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October 11, 2012

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Here’s the transcript, via the New York Times:

MARTHA RADDATZ: Good evening, and welcome to the first and only vice presidential debate of 2012, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. I’m Martha Raddatz of ABC News, and I am honored to moderate this debate between two men who have dedicated much of their lives to public service.

Tonight’s debate is divided between domestic and foreign policy issues.

And I’m going to move back and forth between foreign and domestic since that is what a vice president or president would have to do.

We will have nine different segments. At the beginning of each segment, I will ask both candidates a question, and they will each have two minutes to answer. Then I will encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions. By coin toss, it has been determined that Vice President Biden will be first to answer the opening question.

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guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 April 2012 14.24 EDT

White House says president believes he should pay more tax as returns show he and Michelle paid 20.5% on $789,674

The White House has said the president believes he should pay more tax as the release of Barack Obama‘s returns showed he was taxed at a higher rate than his Republican presidential rival, Mitt Romney, last year but below many ordinary Americans.

The president’s joint tax return with his wife, Michelle, released by the White House on Friday, reveals they paid tax at a rate of 20.5% on income of $789,674 in 2011.

The Obamas’ earnings fell by nearly $1m on the previous year as sales of the president’s bestselling books declined. The first couple paid $162,074 in income tax. They also donated a similar amount to 39 charities.

The vice-president, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, paid tax at 23% on income of $379,035.

The release of the returns was politically charged because the president has built part of his re-election campaign around accusing the Republicans of giving millionaires tax breaks paid for by cutting services to the less well off.

The White House has also targeted Romney, who paid tax at less than 15% over the past two years on his multimillion-dollar income from a vast fortune.

Obama has been campaigning for the imposition of the “Buffett rule” that would see those earning more than $1m a year, whether from salary or investments, pay tax at a rate of at least 30%. The rule is named after the business magnate, Warren Buffet, who called for the rich to pay more to the treasury because he said it is wrong that he should be taxed at a lower rate than his secretary.

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The Huffington Post | By Jennifer Bendery  | Posted: 03/15/2012 12:48 pm  Updated: 03/15/2012  1:36 pm

WASHINGTON — In a fiery campaign speech on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden took direct aim at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for advocating that the auto industry go bankrupt instead of the Obama administration bailing it out.

“[Romney] said let Detroit go bankrupt. He said that,” Biden said to boos during a Toledo, Ohio campaign event. “He said what what we propose, and I quote, ‘is even worse than bankruptcy.'”

More telling, he said, is that Republicans like Romney were instead advocating that the private sector come to the aid of the auto industry, something Biden pointed out was never going to happen. He cited as proof the fact that Romney’s own private equity firm did nothing to help out during the crisis.

“Bain Capital wasn’t lining up to give anybody money,” Biden said. Romney said “the market, Wall Street, will help lift them out … Wrong.”

In the end, the administration bailed out the industry and it is now returning to stable footing. Romney said a government bailout “would make GM, quote, ‘the living dead,'” Biden said. “I say to Gov. Romney — his prediction of a living dead — we now have living proof: a million jobs saved.”

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A police officer stands guard in New York's Times Square as the ABC news ticker displays news of an al-Qaida terror threat, Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. Just days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to use a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It is the first "active plot" timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group's 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Officials chase unconfirmed al-Qaida bomb threat

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and KIMBERLY DOZIER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to set off a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It was the first word of an “active plot” timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group’s 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Counterterrorism officials were investigating the threat throughout the night and into Friday, as police in New York and Washington said they would increase their already stepped-up staffing levels in light of the recent intelligence.

Law enforcement officials were pursuing three people who may be traveling to the U.S. or who have recently entered the country, based on the detailed information received by the U.S. intelligence community late Wednesday, officials said. The intelligence suggested that al-Qaida planned to car bomb one of the two cities that were hit 10 years ago.

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that there was no confirmation that anyone had traveled into the U.S. for such a plot although the tip came from a credible source. “There’s no certitude,” he said.

“The thing we are all most worried about is what they call a `lone ranger,’ a lone actor, not some extremely complicated plan like it took to take down the World Trade towers,” said Biden, who appeared on the trio of network morning TV shows Friday.

A U.S. official said the source of the terror tip indicated that al-Qaida’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, was involved in planning the plot. But the official also said that many in the intelligence community question that and other aspects of the source’s information.

The nation’s terror alert level has not changed, but raising it was under consideration Thursday night.

The officials described the threat to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

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Biden Visits Iraq To Mark Formal End To U.S. Combat

LARA JAKES and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA | 08/30/10 11:22 AM | AP

BAGHDAD — Vice President Joe Biden returned to Iraq Monday to mark this week’s formal end to U.S. combat operations and push the country’s leaders to end a six-month postelection stalemate blocking formation of a new government.

Wednesday’s ceremony will signal a shift toward a greater U.S. diplomatic role as the military mission dwindles seven years after the American invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Underscoring the shift, officials said Biden will make a new appeal to Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to end the political deadlock and seat a new government. March 7 parliamentary elections left Iraq without a clear winner, and insurgents have exploited the uncertainty to hammer Iraqi security forces in near-daily attacks.

Biden and al-Maliki will meet Tuesday morning “to discuss the political situation and withdrawal, and Iraqis taking over responsibility for security,” the prime minister’s adviser, Yasin Majeed, told The Associated Press.

It was the vice president’s sixth trip to Iraq since he was elected and, officially, he came to preside over a military change-of-command ceremony. On Wednesday, Gen. Ray Odierno ends more than five years in Iraq and hands over the reins as commander of U.S. forces here to Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin. Austin also has served extensively in Iraq, most recently as commander of troop operations in 2008-09.

But the Sept. 1 ceremony also marks the start of the so-called “Operation New Dawn” – symbolizing the beginning of the end of the American military’s mission in Iraq since invading in March 2003.

Just under 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq – down from a peak of nearly 170,000 at the height of the 2007 military surge that is credited with turning the tide in Iraq as it teetered on the brink of civil war. Additionally, U.S. troops no longer will be allowed to go on combat missions unless requested and accompanied by Iraqi forces.

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The good news is that Obama has canceled his trip to Australia to address the ongoing Health Care fiasco.

The bad news is that Hillary is in Moscow talking to Pootie about Russia’s plan to complete a nuclear power plant in Iran.

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AIPAC Lashes Out At Obama Administration Over Israel Statements

Huff Post- First Posted: 03-15-10 09:21 AM   |   Updated: 03-15-10 09:54 AM

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobbying group, released a statement over the weekend lacing into President Obama for what it calls “escalated rhetoric” on the part of the administration in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for new housing units in East Jerusalem.

“The Obama Administration’s recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State,” according to the statement. “The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests.”

The Israeli plan to add additional housing units in East Jerusalem came during Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip to the region to help jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Even Netanyahu acknowledged the timing of the announcement was “unfortunate.”

Biden sharply criticized the plan during his trip.

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem,” Biden said in a statement last week. “The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel.”

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Biden Condemns Israel’s Approval Of Plan To Build New Settlements In East Jerusalem

Huffington Post/AP First Posted: 03- 9-10 08:37 AM   |   Updated: 03-10-10 02:10 PM

JERUSALEM — Israel approved the construction of 1,600 new homes for Jews in disputed east Jerusalem on Tuesday – a move that immediately clouded a visit by Vice President Joe Biden aimed at repairing strained ties and kickstarting Mideast peace talks.

The Interior Ministry announced the construction plans just as Biden was wrapping up a series of warm meetings with Israeli leaders.

Biden issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon in response:

I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them. This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians. We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world. Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues. As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, “we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.

Relations between Israel and the Obama administration have been chilly precisely because of the settlement issue.

The U.S., like the Palestinians and the rest of the international community, believes that Israeli settlements built on lands claimed by the Palestinians, including east Jerusalem, undermine peace prospects. President Obama has been more outspoken on the issue than his predecessors.

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This Is Starting To Get Dangerous For Us

Fire Dog Lake- By: Spencer Ackerman Friday March 12, 2010 5:37 pm

After being humiliated in Jerusalem over the settlement construction in Ramat Shlomo, Joe Biden tells a closed-door group that Israeli intransigence in the peace process “is starting to get dangerous for us… What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Much more from Laura Rozen, who’s really owned this and should be proud of her work this week. Today Secretary Clinton got in the act. Netanyahu is an obstructionist and it’s good to see the Obama administration remind Israelis that its interests are not abstract things. The truth is it’s not “starting” to get dangerous for us.

My friend Daniel Levy has forgotten more about Israeli politics than I’ll know and he writes that Netanyahu may be the last best hope for the two-state solution. For the life of me I just don’t understand the logic. As best as I can understand, Daniel believes Netanyahu’s obstructionism, combined with statebuilding efforts from Salam Fayyad in the West bank, will strengthen international support for… what? Imposing a solution on Israel?

It’s so easy to be cynical and downtrodden about the prospects for peace and to say that Obama isn’t strong enough and Biden will be content to be bitchslapped in Israel and on and on and on. Maybe Clinton can speak half as bluntly to AIPAC later this month, but I won’t despair if she doesn’t. Because when it comes to Israel/Palestine, it’s tiresome to even talk in terms of hope and other emotional outbursts. There is a cause and a vision and a destination and fuck how hard it is, we have to keep going. Two states, two peoples, no alternatives, no obstructions, no choices, no divergences, nothing else matters. We must run a marathon.

Update: Also, one more fucking thing and then good Shabbos to you. If and when the two-state solution dies and the horrific choice really is the end of a Jewish state or the end of a democratic state, so many writers who wrung their hands over every difficult choice Israel had to make and found it easier to condemn those who urged those difficult choices to be made will suddenly find themselves denouncing the inaction of the past that their irresponsible intellectual choices encouraged.

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Joe Biden Tears Into Dick Cheney On ‘Meet The Press’ (VIDEO)

Huff Po– First Posted: 02-14-10 02:05 AM   |   Updated: 02-14-10 10:32 AM

UPDATE, 10:15 AM ET: See details from Cheney’s interview below.

In a much-anticipated Sunday showdown between Vice President Joe Biden and his predecessor Dick Cheney, Biden has drawn first blood.

Asked to respond to a range of harsh attacks on the Obama administration leveled by Cheney, Biden first gathered himself. “Let me choose my words carefully here,” he told David Gregory in a pre-taped interview for Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

Then Biden let loose with several minutes of his most pointed criticism of Cheney since the 2008 presidential campaign, when Biden claimed that Cheney had “done more harm than any other single elected official in memory in terms of shredding the Constitution.”

Speaking to Gregory, Biden charged at least four times that Cheney was “rewrit[ing] history” with his recent attacks, and declared that President Obama has amassed a success rate in countering terrorism that “exceeds anything that occurred in the last Administration.”

Cheney will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Watch video or read the full transcript below.

TRANSCRIPT & MORE HERE

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Biden: US To Appeal Dismissal Of Blackwater Case

Huffington Post

MATT APUZZO | 01/23/10 09:10 PM | AP

BAGHDAD — The U.S. will appeal a court decision dismissing manslaughter charges against five Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in a deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday.

Biden’s announcement after a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani shows just how diplomatically sensitive the incident remains nearly three years later. A lawyer for one guard, noting that word of the intended appeal came in Iraq, accused the Obama administration of political expediency and said the U.S. was pursuing an innocent man, rather than justice.

Blackwater security contractors were guarding U.S. diplomats when the guards opened fire in Nisoor Square, a crowded Baghdad intersection, on Sept. 16, 2007. Seventeen people were killed, including women and children, in a shooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq.

Biden expressed his “personal regret” for the shooting and said the Obama administration was disappointed by the dismissal. “A dismissal is not an acquittal,” he said.

The U.S. rebuffed Iraqi demands that the U.S. contractors face trial in Iraqi courts. After a lengthy investigation, U.S. prosecutors charged five of the contractors with manslaughter and took a guilty plea from a sixth.

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