Political Musings May 16, 2014: Senate tax cuts extenders planned to join unemployment extension filibustered 53-40

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Tax cuts extenders planned to join unemployment extension filibustered 53-40

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It now does not matter if the unemployment benefits extension bill was added to the Senate business tax cuts extenders bill, because the on Thursday, May 15, 2014 Republicans filibustered the bill, blocking it from advancing from the debate stage…Continue
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Political Musings April 27, 2014: Boehner delivers GOP weekly address focuses on the economy and job creation

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Political Musings April 20, 2014: Democrats pressuring House GOP into passing unemployment benefits extension bill

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Democrats pressuring House GOP into passing unemployment benefits extension bill

By Bonnie K. Goodman

While the Senate leadership is busy negotiating with the Republican House of Representative leadership into passing the long-term unemployment benefits extension bill, the Democrats in the House and Senate are putting the pressure on the GOP. Even though Congress…READ MORE

Political Musings April 10, 2014: Senate Republicans block equal pay bill from advancing with a vote of 53-44

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Senate Republicans block equal pay bill from advancing with a vote of 53-44

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A day after National Equal Pay Day on Wednesday April 9, 2014, Republicans in the Senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would have curbed the gender pay gap in the country. With a vote of 53 for…READ MORE

Political Musings April 5, 2014: Obama and Biden’s hourly and tipped minimum wage midterm sales pitch to Congress

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Obama and Biden’s hourly and tipped minimum wage midterm sales pitch to Congress

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Delivering a speech that sounded like a campaign sales blitz, President Barack Obama was selling raising the minimum wage to Congress on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor to a group of students. The president…READ MORE

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Political Musings February 22, 2014: Obama continues push to raise minimum wage in weekly address, governors meeting

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For the second week in a row President Barack Obama dedicated his weekly address released Saturday morning, Feb. 22, 2014 to raising the minimum wage, and urging Congress to pass legislation to that would lift the wage up from $7…Continue

Political Musings February 15, 2014: Obama revisits urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in his weekly address

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Obama revisits urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in his weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 
For his weekly address released Saturday morning, Feb. 15, 2014 President Barack Obama revisited his executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 and urged Congress to complete his effort by universally raising…

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Full Text Obama Presidency February 14, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech at House Democratic Issues Conference the Congressional Democrats Retreat on Economic Opportunity Program

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Remarks by the President at House Democratic Issues Conference

Source: WH, 2-14-14 

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference
February 14, 2014 4:40 PM

President Obama Speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
Cambridge, Maryland

10:43 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you, guys.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Everybody, have a seat.  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, it is good to see you.  Joe, thank you for the wonderful introduction.  Let me be the first to say, Happy Valentine’s Day to our fearless leader, Nancy Pelosi.  (Applause.)  Paul will hopefully get you more than just a thank-you.

To Steny, to Jim, Xavier, Steve Israel — who’s doing an extraordinary job under very difficult circumstances — (applause) — Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who is putting in more miles than just about anybody I know — (applause) — and all of you.  It’s great to see you.

We just saw each other at the White House fairly recently, so I’m not going to give a long speech here.  I want to spend most of my time answering some more questions.  But let me just make a couple observations since we saw each other.  First of all, I stated in our State of the Union that the single most important thing we have to do — not just as a party, but as a country — is make sure that there’s opportunity for every single person; that we are focused every single day in this town — or in Washington — on making sure that if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, that you can get ahead.  It doesn’t matter where you live, what circumstances you were born into, what you look like, who you love, you should be able to make it here in America.

And as I said at the State of the Union, I want to work with Congress to make that happen, but I’m not going to wait, because there’s too much to do.  (Applause.)  And America does not believe in standing still.  America insists on moving forward.

We laid out some very specific ways that we can move the country forward, breaking them down into a few categories:  Number one, creating more good jobs that pay good wages.  Number two, making sure that folks are trained to fill those good jobs. Number three, making sure that our kids have the best education  in the world.  And number four, making sure that hard work pays off, that people aren’t poor if they’re working full-time, that they have some semblance of retirement security, that they can count on health care if, heaven forbid, something happens to them.

And already, just in the last couple of weeks, we’ve put forward a range of executive actions that are going to make a difference.  So, yesterday, for example, I had a chance to be with a group of minimum wage workers for federal contractors — these are folks who are washing dishes, or cleaning clothes on military bases or facilities — and sometimes the debates on Capitol Hill get so abstract, and to be next to folks — the average age, by the way, 35.  These aren’t teenagers, these are folks who are looking after families and trying to raise kids.  And to see what it would mean to them for us to have a federal minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, and how much relief that would give them, and how committed they were to the American Dream and getting ahead and just hoping that somebody was standing up for them — it reminded me of why I’m a Democrat.  (Applause.)  and it reminded me of why I’m so proud of this caucus, because you’re standing up on behalf of them.

And so we signed the executive order — these folks are going to get a raise.  And what I said yesterday is that now it’s time for Congress to act because America deserves a raise.  (Applause.)

I pointed out yesterday, as I pointed out at the State of the Union, that the majority of low-wage workers are women, which is why we’re going to keep on pushing to make sure that we have equal pay for equal work — (applause) — and we have sensible family policies.  Because as I said at the State of the Union, when women succeed America succeeds.  I still believe that.  (Applause.)

We’ve traveled to manufacturing plants up in Wisconsin to talk about how we can continue to accelerate advanced manufacturing and technology in this country.  And we’ve got some great possibilities to create hubs that keep us on the cutting-edge.  We’ve signed executive orders to advance the kind of job training that is going to help people train for the jobs that actually exist and link up businesses with our community colleges.

We’ve already through executive action set up a new retirement account, MyRA, that allows folks to get a starter retirement, because a whole lot of people don’t have 401(k)s to save.

Across the board, we’re moving.  But as I said at the State of the Union, and I want to repeat today, we can get a whole lot more done if we’ve got Congress working with us.  And this caucus has shown time and time again under the most difficult circumstances the kind of courage and unity and discipline that has made me very, very proud.

And I was just talking to Nancy before I came out here.  The fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions, the fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit is just one example of why when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off.  And I could not be more thankful and more appreciative and prouder of what you’re doing.  (Applause.)

Just a couple of more points.  Number one, you’ve seen reports over the last couple of days that we actually slightly exceeded our targets for ACA signups and enrollments this past month, in the month of January.  (Applause.)  We now have well over 3.5 million people who have signed up and are getting insurance through the marketplaces for the first time.  That does not count the close to 7 million folks who have signed up for Medicaid because of the law that you passed, or the 3 million young people who are staying on their parents’ plans.  We’re starting to see data already that the uninsured rate is coming down.  We are going to keep on pushing on this to make sure that here in America, everybody can enjoy the kind of financial security and peace of mind that good quality health insurance provides.  (Applause.)

And I just want to say thank you for all of you hanging in there tough on an issue that I think 10 years from now, five years from now, we’re going to look back and say this was a monumental achievement that could not have happened had it not been for this caucus.

And, finally, there are some big things that we have to do that I cannot do through executive action where we have to get Congress and where the American people are on our side.  A federal minimum wage law is one of them.  Another, though, is making sure that we’ve got a smart immigration policy in this country that grows our economy — (applause) — gets people out of the shadows, makes sure that our businesses are thriving.  That’s got to be a top priority.  We’re going to have to keep on working on that.

And I believe, frankly, that there are folks on the other side of the aisle who genuinely want to see this done, but they’re worried and they’re scared about the political blowback. And, look, everybody here is an elected official and we can all appreciate the maneuverings that take place, particularly in an election year.  But when it comes to immigration reform, we have to remind ourselves that there are people behind the statistics, that there are lives that are being impacted — that punting and putting things off for another year, another two years, another three years, it hurts people.  It hurts our economy.  It hurts families.

And part of what I’d like to think makes us Democrats is not simply some abstract ideological set of beliefs, but the fact that we’re reminded every single day that we’re here to help a whole bunch of folks out there — our neighbors, our friends, our communities — who are struggling still and need our help.  And they’re counting on us.  The good thing is they’ve got some outstanding members of Congress who are willing to fight for them regardless of the political cost, starting with your leader Nancy Pelosi.

I’m grateful for you.  And I’m looking forward to making sure that this year we keep on making progress even if we continue to get a little resistance from the other side.  The American people know that we could be breaking out if Washington gets its act together, and it’s important for us to lead that process.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
11:02 A.M. EST

Political Musings February 6, 2014: Senate fails to advance long-term jobless unemployment benefits extension 58-40

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Senate fails to advance long-term jobless unemployment benefits extension 58-40

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Senate again failed to advance a revised unemployment benefits extension bill with a vote of 58-40 on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, which would resulted in a three-month benefits extension. The bill garnered 4 Republican votes, but needed…READ MORE

Political Musings February 5, 2014: Obama vs O’Reilly part 2 sparing continued on Fox News fairness, big government

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Obama vs O’Reilly part 2 sparing continued on Fox News fairness, big government

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The second part of the confrontational pre-Super Bowl FOX News interview between Bill O’Reilly and President Barack Obama aired Monday evening, Feb. 3, 2014 during the regularly scheduled The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News. After…READ MORE

Political Musings December 27, 2013: Congress may be worst, but Republicans ahead in CNN poll for midterm elections

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A new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 is a mix of both good and bad news for the current 113th Congress; Americans think it is the worst ever, but also more likely to vote for a…READ MORE

Political Musings November 22, 2013: Senate Democrats go extreme pass nuclear option preventing filibusters for nominees

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Senate Dems go extreme pass nuclear option preventing filibusters for nominees

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After earlier this week the Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s third judicial nominee for the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting Senate Democrats to invoke on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 what is called the “nuclear option”….READ MORE

Political Musings November 19, 2013: Obama free falling in new polls from disastrous health care rollout

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Obama free falling in new polls from disastrous health care rollout

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Most of the major political polls have now determined that President Barack Obama approval ratings are hitting all time lows, while his disapproval rating is now skyrocketing. The latest poll from ABC News/Washington Post released on Monday, Nov. 18…

READ MORE

Political Musings November 14, 2013: Obama offers health care fix for Americans with cancelled policies is it enough?

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama announced during a press conference in the White House briefing room on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 that Americans with cancelled insurance would be allowed to keep their policies that do not fit…READ MORE

Political Musings October 29, 2013: HealthCare.gov website problems leads to bipartisan calls for Obamacare delays

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HealthCare.gov website problems leads to bipartisan calls for Obamacare delays

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This past week the insurance exchange website HealthCare.gov referred to as the Marketplace has been in the spotlight over major glitches; the website is part of the rollout of President Barack Obama’s new health care law, the…READ MORE

Political Musings October 22, 2013: Obama, GOP approval ratings plummet in new polls, result of shutdown fallout

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Obama, GOP approval ratings plummet in new polls, result of shutdown fallout

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 

Three new polls released on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 indicate that President Barack Obama, the House Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH have not escaped the American public’s blame as a result of the…READ MORE

Political Headlines September 9, 2013: President Barack Obama to Visit Capitol Hill to Make Case for Syria Strike

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THE HEADLINES….

Obama to Visit Capitol Hill to Make Case for Syria Strike

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-9-13

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is planning to visit Capitol Hill on Tuesday, making his case on Syria face-to-face with senators.

The president is scheduled to meet with Senate Democrats at their weekly policy luncheon, two Democratic aides said, intensifying his outreach as part of the administration’s push for military strikes on Syria.  He could also meet with other members of Congress, particularly those who remain undecided on Syria, officials said….READ MORE

Political Headlines July 5, 2013: Bipartisan praise for June jobs report

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Bipartisan praise for June jobs report

Source: CBS News, 7-5-13

Both Democrats and Republicans applauded a stronger-than-expected employment report released on Friday, which showed that the U.S….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines June 12, 2013: President Barack Obama Campaigns for Ed Markey in Massachusetts Senate Run

CAMPAIGN BUZZ

Campaign_Headlines

CAMPAIGN HEADLINES….

Obama Stumps for Ed Markey in Massachusetts Senate Run

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-12-13

The Guardian via Getty Images

Seven months after winning re-election, President Obama is back on the campaign trail. This time, he’s lending his political prowess to stump for Senate hopeful Rep. Ed Markey….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 12, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Ed Markey for Senate Rally, Boston, Massachusetts

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Remarks by the President at Markey for Senate Rally — Boston, MA

Source: WH, 6-12-13

Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center
Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts

1:27 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Boston!  (Applause.)  It is great to be back in Boston.  (Applause.)  Good to be back in Massachusetts.  (Applause.)  And, most of all, it is great to be here with the next senator from Massachusetts — Ed Markey.  (Applause.)

First of all, I want to thank Ed for that great introduction.  (Applause.)  Because I am here with my great friends from Boston, because I’m here to campaign on behalf of somebody who will be an outstanding member of the United States Senate, I am not going to talk trash about the hockey game.  (Laughter.)  I’m not going to say anything about the outstanding qualities of the Chicago Blackhawks.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE:  Boooo —

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not going to say anything.  I’m not going to do it.  (Laughter.)  Because I don’t want to make you all feel bad.  (Laughter.)  I want you to feel good.

Part of the reason you should feel good is not only do you have an outstanding congressional delegation, you also have a great Governor — my good friend, Deval Patrick.  (Applause.)   You’ve got one of the finest mayors in the United States of America — we love Tom Menino.  (Applause.)  I was just backstage talking to Tom, and he doesn’t just inspire Boston and make it a better place, he inspires the country.  And we’re grateful for his lifetime of service.

The last time I saw Tom, the last time I saw a lot of you was for the memorial service honoring the victims of the Marathon bombing.  So this morning, before I came here, I wanted to spend some time with some Bostonians, so we stopped by Charlie’s Sandwich Shop — (applause) — and I got a burger and fries.  And we were saying hi to everybody and hugging folks, and Ed was with me.  And one of the people I met in the shop just by happenstance was a young man whose family had been injured by the bombing.  And he was with a nurse who had been at Mass General the day those folks got brought in.  And she was on her day off.  But I gave her a big hug and I reminded her of how much what she did had meant to so many people all throughout the city and she was an example of the spirit of Boston during a very difficult time.
And I asked people, how is the city doing?  And they said, you know, we’re bouncing back.  Boylston Street may be open again.  Life may be back to normal in a lot of ways.  But we know there’s still too many middle-class families that aren’t seeing their hard work rewarded, too many young people who are looking for work and can’t find it, too many Americans who feel like the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart.  And that’s why Ed and I are focused on building the true engine of long-term economic growth — and that is a rising, thriving middle class.  (Applause.)

And every day I wake up, I ask three questions:  How do I make America a magnet for good jobs?  How do we make sure our workers earn the skills and education they need for those jobs?  How do we make sure those jobs are paying a decent living?  And the answer to that is, government can’t do it by itself.  Obviously, the private sector is the driver of our economy.  It’s the engine of our growth.

But when people say the whole problem is government, they don’t understand government can help by establishing smart priorities, by making smart choices, by investing in American manufacturing so we’re bringing more of our jobs back from overseas — (applause) — investing in our roads and our bridges and our ports to make sure that we are staying competitive all around the world; educating our children from the earliest years, keeping them safe from gun violence; rethinking our high schools, making college more affordable — (applause) — making sure we stay at the cutting edge in science and technology; securing our energy future; addressing climate change.  There are some things that government can do that will help middle-class families, and that’s what Ed Markey is committed to doing.  (Applause.)

We can do all this.  We have all the plans.  We have all the policies.  We have solutions to our challenges.  We have all the ingredients for success.  This is not only the greatest nation on Earth in the past, this is going to be the greatest nation on Earth for the foreseeable future.  There’s no country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States.  But what’s holding us back right now is inaction in Washington, gridlock in Washington — too many folks in Washington who are putting the next election ahead of the next generation.  (Applause.)

Now, Boston, I want you to know I’ve run my last campaign.  Michelle is very happy about that.  (Laughter.)  So my only concern is making sure that we advance the interests of the broadest number of Americans and we leave our children a stronger, safer, more prosperous country than the one we inherited.  That’s all I care about.  (Applause.)  And that means I’m willing to work with anybody — I’ll work with Republicans, Democrats, independents — anybody who wants to make progress. I’m ready to get going.  I want to work with them.  (Applause.)

So, for example, right now on immigration, we’ve got a good bipartisan bill moving through the Senate that strengthens our borders and reforms the system so that everybody is playing by the same rules — reform that will allow us to continue to attract talent from all around the world, the best and the brightest.  And whenever Republicans are ready to work with me, I’m ready to work with them.  (Applause.)  I want to govern not just politic.  (Applause.)

And I notice on gun violence, there are a lot of Republicans out there who recognize that we need some common-sense gun safety measures.  Some Republicans may be rethinking the stances that they took in the past.  That’s the good news.  We want to encourage that.  But the fact of the matter is that a whole bunch of Republicans out there are not interested in getting things done.  They think compromise is a dirty word.  They think the problem we’ve got is just working people who join unions — that that’s what holding us back.  They think environmental regulations are what’s holding us back.  They think that we’re spending, I guess, too much money on science and research and technology.

And because of those attitudes, we’ve got to have some Democrats like Ed Markey, who will stand up and do the right thing.  That’s what we need.  (Applause.)

Ed mentioned that the idea of being a Democrat — look, I don’t believe that any single party has a monopoly on wisdom.  My favorite President is a guy from Illinois who founded the Republican Party, effectively — Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican President.  (Applause.)  But what does make me a Democrat is the basic idea that in this country, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter who you love, you should be able to get ahead if you’re willing to work hard and act responsibly.  (Applause.)

You should be able to buy a home and send your kids to college, and save a little bit for retirement, make sure your kids get a good education, not go bankrupt when you get sick.  Most Americans aren’t asking for a lot.  They know they’ve got to take care of themselves.  They just want to make sure that if they’re working hard, they can get ahead.  That’s the essence of what it means to be a Democrat.

And that’s why we’ve got to have folks like Ed Markey, who are going to help keep weapons of war off the streets and out of our schools; make it harder for criminals to get a gun in their hands.

That’s why we’ve got to have a Democrat who is going to make sure that we implement the Affordable Care Act — because in a nation this wealthy, nobody should have to go without affordable, accessible health care.  They don’t have to do it in Massachusetts.  They shouldn’t have to do it anywhere else.  (Applause.)  It’s the right thing to do, and we need Ed Markey to make sure that it gets implemented.  (Applause.)

We’re fighting to make sure that when it comes to women’s health, no employer or insurance company or politician gets to decide your health care.  Women should make decisions about their health care, not some politician in Washington.  (Applause.)

We need somebody who is going to be supportive of the Consumer Financial Protection Board that Elizabeth Warren and I started talking about even before I was elected President and that we’ve now implemented to make sure you’re not getting cheated by unscrupulous financial practices.  We need somebody who is going to support that robustly.  That’s what Ed is going to do.

We don’t need politicians who are going to roll back these rights.  We need somebody like Ed Markey who is going to fight to secure them, no matter how many times the Republicans in Washington want to refight the old battles.

Do you know that the House Republicans have held nearly 40 votes to repeal Obamacare?  They did another one just two weeks ago because they figured that they were a couple new representatives that hadn’t had a chance to vote against Obamacare.  That’s not a productive thing to do, people.

This law is going to mean big things for the economic security of middle-class families.  We should be spending time figuring out how to spread the word that if you don’t have health insurance, you can now get it.

We need a senator from Massachusetts who will help me, work with me, to deal with climate change in an honest, realistic way. (Applause.)  Ed has been fighting this battle for decades.  If we want our children and our grandchildren to live in the same beautiful planet, the same abundance and natural glory that we have enjoyed in our lives, we’ve got to double down on our investment in science and basic research.  We can’t just develop the energy sources of the past.  We’ve got to develop the energy sources of the future.

We’ve got the tools and the capabilities to make huge strides.  We’ve already doubled the production of clean energy.  We’ve already doubled fuel-efficiency standards on cars.  We’ve got to keep on going forward, not backwards.  And that’s what Ed Markey is going to help us do.  (Applause.)

We’ve ended a war in Iraq; we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan responsibly.  Now we’re going to have to take care of our veterans and keep Americans safe.  And I will keep working with the other side of the aisle on these issues.  But I want somebody like Ed Markey who every single day is going to be fighting on behalf of our veterans, going to be fighting on behalf of our first responders.

These budget battles we have in Washington, they have implications for whether or not we’re helping cities and states fund their firefighters, fund their police officers.  And everybody here in Boston knows how much those first responders mean to us when a crisis has hit.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got to make sure we’re there for them.  (Applause.)

So, look, here’s the bottom line.  We’ve gone through some tough times over these last few years and so many of you put your faith in me in 2008 and 2012 — (applause) — the folks here in Massachusetts were very kind to me back in 2004, when nobody could pronounce my name.  (Laughter.)

And every single day, I think about all of you.  I look out on the faces in this crowd — some of you I know, some of you have knocked on doors for me, some of you poured your heart and soul into our efforts.

But here’s the thing that I think all of us understand — the job of rebuilding America, the job of making sure our kids have a great education, the job of making sure everybody has health care, the job of making sure that financial institutions treat everybody fairly, the job of making sure our veterans have the care that they need, the job of making sure we have a bright energy future, the job of preserving our environment, the job of making sure we stay on the cutting-edge when it comes to innovation — that job is not mine alone.  I can’t do it by myself.  I’ve got to have folks with me who care as passionately about these things as I do.  (Applause.)  I’ve got to have folks in the United States Senate who are willing to stand up for working people just like I have.  I need folks in the United States Senate who, every day, are waking up thinking about the people who sent them there, and trying to figure out how do I make sure that they are getting a brighter future.

That’s who Ed Markey is.  I need Ed Markey in the United States Senate.  (Applause.)

So this election is going to come down to turnout.  We’ve got a whole lot of Democrats in this state and a whole lot of Obama voters, but you can’t just turnout during a presidential election.  You’ve got to turn out in this election.  You can’t think, oh, I did my work in 2012.  You’ve got some work to do right now in 2013.  (Applause.)  You can’t just pat your back and say, well, I knocked on some doors back in November.  I need you knocking on some doors right now in June.  (Applause.)

And if you work with the same focus and the same passion — if you are knocking on some doors and making some phone calls, if you’re talking to your friends and you’re talking to your neighbors — if you’re talking to cousin Jimmy who doesn’t always vote unless you give him a phone call — if you are making sure that people know Ed Markey’s remarkable record in Congress, then I guarantee you he will be the next United States senator from Massachusetts.  (Applause.)  He’ll join Elizabeth Warren.  He’ll carry on the legacy of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.  He will be my partner, and we will continue the march forward on behalf of not just this generation, but future generations.

Thank you.  Let’s get to work.  God bless you.

END
1:51 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency June 4, 2013: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at DNC Fundraising Event — Confronts Protester Heckler

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Michelle Obama Heckled by Gay Rights Advocate, Threatens to Leave Event

Source: ABC News (blog), 6-5-13

First lady Michelle Obama was heckled by a gay rights advocate at a fundraiser tonight and responded by threatening to leave the event, telling the protester only one of them could speak….READ MORE

Remarks by the First Lady at DNC Event

Private Residence
Washington, D.C.

6:07 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, my goodness!  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!

MRS. OBAMA:  Love you too!  And yes, I’m here because I love you.  (Laughter.)  And I’m here because I love my husband — it’s true.  (Applause.)  But I’m also here because I love my country, more importantly.  I do.  (Applause.)

But I want to start by thanking Karen for that very powerful and very important introduction that she just delivered.  I think she made some outstanding points that hopefully I will further emphasize.  And I want to thank both Karen and Nan for generously hosting us here in their beautiful home tonight, and for always having our backs, and always mazing out in so many ways.  I’m proud to have you as supporters, but more importantly, as friends.  So let’s give them another round of applause.  (Applause.)

I also want to thanks Congresswoman Sinema, as well as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for their service and for being here, and for their undying support — encourage, and all that good stuff.  Debbie has been a phenomenal DNC Chairwoman, so let’s give her a round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’re thrilled they could be here, but we’re also glad that they are off voting, like they’re supposed to.

But most of all, I want to thank all of you for being here.  I want to thank you not just for being here tonight, but for being there for my husband not once, but twice.  Thank you.  Thank you for working so hard.  Thanks for making the calls and knocking on doors and writing checks and getting everyone you know to the polls.

And I just want us to understand what we accomplished because of all of you.  We didn’t just win two elections, we made real and meaningful change in this country — we did.  Because of you, we’re now in an economy that continues to strengthen with 38 straight months of job growth.  That’s more than three straight years — that’s happened because of you.

Because of you, we have passed health reform.  We are taking on climate change, gun violence, and fortunately, comprehensive immigration reform because of you.  Because of you, we have a President who stands up for our most fundamental rights –- whether that’s fighting for equal pay for women — amen — ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” — amen — or supporting our right to marry the person we love.  That’s the President we have.

And all of that, and so much more, has happened because of you.  And that’s what elections are all about.

It’s like my Barack said in his 2008 election night speech –- he said, “This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change.”  It was a chance.  That’s what — elections give you the chance.  And that was true back then, and it is even more true today.  Because while we’ve made a lot of important change these past four years, we still have so much more to do.

Although our economy is improving, too many middle-class families are still struggling in this country.  And that fundamental American promise that so many of us hopefully grew up with –- that no matter where you start out, with hard work you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids –- see, that promise is no longer within reach for too many families.  In fact, it probably wouldn’t be in reach for the family I grew up in if we were trying to make it today.

As many of you know my story, neither of my parents had a college degree.  My father’s job at the city water plant paid him a decent wage.  It paid him enough to put food on our table.  And with the help of student loans, he was able to send both me and my brother to an excellent college.

That job, that little job he had also gave him health insurance, it gave us health insurance, and a pension that my mother still lives on today.  We were not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we had stability.  We had peace of mind.  Because when I was growing up, a family of four living on a single blue-collar salary could build a solid life without debt and without relying on any form of public assistance.  That was how I grew up.

But today, for so many families, that’s no longer possible.  Folks are working harder than ever before, doing everything right, and it’s still not enough.  And while there’s so much talk and noise and back and forth going on in Washington, hardly any of it seems about the struggles of these folks.

So yes, it’s easy to get frustrated — and I know there are plenty of people here frustrated — and it’s easy to be cynical — and I know there are plenty of cynical people here.  And now that the excitement that comes with a presidential campaign has faded, it is so tempting to just turn off the TV and wait for another four years to reengage.

But here’s the thing.  As Karen pointed out, make no mistake about it, while we are tuning out with our frustration and our cynicism and our disappointment, others are tuning in, believe me.  Others are doing everything they can to make their voices heard in whatever way they can.  And we are seeing the effects of that kind of imbalance every single day in Washington.

Just a couple of months ago, we saw the failure — do you hear me — the failure of common-sense legislation to protect our children from gun violence — legislation, by the way, that 90 percent of the American people supported failed.

We are seeing a budget stalemate and a sequester, resulting in children across this country being turned away from Head Start.  So many seniors losing their Meals on Wheels.  And now there’s even talk about cutting food stamps, which could mean hundreds of thousands of kids going to bed hungry each night, here in the wealthiest nation on earth.

And that is not who we are.  That’s not what this country is about.  We are so much better than that.  We are so much more compassionate and fair, so much more decent.  And I know this because I see it and we see it every day — that decency in communities across this country, where people are waking up every day, working hard at their jobs, every day sacrificing for their kids.  I see it.  It is there for us to see — doing everything they can to help their neighbors.

We especially see it in times of tragedy and crisis — in the teachers who rushed children to safety in Newtown, teachers who risked their lives to save students in Oklahoma — teachers.  We saw it in all those folks in Boston who ran toward the explosions and spent hours tending to perfect strangers.

And none of these folks asked the people they were helping whether they were Democrats or Republicans.  They didn’t ask whether they were Christians or Muslims or Jews.  They didn’t care whether they were gay or straight.  It was simply enough that they were fellow Americans who were suffering and needed aid.

And shouldn’t that be enough for all of us?  And that was a question that I was asking myself during a recent visit to my hometown of Chicago when I had the privilege —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Chicago!

MRS. OBAMA:  Chi-town!  (Laughter.)  South Side!  (Laughter.)  So you have to understand, that’s call and response, you say, “South Side.”

AUDIENCE:  South Side!  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Just pardon us for a moment.  (Laughter.)  We are crazy like that on South Side.

But I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with a wonderful group of students at a school called Harper High.  In fact, these kids are coming to spend a day — two days with us — one at the White House; they’re going to be in Washington, these kids.  They’re coming.

Now, Harper is located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, Englewood.  You all know Englewood, right?  A community that has been torn apart by poverty and hopelessness; by gangs, drugs, and guns.

And that afternoon, I sat down with these 25 students — and these kids were the best and the brightest at that school.  The valedictorian, the football star, kids in ROTC.  But let me tell you something about the kids at Harper.  Every day, they face impossible odds — jobless parents addicted to drugs; friends and loved ones shot before their very eyes.

In fact, when the school counselor asked these young men and women whether they had ever known any who had been shot, every single one of those students raised their hand.  So she then asked them, “What do you think when the weather forecast says ’85 and sunny?’”  Now, you would assume that nice weather like that, a beautiful day like today, would be a good thing.  Not for these kids.  They replied that a weather report like that puts fear in their hearts, because in their neighborhood, when the weather is nice, that’s when gangs come out and the shootings start.

So, see, for these wonderful kids, instead of reveling in the joys of their youth — college applications and getting ready for prom and getting that driver’s license — these young people are consumed with staying alive.  And there are so many kids in this country just like them -– kids with so much promise, but so few opportunities; good kids who are doing everything they can to break the cycle and beat the odds.  And they are the reason we are here tonight.  We cannot forget that.  I don’t care what we — they, those kids, they are the reason we’re here.

And today, we need to be better for them.  Not for us — for them.  We need to be better for all of our children, our kids in this country.  Because they are counting on us to give them the chances they need for the futures they deserve.  (Applause.)

So here’s the thing — we cannot wait for the next presidential election to get fired up and ready to go.  We cannot wait.  Right now, today, we have an obligation to stand up for those kids.  And I don’t care what you believe in, we don’t —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Wait, wait, wait.  One of the things —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

MRS. OBAMA:  One of the things that I don’t do well is this.  (Applause.)  Do you understand?  (Applause.)  One of the things — now —

(Inaudible audience interruption.)

MRS. OBAMA:  So let me make the point that I was making before:  We are here for our kids.  (Applause.)  So we must recapture that passion, that same urgency and energy that we felt back in 2008 and 2012.  Understand this.  This is what I want you all to understand, this is not about us — no one back here.  It’s not about you or you, or your issue or your thing.  This is about our children.  (Applause.)

And we must keep on working together to build a country worthy of all of our children’s promise.  Let’s ensure that every child has access to quality pre-K — because right now that’s not happening — to excellent schools — every child — to affordable college.  Because we need all of our kids to fulfill their boundless — they are our future.

Let’s finally pass some commonsense gun safety laws — (applause) — because no one in this country should ever worry about dropping their child off at a movie or a mall or at school.  Not in America.  And then, when these precious little young people, they grow up, let’s make sure they have some jobs that pay a decent wage.  Because we know that it is wrong for anyone in this country to work 40 or 50 hours a week and still be stuck in poverty.

And let us make sure that they have the health care they need, because no one in this country should get their primary care from an emergency room.  We know better than that.  And when it comes to women’s health, let’s keep fighting for our most fundamental, personal rights, because we as women, we know we are more than capable of making our own decisions about our bodies and our health care.  (Applause.)

Now, I know we can do this.  It’s all within our reach.  But make no mistake about it — and this is the key point I want to make here — Barack Obama cannot do this alone.  And he cannot do this with a fractured party.  Do you understand me?  We need folks in Congress to help him every step of the way, like Karen said.

That is why it is simply not enough to just elect a President every four years.  We need you to be engaged in every election — every election — because special elections matter.  Midterm elections really matter.  It matters who we send to Congress.  It matters.  And if you don’t believe me, just look at the record.  Look at the difference just a few votes in Congress can make when it comes to the issues that we say we care about.

For example, legislation on equal pay for women failed by two votes in the Senate — two votes in the Senate.  The DREAM Act, the act that gives immigrant kids in this country a fair shot?  That act failed twice, once by just five votes and once by four.  So what did the President have to do?  He had to sign an executive order to finally get it done.  That’s the only reason it got done.  And that common-sense bill I talked about earlier, that gun bill?  That bill failed by how many votes?  Six.  Six votes.

So like I said, it matters who we send to Congress.  This other stuff, between us, doesn’t matter.  We need all of you engaged in every special election and in every mid-term election all across this country.  We need you to keep on writing those checks.  And here’s another part — if you’re not maxed out, max out.  That’s what being maxed out is all about.  Max out in every way, shape or form with a check, with engagement.  You got friends?  Get them to max out.  Maxing out is a big term.  It’s not just about a check, it’s about passion.  It’s about feeling.  It’s about commitment.

And while raising money is important, as I said, money alone is not enough.  We need you all out there, working, making phone calls, getting everyone you know to the polls just like we did before.  And I know it won’t be easy.  It never is.  And I know that plenty of special interests will be pouring all sorts of resources into these elections.  They always do.  So we need you to be engaged and bring everyone you know with you.

And if anyone tries to tell you that they’re too busy, that it’s too much of a hassle, or that special elections just don’t matter, I’m going to share a story that I shared in New York that I’m sharing everywhere I go that Barack actually talked about at his State of the Union speech.

I want you to tell them about a woman named Desiline Victor.  (Applause.)  Some of you heard about Desiline.  Well, Desiline lives down in Florida, and she waited for hours in line to cast her vote last November.  Now, you might think, well, that’s not so unusual because a lot of people had to wait in long lines this past election, right?

But see here’s the thing:  Desiline is 102 years old.  (Applause.)  She was born before women had the right to vote, and she’s been a citizen of this country for less than 10 years.  And even though she was tired — I’m sure she was — even though her feet probably ached — and I’m sure they did — she was determined to cast her vote and make her voice heard in the country she loves.

So here’s what we have to tell ourselves when we get frustrated, or you’re tired, or we’re disappointed.  (Laughter.)  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of passion and energy, then we don’t have any excuse.  If Desiline Victor can summon that kind of patriotism and determination, then so must we.

So if we keep on working, and organizing, and engaging, I know that we can keep on making that change we all believe in, and together we can build a future worthy of all our children.

Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Are we a little more fired up?  (Applause.)  Are we a little less frustrated right now?  (Applause.)  We ready to roll up our sleeves, figure out how to get engaged, how we’re going to max out in our own individual ways?  Can we do this?  (Applause.)  Because we need you.  Barack Obama needs you and I need you, quite frankly.  So let’s get it done.

Thank you all.  God bless.

END
6:27 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 13, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at a Democratic National Committee Event in New York — Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Blame Game: During Fundraiser, Obama Says “Other Party” Behind Political Gridlock

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-13-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama blamed part of the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., on “hyper-partisanship” while speaking at a fundraiser attended by Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in New York City Monday afternoon.

“What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted, rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path,” Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser. “My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet.”…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at a DNC Event — New York, NY

Source: WH, 5-13-13

Private Residence
New York, New York

4:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Well, first of all, I have to thank Harvey and Georgina for once again extending incredible hospitality to us.  We are so grateful for their friendship and support, and for the amazing movies that they’ve made.  And it is wonderful to see all of you.  I see old friends, new friends and people who when I have time to watch movies or TV, I very much appreciate.  So thank you for the great work that you guys do.

I’m going to spend most of this time in a conversation with everybody, so I’m not going to give a long speech at the front end.  Over the last three weeks, month, the country has gone through some tough times.  Obviously, we had the Boston bombing and the incredible tragedy that marred what is one of the greatest sporting events in the world, and an iconic event here in America.  We went out to West, Texas to a tiny town that had been devastated by an explosion there.

And I remember, I was with Deval Patrick, a wonderful governor — the Governor of Massachusetts — as we were driving to a memorial in Boston shortly after the attack.  And we talked about that in the midst of tragedy, the incredible strength and courage and resolve of the American people just comes out, and the neighborliness, and the sense of willing to support strangers and neighbors and friends during tough times.  And that same spirit, which I would later see when I visited West, Texas — you can’t get two places more different than Boston and West, Texas.  So it’s a pretty good representative sampling of America.

And part of what Deval and I talked about was what do we need to do to make sure that that same spirit is reflected in our politics and our government — because it’s there every day for people to see.  It doesn’t matter whether people are Democrats or Republicans or independents.  If you go into schools, you go to Little League games, you talk to people at the workplace — everybody has the same sense that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we’ve gone through some tough times, but we’re resilient and we can overcome whatever challenges are thrown at us.  And there’s a desire to get outside of the constant squabbling and bickering and positioning and gamesmanship, and get to the business of figuring out how do we make sure that the next generation does better than this generation.

And as I think about my second term, and people have asked me, what’s different about your second term — well, other than me being grayer — (laughter) — and my girls being taller, the main thing about a second term is, A, I don’t have to run for office again; but, B, you also start just thinking about history, and you start thinking about — in longer sweeps of time, and you start saying to yourself that the three and a half years that I’ve got is not a lot, and so I’ve got to make sure that I use everything I’ve got to make as much of a difference as I can.

And more than anything, what I will be striving for over the next three and a half years is to see if that spirit that I saw in Boston and West, Texas, if we can institutionalize that, if we can create a framework where everybody is working together and moving this country forward.

Now, the good news is that if we do that, we’ve got the best cards of any country on Earth — and that’s the truth.  Look, there’s no American politician, much less American President, who’s not going to say that we’re not the greatest country on Earth.  So that’s a cliché.  On the other hand, objectively, when you look at where we are right now, we are poised for a 21st century that is as much the American century as the 20th century was.

We have recovered from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and yet, the economy is growing; millions of jobs have been created; the stock market has hit record highs; the housing market has begun to recover.  When you look at our companies, innovation, dynamism, inventiveness still take root here in the United States more than anyplace else on Earth.

When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years.  And so the idea of the United States being energy independent — which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago — now is actually a possibility.

When you travel around the world, people still look to the United States for leadership.  I went down to Mexico and then Costa Rica and I met with Central American leaders down there, and each and every one of them, including Daniel Ortega, who was at one of the meetings — and some of you are too young to remember I guess Daniel Ortega, and I’m not — (laughter) — all of them talked about how can we trade, how can we work more effectively together.  And so the possibilities for us to shape a world that is more peaceful, more prosperous, more innovative, more environmentally conscious, more tolerant, more open — that opportunity exists, but there are just a few things that we’re going to have to do to make sure that we realize those opportunities, that potential.

We’ve got to continue to revamp our education system so it’s meeting the demands of the 21st century.  We’ve got to rebuild our infrastructure so we don’t have the worst airports in the world.  We’ve got to make sure — and ports and roads and bridges and broadband lines.  We’ve got to make sure that we continue to focus on putting people back to work, because jobs are not just a matter of income, they’re a matter of dignity and stitching the fabric of a community together.

We’ve got to deal with climate change in an honest, realistic way.  We’re not going to reverse the trends overnight, but we have to start now for the sake of our kids and, in fact, the tools are available to us to make huge strides in the coming years if we make the smart investments.  We’ve got to keep on investing in research and development.  And we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order in a way that is sensible so that everybody is paying their fair share; everybody understands that we have to — if we want a first-class education system, for example, then we’ve got to pay for it.  If we want first-class infrastructure, we’ve got to pay for it.  But we also want a government that is lean and effective and efficient, and not bloated.

And these are all things that we can accomplish.  What’s blocking us right now is sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington that, frankly, I was hoping to overcome in 2008.  And in the midst of crisis, I think the other party reacted; rather than saying now is the time for us all to join together, decided to take a different path.

My thinking was after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever — (laughter) — and it’s not quite broken yet.  (Laughter.)  But I am persistent.  And I am staying at it.  And I genuinely believe that there are actually Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them, and as a consequence, we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government and inhibits our progress.

So the bottom line is this — everybody is here to support the DNC, and I very much appreciate that.  But I want everybody to understand that my intentions over the next three and a half years are to govern, because I don’t have another race left.  If we’ve got folks on the other side who are prepared to cooperate, that is great and we are ready to go.  On the other hand, if there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation, then I want to make sure that there are consequences to that.

And what you all are here today to facilitate is our ability to make sure that the values and concerns that we all have for Dash and all the other babies that are out there — Steve has got a new one, and I’m starting to feel like the old man around here because mine are this tall and everybody else has these little babies.  But I want to make sure that that generation is getting everything and more that we can give them.  And that’s going to require us to work hard.  It’s going to require persistence.  There are going to be ups and downs in this whole process.

But one of the benefits of a second term is you start taking the long view.  And what I know is, is that as long as we are pointing towards that true North, that eventually we’ll get there.  That’s what this country has always done.  That’s what I expect will happen this time as well.

So with that, I’m going to stop and I’m just going to open it up for questions.  (Applause.)

END
4:35 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines May 8, 2013: House Democrats Say They Were Encouraged by Dinner with President Obama

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

House Democrats Say They’re Encouraged by Dinner with President Obama

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama’s charm offensive continued Wednesday night, this time with an easier crowd.

After similar meetings with Republicans, President Obama met House Democrats for dinner at The Jefferson Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: House Democrats Present Immigration Overhaul Plan

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

House Democrats Present Immigration Overhaul Plan

Source: NYT, 4-11-13

The proposal comes just days before a bipartisan group of eight senators is expected to present its own blueprint….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 10, 2013: Robin Kelly Wins Jesse Jackson Jr. House Seat by Besting Felon Paul McKinley

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Kelly Wins Jesse Jackson Jr. House Seat by Besting Felon

Source: Bloomberg, 4-10-13

Democrat Robin Kelly

Democrat Robin Kelly is a New York native who moved to Illinois after high school to attend Bradley University in Peoria, where according to her campaign website she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Photographer: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Democrat Robin Kelly, 56 won the special election to fill the vacated seat of former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. in a district that includes part of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs…. Her Republican opponent, Paul McKinley, served almost 20 years in prison for armed robbery, burglary and aggravated battery until a 1997 parole, according to the Chicago Tribune.

When Kelly — a friend of Obama, who attended her wedding – – is sworn into her seat, the House will have 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats, with two seats vacant. She had 71 percent of the vote to 22 percent for McKinley with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP tally….READ MORE

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