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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 01/28/2014 10:35 pm EST  |  Updated: 01/28/2014 10:58 pm EST

Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg received a standing ovation after President Barack Obama told his story during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Remsburg, who sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech, was injured by a roadside bomb during his 10th deployment. Remsburg was in a coma for three months and partially paralyzed. Obama noted in his speech the solider is still blind in one eye and “struggles on his left side.”

“[S]lowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again,” Obama said. “‘My recovery has not been easy,’ he says. ‘Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.'”

“Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit,” Obama continued.

(For more on Remsburg’s story, visit the New York Times.)

The White House tweeted photos from Remsburg’s recovery during the remarks:
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The Huffington Post  |  Posted: 01/28/2014 9:15 pm EST  |  Updated: 01/28/2014 9:59 pm EST

President Barack Obama gave his 2014 State of the Union address on Tuesday. Obama delivered the speech in front of a joint session of Congress.

Below, the full text of Obama’s speech as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.

An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.

A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.

That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people.

As President, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.

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Huff Post

Posted: 07/09/13 EDT

WASHINGTON — As the immigration reform debate begins in earnest in the House, one of the biggest issues is the math. The bill needs 218 votes to pass. Democratic leaders said they think they can convince most of their party’s 201 members to vote in favor. That means they’d need around 20 Republicans to join them. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly insisted he will only allow the House to vote on an immigration reform plan if a majority of Republicans support it.

That would mean finding about 120 Republicans willing to back a plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which former GOP leadership aides said is almost impossible. Somewhere between 50 and 80 is a more realistic number, they said — which means a potentially overwhelming majority of House members in favor of reform.

If it becomes clear that the House has far more votes than needed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the pressure on Boehner to “let the House work its will,” as he’s fond of saying, increases exponentially. That pressure may be the only way to get comprehensive immigration legislation through the House that includes a pathway to citizenship, along with border security and changes to legal immigration and enforcement policies.

HuffPost will be tracking support as the debate goes on. The following count is based on the combined intelligence of several immigration groups and informed House staffers, along with a look at lawmakers’ past votes, public statements and district demographics. It maps out which House members will either support immigration reform or, at the very least, remain quiet on it. If Boehner refuses, as he has said he will, to pass the bill without a majority of Republicans, below are the politicians reformers will try to win over, including some skeptical Democrats and those likely entrenched on either side.

This is not a final count, and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. If your representative has sent you a letter or made a statement on immigration, please email it to us here with “immigration whip count” in the subject line.

SOURCE

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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 07/09/2013 6:15 pm EDT  |  Updated: 07/09/2013 6:26 pm EDT

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is considering going back on the ballot.

In an interview on “The Sean Hannity Show” Tuesday, the 2008 vice presidential candidate indicated she might throw her hat in the ring to become one of Alaska’s U.S. Senators.

“I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it,” Palin said, after Hannity mentioned rumors of a potential Senate run.

“I’m still waiting to see, you know, what the lineup will be and hoping that, there again, there will be some new blood, new energy — not just kind of picking from the same old politicians in the state,” Palin continued.

Palin also took the opportunity to swipe at Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who she believes “has got to be replaced.”

“[Begich] has not done what he has promised to do for the people of Alaska and that was to represent what it is that the nation needs in terms of energy development and so many other … development issues that are near and dear to an Alaskan’s heart,” Palin said. “Because he’s on the wrong side of the aisle, he has to go along to get along with his Democrat leadership. And that’s a shame. That’s a waste of opportunity for our nation.”

Begich, who is up for reelection in 2014, had a 41 percent approval rating among Alaskans as of April. Lieutenant Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller, both Republicans, have declared their candidacies against Begich.

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Huff Post

Posted: 07/09/2013 4:39 pm EDT  |  Updated: 07/09/2013 6:27 pm EDT

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Tuesday that his Democratic caucus members are becoming so frustrated with Republicans blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees that they will again consider whether to invoke the so-called nuclear option to change Senate rules.

“I’m going to have a full meeting with my caucus on Thursday. We’re going to talk about nominations,” Reid said. He did not hint what he would do, but suggested his deliberations were far enough along that the sessions with his members would be decisive.

“I think Thursday, by the time the day’s out, you’ll have a better idea of what we’re going to try to do on this,” Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Senate Democrats had threatened to change rules at the start of the session to make filibusters more difficult, but settled on only mild reforms. At the time, Reid promised not to change the rules for the rest of the Senate session as long as the GOP members conducted themselves in the a less obstructive manner more in keeping with Senate history.

But soon thereafter, Republicans attempted the first-ever filibuster of a defense secretary nominee. They have also slow-walked numerous nominees, subjecting them to hundreds of questions before granting a vote — usually resulting in overwhelming confirmation.

The nuclear option involves using arcane Senate parliamentary procedures to force a simple majority vote, which would than set precedent for similar future votes. Many Democrats feel like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has broken his side of the agreement, and they may be prepared to break theirs.

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Huff Post
Posted: 12/16/2012 10:44 pm EST | Updated: 12/16/2012 11:03 pm EST

President Obama spoke at a prayer vigil in Newton, Connecticut on Sunday in honor of the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Below, read Obama’s full remarks as provided by the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, Governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us: “…do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school; in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight. And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown — you are not alone.

As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate. Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.
We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they’re coming”; “show me your smile.”

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., PARTICIPATE IN A CANDIDATES DEBATE, LYNN UNIVERSITY, BOCA RATON, FLORIDA
OCTOBER 22, 2012
SPEAKERS: FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS.,
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
BOB SCHIEFFER, MODERATOR
[*] SCHIEFFER: Good evening from the campus of Lynn University here in Boca Raton, Florida. This is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign, brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
This one’s on foreign policy. I’m Bob Schieffer of CBS News. The questions are mine, and I have not shared them with the candidates or their aides.
SCHIEFFER: The audience has taken a vow of silence — no applause, no reaction of any kind, except right now when we welcome President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
(APPLAUSE)
Gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. They’ve asked me to divide the evening into segments. I’ll pose a question at the beginning of each segment. You will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment.
Tonight’s debate, as both of you know, comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that President Kennedy told the world that the Soviet Union had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, perhaps the closest we’ve ever come to nuclear war. And it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad.
So let’s begin.
SCHIEFFER: The first segment is the challenge of a changing Middle East and the new face of terrorism. I’m going to put this into two segments so you’ll have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject. The first question, and it concerns Libya. The controversy over what happened there continues. Four Americans are dead, including an American ambassador. Questions remain. What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?
Governor Romney, you said this was an example of an American policy in the Middle East that is unraveling before our very eyes.
SCHIEFFER: I’d like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that.
Governor Romney, you won the toss. You go first.
ROMNEY: Thank you, Bob. And thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening. Thank you to Lynn University for welcoming us here. And Mr. President, it’s good to be with you again. We were together at a humorous event a little earlier, and it’s nice to maybe funny this time, not on purpose. We’ll see what happens.
This is obviously an area of great concern to the entire world, and to America in particular, which is to see a — a complete change in the — the structure and the — the environment in the Middle East.
With the Arab Spring, came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation, and opportunity for greater participation on the part of women in public life, and in economic life in the Middle East. But instead, we’ve seen in nation after nation, a number of disturbing events. Of course we see in Syria, 30,000 civilians having been killed by the military there. We see in — in Libya, an attack apparently by, I think we know now, by terrorists of some kind against — against our people there, four people dead.
Our hearts and — and minds go out to them. Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali by al-Qaeda type individuals. We have in — in Egypt, a Muslim Brotherhood president. And so what we’re seeing is a pretty dramatic reversal in the kind of hopes we had for that region. Of course the greatest threat of all is Iran, four years closer to a nuclear weapon. And — and we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.
But we can’t kill our way out of this mess. We’re going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the — the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism, which is — it’s certainly not on the run.
ROMNEY: It’s certainly not hiding. This is a group that is now involved in 10 or 12 countries, and it presents an enormous threat to our friends, to the world, to America, long term, and we must have a comprehensive strategy to help reject this kind of extremism.
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?
OBAMA: Well, my first job as commander in chief, Bob, is to keep the American people safe. And that’s what we’ve done over the last four years.
We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on those who actually killed us on 9/11. And as a consequence, Al Qaeda’s core leadership has been decimated.
In addition, we’re now able to transition out of Afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that Afghans take responsibility for their own security. And that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. Now with respect to Libya, as I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm’s way; number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened, and number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed Americans and we would bring them to justice. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
But I think it’s important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to, without putting troops on the ground at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq, liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years. Got rid of a despot who had killed Americans and as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying America is our friend. We stand with them.
OBAMA: Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. And, you know, Governor Romney, I’m glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after Al Qaida, but I have to tell you that, you know, your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map and is not designed to keep Americans safe or to build on the opportunities that exist in the Middle East.

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