April 24th, 2014
10:18 AM ET
3 months ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: Sushi and robots, not sanctions and trade agreements

Sushi and robots, not sanctions and trade agreements–On President Obama’s visit to Asia, we’ve seen him eat $300 sushi, view an archery demonstration and play soccer with a robot. What we haven’t seen is any movement on a key Pacific region trade agreement, any sort of development on new sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, or any pivot on the troubled U.S. effort to get chemical weapons out of Syria. On Thursday the president moves from Japan to South Korea.

“Teed up: Obama warns (again) of Russia sanctions - Obama said again Thursday that Russia could face sanctions over its involvement in Ukraine. The sanctions, he said, are "teed up," but he wasn’t ready to announce them yet. He’s still building international support.

His statement came as a de-escalation agreement - reached last week in Geneva, Switzerland, by Russia, the United States, Europe and Ukraine - seemed to falter.

Going further was his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin should “pay a price” for his involvement agitating against the Ukraine government.

Clinton’s “army of older women” - The latest subtle argument against a Hillary Clinton presidency is that she’d be too old. She’ll be just a smidge younger during the 2016 campaign than Ronald Reagan was when he ran for president in 1980. So it’s probably not a coincidence that during an appearance in Washington, she said it will be important to end age discrimination, in particular for women.

"You know, a lot of women who drop out of the workforce in their late 20s and their 30s, they raise their children, you know, their brains have not atrophied. They still have great abilities, great talents, great opportunities to participate."

"There’s an army, and frankly a very large group, of older women who could make a difference to America’s corporations, America’s business, academia, politics, you name it. So I think we have to be supporting these different life choices and breaking down, which often go handinhand with the stereotypes we’re talking about."

Related: Amid age critiques, Clinton urges end to age discrimination

A Clinton mulligan for Jen Psaki - We noted Wednesday that when Secretary of State John Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked Tuesday to name what a State Department review under Clinton accomplished, she couldn’t come up with anything.

So we’ll note that Psaki started Wednesday’s State Department briefing with a long list of the accomplishments from that Clinton-led State Department review.

Clinton also said interesting things Wednesday about Russia and the sorry state, according to her, of today’s entertainment-obsessed media.

Related: Hillary Clinton's record at State Department under fire, again

Not the “Buffett wage” – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNN’s Poppy Harlow he’s grappled with the issue of a minimum wage increase for 50 years and he just can’t decide if it makes sense or not.

“I’ve thought about it for 50 years and I don’t know the answer on it,” he said.

Really?

“Well, I just don’t. In economics you always have to say, “And then what?” And the real question is, are more people going to be better off if it is … raised? I don’t know the answer to that. I know that if you raise the earned income tax credit significantly that that would definitely help people who got the short sticks in life.”

Obama and Democrats have made raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour a main policy priority. But they won’t get the same kind of support from Buffett they got on tax hikes for the rich. He was a key supporter of their ultimately successful plan to raise taxes on top income earners. Back in 2012 and 2013, Democrats coined the name “The Buffett Rule” for the principle that the rich should pay a portion of income in taxes similar to what the middle class pays.

There’s a whole section about it at the White House website.

Reading list:

Quinnipiac Poll: Rand Paul would beat Hillary Clinton in Colorado

ABC News: Caroline Kennedy “absolutely” would back Hillary Clinton in 2016. Kennedy is the U.S. ambassador to China. In 2008 she and her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009, famously jumped into the Obama camp during the hotly contested presidential primary.

NYT: Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher and government grazing fee scofflaw who has become a cause celebre in conservative media circles, says horrible things about what he calls “the Negro” in an interview with The New York Times. Here’s the quote:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Politics in the Time 100 - There are four names of political interest on the annual Time 100 list of most influential people.

Time put Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Secretary of State John Kerry on the list. More interesting, perhaps, is who wrote the item accompanying each name.

Paul’s blurb was written by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said the key to what Paul does is "authenticity." This is notable because Paul’s political brand is his effort to reclaim the Republican party from moderates.

Walker's blurb was written by Chris Christie, a fellow Republican governor and a potential 2016 rival. Christie noted Walker’s successful effort to avoid a recall over his fight with public unions and said one of the key measures is how you "stand up when faced with relentless public attacks.”

Kerry’s blurb was written by Hillary Clinton, who preceded him as secretary of state. She wrote about all the challenges he's tackling, writing, "I know from experience just how hard this is."

Also on the list was Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whose blurb was written by her old boss, Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato. "She'd make a great president," he writes.

Read the whole list HERE.

CNN – A Republican promising to work WITH Washington –  CNN's Peter Hamby reports: "It's one of the 2014 election's most intriguing primary fights, a face-off in North Carolina that doesn't fit neatly into the tea party-versus-establishment narrative that's defined so much GOP infighting over the last four years.

"The incumbent, Rep. Walter Jones, 71, is an anti-war social conservative with a libertarian streak who regularly bucks his fellow House Republicans on big votes. His primary challenger, Taylor Griffin, is a first-time candidate, former Bush administration official and Washington political operative who has the backing of big-spending outside groups. It's a strongly Republican district; the primary winner will likely coast to victory in November."


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Caroline Kennedy • President Obama • Rand Paul
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    Why are people expecting Obama to accomplish anything on this trip? This is all nothing but a show, just as the last 6 years has been a very, very bad comedy act from Obama.

    April 24, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G
    Why are people expecting Obama to accomplish anything on this trip? This is all nothing but a show, just as the last 6 years has been a very, very bad comedy act from Obama.
    ----------
    Time to learn a new word to use instead of "bomb", "weapon", and "kill":
    di·plo·ma·cy noun \də-ˈplō-mə-sē\
    : the work of maintaining good relations between the governments of different countries
    : skill in dealing with others without causing bad feelings

    April 24, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Tommy – You just cannot acknowledge, that in the last 5 years, president Obama has ended the great republican recession, created 5.4 million jobs, saved the auto and housing industry, eliminated the one responsible for 9-11-2001, seen the stock market double, ended two unnecessary republican wars, cut the last Bush budget deficit by two-thirds, added 15 million uninsured Americans to the 275 million already insured, built an international coalition, ended torture, signed equal pay legislation, and more, all without a single republican vote.

    April 24, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Sniffit

    "any sort of development on new sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine"

    Your overeagerness to write a hit-piece on Obama has you lying. Obama said just toady that new sanctions are "teed up" and expressed pessimism over Russia's continued recalcitrance. Did you just ignore the joint news conference he held in Tokyo with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? Was it too inconvenient for your pre-determined alternate reality narrative?

    April 24, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. devil's advocate

    TT, does not compute, that ones got a rather thick skull .

    April 24, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. devil's advocate

    So, the one thing that buffet knows will help is the very same thing the gop fights tooth and nail, no surprise there.

    April 24, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Clinton also said interesting things Wednesday about Russia and the sorry state, according to her, of today’s entertainment-obsessed media."

    "according to her"

    Aaaaw, would you like a tissue, CNN? You sound like petulant children. She was 100% correct and you're in denial.

    April 24, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    In other words......more of a touring vacation, than real business.

    April 24, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Donna

    As Putin runs roughshod over Ukraine and mommy pants Obama threatens to think about more sanctions, it is nice to see that Obama is taking time away from his busy schedule of golfing, vacationing, campaigning campaign fund raising and celebrity events to address the urgent topic of sushi and japanese robots. Is it any wonder the world is laughing at Obama and the USA?

    April 24, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Donna – The world you refer to is non existent. If republicans weren't so disgusting, we would all be laughing at them.

    April 24, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. YoonYoungJo

    There's a perception that woman can't be woman and still lead, I think. Being a guy maybe I don't have a place in these kind of debates but from my standpoint this is what I see. I think, they just want to be seen as a person, who is just as capable as anyone else, and they are. Yes, men on average are perhaps physically stronger then woman but you can't say there aren't physically strong woman, there are. All of the human race is infinitely varied. Just as there are weak men, there are weak woman. Just as there are strong men, there are strong women.

    I did also want to comment on the Rancher (Bundy's) comments. Is this guy from the stone ages are something? So he saw a bunch of minorities just hanging out on the porch, so what? Maybe they all had a day off, maybe there just hangin out talking. You can't imply anything just from people hanging out. I do agree with the assessment that, I believe, a lot of minority families do not emphasize the importance of education enough. And there is a prevailing idea that if it isn't fun, they don't want to do it. And this is the primary stumbling block for minority families. Being realistic, most of the time, school isn't fun. Then again nothing worth while is really fun. It takes hard work and effort to master or truly learn anything. Even those interested in being serious athletes, do a lot of things that aren't fun. I recall reading a real inspirational story about a NFL player, Priest Holmes in his come back. How every NFL team told him he was finished. So what did he do? He ran the stadium stairs every day during the entire off season. Running up and down flights of stairs for hours a day, not fun. Everything that leads to something worthwhile is not a game and is not fun. It takes work, blood, sweat, years and suffering. The only things that don't require those things, to achieve a monumental end, usually involve cheating, stealing, etc.. And that's why they are easy to achieve, because it involves cheating and stealing. Both of which are easy to do.

    April 24, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    As Putin runs roughshod over Ukraine and mommy pants Obama threatens to think about more sanctions, it is nice to see that Obama is taking time away from his busy schedule of golfing, vacationing, campaigning campaign fund raising and celebrity events to address the urgent topic of sushi and japanese robots. Is it any wonder the world is laughing at Obama and the USA?
    ------------------------------------
    If you're so smart and full of answers over what to do about Ukraine, how about telling us about your solutions? Can you? I certain that you cannot come up with even one viable solution. No one on the right has come up with a solution. No one.

    April 24, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @Donna
    As Putin runs roughshod over Ukraine and mommy pants Obama threatens to think about more sanctions, it is nice to see that Obama is taking time away from his busy schedule of golfing, vacationing, campaigning campaign fund raising and celebrity events to address the urgent topic of sushi and japanese robots. Is it any wonder the world is laughing at Obama and the USA?
    ----------
    The engineers that designed those Japanese robots are laughing at an American system that wants to turn out competitive US engineers in schools with more guns and less science like evolution. Perhaps if we ask nicely, those Japanese robots can help us repair our hovels.

    April 24, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. rs

    Donna

    As Putin runs roughshod over Ukraine and mommy pants Obama threatens to think about more sanctions, it is nice to see that Obama is taking time away from his busy schedule of golfing, vacationing, campaigning campaign fund raising and celebrity events to address the urgent topic of sushi and japanese robots. Is it any wonder the world is laughing at Obama and the USA?
    ____________________________
    Your vitriol and unreality, if typical of the Right demonstrate the problem we have in our nation- one whole side of the political spectrum has become dangerously delusional and can no longer tell fact from fiction.

    Meanwhile- you still cannot state why the Ukraine matters one wit to the needs or concerns of America. Until you can state that case, you might as well give up on it.

    April 24, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. it must be said

    Sushi? Robots?? Another day, different country, different city, same Obama clown show. This guy is a MAJOR embarassment to this country.

    April 24, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. tom l

    Tampa Tim
    Tom l posted a few weeks ago that he lived in CA, and helped his girlfriend sign up for health care in the California exchange. Now he is in Atlanta.
    ========
    Sorry, Tampa, but you are completely incorrect. I said my girlfriend lives in California. I do not. I moved to Atlanta recently but she is still in Los Angeles, if you must know. It's pretty lame how you will never discuss the merits the comment but must take a false presumption and mischaracterization to try and show you are somehow correct with all of your other inane, simplistic and irrelevant comments. But I guess that's the playbook you were given and you have to follow it.
    Now, as for calling me a RWNJ, you once again show your ignorance to what I stand for and actually believe in; I have no playbook. You see, your mischaracterization of my positions is so far from a hardcore right winger that you display your inability to have any purpose here other than to argue with and attempt to discredit anyone that doesn't agree with every liberal, and most importantly, Obama agenda item. This is why I have outed you on here and totally know why you post here now. You're purpose here is nothing more than to rile up the masses and be a cheerleader. You have no original thoughts and only try to push everyone apart. So, knowing your agenda, it's obvious now and my eyes are completely opened.
    To reiterate, you have attempted to brand me as a "RWNJ", yet after all this time on here, you know that I am "pro-choice", I am pro gay marriage, I am against the Patriot Act, I think the NSA is too intrusive, I believe we need to disengage in our foreign follies, I was against Iraq, think George Bush spent too much money and don't hate Edward Snowden. With ALL of those issue, surely your portrayal of me as a "RWNJ" is nothing more than an attempt to pull all of us farther apart and discredit me. What you forget is that I am not using a playbook and can think for myself and am old enough and smart enough to recognize such sorry and pathetic attempts. Disagree with me on my positions all you want. I would hope that any free thinking individual would not agree on every issue. But don't try and lie about me.

    April 24, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm going straight to that NYT article to learn what that "one more thing" he "knows" about the Negro,seeing how completely off-the-mark he was with the one other thing he thought he knew about the Negro.
    It is just so hard to make these yahoos up, isn't it?
    You'd think Mr. Bundy would have his hands full of folks that can't stand his cheatin', tax-evading ways without him gratuitously adding the "Negroes" to the list of people who are "unfriending" him....
    Then again, maybe he's not speaking "gratuitously"; it is quite possible that someone may have paid this fleecer to say the stuff he's saying.
    Wouldn't put it past our rwnj's to do so.
    Reach out, reach out and piss off someone.

    April 24, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Sniffit

    "Tom l posted a few weeks ago that he lived in CA, and helped his girlfriend sign up for health care in the California exchange. Now he is in Atlanta.
    ========
    Sorry, Tampa, but you are completely incorrect. I said my girlfriend lives in California. I do not....."

    A good rule of thumb for avoiding things getting "personal", which of course then leads to people taking things "personally" (even though we're all really anonymous), which only heats things up, is to simply avoid making any personal comments about yourself or others. Period. Nobody cares where your gf lives, nobody cares if so and so lied about their state of residence, nobody cares what you ate for breakfast, nobody cares if you're "regular" today, etc.

    April 24, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    Tea Party fun in Nevada: "Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher and government grazing fee scofflaw who has become a cause celebre in conservative media circles, says horrible things about what he calls “the Negro”"

    We got guns, freeloading, racism, and a big damn mouth.

    The best argument for the progressive left is the radical right with their mouth open and no filter. You cannot improve on perfection. Pray, tell us how you really fee.....

    April 24, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Lizzie

    Silence DoGood, you're so right, more diplomacy from this administration, sign treaties with Japan and if something should happen tell them they are on the own, we will not be involved, we lead from behind.
    Rudy NYC, the administration already come up with a solution, speak and do nothing, Ukraine is far from our shores, let the European countries carry the big stick.

    April 24, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    YoonYoungJo

    There's a perception that woman can't be woman and still lead,
    -------------------------------------------------
    You must mean here in America Yoon.
    That perception is only alive and well amongst the provincial, arrogant and uneducated mentality of some Americans.
    There are countries (that these same Americans refer to as Third World countries) where that type of stinking thinking has been positively disproved.
    Oh and then of course we have Margaret Thatcher from an industrialized "First" World nation.

    April 24, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    Article: " The latest subtle argument against a Hillary Clinton presidency is that she’d be too old."
    ----------
    No, that was actually a complete lie and fabrication started by Rush and repeated hatefully throughout the Right Wingnut World. News sources all over, Feb 2014.

    April 24, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This is why I have outed you on here and totally know why you post here now. You're purpose here is nothing more than to rile up the masses and be a cheerleader. You have no original thoughts and only try to push everyone apart"

    Oh, dear ... got a bit of plagiarism going on.

    Or whatever.

    April 24, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    inican mama 4 Obama

    “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy
    -----------------
    I'm going straight to that NYT article to learn what that "one more thing" he "knows" about the Negro,seeing how completely off-the-mark he was with the one other thing he thought he knew about the Negro.
    =================================================================
    If you want my advice, don't attempt it on a full stomach. His words are so offensive and despicable that it will shame all of his Republican supporters into their typical silence.

    I found it most ironic that the same people who chastise "takers" would stand up and vehemently defend one such "taker". His actions are comparable to someone growing crops on government property, seling them for a profit, and refusing to compensate the government with rent.

    April 24, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Snifit and tom l
    I beg to differ with you on this one Sniffit.
    Some of us have a different relationship with each other (as much as cnn will allow) on this thread, and depending on the subject (or not) we will get a little personal in our sharing (but not too).
    However, you, tom l, should only "share" with those that care.
    Generally speaking, though, Sniffit's rule of thumb should be employed, because, generally speaking, nobody cares.

    April 24, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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