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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘presidential’

Topics For Third Presidential Debate – This One’s On Foreign Policy

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Bob Schieffer of CBS News is the moderator for the final presidential debate which takes place tonight, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET in the Lynn University auditorium in Boca Raton, Florida.  Schieffer chose and announced the topics which will be addressed – subject to late-breaking news.  They are, in random order:

America’s Role in the World

Our Longest War – Afghanistan and Pakistan

Red Lines: Israel and Iran

The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism I

The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism II

The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s Word

The issue of what happened in Benghazi, Libya in September 11, 2012 is likely to come up in at least one if not several of the different topic areas.  President Obama will seek to put a definitive end to the questioning about how his administration handled the crisis, and presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney will seek to lay out the inconsistencies in the narratives presented by this administration over the course of the six weeks since the tragedy.

The consequences of the “Arab Spring” is likely to come up during at least one of the topics, as will the question of whether or not terrorism is being routed by President Obama’s policies, or whether it is in the rise, in part because of the president’s policies.

The decision to leave Afghanistan and the continued drone policy favored by President Obama is also likely to be discussed tonight.

Israel is most likely to be discussed in the “Iran Red Line” topic, and each candidate will try to show why he is the candidate whose policies will be most effective in protecting Israel and promoting regional stability.

An economic aspect of foreign policy may come up in the form of a question about the European financial crisis and what role the United States should play in addressing that problem.  In addition, questions about the economic fallout of China’s ever-growing and influential role in the global economy is sure to further highlight the stark differences between the two candidates.

The format will be six 15-minute segments addressing each of the different topics.

Bob Schieffer has been with CBS News for more than 30 years.  He has covered all four major beats in Washington – the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill.  Schieffer has covered every presidential race since 1972.

Did Biden’s Incivility Work For Him?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The morning after last week’s vice presidential debate, Democrats were delighted. Vice President Joe Biden’s obnoxious display was exactly what was needed to cheer them up after a week of morose speculation about why President Obama was so passive and uninspired during the first presidential debate with Mitt Romney.

Indeed, the more Biden giggled, smirked and interrupted Paul Ryan, the better they liked it. While his condescending and bullying behavior contradicted liberal doctrine about conservatives being the ones guilty of polluting the public square with political incivility, it embodied their complete contempt for both Republicans and their ideas.

Biden’s nastiness may have reinvigorated a Democratic base that wanted nothing so much as to tell their opponents to shut up, even if it may have also alienated a great many independents. But it’s not clear the Obama/Biden ticket will benefit from Biden’s performance.

The reason for this is not very complicated. The Democrats cheering on Biden’s bullying, while ignoring the fact that he had nothing to offer on the future of entitlements and his disgraceful alibis about Libya, did so because at bottom they really do not feel Republicans or conservatives are worthy of respect or decency. Though they rarely own up to it, they don’t think Republicans are so much wrong as they are bad.

By contrast, most Republicans think Democrats are wrong, not evil. Ryan, whose polite behavior was entirely proper but was made to appear passive and even weak when compared to his bloviating opponent, demonstrated this paradigm by patiently trying to explain his positions even when he was constantly interrupted.

Hard-core Democrats would have been happy had Obama treated Romney the same way Biden did Ryan, and there were plenty of signs that he shares his number two’s contempt for the opposition. But while a vice president, especially one who has often been treated as something of a national joke during his four years in office, might be allowed to get away with playing the buffoon, a president cannot.

In terms of substance, both Vice President Biden and Paul Ryan had their moments of strength. Ryan was strong on foreign policy, while Biden squirmed and threw the intelligence community under the bus about administration lies about the Benghazi attack. Biden delivered class warfare body blows about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe.

But the main difference between the two wasn’t so much their competing liberal and conservative ideas and arguments. It was the blatant disrespect shown by Biden for his opponent. Biden mugged throughout the debate almost every time Ryan spoke. He also interrupted the Republican almost at will without moderator Martha Raddatz saying a word to call him to order.

It may be that Democrats were so dismayed by Obama’s passive performance in the first debate that Biden was urged to be more aggressive. But what he did wasn’t merely aggressive; he was openly rude. That may have encouraged the Democratic base, but it remains to be seen whether that is the sort of thing most Americans are comfortable with.

Democratic spinners will say Biden is a “happy warrior,” that his nastiness and aggressiveness bloodied the Republicans and that it doesn’t matter that the way he did it was embarrassing.

They may have a point. People probably won’t decide not to vote for Obama because they think the giggling, smirking and interrupting was beneath the dignity of the office he holds.

If Biden’s job was simply to rally the base and attack his opponents, then his arrogant condescension will help the Democrats regain their momentum after a week in which they’ve lost a lot of ground.

But it is also possible that a lot of those Americans who saw the debate, even those who are Democrats but especially independents and undecided voters, will not think much of a vice president of the United States acting more like a schoolyard bully than a statesman.

Many Democrats will applaud Biden’s buffoonery and falsely claim that it was no different from Romney’s demeanor in the first debate even though there is no possible comparison.

Republicans can console themselves that while Ryan did seem a little nervous at times, he wasn’t intimidated. Nor did Biden succeed in painting Ryan as the monster that the Democrats claim him to be.

Vice President…Or Chuckles The Clown?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

While it is still unclear whether the clear victory by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate two weeks ago will amount to a more than a mere bump in terms of his popularity, or whether Vice President Joe Biden’s aggressiveness in last week’s vice presidential debate stanched the bleeding, we certainly have been witness to some troubling developments over the past couple of weeks.

We fully understand why President Obama would have wanted to take a different approach this week in his second go-round with Mr. Romney, but was that the most significant issue facing the free world in the past two weeks? Is that the message we want to send?

One would think so, at least from the scope of the media attention devoted to the nuts and bolts of the president’s debate preparation – attention eagerly abetted by an administration eager to portray the president as training hard for the second bout.

One is almost embarrassed to ask this, but how could the president of the United States have functioned these past several days as leader of the free world if he has been devoting all his time and energy to cramming for his encounter with Gov. Romney? Does he really require that much preparation? What will world leaders think of our president the next time he sits opposite them?

And then there was the matter of Vice President Biden’s performance in his debate with Congressman Paul Ryan. There was much politicking by both of them on the issues, as would be expected. Yet certain things emerged that seemed beyond politics.

First and foremost, Mr. Biden’s odd demeanor did nothing to enhance the image of the office of the vice president of the United States. His odd gesticulations, strange grins, wild head-shakes and countless interruptions made us wonder if this is someone who can be taken seriously – or whom we should feel comfortable with a heartbeat away from the presidency.

But it was not just the theatrics that were troubling, though troubling they certainly were. He made statements that he had to know were at best inconsistent with the public record.

Mr. Biden lambasted Mr. Ryan for having voted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and said that he himself voted against them:

And by the way, they talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky, like, oh my goodness, where did it come from? It came from this man [Cong. Ryan] voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug plan on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for a – very wealthy. I was there, I voted against them. I said no, we can’t afford that….

Yet the Congressional Record lists one Joseph Biden as having voted on September 14, 2001, for the resolution that authorized “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

And on October 11, 2002, then-Sen. Biden is listed as having voted for the resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq.

When asked about the president’s relationship with Israel’s prime minister, Mr. Biden waxed effusive, despite the fact that Mr. Obama’s periodic snubbing of Mr. Netanyahu has been widely reported:

Now, with regard to Bibi, he’s been my friend for 39 years. The president has met with Bibi a dozen times. He’s spoken to Bibi Netanyahu as much as he’s spoken to anybody. The idea that we’re not – I was in a – just before he went to the UN, I was in a conference call with the – with the president, with him talking to Bibi, for well over an hour in-in-in-in-in stark relief and detail about what was going on….

At one point Mr. Biden responded to Mr. Ryan’s charge that a requirement in Obamacare – that employers other than churches provide coverage for contraception – infringed on the rights of church-affiliated institutions:

With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy – any hospital – none has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

The real fact, however, is that a number of Catholic institutions are currently suing the federal government over this very issue. Indeed, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement the day after the debate saying Mr. Biden’s claim “is not a fact.”

Defining The Candidates’ Differences On Iran

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines last month with this question: What are the U.S. red lines when it comes to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program?

The two presidential campaigns are offering two different answers.

“Recently, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have talked about weaponization and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about nuclear weapons capability,” said Michael Makovsky, a Bush administration Pentagon official who now directs the National Security Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

So what do the terms weaponization and capability mean as red lines?

The issue of red lines was lent urgency on Sept. 11, when at a blistering news conference, Netanyahu seemed to warn that a failure to set red lines for Iran could trigger a strike by Israel – an action the Obama administration has tried mightily to prevent.

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said at the time. The term “red lines” refers to actions that could trigger military action to stop Iran from progressing further.

In the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate, the differences between the two U.S. presidential tickets on the Iranian nuclear issue were apparent.

Ryan, Romney’s running mate on the Republican Party ticket, cast the Iranian threat as one predicated on the degree of its enrichment.

“We cannot allow Iran to gain a nuclear weapons capability,” Ryan said, using a threshold that Romney has embraced.

The Netanyahu government has long employed the term “capability” to define a bridge too far in Iran’s nuclear program, and the term has been picked up in a number of recent bipartisan congressional measures.

“Now let’s take a look at where we’ve gone – come from. When Barack Obama was elected, they had enough fissile material – nuclear material to make one bomb,” the Wisconsin congressman continued. “Now they have enough for five. They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon. They’re four years closer toward a nuclear weapons capability.”

Biden pushed back, seeming to suggest that the proper measure should be how close Iran is to achieving a weapon.

“When my friend talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in,” Biden said.

“There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point. Both the Israelis and we know – we’ll know if they start the process of building a weapon.”

But Israeli officials repeatedly have expressed the concern that Western intelligence agencies have failed to detect weaponization in time in the cases of Pakistan, India and North Korea.

Makovsky said the problem was especially acute in Iran because the regime there, which denies an interest in building a nuclear weapon, has denied access to inspectors at key sites.

“It’s a very hard thing to know, and we haven’t been able to detect it before,” he said.

The question is whether enrichment defines “capability,” and if so, at what level of enrichment is a country nuclear-capable.

The Iranians, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, already have achieved enrichment up to 20 percent – the level cited by Biden. Israel’s concern, outlined last month by Netanyahu in his speech to the UN General Assembly, is when they will get to the “and up” mentioned by the vice president.

Uranium is weapons-capable when it is enriched to above 90 percent.

“By next spring, next summer at most,” Iran will have finished the “medium enrichment” stage, Netanyahu said. “From there it’s less than a few months, possibly a few weeks, until they get enough uranium for an enriched bomb. The relevant question is not when will Iran get the bomb; the question is at what stage can we stop Iran?”

Michael Adler, an Iran expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, said that Netanyahu effectively aligned himself with the Obama administration’s red line with that speech.

“Netanyahu has walked capability back a lot saying it won’t come until next year,” Adler said.

That may have been in part because Netanyahu and Obama had spoken extensively between Netanyahu’s Sept. 11 news conference and his UN speech. U.S. and Israeli officials have said subsequently that the two leaders better understood each other on the Iran issue.

CNN Poll: Debate Watchers Give Ryan Slight Edge in VP Debate

Friday, October 12th, 2012

CNN reported that a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll found 48% of voters who watched the vice presidential debate Thursday thought Congressman Paul Ryan won, awhile 44% gave the win to Vice President Joe Biden.

Half of the debate watchers in the survey said the encounter didn’t make them more likely to vote for either of the tickets, 28% said it made them favor Romney, 21% said it made them choose Obama.

As to viewer expectations: 55% said Biden did better than expected, and 51% said Ryan did better than expected.

A CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate favored Biden over Ryan by a 50%-31% margin. Roughly 10% of the debate audience were uncommitted.

In Battleground State Ohio, Jewish Voters Favoring Obama According to AJC Poll

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

An American Jewish Committee survey of Jewish voters in Ohio, a battleground state, has the community favoring President Obama in similar numbers to polls elsewhere.

The survey released Wednesday by the AJC has Ohio’s Jews favoring Obama 64 percent to 29 percent for Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate.

With a 6.4 percent margin of error, the numbers are commensurate with two other AJC polls last month that had Obama beating Romney 69 to 25 percent among Florida Jewish voters and 65 to 24 nationally.

As in those polls, the economy and health care topped voters’ concerns.

The phone survey of 238 registered Jewish voters in Ohio was conducted Sept. 13-30 by QEV Analytics.

The survey does not take into account any changes resulting from the recent presidential debate between Obama and Romney.

Malkah Fleisher contributed to this report

Planned August 24 Mass Protest to Impeach Morsy, Terminate Muslim Brotherhood

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

“Egypt Independent” reports that debate continued Wednesday among political groups and activists over the merits of the planned August 24 protest against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy.

Former MPs Mohamed Abou Hamed and Mostafa Bakry, as well as anti-Brotherhood media host Tawfiq Okasha, had called for protests outside the group’s headquarters in Moqattam, a suburb in southeastern Cairo, and in front of the presidential palace. The protests are to demand Morsy’s impeachment and the end of the Brotherhood’s political domination.

Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin said Wednesday that the ministry respects all rights and freedoms, especially the right to peaceful protest.

Except that the Union of Revolutionary Youth, a group of political activists, declared Wednesday that the protest was called for by supporters of former Prime Minister and losing presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq as a counter-revolutionary ploy, and accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of backing the protest.

The group added that it recognizes Morsy as the legitimately elected president, despite political disagreements with the Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party.

URY spokesperson Tamer al-Qady did agree publicly, however, that it is unacceptable to issue a religious edict ordering the protesters to be killed, referring to a recent statement by Al-Azhar official Sheikh Hashem Islam, who was quoted by press reports as urging citizens to fight against the August 24 demonstrators to the death.

The statement also stressed the right to peaceful protest, while denouncing calls to burn Brotherhood offices.

The Coalition of Coptic Egypt has announced that it will participate in the protest. In a statement Wednesday, the groups said that it will protest to stress the goals of the revolution and stress the preservation of the secular state, rather than to demand Morsy’s impeachment. It added that it would also oppose the domination of state institutions by one political ideology.

The Hayat Party, which has yet to gain official recognition and is led by Coptic activist Mikel Mounir, also announced its participation, saying it would attend the demonstrations to inform the Brotherhood that “the country is not theirs alone.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/planned-august-24-mass-protest-to-impeach-morsy-terminate-muslim-brotherhood/2012/08/22/

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