Young Voter

Political Quick Hits: May 30th Edition

Here’s your weekly quick look at few developing stories in the political arena:QuickHits

  • Breaking on Friday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amongst heavy criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for the recent Veterans Affairs scandal. President Obama, who accepted the resignation, said,” That was Ric’s judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans, and I agree. We don’t have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem.” Critics have applauded the resignation…… Also breaking on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced he is leaving the position in mid-June. President Obama said of Carney, “He’s got good judgment. He has good temperament and he’s got a good heart, and I will miss him a lot.”  Carney, who was Obama’s 2nd press secretary, will be replaced by deputy press secretary Josh Earnest.
  • President Obama on Wednesday spoke at the U.S. Military outlined his foreign policy vision of “might doing right.” Obama said, “America must always lead on the world stage, and the military will always be the backbone of that leadership,” but U.S. military action “cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance.” The President also said of critics that those “who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away, are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.” The President has been criticized for a “passive” approach to foreign policy and in this vision of his foreign policy he argues that global leadership requires military might, alliances and diplomatic tools.

  • On Sunday, the White House accidentally identified the CIA’s top official in Afghanistan when it sent his name on a list to reporters traveling with President Barack Obama. One official on the list was identified as “Chief of Station,” which is the title of the top U.S. intelligence officer in a foreign country. The White House announced this week that its senior lawyer will look into how exactly the leaked happened. Deputy National Security Advisor Antony Blinken said, “It shouldn’t have happened. We’re trying to figure out why it happened. In fact, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough asked the White House counsel to look into it, to figure out what happened and to make sure it won’t happen again.” The identity of the top CIA officer in a country is usually known to top government officials there, but it is rarely publicly acknowledged in order to avoid targeting by terrorists and to allow the officer to take on other missions undercover.
  • Vice President Joe Biden welcomed veterans home on Memorial Day, and spoke about caring for our returning veterans and the problems the Veterans Affairs Administration is having. Biden said, “That is a sacred obligation, and we’re behind right now. The VA is having problems, and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it.” The V.A. is under heavy scrutiny after allegations that VA hospitals covered up how long veterans were waiting to receive care and that some veterans even died while waiting to get care.
  • President Obama on Tuesday outlined the plan for withdrawal in Afghanistan which would include withdrawing all but 9,800 American troops in the country by the end of the year and then pulling out the rest by the end of. President Obama said, We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.” Under the plan, 9,800 U.S. troops would remain behind into next year. By the end of, that number would be reduced by roughly half and by the end of, the U.S. presence would be cut to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, like what was done in Iraq. These 9,800 troops will take an advisory role backing up Afghan forces.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday defended her school lunch reforms from and called Congress recent effort to roll back nutrition standards “unacceptable.” The First Lady said, “The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health. Our kids deserve so much better than that.” Michelle Obama’s comments were part of a White House response to an agricultural spending bill that is backed by House Republicans that would grant schools waivers next year if they are losing money under mandates to serve more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The White House sees this as an attempt to dissolve much-needed reforms initiated by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bill which was firmly backed by Obama and that cleared Congress with strong bipartisan support.
  • And finally, on Thursday President Obama called for more research into youth concussions at a White House summit on concussions. The President said, “We want our kids participating in sports. As parents, though, we want to keep them safe and that means we have to have better information, and we have to change a culture that says, ‘suck it up,” In conjunction with this summit, the White House on Thursday announced several private-public partnerships designed to tackle the problem. For instance, the NCAA and the Defense Department are committing $30 million to the most comprehensive clinical study of concussions and head impact exposure ever conducted. The White House brought more than 200 representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, medical professionals and others together for this event.