Full Text Political Transcripts June 7, 2017: President Donald Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Christopher A. Wray to be Director of the FBI

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Donald Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Christopher A. Wray to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Source: WH, 6-7-17

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Christopher A. Wray for the position of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Mr. Wray is currently a partner at King & Spalding, an international law firm.

Mr. Wray has been recognized throughout his career as a leader in the field of white-collar criminal defense and government investigations. As Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Wray helped address the surge of corporate fraud scandals that plagued our financial markets. Upon his departure from the Department, Mr. Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Department’s highest honor for public service and leadership. Mr. Wray graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1992.

“I am proud to announce Christopher as my choice as the Director of the FBI. During his previous service at the Department of Justice, Christopher was the leader of major fraud investigations, and was a key part of the team overseeing the Justice Department’s actions in the war on terrorism following the 9/11 attacks,” said President Trump. “He is an impeccably qualified individual, and I know that he will again serve his country as a fierce guardian of the law and model of integrity once the Senate confirms him to lead the FBI.

“It is a great honor to be selected by the President to return to the Department of Justice as Director of the FBI,” said Mr. Wray. “I look forward to serving the American people with integrity as the leader of what I know firsthand to be an extraordinary group of men and women who have dedicated their careers to protecting this country.”

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Full Text Political Transcripts January 31, 2017: President Donald Trump’s Speech Nominatng Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

TRUMP PRESIDENCY & 115TH CONGRESS:

President Donald J. Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court

Source: WH, 1-31-17

Today, President Donald J. Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. The nomination of Judge Gorsuch comes after a selection process marked by an unprecedented level of transparency and involvement by the American voters.

“I am proud to announce the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Justice of the Supreme Court,” President Trump said. “This has been the most transparent and most important Supreme Court selection process in the history of our country and I wanted the American people to have a voice in this nomination. Judge Gorsuch has a superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its text. He will make an incredible Justice as soon as the Senate confirms him.”

Judge Gorsuch was born and raised in Colorado. He attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School. After graduating with honors, he received his doctorate from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar. Judge Gorsuch clerked for Judge David Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit and both Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Following a successful career in private practice, Judge Gorsuch joined the Department of Justice as the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. In 2006, President George W. Bush nominated him for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and he was confirmed by voice vote without objection. He has served with distinction, earning a reputation as a brilliant jurist with an outstanding intellect and a clear, incisive writing style, and he is universally respected for his integrity and fairness to all parties.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this nomination,” said Judge Gorsuch. “I look forward to meeting with Senators over the coming weeks as we begin this process.”

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Full Text Obama Presidency July 31, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Welcoming New Secretary Julian Castro to HUD

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at HUD

Source: WH, 7-31-14

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Washington, D.C.

3:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Now, let me start off by making two points.  The first is, clearly, HUD has the rowdiest employees.  (Applause.)  I now realize that.  The second point is that before I came out here, Shaun Donovan made a point of saying that this wasn’t as exciting to people as Michelle coming.  (Laughter.)  Now, I know that.  (Laughter.)  I hear that everywhere I go.  (Laughter.)  There’s no reason to remind me, to rub it in.  (Laughter.)  That’s why I married her.  (Laughter and applause.)  To improve the gene pool.

I am here today because I stole one terrific Secretary of HUD from you, but I’ve delivered another terrific Secretary of HUD to you.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for the great job that you’re doing day in and day out.  And we appreciate the members of Congress who are here — although I have to say that Joaquin never had a choice.  (Laughter.)  The other two, obviously they care.  (Laughter.)  The brother, he’s like, okay, I’ve got to show up.  (Laughter.)  But I appreciate them being here.

Let me just say a few words about Shaun.  From his first day when he got here, Shaun knew he had his work cut out for him.  You will recall that the housing market was the epicenter of the crisis that went through in 2008-2009.  There were millions of families whose homes were underwater.  Hundreds of thousands of construction workers were out of a job.  Too many veterans lived out on the street.

But we were very fortunate because Shaun is just one of those people where he sees a problem he’s going to work to solve it.  And if what he tries the first time doesn’t work he’s going to try something else.  And he’s a geek, he’s a wonk.  (Laughter.)  He studies the spreadsheets.  He recruited top talent.  He promised that if everyone here at HUD worked just a little bit harder, you could really turn things around for struggling families.  And all of you accepted that challenge.

We’ve still got work to do, but think about the progress that we’ve made.  Home prices, home sales, construction all up.  Veterans homelessness down by nearly 25 percent.  (Applause.)    Millions of families are now seeing their home values above water, which obviously is a huge relief for them.  When natural disasters strike, like the Colorado floods or Hurricane Sandy, you are right in there helping the families rebuild.

And a lot of that is thanks to Shaun; a lot of it is thanks to the fact that all of you under his leadership took up the challenge, and you remembered what it is that this agency is about.

I love the way that your new Secretary characterized it.  This is — this should be a department of opportunity.  And housing, for so many people, is symbolic of the American Dream.  It means that you’ve got something stable, something you can count on, something that you own.  And to watch the transformation that has happened around the country, first and foremost because of the resiliency of the American people and their hard work, but also because that every step of the way you were in there trying to help them — that really makes a difference.

So I could not be prouder of the work that Shaun did.  But I can tell you that nobody is more passionate about these issues than Julián.  He knows the difference between smart policy and investments that can make a difference and just talk.  And he’s all about action, not just talk.

He’s seen it firsthand in how he grew up.  He’s seen it firsthand, as a mayor.  He revitalized parts of San Antonio that had been neglected for a long time.  He helped the Eastside Promise Zone take root and to grow.  He championed the kind of investments that keep communities strong over the long term — like economic development and expanded early childhood education. And most of all, he knows how to lead a team.  And this is a big team and you guys have gotten some big things done.  But we’ve got a lot more to do.  Even bigger things need to get done.

So in talking to Julián and initially trying to persuade him to take this task, what I saw was that spirt of hard work that’s reflected in how he was brought up and the values that were instilled in him.  And he, every single day, wants to make sure that those values live out in the work that he does.

And I know everybody in this room, you’ve got a story to tell, too, about somebody who, along the way, gave you some opportunity; about somebody who — maybe you were, like me, raised by a single mom and — like that first apartment that really — had your own bedroom and it was clean.  (Laughter.)  And it was in a decent neighborhood and there was a decent school district.  And how happy everybody was, and the transformation that could take place in people’s lives.  That’s a story I want you to tap into every day that you come to work.

Sometimes work in Washington can be discouraging.  Sometimes it seems as if the agenda that you’re trying to pursue helping working families and middle-class families — sometimes it seems that’s not the priorities up on Capitol Hill.  But if you remember why you got into this work in the first place, if you remember that this is not just a job but it should also be a passion — (applause) — that it should also be part of giving back, that you shouldn’t just be checking in and punching the clock, but every single day there’s somebody out there who could use your help — and I know when they get that help — and they write letters to me and they’ll tell me, you know what, you transformed my life — there’s no better feeling on Earth than that feeling that you somehow played a small part in a family succeeding.  (Applause.)

And that success then last generations, because some child or grandchild suddenly is feeling better and they start doing better in school, and maybe they avoided getting into trouble and ending up in the criminal justice system, or dropping out of school and not being able to find a job — all because of what you did.  What an incredible privilege that is.  What an incredible honor.

And that’s the attitude I want you to have every single day that you’re here.  I tell folks, I’ve now been President for more than five and a half years, and I’ve got two and a half years left, and I want to squeeze every single day — I want to squeeze as much out of every single day.  (Applause.)  This is not just a job, this is a privilege that we have.  And we’ve got to do — we’ve got to take advantage of it.  We’ve got to seize it.  Because that’s what makes it worthwhile.

It’s something that when I travel around the country I try to describe because people are so inundated with cynicism and bad news, and I want to tell them a story of good news.  There are people in agencies like HUD, every single day they care about you, and they want to help you.  And big organizations are never going to be perfect, and there are always going to be some bureaucracies, there’s always going to be some red tape, there’s always going to be some things that don’t work quite as smoothly as we want.  And your job is to fix that stuff, or work around that stuff.

And I want everybody here to — when you’re working with this new Secretary, who’s got energy and drive, he’s young, he’s good-looking, he talks good — (applause) — you can’t let him down.  (Laughter.)  You’ve got to be open to try new things and doing things in a different way, and doing them better.  But more importantly, you can’t let those families out there down, because they’re counting on you.

So I’m eager to work with him, but more importantly, I’m eager to work with you.  And every single day when you come to work, I just want you to know that I can’t do my job unless you’re doing your job.  Julian can’t do his job unless you’re doing your job.  And whether you are managing a financing program to build low-income or affordable housing, or you are helping with some of our initiatives like Promise Zones, or you are coordinating with regional offices — whatever your task, whether you are upper management or you’re the new kid on the block who’s coming in, you can really have an impact that lasts for generations.

Don’t squander that.  Don’t succumb to the cynicism.  Don’t start thinking that this is just a job.  Remember the mission that you’ve got.  And if you do that, I guarantee you, under Julian’s leadership, years from now you’re going to be able to look back and really be proud of everything that you’ve accomplished, because there are going to be a whole lot of people’s lives who are a lot better.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)

END
3:57 P.M. EDT

Political Musings May 18, 2014: Obama to nominate rising star San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as HUD Secretary

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

According to news reports on Saturday, May 17, 2014 President Barack Obama plans to nominate Democratic Party rising star and three term San Antonio, Texas mayor Julian Castro, 39 to be the new Housing and Urban Development Secretary. Castro’…READ MORE

Political Headlines November 18, 2013: Senate Republicans block Obama’s third Appeals Court nomination

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Pick for Court Is 3rd in a Row Blocked by Republicans

Source: NYT, 11-18-13

Robert L. Wilkins, left, with President Obama and other nominees in June, was picked to fill one of three vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Robert L. Wilkins, left, with President Obama and other nominees in June, was picked to fill one of three vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In blocking Judge Robert L. Wilkins’s nomination, Senate Republicans on Monday denied President Obama his third pick in recent weeks to fill a vacancy on the nation’s most powerful and prestigious appeals court….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency October 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Nomination of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Nomination of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security

Source: WH, 10-18-13

President Obama Nominates Jeh Johnson

President Obama Nominates Jeh Johnson

Rose Garden

2:06 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.  As President, my most solemn responsibility is the safety and security of the American people.  And we’ve got an outstanding team here of folks who work every single day to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to fulfill that responsibility.  And that means that our entire government — our law enforcement and homeland security professionals, our troops, our diplomats, our intelligence personnel — are all working together.  It means working with state and local partners to disrupt terrorist attacks, to make our borders more secure, respond to natural disasters, and make our immigration system more effective and fair.

Addressing any one of these challenges is a tall order.  Addressing all of them at once is a monumental task.  But that’s what the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security do every day.  And today I’m proud to announce my choice to lead them — an outstanding public servant who I’ve known and trusted for years — Mr. Jeh Johnson.

We are, of course, enormously grateful to Secretary Janet Napolitano.  Janet couldn’t be here today — she’s already made her move to her new position in sunny California, overseeing the higher education system in that great state.  And I know that she’s going to do an outstanding job there with the incredible young people that are in our largest state.  But we all deeply appreciate the terrific job that she did over the last four-and-a-half years.  I want to thank Rand Beers for his service and for stepping in as Acting Secretary after Janet left.

Thanks in no small part to Janet’s leadership, her team, we’ve done more to protect our homeland against those who wish to do us harm.  We’ve strengthened our borders.  We’ve taken steps to make sure our immigration system better reflects our values.  We’ve helped thousands of Americans recover from hurricanes and tornados, floods and wildfires.  And we’ve worked to clean up a massive oil spill in the Gulf as well as address a flu pandemic.

In Jeh Johnson, we have the right person to continue this important work.  From the moment I took office, Jeh was an absolutely critical member of my national security team, and he demonstrated again and again the qualities that will make him a strong Secretary of Homeland Security.

Jeh has a deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the United States.  As the Pentagon’s top lawyer, he helped design and implement many of the policies that have kept our country safe, including our success in dismantling the core of al Qaeda and in the FATA.

When I directed my national security team to be more open and transparent about how our policies work and how we make decisions, especially when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks, Jeh was one of the leaders who spoke eloquently about how we meet today’s threats in a way that are consistent with our values, including the rule of law.

Jeh also knows that meeting these threats demands cooperation and coordination across our government.  He’s been there in the Situation Room at the table in moments of decision, working with leaders from a host of agencies to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.  And he’s respected across our government as a team player, somebody who knows how to get folks who don’t always agree to work towards a common goal.

Jeh has experience leading large complex organizations.  As a member of the Pentagon’s senior management team, first under Bob Gates and then under Leon Panetta, he helped oversee the work of more than 3 million military and civilian personnel across the country and around the world.  And I think it’s fair to say that both former secretaries Gates and Panetta will attest to the incredible professionalism that Jeh brings to the job, and the bipartisan approach that, appropriately, he takes when it comes to national security.

He’s also earned a reputation as a cool and calm leader.  Jeh appreciates that any organization’s greatest asset is its people, and at the Pentagon he guided the report explaining why allowing our men and women in uniform to serve their country openly would not weaken our military.  Congress ended up using that report that Jeh helped to craft to justify repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  And America and our military are stronger because we did, in part because of Jeh’s determined leadership.  I know he will bring that same commitment to our hardworking folks at DHS.

And finally, Jeh believes, in a deep and personal way, that keeping America safe requires us also upholding the values and civil liberties that make America great.  Jeh tells the story of his uncle who was a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.  And he and his fellow airmen served with honor, even when their country didn’t treat them with the dignity and the respect that they deserved.  And it was a lesson that Jeh never forgot.  “We must adopt legal positions that comport with common sense,” Jeh says, “consistent with who we are as Americans.”  Jeh is a pretty good lawyer, so he knows what that means.

And Jeh understands that this country is worth protecting –- not because of what we build or what we own, but because of who we are.  And that’s what sets us apart.  That’s why, as a nation, we have to keep adapting to changing threats, whether natural or man-made.  We have to stay ready when disaster strikes and help Americans recover in the aftermath.  We’ve got to fix our broken immigration system in a way that strengthens our borders, and modernizes legal immigration, and makes sure everybody is playing by the same rules.

And I’m confident that I could not make a better choice in Jeh, somebody who I’m confident is going to be moving not just the agency forward, but helping to move the country forward.

So, Jeh, thank you so much for agreeing to take on this very difficult and extraordinary mission.  You’ve got a great team over at DHS, and I know that they’re looking forward to having you over there.  I urge the Senate to confirm Jeh as soon as possible.  And I thank you, as well as your family, to agreeing to serve.  Your wife, Susan, and your daughter, Natalie, couldn’t be here because they’re visiting Jeh Jr. out at Occidental College, which, by the way, I went to for two years when I was young.  It’s a fine college.  I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to say hi to him.  But your son chose well.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to invite Jeh Johnson to say a few words, hopefully our next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  (Applause.)

MR. JOHNSON:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

As you noted, my wife and two kids are not here because it’s parents’ weekend at Occidental, and thanks to the cost of a non-refundable airline ticket — (laughter) — they could not be in two places at once.  They wish they could be here.

Thank you for the tremendous honor of this nomination and the trust you have placed in me to carry out this large and important responsibility as Secretary of Homeland Security.  I was not looking for this opportunity — I had left government at the end of last year and was settling back into private life and private law practice.  But when I received the call, I could not refuse it.

I am a New Yorker, and I was present in Manhattan on 9/11, which happens to be my birthday, when that bright and beautiful day was — a day something like this — was shattered by the largest terrorist attack on our homeland in history.  I wandered the streets of New York that day and wondered and asked, what can I do?  Since then, I have tried to devote myself to answering that question.  I love this country.  I care about the safety of our people.  I believe in public service.  And I remain loyal to you, Mr. President.

If confirmed by the Senate, I promise all of my energy, focus, and ability toward the task of safeguarding our nation’s national and homeland security.

Thank you again, sir.  (Applause.)

END

2:14 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines June 10, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Jason Furman to Lead Council of Economic Advisers

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Taps Furman to Lead Council of Economic Advisers

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-10-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Monday nominated longtime economic adviser Jason Furman as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, calling him “one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation.”

“When the stakes are highest, there’s no one I’d rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice that helps me to do my job,” the president said as he stood alongside Furman at a White House ceremony….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency June 10, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Jason Furman as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Jason Furman as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

Source: WH, 6-10-13

President Barack Obama announces his intent to nominate Jason FurmanPresident Barack Obama announces his intent to nominate Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, left, as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to succeed current CEA Chairman Alan Krueger, right, in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

This afternoon, President Obama nominated Jason Furman to replace Alan Krueger as the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Furman, 42, will bring a vast amount of economic experience to the role. In 2009, he joined the Obama administration as an Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council….READ MORE

Remarks by the President Nominating Jason Furman as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

Source: WH, 6-10-13 

State Dining Room

2:14 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, all of you.  It’s now been nearly five years since an economic crisis and a punishing recession came together to cost far too many Americans their jobs, and their homes, and the sense of security that they had built up over time.  And by the time I took office, my team and I were facing bubbles that had burst; markets that had cratered; bank after bank on the verge of collapse.  And the heartbeat of American manufacturing, our auto industry, was flatlining.  And all this meant that hundreds of thousands of Americans were losing their jobs each month. So this was a scary time. And nobody had any idea where the bottom would be.

Four and a half years later, our businesses have created nearly 7 million new jobs over the past 36 months.  The American auto industry has come roaring back.  We’re producing more of our own energy, we’re consuming less that we import from other countries.  Our deficits are shrinking rapidly.  The cost of health care is slowing.  The housing market is rebounding.  People’s retirement savings are growing.  The wealth that was lost from that recession has now been recovered.

All of this progress is a testament to the grit and resolve of the American people, most of all.  But it’s also due in some measurable way to the incredible dedication of the men and women who helped to engineer America’s response.  And two of those people are standing next to me, two very smart economists:  Alan Krueger and Jason Furman.

Today, I can announce that Alan is heading back to teach his beloved students at Michelle’s alma mater — Princeton University.  When they get together all they can talk about is Princeton and they’re all very proud, and those of us who didn’t go to Princeton have to put up with it.  (Laughter.)  And I’m proud to say that Jason Furman has agreed to replace Alan as the Chairman of my Council of Economic Advisers.

During the crisis, Alan stepped in initially to help engineer our response as Assistant Secretary and chief economist at the Treasury Department.  He was so good that we then had to beg him to come back, extend his tour, to serve as the Chairman of my Council of Economic Advisers, where he’s been the driving force behind actions that we’ve taken to help restart the flow of lending to small businesses, and create new jobs, and arm workers with the skills they need to fill them, to reduce income inequality, to rebuild our aging infrastructure, and to bring down our deficits in a responsible way.

And Alan is driven by the basic bargain at the heart of our economy — the idea that hard work should be rewarded.  He’s motivated by the principle that no one who works full-time in the greatest nation on Earth should have to raise their families in poverty or below poverty levels.  His commitment to a rising, thriving middle class shines through in his often passionate presentations and — at least for an economist they’re passionate.  (Laughter.)  And in the policies that he’s pushed, and I know this will continue to be a focus of his research.

Alan’s wife and son are here today, and I know that they’re all looking forward to having Alan back.  (Laughter.)  And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his — “Rockonomics.”  The economics of rock and roll.  This is something that Alan actually cares about — seriously, on Wednesday he’s giving a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He’s got a t-shirt under his suit — (laughter) — with a big tongue sticking out.  (Laughter.)  Don’t show it.  (Laughter and applause.)

So Alan has become one of my most trusted advisors.  He’s become a wonderful friend.  I’m sad to see him go.  But I know that he will continue to do outstanding work and, fortunately, he’ll still be available for us to consult with him periodically because he’s a constant font of good ideas about how we can further help the American people.  So thank you very much, Alan, for all the good work that you’ve done.  (Applause.)

I’m also proud to nominate another outstanding economist to take his place.  Jason Furman is one of the most brilliant economic minds of his generation, don’t take my word for it — you can talk to other economists who know a lot more than I do about it.  He’s won the respect and admiration from his peers across the political spectrum.  His Ph.D. thesis advisor, Greg Mankiw, chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush.  Nobel Prize Winner Joe Stiglitz, on the other side of the economic spectrum, hired Jason to work for the CEA under President Clinton.

After leaving President Clinton’s White House, Jason finished his Ph.D. in economics, quickly acquired a reputation as a world-class scholar and researcher.  But public service kept calling, and Jason kept answering that call because he believes deeply in it.  So from working at the World Bank on issues of inequality and international finance to developing new proposals to strengthen our health and retirement programs, he helped to shape some of our most important economic policy debates.

And when I asked him to join my team in 2008, even though his baby daughter — that’s right — (laughter) — you were this big — had just been born, he agreed to serve once again.  And over the last five years I’ve come to trust not only his head, but also his heart, because Jason never forgets who it is that we’re fighting for:  middle-class families, folks who are working hard to climb their way into the middle class, the next generation.

And when the stakes are highest, there’s no one I’d rather turn to for straightforward, unvarnished advice that helps me to do my job.  He understands all sides of an argument, not just one side of it.  He’s worked tirelessly on just about every major economic challenge of the past four and a half years, from averting a second depression, to fighting for tax cuts that help millions of working families make ends meet, to creating new incentives for businesses to hire, to reducing our deficits in a balanced way that benefits the middle class.

And so, Eve, Jason’s wife, who is an accomplished writer herself, has put up with a lot of hours with Jason away.  Henry and Louisa, who are here, they’ve made a lot of sacrifices so that their husband and dad could be here working for the American people.  So I appreciate you guys for sharing daddy.  (Laughter.)  Just a little bit longer.  (Laughter.)  And the reason it’s important is because while we’ve cleared away the rubble of crisis and laid a new foundation for growth, our work is nowhere near done.

Even though the economy is growing, too many middle-class families still feel like they’re working harder and harder and can’t get ahead.  Inequality is still growing in our society.  Too many young people aren’t sure whether they’ll be able to match the living standards of their parents.  We have too many kids in poverty in this country still.

There are some basic steps that we can take to strengthen the position of working people in this country, to help our economy grow faster, to make sure that it’s more competitive.  And some of that requires political will.  Some of it requires an abiding passion for making sure everybody in this country has a fair shot.  But it also requires good economists.  I know it’s called a dismal science, but I don’t find it that dismal.  (Laughter.)  I think it’s actually pretty interesting.  Alan and Jason appreciate that.  (Laughter.)  So sometimes the rest of my staff thinks, oh, Obama is getting together with his economists and they’re going to have a wonkfest for the next hour.  (Laughter.)

But this stuff matters.  It’s not just numbers on a page.  It makes a difference in terms of whether or not people get a chance at life, and also, how do we optimize opportunity and make sure that it — we don’t have a contradiction between an efficient, growing, free-market economy, and one in which everybody gets a fair shot and where we’re caring for the vulnerable and the disabled and folks in our society who need help.

So a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs, that rewards hard work and responsibility, that’s our North Star.  Jason shares that focus.  I know Alan shares that passion.  And Jason’s new role as the Chairman of the Economic — Council of Economic Advisors, he’ll be working with some of our country’s leading economists, including Jim Stock, who has joined us.  And I’m relying on them to provide analysis and recommendations with just one thing in mind: What’s going to do the most good for the most people in this country — not what’s best for a political party, not what’s best for a special interest.  I don’t have another election.  It’s not what’s best for me — what’s best for our middle class, and everybody who is working hard to get there.  That’s what the American people deserve.

So I would urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Jason Furman. And I want to, again, thank Alan for his outstanding service.  I want to thank Jason and his family for continuing to serve the country they love.  And for all the economists in the room, thank you for the occasionally under-appreciated work that you do.  (Laughter.)

Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
2:25 P.M EDT

Political Headlines May 30, 2013: President Barack Obama to Nominate James Comey for FBI Director

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama to Nominate James Comey to Lead FBI

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-30-13

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Obama is preparing to nominate James Comey, a former deputy attorney general in the President George W. Bush administration, as the next director of the FBI. Still, a formal announcement could be weeks away….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 29, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for Transportation Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Taps Charlotte Mayor for Transportation Secretary

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-30-13

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

President Obama announced his nomination for Transportation Secretary on Monday, calling Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx a “friend” and an “impressive leader.”

“I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary.  He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.  And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective,” the president said a White House ceremony….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Cathy Russell as New Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Nominates New Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-18-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama has announced that Dr. Jill Biden’s chief of staff, Cathy Russell, will be his nominee for the ambassador at large for global women’s issues. Russell is a longtime Biden staffer and the wife of Obama’s National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon.

Dr. Biden released a statement following the president’s announcement Monday:

“We are so grateful for all of Cathy’s hard work and can’t imagine a better choice to be our next Ambassador to work on the most pressing issues faced by women and girls around the globe. Through the more than 25 years we have known Cathy, she has made a tremendous difference in the fight to promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls, helped raise awareness about the issues critical to military families through Joining Forces, and strengthened the role community colleges play in creating the workforce of the future. We will miss Cathy, but know that she will make a real difference in the lives of women and girls throughout the world in her new role.” 

READ MORE

Political Headlines March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary

Source: ABC  News Radio, 3-18-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama on Monday nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to be the next secretary of labor, calling him a “consensus-builder” who “reminds us of this country’s promise.”

Announcing his nomination in the East Room of the White House, Obama said Perez embodies the notion that “if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing the Nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

Source: WH, 3-18-13

President Barack Obama announces Thomas Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013.  Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama today announced that he has chosen Thomas Perez, the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to be the next Secretary of Labor. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the President introduced Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants and a lawyer who helped pay his way through college by working as a garbage collector, to the American people….READ MORE

Remarks by the President Announcing the Nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

Source: WH, 3-18-13 

East Room

11:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everybody have a seat.  Have a seat.  As I’ve said before, my top priority as President is doing everything we need to do to make sure that we’re growing our economy and that we’re strengthening our middle class.  And as I said in my State of the Union address last month, every day we should be asking ourselves three questions.  One — how do we make sure America is a magnet for good jobs?  Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to get those jobs?  And number three — how do we make sure that hard work actually pays off in a decent living?

These are the challenges that I’ve instructed my team here at the White House and in my entire Cabinet to focus on.  And a position that’s instrumental to tackling these challenges is having an outstanding Secretary of Labor.

So I want to begin by thanking Hilda Solis and her entire team — (applause) — including Acting Secretary Seth Harris — (applause) — for the outstanding work that they’ve been doing over the past four years.  Their efforts at the Department of Labor have given more young people a chance to earn new skills, more returning vets the chance to find a job.  They’ve looked out for worker safety from construction sites to coal mines.  They’ve stood up for workers’ rights to organize, women’s rights to get paid equally for the work that they do.  They’ve done an extraordinary job fighting on behalf of working families across the board.

And today, I’m proud to nominate a leader to carry on those efforts as America’s next Secretary of Labor — Tom Perez.  (Applause.)

Like so many Americans, Tom knows what it’s like to climb the ladder of opportunity.  He is the son of Dominican immigrants.  He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse.  He went on to become the first lawyer in his family.  So his story reminds us of this country’s promise, that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try.

And Tom has made protecting that promise — for everybody  — the cause of his life.  As a civil rights attorney, an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy, a member of the Montgomery, Maryland County Council, Tom fought for a level playing field where hard work and responsibility are rewarded and working families can get ahead.

And this is not the first time that he’s chosen to be a labor secretary, either.  We’ve got here today Governor Martin O’Malley, and Martin appointed Tom as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, where he helped implement the country’s first statewide living-wage law, because he understood that a minimum wage should be a wage that you can live on.

In his current role as the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Tom has fought to open pathways into the workforce for everyone willing to contribute, including people with disabilities, LGBT Americans, and immigrants.  And he has helped settle some of the largest cases ever on behalf of families targeted by unfair mortgage lending.

Now, while he’s tackled plenty of tough issues, Tom has also spent a career as a consensus-builder.  He’s worked with CEOs, he’s worked with labor leaders.  He’s worked at federal, state, and local government levels.  And throughout, he understands that our economy works best when the middle class and those working to get into the middle class have the security they need on the job, a democratic voice in the workplace, everybody playing by the same set of rules.

So Tom’s knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding Secretary of Labor.  And there’s plenty of work to do.  We’re going to have to work very hard to make sure that folks find jobs with good wages and good benefits.  We’ve got to make sure that our veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have a chance to put their incredible skills and leadership to work at home.  We need to build an immigration system that works for every employee and every family and every business.  I’m confident that Tom is going to be able to work to promote economic growth, but also make sure that that growth is broad-based.  And he’s going to be an integral part of our overall economic team.

So these are just a few of the many challenges working families out there are facing and where they need an advocate, and Tom is the right person for that job.  So I hope that the Senate will act swiftly to confirm Tom so we can work together to address all these concerns.  I want to thank not only Tom but his wonderful family for agreeing to take on this new role.  I just heard that Tom has been coaching basketball and baseball.  He doesn’t claim to be a great coach — (laughter) — but he brings passion to it.  He may end up missing a few of the games over the next several months, but it’s going to be for a good cause.  And I appreciate his family being willing to make these sacrifices as well.

So with that, I would like to introduce my nominee to be our next Secretary of Labor, give him a chance to say a few words.  And, again, I’d urge the Senate to confirm him as quickly as possible.

Mr. Tom Perez.  (Applause.)

MR. PEREZ:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Mr. President, for your confidence in me.  (Speaks in Spanish.)  It is a remarkably humbling and exciting phenomenon to be here today.

My parents taught my four siblings and me to work hard, to give back to our community, and to make sure that the ladder of opportunity was there for those coming after us.  Over my career, I’ve learned that true progress is possible if you keep an open mind, listen to all sides, and focus on results.  I look forward to taking these lessons with me, if confirmed, to my new role as Secretary of the Department of Labor.

As you well know, our nation still faces critical economic challenges, and the Department’s mission is as important as ever.  I am confident that together with our partners in organized labor, the business community, grassroots communities, Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike, we can keep making progress for all working families.

In the coming weeks, as the confirmation process unfolds, I look forward to meeting with senators of both parties to discuss the Labor Department’s key role — protecting and growing the middle class.

I’ll close again, Mr. President, by thanking you once again for this tremendous opportunity.  (Speaks in Spanish.)  I look forward to this opportunity to continue serving our nation.

Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

END
11:55 A.M. EDT

Political Headlines January 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Richard Cordray to Lead CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Nominates Richard Cordray to Lead CFPB

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-24-13

The White House

Four days into his second term, President Obama renewed a fight from his first term when he renominated Richard Cordray for head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Obama announced he was throwing Cordray, the man currently serving in the post thanks to a recess appointment, into the ring as his pick to direct the government-run financial watchdog.

“He can’t stay on the job unless the Senate finally gives him the confirmation he deserves,” Obama said….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Mary Jo White to lead the SEC Security and Exchange Commission & Richard Cordray to continue leading the CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at a Personnel Announcement

State Dining Room

2:38 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Over the last four years, I’ve talked about how shared prosperity — from Wall Street to Main Street — depends on smart, common-sense regulations that protect the vast majority of Americans from the irresponsible actions of a few.

That’s why we passed tough reforms to protect consumers and our financial system from the kinds of abuse that nearly brought the economy to its knees.  Today, there are rules to help families — responsible families buy a home or send their child to college without worrying about being tricked out of their life savings.  There are rules to make sure that financial firms which do the right thing aren’t undermined by those that don’t do the right thing.  And there are rules to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts once and for all.

But it’s not enough to change the law.  We also need cops on the beat to enforce the law.  And that’s why, today, I am nominating Mary Jo White to lead the Security and Exchange Commission, and Richard Cordray to continue leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This guy is bothering me here — (swatting at a fly.)

As a young girl, Mary Jo White was a big fan of the Hardy Boys.  I was, too, by the way.

MS. WHITE:  Good.  Good.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  As an adult, she’s built a career the Hardy Boys could only dream of.  Over a decade as a U.S. Attorney in New York, she helped prosecute white-collar criminals and money launderers.  In the early 1990s, she brought down John Gotti, the head of the Gambino crime syndicate.  And she brought to justice the terrorists responsible for bombing the World Trade Center and the American embassies in Africa.  So I’d say that’s a pretty good run.  You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo.

As one former SEC chairman said, Mary Jo “does not intimidate easily.”  And that’s important, because she has a big job ahead of her.  The SEC played a critical role in protecting our financial system during the worst of the financial crisis.  But there’s much more work to be done to complete the task of reforming Wall Street and making sure that American investors are better informed and better protected going forward.  And we need to keep going after irresponsible behavior in the financial industry so that taxpayers don’t pay the price.

I am absolutely confident that Mary Jo has the experience and the resolve to tackle these complex issues and protect the American people in a way that is smart and in a way that is fair.

And I want to thank Elisse Walter, who has done an outstanding job holding down the fort as chairwoman.  And I expect the Senate to confirm Mary Jo as soon as possible so she can get to work.

My second nominee is a familiar face.  A year and a half ago, I nominated Richard Cordray to lead the watchdog agency we created to give Americans the information they need to make sound financial choices and protect them from unscrupulous lenders and debt collectors.

As a former attorney general of Ohio with a long record of working with Democrats and Republicans on behalf of the American people, nobody questioned Richard’s qualifications.  But he wasn’t allowed an up or down vote in the Senate, and as a consequence, I took action to appoint him on my own.  And over the last year, Richard has proved to be a champion of American consumers.

Thanks to his leadership, we’ve made it tougher for families to be tricked into mortgages they can’t afford.  We’ve set clearer rules so that responsible lenders know how to operate fairly.  We’ve launched a “Know Before You Owe” campaign to help parents and students make smart decisions about paying for college.  We’ve cracked down on credit card companies that charge hidden fees, and forced those companies to make things right.  And through it all, Richard has earned a reputation as a straight shooter and somebody who’s willing to bring every voice to the table in order to do what’s right for consumers and our economy.

Now, Richard’s appointment runs out at the end of the year, and he can’t stay on the job unless the Senate finally gives him the vote that he deserves.  Financial institutions have plenty of lobbyists looking out for their interests.  The American people need Richard to keep standing up for them.  And there’s absolutely no excuse for the Senate to wait any longer to confirm him.

So I want to thank Mary Jo, Richard, and their families once again for agreeing to serve.  And now I’d like to invite them to say a few words, starting with Mary Jo.

MS. WHITE:  Thank you, Mr. President, for the confidence that you have placed in me and the faith that you’ve shown in me by nominating me to be the next chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  I’m deeply, deeply honored.

If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to committing all of my energies to working with my fellow commissioners and the extremely dedicated and talented men and women of the staff of the SEC to fulfill the agency’s mission to protect investors, and to ensure the strength, efficiency, and the transparency of our capital markets.

The SEC, long a vital and positive force for the markets, has a lot of hard and important work ahead of it.  I would welcome the opportunity to lead those efforts and to build on the work of Chairman Mary Shapiro and Chairman Elisse Walter, who I’m very honored is present today.

And finally, and most importantly, I want to thank my husband, John White, who is here today, on what is our 43rd anniversary —

THE PRESIDENT:  Today?

MS. WHITE:  — today — for his strong support of me in seeking to engage in this very significant and challenging public service.

Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

Richard.

MR. CORDRAY:  Thank you, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve placed in me and our team at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  We understand that our mission is to stand on the side of consumers — our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters — and see that they’re treated fairly.

For more than a year, we’ve been focused on making consumer finance markets work better for the American people.  We approach this work with open minds, open ears, and great determination.

We all thank you and the Congress for the opportunity and the honor to serve our country in this important way.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I just want to thank again Mary Jo and Richard for their willingness to serve.  These are people with proven track records.  They are going to look out for the American people, for American consumers, and make sure that our marketplace works better — more transparently, more efficiently, more effectively.  So I again would urge the Senate to confirm both of them as quickly as possible.

And I also want to express congratulations to the Whites for their anniversary.  If I had known, we would have maybe rolled out a cake or something.  (Laughter.)  But have fun.

MS. WHITE:  Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I hope you enjoy it.

END
2:46 P.M. EST

Political Headlines January 15, 2013: New York Dem. Sen. Chuck Schumer Decides to Support Chuck Hagel’s Nomination for Secretary of Defense

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Hagel Scores Backing from New York Dem. Chuck Schumer

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-15-13

Win McNamee/Getty Image

Chuck Hagel’s prospects just got a bit brighter. New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer offered his blessing Tuesday morning after a 90-minute meeting with Hagel Monday, saying he approves of President Obama’s pick despite previous reservations on Middle East policy.

“When Senator Hagel’s name first surfaced as a potential nominee for secretary of Defense, I had genuine concerns over certain aspects of his record on Israel and Iran,” Schumer said in a written statement. “Once the president made his choice, however, I agreed to keep these reservations private until I had the opportunity to discuss them fully with Senator Hagel in person.  Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation. I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 10, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Nominating Jack Lew as Secretary of the Treasury

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of the Treasury

Source: WH, 1-10-13 

East Room

1:40 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.  A little more than four years ago, I stood with Mr. Tim Geithner and announced him as my first nominee to my Cabinet.  We were barely two months into the financial crisis.  The stock market had cratered.  The housing market had cratered as well.  Bank after bank was on the verge of collapse.  And worst of all, more than 800,000 Americans would lose their jobs in just that month.  And the bottom was not yet in sight.

So I couldn’t blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn’t the right guy for the job.  (Laughter.)  But I knew that Tim’s extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified, and I also knew that he could hit the ground running.  As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks immersed in the complexities of the crisis, and had been working closely with his Republican predecessor at Treasury to save the financial system.

Then, with the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together.  And thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing again for the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6 million new jobs.  The money that we spent to save the financial system has largely been paid back.  We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again.  An auto industry was saved.  We made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again.  We’ve taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for air, and open new markets to sell American goods overseas.  And we’ve begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts and reforms to a tax code that at the time that we both came in was too skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Americans.

So when the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest Secretaries of the Treasury.  (Applause.)

All right, don’t embarrass him.  (Laughter.)

On a personal note, Tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable advisor throughout these last four years.  There’s an unofficial saying over at Treasury — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.”  That would be a good saying for all of Washington — (laughter) — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.”  Few embody that ideal better than Tim Geithner.  That’s why, when Tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago — (laughter) — I had to personally get on my knees with Carole to help convince him to stay on a little bit longer.  And I could not be more grateful to Carole and the entire Geithner family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that so many of our Cabinet members ask of their families in serving the country.

The fact is, while a lot of work remains, especially to rebuild a strong middle class and offer working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class, our economy is better positioned for tomorrow than most of those other countries hit by the financial crisis.  The tough decisions Tim made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that.  So I understand that Tim is ready for a break.  Obviously, we’re sad to see him go.  But I cannot think of a better person to continue Tim’s work at Treasury than Jack Lew.

This is bittersweet not only because Tim is leaving, but also because Jack has been my Chief of Staff for the last year.  He was my budget director before that.  I trust his judgment.  I value his friendship.  I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left.  And so I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House.  But my loss will be the nation’s gain.

Jack has the distinction of having worked — and succeeded — in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector.  As a congressional staffer in the 1980s, he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O’Neill to save Social Security.  Under President Clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row.  So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it — three times.  He helped oversee one of our nation’s finest universities and one of our largest investment banks.

In my administration, he has managed operations for the State Department and the budget for the entire executive branch.  And over the past year, I’ve sought Jack’s advice on virtually every decision that I’ve made, from economic policy to foreign policy.

One reason Jack has been so effective in this town is because he is a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras.  And over the years, he’s built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises.

And maybe most importantly, as the son of a Polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, Jack knows that every number on a page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation, our values.  The values that say everybody gets a fair shot at opportunity and says that we expect all of us to fulfill our individual obligations as citizens in return.  So Jack has my complete trust.  I know I’m not alone in that.

In the words of one former senator, “Having Lew on your team is the equivalent as a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at almost any position and knowing he will do well.”  And I could not agree more.  So I hope the Senate will confirm him as quickly as possible.

I want to personally thank both of these men and their families, especially Carole and Ruth, for their extraordinary service to our country.

And with that, I’d like to invite them to say a few words, starting with Tim.

SECRETARY GEITHNER:  Mr. President, it’s been a privilege to serve you.  I’m honored and grateful that you asked me to do this, really I am.  And I’m very proud of what my colleagues at Treasury and your economic team was able to help you accomplish these first four years.

When you stepped into this building as President, you were confronted with a world in crisis, the worst crisis in generations.  And you made the necessary, the hard, the politically perilous choices that saved the American people, saved American industry, saved the global economy from a failing financial system.  And your successful response to the crisis of course did not solve all the nation’s challenges.  It could not have done so.  But the actions you took along with those of a forceful and creative Federal Reserve have made the country stronger and have put us in a much better position to face the many challenges still ahead of us — and they are many.

I have the greatest respect for Jack Lew.  I know him as a man of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure, with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and experience over decades spent at the center of American economic policy.  He’s committed to defending the safety net for the elderly and the poor.  He understands what it takes to create the conditions for stronger economic growth and broader economic opportunity.  And he understands that to govern responsibly is to govern with a recognition that we have limited fiscal resources.

Now, like Jack, I’ve spent my professional life in this world of public policy and public service.  And as all of you know, our families carry a large share of the burdens we assume in public life.  And I feel incredibly fortunate that my wife Carole and my family have been willing to allow me to do this.  And I thank them for their support and their patience.  And I understand their occasional impatience.  (Laughter.)

I want to express my admiration and my appreciation for the women and the men of the Treasury Department.  Those who came to serve you these years of crisis and the civil servants of the Treasury with whom I first started working in 1988, they are exceptionally talented and honorable public servants.  I’m very proud of what they have helped you accomplish.  And I am confident that my successor will find them the extraordinary asset they are to the nation.

And I also hope that Americans will look at the challenges we face today and decide, as many of you in this room have, that in spite of the divisive state of our political system today that serving your country is compelling and rewarding work.  That was my experience, and I am grateful and will always be grateful to you for having given me the opportunity to serve you as the 75th Secretary of the Treasury.  (Applause.)

MR. LEW:  Mr. President, it has been my honor to serve as your Chief of Staff and before that at OMB and the State Department.  It’s really been a privilege to come to work every day as part of a team that’s dedicated to building a sound economy and a safer world.

Tim, you have been a friend and a colleague for many years — actually, decades — and the American people are better off for your outstanding service.  And I thought I knew you pretty well, but it was only yesterday that I discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship.  (Laughter.)  Tim, I join the President and everyone here in wishing you and Carole and your whole family well.

As a kid growing up in Queens, I had dreams of making a difference in the world.  These dreams were nurtured in a home where the gifts of American freedom and opportunity were cherished and never taken for granted, and the responsibility to engage in issues of public concern were part of daily life.  I will always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in the values that have remained central to my personal and professional life.

I grew up professional in the office of Speaker O’Neill, whose compass was always clear and who demanded unvarnished advice on how best to reach the desired destination.  Mr. O’Neill cared little about your age or rank, and only about whether or not you did the hard work to inform the decisions of the day.  And he took a big chance giving a lot of responsibility to a very young man, and for that I’ll always be thankful.

Serving at OMB first under President Clinton and more recently in this administration, I worked with one of the finest teams in the government to execute a responsible fiscal policy while advancing policies to promote economic growth.  I’m delighted to see so many of my friends from OMB here today.

At the State Department, I worked closely with our great Secretary of State and my friend, Hillary Clinton, to advance our nation’s national security agenda, including our international economic policies.

And as Chief of Staff, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a tremendously talented White House team, which manages policy, politics, communications, and complex operations every day with grace, skill, and loyalty.

If confirmed, I look forward to joining the Treasury Department, whose people are legendary for their skill and knowledge.  It’s a team that I’ve collaborated with closely over many years and have come to respect greatly.

Finally, thank you to Ruth, Shoshi, Danny, Zahava, and the kids for your endless tolerance with the demands of a schedule that tests all family patience.  And thank you, Mr. President, for your trust, your confidence, and friendship.  Serving in your administration has allowed me to live out those values my parents instilled in me, and I look forward to continuing with the challenges ahead.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  These are two outstanding public servants.  I think the only point that I want to make — leave you with is the fact that I had never noticed Jack’s signature — (laughter) — and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding — (laughter) — my offer to appoint him.  Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible — (laughter) — in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
1:56 P.M. EST

Political Headlines January 10, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates ‘Low-Key’ Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Elevates ‘Low-Key’ Jack Lew to Treasury Post

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-10-13

The White House(WASHINGTON) — Facing a brewing fight over the debt ceiling and spending cuts, President Obama on Thursday tapped his chief of staff Jack Lew to be the next Treasury Secretary, elevating a close confidante and trusted adviser to leading economic voice for the administration’s second term.

At a midday news conference, Obama praised Lew, 57, as a “low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras” and hailed his reputation as “a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 7, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Nominating Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense & John Brennan as CIA Director

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Wants Chuck Hagel to Run the Pentagon

Source: WH, 1-7-13

President Obama announces Chuck Hagel as his nominee for Secretary of Defense (January 7, 2013)President Barack Obama announces former Senator Chuck Hagel, second from left, as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, second from right, as his nominee for Director of the CIA, during an announcement in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2013. Joining them are departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, and acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, right. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, President Obama today announced two key nominations for his national security team. He tapped John Brennan to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and he asked Sen. Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense.

“Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic,” he said. “He’d be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department. As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength. They see one of their own.”

The President and Hagel have known each other for nearly a decade and served together on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Hagel spent two terms in the upper chamber of Congress and helped to lead the fight for passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Under President Reagan, Hagel served as a deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration, and while co-founding his own business, he served as the CEO of the United Service Organization. He’s also co-chaired the Intelligence Advisory Board for President Obama.

“Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction,” President Obama said. “He understands that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that’s something we only do when it’s absolutely necessary.”

At the event, Sen. Hagel thanked the President for the opportunity to again serve the United States and its men and women in uniform.

“These are people who give so much to this nation every day with such dignity and selflessness,” he said. “This is particularly important at a time as we complete our mission in Afghanistan and support the troops and military families who have sacrificed so much over more than a decade of war.”

Watch video of the event

President Obama Nominates John Brennan as CIA Director

Source: WH, 1-7-13

President Barack Obama listens to the remarks of John BrennanPresident Barack Obama listens to the remarks of John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, his nominee for Director of the CIA, during the announcement in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2013. The President also announced former Senator Chuck Hagel, second from left, as his nominee for Secretary of Defense. Joining them are departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After announcing Chuck Hagel as his nominee for the next Secretary of Defense, President Obama today nominated John Brennan as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, has served as President Obama’s Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security since 2009. “For the last four years,” President Obama said, “John developed and has overseen our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy — a collaborative effort across the government, including intelligence and defense and homeland security, and law enforcement agencies.”

President Obama called Brennan “one of the hardest working civil servants I’ve ever known” and said that he valued Brennan’s integrity and commitment “to the values that define us as Americans.”

“He has worked to embed our efforts in a strong legal framework,” the President said. “He understands we are a nation of laws. In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough question and he insists on high and rigorous standards.”

President Obama also invited Brennan to say a few words.

“Leading the agency in which I served for 25 years would be the greatest privilege as well as the greatest responsibility of my professional life,” Brennan said.

Brennan explained that, if confirmed as CIA director, he would “make it my mission to ensure that the CIA has the tools it needs to keep our nation safe, and that its work always reflects the liberties, the freedoms, and the values that we hold so dear.”

Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of Defense and CIA Director

Source: WH, 1-7-13 

East Room

1:15 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.  As President and Commander-in-Chief, my most solemn obligation is the security of the American people.  Over the past four years, we’ve met that responsibility by ending the war in Iraq, and beginning a transition in Afghanistan; by decimating the al Qaeda core and taking out Osama bin Laden; by disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.

Among an outstanding national security team, I am especially grateful to Leon Panetta, who has led the CIA and our military with incredible skill.  Leon, after nearly five decades of service, you have more than earned the right to return to civilian life.  I’ll have much more to say about Leon’s distinguished service in the days ahead.  Today, I simply want to convey both to you and to Sylvia the eternal gratitude of the entire nation.  Thank you so much, Leon.

I also want to thank Michael Morell, who has earned the admiration of all of us who’ve worked with him across government and here in the White House.  In moments of transition, he’s guided the CIA with a steady hand as Acting Director — not once, but twice.  And he is a consummate professional.  As I said, everybody in the White House who works with him, everybody across agencies who works with him considers him truly to be one of our most outstanding national security team members.  And so, Michael, on behalf of all of us, thank you and Mary Beth for your continued service.

As these leaders know, the work of protecting our nation is never done, and we’ve still got much to do:  Ending the war in Afghanistan and caring for those who have borne the battle; preparing for the full range of threats, from the unconventional to the conventional, including things like cyber security; and within our military, continuing to ensure that our men and women in uniform can serve the country they love, no matter who they love.

To help meet the challenges of our time, I’m proud to announce my choice for two key members of my national security team — Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Chuck Hagel is the leader that our troops deserve.  He is an American patriot.  He enlisted in the Army and volunteered for Vietnam.  As a young private, and then a sergeant, he served with honor, alongside his own brother.  When Chuck was hit by shrapnel, his brother saved him.  When his brother was injured by a mine, Chuck risked his life to pull him to safety.  To this day, Chuck bears the scars — and the shrapnel — from the battles he fought in our name.

Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic.  He’d be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.  As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength.  They see one of their own.

Chuck is a champion of our troops and our veterans and our military families.  As a leader at the VA, he fought to give our veterans the benefits they deserved.  As head of the USO, he devoted himself to caring for our troops.  Having studied under the GI Bill himself, he helped lead the fight for the Post-9/11 GI Bill so today’s returning heroes can get their education, too.  Having co-chaired my Intelligence Advisory Board, he knows that our armed forces collect, analyze, and depend on good intelligence.

And Chuck recognizes that American leadership is indispensable in a dangerous world.  I saw this in our travels together across the Middle East.  He understands that America stands strongest when we stand with allies and with friends.  As a successful businessman, he also knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely, guided by our strategy, and keep our military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.

Maybe most importantly, Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction.  He understands that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that’s something we only do when it’s absolutely necessary.  “My frame of reference,” he has said, is “geared towards the guy at the bottom who’s doing the fighting and the dying.”  With Chuck, our troops will always know, just like Sergeant Hagel was there for his own brother, Secretary Hagel will be there for you.

And finally, Chuck represents the bipartisan tradition that we need more of in Washington.  For his independence and commitment to consensus, he’s earned the respect of national security and military leaders, Republicans and Democrats — including me.  In the Senate, I came to admire his courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind — even if it wasn’t popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom.

And that’s exactly the spirit I want on my national security team — a recognition that when it comes to the defense of our country, we are not Democrats or Republicans; we are Americans.  Each of us has a responsibility, Chuck has said, to be guided not by the interest of our party or our President even, but by “the interests of our country.”

So, Chuck, I thank you and Lilibet for agreeing to serve once more in the interests of our country.

Now, when I’m on the subject of patriots, let me say a few words about John Brennan.  In John Brennan, the men and women of the CIA will have the leadership of one of our nation’s most skilled and respected intelligence professionals — not to mention that unique combination of smarts and strength that he claims comes from growing up in New Jersey.  (Laughter.)

A 25-year veteran of the CIA, John knows what our national security demands — intelligence that provides policymakers with the facts, strong analytic insights, and a keen understanding of a dynamic world.  Given his extensive experience and travels — which include, by the way, traveling through the Arabian Peninsula where he camped with tribesmen in the desert — John has an invaluable perspective on the forces — the history, the culture, the politics, economics, the desire for human dignity driving so much of the changes in today’s world.

Having held senior management, analytic, and operational positions at the agency, John is committed to investing in the range of intelligence capabilities we need — technical and human.  He literally built — and then led — the National Counterterrorism Center.  And he knows the risks that our intelligence professionals face every day.  John has lost colleagues and friends — heroes whose stars now grace that memorial wall at Langley.

For the last four years, as my Advisor for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, John developed and has overseen our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy — a collaborative effort across the government, including intelligence and defense and homeland security, and law enforcement agencies.

And so think about the results.  More al Qaeda leaders and commanders have been removed from the battlefield than at any time since 9/11.  Their communications, recruiting, training, finances are all under enormous strain — all of which makes it harder to plan and carry out large-scale attacks against our homeland.  And our entire team, including our exceptional Director of National Intelligence, Jim Clapper, will remain relentless against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

In all this work, John has been tireless.  People here in the White House work hard.  But John is legendary, even in the White House, for working hard.  (Laughter.)  He is one of the hardest-working public servants I’ve ever seen.  I’m not sure he’s slept in four years.  (Laughter.)  When I was on Martha’s Vineyard, John came and did the press briefing — this is in summer, it’s August, he’s in full suit and tie.  And one of the reporters asked him, don’t you ever get any down time?  And John said, “I don’t do down time.”  (Laughter.)  He’s not even smiling now.  (Laughter.)

There’s another reason I value John so much, and that is his integrity and his commitment to the values that define us as Americans.  He has worked to embed our efforts in a strong legal framework.  He understands we are a nation of laws.  In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough question and he insists on high and rigorous standards.  Time and again, he’s spoken to the American people about our counterterrorism policies because he recognizes we have a responsibility to be [as] open and transparent as possible.

And so, John, you’ve been one of my closest advisors.  You’ve been a great friend.  I am deeply grateful for your extraordinary service.  I’m even more grateful for Kathy’s willingness to put up with you.  And I’m grateful to both of you for your willingness to take this assignment.

Today, I can say to the men and women of the CIA:  In Director John Brennan you will have one of your own; a leader who knows you; who cares for you, deeply; and who will fight for you every single day.  And you’ll have a leader who has my complete confidence and my complete trust.

As I said, the work of defending our nation is never done.  My number-one criteria in making these decisions was simple — who is going to do the best job in securing America.  These two leaders have dedicated their lives to protecting our country.  I’m confident they will do an outstanding job.  I urge the Senate to confirm them as soon as possible so we can keep our nation secure and the American people safe.

And so, Chuck and John — congratulations.

And with that, I want to invite each of these leaders on stage to say a few words, starting with Mr. Leon Panetta.

SECRETARY PANETTA:  First of all, let me express my deepest gratitude to the President for giving me the honor and the privilege of serving in your administration these last four years as Director of the CIA and now as Secretary of Defense.  I have been extremely proud to be part of your national security team, Mr. President, and to be proud of what it has accomplished in your first term.

Looking ahead to the second term, I want to commend President Obama on his decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of the Defense.  And let me also add, as former Director of the CIA, to commend the President for his choice of John Brennan.  I have had the opportunity to work with John on counterterrorism issues these last four years.  He knows the CIA.  He will be a strong leader of that great intelligence agency.

I’ve also known Chuck for a long period of time as well, and I had the opportunity to work with him closely — particularly in his capacity as Chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.  I greatly appreciate the work he has done to strengthen our intelligence enterprise.  It has been extremely important to our ability to improve our intelligence capabilities.  And as Secretary of Defense, I also benefited from his work when he served on our Defense Policy Board.

Chuck Hagel is a patriot, he’s a decorated combat veteran, and he is a dedicated public servant.  I believe his experience, his judgment, his deep understanding of the security issues facing this country make him the right choice to be Secretary of Defense.

As for me, after close to 50 years of serving the American people — began in 1964 when I served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army, and then in both the legislative and executive branch positions in Washington — the time has come for me to return to my wife Sylvia, our three sons, their families, our six grandchildren, and my walnut farm — (laughter) — dealing with a different set of nuts.  (Laughter.)

I want to deeply thank my family for giving me the fullest measure of love and support during my many absences from home throughout my long career in public service.  But I will leave Washington with a very deep sense of pride in what we have accomplished during these last four years being on the President’s national security team.

As both Director of the CIA and as Secretary of Defense, I have always believed that our fundamental mission is to keep America safe, to keep America secure.  And because of the outstanding dedication of our intelligence and military professionals, America is safer and more secure than it was four years ago, and we have reached a turning point after more than a decade of war.

And on that, as we’ve reached that turning point, we’ve developed a new defense strategy for the 21st century.  We have, with John’s leadership, decimated al Qaeda’s leadership and weakened their effort to attack this country.  We have brought wars in Iraq and we will bring the war in Afghanistan to an honorable conclusion.  We’ve opened up opportunities for all Americans to serve in our military.  And we continue to strongly support our forces, their families, and our wounded warriors.  These are some of the achievements that I am proud of.

Let me close by expressing my profound gratitude to the outstanding team of military and civilian staff and leaders that I’ve had the honor to serve with at the Department of Defense and at the White House.  In particular, let me deeply thank the outstanding men and women in uniform, who I’ve had the privilege to serve and to lead, those who put their lives on the line every day on distant battlefields for this country.  Their sacrifices teach us that freedom is not free; a strong democracy depends on a strong defense.  But you can also not have a strong and stable defense without a strong and stable democracy.

As we continue to confront strategic challenges and fiscal austerity, my hope for the future is that the sense of duty our servicemembers and their families exhibit every day inspires the leaders of this nation to have the courage to do what is right, to achieve the American Dream, to give our children a better life, and to build a more secure future.

SENATOR HAGEL:  Thank you, Mr. President.  I’m honored by your trust and your confidence in me, and not unmindful of the immense responsibilities that go with it.  I want to also acknowledge my wife, Lilibet; my daughter, Allyn; and our son, Ziller, who is in Chicago today, we hope, back attending his first day of classes at DePaul University.  (Laughter.)

And to my friend, Leon Panetta, thank you for your extraordinary service to our country over so many years in so many capacities.  You are one of the premier public servants of our time.  To follow you at the Department of Defense will be a most challenging task, but I will try to live up to the standards that you, Bob Gates and others have set for this job and this nation.

Let me also express my deep appreciation and congratulations to my friend, John Brennan, and to also acknowledge the President’s confidence and trust in John Brennan.  Thank you, John, for your service and what you will continue to do for our country.  To Mike Morell — who I have gotten to know over the years not just serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee, but also, as the President has noted, the privilege of co-chairing the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board with former Senator Dave Boren — thank you, Mike, for your continued service.

Mr. President, I am grateful for this opportunity to serve our country again and especially its men and women in uniform and their families.  These are people who give so much to this nation every day with such dignity and selflessness.  This is particularly important at a time as we complete our mission in Afghanistan and support the troops and military families who have sacrificed so much over more than a decade of war.

I’m also grateful for an opportunity to help continue to strengthen our country and strengthen our country’s alliances, and advance global freedom, decency, and humanity as we help build a better world for all mankind.  I will always do my best.  I will do my best for our country, for those I represent at the Pentagon, and for all our citizens.  And, Mr. President, I will always give you my honest and most informed counsel.  Thank you very much.

ACTING DIRECTOR MORELL:  Mr. President, thank you for your very kind remarks, and thank you for the trust that you placed in me when you asked me to be Acting Director twice.

I have had the honor of knowing and working with John Brennan for the last 20 years.  We have worked particularly closely the last three years.  John Brennan is a intelligence professional with deep experience in our business, a public servant with extraordinary dedication, and a man of deep integrity.  With Senate confirmation, I know that he will be an outstanding Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As the President noted, John started his career at CIA and spent nearly a quarter century.  So this is a homecoming for John.

John, on behalf of the talented and dedicated men and women of CIA, it is my deep honor to say, welcome home.

MR. BRENNAN:  Mr. President, it is indeed a tremendous honor to be nominated to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  The women and men of the CIA are among the most dedicated, courageous, selfless and hardworking individuals who have ever served this country.  At great personal risk and sacrifice, they have made countless invaluable contributions to our national security and to the safety and security of all Americans.  Most times, their successes will never be known outside the hallowed halls of Langley and the Oval Office.

Leading the agency in which I served for 25 years would be the greatest privilege as well as the greatest responsibility of my professional life.  Mr. President, I want to thank you for your confidence in me, but even more for your confidence and constant support to the CIA and to those who serve in the intelligence community.  They need and deserve the support of all of their fellow Americans, especially at a time of such tremendous national security challenges.

If confirmed as Director, I will make it my mission to ensure that the CIA has the tools it needs to keep our nation safe, and that its work always reflects the liberties, the freedoms and the values that we hold so dear.

I’m especially proud to stand here today with such patriots as Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel and Michael Morell.  It was a tremendous honor to serve with Leon over the past four years, and I very much look forward to the opportunity and privilege to serve with another of America’s great patriots, Chuck Hagel.

And I am especially proud and touched to be able to stand here today with my close friend and colleague, Michael Morell, who epitomizes what it means to be an intelligence professional.  Michael’s leadership at the CIA, as well as his 32-year career, has been nothing short of exemplary.  Michael, I very much look forward to working with you in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

And I also look forward to working with Congress, as our national security rests on the ability of the executive and legislative branches of our government to work as a team.  While the intelligence profession oftentimes demands secrecy, it is critically important that there be a full and open discourse on intelligence matters with the appropriate elected representatives of the American people.  Although I consider myself neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I very much look forward to working closely with those on both sides of the aisle.

Finally, and most importantly, to my wife Kathy; to my children Kyle, Jaclyn, Kelly; to my parents in New Jersey, a shout-out — (laughter) — Owen, who is 92 and my mom, Dorothy, who is 91; my brother Tom and my sister Kathleen and my Jersey roots:  I could not be where I am today without their love, their patience, their understanding and their support.  And there is no way that I can ever repay that, except to say I think I’m going to need it for a little bit longer.  (Laughter.)

So again, Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for this opportunity.  It will be bittersweet to leave all of my close colleagues and friends here at the White House and at the national security staff, who I have come to work with and respect so deeply over the last four years.

But if confirmed by the Senate, I will consider it to be the honor of my life to serve as the 21st Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, these are four outstanding individuals.  We are grateful to all of them.  I want, in particular, to thank Mike Morell and Leon Panetta for their extraordinary service.  And I just want to repeat, I hope that the Senate will act on these confirmations promptly.  When it comes to national security, we don’t like to leave a lot of gaps between the time that one set of leaders transitions out and another transitions in.  So we need to get moving quickly on this.

The final point I will make:  One of the reasons that I am so confident that Chuck Hagel is going to be an outstanding Secretary of Defense and John Brennan is going to be an outstanding Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is they understand that we are only successful because of the folks up and down the line in these respective institutions — the folks on the ground who are oftentimes putting their lives at risk for us, and are oftentimes at great remove from Washington and its politics.

To have those who have been in the field, who have been in the heat of battle, who understand the consequences of decisions that we make in this town and how it has an impact and ramifications for everybody who actually has to execute our national security strategies, that’s something invaluable.  It will provide me the kinds of insights that I need in making very difficult decisions, but it will also mean that these folks are going to be looking out for the people who work for them.  And that’s something that, I think, in these leadership positions is absolutely critical.

So I’m looking forward to working with these two gentlemen.  They are going to be outstanding.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
1:42 P.M. EST

Political Headlines January 7, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Chuck Hagel to Lead Defense Department, John Brennan to CIA

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Taps Chuck Hagel to Lead Defense Dept., John Brennan to CIA

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-7-13

The White House

President Obama moved to round out his second-term national security team Monday, nominating former Sen. Chuck Hagel to head the Department of Defense and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan to lead the CIA.

Obama launched a vigorous public defense of Hagel, whose anticipated nomination had already stirred opposition on both sides of the aisle.  He called the Nebraska Republican the “leader that our troops deserve” and a “patriot,” who served heroically in combat, saving the life of his brother….

Turning to Brennan, Obama said the 25-year veteran of the CIA was one of the “most skilled and respected” members of his national security team, contributing “strong analytic insights” and “invaluable perspective.”….READ MORE

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