Beltway Insider: Obama Hosts PM Trudeau; Turkey/Ivory Coast Attacks; Election 2016; Reagan Funeral

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President Obama welcomed the newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and his family to the White House for the first state visit in nearly two decades.

According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week, decreased one percentage points to 50% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President also remained constant at 46%.

Obama Hosts Prime Minister Trudeau

President Obama rolled out the red carpet the Canadian Prime Minister and his family as the two leaders held a bilateral meeting covering the top tier issues that affect, jointly, the two nations.

Trudeau, the son of former Canadian Prime Minster, and career politician, Pierre Trudeau who held the same office for fifteen years, is very much a world leader with similar beliefs, concerns and campaigns as much of the civilized world.

The United States and Canada have many common interests and goals. The two nations share the largest bi-lateral economic relationship and a 5,000-mile border, which is also the largest in the world.

Prime Minster Trudeau's ideals are very close to those set forth in the G7 Agenda and include climate change, a dedication to the eradication of terrorism and a dismantling and ultimately a complete destruction of the Islamic State organization.

"The President and I have announced today that we'll take ambitious action to reduce methane emissions nearly by half from the oil and gas sector, reduce use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons, and implement aligned greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, amongst other plans to fight climate change. We also announced a new partnership aiming to develop a sustainable economy in the Arctic.  This partnership foresees new standards based on scientific data, from fishing in the high seas of the Arctic, as well as set new standards to ensure maritime transport with less emissions.  The partnership will also promote sustainable development in the region, "Prime Minister Trudeau said.

First Ladies Commit to Gender Equality

Prior to the State Dinner the two first ladies held a press conference and both pledged career commitments to gender equality.

 "Canada truly understands that gender equality and gender empowerment is a priority.  Canada truly understands that girls and women who have access to a safe and high-quality education is a priority.  And as the First Lady said so well, Canada knows that for a society to be prosperous and more just and more peaceful, women and girls must be educated.  And an educated young girl becomes an educated young mother, or mentor, or friend, professional.  That makes for an educated society, and an educated society makes for a more peaceful and just place to be and to grow in," said Mrs. Gregoire-Trudeau.

State Dinner

President Obama and the First Lady also hosted a state dinner for the Prime Minister, his wife Sophie Gregoire and their children. The State Dinner was attended by noted members of the arts, business and political circles as well as members of the President's cabinet.

Trudeau addressed President and the First Lady's daughters, Malia and Sasha, who were also in attendance with a sympathetic understanding of their unique position and comradery of days past.

Turkey Bombings/Ivory Coast Attack

A massive car bomb exploded in the Turkish capital of Ankara killing 34 and wounding 125, in an area often targeted by ISIS and other terrorists hoping to disrupt the peace and forward movement of the government toward.

The Ankara bombing occurred Sunday night near a well-traveled transportation and commercial hub. Video of the blast show the seconds before detonation, and then chaos as shrapnel, metal and a vivid orange fireball erupts.

The evening CCTV camera position shows three cars passing two large local commuter buses, and then one vehicle slowing. The video isn't clear if the slowed car detonated or if the buses were struck from a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, off camera setting off the catastrophic explosion.

Turkish police have indicated two of the 34 dead were the perpetrators. The position of the blast site, a local park and high pedestrian traffic commuter hub and the site of previous bombings.

This is the second blast in less than a month targeting the Ankara's main square, Kizila. The first killed 29 and Sunday's blast added 34 dead, 125 injured, 19 seriously.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan remains committed to the fight against ISIS and terror. His nation remains firm in its commitment to the 60 nation coalition and determination to destroy the Islamic State organization.

World leaders have condemned the blasts. UK Prime Minster David Cameron through Twitter indicted he was "appalled by the devastating terror attacks in Ankara and the Ivory Coast."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, someone familiar with the brutality of terrorist attacks from within, voiced solidarity with the people of Turkey and the fight for freedom.

State Department Spokesperson John Kirby also condemned the attacks.

James Larsen, the Australian Ambassador to Turkey, barely escaped the Turkish blast. The Ambassador was driving near ground zero of the explosion. He was injured by shrapnel. He has released information indicating the blast was like a bomb going off in the middle of one of Sydney's or Melbourne's busiest streets.

October 2015, days before an election pro-Kurdish rebels detonated a bomb during a noon day rally killing 95.  

Ivory Coast

Militants stormed the Hotel L'etoile de Sud, a popular beach resort on the Ivory Coast killing an unknown number of vacationing westerns and locals. Media reports indicated at least four westerners are among the dead. The death toll released as 16, is expected to rise.

Witnesses who captured the attack on video, indicated the terrorist were heavily armed and wearing balaclava.  The video posted by Souleymane Kaagate on Facebook shows people fleeing the beach area.

The attacks which occurred simultaneously as the Ankara Turkey car bomb has been attributed to Al-Qaeda. The beach littered with ammunition clips and grenades represent the intended end the terrorist prepared for those at the popular resort.

Also Beltway Insider: Obama/Syrian Cease Fire; North Korea; Iran; SCOTUS; Election 2016; Nancy Reagan 

Election 2016 - Trump Cancels Chicago Rally; Clinton, Sanders Battle Continues; Rubio's Last Stand

Republican front runner, Donald J. Trump has taken the steam out of his rivals campaigns simply by being himself and bringing an alienating, verging on supremacy, rhetoric to the podium at each and every stop.

With violence breaking out at three recent rallies, Trump is continuing to cement a brand that condones violence, if necessary. Of the five states casting ballots Tuesday, violence has resulted in the cancellation of a Chicago Rally; Secret Service intervention in Ohio and an elderly citizen punching a protester in North Carolina.

Trump has done, essentially, what no other candidate has been able to do and that is unite the GOP and even the liberal media, to find a qualified Republican candidate. The New York Times has offhandedly endorsed Ohio Governor John Kasich as the most qualified and balanced among the contenders. 

With key winner take all states that could put Trump on the fast track to securing the nomination leading to a brokered convention, and one hot Cleveland Summer, upcoming this Tuesday the Ohio Governor could take some of the momentum out of Trump's campaign simply by urging the constituency of his home state, where he is popular, to vote for him. Hopefully Ohioans will pick up the mantle and prove, to the Donald and others, loyalty runs deep.

Florida is also a winner take all state. Marco Rubio, in his quest for the nomination has won two states and has proportionately received delegates by maintaining strong showings in the others, is facing his last stand. A win in his home state, would keep him in third place and in the race. More importantly it would keep 99 delegates out of Trump's win column.

Citizens React to Inciting Rhetoric

The recent rash of violence at Trump campaign stops has become a topic of Sunday Morning Political talk shows as Trump defends the violence.

Trump, whose larger than life presence is his biggest ally, has yet to define himself on the issues. With his vast wealth, and apparent popularity among the disgruntled and disenfranchised American who have witnessed a downfall in foreign and domestic agendas, who probably can't define their own positions on the issues either, wisdom would have campaign spend allotted to those who are issue experts and begin memorizing the talking points and responses.

Violence and bullying can only carry the Republican candidate so far. Sooner or later he will need to have the specs, basically, on the issues and have a team in place that can navigate without alienating or his "Make American Great Again" plan will result in Washingtonian gridlock.

March 15 – By the Numbers

Tuesday, March 15, is a huge day in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Not Considered Super Tuesday, this 15th brings a total of 1,058 pledged delegates across both parties. If the 102 unpledged delegates, or superdelegates, are added in, the total rises to 1,160.

Five states go to the pools this Tuesday, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri. One territory, the Northern Mariana Islands vote on the Republican side and Saturday for the Democrats.

On the Democratic Side March 15 has a total of 691 delegates available across five states Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. None of the states are "Winner Take All." The big delegate prizes include Florida, Illinois and Ohio with delegates awarded proportionally.

Delegate totals for the Republican candidates are Trump leads with 459; Cruz, 360; Rubio, 152 and Kasich with 54.

Former Secretary of State Clinton heading into Tuesday has been earned 1,223 total (762 pledged + 461 superdelegates) and Senator Sanders 574 total (549 pledged + 25 superdelegates).

Clinton, Sanders Press On

Presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and challenger Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are each pressing on as Tuesday's tallies, win or lose, will add exponentially to the total delegates.

While the battle may not appear as epic between Clinton and Sanders, the recent upset in Michigan, which had all the makings of an epic photofinisher something that has happened between these two before, has breathed a second wind into Bernie Sanders as he touts a major upset, in a highly diverse state.

It is doubtful that Mrs. Clinton can be stopped and while she may want to win every state Tuesday, Missouri seems to be the most questionable.   

Nancy Reagan Funeral

The funeral for former First Lady, Nancy Reagan was held Friday in Simi Valley, California after lying in repose for two days in which the people of California, where the Reagans were first elected to public office, paid their respects.

Firefighters, Reagan Library employees and volunteers and private citizens lined the route Mrs. Reagan traveled on her final journey to the Reagan Public Library where she would be laid to rest beside her husband.  

Escorted by her former Secret Service detail who carried the mahogany casket, draped with beautiful white lilies in a funeral she planned down to the smallest of details went off without a hitch. Her children, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan spoke. The Marine Corp band played Battle Hymn of the Republic.

In attendance were First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Laura Bush, former First lady Roslyn Carter and former First Lady and presumptive democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Also in attendance were Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and former First lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The daughters of President Johnson, Ms. Lynda Johnson and Ms. Luci Baines Johnson, attended as did Mr. Steven Ford, the son of the late President Gerald Ford and Ms. Tricia Nixon Cox, the daughter of the late President Richard M. Nixon.

California Governor Jerry Brown and former California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Members of the late President's cabinet including James A. Baker, Newt Gingrich and former Prime Minster of Canada Brian Mulroney also attended.

Former ABC Nightly News Anchor Diane Sawyer and News Anchor Katie Couric both attended.

Celebrities including Anjelica Huston, Tom Selleck and Mr. T, a combatant with Mrs. Reagan in the Reagan Administrations War on Drugs attended as his entertainer Wayne Newton.

SCOTUS – Search for a Supreme Court Justice Nominee

President Obama has continued to define his position on finding the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia which remains the same and nominees should be forthcoming.

"With respect to the Supreme Court: I want somebody who is an outstanding jurist, who has impeccable legal credentials, who, by historical standards, would not even be questioned as qualified for the Court," President Obama said.

"Our strategy is simply that the President will fulfill his constitutional responsibility and we're going to appeal to members of the United States Senate that they should put their constitutional responsibility ahead of any sort of political calculation that their party leaders may be making," Earnest said.

For more information on President Barack Obama:



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