Tag Archives: barack obama

WATCH: President Obama’s town hall to young European leaders

I have rarely been more jealous of Jo Swinson than I was when she tweeted this on Friday:

It is worth taking a couple of hours out of your life to watch Obama talk about investing in the next generation of leaders to work on securing action to combat gender inequality and climate change.

“Change happens because citizens are mobilised and force change” he said – an inspiration to those of us who are fighting the right and trying to create that “greater sense of hope.”

The first question was about consensus and compromise. He talked about being a community organiser and going to politicians and asking for stuff and they would say well, we can only do so much and how angry that made him. Then he talked about being President and having angry community organisers come to him and demand stuff that he couldn’t give. He understood stuff form both sides.

He knew when he signed off the Paris Climate accord that it wasn’t enough – he felt that it was worth doing it because if you could get every country signed up to doing something, then that becomes the “architecture” in place. We can then build on that.

He also says it’s important not to compromise on everything – you have to be clear what your principles are and where you are not prepared to compromise. This should inform our decision making at all levels – and I’m thinking about the fotthcoming Brexit votes. If it isn’t going to get us a People’s Vote or a revocation of Article 50, don’t vote for it. It’s that simple.

He talks about helping people to find their better selves – a great phrase.

Enjoy.

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Ten years on, we need to rekindle the hope and optimism of Obama’s inauguration

Ten years ago, I watched, full of hope and optimism, as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th US President.

I didn’t get to concentrate on his speech as our hamster, Powder Puff, became ill and passed away at the critical moment. For that she will never be forgotten.

The speech itself was a turning away from the divisive politics of the Bush years.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation. But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

There were two parts that have stayed with me. The first was a very clear message to the world:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

And that restatement of the values that would underpin his presidency:

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

I loved the inclusion of curiosity in that list – an open-minded quest to learn more, to explore.

We need to get back to this way of doing things. And we need to learn about how we can do it better.

When you look at the steps forward Obama made on climate change, how he managed to avoid a depression at a time of global financial crisis, how he persevered with health care where others had failed, how he made progress in relation with Iran and Cuba, how he stood up for equal marriage and inclusion, how he struggled for years with a Republican Congress determined to block the progress to which he was committed, he is easily the best President of my lifetime. What he achieved was remarkable by any standards. He was maybe too hesitant in foreign policy at times but understandably so given the failed Bush intervention in Iraq. He maybe wasn’t able to do enough to help those people who had been hit hardest by the financial crash. However, it is worth noting that at the end of his Presidency, 3 million more people voted for the Democrat who tried to succeed him than for his successor.

Looking back, we were incredibly lucky to have him. He governed with calmness, wisdom and principle. How did we go from this to a successor who throws a strop on Twitter every time something happens that he doesn’t like.

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Farron: Labour make a divided and divisive government look half competent

So, President Obama and his former campaign adviser David Axelrod were chewing the fat about the Labour Party and whether the Democrats could go the same way. Of course, Axelrod knows Labour well, as he was hired to try to get us to love Ed Miliband at the 2015 General Election. That didn’t work out so well.

Axelrod was talking about Labour disintegrating after the defeat, and Obama responded that he didn’t see the Democrats going the same way as Labour after losing the presidency to Donald Trump.

Tim Farron took advantage of the President’s comments to hammer home that it is the Liberal Democrats, not Labour, who provide the competent opposition to the Government. 

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Obama slow jams the news – the coolest of the cool?

There are not many politicians who could pull this off…



Posted in Humour and LDVUSA | Also tagged | 8 Comments

WATCH: Obama’s final White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Obama’s rocked all of his 8 speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. This year is full of occasions that will be his last in the White House. It took me a while to warm to him, but he’s certainly been one of the best US Presidents of my lifetime. He hasn’t got it all right, by any manner of means, but his tenacity in getting his healthcare reform through despite everything the Republicans threw at it was particularly commendable.

Anyway, this speech doesn’t quite have a Lion King moment, but the bit where he has a go at Prince George was hilarious.

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Must-see TV series: Inside Obama’s White House

While I was on holiday, BBC 2 sneaked out the first episode of a fantastic series: Inside Obama’s White House. You can currently watch the first three episodes of the series here on BBC iPlayer.

This is a brilliant series produced by Brook Lapping for the BBC. They’ve got some truly sensational behind-the-scenes footage. So, as they tell the story of Obama’s presidency, they are able to show specific video of that event behind-the-scenes – advisers emerging from a crunch meeting or whatever. And they have a remarkable parade of players giving their retrospective view on events: from Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, to John Kerry, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and chief adviser David Axelrod.

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

What the Liberal Democrats could learn from Obama, Sanders and Trudeau

Justin Trudeau by Canadian Pacific CCL FlickrAs a young American woman who has interned in the Canadian Parliament, volunteered for American campaigns and is now working in the British Parliament, it has been interesting following the 2015 British Parliamentary elections through a variety of lenses. The recent change of government in Canada and the ongoing presidential election in the United States seem worth unpacking, in order to delve into possible lessons which could be learned by Liberal Democrats from these other spaces.

I propose that there are lessons worth learning from two American Democrats, President Obama and Bernie Sanders, as well as Canada’s new Prime Minister Trudeau. For the former, the reasons may be self-evident. President Obama rose from a relatively unknown position into an incredibly influential presidency. For Bernie Sanders, it is worth understanding how another political outsider has once again come to challenge Hillary Clinton in her bid for the presidency. Though he will likely lose the primary, Mr. Sanders has been a formidable opponent from a stance that rarely would be noticed in the United States. With regards to the Canadian elections, I would like to explore the ways in which a party can move from a third-party position into a powerful government in the way the Liberals have done under Trudeau.

There are three characteristics which President Obama and Bernie Sanders have shared in their campaigns: they excel in grassroots organising, they offer clear messages of hope, and their platforms are cohesive. The first point, grassroots organising, is something which Liberal Democrats would benefit from greatly. Bringing staunch supporters out to volunteer in elections is a powerful force to reckon with, especially in university areas. In my home state, Ohio, both Obama and Sanders effectively coordinated university students to participate in the electoral process as vocal volunteers. From what I have seen, it seems that the Liberal Democrats could recruit a significant amount of volunteers from universities for the 2020 elections. This is a lesson sorely learned by the Liberal Democrats in the aftermath of the 2010 elections.  Understanding the implications of reversing stances on university tuition prices is a hard lesson, but it does offer a high incentive for maintaining consistency in the future.

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A morning at the White House

A frisson of expectation sweeps the crowd as the tannoy crackles to life and the announcer declares “Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States.” The honour guard comes to attention, the band strikes up Hail to the Chief and the most powerful leader in the world emerges. And when moments later, a black SUV sweeps round the drive and stops in front of the White House to deposit Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian Prime Minister… well, perhaps only a visit from the Queen herself would top Washington DC’s current level of excitement.

This was the scene on the South Lawn of the White House as President Barack Obama welcomed his Canadian counterpart to the capital of the United States yesterday. Clutching my ticket, I had joined the great and good of Washington in a line that stretched halfway round the block, excited to be part of the occasion. Three ID and security checks later and I was in.

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The happiest photo of the week

obamas mclaurin

Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet 106-Year-Old Virginia McLaurin during a photo line in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month.

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Saturday humour: Who is best at reading mean tweets about themselves?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Video: Obama’s hilarious White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech

Sad that there’s only one of these left now. He really is a class act and he knows how to laugh at himself. Enjoy.

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Opinion: Should Britain copy Obama’s capital gains proposals?

President Obama has announced proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy and help those on lower incomes (such as by boosting tax credits). The plans include reforms to capital gains tax (CGT): increasing its rate and ending a loophole. Should we do the same in the UK, and how do the Lib Dems’ proposals compare?

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 14 Comments

The Independent View: Could the USA’s November mid-term elections herald the return of the long-fabled “Liberal Hour”?

USA Flag - Some rights reserved by freefotoukThe November mid-term elections in the United States will be vital for the future of the Democratic Party, as it not only seeks to retain its control of the Senate, but possibly reclaim the House of Representatives after four years under Republican control.

If it wishes to do so, the Democrats must be clear in what it stands for in social policy, and carry out a programme of major liberal reform that fulfils the promises of hope and change that Barack Obama evoked amongst so …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 9 Comments

If Alistair Cooke reported the Obamacare standoff: “A real shutdown… not really!”

Alistair CookeThere are voices from history that cannot be forgotten. Among them is that of Alistair Cooke, a Brit who understood America like no other.

There are times when I really miss Alistair. He had a unique ability to explain to us the seemingly bizarre and sometimes incomprehensible machinations of American politics and government.

Of course, he spoke of much more than politics in his Letter from America broadcasts. His tale of Gershwin and Russian immigration still gives me goose bumps. His lament on the closure of Woolworths captured the aspirations of a generation. He even managed to make golf sound entertaining, even vaguely important.

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Danny Alexander MP writes… Trident: The UK’s voice on an international issue

I believe Trident is the UK’s last, unreformed bastion of Cold War thinking. And I believe we can adapt our nuclear deterrent to the threats of the 21st century by ending 24-hour patrols when we don’t need them and procuring fewer submarines.

This is the conclusion I draw from the Trident Alternatives Review that the Coalition Government published in July – a Review that clearly would not have happened without Lib Dems in Government.

But when the Review was published, some of our critics claimed any changes to Trident would seriously damage our relationship with the US. …

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Steven Spielberg presents… President Obama: “I’m Daniel Day-Lewis.”

The 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the annual event which disproves any notion the Americans can’t do irony…


(Watch it on YouTube here.)

And here’s the full 20 minute Obama routine:

Posted in LDVUSA and YouTube | Also tagged | Leave a comment

The Eurosceptic tide is turning. Lib Dems must be in the vanguard

We have become used in recent months to unrelentingly bad news about our relationship with Europe. ‘UKIP now the third party’, ‘Majority would say no to EU’ and ‘UK heads for the Brexit’ have become commonplace headlines. But while the current polls and general debate are still far from positive, several recent developments suggest the tide is starting to turn on the antis – and are enough to give cheer to pro-Europeans from all sides.

First – in case you missed it – the Obama administration has made clear in no uncertain terms to its concern about the UK’s Eurosceptic …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 40 Comments

The Independent View: A reply to Mark Pack from Obama’s Director of Data

The Crystal Ball chart blogged by Mark Pack highlights the interesting cases of Alaska and Utah. These outliers make sense given the dynamics of the race (the large Mormon population in UT provided a boost to Romney while the absence of Sarah Palin from the ballot hurt Republican performance in AK relative to 2008). But why do we not see more turbulence in the battleground states?  Surely the gobs of money spent in these states along with the monumental ground efforts of the Obama campaign would push these states away from the crowd? The answer to this apparent disconnect …

Posted in LDVUSA, Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

What does the data show about the Obama campaign’s use of data?

So far, there has been a weird paradox at the heart of the coverage about the Obama 2012 campaign machine. On the one hand we’re all meant to be impressed by how it was based on data and analysis, honing campaign techniques and targeting activity based on what the data said. On the other hand, we’re meant to take it all on trust (or trust plus bucketloads of anecdotes; i.e. trust) that this hard-nosed, evidence-based approach to campaigning worked. Where’s the evidence that the reliance on evidence really worked?

There’s been remarkably little presented. Which is why the following graph is so

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Romney’s polling day technology meltdown: Orca

The usual post-electoral defeat search for explanations and people to blame has an added edge for the Republicans after Mitt Romney’s defeat earlier this month. Not only did Romney lose, he lost in all the states that were picked as being in serious contention, the Republicans actually lost ground in the Senate (when they had hopes of making gains) and the initial voting analysis shows the Republicans with a big problem: the parts of the electorate that are growing are the parts which vote against them the most heavily.

Posted in Campaign Corner and Online politics | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Opinion: US Elections – I’m not one to gloat, but….

I am still musing on what a wonderful night it was on Tuesday into Wednesday. I stayed up all night until I finally threw in the towel at 6.45am. It was a bit tedious at first, but it got really exciting at around 3am.

Over the last few weeks, I have been a very regular visitor to FiveThirtyEight, the home of Nate Silver. So, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the man’s forecasts have turned out to be right.

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LibLink: Mark Pack’s five lessons from the US election

I’ve long suspected that the Voice’s Mark Pack doesn’t need to sleep and his clear thinking after a long electoral night kind of backs up my theory. As my neural pathways crumble from lack of sleep, he has already put together five lessons we should learn from both Obama’s win and Romney’s loss.

He talks about the important of the non white male vote. While Romney might have done well amongst white men, he lost many other important groups of voters, including women, who make up the majority.

Mark also made a good point about the many emails which came out of …

Posted in LibLink and Online politics | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

Four more years – thank you

Thank you to everyone who joined in our live blog/tweet following the exciting results from across the Atlantic tonight. Many thanks to everyone who used the hashtag #LDVUSA to join in!

It was a great night – to see all the potential Romney paths to victory disintegrating one by one and a EV total of 332 looking on the cards for Obama!

Analysis and post-mortems can wait for another day. For now, it’s celebration time! WoooooHoooooo!

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged | 6 Comments

#LDVUSA – Three nifty ways to help make sense of tonight’s election results

It can often be a mathematical nightmare trying to work out who’s winning as US Presidential Election night progresses. Sometimes, some poor souls even end up having to rely on David Dimbleby to explain what’s going on! Poor things!

Here are three nifty tools to help you make sense of what is happening tonight:

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

LibLink: Sarah Ludford MEP – ‘US Presidential Election – What will be the impact on EU/US relations?’

Over at the Endeavours Public Affairs blog, Lib Dem MEP for London Sarah Ludford looks at this Tuesday’s presidential election and what it means for Europe. Here’s an excerpt:

The Obama administration has in any case been perceived as not very interested in Europe, except as a source of financial and economic worry, with a strategic shift of US focus to the Asia-Pacific region distracting from relations with the EU. It’s a sobering cause for reflection that neither candidate has talked about Europe in their campaigns, even in the televised debate devoted to foreign affairs.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

If Obama wins, this Republican ought, perhaps, to be top of his list of people to thank

This is John Kasich, Republican Governor of the state of Ohio, USA.

It is possible to argue, credibly (albeit amid much debate), that if Barack Obama wins re-election on November 6th, the first person he ought to thank is John Kasich.

Polls suggest that, despite the hyperventilated efforts of the Romney campaign to generate some “big mo” after the Denver debate, Obama is still ahead in vital Ohio.

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Unravelling the US election – or not, as the case may be…

There are just 16 days to go until the US Presidential election. Liberal Democrat Voice will be live-blogging the election results as they come in on the night. Hopefully, the count won’t go on as long as it did in 2000, or we might be in for a very long live blog.

I should declare, up front, that I am inveterately

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Romney campaign: Writing the “How not to” manual

The Mitt Romney campaign in the US has an interesting approach to some of the accepted campaigning golden rules:

Before televised debates, you lower expectations of your candidate

…That way when they do reasonably well, everyone is surprised and your campaign gets a bit of a lift. So what did Romney’s campaign do? Well for weeks we have been told that Romney is closeting himself away with advisers for long sessions to prepare

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Tom Brake MP writes… Romney’s bought the latest gadget, but he’s forgotten to read the manual

Romney’s bought the latest gadget, but he’s forgotten to read the manual.When Obama stormed to the Presidency he did so in glorious Technicolor while his opponent was still campaigning in black and white (or at least fifty shades of grey). In contrast, Obama campaigned with panache and proved what can be achieved by harnessing the power of social media.

His victory, for me, was a Kennedy/Nixon moment – one campaign looked modern and dynamic, the other looked tired, sweaty and frankly a bit outdated. The result was rather predictable in the end. Obama triumph. Slam dunk.

But if Obama’s victory four years …

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Paddy Ashdown: Why the World will never be the same again

Last week, Paddy Ashdown came to the Edinburgh Book Festival. He filled the main theatre twice over with two very different talks.

The first, Why the world will never be the same again, was chaired by the Today Programme’s James Naughtie.

“I wouldn’t trust the UN to run a Liberal Democrat jumble sale”

Speaking without notes and with compelling candour, Paddy told us that we were condemned to living in one of those turbulent times when the balance of power in the world shifts. He saw two such major shifts. The first was a vertical one. Individual nation states could not alone regulate …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , , and | 11 Comments
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