Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Former Defense Sec. Gates: It should be harder for presidents to launch military actions


    Congress should make it more difficult for presidents to use military force, said Robert Gates, the former defense secretary who served under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

    Speaking with reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday, the former Pentagon head said Congress had abdicated too much power to the executive branch on matters of war.

    “The hurdle for the use of military force, particularly in the absence of an immediate threat of the United States, imposed by requiring a congressional act, would not necessarily be a bad thing,” Gates said. “I think the bar for preventive war ought to be very high. Iraq was a preventive war. An attack on Iran would be a preventive war. ... To make a decision to go to war purely on the basis of intelligence assessments and absent smoking guns, I think, is a very iffy matter. I think the bar against that ought to be very high.”

    The United States has retained a military presence in Afghanistan for nearly 13

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  • Koch-affiliated group ramps up Hispanic outreach

    A group of Hispanic conservatives is ramping up an aggressive campaign to attract Hispanic voters as part of an ongoing effort on the right to bring more minorities into the fold.

    This push by the LIBRE Initiative includes a seven-figure ad buy against Democratic lawmakers who supported the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, and the opening of field offices in as many as a dozen states with large Hispanic populations. And in a novel move, the group is even providing social services to Hispanic communities while it sells its message.


    LIBRE is not a new group — it was founded in 2011 and conducted similar programs on a smaller scale around last year’s presidential elections — but it is currently implementing a wide-ranging outreach initiative that began late last year. The organization has funding ties to Charles and David Koch’s donor network and is led by Daniel Garza, a former White House aide to President George W. Bush. Garza sees 2014 as an opportunity for conservatives

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  • Barbara Bush does not want her son Jeb to run for president

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, should not seek the White House too, his mother said in a newly released interview.

    "There's no question in my mind that Jeb is the most qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won't," former first lady Barbara Bush said in an interview for C-SPAN's series on the wives of presidents. "Because I think he'll get all my enemies, all his brother's. And there are other families. I refuse to accept that this great country isn't raising other wonderful people."

    Barbara Bush is the wife of former President George H.W. Bush, who served as president from 1989-1993, and the mother of former President George W. Bush, who was president from 2001-2009.

    Two possible presidential candidates for the next election in 2016 — Republican Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Clinton — have ties to past presidents. (Neither has announced formal plans to run.)

    In her C-SPAN interview, Barbara Bush said the position would be better left

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  • Republican goal: ‘Tarnish’ the brand of Democratic presidential hopefuls early

    Hillary Clinton won’t be on the ballot in 2014, but Republicans are wasting no time in laying the groundwork for a prolonged attack on her and other prominent Democrats with presidential ambitions.

    With nearly three years before Election Day 2016, the Republican National Committee is investing in a campaign to ensure that the reputation of high-profile Democrats are “tarnished,” a party official bluntly told reporters during a briefing in the group’s Capitol Hill headquarters on Wednesday. Clinton and Vice President Joseph Biden will hold the primary focus, but other potential presidential hopefuls such as Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper won’t escape their radar.

    “Tearing down those brands is important to us,” the RNC official said.

    To accomplish this, the RNC is building opposition research files on each potential candidate and making preparations to bracket their travel with GOP talking points by dispatching its nationwide network of 14,000 Republican

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  • Watch these politicians read their hate mail from Twitter

    "Paul Ryan is Satan incarnate"

    People can be mean on the Internet, especially when it comes to politics. But many people probably don't know that even celebrities and politicians sometimes see what's written about them, even when the ire comes from anonymous trolls.

    Now we can prove it.

    Borrowing from "Jimmy Kimmel Live's" segment that shows celebrities reading horribly nasty tweets about themselves on air, the website Now This News convinced a handful of legislators in Washington to recite unsavory bits of their own Twittery reply feed. 

    The result is hilarious.

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  • More than half in Congress are millionaires

    Analysis says House Democrats more flush than Republicans; in Senate, it's the opposite

    Lawmakers with a net worth below $1 million are now a minority in Congress, an analysis of congressional financial disclosure data finds.

    A new study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics discovered that for the first time, more than half those in the House and Senate are millionaires. The study examined disclosures filed last year, the most recent available, and found that 268 have an average net worth above the threshold. Lawmakers are required to make ranges of their financial assets public each year.

    In the House, the study found that Democrats on average were wealthier than Republicans. In the Senate, the opposite was true.

    Some of the most interesting findings in the CRP analysis:

    “The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 -- an increase from last year when it was $966,000.”

    “Congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million.”

    “Congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost

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  • Why Republicans are going on offense about poverty

    After years of emphasizing austerity, Republicans are leaping to discuss ways the government can help alleviate poverty. The apparent shift in emphasis has a convenient hook — this week marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" — but there is another, more pressing, political reason for the interest in the topic on the right.

    Congressional Democrats are preparing an intense campaign to highlight wage inequality and solutions to ease the effects of the Great Recession. The Senate this week approved a procedural motion to open debate on extending unemployment insurance, but most Republicans voted against it because the cost was not offset elsewhere in the budget. The chamber intends to hold another vote to increase the minimum wage next month, two senior Democratic Senate aides told Yahoo News. Democrats know Republicans will resist. Sensing a wedge issue they can win on in an election year, Democrats intend to  bludgeon them as out of touch and

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  • Republicans betting Obamacare opposition will help them win in 2014

    Republicans are betting on a reliable old horse to anchor their midterm election strategy ― opposition to Obamacare ― which they predict will rise above national debates over immigration reform, extending unemployment insurance and controversial federal spying programs as a key issue in 2014.

    The Republican National Committee on Tuesday announced that it would emphasize Democrats’ support of the partisan federal health care law in an effort to bring down sitting lawmakers in November. The official party group began the new year with the launch of a multistate radio ad campaign targeting a dozen Democrats.

    The health care law “is going to be the issue of 2014,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters on Tuesday during a conference call on midterm election year strategy.

    The new RNC ads point to an article from the website PolitiFact.com that labeled "lie of the year" President Barack Obama’s oft-repeated promise, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” under the new health

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  • All but 1 Republican senator facing re-election in 2014 voted against the budget deal

    Coincidence? Or covering their hides?

    Eleven of the 12 sitting Republican senators facing re-election next year voted against the bipartisan budget agreement, which passed Wednesday with 64 votes.

    The “no” votes included:

    Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
    Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
    Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
    Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas
    Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama
    Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
    Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana
    Sen. James Risch of Idaho
    Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
    Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma
    Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi

    The only Republican senator facing re-election in 2014 who supported the agreement was Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate who will likely not face a serious primary challenge next spring.

    The 11 Republican senators who opposed it are, however, confronting the possibility of rigorous primaries from tea-party-backed candidates who argue that these Republican incumbents aren’t conservative enough.

    Before the vote, many outside groups on the right, notably the Club for Growth, Heritage

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  • Prepare for another debt ceiling fight in 2014

    Republicans will likely demand concessions from Democrats and President Barack Obama in exchange for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling in 2014, the top Senate Republican signaled Tuesday, setting up what could be another heated showdown in the new year.

    Although Congress is poised to agree to a two-year bipartisan budget resolution that will avoid the possibility of a government shutdown next year, the federal Treasury is expected to reach its borrowing limit again sometime in 2014. In October, Republicans in Congress reluctantly agreed to a “clean” debt ceiling hike — one with no major policy strings attached — as part of the deal to end the government shutdown. But on Tuesday, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted it wouldn’t happen again next year when the issue comes up.

    “I can’t imagine it being done clean,” McConnell said of the next time Obama asks Congress to raise the borrowing limit. “The debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings us all together

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