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.”
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.
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.
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