Category Archives: ABC News

>Public Still Trusts Obama More

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Heading into next year, I find this poll from the Washington Post/ABC News intriguing. I see it as an indication of more gridlock coming out of Washington as both sides of the political process try to one-up each other in an attempt to gain the upper hand next year, leading into the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Despite major Democratic losses in the midterm elections, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans trust President Obama marginally more than congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43% to 38%.

Meanwhile, just 41% of those polled say the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives is a “good thing,” while 27% say it is a “bad thing,” and 30% say it won’t make any difference.

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Filed under ABC News, Congressional Democrats, Congressional Republicans, political wire, Poll, President Obama, Washington Post

ABC, CBS and NBC Verdict: Obama’s ‘Stimulus’ a Success (And CBS frets that the public refuses to see it.)

From the WSJBy BRENT BAKER From the Media Research Center

On the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s “stimulus” spending bill, ABC, CBS and NBC all eagerly corroborated the White House’s claims about how it “saved or created” many jobs and staved off economic disaster, though they all offered a range of numbers and definitions (ABC: “800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs,” CBS: “about 1.8 million” jobs “saved or created” and NBC: “1.6 to 1.8 million jobs have been created so far.”)

ABC and CBS touted anecdotes about companies and government agencies which asserted the spending had prevented layoffs or allowed them to hire new staff. ABC’s Jake Tapper cited buses for Santa Monica, construction jobs in Baltimore, “63,000 green jobs” (with a solar panel-maker’s CEO declaring “it is working and we’re proof of that”) and a school system superintendent who told Tapper the funding ” helped save 61 jobs and create 73 new ones.”

On CBS, Chip Reid began with how “this highway paving equipment company in California canceled plans to lay off 40 workers because of demand created by stimulus projects,” before trumpeting how “in Washington, D.C. about 20 people are working on this road project” where “manager Matthew Johns calls the stimulus a lifesaver.”

Though “many independent economists put the number of jobs saved or created at about 1.8 million,” Reid relayed that “to the great frustration of the White House, most Americans simply refuse to believe it. In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, a mere 6 percent said the stimulus has created jobs.” Reid’s culprit: “That skepticism due in part to a relentless campaign by Republicans who say the stimulus is a bloated, big-government failure.” (The online “Political Hotsheet” echoed Reid’s theme: “On Stimulus, Perception Doesn’t Match Reality.”)

But, have no fear, Obama’s team “admits” they “haven’t been tough enough” in discrediting critics. Reid concluded:

The White House admits they haven’t been tough enough in responding to critics of the stimulus so they’ve started an aggressive new campaign, calling out dozens of Republicans they say are hypocrites — Republicans who voted against the stimulus but then went home and attended ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their states that create jobs.

As if the media haven’t been advancing Obama’s agenda. From the MRC’s Business & Media Institute: “Bias By the Numbers: Networks Celebrate Year of Strong Stimulus Support; ABC, CBS, NBC cite supporters of $787 billion bill nearly three times as often as critics,” which determined:

– ABC, CBS, NBC Still Biased in Picking Stimulus Spokesmen: All three broadcast networks promoted the stimulus prior to the vote. Afterward, ABC, CBS and NBC served as unofficial boosters of what NBC called “President Obama’s stimulus cavalry.” The networks favored pro-stimulus speakers 71 percent to 29 percent (269 to just 111).

– Nearly Half of All Reports Included Zero Criticism: Both NBC and ABC stories included no criticism roughly half the time. Overall, the networks cited criticism of the stimulus plan just 52 percent of the time (90 out of 172 stories). Instead government was depicted as fixing “rickety wooden bridges” and “performing much-needed maintenance on national parks.”

Only deep in their Wednesday night stories did CBS and NBC acknowledge any critics and how unemployment rose during 2009, with NBC’s Lisa Myers noting “critics also have ridiculed some projects as wasteful. $1.6 million for free water taxi rides, a million dollars to improve security on dinner cruises in eight cities and studies about how honeybees learn and the sex drive of rats on hard drugs.” She concluded, however, with how Obama has a solution — more spending:

The President acknowledged that despite progress, this doesn’t feel like a recovery to millions of Americans, so he’s pushing to spend another $100 billion this year to try to create more jobs soon.

The job success numbers cited by the three networks:

Jake Tapper on ABC:

The numbers are all over the map, but they all credit the stimulus with significant job creation: anywhere from 800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs. Where are those jobs? According to the White House, 354,000 are in manufacturing, such as building new buses for Santa Monica….262,000 jobs are in construction. Today, these workers are putting the finishing touches on a community health center in Baltimore….Then, there are 63,000 green jobs.

Chip Reid on CBS:

Many independent economists put the number of jobs saved or created at about 1.8 million.

Lisa Myers on NBC:

Many economists agree that the $787 billion package of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and aid to states has created jobs and helped pull the economy out of a deep recession. Three economic research firms estimate that 1.6 to 1.8 million jobs have been created so far, with more gains projected this year. And painful job losses have slowed dramatically.

The stories on the Wednesday, February 17 broadcast network evening newscasts:

ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer:

DIANE SAWYER: One year ago today, the brand new President Barack Obama rolled out a $787 billion economic stimulus to put the brakes on a plummeting economy. Today, he marked the anniversary by saying it worked, that it spared the country a depression, and created millions of jobs. But we wondered, how many, and where? We asked Jake Tapper to delve into the numbers.

JAKE TAPPER: President Obama said today because of the stimulus package about 2 million Americans are working who otherwise would not be.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So far, the recovery act is responsible for the jobs of about 2 million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed.

TAPPER: The numbers are all over the map, but they all credit the stimulus with significant job creation: anywhere from 800,000 to 2.4 million new jobs. Where are those jobs? According to the White House, 354,000 are in manufacturing, such as building new buses for Santa Monica.

STEPHANIE NEGRIFF, DIRECTOR TRANSIT SERVICES, BIG BLUE BUS: There’s going to be an immediate economic impact to our community by having these additional vehicles available.

TAPPER: 262,000 jobs are in construction. Today, these workers are putting the finishing touches on a community health center in Baltimore.

JOE HOLLAND, PRESIDENT, HOLLAND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY: It really allowed us to go out and hire people where we would have otherwise probably, you know, just would have stayed back and not done that.

TAPPER: Then, there are 63,000 green jobs. A year ago today, the President was looking at solar panels manufactured by Namaste Solar. Company President Blake Jones had been preparing for layoffs.

BLAKE JONES, CEO, NAMASTE SOLAR: We started cutting budgets, we started making plans for a bad 2009.

TAPPER: But in the past year, companies that received stimulus money have been ordering those solar panels and Namaste has hired 14 new employees.

TAPPER TO JONES, OUTSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: What’s your message to all those Americans who are skeptical that the stimulus bill is creating jobs?

JONES: It is working and we’re proof of that.

TAPPER: In New York, Utica City school district got close to $12 million stimulus dollars. The superintendent tells us that helped save 61 jobs and create 73 new ones. But those new hires had to sign this document: “I am fully aware that the funding for this position will be eliminated in two years. Therefore, this position will end on June 30th, 2011.”

And Diane, about $166 billion stimulus dollars have not yet been officially committed to any projects. They’re going to go to, among other things, the Race to the Top education grant program, high speed rail and other transportation projects and health technology. Diane?

(Following Tapper, ABC ran a piece from Jonathan Karl on how “red tape” has slowed creation of jobs to weather-proof homes.)

CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: One year ago today President Obama signed a law he said would help put Americans back to work. The price tag for the so-called stimulus bill was $787 billion. So far, nearly $300 billion of that has been spent. But did the stimulus do the job? Our chief White House correspondent Chip Reid has tonight’s “Reality Check.”


Read More >>>Here

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Filed under ABC News, CBS News, Economic Stimulus Package, Job creation, NBC News, President Obama, Wall Street Journal

Trick-or-Treating at the White House


ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:

DC area children: get your costumes ready.

On Saturday, the President and the First Lady will host a Halloween party at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for 2,000 lucky children from D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Specific schools were chosen by the White House and the Department of Education to be guests of the First family at their first Halloween bash.

School children and their families will be able to trick-or-treat at the front door of the White House at the North Portico.

The health-conscious First Lady will be providing healthy treats as well as some good old fashioned candy.

In the evening there will be a Halloween reception for military families and children of White House and Residence Staff hosted by the President, First Lady, Vice President, and Dr. Biden.

The President and the First Lady are not expected to come in costume, but it’s anyone’s guess what costumes first tweens Malia and Sasha will wear.

“You need security clearance for that,” First Lady Michelle Obama joked about her daughters’ “top secret” costumes.

-Sunlen Miller

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Filed under ABC News, Halloween, President Obama, the White House, Trick-or-Treat

Jewish Groups Assail Nazi Comparisons Made by Conservatives in Health Care Debate

From ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper –

“Regardless of the political differences and the substantive differences in the debate over health care, the use of Nazi symbolism is outrageous, offensive and inappropriate,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “Americans should be able to disagree on the issues without coloring it with Nazi imagery and comparisons to Hitler. This is not where the debate should be at all.”

In this week’s protests at town hall forums, some conservatives have used Nazi imagery to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler and congressional Democrats to Nazis.

In an interview this week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said of the town hall protestors loudly assailing President Obama’s health care reform push, “I think they are AstroTurf — you be the judge, carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care. This initiative is funded by the high end. We call it ‘Astroturf,’ it’s not really a grass roots movement. It’s AstroTurf by some of the wealthiest people of America.”

That some of the protestors are comparing President Obama and congressional Democrats to Adolph Hitler and Nazis is unquestionably true.

That they’re “carrying swastikas and symbols like that” because the protestors themselves are supportive of Hitler and the Nazis, does not seem to be true at all.

Pelosi’s office says she meant the former, not the latter.

Conservatives seized upon the latter.

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under ABC News, health care debate, Hitler, Jake Tapper, Jewish Groups, Nazis, President Obama

>Obama Plans Media Blitz

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President Obama will give sit-down interviews with all the major networks today, according to Hollywood Reporter.

“Obama will talk separately with the anchors of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News Channel at the Oval Office on Tuesday. The networks will air their interviews over the course of the afternoon and the early evening.”

Obama is expected to make the case for his economic stimulus package.

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Filed under ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, Hollywood Reporter, Media Blitz, NBC News, political wire, President Obama, the Oval Office, the White House

Obama Plans Media Blitz

President Obama will give sit-down interviews with all the major networks today, according to Hollywood Reporter.

“Obama will talk separately with the anchors of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News Channel at the Oval Office on Tuesday. The networks will air their interviews over the course of the afternoon and the early evening.”

Obama is expected to make the case for his economic stimulus package.

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Filed under ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, Hollywood Reporter, Media Blitz, NBC News, political wire, President Obama, the Oval Office, the White House

>Quote of the Day

>

If this doesn’t qualify as an overstatement, I don’t know what does.

“I’m just a simple president.”

— President Bush, in an interview with ABC News.


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Filed under ABC News, political wire, President Bush, Quote of the day

Quote of the Day

If this doesn’t qualify as an overstatement, I don’t know what does.

“I’m just a simple president.”

— President Bush, in an interview with ABC News.


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Filed under ABC News, political wire, President Bush, Quote of the day

>You Won, Now What?

>In the following Memorandum written to newly elected officials and their staffs by Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback, they lay out their ideas, as to what should be done by these officials to ensure that the needs of the people are met and that good government is established and adhered to. The points laid out in their memo are basic and realistic goals that all levels of government can follow, whether it’s on the Municipal, County or State level, or up to the Federal.

Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback are co-authors of “YOU WON – NOW WHAT? How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House” (Scribner, 1998). Goddard has served as a policy advisor to a U.S. Senator, Governor and State Treasurer. Riback has worked as a journalist for “60 Minutes,” ABC News, and the Associated Press.

Memorandum

TO: Newly Elected Officials and Their Staffs

FROM: Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback

Congratulations! The polls are closed, the votes were tallied and you came out on top! With the hard weeks of campaigning barely over, you must remember that the election was not the finish line, it’s the starting gun. The tough job of governing lies ahead.

Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill may have said it best: “It’s easier to run for office than to run the office.”

The reality for today’s newly elected officials and their staffs is little different than the fiction portrayed in the 1972 film, The Candidate. Robert Redford starred as an idealist running for U.S. Senate. He never worried much about his campaign promises, because he never thought he would actually win. So when he did, the candidate turned to his manager and asked the question the campaign left him completely unprepared to answer: “What do we do now?”

Like Redford’s character, the winners of yesterday’s election must now put their campaign promises into action. It’s not easy because winning a campaign is very different than running a government. The elected and appointed officials swept into our governments after the elections may find it hard to get the simplest things accomplished. A different approach is needed.

“We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected, we’re forced to govern in prose,” former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo once said.

Turning a poet into a novelist isn’t always easy. But that was our goal as we started to write YOU WON – NOW WHAT? How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House. We traveled from coast to coast — from Connecticut to California — interviewing officials at all levels of government to learn how they make our democracy work. From this extensive research, we identified the “Eight Traits of Highly Effective Public Officials.” We show what others have done. These are the rules of effective governing, rarely passed down from one generation of public servants to the next. This is the unwritten code of getting something done in government — and possibly making the history books.

Recognize government is not a business.
This concept, of course, runs contrary to nearly everything said, written or thought about government today. Officials at all levels of government and from both major political parties cloak themselves in this Holy Grail of political theory. Yet from the idea that citizens are much more than government’s customers (they are it’s owners) to the need for openness, government is not a business. Forcing government managers into private sector thinking usually causes more problems than it solves.

Rethink government’s main purpose.
If a government function can be run like a business, maybe it should be one. Congress regularly funds agencies headed by new public officials who find the day-to-day work goes beyond what they expected. With management teams swept in and out over the years, most agencies perform tasks they should not. Some government functions are more appropriate for the private sector, some overlap with other agencies and some are simply no longer relevant. By using up time and energy, these excesses keep the officials from doing their best job.

Know what they want to accomplish.
Little could sound more obvious. After all, who would run for office or accept appointment to an important government position without having a clear idea of what to achieve or how government should perform? Yet stop a random public official in the halls of the Capitol and too often you’ll find they lack what President George Bush called “the vision thing.”

Change the old guard, the old culture – or both.
Putting one’s stamp on a government agency – or even a legislative office – is never easy. Staff positions must be filled with people who share similar goals, even when too few vacancies are available. And new positions are difficult to create. The pay typically runs lower than comparable private sector jobs; and new public officials – lacking any similar experience – must negotiate the political appointments minefield, especially when higher-ups put on pressure to take their unqualified cousin for that last vacancy.

Take control of the bureaucracy.
Empowering bureaucrats is today’s conventional wisdom in making government work. It is also wrong. Instead, top new public officials must learn to empower themselves. They must liberate themselves from the multiple layers of bureaucracy and arcane rules that block their ability to take control of their agency. The elected or appointed public manager is most directly accountable to the citizens and, as a result, should have the most responsibility.

Juggle many balls at once.
If there is one supreme lesson of which nearly every public official wishes he or she had been reminded before taking office, it’s that time is short, and much of their time is taken by juggling crises. The crises can develop slowly, like a recession that decreases government revenues; or they can appear out of nowhere, like a scandal plastered on the front page of the morning newspaper. But make no mistake – they will come.

Manage their message.
A government official’s communication skills are frequently overlooked. They’re not taught in public administration programs or business schools, nor are they mentioned in the so-called management books. Yet regularly they make the difference between success and failure in public sector initiatives. If public officials do not manage their message, it will be managed for them.

Seek feedback from citizens.
American democracy, like most democracies worldwide, has evolved into a system called “representative government,” which, in plain language, means, “Elect me. I know better.” But times have changed. No longer is it sufficient to take office and check back four years later to see if you’ve done a good job.

Technology has changed government. Feedback is so easy to get, from constantly whirring fax machines to the lightening-quick responses of e-mail, that no public official can ignore it. They have a responsibility not just to put information out but to get input in return.

This does not mean that public servants should change voting positions with every new e-mail they receive. Without a core set of beliefs, any government official is worthless. It does mean, however, the concept of representative democracy has evolved, and officials ignore a willing public at great risk.

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Filed under 60 Minutes, ABC News, CBS News, Chris Riback, Gov. Mario Cuomo, government, House Speaker Tip O'Neill, memorandum, Taegen Goddard

You Won, Now What?

In the following Memorandum written to newly elected officials and their staffs by Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback, they lay out their ideas, as to what should be done by these officials to ensure that the needs of the people are met and that good government is established and adhered to. The points laid out in their memo are basic and realistic goals that all levels of government can follow, whether it’s on the Municipal, County or State level, or up to the Federal.

Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback are co-authors of “YOU WON – NOW WHAT? How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House” (Scribner, 1998). Goddard has served as a policy advisor to a U.S. Senator, Governor and State Treasurer. Riback has worked as a journalist for “60 Minutes,” ABC News, and the Associated Press.

Memorandum

TO: Newly Elected Officials and Their Staffs

FROM: Taegan Goddard and Chris Riback

Congratulations! The polls are closed, the votes were tallied and you came out on top! With the hard weeks of campaigning barely over, you must remember that the election was not the finish line, it’s the starting gun. The tough job of governing lies ahead.

Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill may have said it best: “It’s easier to run for office than to run the office.”

The reality for today’s newly elected officials and their staffs is little different than the fiction portrayed in the 1972 film, The Candidate. Robert Redford starred as an idealist running for U.S. Senate. He never worried much about his campaign promises, because he never thought he would actually win. So when he did, the candidate turned to his manager and asked the question the campaign left him completely unprepared to answer: “What do we do now?”

Like Redford’s character, the winners of yesterday’s election must now put their campaign promises into action. It’s not easy because winning a campaign is very different than running a government. The elected and appointed officials swept into our governments after the elections may find it hard to get the simplest things accomplished. A different approach is needed.

“We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected, we’re forced to govern in prose,” former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo once said.

Turning a poet into a novelist isn’t always easy. But that was our goal as we started to write YOU WON – NOW WHAT? How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House. We traveled from coast to coast — from Connecticut to California — interviewing officials at all levels of government to learn how they make our democracy work. From this extensive research, we identified the “Eight Traits of Highly Effective Public Officials.” We show what others have done. These are the rules of effective governing, rarely passed down from one generation of public servants to the next. This is the unwritten code of getting something done in government — and possibly making the history books.

Recognize government is not a business.
This concept, of course, runs contrary to nearly everything said, written or thought about government today. Officials at all levels of government and from both major political parties cloak themselves in this Holy Grail of political theory. Yet from the idea that citizens are much more than government’s customers (they are it’s owners) to the need for openness, government is not a business. Forcing government managers into private sector thinking usually causes more problems than it solves.

Rethink government’s main purpose.
If a government function can be run like a business, maybe it should be one. Congress regularly funds agencies headed by new public officials who find the day-to-day work goes beyond what they expected. With management teams swept in and out over the years, most agencies perform tasks they should not. Some government functions are more appropriate for the private sector, some overlap with other agencies and some are simply no longer relevant. By using up time and energy, these excesses keep the officials from doing their best job.

Know what they want to accomplish.
Little could sound more obvious. After all, who would run for office or accept appointment to an important government position without having a clear idea of what to achieve or how government should perform? Yet stop a random public official in the halls of the Capitol and too often you’ll find they lack what President George Bush called “the vision thing.”

Change the old guard, the old culture – or both.
Putting one’s stamp on a government agency – or even a legislative office – is never easy. Staff positions must be filled with people who share similar goals, even when too few vacancies are available. And new positions are difficult to create. The pay typically runs lower than comparable private sector jobs; and new public officials – lacking any similar experience – must negotiate the political appointments minefield, especially when higher-ups put on pressure to take their unqualified cousin for that last vacancy.

Take control of the bureaucracy.
Empowering bureaucrats is today’s conventional wisdom in making government work. It is also wrong. Instead, top new public officials must learn to empower themselves. They must liberate themselves from the multiple layers of bureaucracy and arcane rules that block their ability to take control of their agency. The elected or appointed public manager is most directly accountable to the citizens and, as a result, should have the most responsibility.

Juggle many balls at once.
If there is one supreme lesson of which nearly every public official wishes he or she had been reminded before taking office, it’s that time is short, and much of their time is taken by juggling crises. The crises can develop slowly, like a recession that decreases government revenues; or they can appear out of nowhere, like a scandal plastered on the front page of the morning newspaper. But make no mistake – they will come.

Manage their message.
A government official’s communication skills are frequently overlooked. They’re not taught in public administration programs or business schools, nor are they mentioned in the so-called management books. Yet regularly they make the difference between success and failure in public sector initiatives. If public officials do not manage their message, it will be managed for them.

Seek feedback from citizens.
American democracy, like most democracies worldwide, has evolved into a system called “representative government,” which, in plain language, means, “Elect me. I know better.” But times have changed. No longer is it sufficient to take office and check back four years later to see if you’ve done a good job.

Technology has changed government. Feedback is so easy to get, from constantly whirring fax machines to the lightening-quick responses of e-mail, that no public official can ignore it. They have a responsibility not just to put information out but to get input in return.

This does not mean that public servants should change voting positions with every new e-mail they receive. Without a core set of beliefs, any government official is worthless. It does mean, however, the concept of representative democracy has evolved, and officials ignore a willing public at great risk.

Leave a comment

Filed under 60 Minutes, ABC News, CBS News, Chris Riback, Gov. Mario Cuomo, government, House Speaker Tip O'Neill, memorandum, Taegen Goddard