“Leave Ted Alooooone!!”

President Obama in the Philippines on Tuesday:

I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility, suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.

And I would add, by the way, these are the same folks oftentimes who suggest that they’re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL, or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve the problems out there. But apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. First, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now they’re worried about three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.

Senator Ted Cruz (R) on the campaign trail on Wednesday:

“Let me suggest something Mr President, if you want to insult me, you can do it overseas. You can do it in Turkey. You can do it in foreign countries,” Cruz told reporters. “But I would encourage you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face.”

First a map:

Then a reminder:

Sadly, President Obama is unlikely to want to give free press to one of the single-digit-polling Republican presidential wannabees … because a Barack Obama v Ted Cruz debate would be great theatre.

These are people, not symbols – UPDATED with pesky facts

The last minute rejection of the Syrian refugee family by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is a lot of things (many of which involve curse words) but it should not be used to build court test cases that will only turn these families into victims once again.

Some people are upset that the agencies “gave in” and resettled them elsewhere (thank you, Connecticut!) rather than sending them to places where they are not wanted and would likely be treated badly. People are not symbols, they are flesh and blood and they deserve to be treated well:

[Resettlement agency] Exodus could have stuck to its guns and refused to arrange for the refugees to be redirected. That might have forced a showdown with the state government, if Pence continued to insist the state could prevent refugees from entering. More likely, though, Exodus would have had to resettle the family in Indianapolis on its own — without help from state social services.

The director of the New Haven refugee organization told the Times, “By diverting this family, we don’t want to set a precedent.” […]

The Obama administration could alleviate the resource crunch by sending non-Syrian refugees to states that reject Syrian ones — but that would be a tacit acceptance of the governors’ refusal, something President Obama doesn’t seem willing to countenance.

No, just no. THAT would be a worse precedent, allowing the states to legally discriminate based on religion and country of origin.

What we should do is to ask the State Department to add another criteria to their resettlement process: do NOT send them to states run by politicians who engage in unwelcoming rhetoric. It is a simple test, look for the “R” after their names.

The White House has some more concrete ideas …

President Obama: “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion”

President Obama spoke in Antalya Turkey on Monday from the G20 Summit. Following his statement, he answered questions from the press

President Obama on ISIL and Islam and the refugee crisis:

The overwhelming majority of victims of terrorism over the last several years, and certainly the overwhelming majority of victims of ISIL, are themselves Muslims. ISIL does not represent Islam. It is not representative in any way of the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of Muslims. […]

And so to the degree that anyone would equate the terrible actions that took place in Paris with the views of Islam, those kinds of stereotypes are counterproductive. They’re wrong. They will lead, I think, to greater recruitment into terrorist organizations over time if this becomes somehow defined as a Muslim problem as opposed to a terrorist problem. […]

One of the places that you’re seeing this debate play itself out is on the refugee issue both in Europe, and I gather it started popping up while I was gone back in the United States. The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents, they are children, they are orphans. And it is very important — and I was glad to see that this was affirmed again and again by the G20 — that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism. […]

… the United States has to step up and do its part. And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit to those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable. […]

I had a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy, but I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam. And the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that’s not who we are. On this, they should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse. It’s our better impulse. And whether you are European or American, the values that we are defending — the values that we’re fighting against ISIL for are precisely that we don’t discriminate against people because of their faith. We don’t kill people because they’re different than us. That’s what separates us from them. And we don’t feed that kind of notion that somehow Christians and Muslims are at war.

(full transcript below)

The D-bate … and then there were three – UPDATED with video links

UPDATED with links to CBS News videos and some YouTubes – scroll to end of post.

Tonight the Democratic Party presidential candidates will debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The debate will be broadcast on CBS and is sponsored by The Des Moines Register, CBS News and KCCI-TV.

The second Democratic debate will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 14. It will air from 9pm to 11pm ET on the CBS Television Network. Pre-debate coverage will begin at 8pm ET.
– What: Second Democratic presidential debate
– Time: 9pm to 11pm ET
– Where to watch/listen:
– On TV: CBS television affiliates or on CBSN streaming on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Xbox One
– Mobile: CBSN streaming on the CBS News apps CBS News for Android and CBS News for iOS
– Online: CBSNews.com (livestream will include real-time Twitter trends, instant reactions, curated Tweets and other key information)
– On radio: CBS Radio News affiliates

CBS News is hosting the debate in conjunction with CBS’ Des Moines affiliate, KCCI, and the Des Moines Register. “Face the Nation” anchor John Dickerson will be the principal moderator, and he will be joined by CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, KCCI anchor Kevin Cooney and the Des Moines Register’s political columnist, Kathie Obradovich.

While the Republican field has not narrowed significantly (Walker took a walk and Perry poopsed out – but there are still 8 “major” GOP candidates, 4 “undercard” candidates and 3 who are candidates in name only, no longer welcome on the debate stage), the Democratic primary field has been cut in half – from 6 to 3. Tonight we will see front-runner former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her opponents Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD).

We do NOT recommend playing any drinking games if you have to drive and do NOT play any drinking games that include “against it from day one” “lifelong Democrat” “millionaires and billionaires” and “my granddaughter” as it may result in alcohol poisoning!

Weekly Address: President Obama – Giving Veterans Their Chance

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, President Obama honored our nation’s veterans, who have served and sacrificed in defense of our country. This past week, Americans came together on Veterans Day to pay tribute to those men and women in uniform who have risked their lives to protect our freedom.

In recent years we’ve worked to reduce the veterans’ unemployment rate to 3.9 percent and slash the disability claims backlog at the VA by nearly 90 percent from its peak. But there is still more that can be done. Since day one of his Administration, the President has remained committed to serving the brave men and women who have served us. And in his address, he reminded us that we all have a role to play in ensuring that veterans have the opportunities and support they deserve.

(In this week’s address, President Obama honored our nation’s veterans, who have served and sacrificed in defense of our country.)

President Obama: “We’ve got more work to do”

On Monday night, President Obama spoke to the group Organizing for Action (OFA) at their fall meeting at the St. Regis Hotel. Organizing for Action grew from the Organizing for America (barackobama.com) group created in 2007 to support the presidential campaign of candidate Barack Obama. After President Obama won reelection in 2012, OFA became Organizing for Action, an organization poised to promote the president’s agenda not just during his second term but after he leaves office. More specifically:

Organizing for Action (OFA) is a non-partisan, issue advocacy organization committed to growing the grassroots movement by training, educating, and activating civically engaged community members across the country. As a grassroots driven organization, OFA is dedicated to empowering action takers with the skills and tools needed to tip the scales of power back to the American people and away from the special interests in Washington, D.C.

President Obama:

It’s always good to be with OFA. It’s a little bit like coming home. And we’ve got folks from all across the country here, every walk of life. An exceptionally good-looking crowd. (Laughter.) But it is wonderful to see all of you. I see some familiar faces. I see some people who I haven’t seen before. So just a little refresher on how this came about.

It started eight years ago, when people of all different backgrounds and political beliefs came together with a simple conviction: that people who love their country can change it.

On the president’s plans:

But, OFA, understand this: I may only hold this office for another 14 months, but I’m not going anywhere. (Applause.) I am — I will still hold the most important office in our democracy, and that’s the office of citizen. (Applause.) […]

Our unfinished business does not depend solely on me, or on a member of Congress, or the next President we elect. It depends on all of us — what we, the people, can do together.

And that’s something that I’m going to be focusing on in my final year in office, the idea of an active, involved, engaged citizenship. (Applause.) That’s what I’m going to be focused on after I leave office — an engaged, active, focused citizenship. […]

We got to keep mobilizing. We got to lift up issues we care about. We have to pursue referenda and ballot initiatives that can move this country forward. We got to get organized at the state and local levels. We got to inform people about the issues before they vote on them. We got to make sure they turn out to vote. […]

We need to keep fighting to make sure that this country is one where it doesn’t matter what you look like or where you come from, or who you love, you can make it if you try. That’s what you’re all about. I am so proud of all of you. I’m so proud to be standing with you and marching with you. And I’m going to keep on going as long as you’ll have me. All right?

All right!!!

Weekly Address: President Obama – If you haven’t gotten covered, here’s your chance

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, more people now have the security of health insurance than ever before. As the law’s coverage provisions have taken effect, 17.6 million Americans have gained coverage, and the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. The ACA is working, making health care more affordable, accessible, and of higher quality for millions of people. But there are still Americans around the country who are eligible for Marketplace coverage yet remain uninsured. The President encouraged those who do not have health insurance at this point, especially those whose communities are part of the Healthy Communities Challenge, to go online, take advantage of the open enrollment period that began this past weekend, and sign up for health care coverage.

In this week’s address, the President discussed the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance.

President Obama: “We are going to lead by example””

Today, President Obama has announced his decision to not approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline:

President Obama announces that his Administration is rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. November 6, 2015.
President Obama:

This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States. I agree with that decision. […]

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.