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Miss Him? Barack Obama Will Be on the Campaign Trail This Year. A Lot.

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‘He’s Going to Be Out There for Candidates, He’ll Be Out There Helping Us in Meaningful Ways’

Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama leaving office and President Donald Trump taking over the White House. Not once since then have the two men seen each other or spoken, according to a new CNN report. In that year, many Americans may also feel they too haven’t seen Barack Obama, and miss him.

Never before has a former president been as diametrically opposed to his successor as right now, and never before has a former president left office with his party immediately so eager to see him out on the trail,” Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere notes.

The former president has kept his promise to speak out on issues of great importance, and urged all Americans to do the same. 

But now, Obama’s coming back – to the campaign trail.

Noting the midterm elections are approaching, Politico reports that those close to the former president “say he’ll shift into higher gear: campaigning, focusing his endorsements on down-ballot candidates, and headlining fundraisers.” He already has plans to support 40 candidates who are running for various offices, and is “strategizing behind the scenes with Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez and Eric Holder, who’s chairing his redistricting effort.”

Knowing just how much the current president despises him, Obama will do his best to “resist being the face of the Resistance for his own party,” and not become a target for Trump to attack.

Obama’s team is looking to put him in the field where he can have the most impact. 

“The most likely stops will be where races for governor, or perhaps Senate, overlap with competitive races for the House and state legislature. Obama won’t endorse in primaries, but once he does weigh in, will be open to a range of ways to help, from rallies like the one he did for Ralph Northam in the Virginia governor’s race to the robocall he recorded for Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race,” Politico reports.

“He’s going to be out there for candidates, he’ll be out there helping us in meaningful ways, not just in fundraising,” DNC Chair Tom Perez tells Politico. “The guy was a state senator in ’04, and he was president of the United States four years later. He knows something about winning elections and building a brand.”

Obama last month was once again chosen by Americans as the most admired man in the world. It was the tenth year in a row hew earned the title. Trump came in second. 

63 percent of Americans view the former President favorably, according to Gallup, which also notes that a strong majority of Americans still credit Obama for the strong economy over the past year, despite Trump taking credit for it since he was elected in November of 2016.

And within the morass that is the Trump presidency, “the image of U.S. leadership is weaker worldwide than it was under his two predecessors. Median approval of U.S. leadership across 134 countries and areas stands at a new low of 30%,” Gallup reports today.

“U.S. approval dropped substantially in 65 countries and areas,” Gallup notes, thanks to Trump. During President Obama’s last year in office, it was 18 points higher: 48 percent.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Boldly Ignorant’ Ted Cruz Slammed by Retired NYPD Detective for His Suggestions to Protect Kids

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Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Katie Phang Show,” a retired NYPD detective expressed disgust with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) over his attempts to dismiss the idea of new gun laws to protect children in schools and instead is insisting America needs to turn schools into fortresses.

In interviews and appearing at the NRA convention this weekend in Houston, Cruz has vociferously disregarded the easy availability of high-powered weapons and instead focused on a door that was left open at the elementary school where the shooting occurred.

After host Phang shared a clip of the Texas Republican making his case, she asked former law enforcement detective Marq Claxton his thoughts on what Cruz was proposing.

Calling the controversial senator “boldly ignorant,” he proceeded to rip Cruz’s proposal apart.

“Marq, I was a prosecutor for half my career, I never prosecuted somebody for leaving a door open. How absurd is this proposal by Ted Cruz that the solution is to make sure that we don’t have too many doors at our schools?” host Phang asked.

“Ted Cruz’s statements were boldly ignorant and dismissive of the clear obvious danger that is faced by so many people in society because of the prevalence of violence and gun violence in particular,” he replied. “It really shows just how so many political electeds lack the fortitude to move forward and do the right thing: save lives.”

“Instead of sloganeering, Mr. Cruz and his other elected colleagues really should be working on legislation that provides, or minimizes the risk of damage, and could quite possibly and probably save lives,” he continued. “That is some additional gun restrictions, some background checks, there are other things that are out there that will undoubtedly be effective and save lives, and prevent these gun violence deaths.”

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

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‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”

Critics aren’t buying his claims.

Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.

“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.

“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up  $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”

“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then.  He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”

“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”

 

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‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

Watch:

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