Category Archives: Barack Obama

Dodd Recalls Early Days of Writing Obamacare Law 5 Years Ago

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Chris Dodd Date:

Republicans and talk radio hosts have been blasting the Obamacare healthcare law relentlessly for five full years, but former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd sees it differently.

On the recent fifth anniversary of the first committee vote in favor of the bill, Dodd talked to Capitol Watch about how he took over for the ailing Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in a key Senate committee during the hot summer of 2009 to pass a historic bill.

The final bill did not pass until Christmas Eve, and it has become one of the most-talked about pieces of legislation in American history. While the critics disagree, Dodd says that the law is working.

Dodd, who did not seek reelection to the Senate in 2010 and is now chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, was in the legislative trenches when the heavy lifting began in the summer of 2009.

“We started in June and went day after day after day, including weekends,” Dodd said in an interview. “788 amendments were filed. It took 23 days of work – actual sessions. 287 amendments were actually debated. 161 Republican amendments were accepted. When people tell me this was not bipartisan – 49 Republican amendments were rejected, but 161 were accepted. 161 became the law of the land.”

Dodd said he believes those numbers have not been widely reported, saying that many citizens are completely unaware that 161 Republican amendments became part of Obamacare.

“On a personal note, in that month, my sister Martha, died,” Dodd said of her death on July 6, 2009. “Ted Kennedy, my dearest friend in the Senate, died. It was a lot, personally and substantively.”

All of this work on healthcare was before the August break in 2009 – when critics started picking apart the bill.

“Tremendous misinformation occurred – things like death panels,” Dodd said. Continue reading

Clinton Paid $180,000 For Bushnell Speech

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

Former President Bill Clinton attracted a sellout crowd to The Bushnell in Hartford more than two years ago, but the exact amount that he was paid was never revealed.

Until now.

A detailed analysis by The Washington Post, published Friday, shows that Clinton was paid $180,000 for his one-hour appearance. It was one small part of more than $100 million that Clinton has earned making speeches since leaving office in 2001.

That night in Hartford, Clinton recalled that he was standing on the same stage where he faced off against Republican Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential debate. A lot has happened since then, and one of the things is that Clinton and Dole are still friends.

Clinton said he mentioned his pleasant dealings with Dole to say that today’s politics have become so polarized that progress is often prevented by warring factions that are more interested in political one-upsmanship than in finding common ground and fostering solutions.

During a 41-minute speech, Clinton mentioned a huge amount of issues and made references to protons, electrons, physics, chemistry, the Italian Alps, sub-Saharan Africa, single-cell organisms, the speed of light, Haiti, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and the volunteer fire department in his adopted hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y.

“This is an amazing time to be alive,’’ Clinton said during the portion of his speech that focused on science. “It’s an amazing time to be alive, but we still have all these problems. … We live in an interdependent world, which means we can’t escape each other.’’ Continue reading

New Haven Attorney Victor Bolden Nominated As Federal Judge

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

The following is by The Courant’s veteran courts reporter, Edmund Mahony:

President Barack Obama said Friday that he will nominate attorney Victor A. Bolden, a former civil liberties and civil rights advocate, to be the newest U.S. District Court Judge in Connecticut.

In a statement issued by the White House Friday evening, Obama said Bolden, who now directs New Haven’s legal affairs as the city’s Corporation Counsel, is one of five nominees to the federal district courts. The other four are in Pennsylvania .

Obama nominates prospective judges, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Bolden, a Democrat, could not be reached Friday evening. Continue reading

Obama Says Failure To Pass Gun Control “Biggest Frustration” Of Presidency

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

President Obama on Tuesday responded to a question about gun violence Tuesday during a forum about student loan reform control and described lawmakers’ failure to pass gun control legislation as the “biggest frustration” of his presidency.

Following a number of recent shootings, including one Tuesday at an Oregon High School, Obama expressed dismay at the state of gun control legislation in Congress – which seemed likely to pass following Newtown, but met defeat in the U.S. Senate a few months later. The question was posed by a student at UC Santa Barbara, after a mass shooting at the university last month.

“I have to say that people often ask me how’s it been being president what are my proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments and I’ve got 2.5 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do damage,” he said. “We’re the only developed country where this happens. And it happens weekly.”

Referencing Newtown, he said the fact that “20 six-year-olds were gunned down” and Congress did not act was “stunning.”

It’s not even possible to get mildest restrictions through Congress and we should be ashamed of that,” Obama said. His remarks follow calls from several Democrat senators this week to revisit gun control in response to the recent shootings.



Budget Committee Approves Minimum Wage Hike; Likely Votes Wednesday

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Barack Obama, Minimum Wage, State budget Date:

After a clash on the merits, the legislature\’s budget-writing committee Monday approved hiking the state\’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.

The vote was 24 to 17 along party lines with state Sen. Joan Hartley abstaining. Hartley, a conservative Democrat from Waterbury, has broken with her party and voted with the Republicans in recent years on controversial issues. Last year, Hartley voted against hiking the wage to the current level of $8.70 per hour. 

Barring any last-minute snags, both the state Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to vote on the minimum wage hike Wednesday.

In a strong defense of the increase, Rep. Toni Walker, the committee’s co-chairwoman, said those currently earning $8.70 per hour and working 40 hours per week collect less than $350 weekly. The federal poverty level, she noted, for a single mother with two children is $18,096 per year. She said that lawmakers have an obligation of helping workers and “making sure they earn a fair share for what they do’’ in their jobs.

“Who do we represent?’’ Walker asked her fellow committee members. “Who are we here to fight for? We are here for all people of Connecticut, not just a select few.’’

But Republicans rejected the hike as bad for small businesses and bad for job growth.

Sen. Rob Kane, the ranking Senate Republican on the committee, said that hiking the wage would boomerrang and hurt small businesses like the retail store that he owns that sells cellular phones in Waterbury.

“The policy we are setting here today … is more and more government intervention in the lives of people we represent,’’ Kane said. “I’m a small business owner, and next month, God willing, I will be in business 20 years.’’ Continue reading

Foley-Founded Think Tank Offers Urban Solutions; Dems Question Politics

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Barack Obama, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republicans, Tom Foley Date:

A think tank founded by Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley offered multiple solutions Friday in a detailed report that tacked the urban problems of jobs, crime, housing, and public education.

The Connecticut Policy Institute issued the report that called for expanding the use of urban enterprise zones to attract businesses, upgrading either Sikorsky or Tweed New Haven airports to create jobs in the cities, and requiring a reading exam before third-graders can be promoted to the fourth grade.

Foley attended the nearly one-hour presentation at the state Capitol complex, but the institute\’s executive director, Yale Law School graduate Ben Zimmer, said that Foley had nothing to do with the writing of the 100-page report.

James Hallinan, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, declined to comment on any of the solutions mentioned in the report, saying that he had not had time to read it.

\”This is purely political, and I think he made that clear,\’\’ said Hallinan, who attended the press conference.

Foley\’s spokesman, Christopher Cooper, responded, \”I don\’t think James Hallinan knows a policy from a petunia, but he does know propaganda, and you all heard that today.\’\’ Continue reading

Creepiest Ad Ever

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

This new ad by group opposed to Obamacare showing Uncle Sam providing an exam to a young woman in stirrups might just be the creepiest ad you\’ve ever seen.

DeLauro Talks As Syria Vote Looms

by Categorized: Barack Obama, President Obama, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro Date:

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro will hold a \”TeleTownHall\’\’ tonight at 7:15 to hear from constituents about President Obama\’s request to authorize a military strike against Syria. Congress is expected to take up the Obama proposal after the president speaks to the nation Tuesday night.

To sign up for DeLauro\’s phone session, go here.

Among the seven members of the delegation, only U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has on record opposing the Obama plan.

Over the weekend, a forum organized by Rep. Himes in Darien drew more than 400 constituents, according to the Darien News. Sen. Richard Blumenthal also attended. A spokesman said Monday that about 30 people spoke with Rep. Esty at a more informal session in Cornwall.

Himes tweeted the picture below from Darien:

\"himesHere is the video from rebels in the Syrian village of Kafranbel that has been sent to members of Congress in recent days, as reported in today\’s New York Times. The Times is also counting the votes, for and opposed to a Syria strike.

Syrian Chemical Attack Video: The Ugly Evidence

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Washington Date:

Here are the videos of Syrian chemical weapons shown to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 5.

Watch here.

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence states on its website:

Each of these 13 videos explicitly claim to show victims of a chemical or poison gas attack. At the request of Chairman Feinstein, these videos were selected by the Open Source Center to depict a representative range of YouTube content posted regarding the reported 21 August chemical weapons (CW) attacks in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria.

White House Dogs

by Categorized: Barack Obama Date:

White House photographer Pete Souza\’s picture of Bo (on the left) and his new puppy partner, Sunny. Both are Portuguese Water Dogs.