Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • ‘Texts From Hillary Clinton’ founders call it quits

    We'll always have the "LOLZ": Like experienced party-goers who take their leave while they're still having fun, "Texts From Hillary" founders Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith announced Wednesday that they were pulling the plug on their popular Tumblr homage to Hillary Clinton one day after meeting the secretary of state.

    "It's been an overwhelming -- and hilarious -- week for us here at Texts from Hillary (TFH)," they wrote in a farewell post entitled "TTYL" (talk to you later). "We think it's time to stop while we are ahead."

    Lambe and Smith, who each received an autographed contribution to the site from Hillary herself, marveled that "what started as a joke at the bar between two friends" had become the talk of Washington--and beyond--for its witty depictions of Hillary Clinton exchanging text messages with power players in Washington and Hollywood stars.

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  • Obama done talking about Trayvon Martin case: White House

    President Barack Obama will not be commenting further on the Trayvon Martin case, the White House said Wednesday as the Associated Press reported that charges were being filed against the teenager's killer, George Zimmerman.

    "I certainly don't expect you'll hear from him about an ongoing investigation both at the state and federal level. The comments he made are all that you will hear from him on that specific case," Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "He and I and others will refrain from commenting on it."

    Obama memorably waded into the national debate over the tragedy in late March. "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," the president said.

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  • Obama on Reagan: a ‘wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior’

    Today's Republicans might view Ronald Reagan as a "wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior," and the late conservative icon's views on taxes might have disqualified him from the party's nomination in 2012, President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

    Obama, defending his "Buffett Rule" call for higher taxes on the very rich, said in a speech that he was "not the first president to call for this idea that everybody has got to do their fair share." He went on to say:

    Some years ago, one of my predecessors traveled across the country pushing for the same concept. He gave a speech where he talked about a letter he had received from a wealthy executive who paid lower tax rates than his secretary, and wanted to come to Washington and tell Congress why that was wrong. So this president gave another speech where he said it was "crazy"that's a quotethat certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary. That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.

    He thought that, in America, the wealthiest should pay their fair share, and he said so. I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing that we're calling for now: a return to basic fairness and responsibility; everybody doing their part. And if it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.

    Yet Reagan also championed the very same "trickle-down" economics that Obama has roundly denouncedthe idea that tax cuts for the wealthy lead to investment that generates growth and thereby jobs. Obama on Tuesday described this economic policy in harsh terms, saying its supporters "don't seem to understand how it is that America got built."

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  • ‘Buffett Rule’ is not a campaign ‘gimmick,’ Obama says

    Click image to see more photos. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)Click image to see more photos. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

    President Barack Obama defended his "Buffett Rule" proposal for higher taxes on the very rich Wednesday, denying it was a re-election campaign "gimmick" that will do little to close the deficit or spur job growth.

    "This is not simply an issue of redistributing wealth," Obama said. "This is not just about fairness. This is also about growth. This is also about being able to make the investments we need to succeed and it's about we, as a country, being willing to pay for those investments and closing our deficits."

    The president took aim at critics who say, in his words, "This is just a gimmick, just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule won't do enough to close the deficit. "

    [Related: New Obama campaign video attacks Romney as ‘severely conservative’]

    He went on: "I agree, that's not all we have to do to close the deficit. But the notion that it doesn't solve the entire problem doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it at all. There are enough excuses for inaction in Washington, we certainly don't need more excuses. The Buffett Rule is something that will get us moving in the right direction."

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  • New Obama campaign video attacks Romney as ‘severely conservative’

    Using Mitt Romney's own words against him, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released a new video on Wednesday that paints the all-but-certain Republican nominee as a "severely conservative" politician who's uncaring about middle-class economic suffering and who's determined to outlaw abortion.

    The 1:55 spot, titled "Mitt Romney: Memories to Last a Lifetime," mines some of the former Massachusetts governor's best-known verbal missteps from the past year, teed up with the words "As Republicans settle on a nominee ... let's take a look at some of the unforgettable moments from this unforgettable primary." It seems geared to make it harder for Romney to pivot to the political center for the general election after weathering the drawn-out battle for the Republican nomination.

    [Related: Santorum surrenders, but can Romney capitalize?]

    The video, released just one day after Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, is not quite a greatest-hits release: There's no mention of Romney's casual offer to bet Texas Gov. Rick Perry $10,000 or his description of his long-ago worries about losing his job. But it highlights that the Obama campaign is wasting no time in taking the fight to Romney, and will likely recycle spats, gaffes and potentially controversial positions from the primaries for its own advantage.

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  • Obama stumps for ‘Buffett Rule,’ slams Republicans

    Rallying supporters at a campaign-style event in Florida, President Barack Obama stumped on Tuesday for the so-called "Buffett Rule," which seeks to hike taxes on the very rich and accused Republicans of "doubling down" on economic policies he blamed for the 2008 meltdown.

    President Barack Obama speaks at Florida Atlantic University, Tuesday, April 10, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    On the day that Rick Santorum stepped aside and the fall match up solidified beyond a reasonable doubt, Obama gave a glimpse of what is sure to be a major campaign theme going forward: a populist appeal to support the middle class against entrenched wealthy interests.

    Obama acknowledged overseeing "the three toughest years in our lifetimes economically — worst financial crisis, worst economic crisis" but blamed the painful downturn on policies embraced by his predecessor, George W. Bush, and congressional Republicans then and now.

    "In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few," he said, referring to the Republican-championed view that cutting taxes for the rich spurs investment, ultimately helping middle- and working-class Americans.

    "Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class," he told a cheering crowd at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

    On a Republican National Committee-organized conference call, Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart accused Obama of running from his record and from the sunny promise of the "hope and change" slogan that powered his history-making 2008 presidential campaign.

    "It is very, very sad that the candidate of 'hope and change' has become the president of 'divide and deceit,'" said Diaz-Balart.

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  • Texts From Hillary founders meet … Hillary Clinton

    Obtained by Yahoo News

    "Texts from Hillary" founders Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her office at her invitation on Tuesday and left with maybe the best parting gift possible: An autographed, Hillary-written submission to their popular Tumblr.

    "Thanks for the many LOLZ Hillary 'Hillz'" the top American diplomat wrote on the photo montage.

    Smith (@ASmith83) posted Clinton's submission via Twitter and captioned it: "I just met Secretary Clinton. She loves the site. Pictures to come. Here's her post she autographed."

    Really? Yup.

    "Yes, the submission on their site credited to Secretary Clinton is in fact from her. She wanted to meet the brains behind the site, and they were just in her office about an hour ago," Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines told Yahoo News by email. Lambe and Smith each got a personalized copy of the submission.

    Yahoo News spoke with Lambe and Smith when the Tumblr launched about the project."The site is meant to be a compliment to Hillary. Hopefully, everyone gets that," Lambe told us via email.

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  • North Korea rocket launch means no food aid, U.S. says

    The White House bluntly warned North Korea on Tuesday that going ahead with a long-range rocket launch would mean an end to planned American food aid to the secretive and starvation-plagued country.

    "It's impossible to imagine that we would be able to follow through (and) provide the nutritional assistance that we had planned on providing, given what would be a flagrant violation of North Korea's basic international obligations," Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One.

    North Korea says its rocket launch, expected between Thursday and Monday, aims to put a satellite called Kwangmyongsong-3 (Shining Star) in orbit as it marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the regime's founder, Kim Il Sung. But the United States and other countries have denounced the move as an attempt to test, or show off, the country's ballistic missile capabilities.

    Carney sounded as though Washington had not given up on international efforts to get Pyongyang to step back—but warned of diplomatic consequences if it does not.

    "We're continuing to work with our international partners. The proposed missile launch, if conducted, would represent a clear and serious violation of North Korea's obligations under two United Nations Security Council resolutions that explicitly prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles," the spokesman said.

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  • North Korea rocket ‘propaganda’ condemned by White House

    The White House on Tuesday denounced secretive North Korea's overtures to international news outlets ahead of a long-range rocket launch as "propaganda." It also mocked the impoverished Stalinist regime's claim that it merely aims to put a weather satellite in orbit, saying it should just "go to weather.com."

    Taking aim at North Korea's unprecedented media blitz ahead of the planned launch, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told reporters that "you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know this is propaganda. North Korea is trying to advance, test and show off its ballistic missile technology. The U.N. bans this activity, which is why they're using the press to pretend it's a satellite launch."

    "North Korea doesn't need to spend this kind of money on a weather satellite," Vietor said in an emailed statement. "Go to weather.com. Reporters visiting North Korea just to cover this launch are missing the real story—history is passing North Korea by, and millions of innocent people are starving to death because the regime spends all its money on weapons."

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  • White House rejects Peres clemency appeal for Israeli spy Pollard

    The White House on Monday rejected Israeli President Shimon Peres's personal appeal to commute convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard's life sentence.

    "Our position hasn't changed," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in an email to Yahoo News. Asked whether the White House had received Peres's written plea to President Barack Obama for clemency, Vietor said he was not sure "but the position is the same."

    Obama had rejected a January 2011 request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted in 1985 of passing classified information to  Israel. Netanyahu's appeal was the first such plea in public, and it drew support from most of Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

    The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Peres had based his appeal on Pollard's deteriorating health, and mentioned a recent conversation with Pollard's wife Esther Pollard. "The president sent the missive after receiving a petition

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