Blog Posts by Chris Moody, Yahoo News

  • Rick Santorum now opposes a strike on Syria

    Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who has long supported a U.S. strike on Syria, now opposes President Barack Obama’s call for an attack, he said in a statement Thursday.

    “In light of yesterday's approval by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing U.S. military force in Syria, I wanted you to know that I strongly oppose such action,” Santorum said. “When these atrocities in Syria came to light last year, I advocated for military intervention to take out the Assad regime, a strong supporter of Iran. Had President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acted then in support of pro-democracy forces, we could have removed Assad and helped usher in stability for that country. But we have a very different situation today. After nearly two years, 100,000 people killed, a rebel force comprised of al Qaeda and a Syrian regime in a much a stronger position, a military strike would no longer be in our national security interest.”

    In his statement,

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  • Obama's top aides continue push for a Syria attack as Senate panel OKs strikes

    There is a "100 percent" probability that the Syrian government will use chemical weapons again if the United States does not launch a military strike, Secretary of State John Kerry told members of the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel echoed Kerry's remark, saying "very high" when asked by Virginia Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly about the likelihood of another Syrian chemical attack absent U.S. action.

    The comments came as Obama's top national security advisers presented their case on Wednesday to members of the House Foreign Relations Committee for a U.S. strike on Syria after the U.S. government accused President Bashar Assad's forces of killing more than 1,000 people with chemical weapons on Aug. 21.

    While Kerry, Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, answered questions from House lawmakers, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation on Wednesday afternoon authorizing President Barack

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  • House Speaker John Boehner will support strike on Syria

    House Speaker John Boehner plans to vote to approve a measure authorizing U.S. military action against Syria, the Ohio Republican said after a meeting with President Barack Obama in the White House Tuesday.

    “This is something that the United States and the country need to do. I’m going to support the president’s call for action,” Boehner said after the meeting with the president and other congressional leaders. "I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action."

    In response to reports showing what the United States says is strong evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical attack that killed more than 1,000 civilians in August, Obama on Saturday said he would seek approval for a “limited” military strike in the region.

    In a statement Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also said he would support Obama's call for action.

    "I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria," Cantor said.

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  • Florida Democrat gets trapped in an awkward hippy music video about a river and manatees

    Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy at an event to save the St. Lucie River in his district. (YouTube.com)


    JUPITER, Fla. — While meeting with environmental activists in his district last Thursday, Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy found himself starring in an impromptu singalong about the nearby St. Lucie River, an at-risk waterway in his district.

    After delivering a brief talk of support to members of the Rivers Coalition, a group that raises awareness about pollution from the nearby Lake Okeechobee, Murphy joined local activist Kathy Thomas while she sang her song, "Save the St. Lucie River.”

    The look on Murphy’s face as the protest anthem goes on for about five minutes is, well, priceless.

    "Spanish moss breathes into birds nest baskets where babies are fed with fish from a toxic nursery. Dolphins breed and roll around in the brown lagoons,” Thomas, wearing a homemade tie-dye shirt, cooed over the sound of her guitar. “Five hundred and eighty-two manatees have died in the last four months. There is no easy way to say that.”

    “There’s so much talent in this district,” Murphy said after

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  • House won't return early to debate Syria attack authorization

    House leaders do not intend to call lawmakers back to Washington early to debate a measure to authorize using military force against Syria, House Republican leaders said Saturday.

    In a joint statement, House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris said they plan to consider an authorization measure Sept. 9, the original date scheduled for return on the congressional calendar.

    “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised. In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th,” they said after President Barack Obama announced he would seek authorization from Congress to launch a military strike against Syria. “This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”

    House lawmakers have been on a multi-week summer recess

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  • Sen. Ron Johnson: Obama must make his case for an attack on Syria

    ORLANDO, Fla. – President Barack Obama should not launch a military strike on Syria until he can make the case for action to Congress, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday.

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, Johnson, who was briefed at the White House this week, signaled he is open to approving a U.S. strike on Syria, where the government is accused of using chemical weapons against its citizens, but not until the president has outlined a clear reasoning for an attack.

    “It’s incumbent on President Obama to explain the rationale to the American public — convince the American public to the point where he can come to Congress and gain approval from Congress,” Johnson said at Defending the American Dream Summit, an annual gathering of conservative activists.

    “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. It’s not my job to give those answers; it would be my job to give him authority to do it once he’s made

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  • Marco Rubio heckled by conservatives over immigration push

    ORLANDO, Fla. – A small but loud group booed and heckled Florida Sen. Marco Rubio while he tried to give a speech at a conservative conference here Friday, a sign that his support for a bipartisan immigration bill has hurt him within some elements of the Republican Party.

    “No Amnesty!” several people shouted when Rubio walked to the lectern at the Defending the American Dream Summit, an annual gathering of Republicans and conservatives organized by the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.

    Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 with support from the tea party, but he has been the target of fury on the right since he joined Democrats in championing an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. Rubio is considered a possible Republican presidential contender, but his work on the immigration bill has hurt his image with some conservative voters within the party.

    The heckling at the conference subsided after he began to

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  • David Koch: Attacking Syria would be 'dead wrong'

    ORLANDO, Fla. — President Barack Obama would be “dead wrong” to order a military strike against Syria, billionaire political activist David Koch said Friday.

    In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, Koch, who finances several conservative and libertarian political causes, warned that attacking the country would harm the United States' image in the region.

    “I do not think we should get involved in attacks on Syria. It’s like putting your head into a hornet’s nest,” Koch told Yahoo News at  a conference sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group he backs financially. “You’re going to get shot at from all directions. There’s all this talk about attacking the bad guys in Syria, but whom do you attack? Where do you find the people who put these chemical weapons together, this poisonous gas? To me it’s an impossibility, and we’re just going to generate a huge increase in the hostility to the United States in my opinion.”

    The White House has signaled that Obama is

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  • Those who attended the first March on Washington lead thousands to the Lincoln Memorial

    Mary Thomas stood in the misty rain on Wednesday morning clutching a tattered, 50-year-old copy of Life Magazine that chronicled the first March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

    “My picture is in here, which was taken at the reflecting pool in 1963,” Thomas said, holding up the Sept. 6, 1963, edition bearing the words "In Color: SPECTACLE of the MARCH” written across the cover in front of a picture of the Lincoln Memorial.

    Thomas lived in Savannah, Ga., in the early 1960s, she said, and was arrested after participating in a sit-in protest at a restaurant that refused to serve black customers. Fifty years ago, she was here in Washington, D.C., marching to the Lincoln Memorial to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. call for action on civil rights. Now, she is back in the nation’s capital with tens of thousands of others who on Wednesday gathered to commemorate the anniversary of King’s famous rally.

    On Wednesday morning, a few thousand marchers gathered near the Capitol Building to

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  • The important battle this fall will be over the debt ceiling, not a government shutdown

    Some conservative lawmakers are threatening to shut down the government rather than fund the president’s health care law when it comes time to pass a required spending bill this fall, but House Republican leaders are looking instead to the upcoming vote to raise the debt ceiling as their opportunity to attack Obamacare.

    The federal government is expected to reach its borrowing limit in October, and Congress will be asked to vote to increase the ceiling. Republican leaders see the vote as a better opportunity to squeeze concessions out of President Barack Obama than another necessary vote to set spending levels.

    But Republicans face one major problem: Obama has said unequivocally that he is not open to negotiating when it comes time to raise the debt ceiling, a position that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew echoed on Tuesday.

    “The president has been very clear. We are not going to be negotiating over the debt limit,” Lew said during an interview on CNBC’s "Squawk Box." Lew reiterated the

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