Category archives: Change Watch

Change Watch Backgrounder: James Steinberg

by Family Research Council

January 27, 2009

POSITION: DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE

 

NOMINEE: James Steinberg

Born: May 7, 1953.

Family: Wife, Sherburne B. Abbott, and two children.

Work history: A clerk to a federal judge; an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Armed Services Committee; and an analyst at the RAND Corporation in California. He held several top national security positions in the Clinton administration, including State Department chief of staff and director of the department’s policy planning staff. Until 2005, he was vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He is now dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas but has remained at the center of the Democratic Party’s shadow foreign policy establishment. NY Times bio

Education: J.D., Yale Law School, 1978; B.A., Harvard University (Phi Beta Kappa and John Harvard Scholar), 1973

Clinton White House: From December 1996 to August 2000, he served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton. During that period he also served as the president’s personal representative (“Sherpa”) to the 1998 and 1999 G-8 summits. Prior to becoming deputy national security advisor, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. State Department and director of the State Department’s policy planning staff (1994-1996), and as deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994).

Abortion

James B. Steinberg, President Obama’s nominee to be the next Deputy Secretary of State, claimed in written testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee that Congress cannot constitutionally restrict taxpayer funding to perform or promote abortions. Mr. Steinberg stated that the Mexico City policy, which bars taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, ‘is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.’

Steinberg’s opinion is in direct contradiction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already definitively decided the matter in Rust v. Sullivan in 1991. The court’s majority opinion concluded: ‘The Government has no constitutional duty to subsidize an activity merely because it is constitutionally protected, and may validly choose to allocate public funds for medical services relating to childbirth but not to abortion.’

Steinberg’s statement was made in response to a question about President Obama’s efforts to repeal the ‘Mexico City policy,’ which bars organizations that receive funding from the State Department to agree to ‘neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.’” Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) blog, referring to written questions he submitted to the nominee.

[Source]

On the Bush Doctrine of Preventive Force

Preventive military force has a role in managing today’s security challenges. Understanding that role is step one; establishing agreed standards for its use is step two; and implanting these standards in an effective institution is the third step. The Bush administration got the first step right, and the logic of its arguments builds toward the second. But it has gotten step three wrong. Unilateralism is not the only alternative to the Security Council. Regional organizations and a new coalition of democratic states offer ways to legitimize the use of force when the council fails to meet its responsibilities.” James Steinberg and Ivo Daalder, “Preventive War, A Useful Tool.” Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2005.

Helped Craft Obama Doctrine On Negotiating with Hostile Countries

Advisers to Sen. Obama play down charges from conservatives that there is a downside risk if U.S. efforts to engage Iran fail to halt Tehran’s nuclear program immediately. They stress that any overtures would be made only after extensive deliberations inside Washington, as well as with U.S. allies. But they said such an initiative would unify the international community on Iran, while shifting the blame for any failure to resolve the nuclear issue squarely onto Tehran. ‘There are no guarantees diplomacy will succeed, but you also know that if it doesn’t you’ve strengthened your hands with other people,’ said Mr. Steinberg, who served as deputy national-security adviser from 1996 to 2000.” Jay Solomon, “Obama’s Mideast experts Emphasize talks,” Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2008.

On Nuclear Weapons, Guantanamo and the International Criminal Court

On the military side, Washington must begin devaluing nuclear weapons. The United States can’t uninvent them, and will need some nuclear capability for the foreseeable future. But if we want Iran and North Korea to give them up and for China and Russia to limit their arsenals and prevent proliferation, we must take steps of our own: canceling new weapons programs - like the nuclear bunker buster, ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and mounting a massive global campaign to secure loose nukes and nuclear materials. Finally, don’t hesitate to stand up for our values: democracy, the rule of law and human rights. But remember that the best way to get others to share them is by example, not coercion. Close Guantanamo. Join the International Criminal Court.” James Steinberg, “Enough: Americans Should Lead by Example, and start by closing Guantanamo Bay,” Newsweek. January 1, 2008.

Miscellaneous

A voracious reader, fly fisherman, runner and workaholic who often rises before dawn to run several miles before getting to the office. He has several marathons under his belt. Was struck by a car while running in Los Angeles but has recovered from his injuries. NY Times bio

Change Watch Backgrounder: Steven Chu

by David Prentice

January 26, 2009

POSITION: SECRETARY OF ENERGY

 

NOMINEE: Steven Chu

BIRTH DATE: February 28, 1948, St. Louis, MO

EDUCATION: AB in Math and BS in Physics 1970, U Rochester

Ph.D. in Physics 1976, UC-Berkeley

Postdoctoral fellow UC-Berkeley 1976-1978

FAMILY: Wife, Jean Chu, two grown sons, Geoffrey and Michael, by a previous marriage

FRC SCORECARD: NA

EXPERIENCE:

Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Aug 2004-Jan 2009

Professor of Atomic Physics and Biological Physics, UC-Berkeley, 2004-2009

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997, co-winner, “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light”

Member of the National Academy of Sciences, elected 1993

Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University, 1987-2008

Head of Quantum Electronic Dept., AT&T Bell Labs, 1983-1987

Technical Staff, AT&T Bell Labs, 1978-1983

Professional CV

Personal CV

 

STATEMENTS ON GLOBAL WARMING:

In speeches to organizations around the globe, Chu has delivered a consistent message. “Stronger storms, shrinking glaciers and winter snowpack, prolonged droughts and rising sea levels are raising the specter of global food and water shortages. The ominous signs of climate change we see today are a warning of dire economic and social consequences for us all, but especially for the poor of the world,” Chu has said. “The path to finding solutions is to bring together the finest, most passionate minds to work on the problem in a coordinated effort, and to give these researchers the resources commensurate with the challenge.”

[Source]

Chu, in a prepared statement, called the challenges of climate change “a growing and pressing problem” And he said that continuing dependence on oil represents a threat to the U.S. economy and security.

[Source]


On Gas Prices

Mr. Chu has called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.

Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,’ Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.”

On Alternative Energy Sources

Coal

What about other energy sources? Big Coal won’t be very happy if Dr. Chu gets confirmed as head of the DOE-he’s really, really not a big fan. “Coal is my worst nightmare,” he said repeatedly in a speech earlier this year outlining his lab’s alternative-energy approaches.

If coal is to stay part of the world’s energy mix, he says, clean-coal technologies must be developed. But he’s not very optimistic: “It’s not guaranteed we have a solution for coal,” he concluded, given the sheer scope of the challenge of economically storing billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions underground.

Nuclear Power

Worried about radioactivity? Coal’s still your bogeyman. Dr. Chu says a typical coal plant emits 100 times more radiation than a nuclear plant, given the flyash emissions of radioactive particles.

That doesn’t mean nuclear power is much better. “The waste and proliferation issues [surrounding nuclear power] still haven’t been completely solved,” he said. A big part of the Department of Energy’s job is to oversee nuclear weapons and waste storage. And the Obama campaign made clear that increased reliance on nuclear power will require finding a “safe” way to dispose of radioactive waste.

Renewable Energy

How about renewable energy? Dr. Chu already had a taste of Washington power-brokering, in a briefing with current Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. He pitched them on the idea of an interstate electricity transmission system to be paid for by ratepayers. That would solve one of the biggest hurdles to wide-spread adoption of clean energy like wind and solar power.

[Source]

 

Change Watch Backgrounder: Thomas J. Vilsack

by David Prentice

January 23, 2009

POSITION: SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE

NOMINEE: Thomas J. Vilsack

BIRTH DATE: December 12, 1950 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

EDUCATION:

Bachelor’s degree 1972, Hamilton College in New York

J.D. 1975, Albany Law School

FAMILY: Wife Christie Vilsack; two sons, Jess and Doug

FRC SCORECARD: NA

EXPERIENCE:

Of Counsel, Des Moines office of Minneapolis-based law firm Dorsey & Whitney, May 1, 2007

Candidate for President, Nov 30, 2006-Feb 23, 2007

Governor of Iowa, 1998-2005

Iowa State Senate in 1992

Mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa in 1987

ON ABORTION

A Catholic who supports abortion rights”

I oppose abortion, personally. I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception.”

[source]

Vilsack vetoed a waiting period for abortions and signed a health insurance regulation law without the right to sue he had sought.

[source]

ON CLONING AND STEM CELLS

Several years ago we limited medical research involving nuclear cell transplants [cloning] at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. At the time we never dreamt that new treatments dependent upon such transplants would be developed so quickly. Well, they have been, and as a result we should revisit our ban on nuclear cell transplants. We should remove the restrictions and allow life saving treatments to be administered to Iowans here in Iowa rather than forcing them to leave our state.”

From 2006 state of the state address

[source]

[NOTE: there have been no treatments developed from nuclear transplant cloning, or from embryonic stem cells; no stem cells have even been obtained from nuclear transfer cloned human embryos.]

Scientists should pursue embryonic stem cell research”

New discoveries require us to think differently and approach things differently,” Vilsack said. “Several years ago we placed on a ban on certain types of medical research involving nuclear cell transplants because we never dreamt the treatments resulting from that research would develop so quickly into life-saving treatments, but they have.”

[source]

 [NOTE: no treatments have been developed using embryonic stem cells, and no clinical trials have yet been approved by the FDA or any foreign regulatory body.]
[Update: the FDA has now approved Geron to begin experiments on patients using embryonic stem cells, starting in the summer of 2009.]

ON HOMOSEXUAL SPECIAL RIGHTS and SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

In April 2000, the legislature repealed Vilsack’s order banning discrimination in state employment against gays lesbians, and transexuals; Vilsack vetoed that and in the fall 22 legislators sued, charging he exceeded his powers-a state judge declared Vilsack’s order invalid.

[source]

I don’t think you necessarily have to redefine marriage to do it. A civil union set of rights would honor that,” Vilsack said. “Marriage is already defined and we don’t need to change it.”

[source]

The Constitution should not be amended to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

[source]

Hosted Governor’s Conference on LGBT Youth. (Feb 2006)

[source]

ON GLOBAL WARMING

… We’ve been ignoring global warming. We’ve been saying it’s not a problem or, … we don’t think it’s scientifically proven. Well, the reality is, the rest of the world knows it’s a problem and we can’t provide any moral leadership until we recognize it’s a problem.”

[source]

The government should regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.

[source]

MISCELLANEOUS

Vilsack was abandoned at birth and placed in a Roman Catholic orphanage. He was adopted in 1951 by Bud and Dolly Vilsack, who raised him in the Roman Catholic faith.

In 2005, Vilsack established Heartland PAC, a political action committee aimed at electing Democratic Governors. In the first report, he raised over half a million dollars.

If you want a friend in Washington, get a GOP

by Family Research Council

January 23, 2009

If you have been reading Tony’s Daily Updates then you know we have been less then happy that the U.S. Senate Republicans have for the most part been making themselves comfortable to be in the Minority for a looong time. They have largely been silent on a number of President Obama’s more controversial nominees, ensuring that the millions of American citizens they represent also have no voice in the U.S. Senate. For those displaced citizens a new website now gives everyone a chance to vote for who will be the White House Farmer

You Can Vote For White House Farmer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin has three residents in the running so far to be recommended as the White House farmer, if President Obama decides to create that position.

Several groups are behind the campaign to have the Obama family plant an organic garden on the White House grounds for use by the first family and also for food pantries that could use some of the produce.

Plans call for the nominees submitted as of January 31st to be narrowed to the top three vote-getters, who will be recommended to the president for the job.

Wisconsin residents among the 20 people nominated include Claire Strader of Troy farmer dog.jpgCommunity Farm at Troy Gardens in Madison, Dela Ends of Scotch Hill Farm near Brodhead and Steve Haak of the Haak Family Farms in Belleville.

On the Net: www.whitehousefarmer.com

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Since the position does not actually exist maybe you might just want to make your voice heard on what kind of dog the Obama’s should get.

If President Obama needs someone to train the new dog on how to roll over, I know quite a few Senators who can help.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Timothy Geithner

by Family Research Council

January 21, 2009

POSTION: TREASURY SECRETARY

NOMINEE: Timothy Geithner

Born: Brooklyn, New York, August 18, 1961.

Family: Wife, Carole M. Sonnenfeld, and two children.

Occupation: Partner 9th president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In that role he also serves as Vice Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee

Education: M.A. in international economics and East Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 1985

Clinton White House: Geithner joined the Department of Treasury in 1988 and worked in three administrations for five Secretaries of the Treasury in a variety of positions.  He was deputy assistant secretary for international monetary and financial policy (1995-1996), senior deputy assistant secretary for international affairs (1996-1997), assistant secretary for international affairs (1997-1998). He was Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1998-2001) under Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. In 2002 he left the Treasury to join the Council on Foreign Relations as a Senior Fellow in the International Economics department. At the International Monetary Fund he was director of the Policy Development and Review Department (2001-2003)

NOTE: “An examination of the record of IMF and World Bank performance in developing countries shows that, far from being the solution to global economic instability and poverty, these two international institutions are a major problem. For one thing, their lending practice deters growth because the money they loan removes incentives for governments to advance economic freedom, and breeds corruption. For these reasons, the vast majority of recipient countries have been unable to develop fully after depending on these institutions for over 40 years.”  Ana I. Eiras, “IMF and World Bank Intervention: A Problem, Not a Solution.” Heritage Foundation.  September 17, 2003.

On the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts

Nominee Geithner has little published on his view of how the tax cuts during President George W. Bush’s Administration helped the economy or if they should be repealed.  During the campaign, candidate Obama vowed to repeal the popular tax cuts - though it appears that might now be delayed:

Aides to President-elect Barack Obama suggested on Sunday that he wouldn’t immediately implement a pledged rollback of tax cuts for the top tier of American income earners, because of the worsening economic outlook… During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama economic adviser William Daley suggested that the incoming administration would reconsider whether to quickly increase taxes for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year… David Axelrod, an Obama political strategist who was recently named as one of the president-elect’s senior White House advisers, also suggested during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama was considering delaying the tax increase, but he did not elaborate.

In that appearance, and another on ABC’s “This Week,” Axelrod publicly confirmed that Geithner was slated to head the Treasury Department, pending formal nomination and approval by the Senate… Axelrod declined to answer questions about Geithner’s role in some recent policy decisions made during the financial crisis, including one not to provide federal aid to Lehman Brothers. He said Geithner has served as “an early warning system in terms of the need for greater regulation, and has been ahead of the curve on a lot of these issues.” Cam Simpson, “Obama Aides Suggest Rollback of Bush Tax Cuts Could Be Delayed,” Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2008.

On the Current Financial Crisis and Financial Bailouts

Timothy Geithner, 47, has had a seat at the table since the credit crisis erupted in August 2007 and eventually sparked the deep economic downturn the nation is facing now. As a result, at least until his confirmation hearing, he’ll be criticized for having a major role in a government response that hasn’t always instilled confidence in financial markets - even if it prevented a wider financial meltdown.  As the Fed’s man on Wall Street, Mr. Geithner was a key architect of the $30 billion bailout to prevent the bankruptcy of Bear Stearns Cos., leading to charges the government was stoking moral hazard. He shaped the Fed’s lifeline to investment banks that followed, and was among the officials involved in assessing the implications of the troubles around Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers Holdings, American International Group and numerous other firms (from Wachovia to Citigroup) that have come under market pressure.” WSJ Blog, Who is Timothy Geithner? November 21, 2008

Personal Tax Negligence

Obama said Wednesday that the disclosures that Geithner had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes between 2001 and 2004 were embarrassing, but added that Geithner’s “innocent mistake” shouldn’t keep him from taking the helm of the new administration’s urgent efforts to revive the economy. Several Republicans agreed that Geithner would get Senate approval and said their party had little appetite for a partisan fight at a precarious time for the economy.” Associated Press, “Geithner slowed, not stopped by tax problems,” January 15, 2009

I have a new story on what is, for some senators at least, the most frustrating thing about Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner’s tax problem: Geithner can’t explain why he did it. Members of the Senate Finance Committee know Geithner failed to pay self-employment taxes during his time at the International Monetary Fund. They know the IMF had repeatedly informed Geithner, as it had all its employees, of his obligation to pay that tax. They know Geithner signed documents saying he would pay the tax. And they know Geithner accepted IMF reimbursement for Social Security and Medicare taxes that he had not, in fact, paid. Geithner paid part of his obligation after a 2006 Internal Revenue Service audit, and the rest of it after he was nominated to become treasury secretary. In all, he paid $42,702 in back taxes and interest.  But why did Geithner, who had been a high-ranking official at the Treasury Department before joining IMF and would go on to head the New York Fed, make those mistakes?  Senators got a chance to ask him in person last Tuesday after committee leadership broke the news to them in a hastily-called meeting …”Since their meeting with Geithner was the first time that most senators had heard of the problem, their questions were not terribly detailed; several of the queries were along the lines of “What were you thinking?” And Geithner’s answers were not terribly satisfying. “He can’t offer a specific reason,” says another source familiar with what went on at the meeting. “He doesn’t really have an answer. He just didn’t know.”  Byron York, Geithner Can’t Explain His Failure to Pay Taxes, NRO The Corner, January 19, 2009.

Miscellaneous

If successfully confirmed by the U.S. Senate and if Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Charlie Rangel (D-NY) refuses to step aside, that would mean the two people most responsible for crafting U.S. tax policy will both be admitted tax cheats, both claiming “lack of knowledge of the law” as an excuse.  [source]

Barack Obama: “I’m a lefty. Get used to it”

by Family Research Council

January 21, 2009

As a fellow lefty it is easy to see how this comment could be taken out of context - though in truth with the current President could it be a sign of things to come?

WASHINGTON (CNN) — As his first official action after being sworn in, President Barack Obama signed three documents Tuesday, including a proclamation declaring a day of national renewal and reconciliation.

I’m a lefty. Get used to it,” Obama quipped as he signed his name. “I was told not to swipe the pen.”

The past three presidents signed similar reconciliation proclamations upon being sworn in.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Barack Obama

by Family Research Council

January 19, 2009

POSTION: 44th President of the United States of America

NOMINEE: Barack Obama

Born: Honolulu, Hawaii (yes that IS part of the United States), August 4, 1961

Family: Wife, Michelle, and two children.

Occupation: 44th President of the United States, January 20, 2009; U.S. Senator for the state of Illinois, January, 2005 - November, 2008; Illinois State Senator, January, 1997 - November, 2004

Education: Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School magna cum laude 1991

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

On Roe v. Wade and promoting abortion

Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.” Obama Statement on 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision, January 22, 2008.

Supports forcing private insurers and using federal taxpayer money to pay for abortion“Senator Obama believes that reproductive health care is basic health care. His health care plan will create a new public plan, which will provide coverage of all essential medical services. Reproductive health care is an essential service - just like mental health care and disease management and other preventive services under his plan. And private insurers that want to participate will have to treat reproductive care in the same way.” Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Parental Consent on issues of abortion

Opposes , also supports giving the sometime abortifacient, Plan B, to young girls. SOURCE Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion:

S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008.

Voted against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions:

S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006.

On taxpayer funding

Voted for increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation: S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007.

Voted for increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million: S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005.

Opposes Hyde Amendment

(a provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortions)

Obama does not support the Hyde amendment. He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.” Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Opposes federal support for pregnancy care centers

Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Supports full funding for the United Nations Family Planning Fund (UNFPA)

(Evidence shows UNFPA subsidizes coercive abortions)

S. Amdt. 2708 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-320, September 6, 2007

Supports subsidizing international abortion agencies

S.Amdt. 2719 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-319, September 6, 2007

NOTE: Senator Obama co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the 109th and 110th Congresses and vowed to an audience at a Planned Parenthood rally that passing FOCA would be the first thing he would do as President (SOURCE.) FOCA would overturn hundreds of state laws on the books that limit abortion. (SOURCE.)

MARRIAGE AND HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

Voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006.

Opposes the Defense of Marriage Act:

Well, it is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I come from that, in part, out of personal experience. When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside. And so my concern is continually to make sure that the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for all people. That’s why I opposed DOMA in 2006 when I ran for the United States Senate.” Transcript of LOGO debate on August 9, 2007.

Voted in favor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act: Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007.

For allowing gays in the military:

Senator Barack Obama pledges to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - and to help reinstate gays and lesbians kicked out of the military due to this policy” HRC Backstory

Supports special rights for homosexuals

Obama believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Obama ‘08 Campaign Flyer.

ON JUDICIAL LITMUS TESTS

(J)udicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations. We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.” Obama on Judges, Supreme Court, MSNBC, July 17, 2007.

Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006) and John Roberts (September, 2005) for the Supreme Court.

MISCELLANOUS

Pro-Abortion payback?

Dawn Johnsen, former NARAL legal director, nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Legal Counsel.

Ellen Moran, named White House communications director. Emily’s List is a national political action committee that only supports female candidates who favor taxpayer funded abortions and oppose a partial-birth abortion ban.

Melody Barnes, former Emily’s List board member, named director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to starve his wife to death, as associate attorney general.

Change Watch Backgrounder: Joe Biden

by Family Research Council

January 18, 2009

POSTION: Vice President of the United States of America

NOMINEE: Joseph Biden

Born: Scranton, PA, November 20, 1942

Family: Wife, Jill Tract Jacobs, and four children.

Occupation: Vice President of the United States January 20, 2009; U.S. Senator for the state of Delaware, January 3, 1973 - January 15, 2009

Education: Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968

Chairmanships in Congress: Foreign Relations: January 2007-2009/June, 2001 - January, 2003/January 3, 2001 - January 20, 2001. Judiciary: January, 1987 - January, 1995.

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

On Roe v. Wade

I strongly support Roe v. Wade… That’s why I led the fight to defeat Bork, Roberts Alito, and Thomas.” 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, MSNBC April 26, 2007.

On protecting the unborn child or minors in cases of abortion

Voted against defining the unborn child as eligible for SCHIP: Amends the definition of the term “targeted low-income child” to provide that such term includes the period from conception to birth, for eligibility for child health assistance. S.Amdt. to S.ConRes.70, Senator Allard Amendment, Roll Call 08-S81, March 14, 2008.

Voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion: S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008.

Voted against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions: S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006.

Voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act: Bill makes it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. S.1019/H.R. 1997, Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Roll Call 04-63, March 25, 2004.

Voted for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban: S. 1692, Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Roll Call 99-340, October 21, 1999 (He did not vote on the one that became law in the 108th Congress.)

On taxpayer funding

Voted for increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation: S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007.

Voted for increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million: S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005.

Voted for taxpayer funding of abortions on military bases: S. 2549, Roll Call 00-134, June 20, 2000.

Voted against banning human cloning: Motion to proceed for S. 1601, Roll Call 98-10, February 11, 1998.

NOTE: Senator Biden co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the 102nd and 103rd Congresses but has not since. FOCA would overturn hundreds of state laws on the books that limit abortion.

MARRIAGE AND HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA

Voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006.

Vote for the Defense of Marriage Act: H.R. 3396, Roll Call 96-280, September 10, 1996.

Voted in favor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act: Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007.

For allowing gays in the military: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College June 3, 2007.

ON JUDICIAL LITMUS TESTS

When I got to the United States Senate and went on the Judiciary Committee as a young lawyer, I was of the view … that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was - had been a good student. … [I]t took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference. That’s why I led the fight against Judge Bork.” Vice presidential debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin. The debate was moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006), John Roberts (September, 2005) and Clarence Thomas (October, 1991) for the Supreme Court.

MISCELLANOUS

Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006), John Roberts (September, 2005) and Clarence Thomas (October, 1991) for the Supreme Court.

100% in the Planned Parenthood Scorecard for the 109th Congress.

78% in the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard for the 109th Congress.

0% in the FRCAction Scorecard for the 110th Congress.

Was named a Face for the Future by Time magazine in his freshman senatorial year - in 1974

Joe Biden’s Greatest Hits

The vice president-elect has a reputation for being a lightning rod for controversy due to his penchant of speaking before thinking

His campaign imploded when he was caught plagiarizing from British Labour Party head Neil Kinnock. Rhetorical Question by Michael Crowley, New Republic, October 22, 2001

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” Senator Joe Biden on Senator Barack Obama

In a June 2006 appearance in New Hampshire, the senator commented on the growth of the Indian-American population in Delaware by saying, “You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I’m not joking.” SOURCE

Better than everybody else. You don’t know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state is the eighth largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a northeast liberal state,” Biden describing how a Northern liberal could compete in the South.

I have a record. The good news and the bad news is that I have a record. I have a bad reputation of saying what I think, but I’m going to continue to do that.” Sept. 24, 2007, appearing on The View.

On Rudy Giuliani: “Probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency… There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11.” Oct. 30, 2007, at a Democratic debate.

Senator Biden on Senator Obama’s foreign policy experience:

If the Democrats think we’re going to be able to nominate someone who can win without that person being able to table unimpeachable credentials on national security and foreign policy, I think we’re making a tragic mistake.”

It’s a well-intentioned notion he has, but it’s a very naive way of thinking (sending troops into Pakistan) how you’re going to conduct foreign policy. Having talking points on foreign policy doesn’t get you there.”

I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.” SOURCE

Change Watch Backgrounder: Robert Gibbs

by Michael Leaser

January 16, 2009

POSITION: PRESS SECRETARY

NOMINEE:  Robert Gibbs

Born:  March 29, 1971 in Auburn, Alabama

Occupation: Political consultant, most recently the communications director for Senator Barack Obama and Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign

Family: Married, one child

Education: B.A., North Carolina State University (majored in political science), graduated cum laude

Career: Robert Gibbs has spent his career working as a communications specialist in the campaigns of various politicians. Prior to becoming involved in Obama’s presidential campaign, he served as the communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He served as the campaign spokesman for Fritz Hollings in 1998 and was the press secretary for Representative Bob Etheridge. He was John Kerry’s press secretary during his 2004 presidential campaign. He has worked with Obama since 2004.

On Homosexual “Marriage”

One of the sponsors of the bill (Illinois Non-Discrimination Bill Senate Bill 2597, formally SB 101, which would give special rights in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.) is Keyes’ opponent Obama.

Robert Gibbs, spokesman for Obama, said Obama is against discrimination.

While Obama supports laws that guarantee basic rights to same sex couples, including recognition of domestic partnerships, Obama opposes gay marriage.

Our position on gay marriage is the same position held by John McCain and Dick Cheney, who are opposed to gay marriage, but are also opposed to a constitutional amendment that is unnecessary,’ Gibbs said.”  [source (from Senator Obama’s Senate campaign in 2006)]

On Homosexuals in the Military

In a response to a question on the Web site Change.gov asking whether Obama would get rid of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ‘You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s yes.’

Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, ‘There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.  So not everything will get done in the beginning but he’s committed to following through” with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military.’” [source]

Quotes about Gibbs:

He’s the last person Barack talks to when he’s thinking about how to handle reporters’ questions,” says Linda Douglass, a campaign spokeswoman. “We call him the Barack Whisperer. He completely understands his thinking and knows how Barack wants to come across.’” [source]

Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire…If I’m wrong, he challenges me. He’s not intimidated by me.” - Barack Obama  [source]

His aggressive communication skills; while close to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gibbs does not always share his boss’s steady temperament, and this has caused dust-ups during the presidential campaign. Mr. Gibbs’s friends say he is working at being calm under pressure, a vital skill for a press secretary who stands at the White House podium as the face of the administration.” - [source]

Quotes by Gibbs:

I’ve always wanted to be in a position where as a staffer I could always speak freely and in an unvarnished way with whoever I was working for…I don’t think you serve somebody well if you don’t feel like you can.”

- On his reputation as one of the few people who can challenge Obama [source]

It was requisitioned for a higher purpose. I have never gotten that back and I never had the illusion that I would.”- On the light blue tie hijacked by Obama for his 2004 convention speech.  [source]

Hearing Schedule Updated

by Family Research Council

January 15, 2009

Are you looking to see politicians stand up for what they believe in? Then I suggest you rent “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Otherwise here is an updated schedule for hearings and votes next week on HRH French flag.gifPresident-elect Barack Obama’s nominations. To watch the hearings as they are happening tune into the Committee websites or CSPAN.org

Timothy F. Geithner, nominee for Secretary of the Treasury

Hearing date: January 21st, 2009

10:00 A.M.

Location: Senate Finance Committee

Ray LaHood, nominee for Secretary of Transportation

Hearing date: January 21st, 2009

2:00 P.M.

Location: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

Scheduled committee vote on Susan Rice, nominee for Ambassador to the United Nations

Vote date: January 23rd, 2009

2:30 P.M.

Location: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

James B. Steinberg, nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Department of State;

Jacob J. Lew, nominee for Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources of the Department of State

Hearing date: January 24th, 2009

2:30 P.M.

Location: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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