Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Obama: August jobs report ‘not good enough’

    President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden campaign in New Hampshire. (Larry Downing/Reuters)President Barack Obama said Friday that new data showing that the sputtering economy created just 96,000 new jobs in August was "not good enough" as he opened a postconvention campaign swing through New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida.

    "Today we learned that after losing around 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, business once again added jobs for the 30th month in a row—a total of more than 4.6 million jobs," he said in Portsmouth, N.H.

    "But that's not good enough. We know it's not good enough. We need to create more jobs faster. We need to fill the hole left by this recession faster. We need to come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in," the president said. (Mitt Romney, meanwhile, described the convention in Charlotte, N.C., as the "party" and the jobs numbers as the "hangover.")

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  • Top Obama aide claims ‘momentum’ from convention

    President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Larry Downing/Reuters)Despite a dismal August jobs report, President Barack Obama emerged from the Democratic National Convention with "momentum," a top aide said Friday. Senior adviser David Plouffe acknowledged that the party gathering would probably not yield any significant change in public opinion polls, but he suggested it may help Obama's get-out-the-vote machine.

    "We come out of the convention with momentum. That doesn't mean the race is going to change significantly. But we think that we come out of here with some momentum in terms of putting together the electoral picture," Plouffe told reporters as the president kicked off a three-day campaign swing through the toss-up states of New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida.

    "Our belief is we entered the convention with a small but important lead in most of those battleground states. We'll see where we are at the end of next week, let's say. But our suspicion is the race is going to be about where it was. And that's a problem for Mitt Romney," he said. Obama campaign aides argue that their get-out-the-vote efforts will make the difference in what will be a very close race defined by voter unhappiness about the sputtering economy.

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  • Obama: GOP pushing ‘tax cuts to improve your love life’

    U.S. President Barack Obama campaigns at the Strawbery Banke Museum in New Hampshire. (Larry Downing/Reuters)Launching a postconvention swing through pivotal battleground states, President Barack Obama on Friday mockingly suggested that Republicans think tax cuts can cure any economic ill and even "improve your love life." Obama also suggested former President Bill Clinton might make a good "secretary of explaining stuff."

    "Our friends at the Republican convention, they talked a lot about what they thought was wrong with America. They didn't tell you what was right. They didn't tell you what they'd do to make it right," he said at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H.

    "That's because all they've got to offer is same prescriptions that they've had for the last 30 years: tax cuts, tax cuts, gut some regulations—oh, and more tax cuts," the president said. "Tax cuts when times are good. Tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life. It'll cure anything, according to them."

    Obama's comments came as he opened a three-day campaign drive scheduled to take him to Iowa and Florida. The trip aims to build on the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

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  • Obama: ‘America, our problems can be solved’

    President Barack Obama, transformed from inspiring hope-and-change candidate into struggling stay-the-course incumbent, promised Americans wary of giving him another term that "our problems can be solved" if only voters will grant him four more years.

    "Know this, America: Our problems can be solved," he told thousands of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. "Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future."

    His appeal aimed to build on a rousing speech from Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton. The first lady assured disenchanted voters who backed her husband in 2008 but are wary or wavering today that four years of political knife fights and hard compromises had not stripped her husband of his moral core. And Clinton cast the current president as the heir to the policies that charged the economy of the 1990s and yielded government surpluses.

    "I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have," Obama told the cheering crowd in the Time Warner Cable Arena and a television audience expected to number in the tens of millions. "You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over a decade."

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  • Biden declares ‘America has turned the corner’

    Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Democratic National Convention. (Charles Dharapak/AP)CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Vice President Joe Biden has famously distilled President Barack Obama's argument for re-election to a simple phrase: "Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive." On Thursday evening, the scrappy former senator delighted Democrats gathered at their national convention in Charlotte with a long-form version of that slogan.

    Speaking from his "ringside seat" to Obama's struggles since January 2009, Biden praised the president he has watched at work and told Americans worried about the still-sputtering economy that "America has turned the corner."

    "Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way," said Biden. "The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way. The cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way. So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence, America's best days are ahead of us, and, yes, we are on our way."

    The speech was vintage Biden--peppered with "literally" (not always used correctly) as well as "folks," and leavened with snapshots from his working-class upbringing. And in classic Biden style, he drifted from his prepared remarks almost immediately.

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  • Kerry: ‘Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now’ than 4 years ago

    Senator John Kerry at the 2012 Democratic National Convention (Jim Young/Reuters)CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Democratic Senator John Kerry denounced Mitt Romney's approach to world affairs on Thursday and praised President Barack Obama's handling of national security, telling any doubters to "ask Osama Bin Laden if he's better off now than he was four years ago!" The decorated veteran and foreign policy expert also accused Romney of getting his information about Russia from "Rocky IV."

    "Here's the choice in 2012: Mitt Romney--out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad, and out of the mainstream?" Kerry said in a red-meat speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

    "Or, Barack Obama—a President giving new life and truth to America's indispensable role in the world, a Commander in Chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they've earned when they come home? A man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace," he said.

    Kerry is often mentioned among the top contenders to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state if Obama wins a second term. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, the Massachusetts senator has fiercely defended the president's policies from Republican attacks in Congress. He has also taken on difficult diplomatic tasks like negotiating the release of an American held by Pakistan and the ratification of the START treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear arms stockpiles.

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  • Ex-Michigan Gov. Granholm mocks Romney’s car elevator

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm sharply assailed Mitt Romney over his opposition to the bailout of the auto industry and his personal wealth, saying that in the Republican's world "the cars get the elevator, the workers get the shaft."

    Granholm described President Barack Obama as "the cavalry" who rode to the rescue of besieged American carmakers in 2009 while Romney, a Michigan native, advocated "Let Detroit go bankrupt."

    "He loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator. But the people who design, build and sell those cars?" she said. Her remarks were a reference to Romney's construction of a home in La Jolla, Calif., that features a car elevator.

    Obama frequently touts the bailout in places like the pivotal battleground of Ohio, which is heavily dependent on the auto-parts sector for jobs. The industry's woes threatened the supply chain.

  • Scarlett Johansson to young voters: Get involved

    Actress Scarlett Johansson at the Democratic National Convention (Chris Keane/Reuters)CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Actress Scarlett Johansson scolded fellow young voters on Thursday for failing to turn out in past elections, asking "why are we speaking with half our voice" when the choice in November could have sweeping repercussions for issues they care about.

    "You know who I'm voting for. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. I'm here to ask you to commit to vote," she said in a speech to the Democratic National Convention.

    "Whether we can get health care, afford college, be guaranteed equal pay—all of these things are at great, great risk. And that's why I'm here today—to use whatever attention I'm fortunate enough to receive to shed the spotlight on what's at stake for all of us," she said.

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  • Gabrielle Giffords leads Democrats in Pledge of Allegiance

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, grievously wounded in a January 2011 assassination attempt, led Democrats in the Pledge of Allegiance on Thursday as they opened the final day of their political convention.

    Giffords walked uneasily onstage, relying on Democratic National Committee Chair—and close friend—Debbie Wasserman Schultz for support, as the crowd chanted "Gabby! Gabby!" Her appearance onstage at Time Warner Cable Arena brought cheering Democrats to their feet for a standing ovation.

    As she led the crowd in the pledge in a strong voice, Giffords held her right hand over her heart with her left. She won more cheers when she blew a kiss to the crowd. Cameras showed delegates weeping as they clapped.

    Even as the two women disappeared backstage, the crowd began chanting "fired up, ready to go."

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  • Joe Biden tears up as son Beau renominates ‘my father, my hero’

    Vice President Joe Biden barely fought back tears late Thursday after his son Beau Biden renominated "my father, my hero" for a second term—and cheering Democrats agreed without dissent.

    "Four years ago, I told you that my father has always been there for me, my brother, and my sister, and that as vice president, he would be there for you. And he has," Beau said in a speech to the Democratic National Convention.

    "Tonight, it is my great honor to place into nomination for the office of vice president the name of my father, my hero, Joe Biden," Beau declared.

    The cameras cut to the vice president, looking down on the stage with tears obviously filling his eyes. The voice vote was over quickly, as the crowd in Time Warner Cable Arena roared its "ayes" and no "nay" was audible. The vice president hugged Jill Biden, his wife.

    Vice President Joe Biden cries while he listens to his son Beau Biden renominate him. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

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