Senator Rubio Slams Commie-Loving Obama Over Irresponsible Cuba Deal (Video)

Marco Rubio: Cuba Deal Part Of Obama’s ‘Long Record Of Coddling Dictators And Tyrants’ – Business Insider

.

.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) fiercely criticized President Barack Obama on Wednesday for moving to ease US-Cuba relations.

“It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,” Rubio said in a Fox News interview.

Rubio, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, was reacting to the White House’s decision to beginning normalizing relations with the Cuban government following a prisoner swap between the two countries. Like Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who also slammed Obama Wednesday, Rubio warned that the deal will encourage other countries to kidnap Americans.

“It puts a price on every American abroad. Governments now know that if they can take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the United States,” he said.

In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Rubio further said the deal will help the Castro regime in Cuba become “permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.” The US has placed an economic embargo against Cuba since Fidel Castro overthrew the previous government. His brother, Raúl Castro, now leads the country.

“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

.

.
Rubio also released a lengthy statement vowing “to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense. “

View his full statement below:

“Today’s announcement initiating a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba is just the latest in a long line of failed attempts by President Obama to appease rogue regimes at all cost.

“Like all Americans, I rejoice at the fact that Alan Gross will be able to return to his family after five years in captivity. Although he is supposedly being released on humanitarian grounds, his inclusion in a swap involving intelligence agents furthers the Cuban narrative about his work in Cuba. In contrast, the Cuban Five were spies operating against our nation on American soil. They were indicted and prosecuted in a court of law for the crimes of espionage and were linked to the murder of the humanitarian pilots of Brothers to the Rescue. There should be no equivalence between the two, and Gross should have been released unconditionally.

“The President’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable. Cuba’s record is clear. Just as when President Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Castro family still controls the country, the economy and all levers of power. This administration’s attempts to loosen restrictions on travel in recent years have only served to benefit the regime. While business interests seeking to line their pockets, aided by the editorial page of The New York Times, have begun a significant campaign to paper over the facts about the regime in Havana, the reality is clear. Cuba, like Syria, Iran, and Sudan, remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It continues to actively work with regimes like North Korea to illegally traffic weapons in our hemisphere in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It colludes with America’s enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear. But most importantly, the regime’s brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed. Access to information is restricted and controlled by the regime. That is why even more than just putting U.S. national security at risk, President Obama is letting down the Cuban people, who still yearn to be free.

“I intend to use my role as incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense. Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office. As a result, America will be less safe as a result of the President’s change in policy. When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores, it represents a terrible setback for the hopes of all oppressed people around the globe.”

.
————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related articles:

.
Menendez Blasts Obama On Cuba – Philadelphia Inquirer

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), whose parents immigrated from Cuba and who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a blistering critique Tuesday of the Obama administration’s decision to release Cuban spies as the Castro regime freed American Alan Gross from imprisonment.

“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” Menendez said in a news release. “There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation.”

Menendez added, “Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.”

Gross was an American contractor who was serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba. He was trying to bring internet service to the country.

dministration officials have said the simultaneous releases were not part of a “swap” but part of a larger agreement. Menendez was not convinced.

“Let’s be clear, this was not a “humanitarian” act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American,” Menendez said in his statement.

Menendez, a hard-liner on Cuba policy, will give up the gavel on the foreign relations committee in January. He has butted heads with Obama over several foreign policy flare-ups.

He did call Gross’ return “a moment of profound relief for Alan Gross and his family.”

“He should have been released immediately and unconditionally five years ago,” Menendez said. “He committed no crime and was simply working to provide internet access to Cuba’s small Jewish community. His imprisonment was cruel and arbitrary, but consistent with the behavior of the Cuban regime.”

.
————————————————————————————————————————–

.
U.S.-Cuba Policy Overhaul Sends Shockwaves Through Miami Exile Community – Miami Herald

The political ground shook in South Florida on Wednesday when President Barack Obama announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba.

Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community, reacted with a collective shock. Hardline opponents of the Castro regime lambasted the president for what they called a betrayal.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, a Republican whose father was a pilot in the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue mission, called the Democratic president a sellout.

“The Cuban exile community that has made a foundation out of standing firm against the Castro government has been, in essence, sold out,” he told the Miami Herald. “Those that have lost themselves to the straits of Florida, that have drowned, I feel that their memory has been sold out. The Brothers to the Rescue pilots – those American citizens – that were blown up, their memory and their families’ misery has been sold out.”

Maggie Khuly, the sister of Armando Alejandre Jr, one of the four Brothers to the Rescue members shot down, said the families of the failed mission’s victims were outraged.

“I was expecting this, but I can’t believe it,” Khuly told the Herald. “No one [in the federal government] had the decency of telling us anything.”

People across the city tuned in to watch Obama address the nation at noon. In Cuba, Raúl Castro spoke at the same time.

Several people gathered around a television set showing CNN at a waiting room at Doctor’s Hospital in Coral Gables to watch reporting from Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, where a small group of hardliners were protesting. Early on, though, there were more reporters than demonstrators.

Then, Obama spoke.

“Wow. Wow. Wow,” an unidentified woman said when the president finished.

“Maduro is screwed,” said another, referring to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a Castro ally. The crowd remained as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, appeared on the screen and criticized Obama from Capitol Hill.

The day began with the news that Cuba had freed American political prisoner Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds – and that the U.S. would swap three imprisoned Cuban spies in exchange for a U.S. intelligence officer detained on the island.

“We’re giving them a lot of stuff in payment for the exchange of a hostage,” Khuly told the Miami Herald. “What about human rights? It’s just incredible. I’m extremely disappointed in the president.”

Commissioner Bovo also called the move bad precedent.

“I don’t know what that does for other Americans traveling in Venezuela, in Nicarague – name your country – where now, literally, if want to extract something from the U.S., take a prisoner, trump some charges, and send them to jail,” he said.

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a Wednesday morning interview with the Herald that he was on his way to a phone briefing by the White House on the upcoming announcement. He said he didn’t know enough to critique the White House plan, but was critical of normalizing relations.

“The Cuban government hasn’t done anything to deserve this,” said Gimenez, who was born in Cuba. “If it’s going to happen, I hope there will be positive results.”

Miami police said it was monitoring local reaction in case Obama’s announcement drew crowds or protests. Police Chief Manuel Orosa said resources would be deployed as needed “to keep everything under control and let people demonstrate peacefully.”

The department placed all personnel on alert but did not activate any special plans. Orosa said police would pay particular attention to Spanish-language talk radio in case calls go out for rallies, either for or against the policy changes.

Despite criticism of the policy overhaul, there was widespread relief over Gross’s release after five years.

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council issued a statement welcoming Gross, a Washington resident, back to the country. Gross was arrested in December 2009 while working as a subcontractor with the United States Agency for International Development to help a small Jewish community in Cuba.

The statement thanked advocates who signed petitions and wrote letters to elected officials to keep them from forgetting about Gross’s imprisonment.

“We wish Alan Gross a full recovery from the ill health that resulted from his unjust and inhumane incarceration and we send our warmest wishes to his family who has suffered such great distress during this terrible ordeal,” the statement said.

“Last night, Jews around the world kindled the first light of Chanukah, celebrating a historical victory. Tonight, as we kindle the second Chanukah candle, we know it will burn that much brighter for us in gratitude for the release of Alan Gross and for all those who championed his cause for so long.”

Local public figures also applauded Gross’s release.

“On the first day of Hanukkah, #AlanGross is released from a Cuban prison. What a great gift for his family,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, a Cuban-American Democrat, posted to her Twitter account, @KathyFndzRundle.

Annette Taddeo, the former chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, linked to an ABC News story about the release. “Happy #Hannukkah indeed!” wrote Taddeo, who is Jewish, on her account, @Annette_Taddeo.

Miami Herald staff writers Douglas Hanks and Charles Rabin contributed to this report.

.
————————————————————————————————————————–
.

Related videos:

.

.

.

Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu Gets Stomped Like A Bug In Louisiana Runoff Election

Landrieu Loses Reelection Bid In Louisiana To Republican Challenger Cassidy – Fox News

.

.
Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu lost her reelection bid Saturday in a runoff race with Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy, despite a relentless, against-long-odds effort.

Landrieu, who was seeking a fourth term, trailed by double digits and had lost most of her support going into the election. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting late Saturday, Cassidy had received 56 percent of the vote, to 44 percent for Landrieu.

Landrieu barnstormed the state this week, driving some 1,200 miles in a rented SUV, stopping in little towns and bigger cities, making one last appeal to voters to give her another term in Washington.

“There is no quit,” Landrieu said in her concession speech. “It’s been nothing but a joy to serve this state for over 34 years.”

Cassidy’s win extends the GOP’s domination of the 2014 midterm elections that put Republicans in charge of Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Obama’s tenure.

Republicans will hold 54 seats when the Senate convenes in January, nine more than they have now.

“Once again, voters have spoken clearly,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. “They have rejected the Democrat agenda and the Obama-Clinton policies that have produced higher healthcare costs and job-killing regulations.”

The race mirrored contests in other states that Obama lost in 2012, with Landrieu joining Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor in defeat. Democrats ceded seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia after incumbents opted not to run again.

Like victorious Republicans in those races, Cassidy, 57, made his bid more about Obama than about his own vision for the job. An Illinois native and medical doctor, Cassidy made few public appearances during the runoff, seeking to avoid missteps that could change the race.

But in a state where 73 percent of white voters on Nov. 4 told pollsters they “strongly disapproved” of the president, that was enough to prevent Landrieu, 59, from finding her footing. Cassidy also enjoyed a prodigious advertising advantage in the runoff: Of every dollar spent by outside groups during the one-month runoff, 97 cents benefited the congressman.

Landrieu had narrowly led a Nov. 4 primary ballot that included eight candidates from all parties. But at 42 percent, she fell well below her marks in previous races and endured a one-month runoff campaign that Republicans dominated via the airwaves while national Democrats financially abandoned her effort.

In the South, Democrats will be left without a single governor or U.S. senator across nine states stretching from the Carolinas to Texas. The House delegations from the same region are divided almost entirely by race, with white Republicans representing majority-white districts, while majority non-white districts are represented by black or Hispanic Democrats.

Landrieu tried several messages over the course of her losing effort.

Most recently, she had hammered Cassidy as being unfit for the job and interested more in partisanship than helping Louisiana. She directed her most pointed criticism at Cassidy’s medical teaching job with the Louisiana State University hospital system. Calling Cassidy “Dr. Double Dip,” Landrieu suggested the congressman collected a $20,000, taxpayer-funded salary for little or no work, describing gaps and discrepancies in Cassidy’s LSU time sheets. LSU said it’s looking into the time sheet questions.

She argued that the race shouldn’t be about Obama, but also targeted advertising on radio stations geared to the black community, where the president remains popular.

Her anchor argument was that her senatorial seniority was a boon for Louisiana, particularly her chairmanship of the Senate’s energy committee, an important panel for this oil-rich state. But that argument was gutted on Nov. 4 when Republicans won the Senate majority, meaning Landrieu would have lost her post even had she won.

Landrieu, who said a campaign canvasser was fatally struck by a vehicle Saturday, managed last month to get the Democrat-controlled Senate to vote on her bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have helped with voters in oil-rich Louisiana. But the measure failed when she could not get one more Democrat to vote in favor of the plan.

.

.

Husband Of Democrat State Senator From Delaware Caught Red-Handed Stealing GOP Campaign Signs (Video)

Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Husband Of Dem State Senator After GOP Volunteers Catch Him Red-Handed On Video – The Blaze

Police in Middletown, Delaware, issued an arrest warrant for the husband of state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long on Wednesday after he was caught on video allegedly stealing campaign signs put up by Republicans.

The suspect, identified as Dana Armon Long, has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor for theft under $1,500. He faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,300.

On Wednesday, Republican campaign volunteers reportedly set up a camera at the location in Middletown where dozens of their political signs kept disappearing. Some of the signs apparently read, “Fix the Economy! Vote Republican.”

“We got you, brother! We got the license plate, your face, and everything,” one of the volunteers says in the video.

Watch the footage below:

.

.
Hall-Long confirmed that the man caught on video stealing the signs is her husband. She released the following statement on Wednesdsay:

“My husband is the man depicted in the video. The video shows him removing a handful of signs this morning. He turned them over to the Democratic Party and asked that they be returned to the Republican Party about six hours after they were taken up,” she said. “Sadly, this race has become tough and personal. My husband is my high school sweetheart and he loves me very much. I was not aware that he had allowed his frustration over the campaign attacks to get the better of him. Of course I’m disappointed and wish that it had not happened.”

.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is escorted from the Senate Chamber by Sens. Catherine Clutier, left, and Bethany Hall-Long, right, after delivering his state of the state speech Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Gary Emeigh)

.
Republicans in the state also seized on the incident to criticize Democrats.

John Fluharty, executive director of the Deleware GOP, said in a statement: “When you only have a track record of high taxes, unemployment and lower wages for private sector employees to stand on, the Democrats must resort to breaking the law to win elections because they are scared of being held accountable for their dismal performance.”

Long refused to make any comments on the case against him “at the advice of counsel,” according to Delware Online.

.

.

Chicken-Shit Democrat Senator Refuses To Debate Republican Opponent

Dem Runs Scared From GOP Challenger, Refuses Live Debate – Washington Free Beacon

.

.
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is refusing to participate in a live debate in his home state’s capital.

The Democratic incumbent is running in one of the most contentious races this fall, but decided to skip on free air time at CBS 4.

Denver’s CBS affiliate has a long history of hosting live debates for candidates for U.S. Senate. This is the first time in four decades the station won’t be airing an “open and honest” debate to help Colorado’s voters decide the election.

Udall committed to four debates before the November election, while Cory Gardner, his Republican opponent, committed to 16.

Democratic strategist Penfield Tate said Udall’s refusal to participate in the major network’s debate could create backlash from voters.

“I think it will cause many a voter to ask why – why didn’t you go on tv and do the live debate,” Tate said. “This could be one of the cuts that combined with others, could be harmful.”

A new Denver Post poll Friday has Udall up four points over Gardner, but voters are still split on which candidate would be “most trustworthy.” Can’t see Udall ducking Gardner helps voters out with that decision.

.

.

Democrat Senator Landrieu Illegally Charged Taxpayers For 43 Private Flights

Landrieu Internal Review Reveals 43 Trips Inappropriately Funded – The Hill

.

.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) found that over $33,700 in campaign flights were inappropriately charged to her official account in an internal review of her finances released Friday.

The report is sure to draw added scrutiny to her use of charter planes just as her main opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), is set to introduce a resolution meant to highlight such spending, which he calls a “waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.”

The review, which was released four days after her self-imposed deadline of Sept. 8, found that the senator took 43 trips, which amounted to 136 campaign functions, that were paid for by funds meant for official business only. Eleven percent of the total amount Landrieu’s office paid for chartered flights should have been paid out of her campaign funds, the review found.

Landrieu’s office said she fully reimbursed the Treasury with campaign funds and has notified the Senate Ethics Committee of the errors. She also said in a statement that she’s implemented a new bookkeeping system to prevent similar errors from happening again.

“The review I ordered last month found these mistakes stemming from sloppy book keeping. I take full responsibility. They should have never happened, and I apologize for this,” Landrieu said. “A new system has been established that has been successfully used by a number of senate offices to provide a safeguard from this happening in the future.”

Landrieu ordered the internal review after it was reported that she inappropriately used $3,200 in official funds to pay for a flight to and from a campaign event in November. That report sparked criticism from Republicans, and inspired an attack ad that claimed Landrieu “lives like a movie star.”

The release of Landrieu’s internal review again prompted Republicans to hammer Landrieu on the issue.

“With 43 illegal flights and more than 100 campaign events, this was clearly policy of her office to use taxpayer means whenever possible to attend events,” said Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason Dore. “Mary’s staff has changed. The donors have changed. The one thing that has been constant is this is Mary Landrieu’s office. She’s the one responsible for this practice going on in her office.”

Cassidy’s bill would require members of Congress to report any funds used to pay for private chartered planes to the Ethics Committee or the Committee on House Administration within 30 days of the flight.

“Taking charter planes unnecessarily is a waste of Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. It makes no sense to fly on a $3,000 private jet if you can get to the same location in a few hours’ drive time and a $50 tank of gas,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “Washington’s spending is out of control and this is one of the reasons why. Ensuring that Washington is transparent and tax dollars are spent wisely is a priority.”

Cassidy’s office said constituents had expressed alarm at Landrieu’s use of chartered planes, which had partially inspired the resolution.

Landrieu remains one of Democrats’ most vulnerable senators, and the most recent poll showed a tight race, with Cassidy leading Landrieu by two points. Many expect the three-way primary fight, between Cassidy, Landrieu and Tea Party-backed Rob Maness, to head to a runoff this fall.

Polling shows a tight race.

.

.