Chad’s Morning Brief: George W. Bush Returns to the White House, DOMA in the News, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 1, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.
1. Bush and Obama Crack Jokes (link)
Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush returned to the White House on Thursday for the unveiling of their portraits. The ceremony had a lot of laughs.
An emotional ceremony in the East Room saw the new White House residents thanking their predecessors for their service to the nation and for helping them out during the move more than three years ago.
In personal tributes to the 43rd president and his wife, Laura, both Obama and the first lady expressed their appreciation for the example set by the Bush family during their eight years in the White House and the guidance and help provided during the transition.
"George, you went out of your way, to make sure the transition to new administration was as seamless as possible," Obama said, adding: "I'll always be grateful for that."
He also cited Bush's strength and resolve that reassured the nation after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and made sure to note that anti-terrorism efforts started in the Bush administration helped bring the signature national security achievement of Obama's presidency so far -- the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The tone was markedly different from Obama's campaign themes that blame the Bush administration for leaving the nation in economic shambles. However, Obama mentioned the economic turmoil at the time of the transition, saying that was a reason he especially appreciated Bush's efforts to help make it as smooth as possible.
"After three-and-a-half years in office and more gray hair, I have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the men before me, including President Bush," Obama said, adding that one truth is you can't make everybody happy.
"I think that's something President Bush and I learned pretty quickly," Obama continued, later noting that "we may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences."
Both Bush and Mrs. Bush, who also had her official portrait unveiled, thanked the Obamas for their hospitality in hosting the event that included lunch with the Bush family -- including both former presidents and first ladies as well as former first daughters Jenna and Barbara.
Be sure and watch the video from CNN. Good stuff there.
2. Court Rules Gay Marriage Law Unconstitutional (link)
The Gay Marriage debate took another step towards the Supreme Court on Thursday. A three judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
The unanimous decision once again brings the issue of gay marriage to the fore of the nation's political debate. It comes just a few weeks after President Obama announced his support for gay marriage -- in the wake of that announcement, some gay advocacy groups have stepped up pressure on Washington to fight DOMA.
Considering the potential Supreme Court battle ahead, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked Thursday whether the Obama administration would actively fight for overturning the law, which was originally signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Carney noted that the Obama administration has concluded the section in question is unconstitutional and will no longer defend it in court. Without commenting on what steps the administration might take in the future, he described the Justice Department as an "active participant" in the case.
"There's no question that this is in concert with the president's views," he said. "I can't predict what the next steps will be in handling cases of this nature."
3. Tom Leppert's Future (link)
Does Tom Leppert still have a political future? Possibly.
As suddenly as Tom Leppert rose in Dallas politics, he faded Tuesday night from the state’s political scene, a third-place finisher in a race where only first and second really matter.
Still, the political future for Dallas’ former mayor may not be as dismal as his defeat in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate would indicate.
He has an immediate opportunity to help swing support to either Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst or former solicitor general Ted Cruz in the July 31 runoff.
And in the long run, his campaign could help boost him with the GOP even if it damaged his standing with some in Dallas.
Leppert offered little detail on his plans Tuesday evening after conceding that he couldn’t reach a runoff.
“That’s going to have to play out over a period of time, to be truthful,” he said. “I would clearly like to feel I could aid the party, and I could aid our country. There’s going to be different ways those opportunities can come up.”
And there almost surely will be opportunities.
Dewhurst hinted Wednesday, but stopped short of confirming, that he has already reached out to Leppert.
And even before his defeat Tuesday, there was speculation about what role Leppert might fill in the future.
Texas Monthly political writer Paul Burka wrote in mid-May that Leppert’s candidacy has helped him advance politically.
Burka predicted that Leppert could be a strong challenger to Gov. Rick Perry, should Perry choose to seek re-election again in 2014.
4. House Defeats Bill to Ban Gender-Based Abortions (link)
A bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions failed in the House on Thursday. According to FOX News:
The final vote was 246-168. Though a majority voted in favor of the bill, this particular proposal required a two-thirds majority to pass -- supporters of the bill fell 30 votes short.
The proposal would have made it a federal crime to carry out an abortion based on the gender of the fetus. The measure takes aim at the aborting of female fetuses, a practice more common to countries such India and China, where there is a strong preference for sons, but which is also thought to take place in the U.S.
The White House and Democratic lawmakers opposed the bill out of concern that it could end up subjecting doctors to strict punishment, suggesting the law would be difficult to follow.
"The administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.
But GOP lawmakers pointed to the opposition as further proof of the administration's abortion advocacy.
"It is inconceivable to me how our Nobel Prize-winning president can refuse to protect little girls from the violence of sex-selection abortion," Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said Thursday.
So the White House is just fine with abortion. Just don't tell the doctors why you are taking a life.
5. Dumb Story of the Morning (link)
Michael Bloomberg continues to show how stupid he is. In and interview with MSNBC he said this about NYC's soda ban:
"We've got to do something. Everybody is wringing their hands saying we've got to do something. Well, here is a concrete thing. You can still buy large bottles in stores. But in a restaurant, 16 ounces is the maximum that they would be able to serve in one cup. If you want to order two cups of the same time, that's fine. It's your choice. We're not taking away anybody's right to do things. We're simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup," NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said about his proposal to ban sugary drinks 16oz or larger.
Going to force us to understand? Wow. Great job New Yorkers.
Would you turn down $100,000 at the age of 17?
A 17-year-old Texas honors student who was jailed for missing too much school because she had to work two jobs to support her siblings, refused to accept the more than $100,000 a website raised for her.
"We saw her trying to work and trying to go to school and trying to do all these things and then to have the judge put her in jail for missing school just seemed a little harsh," said Paul Dietzel, who helped raise the money for Diane Tran. HelpDianeTran.com is a project of the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance.
But Tran didn't want the money: "There's some other kid out there struggling more ... than me," she said.
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