Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Bill Clinton to take Obama message to battleground states

    President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton campaign together in New York in June. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

    Do you look back fondly on Bill Clinton's time in office as an era of prosperity? President Barack Obama's re-election campaign hopes you do—because it will be unleashing the gifted politician, sometimes known as "the Big Dog," in battleground states.

    "I anticipate that he'll be one of our principal surrogates in the fall," a senior Obama campaign official told several dozen reporters at a briefing held in Washington. The session, which included six top Obama campaign officials, was held on condition that they not be named.

    "Obviously, President Clinton has extraordinary credibility on these issues of how you build a strong economy," the official said. "He faced some of the same forces when he was president that president Obama is facing now, the same opposition to dealing with a fiscal challenge by taxing the wealthy to pay a little more, the same opposition to the kind of investments we need to make in order to grow the economy."

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  • Bill Clinton stars in new Obama ad

    Bill Clinton stars in the latest television ad from President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, warning that Mitt Romney would cut taxes on the wealthy and roll back regulations. The former president invites viewers to remember his two terms in the 1990s as an era of strong economic growth. (Clinton never mentions Romney by name.)

    The commercial will run in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

    "This election, to me, is about which candidate is more likely to return us to full employment. This is a clear choice," Clinton says in the ad.

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  • Biden will bring ‘sunny day’ to storm-threatened Tampa

    Vice President Joe Biden poses with a military veteran during the Philadelphia Phillies versus Washington Nationals baseball game in July (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

    Tropical Storm Isaac? Forget it. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has offered its own weather forecast for the Republican convention in Tampa next week: A "sunny day" for the middle class, courtesy of one Joe Biden.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday that it was "far too early to tell" whether Isaac "could pose an immediate threat" to the American coast—including, presumably, Tampa. But Earnest said FEMA was closely watching the storm and urged residents along the Atlantic seaboard to heed weather advisories and listen to local authorities.

    So what about Biden? The vice president is heading to Florida as part of the Obama campaign's counter-programming—an effort to steal some of the GOP's thunder. As Scranton's favorite sun. So to speak. (Sorry).

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  • Obama: Heckler ‘probably needed a good teacher’

    President Barack Obam at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    President Barack Obama delivered a fiery assault on Mitt Romney's education policy in Nevada on Wednesday—and made a topical joke about a heckler who briefly interrupted his speech.

    "That young man probably needed a good teacher. We all need it," Obama told a rowdy audience of supporters at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas. The crowd had drowned out the heckler with chants of "Four more years!"

    Obama accused Romney of planning to cut education funding by 20 percent and said the Republican candidate views teachers as "nameless government bureaucrats that we need to cut back on." He pursued his assault on the former Massachusetts governor on the issue of school class size.

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  • Obama to campaign during Republican convention

    President Barack Obama at the Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nev., Tuesday (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

    President Barack Obama won't let Mitt Romney have the spotlight all to himself next week during the Republican convention. The incumbent will be campaigning in Iowa, Colorado and Virginia, according to local news reports. (Hat tip: ace Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Memoli, who tweeted links to those reports well before the campaign confirmed the travel.)

    It's common for candidates to let their rivals have the political stage during their conventions—but then again the Obama campaign had already announced on Tuesday that Vice President Joe Biden would head to the GOP convention host city, Tampa, and to other locales in Florida.

    Obama's first stop will be Ames, Iowa, for a rally with college students on Tuesday—the second night of the Republican convention—reports the Des Moines Register.

    From there, he will head to Fort Collins, Colo., to speak to students at Colorado State University, also on Tuesday, according to the Coloradoan. And keeping with the college-town theme, Obama will

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  • Obama ad hits Romney on education, with Trump jet cameo

    Hey, what's that shot of an airplane emblazoned with Donald Trump's name doing in an Obama campaign ad criticizing Mitt Romney on education?

    The commercial, which the Obama campaign says will run in the pivotal battlegrounds of Ohio and Virginia on Thursday, is officially about school class size. It hits Romney hard for saying that class size is "irrelevant" to the quality of education. (The former Massachusetts governor has said that smaller class sizes alone won't fix American education, and that smaller class size in Massachusetts was not a reliable predictor of performance.)

    And the ad accuses Romney of embracing a government spending plan that would cut education spending by 20 percent. In a statement accompanying the ad, the Obama campaign charged that the Republican's approach would "risk as many as 65,000 educators' jobs," and that "denies what every parent knows: Class size matters, education funding matters, and most of all, teachers matter."

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  • Obama slams Romney on college financial aid

    Supporters cheer as President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    Courting young voters in the pivotal state of Ohio, President Barack Obama slammed rival Mitt Romney on the issue of financial aid for college students, suggesting that the Republican's personal wealth left him out of touch with their struggles to pay for school.

    "Putting a college education within reach for working families just doesn't seem to be a big priority for my opponent," Obama told a rowdy and supportive crowd at Capital University in Columbus.

    The president highlighted Romney's suggestion at an event in April that young people should "borrow money if you have to from your parents" to go to college or start a business, and his advice to students worried about high tuition to "shop around" for more affordable options.

    "That's it. That's his plan. That's his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don't have a mountain of debt--shop around and borrow more money from your parents," Obama said, to boos from his audience.

    "I want to make sure everybody understands. Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend," said the president. "That may be news to some folks, but it's the truth."

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  • Biden to crash Republican convention

    Vice President Joe Biden addresses the NAACP annual convention in Houston in July. (Pat Sullivan/AP)

    A hurricane may hit the Republican National Convention next week. No, not Tropical Depression 9, or potential Hurricane Isaac. Vice President Joe Biden.

    "Next week, on Monday, August 27 and Tuesday, August 28, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Tampa area and other cities for campaign events," President Barack Obama's campaign announced Tuesday. "Additional details on the Vice President's trip are forthcoming."

    The DNC had previously announced plans for a "counter-convention" to try to steal some of the spotlight from Republicans as they gather in Tampa to formally nominate Mitt Romney.

    Is the Republican National Committee worried? To hear them tell it: Not so much.

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  • Obama campaign launches ‘Rabbis for Obama’

    President Barack Obama speaks at a Jewish American Heritage Month reception in the East Room at the White House in May (Charles Dharapak/AP)

    President Barack Obama's reelection campaign unveiled "Rabbis for Obama"—a group of more than 600 rabbis from across the country—at a time when Republicans are hoping to erode the Democrat's wide lead among Jewish voters.

    "Their ringing endorsement of President Obama speaks volumes about the president's deep commitment to the security of the state of Israel and his dedication to a policy agenda that represents the values of the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community," Ira Forman, the campaign's Jewish Outreach Director, said in a statement.

    The announcement came with a state-by-state list of the rabbis backing Obama, who leads Romney 68 percent to 25 percent among Jewish voters according to a recent Gallup poll.

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  • Obama: Not my job to convince folks I’m a Christian

    First lady Michelle Obama shakes the Rev. Luis Leon's hand while leaving with President Barack Obama and their daughter Sasha after attending Sunday service at St. John's Church in March. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

    President Barack Obama says convincing doubters that he is a Christian isn't part of his job description. Mitt Romney tells skeptics of his faith: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind" and pleads for tolerance.

    The two White House contenders addressed the issue of persistent questioning of their religious beliefs as part of a wide-ranging exchange with Washington National Cathedral's Cathedral Age. The magazine asked Obama and Romney to weigh in on the role of faith in public life and politics as well as in their personal lives.

    Public opinion polls have repeatedly found large numbers of Americans who say they think Obama, a practicing Christian, is secretly a Muslim. And some conservative Christian groups reject Romney's Mormon faith.

    So "how do you respond" to those who "have questioned the sincerity of your faith and your Christianity?" the magazine asked.

    "You know, there's not much I can do about it," Obama said.

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