FRC Blog

Barack Obama: “I’m a lefty. Get used to it”

by Family Research Council

January 21, 2009

As a fellow lefty it is easy to see how this comment could be taken out of context - though in truth with the current President could it be a sign of things to come?

WASHINGTON (CNN) — As his first official action after being sworn in, President Barack Obama signed three documents Tuesday, including a proclamation declaring a day of national renewal and reconciliation.

I’m a lefty. Get used to it,” Obama quipped as he signed his name. “I was told not to swipe the pen.”

The past three presidents signed similar reconciliation proclamations upon being sworn in.

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America’s Inauguration: A Retrospective—Ronald Reagan: “Nothing Less than a Miracle”

by Robert Morrison

January 20, 2009


January 20, 1981

Surveying a world that had grown increasingly violent and arbitrary, in which freedom everywhere was in retreat, in which America itself seemed to be held hostage, Ronald Reagan reaffirmed our commitment to constitutional government. The peaceful, orderly transition of that day, he said, was normal for Americans, but for others it was “nothing less than a miracle.” Under Jimmy Carter, Americans were told they had to prepare for a future that would be colder, darker, and poorer, an America in which their children would lead lesser lives. A malaise stalked the land. Media chin pullers and professional deep thinkers lectured the people that the Presidency was too big for any one man. Well, it was too big for their one man, but not for Ronald Reagan.

Perhaps Reagan remembered Churchill’s poem, broadcast to America when Britain braved the Nazi blitz: “Westward look, the land is bright!” For the first time in our history, the Inauguration was taking place on the West Front. Reagan the Californian wanted us to look out from the West Front of the Capitol to the history represented on the Nation’s Mall. As he looked over that scene, he paid tribute to the giants of our past—Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.” Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.”

Reagan spoke unabashedly about his faith in God. He expressed his gratitude for all the prayer meetings that were taking place throughout America to consecrate the day. Every Inauguration Day, he said, ought to be a day of prayer.

Within weeks, Reagan would need the prayers of all Americans in an urgent way. At age seventy, he nearly fell victim to an assassin’s bullet. “Honey,” he told his wife in a widely quoted quip, “I forgot to duck.” Few then knew how close Reagan came to dying just sixty days into his Presidency. After he recovered, he joined with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had narrowly escaped an IRA terrorist bomb, and with Pope John Paul II, who had himself been shot by a Soviet-backed assassin. Together these three outstanding leaders worked to lift the Iron Curtain and bring down the Berlin Wall. With faith and courage, they changed the world.

We can still do this. “Why shouldn’t we believe this? After all, we are Americans,” Reagan said that memorable day.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Barack Obama

by Family Research Council

January 19, 2009

POSTION: 44th President of the United States of America

NOMINEE: Barack Obama

Born: Honolulu, Hawaii (yes that IS part of the United States), August 4, 1961

Family: Wife, Michelle, and two children.

Occupation: 44th President of the United States, January 20, 2009; U.S. Senator for the state of Illinois, January, 2005 - November, 2008; Illinois State Senator, January, 1997 - November, 2004

Education: Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School magna cum laude 1991


On Roe v. Wade and promoting abortion

Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.” Obama Statement on 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Decision, January 22, 2008.

Supports forcing private insurers and using federal taxpayer money to pay for abortion“Senator Obama believes that reproductive health care is basic health care. His health care plan will create a new public plan, which will provide coverage of all essential medical services. Reproductive health care is an essential service - just like mental health care and disease management and other preventive services under his plan. And private insurers that want to participate will have to treat reproductive care in the same way.” Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Parental Consent on issues of abortion

Opposes , also supports giving the sometime abortifacient, Plan B, to young girls. SOURCE Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion:

S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008.

Voted against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions:

S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006.

On taxpayer funding

Voted for increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation: S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007.

Voted for increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million: S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005.

Opposes Hyde Amendment

(a provision barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortions)

Obama does not support the Hyde amendment. He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.” Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Opposes federal support for pregnancy care centers

Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire, December, 2007.

Supports full funding for the United Nations Family Planning Fund (UNFPA)

(Evidence shows UNFPA subsidizes coercive abortions)

S. Amdt. 2708 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-320, September 6, 2007

Supports subsidizing international abortion agencies

S.Amdt. 2719 to H.R. 2764, Roll Call 07-319, September 6, 2007

NOTE: Senator Obama co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the 109th and 110th Congresses and vowed to an audience at a Planned Parenthood rally that passing FOCA would be the first thing he would do as President (SOURCE.) FOCA would overturn hundreds of state laws on the books that limit abortion. (SOURCE.)


Voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006.

Opposes the Defense of Marriage Act:

Well, it is my strong belief that the government has to treat all citizens equally. I come from that, in part, out of personal experience. When you’re a black guy named Barack Obama, you know what it’s like to be on the outside. And so my concern is continually to make sure that the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for all people. That’s why I opposed DOMA in 2006 when I ran for the United States Senate.” Transcript of LOGO debate on August 9, 2007.

Voted in favor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act: Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007.

For allowing gays in the military:

Senator Barack Obama pledges to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell - and to help reinstate gays and lesbians kicked out of the military due to this policy” HRC Backstory

Supports special rights for homosexuals

Obama believes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Obama ‘08 Campaign Flyer.


(J)udicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations. We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.” Obama on Judges, Supreme Court, MSNBC, July 17, 2007.

Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006) and John Roberts (September, 2005) for the Supreme Court.


Pro-Abortion payback?

Dawn Johnsen, former NARAL legal director, nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Legal Counsel.

Ellen Moran, named White House communications director. Emily’s List is a national political action committee that only supports female candidates who favor taxpayer funded abortions and oppose a partial-birth abortion ban.

Melody Barnes, former Emily’s List board member, named director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Thomas Perrelli, the lawyer who represented Terri Schiavo’s husband Michael in his efforts to starve his wife to death, as associate attorney general.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Joe Biden

by Family Research Council

January 18, 2009

POSTION: Vice President of the United States of America

NOMINEE: Joseph Biden

Born: Scranton, PA, November 20, 1942

Family: Wife, Jill Tract Jacobs, and four children.

Occupation: Vice President of the United States January 20, 2009; U.S. Senator for the state of Delaware, January 3, 1973 - January 15, 2009

Education: Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968

Chairmanships in Congress: Foreign Relations: January 2007-2009/June, 2001 - January, 2003/January 3, 2001 - January 20, 2001. Judiciary: January, 1987 - January, 1995.


On Roe v. Wade

I strongly support Roe v. Wade… That’s why I led the fight to defeat Bork, Roberts Alito, and Thomas.” 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, MSNBC April 26, 2007.

On protecting the unborn child or minors in cases of abortion

Voted against defining the unborn child as eligible for SCHIP: Amends the definition of the term “targeted low-income child” to provide that such term includes the period from conception to birth, for eligibility for child health assistance. S.Amdt. to S.ConRes.70, Senator Allard Amendment, Roll Call 08-S81, March 14, 2008.

Voted against stopping ne’er-do-well adults taking minors across state lines for an abortion: S.Amdt 4335 to S.Con.Res. 70, Roll Call 08-S71, March 13, 2008.

Voted against parental notification of minors who get out-of-state abortions: S.403, Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Roll Call 06-216, July 25, 2006.

Voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act: Bill makes it a criminal offense to harm or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime. S.1019/H.R. 1997, Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Roll Call 04-63, March 25, 2004.

Voted for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban: S. 1692, Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Roll Call 99-340, October 21, 1999 (He did not vote on the one that became law in the 108th Congress.)

On taxpayer funding

Voted for increasing taxpayer funding for destructive embryonic stem cell experimentation: S.5/H.R. 3, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Roll Call 07-127, April 11, 2007.

Voted for increasing funding to Planned Parenthood and similar clinics by $100 million: S.Amdt. 244 to S.Con.Res 18, Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services, Roll Call 05-75, March 17, 2005.

Voted for taxpayer funding of abortions on military bases: S. 2549, Roll Call 00-134, June 20, 2000.

Voted against banning human cloning: Motion to proceed for S. 1601, Roll Call 98-10, February 11, 1998.

NOTE: Senator Biden co-sponsored the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the 102nd and 103rd Congresses but has not since. FOCA would overturn hundreds of state laws on the books that limit abortion.


Voted against the Marriage Protection Amendment: S.J.Res. 1, Roll Call 06-163, June 7, 2006.

Vote for the Defense of Marriage Act: H.R. 3396, Roll Call 96-280, September 10, 1996.

Voted in favor of the Federal Hate Crimes Act: Thought crimes amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization that would establish federal “hate crimes” for certain violent acts based on the actual or perceived race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation of any person. S. Amdt. 3035, Roll Call No. 07-350, September 27, 2007.

For allowing gays in the military: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College June 3, 2007.


When I got to the United States Senate and went on the Judiciary Committee as a young lawyer, I was of the view … that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was - had been a good student. … [I]t took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference. That’s why I led the fight against Judge Bork.” Vice presidential debate between Democratic Senator Joe Biden and Republican Governor Sarah Palin. The debate was moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006), John Roberts (September, 2005) and Clarence Thomas (October, 1991) for the Supreme Court.


Voted against confirming Samuel Alito (January, 2006), John Roberts (September, 2005) and Clarence Thomas (October, 1991) for the Supreme Court.

100% in the Planned Parenthood Scorecard for the 109th Congress.

78% in the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard for the 109th Congress.

0% in the FRCAction Scorecard for the 110th Congress.

Was named a Face for the Future by Time magazine in his freshman senatorial year - in 1974

Joe Biden’s Greatest Hits

The vice president-elect has a reputation for being a lightning rod for controversy due to his penchant of speaking before thinking

His campaign imploded when he was caught plagiarizing from British Labour Party head Neil Kinnock. Rhetorical Question by Michael Crowley, New Republic, October 22, 2001

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” Senator Joe Biden on Senator Barack Obama

In a June 2006 appearance in New Hampshire, the senator commented on the growth of the Indian-American population in Delaware by saying, “You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I’m not joking.” SOURCE

Better than everybody else. You don’t know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state is the eighth largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a northeast liberal state,” Biden describing how a Northern liberal could compete in the South.

I have a record. The good news and the bad news is that I have a record. I have a bad reputation of saying what I think, but I’m going to continue to do that.” Sept. 24, 2007, appearing on The View.

On Rudy Giuliani: “Probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency… There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11.” Oct. 30, 2007, at a Democratic debate.

Senator Biden on Senator Obama’s foreign policy experience:

If the Democrats think we’re going to be able to nominate someone who can win without that person being able to table unimpeachable credentials on national security and foreign policy, I think we’re making a tragic mistake.”

It’s a well-intentioned notion he has, but it’s a very naive way of thinking (sending troops into Pakistan) how you’re going to conduct foreign policy. Having talking points on foreign policy doesn’t get you there.”

I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.” SOURCE

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America’s Inauguration: A Retrospective—John F. Kennedy: “Ask not…”

by Robert Morrison

January 18, 2009


January 20, 1961

Washington is a city of northern charm and southern efficiency,” said John F. Kennedy about the nation’s capital. The city’s southern efficiency had never been so much needed as the night before the charming northerner took the oath as President. The city had been blanketed with eight inches of snow the night before the Inauguration. The army, city employees and 1,700 Boy Scout volunteers moved stranded cars, shoveled paths, and swept snow off the Inaugural stands.

At noon on that frigid Friday, the temperatures stood at just twenty-two degrees. The brilliant mid-winter sun glinted off the snow, almost blinding the frail poet Robert Frost as he tried to read his tribute to America. Boston’s Cardinal Cushing offered a lengthy invocation—the first time a Roman Catholic prelate could pray for a new President of his own faith. During the Cardinal’s prayer, the lectern actually caught fire.

When John F. Kennedy rose to take the oath from Chief Justice Earl Warren, the white-haired jurist was administering the historic words to the youngest man ever elected the nation’s Chief Executive. Watching the vigorous Kennedy that day, hatless, coatless in the cold, his forefinger jabbing the air as clouds of breath steamed forward, few would dream that Warren would write the multi-volume report that tried to quell public doubts about Kennedy’s death by assassination in less than three years time.

This day, though, was all ruffles and flourishes. Kennedy the liberal Democrat was determined to show that he could be as strong in standing up to communist tyranny as the old warrior, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had been. To a listening world, he vowed: “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Summoning Americans to a long twilight struggle, he challenged his people: “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

Americans were stirred and thrilled by his words. They nodded in agreement when he said: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” No one complained about Kennedy’s violating the separation of church and state. No one called him divisive. All Americans believed his words then. Have we stopped believing them?

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America’s Inauguration: A Retrospective—Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The Only Thing We Have to Fear…”

by Robert Morrison

January 17, 2009


March 4, 1933

Not since Abraham Lincoln’s first Inauguration in the secession winter of 1860-61 had a President come to power in such a crisis atmosphere. President Herbert Hoover was thoroughly thrashed in the 1932 election. He won just six states (out of forty-eight) and a mere 59 Electoral Votes. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Governor of New York, had racked up an invincible 472 Electoral Votes. Roosevelt’s mandate was deep and broad. His fellow Democrats had rolled over their opponents in elections for Congress, Governorships, state legislatures. There were even candidates for Recorder of Wills in Sleepy Eye County, Minnesota who were eager to grasp FDR’s coattails.

As the winter deepened, so did the economic crisis. President Hoover was increasingly desperate. Banks were failing daily. The government had to put armed guards on U.S. Mail Trucks. Then, just days before the Inauguration, the President-elect faced an assassination attempt while riding in an open car in Miami. FDR was unhurt, but he calmly ordered the Secret Service to take the mortally wounded Mayor of Chicago to a hospital.

When Roosevelt finally took the oath in Washington, all eyes in the nation were on him.

His rich baritone rang out: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” His words were like an electric charge running through the country.

Many of his policies were wrong. Many failed. Still, Roosevelt’s indomitable confidence, his commanding presence, his unquestionable courage are what made millions of Americans love and support him. They honor his memory to this day.

FDR’s confidence was not in himself alone. He concluded his inspiring address with these words: “We humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.”

Thus did the nation’s most liberal President conclude this First Inaugural Address. He alone would deliver three more Inaugurals.

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The God of Gene Robinson’s Understanding

by Peter Sprigg

January 17, 2009

The homosexual Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson will offer a prayer at a pre-inauguration event at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. Here’s part of what he told National Public Radio about his preparation (thanks to David Brody of CBN for this link.):

Robinson: I have actually read back over the inaugural prayers of the last 30 or 40 years and frankly I’ve been shocked at how aggressively Christian they are. And my intention is not to invoke the name of Jesus but to make this a prayer for Christians and non-Christians alike. Although I hold the scripture to be the word of God, those scriptures are holy to me and Jews and Christians, but to many other faith traditions they have their own sacred texts. And so rather than insert that and really exclude them from the prayer by doing so, I want this to be a prayer to the god of our many understandings and a prayer that all people of faith can join me in.


NPR Host: The god of many understandings?

Robinson: “Yes. I was treated for alcoholism three years ago and grateful to be sober today. And one of the things that I’ve learned in 12 step programs is this phrase, ‘the god of my understanding’. It allows people to pray to a God of really many understandings. And let’s face it, each one of us has a different understanding of God. No one of us can fully understand God or else God wouldn’t be God.”

NPR Host: I’m not sure that a God of many understandings has been invoked at an inauguration before?

Robinson: Well, I’ve done a lot of things for the first time in my life and I will be proud to do this one.

Let me note a couple of things here. Robinson says he is shocked at how aggressively Christian” inaugural prayers” of the last 30 or 40 years” have been. Forty years ago would have been the inauguration of Richard Nixon, which was probably the first inauguration I ever watched, and I think I’ve watched all but two of them (when I was overseas) since. I haven’t actually done the research Robinson has, but I don’t remember any as “aggressively Christian.” My impression is that prayers at such events tend to be blandly, generically monotheistic, while perhaps also being “aggressively” patriotic. Giving an altar call would be “aggressively Christian.” Simply praying “in Jesus’ name,” or quoting from the Bible, is not.

Secondly-does it strike anyone else as odd that a Christian clergyman, a bishop no less, takes his theology from a twelve-step program? Such programs have helped a lot of people, and I’m glad Bishop Robinson got help for his alcoholism-but didn’t the man ever go to seminary? A Christian seminary, even?

Robinson is right in a certain sense when he says, “No one of us can fully understand God or else God wouldn’t be God.” But Christians believe that our own incapacity as finite humans to figure out God on our own is the very reason why God took the initiative to reveal himself to us, both in the person of Jesus and in the words of Scripture. That’s where Christian theology goes beyond the twelve-step theology.

With that said, though, Bishop Robinson seems to be mis-applying even the twelve-step theology. The idea is for each individual to pray to “the god of my understanding.” That is not the same as one individual praying to “a God of many understandings,” which is what Robinson is pledging to do.

I would submit that when a Christian clergyman prays at a public event “in Jesus’ name,” he is doing exactly what the twelve-step program calls for-praying to the “[G]od of [his] understanding.” It is those who would deny him that right-not the Christian clergyman-who are guilty of the worst form of intolerance.

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In Praise of Kevin Martin

by Tony Perkins

January 16, 2009

Kevin Martin has proven himself to be an unwavering ally for families throughout his tenure at the Federal Communications Commission. He has crossed party lines to protect consumers and families from indecent and obscene programming. He has never hesitated to go up against corporations and networks when necessary.

Martin consistently demonstrated a genuine concern for the impact of telecommunications on the family. I thank him for safeguarding the public’s right to make the airwaves suitable for viewing and listening. It is our hope that Julius Genachowski, Obama’s pick to head the FCC, follows in Martin’s footsteps and continues this commitment to the American people.”

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Robert Gibbs

by Michael Leaser

January 16, 2009


NOMINEE:  Robert Gibbs

Born:  March 29, 1971 in Auburn, Alabama

Occupation: Political consultant, most recently the communications director for Senator Barack Obama and Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign

Family: Married, one child

Education: B.A., North Carolina State University (majored in political science), graduated cum laude

Career: Robert Gibbs has spent his career working as a communications specialist in the campaigns of various politicians. Prior to becoming involved in Obama’s presidential campaign, he served as the communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He served as the campaign spokesman for Fritz Hollings in 1998 and was the press secretary for Representative Bob Etheridge. He was John Kerry’s press secretary during his 2004 presidential campaign. He has worked with Obama since 2004.

On Homosexual “Marriage”

One of the sponsors of the bill (Illinois Non-Discrimination Bill Senate Bill 2597, formally SB 101, which would give special rights in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of one’s sexual orientation.) is Keyes’ opponent Obama.

Robert Gibbs, spokesman for Obama, said Obama is against discrimination.

While Obama supports laws that guarantee basic rights to same sex couples, including recognition of domestic partnerships, Obama opposes gay marriage.

Our position on gay marriage is the same position held by John McCain and Dick Cheney, who are opposed to gay marriage, but are also opposed to a constitutional amendment that is unnecessary,’ Gibbs said.”  [source (from Senator Obama’s Senate campaign in 2006)]

On Homosexuals in the Military

In a response to a question on the Web site asking whether Obama would get rid of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ‘You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s yes.’

Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, ‘There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy.  So not everything will get done in the beginning but he’s committed to following through” with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military.’” [source]

Quotes about Gibbs:

He’s the last person Barack talks to when he’s thinking about how to handle reporters’ questions,” says Linda Douglass, a campaign spokeswoman. “We call him the Barack Whisperer. He completely understands his thinking and knows how Barack wants to come across.’” [source]

Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire…If I’m wrong, he challenges me. He’s not intimidated by me.” - Barack Obama  [source]

His aggressive communication skills; while close to Mr. Obama, Mr. Gibbs does not always share his boss’s steady temperament, and this has caused dust-ups during the presidential campaign. Mr. Gibbs’s friends say he is working at being calm under pressure, a vital skill for a press secretary who stands at the White House podium as the face of the administration.” - [source]

Quotes by Gibbs:

I’ve always wanted to be in a position where as a staffer I could always speak freely and in an unvarnished way with whoever I was working for…I don’t think you serve somebody well if you don’t feel like you can.”

- On his reputation as one of the few people who can challenge Obama [source]

It was requisitioned for a higher purpose. I have never gotten that back and I never had the illusion that I would.”- On the light blue tie hijacked by Obama for his 2004 convention speech.  [source]

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America’s Inauguration: A Retrospective—Lincoln’s Sacred Effort

by Robert Morrison

January 16, 2009

March 4, 1865

The Capitol dome now finished; it was topped by a 19-foot Statue of Freedom. Those young black men who first muscled that statue into storage were slaves in the District of Columbia. But by the time they hoisted her into position atop the Capitol, they were free. Four long and bloody years had accomplished this much, and so much more. Not all the President’s hearers had come to applaud. John Wilkes Booth can be seen in grainy photographs of the event.

President Lincoln, defying all expectations (including his own), had been powerfully re-elected the previous November. Four years after appealing to “the better angels of our nature” to avoid civil war, 620,000 young Americans had fallen in a war of brother against brother.

Suddenly, at noon on that overcast Inauguration Day, the sun broke thought the clouds. Seeing victory in sight, Lincoln sounded no note of triumph, gave no hint of self righteousness. The war came, he said, and it was a judgment of heaven upon north and south alike. God could have given the victory to either side, many times. But it was not His perfect will. It would be our task, the President said, “to bind up the nation’s wounds.” He continued: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”

The seven hundred and one words of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address have been carved in stone in his memorial. Every American should read them every year. After the ceremony, Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist orator and editor, went to the President’s House. He wanted to shake Lincoln’s hand. He was the first black man invited to a Presidential Inaugural. Barred from entry by an officious policeman, Douglass simply climbed through an open window. Lincoln spotted him in the receiving line and called out to him: “There’s my friend, Douglass.” The President asked for his opinion of the speech, and Douglass replied: “It was a sacred effort.” And so it remains. Just weeks later, Abraham Lincoln would belong to the Ages.

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