May 8th, 2014
10:01 AM ET
3 months ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: Obama wants to 'save those kids,' but can he?

The horrible story of Nigerian girls being kidnapped for going to school seems to have affected President Obama and the first lady personally as the U.S. government also struggles to find consequential ways to help rescue them.

First lady Michelle Obama joined the social media campaign to raise awareness about the missing Nigerian schoolgirls when she tweeted a photo from the White House with a determined and sad look on her face and a piece of paper in her hand saying, “#BringBackOurGirls.”

The President spoke Wednesday about how he wants to use the power of his office to “save those kids,” even as he considers what he can actually do.

He suggested an incremental effort toward tolerance while speaking at the USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles.

“I have this remarkable title right now, President of the United States. And yet, every day when I wake up and I think about young girls in Nigeria or children caught up in the conflict in Syria … there are times in which I want to reach out and save those kids,” he said. “And (I have) to think through what levers, what powers do we have at any given moment. I think drop by drop by drop that we can erode and wear down these forces that are so destructive. That we can tell a different story.”

Related: Nigeria abducted girls: Why hasn’t rescue effort worked?

Clinton’s State Department called slow to dub Boko Haram a terror group: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also tried to raise awareness on the Nigerian issue. She said Wednesday the Nigerian government clearly has not done enough to combat Boko Haram, the terror group that has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

But The Daily Beast said that when Clinton was secretary, the State Department declined urgings from the Justice Department and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to designate Boko Haram as a terror organization.

Clinton warned of the threat of violent Islamic extremism in Nigeria during a 2009 trip there.

CNN's Jake Tapper wrote at length in 2013 about the arguments for and against designating Boko Haram as a terror organization.

GOP fund-raising and Benghazi: The House of Representatives is expected this week to approve a new special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Republicans say the White House influenced the American response for political reasons.

But Democrats have dismissed this latest effort as political posturing and may not participate in the committee. They pointed to a fund-raising pitch posted online by the National Republican Congressional Committee that promised the inquiry and its leader, Rep. Trey Gowdy, would hold Democrats accountable.

Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, has twice asked the committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm, to take the post down.

Related: Rep. Gowdy calls on NRCC to stop fund-raising on Benghazi

Contempt of Congress: Lois Lerner, the former Internal Revenue Service official accused by Republicans of targeting conservative groups, has officially been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before a House committee.

For nearly a year, Lerner has refused House requests to testify on the matter, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Roll Call recently pointed out the House has the authority to imprison individuals to compel compliance, although no one has suggested such action in this case. Whatever happens to Lerner is now in the hands of the Justice Department, also conducting an inquiry.

The GOP-led House called on Attorney General Eric Holder to remove the IRS investigation from his department and appoint a special counsel to look into the matter.

Related: GOP-led House holds former IRS official in contempt

Reading List:

Gallup: Four years in, GOP support for Tea Party down to 41 percent

The Washington Post: Tea Party candidates wilting in conservative Georgia

The New York Times: Florida finds itself in eye of climate change storm

Politico: Harry Reid embraces earmarks, calls Republicans “greased pigs”

Politico: Earmarks divide Republicans

The Daily Beast: This Southern Republican backed immigration reform and lived to tell about it.

 

 


Filed under: Africa • Hillary Clinton • President Obama • State Department • Terrorism
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Lily

    Oh! is that the famous Donna? If there is no national interest there, therefore you do not see any reason to help? Then you should stop touting: "The greatest nation on Earth". Whats greatest if it can't show up and extend its hands to those who need it and crying for it?

    May 8, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Chris

    So let me get this straight:

    Obama doesn't want to send people to save the American ambassador but is willing to send troops to save Nigerians?

    That is pathetic. Beyond pathetic. It is infuriating.

    May 8, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Bigd9749

    If you read the e-mails Obama wanted to send people in but all the people testified including the military that we had no forces in the area that could help

    May 8, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. secular integrity

    I love the way Chris acts outraged, the facts are they're, but oh so inconvenient, so we'll act like they are being obscured, please, the only thing you do is show how clueless you truly are, thanks for playing .

    May 8, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. smith

    @Bigd9749-What a load of bull. There forces in Germany that could have gotten to Libya. It might not have changed the outcome but it was worth a try.

    May 8, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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