Posts by Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps

  • John McCain says President Obama’s ISIS strategy reminds him of Vietnam

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 7 days ago

    The Fine Print

    Sen. John McCain says the “gradual escalation” in the fight against ISIS reminds him of the failed strategy that caused the United States to lose the Vietnam War.

    “The thing that really bothers me about this very gradual increase, this is what lost the Vietnam War, this kind of gradual escalation,” the Arizona Republican, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, told “The Fine Print” during an interview on Capitol Hill.

    “No boots on the ground, then we had to have security around our bases, then we had to have a few more and then a few more,” he continued. “This is the same kind of scene we saw there.”

    When Republicans take control of the Senate in January, McCain will become chairman of the Armed Services Committee and vowed to hold President Obama accountable on his foreign policy in his new leadership role.

    The most pressing needs in the fight against ISIS, McCain said, are to establish a no-fly zone in Syria, increase the number of boots on the ground in supporting roles, and provide weapons directly to the Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, who are fighting the war on the front lines.

  • Is Carly Fiorina the GOP's answer to Hillary in 2016?

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 mth ago

    The Fine Print

    Carly Fiorina is hitting the campaign trail in all the key presidential battleground states.

    The former Hewlett-Packard CEO and unsuccessful 2010 Senate candidate makes no secret of the fact that she has not closed the door to a bid for the White House in 2016, but says her recent trips to places like Iowa and New Hampshire are for the express purpose of helping to elect Republicans this fall.

    “We're trying to unlock the potential of conservative women to persuade other women to get out and vote,” Fiorina told “The Fine Print” during a recent interview at “The Iron Gate” restaurant in Washington, D.C.

    It’s all part of her “Unlocking Potential Project” aimed at building a network of engaged Republican women voters to close the “gender gap” that Fiorina says gives Democrats an “undeniable” advantage among women.

    “As a conservative woman, I'm tired of the Democrats’ war on women,” she said. “I'm tired of [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi saying outrageous things like a Republican majority will end civilization as we know it, and the GOP is the Ray Rice of politics. I'm just tired of it.”

    “I never shut doors, it's not wise to shut doors,” Fiorina said.

  • Bernie Sanders says he has a ‘damn good platform’ to run for president in 2016

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 3 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t afraid to be called a socialist. In fact, the Vermont Independent proudly labels himself a Democratic socialist.

    “Do you hear me cringing? Do you hear me running under the table?” Sanders said rhetorically when asked if Democratic socialist is an accurate description.

    Sanders is so delighted with his brand of politics that he said in an interview with “The Fine Print” that it would be a “damn good platform” on which to run for president.

    "If the American people understand what goes on in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and other countries, they will say, ‘Whoa, I didn't know that!’” Sanders said, pointing out that health care is considered a right, “R-I-G-H-T,” among even the most conservative politicians in Denmark.

    Sanders described his credo as a fight to protect America’s working class from what he sees as the threat of an approaching “oligarchic form of society.”

    “You know what that is?" he said. "That's called oligarchy."

    "She has accomplished a lot of very positive things in her career, but I'm not quite sure that the political process is one in which we anoint people,” Sanders said.

  • Foodie politics: Renowned chef and new U.S. citizen Jose Andres stirs up immigration debate

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 7 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Since he immigrated to the U.S. from Spain 23 years ago, chef Jose Andres has been spicing up the nation’s restaurant scene. And now, having recently become a U.S. citizen, he’s also stirring up the debate on immigration reform.

    “The very simple question we need to ask in Congress is: why are we making something so simple so political?” Andres told “The Fine Print” over a lunch of tapas at his popular Jaleo restaurant.

    While Andres qualifies that food - not politics – is his area of expertise, he said he feels compelled to speak out on the topic.

    “We have 11 million people - some people would call them undocumented, other people will call them illegals - but people,” he said. “They're here, performing duties, working somewhere, in the farms, in the fishing industry, maybe in restaurants, and somehow we don't give them the opportunity to belong is kind of not fair. “

    But the chef used choice words to avoid getting entangled in what has become a deadlocked and partisan debate to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

    For more about what’s next for Andres, and to see what dishes he served, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”

  • Rock 'n roll governor: The wild side of Maryland's Martin O'Malley

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 8 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    If Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland has his way, not only will he be a Democratic candidate for president in 2016, but he could even be the opening act for his own campaign rallies.

    When asked about his own presidential ambitions, O’Malley was upfront in acknowledging that he’s considering a 2016 presidential bid: “I've made no secret about the fact that I'm looking at it.”

    While all eyes are currently focused on Hillary Clinton as speculation swirls that the former secretary of state will run in 2016, O’Malley said he doesn’t feel intimidated by the prospect of running against the already well-oiled Clinton campaign machine.

    “I really don't look at it that way,” he said. “But I really look at this journey as a search for the best way forward for our country.”

    Long before he took to the political stage, O’Malley became well-acquainted with the musical stage as the lead singer of an Irish music band that bears his name, “O’Malley’s March.” Still active in the band today, O’Malley sat down with the “The Fine Print” backstage before a St. Patrick’s-themed concert.

    ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Brian Haefeli and Pat Glass contributed to this episode.

  • Michele Bachmann: Jan Brewer wrong to veto Arizona's 'anti-gay' bill

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 8 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Rep. Michele Bachmann is “sorry” that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill in Arizona that would have allowed businesses to legally refuse service to same-sex couples because of religious objections.

    “I believe that tolerance is a two-way street, and we need to respect everyone's rights, including the rights of people who have sincerely held religious beliefs,” Bachmann, a Minnesota Republican told “The Fine Print.”

    Many prominent Republicans, including former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain of Arizona have backed Brewer’s decision to veto the bill, but the tea party leader said they are wrong on this issue.

    “Religious liberties and the protection of our religious liberties is right,” she said. “Right now, there's a terrible intolerance afoot in the United States, and it's against people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    On the topic of 2016, Bachmann said there are many Republicans presidential hopefuls who, “without a shadow of a doubt,” could go head-to-head with the former secretary of state in a presidential contest.

  • Campaigner-in-Chief Bill Clinton pulls out Southern charm in Kentucky Senate race

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 9 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Alison Lundergan Grimes was only in the first grade when Mitch McConnell was first elected to the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, but now, the 35-year-old Democrat is hoping to unseat the Senate Minority Leader.

    And she’s doing it with the help of an old family pal: Bill Clinton.

    “President Clinton is a friend, a mentor and an adviser,” Grimes told “The Fine Print” in Kentucky. “He's someone who has literally seen me grow up since I was 14 years old.”

    Clinton hit the campaign trail yesterday to pitch for Grimes, telling the audience at a 1,200 people sold-out fundraiser that “it makes a big difference” if she wins in November.

    Grimes’ father, former state legislator and Kentucky Democratic Party chairman Jerry Lundergan, has been a long-time supporter of the Clintons, helping to lay the groundwork for both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s respective presidential campaigns in Kentucky. A photograph of 14-year-old Grimes presenting a bouquet of roses to President Clinton at his 1993 presidential inaugural festivities serves as further evidence of the long-standing bond.

    “Every time he's come, it's been really good for me," McConnell said of Clinton.

  • The contemplative congressman: Why Tim Ryan is calling for quiet time on Capitol Hill

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 9 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Of all the ways to describe the atmosphere of Capitol Hill, “peaceful” is not usually among them. But one congressman is hoping to change that by encouraging members of Congress and their staff to spend some time each day in quiet contemplation.

    In a nondescript room on Capitol Hill recently, “The Fine Print” met up with Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan as he joined about 20 Congressional staffers in a guided meditation session.

    “I have a quiet strategy happening where I am talking with members of Congress, giving them articles on science behind it,” said Ryan, who started meditating in 2008.

    “It just seems like everybody is going faster on a treadmill that just keeps getting faster and steeper and harder to just kind of ground yourself at some point during the day,” he said. “So, for me, it's been very helpful in combating sort of the high levels of stress and distraction from technology and information overload.”

    The caucus is small and consists of only a handful of members, who Ryan said have come and gone throughout the year. But, he said, a quiet revolution seems to be catching on in Congress.

  • Meet Shane Osborn: From Chinese prisoner to U.S. Senate candidate

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 9 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    After crash landing a U.S. spy plane in China and spending 12 days in captivity, Shane Osborn said the prospect of being a U.S. Senate candidate from Nebraska is not so daunting.

    “If I can take 12 days of communist Chinese interrogations, I can certainly handle Harry Reid on the Hill,” Osborn told “The Fine Print” during a visit to Washington.

    He is one of several military veterans running for office in this mid-term election year.

    In 2001, Osborn was at the center of a diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and China when he was the pilot of a U.S. Navy plane that was caught spying on the Chinese.

    “We were getting harassed by a Chinese fighter, and he hit us and it cut him in half and killed him and tore our aircraft,” he said. “We were flipped, inverted, and it took the nose off, a hole through the wing. It was pretty rough. We lost over 2 miles upside down and 24 people on board.”

    Osborn was able to land the badly damaged plane on the Chinese island of Hainan. But that was just the beginning of his ordeal, which Osborn described as "long, scary, [and] intimidating.” He and his crew were taken off at gunpoint, held captive, and intensely interrogated by the Chinese.

  • Dysfunctional marriage: Does Congress need a divorce mediator?

    Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 10 mths ago

    The Fine Print

    Whether they like it or not, Congress is getting a marriage counselor.

    Carol Bailey, a Seattle family law attorney and mediator, has spent her career helping couples transform dysfunctional relationships into productive ones. And, now, she’s volunteering her services on Capitol Hill.

    “I realized one day it's just like a family, it really is,” Bailey said of Congress in an interview with “The Fine Print.”

    Bailey has authored a guide, “ Easing Congressional Gridlock: A Divorce Mediator’s Guide for the Union That Can’t Dissolve,” in which she outlines 10 tips for lawmakers on how to stop bickering and start working toward positive solutions. And this week, she’s come to Washington to distribute her brochure, along with a pocket-size card that summarizes the tips for members to carry in their wallets.

    If she has the opportunity, Bailey said she’d most like to sit down jointly with Senate leaders, Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R – Ky., for an hour of intense mediation.

    “As I tell everybody, it works in love and in politics,” she said.