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Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

White House ‘Pissed’ Over Advisor’s PR Work

A Daily Beast follow-up to a weekend article in The New York Times asserts that White House staffers got “pissed off” on learning that Anita Dunn, current Obama campaign insider and former White House communications director, also performs PR duties for some clients who have a certain…interest in influencing policy.

The Beast somehow recruited several anonymous stock characters to say very bad things about Mrs. Dunn. Some key quotes:

“It smells.”

“You don’t hear stories about [lobbyists] so obviously exploiting their access.”

“I think she is well over the line.”

Obama himself was “…not aware…of the extent of her firm’s work. I bet he won’t be happy.”

Despite these redundant quips, official White House spokesmen defend Dunn’s dual roles, stating that all involved parties followed—and continue to follow–relevant ethics rules. Dunn’s own nameless colleague at SKDKnickerbocker, which has doubled in size since she left her communications director position in 2009, told Beast reporters that the firm nurtures no conflicts of interest, saying “We’re a public relations not a lobbying firm”, though she did note that the firm gives suggested statements, or “talking points,” to lobbyists for use on behalf of their clients.

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Jay-Z and Beyoncé Can’t Trademark Their Kid’s Name

We’re not quite sure why Jay-Z and Beyoncé  would want to fight a Boston-based wedding planning company for the rights to the phrase “Blue Ivy”. The only possible scenario we can imagine involves a special line of Rocawear for toddlers, but something tells us that’s already a thing (please tell us that’s not already a thing).

At any rate, today The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office let the world’s richest entertainment power couple know that they are not the only people in the world legally allowed to repeat their own child’s name–and that the Massachusetts firm Blue Ivy may continue to operate under the title it has used since 2009.

OK, here’s the backstory: In February the couple sought to trademark their daughter’s name after “fashion designer Joseph Mbeh submitted an application [for] “Blue Ivy Carter NYC” on January 11th, only four days after the child was born”. Shameless!

Mbeh claimed (unconvincingly) that he didn’t plan to use the name himself–he just wanted to pitch his “Blue Ivy” fashion line to Hova and bride while owning the rights to said brand. Hmm…that sounds a little bit like blackmail, no? It’s almost as bad as the toy company that released a pair of dolls named “Sasha and Malia” back in 2009, claiming that the fact that the dolls shared the names of the new President’s daughters was just an incredible coincidence.

Glad that’s all settled, but for the record we’re still a little weirded out by the fact that the pair has “plans to reserve their child’s name for possible use as a brand name for a line of baby-related products, including carriages, diaper bags and baby cosmetics”. Would that plan really work?

Most importantly, we hope Blue Ivy’s delicate ego will survive this unfortunate branding fail.

Inevitable Big Bird Campaign Ad Hits (UPDATED)

Today in Why Did This Take So Long News: The Obama campaign has decided to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s much-discussed Big Bird debate comment in a video ad, and we have to say it’s pretty good!

The ad lists a few notorious financial criminals (Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff, etc.) and implies that Mitt Romney’s adversity to financial regulation would reward the bigwigs who brought our economy down while punishing innocents like everyone’s favorite fluffy yellow…thing.

We don’t really want to get into a debate about whether Obama himself has gone far enough to rein in financial abuses, but it is nice to know that political hacks can make a decent joke from time to time.

UPDATE: Sesame Workshop just released an official response to the ad, noting that it is a non-profit, non-partisan entity and requesting that the Obama campaign stop airing the ad. Score one for consistency!

SNL Can’t Seem to Make Obama Funny

Saturday Night Live” started its new season this week, using omnipresent “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean to boost viewership while showcasing a few new cast members—and a brand new president.

We never really understood where Fred Armisen wanted to take his Obama impressions. He was almost always stiff and uncomfortable in the role, playing the part of straight man while others set up halfhearted jokes around him. We’re glad that media personalities got over their initial aversion to making fun of Obama, but writers and comedians obviously still face a big challenge in trying to make the man funny.

New guy Jay Pharoah has a history of impersonating the president in his stand-up acts, so we’re not surprised to see that he is better when it comes to reproducing Obama’s tics, but on watching his debut we didn’t detect much in the way of, you know, jokes–and Jason Sudeikis’s moronic Mitt Romney is even worse.

Our verdict? It’s still a long way from funny. If Obama does manage to get re-elected, we look forward to four more years of avoiding SNL’s consistently lame impersonations. Agreed?

Brewers to Obama: Where’s the Beer Certificate?

You’ve heard that The White House runs America’s greatest unsung craft beer brewery, right? But did you know that it’s mobile? That’s right, it fits on the campaign bus. Good times!

Well, some jealous ninnies just can’t deal with the President concealing what should obviously be the intellectual property of the American people—they’re demanding that the White House release the recipe for this executive brew, and they’re doing it via online petition! It’s democracy 2.0 at work!

Created in 2011, White House Honey Ale (sounds a little light to us) was the first beer brewed at the request of our current President, who purchased the kit with his own money after embarrassing himself by drinking a Bud Light at the infamous beer summit for some unknown reason that we choose to find offensive.

By the way, Obama isn’t the first significant American to brew at home: Read more

Smooth PR Move: Romney Campaigns with Convicted Drug Trafficker

Most know former governor and perpetual candidate Mitt Romney as a squeaky-clean, upright citizen: Family man, church elder and decorated veteran of the public and private sectors, Romney has never had a sip of alcohol in his life—and he certainly wouldn’t know anything about the shady business that has made Miami one of the nation’s top entry points for illegal drugs like, say, cocaine.

Despite all this, the Romney campaign made a bit of a PR miscalculation yesterday by holding an event at a juice shop owned by a convicted drug trafficker.

We certainly understand why local businessman and Romney supporter Reinaldo Bermudez would not be a big fan of government regulations: He received a three-year federal prison sentence in 1999 for his admitted role in a 12-man smuggling ring caught attempting to sneak a ton of cocaine into three south Florida ports. Romney’s people apparently thought this was all good: Bermudez told the Miami New Times blog that the campaign and the Secret Service “absolutely knew about my record.” He even took a moment to wax philosophical, noting that “…there are a lot people with money who have had problems with the law,” but “Everybody deserves a second chance.”

Can’t disagree there, but we have to wonder whether Romney’s team truly thought local and national media outlets would ignore this tawdry detail. Read more

Political Gaffes Adding to the News Clutter

So the Mitt Romney team is trying to pull a Bieber. When his app’s epic fail became a trending topic on Twitter (spelling “America” “Amercia”), his team set up a promoted tweet so that everyone searching for the gaffe would see a tweet from @MittRomney stating, “.@BarackObama is spending your tax dollars to create jobs. How’s he doing? Solyndra isn’t even half the story mi.tt/Ko291P.” Trying to be all social media savvy.

Romney is the official GOP nominee, so now things are getting serious. Or maybe not, to the dismay of some. But really, they are. And the noise has gotten so loud that these sorts of gaffes become a very large speed bump in campaign progress.

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Obama Campaign Video Hits Romney Over Trump Fundraiser

Ugh. Donald Trump again. Why? Mitt Romney. Blame Romney.

Mitt Romney, who will be the official GOP candidate for President as of today, is throwing a Las Vegas fundraiser with Donald Trump. A man who continues to say out loud that the President was not born in the U.S. Donald Trump is a horrible man. And the Democrats want you to know that Romney associates happily with this horrible man. So they’ve released the clip above, juxtaposing Romney with prior GOP presidential candidate John McCain, who rejected supporters that said such things.

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Mayor Cory Booker Facing Backlash Over Inoffensive Comments

Newark Mayor Cory Booker made some pretty benign statements on Meet The Press yesterday and today it’s the big political story.

After MTP host David Gregory showed a clip of an Obama ad that debuted last week in which steel workers say Bain Capital is responsible for the shutdown of the mill they worked for, Gregory opened the discussion to the roundtable, which included Mayor Booker. Throughout his comments Mayor Booker talks up the accomplishments of President Obama’s administration, the support that his policies have generated, and the need for President Obama to emphasize his positive record.

But he also said he’s not going to “indict” public equity, doesn’t completely bash Bain Capital, and says that the negative campaigning on both sides is “nauseating” to him and now he’s the “surrogate from hell” for the Obama administration.

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Obama Campaign Follows Same-Sex Marriage Endorsement With Outreach

This evening, we got an email from President Barack Obama with the subject line “Marriage” that starts with:

“Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:
I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.”

The email includes a link to the Obama/Biden website, where his stance on same-sex marriage is front and center, along with a fundraising appeal, video from today’s interview, and the entirety of that email message. According to Lawrence O’Donnell, speaking this evening on The Last Word, the Obama campaign raised $1 million in the 90 minutes after the ABC News interview with Robin Roberts aired.

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