Obama reprises ‘consoler-in-chief’ role in San Bernardino

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Atkins: Obama again trying to prove he’s not a ‘feckless weakling’.

Washington – President Barack Obama, fighting the “lame duck” label for presidents whose clout wanes in their final months of office, will spend the last year of his presidency working to preserve gains and make a last push on a few key issues, senior White House officials said.WASHINGTON — President Obama isn’t just fighting terrorists — he’s also fighting a public perception, fanned by GOP presidential hopefuls, that he is the wrong president for this era of terror. “I want every American to know, as you go about the holidays … that you’ve got dedicated patriots working around-the-clock all across the country to protect us all,” Obama said yesterday at the National Counterterrorism Center, flanked by nearly every top security-related official in his administration. Obama will seek to put the finishing touches on legacy items like his plan to curb US carbon emissions and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, while trying to made headway on criminal justice reforms, the officials told reporters on Thursday. The White House will work to cement Obama’s achievements by strengthening health care, expanding clean energy production, implementing the Iran nuclear deal and normalising relations with Cuba. “You don’t start a new agenda on January 1.

The fact that Los Angeles officials kept over 600,000 students at home Monday for what turned out to be a hoax threat underscored that even local law enforcement officials are still pretty terrified that another terrorist attack is imminent. “Just as the threat evolves, so do we,” Obama said, announcing, among other things, a new review of the fiancee visa program used by one of the San Bernardino shooters to enter the United States. “We’re constantly adapting, constantly improving, upping our game, getting better.” But that isn’t happening nearly fast enough for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including U.S. WASHINGTON — Democrats joined Republicans in denouncing the Obama administration Thursday for what they called inadequate screening of refugees and visitors, pressing for more scrutiny of applicants’ social media postings after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. “Islamic State uses social media to recruit,” Rep.

Previewing Obama’s final State of the Union address, slated for January 12, the officials said it will be a “non-traditional speech” to frame what Obama sees as major issues. “I don’t think you should expect a huge, long list from the president of legislative to-dos, but I think he’s anxious to take kind of a big-picture approach to some of the challenges and opportunities that we face,” an official said. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston), who blasted State Department and Homeland Security officials at a House Oversight Committee hearing yesterday for failing to check social media accounts of visa-seekers. “We’re not reviewing the social media, even though that’s the world in which (terrorists) operate, and that’s a major problem,” Lynch chided, noting that many colleges check applicants’ online accounts. “If colleges are doing it for students, why the hell wouldn’t the Department of Homeland Security do it for someone coming (from) a country that sponsors terrorism?” Changing that policy is the least they could do.

Obama is set to take questions from reporters on the year ahead at a news conference on Friday at 1.50pm ET (18.50 GMT) before he leaves for Hawaii for a two-week vacation. It’s past time to assign more resources to security, and push social media companies to better guard against nefarious activity rather than relying on users to report it. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been hospitalized since early November after suffering a stroke shortly after he pleaded guilty in Chicago to making hush-money payments to hide wrongdoing in his past.

Obama wants to make progress on two issues on which he has been long thwarted by Congress: toughening up gun regulations and closing the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “There’s no better way for this president to preserve the progress of the past seven years than to elect a Democrat to replace him,” the official said. Hastert, 73, suffered a stroke and was admitted to an undisclosed hospital “during the first week of November,” attorney Thomas Green said Thursday. NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans is poised to make a sweeping break with its Confederate past as leaders decide whether to remove monuments from some of its busiest streets. Two nephews of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who are being held in a Manhattan jail denied U.S. charges they were involved in a drug-trafficking ring. The Senate — with just a handful of senators in the chamber — Thursday night approved on a voice vote a bipartisan bill to update regulation of harmful chemicals for the first time in nearly 40 years. … The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation including provisions that would remove the tax advantages of spinning off corporate real estate into a separate, publicly traded real estate investment trust. … The family of billionaire casino mogul and GOP kingmaker Sheldon Adelson confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they are the new owners of Nevada’s largest newspaper, ending a week of speculation.

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