Political Gut Check

January 27th, 2014
09:55 AM ET

WH Adviser: Obama Prepared to Use Bully Pulpit

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said President Barack Obama's plan to take more action in 2014-even without congressional approval-shouldn't be considered a threat to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"I don't think it's confrontational. It's 'Let's find areas to work together,'" he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "There are some items right before Congress we can do together."

He mentioned immigration reform, extending unemployment benefits, patent reform and the farm bill as possible items that could be accomplished with bipartisan support.

But, Pfeiffer added, "the President is not going to tell the American people that he's going to wait for Congress."

"He's going to move forward in areas like job training, education, manufacturing, on his own to try to restore opportunity for American families," he told CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Previewing Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address on Tuesday, Pfeiffer sent an e-mail message to supporters Saturday that said Obama will lay out a “set of real, concrete, practical proposals.”

He reiterated Sunday that 2014 will be a "year of action" and the President "is going to look in every way he can, with his pen and his phone, to try to move the ball forward."

Pfeiffer agreed with the characterization that Obama will be using his bully pulpit more often this year.

"Absolutely, absolutely," he said. "We do that in big ways and some small ways. … We are putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said on "State of the Union" that the White House's approach "sounds vaguely like a threat."

"I think it also has a certain amount of arrogance in the sense that one of the fundamental principles of our country were the checks and balances, that it wasn't supposed to be easy to pass legislation," Paul said.

"It's hard to convince people to get legislation through," Paul said. "It takes consensus. But that's what he needs to be doing is building consensus, and not taking his pen and creating law."

Posted by
Filed under: News • Political Gut Check • Videos
January 24th, 2014
10:06 AM ET

'Planet Hillary' Magazine Cover Gets Some Buzz, Criticized

A New York Times Magazine cover story about Hillary Clinton was getting reaction online even before the piece was released. But it was the cover itself that has created the buzz.

Clinton's face is set on a planet against a celestial background, surrounded by multiple circles of friends above the headline "Planet Hillary."

Amy Chozick, the New York Times political reporter who wrote the piece, discussed the provocative nature of the cover.

"I didn't pick the cover. But when they showed it to me, I definitely thought, 'Oh, this is going to receive a lot of reaction,' " Chozick said Friday on CNN's "New Day."

Most likely mindful of the reaction, the  magazine explained in anonline piece Thursday evening how the cover came about. "When we created the cover of this Sunday's magazine to accompany Amy Chozick's article – to be published online tomorrow – about Hillary Rodham Clinton's influence on the various people within her political universe, the immediate idea that came to mind was Clinton's face embedded on a planet," Arem Duplessis, the magazine's design director wrote.

The provocative cover quickly trended on social networks even before the Friday morning release of the piece online. According to Topsy, a social search and analytics company, as of 8:30 a.m. ET  Friday morning, "Planet Hillary" had more than 2,800 mentions on Twitter over the past day. And mentions of Hillary Clinton had topped 6,200 over the past 24 hours, the second-highest total for Clinton in the past month.

Some in the Clinton orbit say the cover is disrespectful.

"It's goofy. It's embarrassing for the magazine. Seventeen out of the last 20 years Hillary Clinton has been voted in the Gallup poll as the most admired women in the world and this is how they depict her?" said Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala, a close adviser and friend to Bill and Hillary Clinton for over two decades.

"I'm a strong believer in the free press. They have a perfect right to do it. I just don't get it," Begala said in a separate interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo and Kate Bouldan on "New Day."

The story itself looks at the universe surrounding the Clintons and the challenges in organizing that universe for a potential 2016 president bid by Hillary Clinton.

"I found that the Clintons are unlike any other political family in terms of how they have collected people, literally since Bill Clinton's kindergarten class, they have been collecting friends, advisers, donors, people who feel a stake in now, her future, and want their voices heard. In 2008 we saw a lot of cooks in the kitchen because of this vast network," Chozick told CNN. "So I think the big question is how do you make all these people feel involved and feel heard without creating that same chaos that destroyed her the last time."

January 21st, 2014
12:22 PM ET

His Administration Under Fire, Christie Takes Oath for Second Term

[Breaking news update 12:05 p.m.]

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was sworn in to a second term on Tuesday as his administration battles allegations of scandal. In his inaugural address in Trenton, Christie praised how his state came together to meet the challenges of economic recession and Superstorm Sandy, as well as the landslide re-election victory voters gave him last November.

[Original story moved at 10:55 a.m.]

On the first day of his second term, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces brewing storms - literally and figuratively.

A scandal over alleged political retribution by his administration has already cost a top aide and campaign strategist their jobs, and now Christie faces multiple investigations that could harm the presidential ambitions of the early Republican front-runner for 2016.

Even the weather was against him, with a looming snowstorm forcing cancellation of his gala celebration on Ellis Island after Tuesday's second-term inaugural address.

Follow along as the story develops here.

January 20th, 2014
11:19 AM ET

'This is an Issue of Abuse of Power' – Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D) NJ on Gov. Christie's Office

After new accusations of political strong-arming, Governor Chris Christie's administration is fighting back and denying that they threatened to withhold superstorm Sandy recovery money.

This morning on 'New Day,' Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D) of New Jersey, who requested a federal probe into Christie's use of Sandy relief money, said that he feels a federal investigation is warranted based on the current facts:

"This is a whole issue of abuse of power and what I call a culture of corruption. In many cases – including the one I brought to the public's attention- it's really an administration that's threatening people, bullying people, and this is what we're hearing..."

"So I don't think there's any question that the US attorney and various legislative committees need to look into this. There are too many allegations now. We don't know all the facts, but the facts keep coming out every day and they're not good."

Now with subpoenas flying in so-called Bridge-gate, and charges of cronyism and retribution piling up, Christie's inaugural festivities are sure to be less festive than the potential 2016 had hoped.

Tomorrow’s events begin with an 8am prayer breakfast, Christie’s swearing-in at noon, followed by what aides say will be  a 25 minute address and nighttime party on Ellis Island.

Stay with this story as it continues to develop at CNN.com.

Posted by
Filed under: Political Gut Check • Videos
« older posts
newer posts »