Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • Obama jabs at Romney over dog-on-car-roof incident

    For Seamus? President Barack Obama unleashed a sharp attack on Mitt Romney over his opposition to a wind-power tax credit popular in Iowa—and linked to it a long-ago incident in which the Republican candidate put his family dog, Seamus, in a carrier strapped to the roof of his car.

    "We're at a moment right now when homegrown energy, like wind energy, is creating new jobs all across Iowa and all across the country," Obama told an estimated 852 people in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

    The president underlined that Romney does not want to renew the tax credit when it expires at the end of the year, and painted the Republican candidate as an enemy of alternative energy.

    "He's said that new sources of energy like wind are 'imaginary.' His running mate calls them a 'fad.' During a speech a few months ago, Gov. Romney even explained his energy policy this way: 'You can't drive a car with a windmill on it,'" he said.

    "I don't know if he's actually tried that—I know he's had other things on his car. But if

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  • Obama praises Curiosity team, says ‘Mohawk Guy’ inspired him

    Curiosity captures the view on Mars on August 8 ( NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images)

    President Barack Obama placed a congratulatory telephone call to the NASA team behind the Mars "Curiosity" rover, joking he might go for a Mohawk to emulate flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, and quipping that he needed to be told "right away" if the probe finds any little green men.

    "If, in fact, you do make contact with Martians, please let me know right away," he said in the call. "I've got a lot of other things on my plate, but I suspect that that will go to the top of the list. Even if they're just microbes, it will be pretty exciting."

    [Slideshow: Curiosity beams Mars photos back to Earth]

    Obama offered a personal shout-out to "special Mohawk Guy" (yes, the White House transcript capitalized "Guy").

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  • Obama: Butter Cow, yes, Bumper Cars, no

    A child listens to U.S. President Barack Obama speak during a campaign stop at Bayliss Park August 13, 2012 in Council Bluffs, Iowa(Julie Denesha/Getty)President Barack Obama's Iowa state fair to-do list: Check out Butter Cow, see if this chocolate moose thing is real, but stay away from the fried Twinkies and the bumper cars.

    Obama launched a three-day bus tour through this heartland state--the place that helped propel his unlikely bid for the White House in 2008--with a stop in Council Bluffs. And he'll end it at Iowa's famous state fair.

    "Michelle has told me I cannot have a fried Twinkie. But I will be checking out Butter Cow, and I understand this year there's a chocolate moose," he said, adding that he would "take a look at that if I can." (Butter Cow is exactly what it sounds like. A cow. Made of butter. And the fair is famous for deep frying pretty much anything and everything.)

    "The last time I went to the state fair, Secret Service let me do the bumper cars. But they said this year…I wasn't president then so I could do that, but not this time," he said.

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  • Obama: Ryan ‘standing in the way’ of help for farmers, ranchers

    Cornstalks suffering from drought conditions are seen on a farm in Mechanicsville, Md. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Kicking off a three-day bus tour of Iowa, President Barack Obama accused newly minted Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan of "standing in the way" of legislation meant to help farmers and ranchers struggling in the face of the worst drought in a half-century. Obama also unveiled a $170 million package to help the battered agricultural sector.

    "I know things are tough right now," Obama told supporters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, underlining that the farm bill was "the best way" to help those hurt by the lack of rainfall.

    "Unfortunately, right now, too many members of Congress are blocking the farm bill from becoming law," the president said to an audience of 4,300 people. "I am told Gov. Romney's new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa these next few days. And he's one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way."

    "So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. We've got to put politics aside when it comes to doing the right thing for rural America and for Iowa," Obama said.

    Ryan, whom Romney formally anointed his running mate on Saturday, was in Iowa on a solo campaign swing. A spokesman rejected Obama's accusation, underlining that the Wisconsin lawmaker voted earlier this month for a Republican-crafted short-term drought relief bill.

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  • Obama: Ryan is Congressional Republicans’ ‘ideological leader’

    In his first public remarks about Paul Ryan's pick to be the presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate, President Barack Obama called the lawmaker "a decent man" but painted him as a champion of "top down" economic policies that favor the rich.

    "Just yesterday morning, my opponent chose his running mate, the ideological leader of the Republicans in Congress, Mr. Paul Ryan," Obama said at the second of five fundraising events in his hometown of Chicago. "I want to congratulate Congressman Ryan. I know him, I welcome him to the race."

    "Congressman Ryan is a decent man. He is a family man. He's an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney's vision. But it's a vision that I fundamentally disagree with," the president said, arguing that Romney and Ryan were standard-bearers for "top-down economics."

    Obama's main political vulnerability ahead of the election remains the economy, still sputtering and weighed down by high unemployment of 8.3 percent three and a half years after he took office. The president has argued he will stand up for the middle class, while Romney will help the rich at the expense of everyone else.

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  • Biden to Ryan: Come on in, the campaign’s fine

    Vice President Joe Biden--who once called Paul Ryan "fine" and "handsome" before knocking his economic policies--telephoned Mitt Romney's newly minted running mate on Saturday to "welcome him to the race," the Obama campaign said in a statement.

    "Vice President Biden reached out to Congressman Ryan earlier today to congratulate him on his selection and welcome him to the race," it said. "The Vice President urged Congressman Ryan to enjoy the day with his family, and said he looked forward to engaging him on the clear choice voters face this November."

  • Obama response to Ryan pick: Harder, Faster, More

    President Barack Obama had Paul Ryan on his radar years before Mitt Romney selected the representative from Wisconsin as his running mate. Ryan, the president said, favors "thinly veiled social Darwinism." Further, Obama charged that Ryan dishonestly claims the mantle of deficit hawk when he actually votes for budget-busters as long as they come from his party.

    And Team Obama's response to the House Budget Committee chairman's elevation to potential VP made clear that the Democrat's campaign won't overhaul so much as go into overdrive. Aides argue that Ryan amplifies rather than challenges their core message with just 88 days until the election.

    The early attacks are telling: Obama's website repeatedly refers to Ryan's "extreme budget plan" as favoring the rich over the middle class (the president's core argument against Romney). The first line of its biographical sketch reads "Paul Ryan is a career Washington D.C. insider." (Obama has been running in large part against inside-the-Beltway political stalemate, casting the blame on Republicans.)

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  • ‘House’ actor Kal Penn: Drat, I wanted to play Jindal in the movie

    "Harold and Kumar" star—and Obama aide—Kal Penn condemned Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate on Twitter Saturday … as a setback for the actor's career. Penn quipped he would have been better off had Romney chosen Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a fellow Indian-American.

    "This is awful. I was hoping it would be Jindal so I could play him in the HBO movie," Penn tweeted.

    The actor, who had a long stint on the medical drama "House," has had an off-and-on role in the Obama White House's Office of Public Engagement since early 2009.

  • Romney: Ryan is ‘next president of the United States’

    Perhaps channeling the fervent wishes of conservatives, Mitt Romney on Saturday introduced running mate Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States." UPDATE: This may actually be a very, very good omen for the Republican ticket.

    "I would like you to join me in welcoming the next president of the United States, Paul Ryan!" Romney told a fired-up crowd in Norfolk, Va.

    As Ryan took the stage to cheers and flag-waving, and settled in behind the podium for the biggest speech of his political life, Romney came back to make things right.

    "Every now and then I'm known to make a mistake," he said, to huge laughs from the supportive audience. "I did not make a mistake with this guy. But I can tell you this, he's going to be the next vice president of the United States."

    So why is this minor but very high-profile flub good news for the Romney-Ryan ticket? Because, four years ago, here is what Barack Obama said: "So let me introduce to you the next president--the next vice president of

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  • Democrats plan ‘Sticks and Stones’ Ryan response

    But names will never hurt him? What better place, amid all of the ugliness of Campaign 2012, for Democrats to attack Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate than a pizza joint called "Sticks and Stones?"

    The Democratic National Committee announced a series of press conferences to respond to Romney's newly anointed vice presidential pick. Those events will come as the DNC pursues a bus tour in North Carolina attacking the Republican's economic policies.

    One of the stops? "Sticks and Stones Pizza" in Greensboro.

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