- Posted June 4, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Obama Roundup - June 4th
In case you missed it, here is the latest Roundup of news about President Barack Obama.
A Castro Endorsement:
The daughter of Cuba's president supports the re-election bid of U.S. President Barack Obama, but believes he could do more were it not for the pressures he is facing, she said in an interview broadcast Monday on "CNNi's Amanpour."
"As a citizen of the world, I would like him to win," said Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of Raul Castro, in the exclusive interview, which was conducted Friday in New York. "Given the choices, I prefer Obama."
The 49-year-old gay rights advocate said that Obama has been constrained in his ability to effect change. "He wants to do much more than what he's been able to do," she said. "That's the way I interpret it personally. I don't know if I'm being objective."
Still, she said, "I believe that Obama needs another opportunity and he needs greater support to move forward with his projects and with his ideas, which I believe come from the bottom of his heart."
On Commitment to African-Americans:
On the face of it, President Obama is the nation's first African-American president -- though some are questioning whether that's truly the case in practice.
"Far from giving black America greater influence in U.S. politics, Obama's ascent to the White House has signaled the decline of a politics aimed at challenging racial inequality head-on," says Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, writing in The Washington Post.
Harris writes: "Obama has pursued a racially defused electoral and governing strategy, keeping issues of specific interest to African Americans -- such as disparities in the criminal justice system; the disproportionate impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities of color; black unemployment; and the persistence of HIV/AIDS -- off the national agenda."
The title of Harris' op-ed? "Still waiting for our first black president."
Dealing with Bill:
President Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton’s help, even if it comes with a price: he can’t control the former president.
Clinton has been drafted by the campaign to serve as a prime surrogate, trumpeting Obama’s economic policy, hitting the trail to rally activists and raise money, endorsing the president’s rescue of the U.S. auto industry and highlighting his killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Yet, the downside to enlisting Clinton was on display late last week. In a May 31 CNN interview, the former president undercut the narrative Obama’s campaign is building around the presumed Republican presidential nominee -- arguing that Mitt Romney’s record as a private-equity executive and as a governor of Massachusetts disqualifies him from being president.
The iciness between the two has thawed since the protracted 2008 Democratic primary between Obama and his then-rival turned secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, the former first lady.
Still, people knowledgeable about the relationship say that while the two are in a good place, it isn’t one they describe as warm. Obama, 50, and Clinton, 65, are respectful and friendly, without being effusive.
How things change.
In 2008, after a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama was on the outs with former President Bill Clinton. This election cycle, Clinton is one of Obama's most visible surrogates.
Obama and Clinton were to appear together Monday night at three New York City fundraisers, which are expected to bring in millions of dollars.
The Obama campaign is relying heavily on Clinton, tapping into his network of wealthy donors and featuring him in campaign ads. Clinton is also expected to hit the trail to rally voters leading up to the November election.
"Clinton just wants to help," a source close to the former president said. "His message is 'I know what it takes on the economy, and Obama is doing the right thing.' They're not going to make the mistake of the Gore campaign. They're not going to put [Clinton] on ice."
As Obama struggles to appeal to white, working-class males, he hopes Clinton can woo those voters in key Southern and Rust Belt states.
You wouldn't call the two men best of friends, but the lines of communication between the White House and the Clinton circle are open, sources in both camps say.
But even as the two are now on the same team, they're not always reading from the same playbook.
Digging for Gold:
In politics, a bundler plays a critical role in providing the life blood of a campaign: money.
Bundlers raise money, in chunks of $2,500, which is the maximum any individual can contribute to a campaign by law. But bundlers raise a lot of campaign cash; with enough friends and colleagues contributing $2,500 each, the bundler can help bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars —even more — for the campaign.
Of President Obama's top 350 bundlers, Bill Allison, Editorial Director at the Sunlight Foundation, says Obama's list includes 68 who serve on some kind of government board. Obama's bundlers include George Kaiser, the single largest investor in Solyndra.
"Kaiser and folks from his foundation had a number of meetings at the White House," says Allison. "There's email traffic that shows that Solyndra was discussed at some of these meetings. So clearly…the bundlers get in the door and get the chance to present their priorities and their interests."
When President Obama was running for office he implied he would lower the number of political appointees to embassies. But a 2011 study by the American Foreign Service Association concluded that he has actually appointed more than any president in the last 20 years.
In 2008, more than 550,000 gave more than $200 to Barack Obama, entering their names in the longest list of individual donors ever seen in American politics.
That list was a snapshot of the hope Obama inspired in a cross sections of liberals, young professionals, African-Americans, and Democrats who saw in him a generational and historic moment. But now, as Obama struggles to keep pace with his 2008 fundraising clip, that list offers a cross-section of Democratic disappointment and alienation. According to a BuzzFeed analysis of campaign finance data, 88% of the people who gave $200 or more in 2008 — 537,806 people — have not yet given that sum this year. And this drop-off isn’t simply an artifact of timing. A full 87% of the people who gave $200 — the sum that triggers an itemized report to the Federal Elections Commission — through April of 2008, 182,078 people, had not contributed by the end of last month.
Dealing with Supporters:
President Obama today joined a conference call for supporters to urge Senate passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that Democrats say will help women fighting for higher salaries.
Introduced as a "true champion of America's women and girls," Obama opened his remarks with a "Hey Guys."
Obama urged listeners to contact their members of Congress, saying that if Congress passes the bill, "women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don't, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle."
President Obama's campaign manager is asking supporters to basically stop worrying about tight polls and focus on grass-roots organizing.
"We knew this was going to be a tough race," Jim Messina says in the new release.
"We're going to run the most sophisticated grass-roots campaign this country has ever seen," Messina said. "And to do that, we need to stay focused, work hard and ignore the ups and downs."
He also said: "The only poll that really matters is Nov. 6 -- Election Day."
The Obama Battleground:
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina put out a video message which includes a map showing President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney in electoral votes, 243 to 191, with another 104 undecided.
Toss ups: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Lean Democrat: Nevada, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Lean Republican: Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri.
President Barack Obama urged Congress on Monday to pass legislation to help women get equal pay for equal work, emphasizing his support for an important issue among female voters even though it has little chance of becoming law.
"This is more than just about fairness," he told a conference call to urge the Senate to back the Paycheck Fairness Act. "Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families and if they're making less than men do for the same work, families are going to have to get by for less money."
In this election year, when support from women is considered especially crucial, Democrats in Washington made a high-profile push Monday for a bill to help prevent pay discrimination against women.
"Congress has to step up and do its job," President Obama told supporters of the bill on a conference call.
"If Congress passes the Paycheck Fairness Act, women are going to have access to more tools to claim equal pay for equal work. If they don't, if Congress doesn't act, then women are still going to have difficulty enforcing and pressing for this basic principle."
President Obama’s re-election team continued its focus Monday on what it says is the failure of the so-called “Romney economics” with two legislators from that state and a former Iowa Lt. Gov. highlighting key points it says prove the former governor’s record is amiss.
“Since Mitt Romney has made his business experience the centerpiece of his campaign for president and he claims that his experience will result in economic growth for the country, we’re examining what it would mean for the whole country if he were in charge,” said former Iowa Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson. “Massachusetts was the laboratory where that failed experiment took place.”
Former President Bill Clinton warned Monday that a Mitt Romney presidency would be "calamitous" for the nation and the world, going further than even President Barack Obama in depicting the consequences of a return to Republican rule of the White House.
With Obama standing thoughtfully to one side, Clinton slammed Romney by name, an apparent rebuttal to his own comments last week that were widely seen as flattering to Romney's background in business.
Clinton said Obama had earned a second term because of his steering of the economy through a "miserable situation," and that "the alternative would be, in my opinion, calamitous for our country and the world."
Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama tag-teamed in their criticism of Republicans on Monday night, taking swipes at the GOP and its presidential nominee in a round of New York City fundraisers.
"What the other side is counting on is fear and frustration," Obama said to an audience of donors, arguing that Republicans are not offering any ideas of their own.
"All they're offering is the same old ideas that didn't work then, and won't work now," he added.
Saying he was more determined than he was in his 2008 presidential run, Obama faulted his Republican rivals for their economic policies, saying the party is too eager to throw "sand in the gears" in Congress and would "take us back to the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place."
From the Cornfield, in case you missed it on your favorite news channel, news site or newspaper, that is the latest Obama Roundup.