In State of the Union address, Obama asks leaders to ‘fix our politics’
In his final State of the Union address, President Obama called on leaders to “fix our politics.” “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency — that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” he said.
Mostly eschewing the proposals and policies he would pursue in his final year in office, he instead launched a defense of his record and returned to the lofty rhetoric of his campaigns, saying he wanted “to focus on the next five years, 10 years, and beyond.” He called fears about the decline of America‘s economy or military power “political hot air,” and cautioned against demonizing Muslims. He also worked in a few jokes, opening his speech to Congress with, “I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.” Reuters via The Week
Iran has released all 10 American Navy sailors
On Wednesday, Iranian state media reported that all 10 U.S. Navy sailors taken custody on Tuesday have been freed. Iran picked up the nine men and one woman after their two Riverine boats drifted into Iranian waters, then held them overnight at a base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.
Iran originally accused the 10 sailors of “trespassing” and suggested they might have been spying on Iran, but later Gen. Ali Fadavi, the naval chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said in a statement that Iran’s “investigations show the two U.S. Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters due to a broken navigation system.” Reuters
In the Republican response to the State of the Union, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) said that while “Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone,” and said Republicans need to “recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership.”
Haley said that Obama’s record “has fallen far short of his soaring words,” but added that Republicans “need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken. And then we need to fix it.”
If a Republican was in the White House, she said, taxes would be lower, innovation would be encouraged, and “good jobs would be available across the country.” In what was a likely swipe against presidential candidate Donald Trump, Haley also said “there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.
Some think you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That’s just not true. The best thing can be to turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter you can actually hear what someone else is saying, and that can make a world of difference.” Fox News
It was a deft strike at the heart of Turkey’s culture and its multibillion-dollar tourist industry. The suicide bombing on Sultanahmet Square Tuesday killed 10 foreign nationals — at least eight of them German citizens. It was the deadliest attack on Germans abroad in more than 13 years.
As the people of Istanbul began to regroup Wednesday, Turkey’s Prime Minister promised that the nation’s resolve to fight terror remains unchanged. “We will continue our fight against terrorism with the same resolve and will never take a step back,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, according to Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency. “We will never compromise, not one single inch.”
As if to underscore the point, Turkey detained 68 terror suspects in sweeps across seven provinces, Anadolu reported Wednesday. CNN
Two new political surveys in the U.S. show that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has moved ahead of the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in both of the states where voting is set to start next month.
Sanders, who describes himself as an independent socialist Democrat, is edging Clinton in Iowa, a middle-of-the-country farm state, by 49 to 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Iowa Democrats released Tuesday.
Iowa voters — both Democratic and Republican — are holding party presidential caucuses February 1, the start of the lengthy state-by-state contests to pick party nominees for November’s national election.
In New Hampshire, a rural state in the northeastern U.S. where party primary elections are scheduled February 9, the latest Monmouth University poll showed Sanders soaring to a 53 to 39 percent advantage over Clinton. VOA news
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