Blog Posts by Olivier Knox

  • 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.

  • Welcome to Twitter, @PaulRyanVP

    If Republicans get their way, he'll be the next vice president of the United States. Right now, he's just @PaulRyanVP.

    First tweet? "I'm honored to join @MittRomney on America's Comeback Team. #RomneyRyan2012."

    Hours before Mitt Romney formally appeared with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan to anoint him his running mate, the former Massachusetts governor's campaign unveiled a new Twitter handle for the telegenic, thoughtful congressman from Wisconsin: (Ryan the lawmaker already had an account,

    Romney himself rolled out the account, tweeting:  "I am proud to announce ‪@PaulRyanVP as my VP. Stand with us today. ‪ ‪#RomneyRyan2012."

    What does Twitter think of Ryan? An automated feature invited a reporter who "followed" Ryan on the hugely popular microblogging site to also follow the Brookings Institution think tank and the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

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  • Obama defends ‘American patriot’ Huma Abedin amid Republican attacks

    WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 10: U.S. President Barack Obama acknowleges Huma Abedin, the Muslim wife of disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner, and who works as a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House August 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. The invited guests include elected officials, religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community, leaders of diverse faiths and members of the diplomatic corps . (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
    President Barack Obama forcefully defended trusted Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Friday, praising her as "an American patriot" in the face of charges from Republicans like Representative Michele Bachmann that she is secretly tied to Muslim extremists.

    Speaking at a White House Iftar dinner to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Obama hailed Abedin as "a good friend" who has "worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly at the State Department — where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear."

    "Senator Clinton has relied on her expertise, and so have I," he said. "The American people owe her a debt of gratitude, because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country: more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace, and her generosity of spirit."

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  • Obama spokesman declines to repudiate cancer ad

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

    White House spokesman Jay Carney declined Friday to repudiate an independent ad that ties Mitt Romney to the cancer death of a laid-off steelworker's wife, as the controversy over that misleading commercial dragged into another day.

    "We do not control third-party ads," Carney told reporters at his daily briefing. He had been asked whether President Barack Obama would repudiate the Priorities USA Action spot, now perhaps the most talked-about commercial of the 2012 cycle even though it hasn't actually aired—and owes its notoriety to media coverage.

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  • U.S., Israel at odds over Iran nuke program intelligence

    President Barack Obama (R) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office in March. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    The White House expressed confidence Friday that American intelligence will know if Iran escalates its nuclear program in a sprint to build an atomic bomb—a day after Israel's defense minister warned that the allies might not know "in time" to prevent it.

    "We have eyes, we have visibility into the program," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing. "We feel confident that we would be able to detect a break-out move by Iran towards the acquisition of a nuclear weapon."

    "We believe there continues to be the time and space to pursue this course," Carney said, referring to punishing American and international economic sanctions on the Islamic republic. "It is the best course of action to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. We take no options off the table, and we consult with our allies all the time about the situation in Iran with regards to this program."

    But Carney's professed confidence about the quality of the information regarding Iran's nuclear program, widely seen by American and Israeli officials as an attempt to acquire the ability to build a nuclear weapon, appeared to conflict sharply with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's just a day earlier.

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  • Women’s Olympic soccer gold: Vengeance is ours, saith Obama

    President Barack Obama praised the U.S. women's soccer team for winning the gold in a 2-1 defeat of arch rival Japan and "avenging" its defeat to the same foe in the World Cup.

    "We have to give a special shout-out to the women's soccer team today avenging the loss in the World Cup," Obama told reporters as he toured the U.S. Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs as part of a two-day campaign swing through Colorado. (His remarks came to Yahoo News courtesy of pool reporter Stephen Collinson of Agence France-Presse).

    The president doffed his shoes to walk onto the mat in a wrestling gym and chat briefly with some of the athletes there. After some banter and posing for pictures, Obama sat down on the edge of the mat to put his shoes back on—in front of the pool of reporters tracking his every move.

    "Very presidential, sir," quipped one.

    "Thanks. No holes in my socks," the president joked. "My grandmother would be proud."

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