Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Obama: Benghazi may have been ‘big breakdown’

    President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally Oct. 24 in Las Vegas. (Julie Jacobson/AP)President Barack Obama said in an interview that if the investigation into the Sept. 11 attack on the American compound in Libya finds that "there was a big breakdown, and somebody didn't do their job, they'll be held accountable."

    Speaking with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Monday, the president said that "ultimately, as commander in chief, I'm responsible and I don't shy away from that responsibility. My No. 1 responsibility is to go after the folks who did this, and we're going to make sure we get them. I've got a pretty good track record of doing that."

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  • Obama scraps Florida campaign event, returns to DC

    President Barack Obama delivers pizzas to campaign volunteers in OrlandoORLANDO, Florida - President Barack Obama scrapped his planned campaign appearance here with Bill Clinton on Monday and planned to return to Washington to oversee the response to deadly Hurricane Sandy.

    "Due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington area, the President will not attend today's campaign event in Orlando," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "The President will return to the White House to monitor the preparations for and early response to Hurricane Sandy."

    Obama had flown down to Florida on Sunday, earlier than scheduled, in order to get ahead of the storm and attend the campaign rally. The show will go on, campaign aides said, including remarks by former Florida governor Charlie Crist and Democratic Senator Bill Nelson before Clinton speaks.

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  • Obama hits Romney for ‘cradle-to-grave tax hikes and fees’

    President Barack Obama delivers a speech to supporters at a campaign rally at Elm Street Middle School in Nashua, New Hampshire. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)NASHUA, N.H. — Mocking Mitt Romney's vow to bring "big change" to Washington, President Barack Obama charged at a campaign rally here Saturday that his Republican rival was actually offering a "big re-run" of George W. Bush's policies. The embattled incumbent also hit Romney's record as governor of nearby Massachusetts, accusing him of imposing "cradle-to-grave tax hikes and fees."

    "He's been running around saying he's got a five-point plan for the economy," Obama told some 8,500 people. "Turns out it's a one-point plan: Folks at the very top get to play by a different set of rules than you do."

    "They get to pay lower tax rates, outsource jobs. They want to let Wall Street run wild and make reckless bets with other folks' money," the president said. "That was his philosophy when he was a CEO.  That was his philosophy as governor."

    "And as President Clinton said, he does have a lot of brass because he's not talking about big change, but all he's offering is a big rerun of the same policies that created so much hardship for so many Americans," Obama said.

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  • Obama did not deny requests for help in Benghazi: Aide

    President Barack Obama talks with supporters after arriving in Manchester, N.H. for a campaign stop Saturday (Winslow Townson/AP)The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.

    "Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.

    Fox News Channel reported Friday that American officials in the compound repeatedly asked for military help during the assault but were rebuffed by CIA higher-ups. At a press briefing one day earlier, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, asked why there had not been a quicker, more forceful response to the assault, complained of "Monday-morning quarterbacking." Panetta said he and top military commanders had judged it too dangerous to send troops to the eastern Libyan city without a clearer picture of events on the ground.

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  • Obama hits Romney on Wall Street, Medicare, education

    NASHUA, N.H. - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released a harsh new ad Saturday that accuses Republican rival Mitt Romney of looking to roll back regulations on Wall Street, turn Medicare into a voucher system, and slash education funding. The 30-second ad cast the incumbent in a defensive light -- someone fighting to hold onto cherished programs, not to propose new reforms.

    Romney's campaign hit back, with spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg saying "we can't afford four more years like the last four" and predicting that voters would pick Romney's "positive agenda over President Obama's increasingly desperate attacks."

    The Obama commercial, set to run in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia, distills Obama's main argument for re-election: That the former Massachusetts governor will gut programs that help the middle class in favor of wealthy Americans and big banks.

    "Mitt Romney's plan rolls back regulations on the banks that crashed our economy. Medicare, voucherized. Catastrophic cuts to education. Millionaires will get one of the largest tax cuts ever. While middle class families pay more. That's what Mitt Romney wants to bring here. Remember that when you go here."

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  • Obama yearns for protest tunes, worries about Malia on Facebook

    President Barack Obama told MTV in an interview Friday that he wished there were more overtly political music today and said that he's not as concerned about elder daughter Malia dating or driving as he is about her being on Facebook.

    Interviewer Sway Calloway had asked the commander in chief whether he was more worried about seeing his daughters go out with boys, get behind the wheel or join the social networking site.

    "I'd worry about Facebook right now, " he said. "I know the folks at Facebook obviously they've revolutionized, you know, the social networks. But Malia, because she's well known, I'm very keen on her protecting her privacy."

    "She can make her own decisions obviously later as she gets older, but right now, even just for security reasons, she doesn't have a Facebook page. Dates, that's fine, 'cause she's got Secret Service protection," he added with a smile. Obama said he hoped his girls would date "boys who respect them and value them and understand their worth."

    "Driver's license, that always worries a parent. But you know, sooner or later they've got to leave the nest, so we'll have to figure out how she gets the license," he said.

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  • Obama rebuts claims he’s lying about attack on US Consulate in Libya

    President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally in Richmond, Virginia. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully denied deliberately misleading Americans about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, telling radio host Michael Smerconish, "I've always been straight with the American people."

    Speaking to Smerconish during a 15-minute Oval Office interview, Obama also declared he was "absolutely" prepared to kill those behind the assault but would prefer to capture them and "bring them to justice."

    Asked whether the administration's shifting explanation for the September 11strike reflected the intelligence he was receiving, Obama replied: "What's true is that the intelligence was coming in and evolving as more information came up.

    "And what is true," he continued, "...This is something that the American people can take to the bankis that my administration plays this stuff straight. We don't play politics when it comes to American national security," the president said. "As information came in we gave it to the American people. And as we got new information, we gave that to the American people."

    When and if the location of those behind the attack is known, Smerconish asked, "Will you take that person out without regard for the election timetable?"

    "Absolutely," Obama replied. "But I think our goal would be to bring them to justice."

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  • Obama camp sees ‘comeback’ in improved economic growth

    President Barack Obama before his departure on Air Force One at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, Thursday, in Cleveland. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)President Barack Obama's re-election campaign cheered the modestly improved economic growth data released on Friday as "more evidence" that the country is still clawing back from the 2007-2008 global financial meltdown. Republican candidate Mitt Romney called the news a "discouraging" sign of an anemic recovery.

    "While we have more work to do, today's GDP growth report, showing the 13th straight quarter of growth, is more evidence that our economy continues to come back from the worst recession since the Great Depression under President Obama's leadership," Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said in a statement.

    Fetcher's comments came after the Commerce Department reported that Gross Domestic Product grew at a 2 percent annual rate from July to September, compared with 1.3 percent from April to June.

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  • Obama, Clinton to open final campaign push next week

    Bruce Springsteen and Bill Clinton at an Oct. 18 campaign event for President Barack Obama in Parma, Ohio (Tony Dejak/AP)Former President Bill Clinton will join President Barack Obama on Monday to open the final full week of campaigning before Election Day with rallies in the vote-rich battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

    Clinton—who Obama dubbed "secretary of explaining stuff" after the former president's potent Democratic convention speech—will join the embattled incumbent in Orlando, Fla.; Youngstown, Ohio; and Prince William County in Virginia. It will be their first joint rallies (they have appeared together at fundraisers and at the Democratic National Convention).

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  • Obama camp slams ‘outrageous and demeaning’ rape claim by GOP Senate candidate

    Richard Mourdock, GOP candidate for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat, in a debate with Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning (Michael Conroy/AP)President Barack Obama's re-election campaign on Wednesday denounced GOP Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock's "outrageous and demeaning" comments on rape and pressed Mitt Romney to repudiate his fellow Republican.

    Mourdock said during a debate on Tuesday that pregnancies resulting from rape are "something that God intended to happen." He supports access to abortion only when the woman's life is in danger.

    "The president felt those comments were outrageous and demeaning to women," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One as the president embarked on a blitz through battleground states.

    "This is a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican president Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care," she said, quick to turn the comment into a weapon against the GOP challenger.

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