Chad’s Morning Brief: Russia Ignores the United States and President Obama, Victor Hernandez-Greg Abbott Flap Continues, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of March 3, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
The back and forth continued over the weekend about comments reportedly made by Councilman Victor Hernandez about Attorney General Greg Abbott's wife.
Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez is denying to the Texas Tribune that he called Attorney General Greg Abbott’s wife a “prop” last Wednesday at a press conference. As I wrote yesterday, all of this started last Tuesday when Abbott campaigned through Lubbock at the Jimenez Bakery. Hernandez held a press conference the following day accusing Abbott of “pinata politics” and said Abbott ““came into our house uninvited, wanting to somehow give the illusion that the Lubbock County Hispanic Community is supportive.”
PJ Media’s Bryan Preston reported that Hernandez not only accused Abbott of using the bakery as a political prop, but also his own wife.
It turns out that Mr. Hernandez’s behavior was even worse than reported. A source tells me that in addition to the screeds above, he launched a personal attack on Abbott’s family. Cecilia Abbott, the attorney general’s wife of 31 years, is Hispanic. A source tells me that Hernandez callously dismissed her as a “prop.”
Yesterday, the Texas Tribune had a story about the flap but did not have any comments from Hernandez. Today, the story evolved once again.
The Lubbock Democrat accused by Attorney General Greg Abbott of calling his wife a “prop” denies ever making that remark, and he urged the frontrunning Republican candidate for governor to distance himself from rhetoric he says is hurtful to Hispanics.
“I categorically deny having ever referred to Mrs. Abbott as a prop. I think that would have been improper,” said Victor Hernandez, a Democrat who serves on the Lubbock City Council. “They made a mistake.”
The Texas Tribune also reported that Hernandez continued with his thoughts on Republicans and how the Hispanic Community feels about some Republican comments.
Hernandez accused Republicans of trying to shift the focus away from divisive, anti-immigrant comments made in this primary election season.
“What they’re trying to do is redirect the attention to a falsehood on their part in order not to really address the issues that I raised,” Hernandez said. “They make no mention at all of the conduct they’ve been engaging in or the tactics that have been used.”
Hernandez said the 2014 GOP primaries, including the one going on right now in the rock-em-sock-em lieutenant governor’s race, have featured harsh rhetoric that is leaving potentially deep scars and long-lasting hurt feelings. (In at least one case, it has also drawn a rebuke from a prominent Hispanic Republican in the Legislature.).
The Lubbock city councilman also said Abbott’s recent description of drug cartel corruption in South Texas as similar to “Third World practices” fit into a pattern of strident talk that Hispanics are finding offensive.
Abbott has said he was speaking broadly about cartel corruption wherever it occurs and warned that those who deny its seeping into Texas are fooling themselves. (Politfact Texas last month got to the bottom of the remark and the fallout from it).
Sunday evening, Mayor Glen Robertson Posted the following on his Facebook page:
I try to keep my personal feelings about state and national candidates to myself because I do not think it is right to attempt to use the influence of the Mayor's office to sway votes. I must however, be able to work with the Governors office, regardless of who occupies it. As a result of actions and comments made at Greg Abbot's appearance in Lubbock this week, I sent the Attorney General the following message.
General, this is Glen Robertson, Mayor of Lubbock, Texas. I wanted to contact you to apologize for the comments of a Lubbock City Council Member during your recent visit to Lubbock. This Council Member does not speak for the Council, the City of Lubbock or for the citizens of this great city. Our local government is non-partisan and I find it troubling that a Council Member would attempt to use his influence as an elected official to personally attack you. I am especially upset about the verbal attacks made against your wife. Please understand that the vast majority of Lubbock citizens do not share his views and definitely do not share his lack of civility or his unprofessional method of attacking those who do not agree with his politics. Thank you for your service to all Texas citizens and good luck in your upcoming election.
Glen C. Robertson
Well said Mayor.
Victor Hernandez should stay out of Texas politics. Why? Because he doesn't know what he is talking about. I for one hope that Hernandez is telling the truth and that he did not attack Greg Abbott's wife. However, Victor's past actions along with his comments this past Tuesday won't help in the court of public opinion.
Russia Doesn't Back Down
Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to ignore President Obama and the West and defended Russia's decision to use military force in Ukraine. According to FOX News, Putin called the moves "fully adequate".
Russia’s government on Sunday defended its decision to move military forces into Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin calling the measures taken so far “fully adequate” despite calls from NATO and Western governments to withdraw.
A Kremlin statement posted online said Putin spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by phone, and that Putin "directed her attention to the unrelenting threat of violence" to "Russian citizens and the whole Russian-speaking population." The statement said Putin had stressed that measures taken by Russia so far were "fully adequate."
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference that Russia should pull back its forces and refrain from interfering elsewhere in Ukraine, according to Reuters. NATO is urging the two countries to seek a peaceful resolution through dialogue.
Secretary of State John Kerry -- who is heading to Kiev on March 4 to meet with representatives of Ukraine's new government -- has called Russia's military incursion into Ukraine “an incredible act of aggression" and said Putin has made "a stunning, willful" choice to invade another country.
Ukraine is not a NATO member, which means the United States and Europe are not obligated to come to its defense. But Ukraine has taken part in some alliance military exercises and contributed troops to its response force.
The German government also said Putin accepted a proposal by Merkel for a fact-finding mission and a "contact group" on Ukraine that could be led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The "contact group," which Merkel's foreign minister floated earlier Sunday, would be aimed at getting dialogue going between Russia and Ukraine.
The statements came after hundreds of Russian troops surrounded infantry bases in Ukraine’s Crimea region amid worsening tensions between the country’s interim leaders and Russia.
The NY Times reported on Sunday that Ukraine had mobilized reserve troops and threatened war. Meanwhile the Obama administration continues to look weak across the globe on this and other international issues. The move by Russia reminding many of when Mitt Romney was mocked for warning the nation about Russia. IJReview pointed out this moment:
In the heat of the 2012 campaign, during an October presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Obama ridiculed Romney over his concern about Russia as a “geo-political” threat.
Obama attempted to paint Romney as somehow out-of-touch with 21st century geo-politics, suggesting (ironically, as we now know) that al-Qaeda was a bigger threat than Russia. “You said Russia. Not al-Qaeda. You said Russia,” Obama said regarding biggest threats. Then came this snarky blast:
“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Setting aside the fact that while Obama suggested that al-Qaeda was the number-one geo-political threat in the world, later claimed that the terrorist group had been “decimated” and was “on the run” only to learn that it is now stronger and controls more territory that at any time in its history, could this snide comment to Romney look any more foolish that it now does?
This is the second time in a week that former Republican candidates — ridiculed at the time for their foreign policy observations — have been proved right about Russia; Sarah Palin predicted in 2008 that under a weak Obama, Russia would be tempted to invade Ukraine.
Once again, President Obama is wrong on foreign policy and the United States looks weak.
Other Top Stories:
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