OBAMA PLAN: FUNDRAISE, THEN PAR­DON TUR­KEY

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

Ah, the glit­ter­ing White House fundrais­ing amid po­lit­i­cal dis­cord: we’re talk­ing seven events in 48 hours to raise money for Demo­cratic law­mak­ers gear­ing up for the 2014 midterms. Pres­i­dent Obama de­parted the na­tion’s cap­i­tal Sun­day, bound for a pair of fundrais­ers in Seat­tle. But, hey, a West Coast visit al­ways in­cludes Cal­i­for­nia, and Mr. Obama jets South on Mon­day to head­line the mon­ey­mak­ers.

The pres­i­dent ar­rives in San Fran­cisco for two Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee events in the morn­ing, tick­ets priced from $1,000$15,000 each. By af­ter­noon, it’s on to Los An­ge­les, first to the home of bas­ket­ball great Magic John­son, tick­ets $2,500-$15,000 per per­son. Then it’s over to Bev­erly Hills for din­ner with bil­lion­aire Haim Sa­ban and friends, tick­ets at $16,200 each. A visit to the home of TV’s “Friends” cre­ator Marta Kauff­man fol­lows, tick­ets $32,400 each.

Dead­line Hol­ly­wood cor­re­spon­dent Do­minic Pat­ton, who has been track­ing the events, ex­pects the fi­nal fundraiser to be “small­ish,” but bring in $1 mil­lion. “The pres­i­dent will take di­rect ques­tions for an hour or so from the big-money ticket buy­ers,” Mr. Pat­ton says.

Mr. Obama will make it back to Wash­ing­ton in time to par­don the White House Thanks­giv­ing tur­key early Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. The hand­some bird from Badger, Minn., has got­ten some Hol­ly­wood-style coach­ing of his own from his owner and Na­tional Tur­key Fed­er­a­tion Chair­man David Burkel, who has of­fered the gob­bler point­ers on photo-ops, me­dia hub­bub and par­don­ing pro­to­cols.

The bird in ques­tion and his of­fi­cial al­ter­nate left Min­nesota on Sun­day for the 1,500-mile jour­ney to the White House, com­fort­ably en­sconced upon cedar shav­ings in the back of a van. They will lux­u­ri­ate in an un­named ho­tel nearby and ul­ti­mately re­tire to a Vir­ginia farm in the af­ter­math of the cer­e­mony, a har­mo­nious des­tiny not with­out crit­i­cism from Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals. The ac­tivists con­demn Mr. Obama’s par­don­ing as “pimp­ing for poul­try producers.” Don­ald Trump and House Speaker John A. Boehner, who has been deemed “ba­si­cally an orange traf­fic cone at this point,” in this in­ef­fec­tual hall of fame. Mr. Obama is No. 17 on the ros­ter. “I have spent the ma­jor­ity of this man’s pres­i­dency watch­ing bad things hap­pen, then hear­ing a thought­ful speech about how we have to make sure the bad things never hap­pen again, and then watch­ing as noth­ing gets done,” says Drew Ma­gary, who made the de­ter­mi­na­tions.

An­thony D. Weiner is No. 2, while Den­nis Rod­man wins first place by merit of his visit this year to North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un. And about that list. It could have been longer. “The hard­est part for us was keep­ing it to 25,” Mr. Ma­gary ob­serves.

“Cli­mate change is shift­ing the land­scape in the Arc­tic more rapidly than any­where else in the world. While the Arc­tic tem­per­a­ture rise is rel­a­tively small in ab­so­lute terms, its ef­fects are sig­nif­i­cant — trans­form­ing what was a frozen desert into an evolv­ing nav­i­ga­ble ocean, giv­ing rise to an un­prece­dented level of hu­man ac­tiv­ity. Traf­fic in the North­ern Sea Route is re­port­edly ex­pected to in­crease ten­fold this year com­pared to last year,” Mr. Hagel told his au­di­ence.

He went on to speak of stew­ard­ship, safety, bud­get lim­i­ta­tions, fuel ef­fi­ciency, in­ter­na­tional law, diplo­matic en­gage­ment, the “Arc­tic Se­cu­rity Forces Roundtable” and the 27,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel in Alaska. He pre­dicted the new strat­egy would prove ef­fec­tive over decades.

“As Pres­i­dent Obama has said, ‘the Arc­tic re­gion is peace­ful, sta­ble, and free of con­flict.’ Our goal is to help as­sure it stays that way,” Mr. Hagel con­cluded. “Ul­ti­mately, we en­vi­sion a se­cure and sta­ble Arc­tic, where all na­tions’ in­ter­ests are safe­guarded, and where all na­tions work to­gether to ad­dress prob­lems and re­solve dif­fer­ences.”

MIN­NESOTA TUR­KEY FED­ER­A­TION

While Pres­i­dent Obama jets around the West Coast, the of­fi­cial White House Thanks­giv­ing tur­keys are on their way to Wash­ing­ton to be “par­doned”; they ride upon cedar shav­ings in their own van.

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