welcome the contributions of all people, as long as we stand up for each other, speak out for what is right, and stay true to these ideals – not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard – then no one can ever take away our liberty.  Our best days will always be ahead.  And we will keep building a future where all of our children know the promise of America.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

###

Full Text Political Transcripts November 23, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Final Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

Source: WH, 11-22-16

President Barack Obama and nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson watch National Thanksgiving Turkey Tater flap during the pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama and nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson watch National Thanksgiving Turkey Tater flap during the pardon of the National Thanksgiving Turkey ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

2:42 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  (Applause.)  Thank you so much, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Have a seat.

For generations, Presidents have faithfully executed two great American traditions:  issuing a proclamation that sets aside a Thursday in November for us to express gratitude, and granting pardons that reflect our beliefs in second chances.  And this week, we do both.  (Laughter.)

Of course, Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one.  So for the past seven years, I’ve established another tradition:  embarrassing my daughters with a “corny-copia” of dad jokes about turkeys.  (Laughter.)  This year, they had a scheduling conflict.  (Laughter.)  Actually, they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore.  (Laughter.)  They were fed up.

AUDIENCE:  Oooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  Fortunately, I have by my side here today two of my nephews — Austin and Aaron Robinson — who, unlike Malia and Sasha, have not yet been turned cynical by Washington. (Laughter.)  They still believe in bad puns.  They still appreciate the grandeur of this occasion.  They still have hope. (Laughter.)

Malia and Sasha, by the way, are thankful that this is my final presidential turkey pardon.  What I haven’t told them yet is that we are going to do this every year from now on.  (Laughter.)  No cameras.  Just us.  Every year.  No way I’m cutting this habit cold turkey.  (Laughter and applause.)

Good one.  That was pretty funny.  (Laughter.)

Thanksgiving is a chance — (laughter) — to gather with loved ones, reflect on our many blessings, and, after a long campaign season, finally turn our attention from polls to poultry.  This year, we’re honored to be joined by two of the lucky ones, who were raised by the Domino family in Iowa:  Tater and Tot.

Now, Tater is here in a backup role, just in case Tot can’t fulfill his duties.  So he’s sort of like the Vice Turkey.  We’re working on getting him a pair of aviator glasses.  (Laughter.)

And it is my great privilege — well, it’s my privilege –actually, let’s just say it’s my job — (laughter) — to grant them clemency this afternoon.  As I do, I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom — (laughter) — who met their fate with courage and sacrifice — and proved that they weren’t chicken.  (Laughter.)

(Baby cries.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, it’s not that bad.  Now, come one.  (Laughter.)

Of course, we have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Six straight years of job creation — the longest streak ever.  Low unemployment.  Wages are rising again.  Inequality is narrowing.  The housing market is healing.  The stock market has nearly tripled.  Our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high.  And our uninsured rate is at an all-time low, thanks to the 20 million more Americans, including millions of children, who finally know the security of health insurance.  (Applause.)   That’s worth gobbling about.  (Laughter.)

Proud families across the country are finally complete now that marriage equality is the law of the land.  And there are many families of servicemembers who had empty chairs at the table in recent years but who on this Thanksgiving can celebrate with our brave troops and veterans who we’ve welcomed home.

Thanksgiving is also a reminder of the source of our national strength — that out of many, we are one; that we’re bound not by any one race or religion, but rather by an adherence to a common creed, that all of us are created equal.  And while accepting our differences and building a diverse society has never been easy, it has never been more important.  We are a people that look out for one another and get each other’s backs. We keep moving forward, defined by values and ideals that have been a light to all humanity.

We have to see ourselves in each other because we’ve all got families we love, and we all have hopes for their better future. And we lose sight of that sometimes, and Thanksgiving is a good time for us to remember that.  We have a lot more in common than divides us.

The holidays are also a time when it’s even more important to reach out to those who need a helping hand.  I believe we’re judged by how we care for the poor and the vulnerable, the sick and the elderly, the immigrant, the refugee, everybody who’s trying to get a second chance.  I believe that in order to truly live up to those ideals we have to continually fight discrimination in all its forms and always show the world that America is a generous and giving country.

We should also make sure everyone has something to eat on Thanksgiving — of course, except the turkeys, because they’re already stuffed.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE:  Ooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  So, later today, the Obama family will participate in our traditional Thanksgiving service project.  And when somebody at your table tells you that you’ve been hogging all the side dishes and you can’t have any more, I hope you respond with a creed that sums up the spirit of a hungry people:  Yes, We Cran.  (Laughter.)  That was good.  (Laughter.) You don’t think that’s funny?  Look, I know there are some bad ones in here, but this is the last time I’m doing this, so we’re not leaving any room for leftovers.  (Laughter.)

Let me just say — how am I doing?  Good?  Thumbs up?

Let me just say one last thing before I spare these turkeys’ lives.  On this Thanksgiving, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the American people for the trust that you’ve placed in me over these last eight years and the incredible kindness that you’ve shown my family.  On behalf of Michelle, and my mother-in-law, and our girls, we want to thank you so very, very much.

And now, from the Rose Garden, Tater and Tot will go to their new home at Virginia Tech — which is admittedly a bit Hokie.  (Laughter.)  They’ll get to live out their natural lives at a new facility called Gobblers Rest, where students and veterinarians will care for them.  And so let’s get on with the pardoning because it’s Wednesday afternoon and everyone knows that Thanksgiving traffic can put people in a “fowl” mood.

AUDIENCE:  Ooooh —

THE PRESIDENT:  Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  Let’s go pardon these turkeys.  (Applause.)

END
2:51 P.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts November 22, 2016: President Barack Obama’s remarks at his final presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Source: WH, 11-22-16

East Room

3:13 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, hello, hello!  Hey!  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  Everybody, please have a seat.  We’ve got some work to do here.  (Laughter.)  This is not all fun and games.

Welcome to the White House, everybody.  Today, we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits, strengthened our union, pushed us toward progress.

I always love doing this event, but this is a particularly impressive class.  We’ve got innovators and artists.  Public servants, rabble rousers, athletes, renowned character actors — like the guy from Space Jam.  (Laughter.)  We pay tribute to those distinguished individuals with our nation’s highest civilian honor — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about each of them.

First, we came close to missing out on Bill and Melinda Gates’ incredible partnership.  Because apparently Bill’s opening line was, “Do you want to go out two weeks from this coming Saturday?”  (Laughter.)  He’s good with computers, but — (laughter.)

Fortunately, Melinda believes in second chances.  And the world is better for it.  For two decades, the Gates Foundation has worked to provide lifesaving medical care to millions — boosting clean water supplies, improving education for our children, rallying aggressive international action on climate change, cutting childhood mortality in half.  The list could go on.

These two have donated more money to charitable causes than anyone, ever.  Many years ago, Melinda’s mom told her an old saying: “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived — that is success.”  By this and just about any other measure, few in human history have been more successful than these two impatient optimists.

Frank Gehry has never let popular acclaim reverse his impulse to defy convention.  “I was an outsider from the beginning,” he says, “so for better or worse, I thrived on it.”  The child of poor Jewish immigrants, Frank grew up in Los Angeles, and throughout his life he embraced the spirit of a city defined by an open horizon.  He’s spent his life rethinking shapes and mediums, seemingly the force of gravity itself; the idea of what architecture could be he decided to upend — constantly repurposing every material available, from titanium to a paper towel tube.  He’s inspiring our next generation through his advocacy for arts education in our schools.  From the Guggenheim, to Bilbao, to Chicago’s Millennium Park — our hometown — to his home in Santa Monica, which I understand caused some consternation among his neighbors — (laughter) — Frank’s work teaches us that while buildings may be sturdy and fixed to the ground, like all great art, they can lift our spirits.  They can soar and broaden our horizons.

When an undergraduate from rural Appalachia first set foot on the National Mall many years ago, she was trying to figure out a way to show that “war is not just a victory or a loss,” but “about individual lives.”  She considered how the landscape might shape that message, rather than the other way around.  The project that Maya Lin designed for her college class earned her a B+ — (laughter) — and a permanent place in American history.  (Laughter.)  So all of you B+ students out there.  (Laughter.)

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has changed the way we think about monuments, but also about how we think about sacrifice, and patriotism, and ourselves.  Maya has given us more than just places for remembering — she has created places for us to make new memories.  Her sculptures, chapels, and homes are “physical act[s] of poetry,” each reminding us that the most important element in art or architecture is human emotion.

Three minutes before Armstrong and Aldrin touched down on the moon, Apollo 11’s lunar lander alarms triggered — red and yellow lights across the board.  Our astronauts didn’t have much time.  But thankfully, they had Margaret Hamilton.  A young MIT scientist — and a working mom in the ‘60s — Margaret led the team that created the onboard flight software that allowed the Eagle to land safely.  And keep in mind that, at this time, software engineering wasn’t even a field yet.  There were no textbooks to follow, so, as Margaret says, “There was no choice but to be pioneers.”

Luckily for us, Margaret never stopped pioneering.  And she symbolizes the generation of unsung women who helped send humankind into space.  Her software architecture echoes in countless technologies today.  And her example speaks of the American spirit of discovery that exists in every little girl and little boy who know that somehow, to look beyond the heavens is to look deep within ourselves — and to figure out just what is possible.

If Wright is flight and Edison is light, then Hopper is code.  Born in 1906, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper followed her mother into mathematics, earned her PhD from Yale, and set out on a long and storied career.  At age 37, and a full 15 pounds below military guidelines, the gutsy and colorful Grace joined the Navy and was sent to work on one of the first computers, Harvard’s “Mark One.”

She saw beyond the boundaries of the possible, and invented the first compiler, which allowed programs to be written in regular language and then translated for computers to understand.  While the women who pioneered software were often overlooked, the most prestigious award for young computer scientists now bear her name.  From cell phones to cyber command, we can thank Grace Hopper for opening programming to millions more people, helping to usher in the information age and profoundly shaping our digital world.

Speaking of really smart people — (laughter) — in the summer of 1950, a young University of Chicago physicist found himself at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Dick Garwin was there, he said, because Chicago paid its faculty for nine months but his family ate for 12.  So by the next summer, Dick had helped create the hydrogen bomb.  And for the rest of his life, he dedicated himself to reducing the threat of nuclear war.  Dick’s not only an architect of the atomic age.  Ever since he was a Cleveland kid tinkering with his father’s movie projectors, he’s never met a problem he didn’t want to solve.  Reconnaissance satellites, the MRI, GPS technology, the touchscreen all bear his fingerprints.  He even patented a “mussel washer” for shellfish — which I haven’t used.  The other stuff I have.  (Laughter.)  Where is he?

Dick has advised nearly every President since Eisenhower — often rather bluntly.  Enrico Fermi — also a pretty smart guy himself — is said to have called Dick “the only true genius” he ever met.  I do want to see this mussel washer.  (Laughter.)

Along with these scientists, artists, and thinkers, we also honor those who have shaped our culture from the stage and the screen.

In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the whole course history.  Cicely was never the likeliest of Hollywood stars.  The daughter of immigrants from the West Indies, she was raised by a hardworking and religious mother who cleaned houses and forbade her children to attend the movies.  But once she got her education and broke into the business, Cicely made a conscious decision not just to say lines, but to speak out.  “I would not accept roles,” she said, “unless they projected us, particularly women, in a realistic light, [and] dealt with us as human beings.”  And from “Sounder,” to “The Trip to Bountiful,” to “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” Cicely’s convictions and grace have helped for us see the dignity of every single beautiful member of the American family.  And she’s just gorgeous.  (Laughter and applause.)  Yes, she is.

In 1973, a critic wrote of Robert De Niro, “This kid doesn’t just act — he takes off into the vapors.”  And it was true, his characters are iconic.  A Sicilian father turned New York mobster.  A mobster who runs a casino.  A mobster who needs therapy.  (Laughter.)  A father-in-law who is scarier than a mobster.  (Laughter.)  Al Capone — a mobster.  (Laughter.)

Robert combines dramatic precision and, it turns out, comedic timing with his signature eye for detail.  And while the name De Niro is synonymous with “tough guy,” his true gift is the sensitivity that he brings to each role.  This son of New York artists didn’t stop at becoming one of the world’s greatest actors.  He’s also a director, a philanthropist, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.  Of his tireless preparation — from learning the saxophone to remaking his body — he once said, “I feel I have to earn the right to play a part.”  And the result is honest and authentic art that reveals who we really are.

In 1976, Lorne Michaels implored the Beatles to reunite on his brand new show.  In exchange, he offered them $3,000.  (Laughter.)  And then he told them they could share it equally, or they could give Ringo a smaller cut.  (Laughter.)  Which was early proof that Lorne Michaels has a good sense of humor.

On Saturday Night Live, he’s created a world where a band of no-names become comedy’s biggest stars.  Where our friends the Coneheads, and cheerleaders, and land sharks, and basement deadbeats, and motivational speakers, and an unfrozen caveman lawyer show up, and Tom Hanks is on “Black Jeopardy.”  (Laughter.)  After four decades, even in this fractured media culture that we’ve got, SNL remains appointment viewing; a mainline into not just our counterculture but our culture; still a challenge to the powerful, especially folks like me.

And yet even after all these years, Lorne jokes that his tombstone should bear just a single word that’s often found in the show’s reviews — “uneven.”  (Laughter.)  As a current U.S. Senator would say:  Doggone it, Lorne – that’s why people like you.  He produced a Senator, too, that’s pretty impressive.

Ellen DeGeneres has a way of making you laugh about something rather than at someone.  Except when I danced on her show — she laughed at me.  (Laughter.)  But that’s okay.

It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law — just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago.  Just how important it was not just to the LGBT community, but for all of us to see somebody so full of kindness and light, somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our neighbor or our colleague or our sister challenge our own assumptions, remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in the direction of justice.

What an incredible burden that was to bear.  To risk your career like that.  People don’t do that very often.  And then to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders.  But it’s like Ellen says:  We all want a tortilla chip that can support the weight of guacamole.  Which really makes no sense to me, but I thought would brighten the mood, because I was getting kind of choked up.  (Laughter.)  And she did pay a price — we don’t remember this.  I hadn’t remembered it.  She did, for a pretty long stretch of time — even in Hollywood.

And yet, today, every day, in every way, Ellen counters what too often divides us with the countless things that bind us together — inspires us to be better, one joke, one dance at a time.

When The Candidate wins his race in the iconic 1972 film of the same name, which continues, by the way, for those of you who haven’t seen it, and many of you are too young — perhaps the best movie about what politics is actually like, ever.  He famously asks his campaign manager the reflective and revealing question:  “What do we do now?”  And like the man he played in that movie, Robert Redford has figured it out and applied his talent and charm to achieve success.

We admire Bob not just for his remarkable acting, but for having figured out what to do next.  He created a platform for independent filmmakers with the Sundance Institute.  He has supported our National Parks and our natural resources as one of the foremost conservationists of our generation.  He’s given his unmatched charisma to unforgettable characters like Roy Hobbs, Nathan Muir, and of course the Sundance Kid, entertaining us for more than half a century.  As an actor, director, producer, and as an advocate, he has not stopped — and apparently drives so fast that he had breakfast in Napa and dinner in Salt Lake.  (Laughter.)  At 80 years young, Robert Redford has no plans to slow down.

According to a recent headline, the movie, Sully was the last straw.  We should never travel with Tom Hanks.  (Laughter.)  I mean, you think about, you got pirates, plane crashes, you get marooned in airport purgatory, volcanoes — something happens with Tom Hanks.  (Laughter.)  And yet somehow, we can’t resist going where he wants to take us.  He’s been an accidental witness to history, a crusty women’s baseball manager, an everyman who fell in love with Meg Ryan three times.  (Laughter.)  Made it seem natural to have a volleyball as your best friend.  From a Philadelphia courtroom, to Normandy’s beachheads, to the dark side of the moon, he has introduced us to America’s unassuming heroes.

Tom says he just saw “ordinary guys who did the right thing at the right time.”  Well, it takes one to know one, and “America’s Dad” has stood up to cancer with his beloved wife, Rita.  He has championed our veterans, supported space exploration, and the truth is, Tom has always saved his best roles for real life.  He is a good man — which is the best title you can have.

So we got innovators, entertainers — three more folks who’ve dedicated themselves to public service.

In the early 1960s, thousands of Cuban children fled to America, seeking an education they’d never get back home.  And one refugee was 15-year-old named Eduardo Padron, whose life changed when he enrolled at Miami Dade College.  That decision led to a bachelor’s degree, then a Master’s degree, then a PhD, and then he had a choice — he could go into corporate America, or he could give back to his alma mater.  And Eduardo made his choice — to create more stories just like his.

As Miami Dade’s President since 1995, Dr. Padron has built a “dream factory” for one of our nation’s most diverse student bodies — 165,000 students in all.  He’s one of the world’s preeminent education leaders — thinking out of the box, supporting students throughout their lives, embodying the belief that we’re only as great as the doors we open.  Eduardo’s example is one we all can follow — a champion for those who strive for the same American Dream that first drew him to our shores.

When Elouise Cobell first filed a lawsuit to recover lands and money for her people, she didn’t set out to be a hero.  She said, “I just wanted…to give justice to people that didn’t have it.”  And her lifelong quest to address the mismanagement of American Indian lands, resources, and trust funds wasn’t about special treatment, but the equal treatment at the heart of the American promise.  She fought for almost 15 years — across three Presidents, seven trials, 10 appearances before a federal appeals court.  All the while, she traveled the country some 40 weeks a year, telling the story of her people.  And in the end, this graduate of a one-room schoolhouse became a MacArthur Genius.  She is a proud daughter of Montana’s Blackfeet Nation.  Reached ultimately a historic victory for all Native Americans.  Through sheer force of will and a belief that the truth will win out, Elouise Cobell overcame the longest odds, reminding us that fighting for what is right is always worth it.

Now, every journalist in the room, every media critic knows the phrase Newt Minow coined: the “vast wasteland.”  But the two words Newt prefers we remember from his speech to the nation’s broadcasters are these: “public interest.”  That’s been the heartbeat of his life’s work — advocating for residents of public housing, advising a governor and Supreme Court justice, cementing presidential debates as our national institution, leading the FCC.

When Newt helped launch the first communications satellites, making nationwide broadcasts possible — and eventually GPS possible and cellphones possible — he predicted it would be more important than the moon landing.  “This will launch ideas into space,” he said, “and ideas last longer than people.”  As far as I know, he’s the only one of today’s honorees who was present on my first date with Michelle.  (Laughter.)  Imagine our surprise when we saw Newt, one of our bosses that summer, at the movie theater — Do the Right Thing.  So he’s been vital to my personal interests.  (Laughter.)

And finally, we honor five of the all-time greats in sports and music.

The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds.  You hear the crack of the bat.  You got the crowd singing in the seventh inning stretch.  And you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully.  Most fans listen to a game’s broadcast when they can’t be at the ballpark.  Generations of Dodger fans brought their radios into the stands because you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories.

Most play-by-play announcers partner with an analyst in the booth to chat about the action.  Vin worked alone and talked just with us.  Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players.  He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations.  When he heard about this honor, Vin asked with characteristic humility, “Are you sure?  I’m just an old baseball announcer.”  And we had to inform him that to Americans of all ages, you are an old friend.  In fact, I thought about him doing all these citations, which would have been very cool, but I thought we shouldn’t make him sing for his supper like that.  (Laughter.)  “Up next” — (Laughter.)

Here’s how great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was:  1967, he had spent a year dominating college basketball, the NCAA bans the dunk.  They’d didn’t say it was about Kareem, but it was about Kareem.  (Laughter.)  When a sport changes its rules to make it harder just for you, you are really good.  (Laughter and applause.)  And yet despite the rule change, he was still the sport’s most unstoppable force.  It’s a title he’d hold for more than two decades, winning NBA Finals MVPs a staggering 14 years apart.  (Someone sneezes.)  Bless you.  (Laughter.)

And as a surprisingly similar-looking co-pilot, Roger Murdoch, once said in the movie, Airplane — I mean, we’ve got some great actors here — Space Jam, Airplane.  (Laughter.)  He did it all while dragging Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.  But the reason we honor Kareem is more than just a pair of goggles and the skyhook.  He stood up for his Muslim faith when it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t popular.  He’s as comfortable sparring with Bruce Lee as he is advocating on Capitol Hill or writing with extraordinary eloquence about patriotism.  Physically, intellectually, spiritually — Kareem is one-of-a-kind — an American who illuminates both our most basic freedoms and our highest aspirations.

When he was five years old, Michael Jordan nearly cut off his big toe with an axe.  (Laughter.)  Back then, his handles needed a little work.  But think — if things had gone differently, Air Jordan just might never have taken flight.  (Laughter.)  I mean, you don’t want to buy a shoe with one toe missing.  (Laughter.)  We may never have seen him switch hands in mid-air against the Lakers.  Or drop 63 in the Garden.  Or gut it out in the flu game.  Or hit “the shot” three different times — over Georgetown, over Ehlo, over Russell.  We might not have seen him take on Larry Bird in H-O-R-S-E or lift up the sport globally along with the Dream Team.

Yet MJ is still more than those moments; more than just the best player on the two greatest teams of all time — the Dream Team and the Chicago ’96 Bulls.  He’s more than a logo, more than just an Internet meme.  (Laughter.)  More than just a charitable donor or a business owner committed to diversity.  There is a reason you call someone “the Michael Jordan of” — Michael Jordan of neurosurgery, or the Michael Jordan of rabbis, or the Michael Jordan of outrigger canoeing — and they know what you’re talking about.  Because Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of greatness.  He is the definition of somebody so good at what they do that everybody recognizes them.  That’s pretty rare.

As a child, Diana Ross loved singing and dancing for family friends — but not for free.  (Laughter.)  She was smart enough to pass the hat.  And later, in Detroit’s Brewster housing projects, she met Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.  Their neighbor, Smokey Robinson, put them in front of Berry Gordy — and the rest was magic — music history.  The Supremes earned a permanent place in the American soundtrack.

Along with her honey voice, her soulful sensibility, Diana exuded glamour and grace that filled stages that helped to shape the sound of Motown.  On top of becoming one of the most successful recording artists of all time, raised five kids — somehow found time to earn an Oscar nomination for acting.  Today, from the hip-hop that samples her, to the young singers who’ve been inspired by her, to the audiences that still cannot get enough of her — Diana Ross’s influence is inescapable as ever.

He was sprung from a cage out on Highway 9.  A quiet kid from Jersey, just trying to make sense of the temples of dreams and mystery that dotted his hometown — pool halls, bars, girls and cars, altars and assembly lines.  And for decades, Bruce Springsteen has brought us all along on a journey consumed with the bargains between ambition and injustice, and pleasure and pain; the simple glories and scattered heartbreak of everyday life in America.

To create one of his biggest hits, he once said, “I wanted to craft a record that sounded like the last record on Earth…the last one you’d ever need to hear.  One glorious noise…then the apocalypse.”  Every restless kid in America was given a story: “Born to Run.”

He didn’t stop there.  Once he told us about himself, he told us about everybody else.  The steelworker in “Youngstown.”  The Vietnam Vet in “Born in the USA.”  The sick and the marginalized on “The Streets of Philadelphia.”  The firefighter carrying the weight of a reeling but resilient nation on “The Rising.”  The young soldier reckoning with “Devils and Dust” in Iraq.  The communities knocked down by recklessness and greed in the “Wrecking Ball.”  All of us, with all our faults and our failings, every color, and class, and creed, bound together by one defiant, restless train rolling toward “The Land of Hope and Dreams.”  These are all anthems of our America; the reality of who we are, and the reverie of who we want to be.

“The hallmark of a rock and roll band,” Bruce Springsteen once said, is that “the narrative you tell together is bigger than anyone could have told on your own.”  And for decades, alongside the Big Man, Little Steven, a Jersey girl named Patti, and all the men and women of the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen has been carrying the rest of us on his journey, asking us all “what is the work for us to do in our short time here.”

I am the President.  But he is The Boss.  (Laughter.)  And pushing 70, he’s still laying down four-hour live sets — if you have been at them, he is working.  “Fire-breathing rock ‘n’ roll.”  So I thought twice about giving him a medal named for freedom because we hope he remains, in his words, a “prisoner of rock ‘n’ roll” for years to come.

So, I told you, this is like a really good class.  (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I want you all to give it up for the recipients of the 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom.  (Applause.)  It is a good group.

All right.  Now we actually got to give them medals.  So please be patient.  We are going to have my military aide read the citations.  Each one of them will come up and receive the medals, and then we’ll wrap up the program.

Okay.  Let’s hit it.

MILITARY AIDE:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  (Applause.)  An iconic basketball player who revolutionized the sport with his all-around play and signature skyhook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a 19-time All-Star, a 6-time world champion, and the leading scorer in NBA history.  Adding to his achievements on the court he also left his mark off of it, advocating for civil rights, cancer research, science education, and social justice.  In doing so, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaves a towering legacy of compassion, faith, and service to others — a legacy based not only on the strength and grace of his athleticism, but on the sharpness of his mind and the size of his heart.  (Applause.)

Turk Cobell, accepting on behalf of his mother, Elouise C. Cobell Yellowbird Woman.  (Applause.)  A member of the Blackfeet Nation, Elouise Cobell spent her life defying the odds and working on behalf of her people.  As a young woman, she was told that she wasn’t capable of understanding accounting.  So she mastered the field — and used her expertise to champion a lawsuit whose historic settlement has helped restore Tribal homelands to her beloved Blackfeet Nation and many other Tribes.  Today, her tenacious and unwavering spirit lives on in the thousands of people and hundreds of Tribes for whom she fought and in all those she taught to believe that it is never too late to right the wrongs of the past and help shape a better future.  (Applause.)

Ellen DeGeneres.  (Applause.)  In a career spanning three decades, Ellen DeGeneres has lifted our spirits and brought joy to our lives as a stand-up comic, actor, and television star.  In every role, she reminds us to be kind to one another and to treat people as each of us wants to be treated.  At a pivotal moment, her courage and candor helped change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, accelerating our Nation’s constant drive toward equality and acceptance for all.  Again and again, Ellen DeGeneres has shown us that a single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place — so long as we “just keep swimming.”  (Applause.)

Robert De Niro.  (Applause.)  For over 50 years, Robert De Niro has delivered some of screen’s most memorable performances, cementing his place as one of the most gifted actors of his generation.  From “The Godfather Part II” and “The Deer Hunter” to “Midnight Run” and “Heat,” his work is legendary for its range and depth.  Relentlessly committed to his craft, De Niro embodies his characters, creating rich, nuanced portraits that reflect the heart of the human experience.  Regardless of genre or era, Robert De Niro continues to demonstrate that extraordinary skill that has made him one of America’s most revered and influential artists.  (Applause.)

Richard L. Garwin.  (Applause.)  One of the most renowned scientific and engineering minds of our time, Dr. Richard Garwin has always answered the call to help solve society’s most challenging problems.  He has coupled his pioneering work in defense and intelligence technologies with leadership that underscores the urgency for humanity to control the spread of nuclear arms.  Through his advice to Republican and Democratic administrations dating to President Eisenhower, his contributions in fundamental research, and his inventions that power technologies that drive our modern world, Richard Garwin has contributed not only to this Nation’s security and prosperity, but to the quality of life for people all over the world.  (Applause.)

William H. Gates III and Melinda French Gates.  (Applause.)  Few people have had the profound global impact of Bill and Melinda Gates.  Through their work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they’ve demonstrated how the most capable and fortunate among us have a responsibility to use their talents and resources to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.  From helping women and girls lift themselves and their families out of poverty to empowering young minds across America, they have transformed countless lives with their generosity and innovation.  Bill and Melinda Gates continue to inspire us with their impatient optimism that, together, we can remake the world as it should be.  (Applause.)

Frank Gehry.  (Applause.)  Never limited by conventional materials, styles, or processes, Frank Gehry’s bold and thoughtful structures demonstrate architecture’s power to induce wonder and revitalize communities.  A creative mind from an early age, he began his career by building imaginary homes and cities with scrap material from his grandfather’s hardware store.  Since then, his work continues to strike a balance between experimentation and functionality, resulting in some of the 20th century’s most iconic buildings.  From his pioneering use of technology to the dozens of awe-inspiring sites that bear his signature style to his public service as a citizen artist through his work with Turnaround Arts, Frank Gehry has proven himself an exemplar scholar of American innovation.  (Applause.)

Margaret Heafield Hamilton.  (Applause.)  A pioneer in technology, Margaret Hamilton defined new forms of software engineering and helped launch an industry that would forever change human history.  Her software architecture led to giant leaps for humankind, writing the code that helped America set foot on the moon.  She broke barriers in founding her own software businesses, revolutionizing an industry and inspiring countless women to participate in STEM fields.  Her love of exploration and innovation are the source code of the American spirit, and her genius has inspired generations to reach for the stars.  (Applause.)

Thomas J. Hanks.  (Applause.)  Throughout a distinguished film career, Tom Hanks has revealed the character of America, as well as his own.  Portraying war heroes, an astronaut, a ship captain, a cartoon cowboy, a young man growing up too fast, and dozens of others, he’s allowed us to see ourselves — not only as we are, but as we aspire to be.  On screen and off, Tom Hanks has honored the sacrifices of those who have served our Nation, called on us all to think big and to believe, and inspired a new generation of young people to reach for the sky.  (Laughter and applause.)

Deborah Murray, accepting on behalf of her great aunt, Grace Murray Hopper.  (Applause.)  As a child who loved disassembling alarm clocks, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper found her calling early.  A Vassar alumna with a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale, Hopper served in the Navy during World War II, becoming one of the first programmers in early computing.  Known today as the “Queen of Code,” Grace Hopper’s work helped make the coding language more practical and accessible.  She invented the first compiler, or translator, a fundamental element of our now digital world.  “Amazing Grace” was committed to making the language of computer programming more universal.  Today, we honor her contributions to computer science and the sense of possibility she inspired in generations of young people.  (Applause.)

Michael J. Jordan.  (Applause and laughter.)  Powered by a drive to compete that earned him every major award in basketball, including six NBA championships, five Most Valuable Player awards, and two gold medals, Michael Jordan has a name that’s become a synonym for excellence.  His wagging tongue and high-flying dunks redefined the game, making him a global superstar whose impact transcended basketball and shaped our Nation’s broader culture.  From the courts in Wilmington, Chapel Hill, and Chicago to the owner’s suite he occupies today, his life and example have inspired millions of Americans to strive to “Be Like Mike.”  (Applause.)

Maya Y. Lin.  (Applause.)  Boldly challenging our understanding of the world, Maya Lin’s designs have brought people of all walks of life together in spirits of remembrance, introspection, and humility.  The manipulation of natural terrain and topography within her works inspires us to bridge our differences and recognize the gravity of our collective existence.  Her pieces have changed the landscape of our country and influenced the dialogue of our society — never more profoundly than with her tribute to the Americans who fell in Vietnam by cutting a wound into the Earth to create a sacred place of healing in our Nation’s capital.  (Applause.)

Lorne Michaels.  (Applause.)  One of the most transformative entertainment figures of our time, Lorne Michaels followed his dreams to New York City, where he created a sketch show that brought satire, wits, and modern comedy to homes around the world.  Under his meticulous command as executive producer, “Saturday Night Live” has entertained audiences across generations, reflecting — and shaping — critical elements of our cultural, political, and national life.  Lorne Michaels’ creative legacy stretches into late-night television, sitcoms, and the big screen, making us laugh, challenging us to think, and raising the bar for those who follow.  As one of his show’s signature characters would say, “Well, isn’t that special?”  (Laughter and applause.)

Newton N. Minow.  (Applause.)  As a soldier, counsel to the Governor of Illinois, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Newton Minow’s career has been defined by his devotion to others.  Deeply committed to his family, the law, and the American people, his dedication to serving and empowering the public is reflected in his efforts to ensure that broadcast media educates and provides opportunity for all.  Challenging the media to better serve their viewers, his staunch commitment to the power of ideas and information has transformed telecommunications and its influential role in our society.  (Applause.)

Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón.  (Applause.)  As a teenage refugee from Cuba, Eduardo Padrón came to the United States to pursue the American Dream, and he has spent his life making that dream real for others.  As president of the community college he once attended, his thoughtful leadership and commitment to education have transformed Miami Dade College into one of the premier learning institutions in the country, earning him praise around the world.  His personal story and lasting professional influence prove that success need not be determined by our background, but by our dedication to others and our passion for creating America that is as inclusive as it is prosperous.  (Applause.)

Robert Redford.  (Applause.)  Robert Redford has captivated audiences from both sides of the camera through entertaining motion pictures that often explore vital social, political, and historical themes.  His lifelong advocacy on behalf of preserving our environment will prove as an enduring legacy as his award-winning films, as will his pioneering support for independent filmmakers across America.  His art and activism continue to shape our Nation’s cultural heritage, inspiring millions to laugh, cry, think, and change.  (Applause.)

Diana Ross.  (Applause and laughter.)  A daughter of Detroit, Diana Ross helped create the sound of Motown with her iconic voice.  From her groundbreaking work with The Supremes to a solo career that has spanned decades, she has influenced generations of young artists and shaped our Nation’s musical landscape.  In addition to a GRAMMY© Lifetime Achievement Award and countless musical accolades, Diana Ross has distinguished herself as an actor, earning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award.  With over 25 albums, unforgettable hit singles, and live performances that continue to captivate audiences around the world, Diana Ross still reigns supreme.  (Applause.)

Next up, Vin Scully.  (Laughter and applause.)  With a voice that transcended a sport and transformed a profession, Vin Scully narrated America’s pastime for generations of fans.  Known to millions as the soundtrack of summer, he found time to teach us about life and love while chronicling routine plays and historic heroics.  In victory and in defeat, his colorful accounts reverberated through the bleachers, across the airwaves, and into our homes and imaginations.  He is an American treasure and a beloved storyteller, and our country’s gratitude for Vin Scully is as profound as his love for the game.  (Applause.)

Bruce F. Springsteen.  (Applause.)  As a songwriter, a humanitarian, America’s Rock and Roll laureate, and New Jersey’s greatest ambassador, Bruce Springsteen is, quite simply, The Boss.  (Laughter.)  Through stories about ordinary people, from Vietnam veterans to steel workers, his songs capture the pain and the promise of the American experience.  With his legendary E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen leaves everything on stage in epic, communal live performances that have rocked audiences for decades.  With empathy and honesty, he holds up a mirror to who we are — as Americans chasing our dreams, and as human beings trying to do the right thing.  There’s a place for everyone in Bruce Springsteen’s America.  (Applause.)

Cicely Tyson.  (Applause.)  For sixty years, Cicely Tyson has graced the screen and the stage, enlightening us with her groundbreaking characters and calls to conscience, humility, and hope.  Her achievements as an actor, her devotion to her faith, and her commitment to advancing equality for all Americans—especially women of color — have touched audiences of multiple generations.  From “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” to “Sounder,” to “The Trip to Bountiful,” Cicely Tyson’s performances illuminate the character of our people and the extraordinary possibilities of America.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  So, just on a personal note, part of the reason that these events are so special to me is because everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, personal way — in ways that they probably couldn’t imagine.  Whether it was having been inspired by a song, or a game, or a story, or a film, or a monument, or in the case of Newt Minow introducing me to Michelle — (laughter) — these are folks who have helped make me who I am and think about my presidency, and what also makes them special is, this is America.

And it’s useful when you think about this incredible collection of people to realize that this is what makes us the greatest nation on Earth.  Not because of what we — (applause.)  Not because of our differences, but because, in our difference, we find something common to share.  And what a glorious thing that is.  What a great gift that is to America.

So I want all of you to enjoy the wonderful reception that will be taking place afterwards.  Michelle and I have to get back to work, unfortunately, but I hear the food is pretty good.  (Laughter.)  And I would like all of you to give one big rousing round of applause to our 2016 honorees for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Give it up.  (Applause.)

END
4:14 P.M. EST

On this day in history November 22, 1963: President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas launching four days of national mourning

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

HISTORY, NEWS & POLITICS

HISTORY & POLITICAL HEADLINES

On this day in history November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas launching four days of national mourning

Prior to the assassination, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Included as an exhibit for the Warren Commission. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Prior to the assassination, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Included as an exhibit for the Warren Commission. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On this day in history… November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States (1961-63) was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. by Lee Harvey Oswald, while in a Presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas heading towards the Texas School Book Depository. Kennedy was in an open limousine waving at the cheering crowd with First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nelly when three shots in succession erupted, which hit the President, and the Governor. Governor Connally was hit just once, while President Kennedy was hit twice, fatally. The motorcade rushed to Parkland Hospital, where President Kennedy was pronounced dead at 46 years-old, 30 minutes after the shooting. For three days after the shooting, the nation mourned the loss of their young president culminating in a state funeral on November 25.

President Kennedy’s visit to Texas was part of his early re-election campaign strategy, where he hoped in 1964 to win Florida and Texas. Although the president had not formally announced his re-election, he already started touring states. In Texas, Kennedy was looking to bring squabbling factions of the state’s Democratic Party together. President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie left Washington on Thursday, Nov. 21, where they would go on a “two-day, five-city tour of Texas.”

On that fateful day, Friday, Nov. 22, the Kennedys started out in Fort Worth that rainy morning, before taking a thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, the Kennedys were greeted by the public, with someone handing Jackie a bouquet of red roses. In Dallas, the rain stopped, and the Kennedys joined the Texas first couple the Connallys in a now open top, convertible. They had to travel only ten miles to reach their destination, the Trade Mart; Kennedy was supposed to address a “luncheon.”

They never reached there. On route, Kennedy and Connally were both shot, but the president more seriously, with wounds in his head and neck, he “slumped over” into Jackie’s lap, and where she shielded him as the motorcade now sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. There was little that could be done to save the president, and he received last rites before being announced dead at 1 p.m., a mere half hour after he was shot. In the book “The Kennedy Detail” Secret Service agent Clint Hill recalled, “It has taken me decades to learn to cope with the guilt and sense of responsibility for the president’s death, and I have made it a practice to keep my memories to myself. I don’t talk to anybody about that day.

President Kenney would return to Love Field where barely three hours before he arrived alive, leaving in a casket boarding Air Force One. Inside the “crowded” plane US District Court Judge Sarah Hughes swore in Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson as the 36th US president at 2:38 p.m. Jackie Kennedy was standing by Johnson’s side, still wearing the clothes stained with the president’s blood.

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 22:  VP Lyndon Johnson (C) taking oath of office from Judge Sarah Hughes (back to camera) after President Kennedy's assassination aboard Air Force One. Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy (R), imminent First Lady Lady Bird (L), Jack Valenti, Congressmen Albert Thomas  (Photo by Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 22: VP Lyndon Johnson (C) taking oath of office from Judge Sarah Hughes (back to camera) after President Kennedy’s assassination aboard Air Force One. Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy (R), imminent First Lady Lady Bird (L), Jack Valenti, Congressmen Albert Thomas (Photo by Cecil Stoughton/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

CBS News was the first to report Kennedy had been shot at 12:40 p.m. CT as the network cut into popular soap opera “As the World Turns” to report what had happened to the president. Anchor Walter Cronkite went live at 12:48 p.m. Cronkite announced the president’s death as he took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes. There was an immediate outpouring of grief by the nation after news of the assassination broke, as they mourned the loss of an idealized young President. Robert Thompson, “a professor of pop culture and television at Syracuse University” commented, “While we didn’t see the assassination live, the television show about the assassination was a four-day long drama that played on national television.”

American broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite removes his glasses while announcing the death of President John F. Kennedy as seen from a television monitor, November 22, 1963. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

American broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite removes his glasses while announcing the death of President John F. Kennedy as seen from a television monitor, November 22, 1963. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Police arrested Oswald, an hour after the shots were fired. Oswald, a Soviet sympathizer with ties to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, had shot Kennedy from the school book depository building, where he recently began to work. Two days later, Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner fatally shot Oswald, as he was being transferred from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail; Ruby claimed he wanted to spare Jackie Kennedy any further grief.

The nation proceeded into four days of mourning, culminating three days later on November 25, 1963, when a state funeral was held for the slain president. According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Jackie  Kennedy modeled the funeral after President Abraham Lincoln’s, Lincoln had been assassinated nearly a 100 years before. On Saturday, November 23, as Kennedy’s body was in repose in the East Room of the White House for 24 hours, President Johnson declared the day a national day of mourning. On Sunday, November 24, the President’s coffin was carried by the same horse-drawn carriage as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Unknown Soldier before him, to the Capitol building where his body laid in state for 21 hours, with 250,000 people visiting his casket in the Capitol’s Rotunda.

On that Monday, November 25, one million people gathered on the route of the processional from the Capitol to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, where the funeral was held. Foreign dignitaries from 100 countries, including 19 heads of state came to pay their respects, and millions of Americans and  23 countries watched the assassination coverage and then funeral on TV, which was covered by then three big networks; ABC, CBS, and NBC. John B. Mayo in his 1967 book “Bulletin From Dallas: The President Is From Dead” determined that “CBS clocked in with 55 total hours, ABC played 60 hours and NBC – airing an all-night vigil from the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday – broadcast 71 hours of coverage that weekend.”

After the Requiem Mass, as the President’s body was carried from the cathedral, three-year-old John Jr. saluted his father’s casket giving the mourning nation an iconic image to remember. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after the service Jackie Kennedy and the president’s brothers Robert and Edward lit an eternal flame that remains burning over the President’s gravesite.

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES:  (FILES)Jacqueline Kennedy(C) stands with her two children Caroline Kennedy(L) and John F. Kennedy, Jr.(R) and brothers-in law Ted Kennedy (L, back) and Robert Kennedy (2ndR) at the funeral of her husband US President John F. Kennedy 26 November 1963 in Washington, DC. The 40th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy is remembered on 22 November 2003. AFP PHOTO  (Photo credit should read STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: (FILES)Jacqueline Kennedy(C) stands with her two children Caroline Kennedy(L) and John F. Kennedy, Jr.(R) and brothers-in law Ted Kennedy (L, back) and Robert Kennedy (2ndR) at the funeral of her husband US President John F. Kennedy 26 November 1963 in Washington, DC. The 40th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy is remembered on 22 November 2003. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2010, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick published her book “Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation.” Speaking to PBS’s Newshour about the purpose of the book and looking back at the memory of President Kennedy, she claimed; “And what I was trying to get at was how Americans at the moment viewed John F. Kennedy. It seemed to me that, in the decades since his death, there’s been so much historical revisionism, much of it appropriate, that dismantled the hagiography that grew up around him in the immediate aftermath of his assassination.”

Continuing, Fitzpatrick explained, “It had become increasingly difficult for students, for younger people, even people of my own generation, to recover that moment, the kind of idealism and faith that people had and the way that President Kennedy was viewed in his time… So, I was thinking, how can I recapture this? And I went into the archives. I asked the archivist. I remembered the condolence letters. I remembered Mrs. Kennedy thanking the public.”

Historian Alan Brinkley eloquently honored Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his death in 2013, with an article in the Atlantic Magazine, simply titled the “Legacy of John Kennedy” doing just that looking at the mystique of the 35th president that has only grown with time. Brinkley explains the reason why Kennedy remains a legend despite many failed policies and the introduction of far sweeping laws that passed during his successor’s administration. Brinkley writes Kennedy “remains a powerful symbol of a lost moment, of a soaring idealism and hopefulness that subsequent generations still try to recover. His allure-the romantic, almost mystic, associations his name evokes-not only survives but flourishes.”

After the most bruising and ugly presidential election in perhaps American history, the image Kennedy invoked is a sharp contrast to the political reality of today making Brinkley’s conclusion even more powerful. Brinkley expressed, Kennedy’s “legacy has only grown in the 50 years since his death. That he still embodies a rare moment of public activism explains much of his continuing appeal: He reminds many Americans of an age when it was possible to believe that politics could speak to society’s moral yearnings and be harnessed to its highest aspirations. More than anything, perhaps, Kennedy reminds us of a time when the nation’s capacities looked limitless, when its future seemed unbounded, when Americans believed that they could solve hard problems and accomplish bold deeds.” Whether Democrat or Republican it impossible in the era of Donald Trump not to wish for the idealism of the Kennedy era and ponder what if…

Politics November 22, 2016: Melania Trump redefining the role of the first lady away from the White House

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

 By Bonnie K. Goodman

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd along with his son (L-R) Barron Trump, wife Melania Trump, Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd along with his son (L-R) Barron Trump, wife Melania Trump, Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As President-Elect Donald Trump conducts numerous meetings with potential candidates to fill cabinet posts, there is another important part of the transition process moving into the White House. On Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, the New York Post reported that First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron would not be moving into the White House after the Jan. 20 inauguration. Trump will be moving in immediately, but his wife and 10-year-old son will join him at the end of the school year.

The Trumps do not want to disrupt son Barron, who is in the middle of the fourth grade at a prestigious prep school, the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side. Throughout the campaign, Barron has been kept out of the spotlight, except Trump announcing his candidacy, the Republican National convention and election night the public has not seen Barron. Melania also has not been that visible on the campaign trail, except the convention, a few interviews and the last days of the campaign where she gave a speech and joined her husband campaigning. The future first lady, 46, is the first foreign-born one in 200 years, and her few forays into the political life has been met with criticism.

A source told the New York Post, “Melania is extremely close to Barron, and they have become closer during the campaign. The campaign has been difficult for Barron, and she is really hoping to keep disruption to a minimum.” The future first lady repeatedly said during the few interviews she participated in throughout the campaign that she is a hands-on mother, does not have a nanny, and wants to keep her son shielded from the public as possible.

Unfortunately, with staying in New York at the Trump Tower, Melania will not be able to drive  Barron around anymore to school and his activities. They will have Secret Service agents and the NYPD watching their residence, and the Secret Service will drive them around in an armored vehicle. The Secret Service has already descended at their Fifth Avenue home, with the area around closed to traffic.

Melania is committed to her duties as the first lady, and she will travel to Washington as needed. A source told the New York Post, “Melania is very supportive of her husband and is fully on board of doing everything that’s needed as first lady.” The press asked the President-elect on Sunday, Nov. 20, as he emerged from meetings at his Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey about the living arrangements and if his wife and son will be moving into the White House, Trump responded, “very soon. Right after he finishes school.”

Afterward, Trump Transition spokesman Jason Miller commented, “The Trump family is energized and excited about their new role serving the country, and specifically the President-elect’s task at hand of helping to move our country forward. No official statement has been released by the Trump family regarding transition timing, but like any parents they are concerned about pulling their 10-year-old son out of school in the middle of the year. We would also appreciate the same privacy and security considerations given to previous First Families with regard to minor children be extended to the Trumps as well.”

Although it was common for first ladies in the nineteenth century to stay home or delay moving to the White House, no first lady in modern history did not initially move into the White House after the inauguration. Ryder University First Ladies’ scholar Myra Gutin told USA Today, Melania Trump “very well may be the first telecommuting first lady.”

Gutin sees Melania’s decision to stay away from a problem for her completing her duties as the first lady and for her husband’s fledgling administration. Although the first lady is an unpaid position with no constitutional role, she maintains almost as large staff in the East Wing as the president does in the West Wing. Gutin says, “The public is split on what it wants the first lady to be,” Gutin says. “Half prefer she just serve tea and be ceremonial. The other half says you have an incredible platform here, what are you going to do with it? If we’re not seeing her, if she’s hiding away, I can’t see it as helpful (to the Trump administration).”

While Melania Trump has the style of former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, her decision to stay away from the White House most resembles First Lady Bess Truman, the wife of President Harry Truman, who served as the 33rd president from 1945 to 1953. Truman spent as much time as possible away from the White House and Washington and in their native Missouri with the Trumans’ only daughter Margret. Truman spent most of her summers at her home in Missouri. Gutin explained the primary reason Truman spent time in Missouri; it was because “Mrs. Truman wanted Margaret to have a more down-to-earth upbringing.”

Like Melania, Bess was uncomfortable with the limelight of the presidency. Despite being more reticent of the limelight, Bess Truman was a successful first lady, who lobbied and oversaw the renovation of the White House as it was stripped to its bare walls. The success of Bess Truman proves that especially now in this technologically advanced age, Melania Trump can make it work as First Lady until the end of the school year in June, as long as she eventually moves into the White House.

Political Transcripts November 21, 2016: President-elect Donald Trump outlines his first 100 days

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

A Message from President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Source: Transition2017

“The President-elect shares an update on the Presidential Transition, an outline of some of his policy plans for the first 100 days, and his day one executive actions.”

Politics November 21, 2016: Trump takes on Hamilton on Twitter on disrespecting the vice president and why it matters

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence listen to a question from the press regarding the musical 'Hamilton' before their meeting with investor Wilbur Ross at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Pence was booed when he attended the Broadway musical and a cast member read him a message after the show. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence listen to a question from the press regarding the musical ‘Hamilton’ before their meeting with investor Wilbur Ross at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Pence was booed when he attended the Broadway musical and a cast member read him a message after the show. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump has done a first in history directly engage in a Twitter exchange and rant that was so common during his presidential campaign. Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning, Nov. 19, 2016, after Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see the Broadway musical Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City the prior night, and he was met with boos. Hamilton Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, “who plays Vice President Aaron Burr,” acknowledged Pence’s presence at the end of the show. Dixon made a comment, a politically charged statement that Trump considered disrespectful; the president-elect demanded that the cast apologizes to Pence.

Pence attended the show “with his daughter, Charlotte, as well as his nieces and nephew” and he was “seated in the center orchestra section.” The video shows Pence entrance was met with loud boos and some cheers. Dixon said to Pence at the end of the show, “We hope you will hear us out.”  Pence was leaving as Dixon continued his statement, but stayed in the hallway to hear it.

Later Hamilton’s official Twitter account HamiltonMusical published the entire statement, saying, “Tonight, VP-Elect Mike Pence attended #HamiltonBway. After the show, @BrandonVDixon delivered the following statement on behalf of the show. pic.twitter.com/Jsg9Q1pMZs

The following is Dixon’s complete statement:
“I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us. Nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen, there’s nothing to boo here … We’re all sharing a story of love. We welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ — we really do.We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of all of us. We truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”

Trump saw the disrespect took to Twitter, his favorite platform to converse with his supporters and the public. On Saturday morning, Trump wrote, “The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”  Dixon responded, writing on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.”  ‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda backed up Dixon and tweeted the President-elect, “Proud of @HamiltonMusical. Proud of @BrandonVDixon, for leading with love.  And proud to remind you that ALL are welcome at the theater.”

Still, Trump found their reaction and words unbecoming to a vice-president, and continued commenting on Twitter, writing early morning, Sunday, Nov. 20, “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior. Pence appeared later on Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday where he dismissed the events at the musical. Pence told his interviewers, “I really enjoyed watching Hamilton. It was a real joy to be there. I heard a few boos. I wasn’t offended by what was said.”

Although critics have a problem with Trump’s Twitter comments taking on a subject until he is proven right, in this instance he is correct. Even is Pence wants to dismiss this issue, the problem is greater than Trump or Pence, it is about respect for the office of the presidency and vice-presidency. Even if half of Americans are disappointed about the election outcome, afterward they have to respect the offices and the traditions that are 227 years old. Instead, they protest, harass, insult and even threaten on social media engaging in behavior far worse than anything Trump might have espoused on the campaign trail.

Entertainers have a platform, and they are overly political to the point that is insulting to those who do not agree with them, and they dismiss Trump because like them him has a background in the same industry, but used the celebrity to climb and become President. As the first citizen president, Trump’s exchanges on Twitter give the American public the unprecedented access to a president. Instead of constructively using the platform and the president-elect’s ears in a positive way, there is still too much disrespect. The country needs to deal with it whether they like it or not, Trump was elected president according to the Constitution with the support of a majority of the country’s states, they would expect the same if their candidate would have won.

Politics November 18, 2016: Trump causes controversy naming Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo to Cabinet

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: President-elect Donald Trump steps outside the clubhouse to greet Jonathan Gray, member of the Board of Directors at Blackstone, before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – NOVEMBER 20: President-elect Donald Trump steps outside the clubhouse to greet Jonathan Gray, member of the Board of Directors at Blackstone, before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Donald Trump is beginning to fill up his cabinet, adding three more to the two positions he has already filled. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, Trump named retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser according to sources. On Friday, Nov. 18, Trump added to his cabinet by naming Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Sessions nomination is causing the most controversy because he had been accused of racist comments against African Americans that led him not to be confirmed for a circuit judgeship in 1986 when the President Ronald Reagan nominated him. Flynn is also causing a stir, for his racist comments against Muslims.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Trump transition team officially released a statement announcing President-elect Trump decisions on those appointments. That included statements by the president-elect and Sessions, Flynn and Pompeo. Sessions is a member of Senate Judiciary Committee member, Flynn is “a retired United States Army Lieutenant General and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” while Pompeo is currently a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Sessions was an early contender for a top cabinet post since he was the first Senator to endorse Trump back in February and since then has been a loyal advisor to Trump during the campaign on immigration and Supreme Court nominations. Sessions is facing criticism for remarks that haunted his 1986 confirmation hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee for the position of U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Alabama. Then Sessions was accused of saying the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and he used racially derogatory remarks to African American employees. In 1986, Sessions responded, “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activity in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality, and fairness for all.”

Trump campaign manager defended Sessions against the old allegations. Conway told CNN, “We’re aware of what was said and done 30 some years ago and we’re also aware of the incredible career Jeff Sessions has had throughout his life… I think if anyone had a problem with his record they would have run against him. Senator Sessions would be qualified for any number of positions.” Senate Democrats including new minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are against Sessions being confirmed, but also one Republican, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul opposes his nomination.

Flynn is a registered Democrat, who criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy after leaving his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he held from 2012 to 2014. Flynn also has been a loyal Trump advisor and campaign surrogate, especially on issues regarding national security, and on Trump’s Muslim ban that morphed into a ban on immigrants terrorist countries. His views and comments, however, towards Muslims, are problematic and are being criticized.

In February, Flynn tweeted, that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” Flynn revealed in a New York Post op-ed that “the stand I took on radical Islam,” was the real reason for his departure from DIA. Flynn later wrote a book “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam And Its Allies” which was released earlier this year outlining his views  on the “global war against radical Islam.” Flynn is also a board member on ACT for America considered “the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.” American Muslim groups are outraged at Trump’s appointment of Flynn. The position of National Security Advisor, however, does not require Senate confirmation.

Pompeo is the least controversial of Trump’s three appointments, but he is still facing opposition from Sen. Paul. Rep. Pompeo was a sharp “critic of President Obama’s foreign policy including the Iran deal” and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her term as Secretary of State. Pompeo was not an early Trump supporter as his other early picks; Pompeo first endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the primary. Pompeo has served three terms in the House and is a member of the House Energy Committee and the Intelligence Committee and a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Pompeo co-wrote a supplement to the report on the way the Obama Administration and Clinton as Secretary of State dealt with the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Previously, Trump named Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus his chief of staff and former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor, both positions do not require Senate confirmations. Trump has spent all week and weekend meeting with prospective candidates for top White House and Cabinet posts, but he still is at the at the start of filling in these positions, with only two months to spare before Inauguration Day.

Politics November 16, 2016: Senate leadership McConnell re-elected, Democrat Schumer elected, Sanders grabs post

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After the House Republicans had voted on their leadership posts, the Senate had their turn. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, 2016, as predicted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) was re-elected majority leader by acclamation, while New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer was elevated to minority leader, as departing minority leader Sen. Harry Reid’s heir apparent. Vermont Sen. and 2016 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also grabbed his first Senate leader post as Chair of Outreach.

The Republicans retained their leaders in their election for the 115th Congress. In a meeting of the GOP conference on Wednesday morning, McConnell was re-elected “by acclimation by his colleagues with a standing ovation,” as his spokesman Don Stewart told the press. Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) nominated McConnell, while Sen.-elect Todd Young, (R-IN) second the motion, both were instrumental to the GOP maintaining their majority.

McConnell was expected to remain in his post, and there were no surprises in the GOP leadership votes. McConnell, 74 will be serving his second term as majority leader, previously he was minority leader for four terms, and is “Kentucky’s longest-serving senator;” he was first elected in 1984.

All the action was with the Democrats after they shook up their leadership with the retirement of longtime leader Sen. Reid. Reid already named Schumer, his successor, but Wednesday’s vote made that a reality. After the being elected Schumer expressed, “I am going to wake up every single day focused on how Senate Democrats can effectively fight for America’s middle class and those struggling to join it.” While Schumer told reporters, “We are ready to go toe to toe with Republicans.” Although the minority leader acknowledged, “When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch. You can’t ignore it. You need to look it right in the eye and ask why, analyze it and learn from it.”

Schumer, 66 has served in the Senate since 1998, and he was in the House representing Brooklyn and Queens for 18 years before that. In 2006, Reid tapped Schumer to be the party’s number three in the Senate as vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, a position her served for ten years. When Reid announced his retirement in 2015, he made it clear he wanted Schumer to succeed him as Senate Democratic leader.

Overshadowing Schumer’s election was the addition of Sanders to the enlarged leadership team. The popular Sanders will be the outreach chairman, a newly created post within the ranks. Senate Democrats were pressured to add the formerly independent Senator to their leadership ranks after his historic run for the Democratic nomination, with a still very loyal supporter base.

After his appointment, Sanders spoke to reporters, telling them he has a “heavy responsibility to help shape the priorities of the United States government. I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires.” Sanders will also retain his post as the senior minority member of the Budget Committee.

Otherwise, in the Democratic ranks, Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill) remains minority whip. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new assistant Democratic leader, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) moves up to chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI) becomes Democratic Conference secretary, the fourth ranking in leadership, and Joe Manchin (D-WV) takes over as vice chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

The Democrats enlarged their team from seven to 10 posts. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) now moved up to newly titled posts of vice chairs of the Senate Democratic Conference. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) position title changed from chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to just chair of the Steering Committee.

Additionally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA ) becomes the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, while longtime-Judiciary member Patrick Leahy (D-VT)  moves to the Appropriations Committee.

Politics November 16, 2016: Senate leadership McConnell re-elected, Democrat Schumer elected, Sanders grabs post

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 16: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) leaves after an election meeting of Senate Democrats to elect new leadership at the Capitol November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Sen. Schumer was elected as the incoming Senate minority leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

After the House Republicans had voted on their leadership posts, the Senate had their turn. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 16, 2016, as predicted Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) was re-elected majority leader by acclamation, while New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer was elevated to minority leader, as departing minority leader Sen. Harry Reid’s heir apparent. Vermont Sen. and 2016 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also grabbed his first Senate leader post as Chair of Outreach.

The Republicans retained their leaders in their election for the 115th Congress. In a meeting of the GOP conference on Wednesday morning, McConnell was re-elected “by acclimation by his colleagues with a standing ovation,” as his spokesman Don Stewart told the press. Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) nominated McConnell, while Sen.-elect Todd Young, (R-IN) second the motion, both were instrumental to the GOP maintaining their majority.

McConnell was expected to remain in his post, and there were no surprises in the GOP leadership votes. McConnell, 74 will be serving his second term as majority leader, previously he was minority leader for four terms, and is “Kentucky’s longest-serving senator;” he was first elected in 1984.

All the action was with the Democrats after they shook up their leadership with the retirement of longtime leader Sen. Reid. Reid already named Schumer, his successor, but Wednesday’s vote made that a reality. After the being elected Schumer expressed, “I am going to wake up every single day focused on how Senate Democrats can effectively fight for America’s middle class and those struggling to join it.” While Schumer told reporters, “We are ready to go toe to toe with Republicans.” Although the minority leader acknowledged, “When you lose an election like this, you can’t flinch. You can’t ignore it. You need to look it right in the eye and ask why, analyze it and learn from it.”

Schumer, 66 has served in the Senate since 1998, and he was in the House representing Brooklyn and Queens for 18 years before that. In 2006, Reid tapped Schumer to be the party’s number three in the Senate as vice chairman of the Democratic Conference, a position her served for ten years. When Reid announced his retirement in 2015, he made it clear he wanted Schumer to succeed him as Senate Democratic leader.

Overshadowing Schumer’s election was the addition of Sanders to the enlarged leadership team. The popular Sanders will be the outreach chairman, a newly created post within the ranks. Senate Democrats were pressured to add the formerly independent Senator to their leadership ranks after his historic run for the Democratic nomination, with a still very loyal supporter base.

After his appointment, Sanders spoke to reporters, telling them he has a “heavy responsibility to help shape the priorities of the United States government. I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure that the budget that leaves the United States Congress is a budget that represents the needs of working families and a shrinking middle class and not billionaires.” Sanders will also retain his post as the senior minority member of the Budget Committee.

Otherwise, in the Democratic ranks, Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Ill) remains minority whip. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new assistant Democratic leader, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) moves up to chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI) becomes Democratic Conference secretary, the fourth ranking in leadership, and Joe Manchin (D-WV) takes over as vice chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

The Democrats enlarged their team from seven to 10 posts. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) now moved up to newly titled posts of vice chairs of the Senate Democratic Conference. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) position title changed from chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to just chair of the Steering Committee.

Additionally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA ) becomes the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, while longtime-Judiciary member Patrick Leahy (D-VT)  moves to the Appropriations Committee.

Politics November 15, 2016: House Speaker Paul Ryan re-elected by Republican conference

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House Speaker Paul Ryan re-elected by Republican conference

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, D.C. - NOVEMBER 09: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a press conference after a House Leadership Election on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2016 in Washington, D.C. United States. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and GOP Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will keep their roles.(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOVEMBER 09: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a press conference after a House Leadership Election on Capitol Hill on November 15, 2016 in Washington, D.C. United States. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and GOP Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will keep their roles.(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

House Republicans have opted to re-elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R- WI) to a second term. On Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 15, 2016, in a closed-door session Republicans unanimously voted that Ryan should stay on as House Speaker in the 115th session.

Ryan’s re-election with support from all Republicans is surprising, but after a week of shocks, that has become the new norm for Republicans. Ryan’s speakership was in danger before President-elect Donald Trump’s shocking upset victory a week ago on Tuesday, Nov. 8. His lack of support and distancing himself from Trump after a 2005 lewd tape emerged threatened Trump’s chances of winning the presidency. The conservative Freedom Caucus and some Southerner Republicans wanted Ryan replaced.

After the FBI reopened their investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump rose in the polls that changed, Ryan had a change of heart, he campaigned and told Americans particularly Republicans to vote for Trump. Since Trump’s election, Ryan has been President-elect Trump’s greatest endorser on Capitol Hill. Ryan sees himself guiding policy for the administration and Republican-controlled Congress. Ryan and Trump met on Thursday, Nov. 10 and had been talking on the phone each day.

Ryan told the conference that Vice President-elect Mike Pence told him Trump supports the entire House Republican leadership’s re-election. In the spirit of their new president, GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) gave Trump campaign hats red Make America great Again hats to each member.

Also, a new leadership position was created to help the new president. Ryan appointed Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) the congressional liaison to the Trump transition team. Collins was the one to second Ryan’s re-election. Collins said, “Paul Ryan’s future is as bright as ever. He has no opposition today. I’m seconding Paul Ryan’s nomination today as a sign of Trump’s support of Mr. Ryan. This is a team effort.”

On Tuesday, the Republicans also elected Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers to helm the National Republican Congressional Committee. Stivers was in the running with Rep. Roger Williams of Texas for the post. Now Ryan has to face a full vote in the House when they convene their new session in January, but with full support from the Republican majority, Ryan is certain to coast to a second term as Speaker of the House.

Politics November 15, 2016: President-elect Trump’s potential cabinet picks

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

LAKELAND, FL - OCTOBER 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani campaign together during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on October 12, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with less than one month to Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LAKELAND, FL – OCTOBER 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani campaign together during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on October 12, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with less than one month to Election Day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Now that Donald Trump has been elected president, he begins his presidential transition from the election until the inauguration. The first task of newly elect president is forming his cabinet and White House team, and staffing all the departments. Trump revised his transition team on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, replacing New Jersey Governor Christie as Chairman with his Vice President Mike Pence. Trump has already appointed two key members to his White House staff.

Trump named on Sunday, Nov. 13, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff and Trump for President CEO and Breitbart editor Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President.

The Trump team has indicated they might announce Treasury Secretary later this week, and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani has implied he would not be Attorney General, but he is now at the top of the list for Secretary of State. While campaign surrogate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says he will not accept a position in a Trump cabinet.

The following is a list of prospective candidates for each post from the New York Times updated on Nov. 14 (candidate descriptions also quoted from the NYT):

Secretary of State

  •  John R. Bolton Former United States ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush
  •  Bob Corker Senator from Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  •  Newt Gingrich Former House speaker
  •  Rudolph W. Giuliani Former New York mayor
  •  Zalmay Khalilzad Former United States ambassador to Afghanistan
  •  Stanley A. McChrystal Former senior military commander in Afghanistan

Treasury Secretary

  • Thomas Barrack Jr. Founder, chairman and executive chairman of Colony Capital; private equity and real estate investor
  • Jeb Hensarling Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee
  • Steven Mnuchin Former Goldman Sachs executive and Mr. Trump’s campaign finance chairman
  • Tim Pawlenty Former Minnesota governor

Defense Secretary

  • Kelly Ayotte Departing senator from New Hampshire and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn Former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (he would need a waiver from Congress because of a seven-year rule for retired officers)
  • Stephen J. Hadley National security adviser under George W. Bush
  • Jon Kyl Former senator from Arizona
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama who is a prominent immigration opponent

Attorney General

  • Chris Christie New Jersey governor
  • Rudolph W. Giuliani Former New York mayor
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama

Interior Secretary

  • Jan Brewer Former Arizona governor
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner
  • Harold G. Hamm Chief executive of Continental Resources, an oil and gas company
  • Forrest Lucas President of Lucas Oil Products, which manufactures automotive lubricants, additives and greases
  • Sarah Palin Former Alaska governor

Agriculture Secretary

  • Sam Brownback Kansas governor
  • Chuck Conner Chief executive officer of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
  • Sid Miller Texas agricultural commissioner
  • Sonny Perdue Former Georgia governor

Commerce Secretary

  • Chris Christie New Jersey governor
  • Dan DiMicco Former chief executive of Nucor Corporation, steel production company
  • Lewis M. Eisenberg Private equity chief for Granite Capital International Group

Labor Secretary

  • Victoria A. Lipnic Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner and work force policy counsel to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Health and Human Services Secretary

  • Dr. Ben Carson Former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Mike Huckabee Former Arkansas governor and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Bobby Jindal Former Louisiana governor who served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
  • Rick Scott Florida governor and former chief executive of a large hospital chain

Energy Secretary

  • James L. Connaughton Chief executive of Nautilus Data Technologies and former environmental adviser to President George W. Bush
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner
  • Harold G. Hamm Chief executive of Continental Resources, an oil and gas company

Education Secretary

  • Dr. Ben Carson Former neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate
  • Williamson M. Evers Education expert at the Hoover Institution, a think tank

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • Jeff Miller Retired chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee

Homeland Security Secretary

  • Joe Arpaio Departing sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz.
  • David A. Clarke Jr. Milwaukee County sheriff
  • Michael McCaul Representative from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee
  • Jeff Sessions Senator from Alabama

E.P.A. Administrator

  • Myron Ebell A director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a prominent climate change skeptic
  • Robert E. Grady Gryphon Investors partner who was involved in drafting the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
  • Jeffrey R. Holmstead Lawyer with Bracewell L.L.P. and former deputy E.P.A. administrator in the George W. Bush administration

U.S. Trade Representative

  • Dan DiMicco Former chief executive of Nucor Corporation, a steel production company, and a critic of Chinese trade practices

U.N. Ambassador

  • Kelly Ayotte Departing senator from New Hampshire and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Richard Grenell Former spokesman for the United States ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration

Full Text Political Transcripts November 14, 2016: President Barack Obama’s first press conference since Donald Trump won election

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

President Obama’s first press conference of the Trump era

Source: WaPo, 11-14-16

OBAMA: Hello, everybody. In a couple hours, I’ll be departing on my final foreign trip as president and while we’re abroad I’ll have a chance to take a few of your questions but I figured why wait? I know there’s a lot of domestic issues that people are thinking about so I wanted to see if I could clear out some of the underbrush so that when we’re overseas and people are asking about foreign policy questions, people don’t feel obliged to tack on three other questions to them. Let me – I know you still will, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

That I’m aware, but I’m trying something out here. First of all, let me mention three brief topics. First of all, as I discussed with the president-elect on Thursday, my team stands ready to accelerate in the next steps that are required to ensure a smooth transition and we are going to be staying in touch as we travel. I remember what it was like when I came in eight years ago. It is a big challenge. This office is bigger than any one person and that’s why ensuring a smooth transition is so important. It’s not something that the constitution explicitly requires but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis.

It’s part of what makes this country work and as long as I’m president, we are going to uphold those norms and cherish and uphold those ideals. As I told my staff, we should be very proud that their work has already ensured that when we turn over the keys, the car’s in pretty good shape. We are indisputably in a stronger position today than we were when I came in eight years ago. Jobs have been growing for 73 straight months, incomes are rising, poverty is falling, the uninsured rate is at the lowest level on record, carbon emissions have come down without impinging on our growth, and so my instructions to my team are that we run through the tape, we make sure that we finish what we started, that we don’t let up in these last couple of months because my goal is on January 21, America’s in the strongest position possible and hopefully there’s an opportunity for the next president to build on that.

Number two, our work has also helped to stabilize the global economy and because there is one president at a time, I’ll spend this week reinforcing America’s support for the approaches that we’ve taken to promote economic growth and global security on a range of issues. I look forward to my first visit in Greece and then in Germany I’ll visit with Chancellor Merkel who’s probably been my closest international partner these past eight years. I’ll also signal our solidarity with our closest allies and express our support for a strong, integrated, and united Europe.

It is essential to our national security and it’s essential to global stability and that’s why the trans-atlantic alliance and the NATO alliance have endured for decades under Democratic and Republican administrations. Finally, in Peru, I’ll meet with leaders of countries that have been the focus of our foreign policy through our rebalance in the Asia-Pacific. This is a time of great change in the world but America’s always been a pillar of strength and a beacon of hope to peoples around the globe and that’s what it must continue to be.

Finally, on a personal note, Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill’s family and all of you, her colleagues, on her passing. Gwen was a friend of ours, she was an extraordinary journalist, she always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work. I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews.

OBAMA: Whether she reported from a convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or at the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists. She was an especially powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her intellect. And for whom she blazed a trail, as one half of the first all-female anchor team on network news. So Gwen did her country a great service. Michelle and I join her family and her colleagues and everybody else who loved her in remembering her fondly today.

So with that, I’m going to take some questions, and because Josh Earnest has some pull around here, he just happens to put at the top of the list, Colleen Nelson, of the Wall Street Journal, my understanding is, Colleen, that this is wrapping up your stint here and you are going to Kansas City. Josh just happens to be from Kansas City.

(LAUGHTER)

SO I didn’t know if there was any coincidence there, but we wish you the very best of luck in your new endeavor.

QUESTION: As it turns out it’s a really great place (inaudible).

OBAMA: There you go.

QUESTION: You’re about to embark on a foreign trip. What will you say to other world leaders about your successor? They may press opinions(?) assuming you have about Donald Trump. Should they be worried about the future of U.S. foreign policy. And separately, as Democrats scramble to regroup after a pretty shocking upset, what is your advice about where the party goes now and who should lead you party?

OBAMA: One of the great things about the United States is that when it comes to world affairs, the president obviously is the leader of the Executive Branch, the Commander-in-Chief, the spokesperson for the nation, but the influence and the work that we have is the result not just of the president, it is the result of countless interactions and arrangements and relationships between our military and other militaries, and our diplomats and other diplomats, the intelligence officers and development workers. And there is enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world. That will continue. In my conversation with the president-elect he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, and so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Trans Atlantic Alliance. I think that’s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship and a recognition that those alliances aren’t just good for Europe. They are good for the United States and they are vital for the world.

With respect to the Democratic Party. As I said in the Rose Garden right after the election, “When your team loses, everybody gets deflated. And it’s hard, and it’s challenging. And I think it’s a healthy thing for the Democratic Party to go through some reflection. I think it’s important for me not to be big-footing that conversation. I think we want to see new voices and new ideas emerge – that’s part of the reason why term limits are a really useful thing.

The Democrats should not waiver on our core beliefs and principles. The belief that we should have an economy that works for everybody, not just a few. The belief that America at its best is inclusive and not exclusive. That we insist on the dignity and God- given potential and work of every child, regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation or what zip code they were born in. That we are committed to a world in which we keep America safe, but we recognize that our power doesn’t just flow from our extraordinary military but also flows from the strength in our ideals and our principles and our values.

So there are gonna be a core set of values that shouldn’t be up for debate. Should be our north star. But how we organize politically, I think is something that we should spend some time thinking about.

I believe that we have better ideas. But I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them. And one of the issues the Democrats have to be clear on is the given population distribution across the country. We have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that’s been a running thread in my career.

I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and BFW Hall, and there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points. There’s some counties maybe I won, that people didn’t expect, because people had a chance to see you and listen to you and get a sense of who you stood for and who you were fighting for.

And the challenge for a national party is how do you dig in there and create those kinds of structures so that people have a sense of what it is that you stand for. And that increasingly is difficult to do just through a national press strategy. It’s increasingly difficult to do because of the splintering of the press (ph). And so I think the discussions that have been taking place about, how do you build more grassroots organizing, how do you build state parties and local parties and school board elections you’re paying attention to, state rep races and city council races, that all, I think, will contribute to stronger outcomes in the future. And I’m optimistic that will happen.

For Democrats who are feeling completely discouraged, I’ve been trying to remind them, everybody remembers my Boston speech in 2004. They may not remember me showing up here in 2005 when John Kerry had lost a close election, Tom Daschle, the leader of the Senate, had been beaten in an upset. Ken Salazar and I were the only two Democrats that won nationally. Republicans controlled the Senate and the House, and two years later, Democrats were winning back Congress, and four years later I was President of the United States.

Things change pretty rapidly. But they don’t change inevitably. They change because you work for it. Nobody said Democracy’s supposed to be easy. It’s hard. And in a big country like this, it probably should be hard.

Mark Knoller (ph) —

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

OBAMA: Good to see you.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good to see you. Mr. President, what can you tell us about the learning curve on becoming president? Can you tell us how long it took you before you were fully at ease in the job, if that ever happened? And did you discuss this matter with the president elect, Trump?

OBAMA: About a week ago, I started feeling pretty good.

(LAUGHTER)

But no. Look, the — I think the learning curve always continues. This is a remarkable job. It is like no other job on earth. And it is a constant flow of information and challenges and issues. That is truer now than it has ever been, partly because of the nature of information and the interconnection between regions of the world. If you were president 50 years ago, the tragedy in Syria might not even penetrate what the American people were thinking about on a day to day basis. Today, they’re seeing vivid images of a child in the aftermath of a bombing.

There was a time when if you had a financial crisis in Southeast Asia somewhere, it had no impact on our markets. Today it does.

So the amount of information, the amount of incoming that any administration has to deal with today and respond to much more rapidly than ever before, that makes it different.

I was watching a documentary that during the Bay of Pigs crisis JFK had about two weeks before anybody reported on it. Imagine that. I think it’s fair to say that if something like that happens under a current president, they’ve got to figure out in about an hour what their response is.

So these are the kinds of points that I shared with the president-elect. It was a free-flowing and I think useful conversation. I hope it was. I tried to be as honest as I could about the things I think any president coming in needs to think about.

And probably the most important point that I made was that how you staff, particularly the chief of staff, the national security adviser, your White House counsel, how you set up a process in the system to surface information and generate options for a president, understanding that ultimately the president is going to be the final decision-maker. That that’s something that has to be attended to right away.

I have been blessed by having, and I admittedly am biased, some of the smartest, hardest-working, and good people in my administration that I think any president has ever had.

And as a consequence of that team, I have been able to make good decisions. And if you don’t have that around you, then you will get swamped. So I hope that he appreciated that advice.

What I also discussed was the fact that I had been encouraged by his statements on election night about the need for unity and his interest in being the president for all people. And that how he staffs, the first steps he takes, the first impressions he makes, the reset that can happen after an election, all those things are important and should be thought about.

And I think it’s important to give him the room and the space to do that. It takes time to put that together. But I emphasized to him that, look, in an election like this that was so hotly contest and so divided, gestures matter.

And how he reaches out to groups that may not have supported him, how he signals his interest in their issues or concerns, I think those are the kinds of things that can set a tone that will help move things forward once he has actually taken office.

QUESTION: How long did it take before you were at ease in the job?

OBAMA: Well, I didn’t really have time to worry about being at ease because, you will recall, we were losing about 800,000 jobs a month. So the good news is that in some ways my experience is atypical. It’s hard to find an analogous situation.

By the time FDR came into office, the Depression had been going on for a couple of years. We were in the midst of a free fall, financial system was locking up, the auto industry was about to go belly up, the housing market had entirely collapsed.

So one of the advantages that I had is that that I was too busy to worry about how acclimated I was feeling in the job. We just had to make a bunch of decisions.

In this situation, we are turning over a country that has challenges, has problems, and obviously there are people out there who are feeling deeply disaffected, otherwise we wouldn’t have had the results that we had in the election.

On the other hand, if you look at the basic indicators of where the country is right now, the unemployment rate is low as it has been in eight-nine years, incomes and wages have both gone up over the last year faster than they have in a decade or two. We’ve got historically low uninsured rates. The financial systems are stable. The stock market is hovering around its all-time high and 401(k)s have been restored. The housing market has recovered.

We have challenges internationally but our most immediate challenge with respect to ISIL, we are seeing significant progress in Iraq. And Mosul is now increasingly being retaken by Iraqi security forces, supported by us.

Our alliances are in strong shape. Our — the progress we’ve made with respect to carbon emissions has been greater than any country on Earth. And gas is 2 bucks a gallon.

So he will have time and space, I think, to make judicious decisions. The incoming administration doesn’t have to put out a huge number of fires. They may want to take the country in a significantly different direction. But they have got time to consider what exactly they want to achieve.

And that’s a testament to the tremendous work that my team has done over the last eight years. I am very proud of them for it.

Athena Jones.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

You said more than once that you did not believe that Donald trump would ever be elected president and that you thought he was unfit for the office.

Now that you’ve spent time with him (INAUDIBLE) for an hour and a half in the Oval Office, do you now think that President-Elect Trump is qualified to be president?

And if I can do a compound question, the other one, as you mentioned, staffing and tone.

What do you say to those Americans who may not doubt that there will be a peaceful transition but that are concerned about some of the policies and sentiments either expressed by President-Elect Trump himself or (INAUDIBLE) that may seem hostile to minorities and others?

Specifically I’m talking about the announcement that Steve Bannon, who is a proponent of the so-called alt-right movement, what many call the white nationalist movement, is going to have a prominent role in the White House under a President Trump as his key strategist and senior adviser.

What message does that send to the country and to the world?

OBAMA: Athena, without copping out, I think it’s fair to say that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every appointment that the president-elect starts making if I want to be consistent with the notion that we are going to try to facilitate a smooth transition.

But the people have spoken. Donald Trump will be the next president, the 45th President of the United States. And it will be up to him to set up a team that he thinks will serve him well and reflect his policies. And those who didn’t vote for him have to recognize that that’s how democracy works. That’s how this system operates.

When I won — and there were a number of people who didn’t like me and didn’t like what I stood for. And, you know, I think that whenever you have got an incoming president of the other side, particularly in a bitter election like this, it takes a while for people to reconcile themselves with that new reality.

Hopefully, it’s a reminder that elections matter and voting counts. And so, you know, I don’t know how many times we have to relearn this lesson because we ended up having 43 percent of the country not voting who were eligible to vote. But it makes a difference.

OBAMA: So given that President-Elect Trump is now trying to balance what he said in the campaign and the commitments he made to his supporters with working with those who disagreed with him and members of Congress and reaching out to constituencies that didn’t vote for him, I think it’s important for us to let him make his decisions.

And I think the American people will judge, over the course of the next couple of years, whether they like what they see and whether these are the kinds of policies and this is the direction that they want to see the country going. And my role is to make sure that when I hand off this White House that it is in the best possible shape and that I’ve been as helpful as I can to him in going forward and building on the progress that we’ve made.

And my advice, as I said to the president-elect when we had our discussions, was that campaigning is different from governing. I think he recognizes that. I think he’s sincere in wanting to be a successful president and moving this country forward and I don’t think any president ever comes in saying to himself “I want to figure out how to make people angry or alienate half the country.” I think he’s going to try as best he can to make sure that he delivers not only to the people who voted for him but for the people at large and the good thing is that there are going to be elections coming up so there’s a built-in incentive for him to try to do that.

But, you know, it’s only been six days and I think it’ll be important for him to have the room to staff up to figure out what his priorities are, to be able to distinguish between what he was campaigning on and what is practical, what he can actually achieve. You know, there are certain things that make for good sound bites but don’t always translate into good policy. And that’s something that he and his team I think will wrestle with in the same way that every president wrestles with. I did say to him, as I’ve said publicly, that because of the nature of the campaigns and the bitterness and ferocity of the campaigns that it’s really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign.

And I think that’s something that he will – he will want to do but this is all happening real fast. He’s got commitments to supporters that helped to get him here and he’s going to have to balance those over the coming weeks and months and years. My hope is that those impulses ultimately win out but it’s a little too early to start making judgments on that.

QUESTION: You’d like qualifications (ph), has that changed after meeting with him?

OBAMA: You know, I think that he successfully mobilized a big chunk of the country to vote for him and he’s going to win. He has won. He’s going to be the next president and regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up and those – those aspects of his positions or predispositions that don’t match up with reality, he will find shaken up pretty quick because reality has a way of asserting itself. And some of his gifts that obviously allowed him to execute one of the biggest political upsets in history, those are ones that hopefully he will put to good use on behalf of all the American people.

QUESTION: You’re off to Europe which is facing some of the same populist pressures we’ve seen work in this country. When you spoke at the U.N., you talked about the choices being made (ph) between immigration and building walls. What choice do you think the American people made last week and is there still a chance for what you called a course correction before Europeans make some of their choices?

OBAMA: I think the American people recognize that the world has shrunk. That it’s interconnected. That you’re not going to put that genie back in the bottle. The American people recognize that their careers or their kids’ careers are going to have to be more dynamic. That they might not be working at a single plant for 30 years. That they might have to change careers. They might have to get more education. They might have to retool or retrain. And I think the American people are game for that.

They want to make sure that the rules of the game are fair. And what that means is that if you look at surveys around Americans’ attitudes on trade, the majority of the American people still support trade. But they’re concerned about whether or not trade is fair, and whether we get the same access to other countries’ markets that they have with us. Is there just a race to the bottom when it comes to wages, and so forth.

Now, I made an argument, thus far unsuccessfully, that the trade deal we had organized, TPP, did exactly that. That it strengthened worker’s rights and environmental rights, leveled the playing field, and as a consequence, would be good for American workers and American businesses. But that’s a complex argument to make when people remember plants closing and jobs being offshore. So part of what I think this election reflected was people wanting that course correction that you described, and the message around stopping surges of immigration, not creating new trade deals that may be unfair. I think those were themes that played a prominent role in the campaign.

As we now shift to government, my argument is that we do need to make sure that we have an orderly, lawful immigration process, but that if it is orderly and lawful, immigration is good for our economy. It keeps this country young, it keeps it dynamic, we have entrepreneurs and strivers (ph) who come here and are willing to take risks, and that’s part of the reason why America historically has been successful. It’s part of the reason why our economy is stronger and better positioned than most of our other competitors, is because we’ve got a younger population that’s more dynamic when it comes to trade. I think when you’re governing, it will become increasingly apparent that if you were to just eliminate trade deals with Mexico, for example, well, you’ve got a global supply chain. The parts that are allowing auto plants that were about to shut down to now employ double shifts is because they’re bringing in some of those parts to assemble out of Mexico. And so it’s not as simple as it might have seemed.

OBAMA: And the key for us — when I say us, I mean Americans, but I think particularly for progressives, is to say, your concerns are real, your anxieties are real. Here’s how we fix it. Higher minimum wage. Stronger worker protection so workers have more leverage to get a bigger piece of the pie. Stronger financial regulations, not weaker ones. Yes to trade, but trade that ensures that these other countries that trade with us aren’t engaging in child labor, for example. Being attentive to inequality and not tone deaf to it. But offering prescriptions that are actually going to help folks in communities that feel forgotten. That’s going to be our most important strategy. And I think we can successfully do that.

People will still be looking to the United States. Our example will still carry great weight. And it continues to be my strong belief that the way we are going to make sure that everybody feels a part of this global economy is not by shutting ourselves off from each other, even if we could, but rather by working together more effectively than we have in the past.

Martha Raddatz.

QUESTION: Thanks, Mr. President. (INAUDIBLE) some of the harsh words you had about Mr. Trump, calling him temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief, did anything surprise you about President-Elect Trump when you met with him in your office?

And also I want to know, does anything concern you about a Trump presidency?

OBAMA: Well, we had a very cordial conversation and that didn’t surprise me, to some degree because I think that he is obviously a gregarious person. He’s somebody who I think likes to mix it up and to have a vigorous debate.

And you know, what’s clear is that he was able to tap into, yes, the anxieties but also the enthusiasm of his voters in a way that was impressive. And I said so to him because I think that to the extent that there were a lot of folks who missed the Trump phenomenon, I think that connection that he was able to make with his supporters, that was impervious to events that might have sunk another candidate. That’s powerful stuff.

I also think that he is coming to this office with fewer set hard-and-fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don’t think he is ideological. I think ultimately is, he is pragmatic in that way. And that can serve him well as long as he has got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction.

Do I have concerns?

Absolutely. Of course I have got concerns. You know, he and I differ on a whole bunch of issues. But you know, the federal government and our democracy is not a speedboat. It’s an oceanliner, as I discovered when I came into office. It took a lot of really hard work for us to make significant policy changes, even in our first two years, when we had larger majorities than Mr. Trump will enjoy when he comes into office.

And you know, one of the things I advised him to do was to make sure that, before he commits to certain courses of action, he has really dug in and thought through how various issues play themselves out.

I will use a obvious example, where we have a difference but it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming year. And that’s the Affordable Care Act. You know, obviously this has been the Holy Grail for Republicans over the last 6-7 years, was we got to kill ObamaCare.

Now that has been taken as an article of faith, that this is terrible, it doesn’t work and we have to undo it.

OBAMA: But now that Republicans are in charge, they got to take a look and say, let’s see. We got 20 million people who have health insurance who didn’t have it before. Health care costs generally have gone up at a significantly slower rate since ObamaCare was passed than they did before, which has saved the federal Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars.

People who have health insurance are benefiting in all sorts of ways that they may not be aware of, everything from no longer having lifetime limits on the claims that they can make to seniors getting prescription drug discounts under Medicare to free mammograms.

Now it’s one thing to characterize this thing as not working when it’s just an abstraction. Now suddenly you are in charge and you are going to repeal it. OK, well, what happens to those 20 million people who have health insurance? Are you going to just kick them off and suddenly they don’t have health insurance?

In what ways are their lives better because of that? Are you going to repeal the provision that ensures that if you do have health insurance on your job and you lose your job or you change jobs or you start a small business that you are not discriminated against because you have got a preexisting condition? That’s really popular.

How are you going to replace it? Are you going to change the policy that kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26? How are you going to approach all these issues?

Now, my view is that if they can come up with something better that actually works and a year or two after they have replaced the Affordable Care Act with their own plan that 25 million people have health insurance and it’s cheaper and better and running smoothly, I will be the first one to say that’s great. Congratulations.

If, on the other hand, whatever they are proposing results in millions of people losing coverage and results in people who already have health insurance losing protections that were contained in the legislation, then we are going to have a problem.

And I think that’s not going to be unique to me. I think the American people will respond that way. So I think on a lot of issues what you’re going to see is now comes the hard part. Now is governance.

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We are going to be able to present to the incoming administration a country that is stronger. A federal government that is working better and more efficiently. A national security apparatus that is both more effective and truer to our values. Energy policies that are resulting in not just less pollution, but also more jobs.

And I think the president-elect rightly would expect that he is judged on whether we improve from that baseline and on those metrics or things get worse. And if things get worse, then the American people will figure that out pretty quick. And if things get better, then more power to him. And I will be the first to congratulate him.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you had talked specifically about his temperament. Do you still have any concern about his temperament?

OBAMA: As I said, because Athena (ph) asked the question, whatever you bring to this office, this office has a habit of magnifying and pointing out and hopefully then you correct for.

This may seem like a silly example, but I know myself well enough to know I can’t keep track of paper. I am not well-organized in that way. And so pretty quickly after I’m getting stacks of briefing books coming in every night, I say to myself, I have got to figure out a system because I have bad filing, sorting, and organizing habits.

Political Transcripts November 13, 2016: President-Elect Donald Trump 60 Minutes Interview with Leslie Stahl

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION:

President-Elect Donald Trump 60 Minutes Interview with Leslie Stahl

 

Politics November 13, 2016: Trump begins cabinet picks names RNC chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) Reince Priebus (R) hugs Republican presidential elect Donald Trump during election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) Reince Priebus (R) hugs Republican presidential elect Donald Trump during election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is coming together as President-elect Donald Trump announced his first cabinet picks on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 13, 2016. As speculated Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House Chief of Staff and Trump for President CEO Stephen K. Bannon will serve as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President. The Congressional Republicans are lauding Trump’s choice of appointing Priebus.

President-elect Trump issued a statement on his transition website announcing the appointmentsTrump expressed, “I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country. Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

Bannon also commented in the statement, saying, “I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump Administration. We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda.”

While Priebus also expressed gratitude for his appointment saying, “It is truly an honor to join President-elect Trump in the White House as his Chief of Staff. I am very grateful to the President-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great President for all Americans.”

The statement explained that Bannon and Priebus are working as equal partners, “Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive.” They made the arrangement, as they would be working with different “constituencies” in running the White House.

Bannon is a former Navy officer and was Goldman Sachs investment banker, but recently headed conservative publication Breitbart News. He joined the Trump campaign in August and many in the feared that put Trump more to the right alienating himself from mainstream Republican and independent voters. Instead, Bannon helped keep Trump on message and disciplined on the campaign trail. Still, the party establishment did not want Bannon in the role of chief of staff, viewing him as still too controversial.

Both Priebus and Bannon were in the running for the position of chief of staff. Priebus stood by Trump throughout the campaign even through Trump’s scandals and the 2005 lewd tape revelation that caused many Republicans to bolt, distance themselves and rescind their endorsements. By the end, Priebus was on the campaign trail for the then-Republican nominee. During the campaign, Priebus served as a liaison to Trump and the establishment in the party. Priebus is one of the longest running Republican Party Chairman and is popular with all factions of the party.

Priebus was the choice of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the role, and they let Trump know it when they met with on Thursday, Nov. 10. Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres commented after the announcement, indicating “The speaker is very happy for his friend and ready to get to work.” Priebus negotiated Ryan’s original endorsement of the Trump; he has a longtime relationship with Ryan from his time as Chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Trump is known for rewarding loyalty, and both Priebus and Bannon have been loyal and instrumental to his election. The role of chief of staff sets the tone of the White House and administration and Trump by choosing Priebus shows that will be inclusive to all Republicans and that Trump’s presidency might far more moderate than his campaign rhetoric.

Politics November 13, 2016: Pence takes over from Christie as head of Trump transition team amid in-fighting

HEADLINE NEWS

Headline_News

POLITICS

Pence takes over from Christie as head of Trump transition team amid in-fighting

 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 10:
President Elect Donald Trump, center right, walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center left, (R-KY) on November, 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Accompanying him are his wife, Melania, right, and Vice President Elect Mike Pence, left.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

From the moment, Donald Trump was elected president on early Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, all attention turned to presidential transition. On Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, President-Elect Trump tapped his running-mate Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence to run his transition team. Although the focus is now on transition since May, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie led the transition plans, but with reports of conflict between Trump’s team, the president-elect looked to someone who unifies the most important first task of the new administration. The transition team selects a cabinet and fills key positions in the White House while setting policy priorities to get the ball rolling after inauguration day.

Trump first met with his transition team on Wednesday, Nov. 9, but after just two days and a trip to Washington meeting with President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Trump decided to change course. The president-elect replaced Christie with Pence while reducing Christie to one of the Vice Chairmen on the transition team.

Other vice chairmen on the transition team include close Trump campaign aides and surrogates, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Ben Carson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. After the announcement, Christie issued a statement, “I am proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people.”

The decision to place Pence in that position shows that the president-elect plans to give his Vice President more influence and importance, harkening back to the influence of former President George W. Bush’s VP Dick Cheney had in the White House. Pence has experience on Capitol Hill, and is respected by both parties and has connections with leadership on either side of the aisle. Trump is already tapping into that influence with Pence joining him in meetings with GOP Congressional leadership on Thursday, and calling the Democratic leadership.

Trump issued a statement on Friday announcing his entire transition team. Trump said, “Together this outstanding group of advisors, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, will build on the initial work done under the leadership of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one.”  Continuing the President-elect explained, “The mission of our team will be clear: put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington. Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation — specifically jobs, security and opportunity.”

The transition team will include a 16-member executive committee that includes Trump’s children, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. The following is the complete list of Trump’s revised transition team:

Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
New York Congressman Chris Collins
Jared Kushner
Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino
Rebekah Mercer
Steven Mnuchin
Congressman Devin Nunes
Anthony Scaramucci
Peter Thiel
Donald Trump Jr.
Eric Trump
Ivanka Trump
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Trump Campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon

Trump also announced the Presidential Transition Team’s Staff Leadership lineup:

Former Campaign Manager  Kellyanne Conway, Senior Advisor
Former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, Deputy Executive Director
Stephen Miller, National Policy Director
Jason Miller, Communications Director
Hope Hicks, National Press Secretary
Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media
Don McGahn, General Counsel
Republican National Committee chief-of-staff  Katie Walsh, Senior Advisor

Trump has been busy meeting with his transition staff and prospective cabinet members at his Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. On Friday alone according to Politico, Trump met with “former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Kushner, Anthony Scaramucci, Rudy Giuliani, digital director Brad Parscale, senior communications adviser Jason Miller, senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.”

Politico is also reporting that internal conflicts in the Trump camp led to Christie’s ouster, conflicts between Christie’s aides, Trump loyalists, and GOP establishment. Particularly Corey Lewandowski and RNC chairman Reince Priebus, which has been going on since the campaign, although Lewandowski denies there are any conflicts. Even after Lewandowski was fired as campaign manager, he continued advising Trump throughout the campaign. Now, Lewandowski is in the running for RNC Chair in Priebus gets tapped in the White House, a sure sign pointing to an elevated post, he resigned as a contributor to CNN on Friday.

There is also conflicts between Trump New York advisors and his Washington transition team players because very little attention was being paid towards the transition until after the election. There is a third faction on the team with allegiances to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sessions is responsible for “congressional outreach and immigration policy.”

Conservatives on the team viewed Christie and his aides “as big-business-backing centrists who were insufficiently conservative on cultural issues.” Christie was also looking to reward Republicans who refused to support Trump during the campaign rather than punish them. Kushner had problems with Christie and his top deputy, Rich Bagger.

Kushner was key in replacing Christie had prejudices against the New Jersey governor, who was the district attorney that convicted his father ten- years ago. Kushner has been a close advisor to his father-in-law and came with him to the White House Thursday, where he spoke with Obama Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough.

The compromise solution was elevating conservative Pence and his aides, as Bush did with Cheney in 2000. Still, one operative told Politico, “This is like the Oklahoma landgrab. It’s gonna get vicious the next 70 days as people try to place their people where they want them. And Christie’s people ain’t the same as [Trump campaign CEO Steve] Bannon’s people ain’t the same as Sessions’ people.”

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