Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Obama to see Isaac damage in Louisiana on Monday

    Flooding in Lafitte, La., causes residents to travel by boat on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, a day after Hurricane Isaac hit the area near New Orleans. (Erik Schelzig/AP)

    President Barack Obama will travel to Louisiana on Monday to see firsthand the response and recovery efforts in Hurricane Isaac's aftermath, the White House announced on Friday.

    In a brief statement, Obama's press office said he would meet with local officials and view the ongoing response effort and said more details on the trip would come later.

    The president's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, planned to visit New Orleans on Friday.

  • Obama camp refers Clint Eastwood questions to Salvador Dalí

    Salvador Dali’s “Memory of the Child Woman” at a gallery in Melbourne, Australia. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama's reelection campaign says Clint Eastwood's eccentric speech to the Republican National Convention was, well, surreal.

    "Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dalí," spokesman Ben LaBolt said by email.

    Dali was a Spanish surrealist painter of the 20th Century. His bizarre and beautiful works include The Persistence of Memory.

    Eastwood's appearance centered on an extended riff with an invisible Obama.

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  • Obama: Romney ‘disciplined,’ ‘takes his faith very seriously’

    President Barack Obama shrugs during a rally in Charlottesville, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (Steve Helber/AP)

    President Barack Obama said in an interview published hours before Mitt Romney was to accept the Republican nomination on Thursday that the former Massachusetts governor is a "very disciplined" man who "takes his faith very seriously."

    Obama had been invited by Time magazine to list some traits of Romney "that you actually admire" beyond his commitment to his family and the health care overhaul that inspired the president's approach, widely known as Obamacare.

    "Well, you took away a couple," Obama began.

    "He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private-equity guy," the president said.

    "I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church," Obama said.

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  • Kerry to star as Democrats tout Obama’s national security record

    In this picture from 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in South Carolina with Democratic Sen. John Kerry. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

    Vice President Joe Biden has a bumper-sticker line to make the pitch for President Barack Obama's re-election: "Osama bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive." Now comes word that the Democratic National Convention will spotlight Obama's national security record in a segment next week starring Sen. John Kerry.

    Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a reliable and vocal defender of Obama's handling of world affairs. His name routinely comes up in discussions about who will be secretary of state if Obama wins re-election (Hillary Clinton has said she plans to leave if there is a second term).

    The senator from Massachusetts will deliver a speech on the last night of the convention, during a portion devoted to national security. The evening will also include "a tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces," according to campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher.

    The events aim to spotlight "the significant role

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  • Ann Romney, Chris Christie: Mitt Romney’s heart and spine

    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks with his wife Ann as they listen to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie deliver the keynote address during the second session of the 2012 Republican National Convention (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

    Ann Romney, resplendent in red, vouched for Mitt Romney's heart. Chris Christie vouched for the Republican presidential candidate's spine.

    The potential future first lady and the blunt-talking New Jersey governor capped the second day of the Republican National Convention with a pair of much-anticipated speeches seemingly designed to counter two of Mitt Romney's perceived weaknesses. Ann tackled his difficulty connecting to voters, especially women. Christie confronted head-on Romney's flexibility on issues the party's base regards as non-negotiable.

    "I want to talk to you tonight not about politics and not about party," said Ann Romney, long her husband's best asset on the campaign trail. "Tonight I want to talk to you about love."

    "Tonight, we choose respect over love," Christie said, describing how his late mother "told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected."

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  • Ex-Democrat Artur Davis: Obama has lost his ‘halo’

    Former Rep. Artur Davis, who delivered a nominating speech for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, attacks him at the Republican National Convention. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

    TAMPA—Former congressman Artur Davis—once a Democratic rising star, now a Republican weapon—accused President Barack Obama late Tuesday of bamboozling voters four years ago with "flowery words" and charged that the incumbent has lost the "halo" his supporters thought he had in 2008.

    "America is a land of second chances, and I gather in this close race you have room for the estimated 6 million of us who know we got it wrong in 2008 and who want to fix it," Davis told delegates to the Republican National Convention.

    Davis, who seconded Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention that year, acidly quipped that "we should have known that night in Denver that things that begin with styrofoam Greek columns and artificial smoke typically don't end well." He continued: "Maybe the Hollywood stars and the glamor blinded us a little: You thought it was the glare, some of us thought it was a halo."

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  • As Republicans nominate Romney, Ron Paul is a distant second

    Alternate delegates celebrate after Mitt Romney secures the votes needed to get the Republican Party’s nomination. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

    Mitt Romney was born in Michigan, served as governor of Massachusetts, vacations in New Hampshire (and France), saved the Olympics in Utah—but on Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, it was Chris Christie's New Jersey that gave him the number of delegates to formally nominate him to take on President Barack Obama.

    The Garden State cast all 50 of its votes for Romney, putting him over the 1,144 needed to secure the nomination that had already essentially been his for months. The crowd gathered in Tampa cheered and called out "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as giant television screens over the convention stage showed photos of Romney.

    Romney won't formally be the nominee until he accepts the call in a prime-time speech on Thursday, but the state-by-state roll call vote gave him 2,061 delegates. Other Republicans picked up the remaining 202 delegates, with veteran Texas Rep. Ron Paul taking most of those not lining up behind the party establishment's pick. 

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  • Republican chief: Obama hasn’t even run a lemonade stand

    Arizona delegate Susan Davis puts her hand over her heart for the U.S. national anthem at the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention (Jason Reed/Reuters)

    Republicans gathered in Tampa to anoint Mitt Romney their nominee wasted no time Tuesday in going on the attack over the sour economy, with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus mockingly saying that President Barack Obama has never run so much as a lemonade stand.

    "Republicans believe America's greatness comes from the American people, not the federal government," Priebus said in his opening remarks. "But Barack Obama thinks the government is at the center of the economic universe."

    "Well how would he know? President Obama has never run a company. He hasn't even run a garage sale or seen the inside of a lemonade stand," Priebus said, to laughter and applause from the thousands of delegates and alternates on the floor of the convention.

    "So it is time, it is time for a president with real experience in the real economy. Mitt Romney will be that president," Priebus said.

    Romney has made his experience at the head of private equity firm Bain Capital the centerpiece of his argument that he will do

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  • Day Two of GOP Convention features Ann Romney, hurricane watch

    Members of the Texas delegation sing the U.S. national anthem at the start of the second session of the Republican National Convention (Mike Segar/Reuters)With more than 100,000 red, white and blue balloons hanging in nets from the rafters, and Ann Romney waiting in the wings to deliver a high-stakes prime-time speech, Republicans formally opened the second day of their presidential nominating convention on Tuesday.

    Ann Romney's remarks aimed to introduce—or reintroduce—Mitt Romney to millions of Americans. Top Romney aides say that as many as one in three voters has yet to really tune in the 2012 campaign. Her speech was expected to focus on the Romney family and its personal struggles, and it comes at a time when Americans tell pollsters they think President Barack Obama better understands their problems.

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will deliver the convention's keynote address, which will be a blunt political call to arms. Christie plans to indict Obama's leadership style and policies, and to argue that Romney and running mate Paul Ryan are better suited to rebuild the economy. The official theme of the convention is "We Built It," a knock at Obama's argument that entrepreneurs cannot succeed without government help--notably investments in education and infrastructure. (Democrats noted that both parties' conventions received nearly $20 million in taxpayer funding).

    The gathering reconvened after an abortive session on Monday, cut short by Tropical Storm Isaac, which strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday and bore down on the Gulf Coast seven years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area—especially New Orleans.

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  • Young Artur Davis was ‘political animal’: former professor

    Then-congressman Artur Davis standing on a balcony of the U.S. Capitol in March 2010. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Democrat-turned-Republican Artur Davis, who is poised to take a star turn with a featured speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, "didn't stand out for his academic prowess" as a Harvard undergraduate but had an "insatiable interest in political gossip and current events" and was clearly already a "political animal," a former professor recalled Tuesday.

    Middlebury College political science professor Matthew Dickinson taught Davis while both were at Harvard--Dickinson getting his Ph.D. and Davis as an undergraduate. Davis, a former Democratic congressman from Alabama, became a Republican earlier this year, a conversion that has angered his former political comrades-in-arms. Dickinson shared some of his memories of the former congressman in a blog post.

    "It came as absolutely no surprise to me that he went into elective politics—it was clear that he was already a political animal," wrote Dickinson. "He was a smart student, but in a class of exceptionally bright undergraduates—(four went on to law school, one clerked for the Supreme Court, another served on Capitol Hill), he didn't stand out for his academic prowess. Instead, what I remember most about Artur is his insatiable interest in political gossip and current events."

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