Monthly Archives: September 2011

Christie and Romney are Clueless or Perhaps… Lying!

Mitt Romney said at the debate last week Thursday that the Texas in-state tuition rates made available for children of illegals who want a higher education, encourages illegal immigration. Chris Christie said Tuesday Evening at the Reagan Library that he supports giving an education for children of illegals but in the same line he took a swipe at Texas Governor Rick Perry for providing education for children of illegals at reduced rates.

The website of the University of Texas states clearly that to “be classified as a Texas residents and entitled to pay resident tuition,” meaning, the same rate that any poor Texan may be eligible, a student must have 1) a Diploma from a Texas private or public High School; 2) must prove that he/she lived in the state for the twelve months prior to starting the College Semester or have lived in Texas for 36 months leading up to the High School graduation, and 3) non-U.S. citizens must be in the process of retaining a legal residence status in accordance with Federal Law.

So… How can Romney tell us with a somber face that this program encourages people to come illegally into the USA? Does he really think a criminal or any normal person from Mexico or from wherever takes this program into consideration before deciding to come to this country illegally? Does Romney know that these students were maybe one percent of all enrollees in Texas’ publicly-backed Higher Education system in 2010?  If Christie is against such a plan, how else would he educate children of illegals immigrants? Would Christie ask those kids who want an education instead of a gang to pay full price when they are largely from low income homes?

One can only conclude that Romney (for whom I would vote if he won the Primary), Christie (whose trash talk I like) and many Republicans (my fellow partymen) are just clueless about this program, or perhaps they are lying to the Conservative wing of the Republican Party for a political gain. In the mean time, Governor Perry should point out facts about this program instead of challenging if a have a heart.

 

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Tuesday Afternoon Jewish Political News Update 9/27/2011

President Obama released a web video greeting the Jewish Community for its New Year. See the video here.

Interestingly, Obama didn’t speak in the video about the need to raise tax, as the President and others did a week ago Thursday in a New Year conference call with Jewish Rabbis.

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Potential Bob Turner Opponent, NYS Assemblyman Rory Lancman ripped President Obama for his handling of Israel. In the Bibi Report Radio Interview, the Assemblyman said that “In the 2 1/2 years since has been President, he hasn’t always remembered, what it means to the people of Israel, Southern Israel, Northern Israel, to live with the constant existential threat of destruction… I think the President has lost that internalization that he had articulated and talked about when he visited Israel as a candidate…”

Lancman apparently didn’t get the memo that Ed Koch is now happy with Obama on the Israel issue; which is a fraud of the first order.

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How the Orthodox Jewish/Hasidic “Bloc Vote” Works

Following is my article posted posted recently at Yeshiva World News regarding how the Orthodox Jewish/Hasidic vote units “in a bloc”

“This win is not my personal win. It belongs to the entire community. It proves that with Achdus (unity) we can and will IYH accomplish a lot.”

Those are the words that Aaron Ben Zion Wieder wrote to me when I asked him for a reaction to the Primary Day results released just days ago.

Mr. Wieder, formally the Vice President and temporarily the President of the Board of Education (BOE) at the East Ramapo Central School District (ERSCD), was a candidate to the Rockland County Legislature on the Democratic Line against the current incumbent, a well-known Haitian American. Wieder however won the Democrats’ Primary. Additionally, Mr. Wieder won the Republican and Independent lines as a write-in candidate. In November, Wieder will be on the above three line while the current incumbent will be on the Working Families line with diminished chances of surviving this coup.

On the surface, the results of last week Tuesday appear as a “typical win” for the Jewish community in Monsey/Spring Valley. As some detractors would suggest, Jews vote in a bloc and as such they can win whatever they want. Sadly, some within our own circles also think that a win for a candidate happens in a vacuum; it happens to the wish of a few power players while the public follows with zero options to disagree.

This conventional wisdom is however contrary to what actually takes place before the successful elections that the Orthodox and Hasidic Communities inRocklandprove to pull off almost every year for more than a decade now. Let’s just look at Wieder’s background as a sample:

First, Wieder ran a few years ago to be a member of the BOE at the ERSCD. He lost. Ask him why, he will admit that he was one of those who thought that things happen by default. He however learned that he needs the grass roots support of members in the community. He learned that in order for community activists and advocates to lend him a hand, he needs to prove him self as someone who understand what the community needs.

A year later Aaron won a three year term to the Board. Each year since, the Orthodox/Hasidic members won handily the School Board elections and budget battles.

This past May, Mr. Wieder was up for re-election to the School Board, but due to his nature of “rocking the boat,” meaning, not letting things at status quo with a cost to residence and a loss to students, Wieder’s name was used by some to steer up emotions against the Orthodox Community. To avoid a loss for him and the other two community members on the ballot, Mr. Wieder decided against another term, and BH the favorable candidates won the election.

In other words: Aaron gave up a step in order to give two steps for the community.

This approach takes place in almost every election here inRocklandCounty. Community activists and advocates each have different opinions as to who will be a better Sheriff, a better Judge, a better Town Council member. Hefty negotiations; feedback from average community members and forfeiting egos take place before consensus candidates emerge. When they do, heavy lifting is done in order to see people to the polls. Rabbis don’t sign Fatwas that people just follow through on Election Day. Instead, candidates, their teams and community activists make their case to the public in many forms in order to get their support. Massive, joint get-out-the-vote drives are activated in order to pull off wins. Nothing, as I wrote earlier, happens in a vacuum.

TheRocklandCountyelection results can be a great moment for community leaders and activists in other Jewish areas to observe and learn how to proceed in similar situations. Achdus, as Ben Zion said, is what counts. When people are ready to back off a step, they will ultimately give two steps for the community and that is something which everyone – who has the public’s good at heart – should be willing to do.

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Ed Koch is a Fraud Regarding Israel!

Politico notes today that former NYC Moyer Ed Koch, a Democrat, is fully supporting President Obama’s re-election effort. Koch wrote, “The President should be praised for intervening with the Egyptian army to save the Israeli diplomatic personnel from physical assault, and providing the Israeli military with bunker buster bombs, advanced military technology and providing military intelligence cooperation far exceeding his predecessors. I’m now on board the Obama Reelection Express.”

This is crap! First, the Egyptian incident took place before the NY9 vote and I don’t recall Koch coming out in the last few days of the campaign asking people to reconsider their “message” to Obama. Secondly, the sale of the Bunker Busters was approved back in 2007 by former President George W. Bush whose administration made it clear – according to Newsweek – it will be delivered within two-three years. Obama didn’t block the transfer. Great! In this case, how about Koch backs Obama for not blocking the $3 billion in aid that Israel receives each year from the United States?

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NYT Omits Rubashkin From WH Petition Report!

In a story posted yesterday at the New York Times, the writer points out that six of the sixty four petition issues at the White House “We the People page is focused on legalizing Pot and that a total of 77,000 signed for this issue between all six petitions.

Nothing wrong if Pot was the only focus of the piece, but the report points out the following:

“A petition to stop animal homelessness has passed the 5,000-signature threshold and has 7,726 supporters… More than 8,000 people want to dissolve the electoral college… The protectors of shark fins have a little work to do. Only 2,136 people have so far petitioned for a ban on the sale, trade and possession of the fins… Haters of former President George W. Bush are having little luck with their petition to investigate him for war crimes. Only 318 have signed so far… But there are apparently plenty of people who don’t like waiting in lines at the airport. At least 21,124 people have signed a petition to abolish the Transportation Security Administration.”

The Rubashkin Petition that has 19,000 signatories and is the third most-signed of all issues is not mentioned in the report. One can argue that all those issues are monkey stuff and as such they made it to the report, but Rubashkin is too serious of an issue to be placed into the same report. Ok, fair enough. But if the Times editors agree that this is no laughing matter, they should look into it and get to the bottom of the accusations leveled against the Government.

Last week, when Rubashkin was the second most-signed issue, The Hill publication, widely read in national political circles, also made no mention of the Rubashkin issue.

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Romney at a 250K Jewish Fundraiser in Lawrence, NY

Mitt Romney is spending part of this evening in Lawrence New York at a fundraiser put together by Orthodox Jewish donors. The official price tag to enter is $5,000 a head. Up to fifty donors were expected to show.

If Romney will indeed raise $250,000 tonight remains to be seen. This comes a week after wealthy Jewish donors in New York hosted Texas Governor Rick Perry at event that was expected to raise $500,000.

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Congressman Turner Working to Dump Queens County Republican Party Chairman

Members of the Queens County Republican Party are holding avote this Wednesday on the chairmanship of its committee. Former NYC Councilman Thomas Ognibene is the leading contender to remove the current chairman Phil Ragusa. But not so overtly working against the Old Boss is freshman Republican congressman Bob Turner who is mad that Ragusa didn’t do much to help his campaign even when the polls were moving in his, Turner’s direction.

Funny is the lead stroy on the home page of the Queens GOP now, September 26, 2011, is a July 9’th headline that “Turner to Hold Press Conference Announcing Campaign for NY-9.” Well, now we know why some want to dump the Chairman…

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Monday Afternoon Jewish Political News Update 9/26/11

Gaffe Machine Obama was again in moition. This time it was two days ago when he said, “If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a Jew — as a janitor — makes me a warrior for the working class, I wear that as a badge of honor.”

See the video at the daily caller.

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Perry is a real friend of the Orthodox Jewish Community as seen from a video dated December 2010 when the Governor, a month after winning another term and with no need to kiss up to anyone, joined in a dance following a Hanukah Lighting at the Governor’s Mansion.

See the video at you tube. Hat/Tip Politico2012.

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Obama’s approval is down 12% among Jews compared to a year ago, but Obama is down in all other groups too since a year ago, so no need to get excited about this. Besides, the economy may be a strong factor: For example, only 37% Jewish adults approve now how Obama handles the economy, but a year ago 55% approved.

Yeshiva World News reviewed some numbers of the poll. Surprise… a solid majority of Orthodox Jews – who didn’t vote for Obama in the first place – disapprove of the president’s work.

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Debate: Does the USA Have a Government of Kindness?

A “Malches Shell Chesed” (a Government of Kindness) is how the Orthodox Jewish community refers to the USA Government. I would like to open a debate on this issue. Ill give both sides and feel free to post a comment. Ill God-willing moderate and publish it.

YES it is: There is no other government in the world that has sacrificed so much of its resources and lives to the cause of freedom as the USA. People living in the USA have freedom and the poor are well taken care. Besides, the USA has the best Justice system in the world.

NOT really: Few countries have such a large economy or population as the USA, so sure the United States gave to the world more than other countries, but don’t forget: The US got strongly involved in WWII only AFTER it got attacked. Until then, persecution of the Jews or the killings of millions didn’t seem to take up much space in the government’s business. Besides, what was the death of 1.5 million in Vietnam during the war all about?

As for the others issues. Well, the USA is not the only country where poor recieve assistance or where you can practice religion. Plus, few Justice system in Western countries would have such disasters as the DSK case or destroy people due to nonviolent white collar crime as the USA does.

So… What do you think: Does the USA have a “Government of Kidness”? Are others as kind as the USA? Is the USA not kind at all? Is the term maybe over used? Can others at all claim the same kindness as the USA?

Post a comment and/or email me yossi@yossigestetner.com

YTD Update for US Equity Markets 9/24/11

At the end of a week where the US Equity Indexes lost between 5.4% and almost 7%, some want to know where the markets are for the year yet can’t find the info handy. So here is a Year To Date (YTD) update:

The Dow (DJIA) is lower 6.96% for all of 2011; NASDAQ is lower by 6.39% and S&P500 is off by 9.64%.

See www.CNNMoney.COM for more market numbers.

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A Question for Governor Perry

I don’t know where to submit this question, but for the upcoming Republican debate I would like to place this to Governor Perry:

“Your higher education in-state tuition program for children of illegals goes only to those who are in the USA at least three years; have a high school diploma; are in the process of becoming a citizen; and it represents only one percent of all students in the publicly-backed higher education institutions in Texes. So Mr. Governor: why don’t you say this at debates, but instead you challenge if I – your fan – has a heart or has issues with people’s last names? Don’t you think, Mr. Governor, that if you use this information at the debates you will win this issue?”

Yossi Gestetner, NY

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Jewish Donors Stuffing Perry With 500K in NYC Today

Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry is flexing his muscle in NYC among Jewish donors a week after Republican Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin in NY9 largely due to Jewish voters moving to the Right.

In a fundraiser being held today for Perry, Jewish donors are dropping an expected $500,000 for the Texan who has a very close relationship with Jews of all stripes back in his home state. Some of the donors include Orthodox Jews; considered to be the most Pro-Republican of any group within the Jewish Community.

In attendance are expected to be, among others, “millionaires and billionaires” some of them non-Jewish, and a list of Republican heavy hitters too.

The ground work for this fundraiser – one of many planned for the NY area – was placed well before Turner pulled off his win on September 13. However, the Perry event illustrates once again that Jewish donors and voters are ready to go with a Republican that NYT columnist David Brooks thinks will in fact turn off the Jewish Community.

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OBL Pic Confirms That WH Is Hostile to Women

IN a new book the award winning author Ran Suskind writes that the former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn claims the WH is a hostile place for women to work.

Of course, Dunn denies she ever said it but run a Google search of the picture that the White House released of the Osama Bin Laden moment and note that of the 15-16 people in the room, only two are women and only one person sitting in the side like there is no place for him, is Black, aka President Obama.

Does that photo mean something? Em… It’s up to you to decide. But the lack of women and minorities in general at that crucial moment in history caught my eye back in May as written in this May, 9, 2011 article http://t.co/kkfRyZrQ that has a headline regarding an Hasidic paper, The Tzeitung, removing Hillary from the photo, but the URL and the content speaks to the issue of the lack of women in the WH.

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Pundits are Missing a Point Regarding NY9 Jewish Vote

Regardless which reason you accept as to why Republican Turner got such a big percent of the Jewish vote, don’t forget an important thing:

Orthodox Jews (who sixty-seventy percent voted for McCain) are a large percent of the overall ‘Jewish Vote’ results in this specific election, versus in national elections where Orthodox Jews are much less represented in the overall “Jewish Vote” count. As such, the margin of the Jewish Vote breaking Republican in this race is and looks way, way larger than it would had Orthodox Jews in this race been represented in the ‘Jewish Count’ as low as they are in national elections.

Yes, Democrats have a problem with the overall Jewish vote going into 2012, certainly in swings states where every 1,000 votes can make a difference. And yes, Turner and his team did a massive job in getting a huge number of the (Orthodox) Jewish vote which is trending right for some time now. Yes, Orthodox Jews in states from NY, NJ to PA, OH and FL are willing to vote Republican and candidates better court this base. But no. The NY-9 results do not suggest by any measure that the 78% of the 2008 nationwide Jewish Vote is ready to go 78% Republican in 2012.

Bottom line: It’s indeed time for The White House to panic over the Jewish money, em er… Jewish votes. But no. The political staff does not yet need to jump off the Chicago building which serves as Obama’s Election HQ.

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Gefiltah Fish and Kipas in NY9!

The Orthodox Jewish vote breaking for the Republican regardless the fact that the Democrat is Jewish, shows that Orthos care more for actual issues than for Kipas and Gefiltah Fish…

Orthodox/Hasidim trend and vote more to the Right for quite some time now. However, NY9 brought it to the front lines. This should be a wake up call for strategists working on 2012 races in swing states where Orthodox Jewish/Hasidic voters reside; be it in NJ, WI, PA, OH, FL, or who knows… New York!

Many young Orthos/Hasidim are registered Republicans! The #GOP2012 field should have it in mind in states where it is not a winner take all, such as… NY!

Finally, while Israel was indeed an issue and likely tipped the balance, remember that 8.5 times more voters in the Siena poll combined picked Economy-Entitlements as THE main issue than those who picked Israel. So… Being focused too much on Israel on the expense of other issues, would indeed be a mistake.

Dont Misread Israel in the NY9 Polls!

Public Policy Polling asked voters in NY9 how important a few issues such as SSM and Israel are in their decision how to vote in Tuesday’s election. Voters had the option of picking all issues, and Israel was of course important to Jews and others too. (Heck. My brother and his family live in an area in Israel where he evacuates a few times a year due to rockets. This is important to me despite the fact that I once did a marketing project for TTJ, an anti-Israeli group…).

On the other hand, the Siena poll a few days earlier asked people to pick just one main issue that mostly shaped their opinion how to vote: Only seven percent in a district where Jews are thirty percent picked Israel, compared to economic/entitlement issues that was picked by a combined sixty percent respondents. A candidate’s party line was picked by eighteen percent voters! This affirms what I wrote three months ago (before I did the TTJ work…) that to Jews in America, it is not Israel, Israel and Israel all day.

 
Is Israel an issue? Sure, and it may well be the difference between the winning or losing margin in this specific contest. However, had Democrat David Weprin not ticked off many Jewish voters and vocal activists with his strong support for SSM, and had the economy been on better footing, Republican Bob Turner would be trailing, not leading in the polls. After all, only sixteen percent of NY9 Independents in the PPP poll approve of Obama’s work overall. How much of that is Israel?
 

The general point here is, if a candidate thinks he/she can capture the hearts of (Orthodox) Jewish voters in swing states/districts by running with Israel while not having a strong appeal on domestic issues, and/or while the other party wins hands-down issues closer to home, then the first candidate is strongly mistaken! In fact, as I noted a few days ago, some statewide 2010 GOP’ers won approximately sixty percent of New York State Assembly District 48, which is mostly Jewish and part of it is in NY9.The candidates did so despite not making Israel (much of) an issue. all this should be the largest take away from the NY9 polling in the context of the Jewish voters: Yes, Obama’s weakness on Israel sure helps Turner, but economic and entitlement issues combined were picked by 8.5 times more NY9 voters than was Israel, and pure partisanship was picked 2.5 times more than Israel! Had Obama and Weprin been stronger on the first, Mr. Turner could have been booking now his trip to Israel; not potentially to Washington.

 

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WAKE UP: Where is Israel, Israel, Israel in the Siena Poll?

If NY9 is all about Israel, Israel, Israel for Jews there, why is Republican Turner trailing Weprin by six points (45-51) among Jews? The 2010 State-wide GOP’ers in Dov Hikind’s Assembly District (which is part of NY9), won the Jewish vote by ten-fifteen-twenty points, besides for the guy who ran against Schumer. He got approximately 47% of the vote!

As I tweeted this morning, Obama’s unfavorable view among Jews in that district is at 54%; indeed a high number and it sure hurts Weprin. But the 54% figure is similar to the unfavorable view Obama has among employed, unemployed, among Union Households and non-Union Households living in New York Nine. 62% of Catholics disapprove of Obama and a strong 38% of self-described Dems also disapprove.

Indeed, Weprin’s standing among Jews fell by fifteen points compared to a month ago, But Weprin’s overall standing in that district flipped by twelve points since a month ago too. So, based on these results I conclude once again (as I wrote three months ago) ”Jewish voters in America – of all stripes – have more on their mind than just Israel, Israel and Israel,” and it indeed plays less of a role than many have us believe.

 

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If You are SO Pro-Israel, Live There; Not in NY9!

It is no shtick to live in the comfort and security of the USA and claim to be pro-Israel on a level that it is more important to you than domestic or local issues. Similarly, it is hypocritical to live in a country (say, em… ah… Israel) with all services it provides and claim that you do not accept its existence.

If you don’t accept it, get out! Don’t use its military, Police, infrastructure and postal services.

I am saying this in the context of the Special Election that is taking place in NY’s Ninth Congressional District. Some are trying to make Israel a lead issue and perhaps a referendum on Obama’s anti-Israel policies. Indeed, losing a House seat is a “flick” to a President. But Obama lost 63 House seats in November (including a half a dozen in the Dem-New York) and I don’t think he changed his Middle East policies since. Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and current NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind (whom I admire) endorsed Senator McCain over Obama in 2008. How did THAT help shape Obama’s Israeli policies? Orthodox Jews in 2008 voted against Obama. What difference did it make in Obama’s Israeli policies that Orthodox Jews should want to “show” again that they don’t like his policies? You showed one time already, and?

Again, vote for Turner three times if you want (Dont. It aint Kosher). But do so based on policies and issues beyond Israel because in the context of his Israeli policies, Obama does not care what you do!

 

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In NY9, Betting on a Weprin Win

I will be surprised if Democrat David Weprin will not A) win next week’s New York’s ninth Congressional District election and B) not secure a win by a margin of at least five points. I say this despite today’s survey which shows Turner leading by 4%.

As I tweeted today, “In the Options [Market], I would be 4:1 on Weprin.”

Indeed, a Special Election is always tough to predict. But after looking at all sides, I think Weprin is 80% guaranteed with a win.

Republican Bob Turner has indeed mounted an organized campaign that seems to drive the message as they wish. This makes this race competitive. However, the district is over whelmingly Democratic; It’s primary day which means more Dems than Repubs should be out voting in the district (although I admit I have no clue which party has primaries for what in that district so you may as well dump this line); Weprin is an incumbent that some people would want to support, and less voters are interested in this race than what politicos want you to believe. As such, Democrats appear to have the slight yet still upper hand in NY9.

While Turner – as I noted – drives the discussion according to his wish, I wonder how well Turner’s message of cutting spending by 35% is accepted by poor and middle class Americans. Sure we need to cut spending. But your average person translates that into losing 35% of WIC, 35% of Food Stamps, 35% of Section Eight and a 35% cut in Tax Credits. This isn’t exactly a winning issue in a district where many people can’t figure out how to live without these programs.

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Palin, Please Stop!

I am a big fan of Sarah Palin. It’s amazing how a person who has a professional career is still a full scale parent. I like the idea that she stands up for what she believes. I appreciate the fact that she gave up her Governor seat to be more involved in the process and involved on her own terms. (Palin redefined the word “Quitting.” Does it look to you that she “quit” politics?) For all of these things she deserves great credit for doing and achieving.

However, in recent months, Palin created a pattern of rushing into the headlines in a way of, “Hey. Look at me. I am also here.” She upstaged Republican candidates and events more than one time; last of them the Ames Fair on the day of the Poll. She couldn’t have come mid-week? These moves are with the apparent goal of getting into the spot light when it appears to shine on others.

More and more Palin comes across as self-centered and petty on the expense of others. She needs to scale it back. She wants to be involved in the process? She wants to be a king maker? Great! She took a lot of bullets for Conservatives and Republicans and is still standing. Therefore she indeed deserves a say at the table. However, she should try doing all that without being in the center every time something big takes place on the Republican front.

Video: Culture Clash in Rockland County, NY

See this video from News 12. (I appear in the second half.) Enjoy it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzCeIIiAEGI

Does POLITICO Have an Issue With Obama’s Skin Color?

Politico and NBC announce they won’t push off a Republican presidential debate, and then a MSNBC contributor says Obama’s skin color is why Republicans don’t want a jobs speech from Obama…

Funny!

Ok. Here is the story:

Weeks ago it was decided that NBC and Politico will host a Republican Presidential Debate in California on the eve of September seven. The President however sent a letter to the Speaker of the House this week that he wants to give a speech to a joint session of Congress on the same night of the debate. Politico and NBC made it clear by mid Wednesday afternoon that they won’t move the date. The Speaker of the House too said that the date won’t work since the members of Congress are merely coming back that eve into session, and therefore the Speaker asked that the speech be given a night later. Obama gave in.

But MSNBC contributor Richard Wolffe said yesterday night that “it could be, let’s face it, the color of his skin,” as to why Republicans react so weird to a simple request from the President. In other words, a contributor from a station claims that its parent/sister station (NBC) has maybe a problem with Obama’s skin color and that is why they didn’t move the debate…

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