Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Hillary Clinton | MidPoint | meetings | mitch mcconnell

Ex-Rep. Mark Foley: A Tale of Two Obama Meetings

By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 09:17 PM

President Barack Obama's private, separate sit-downs on Wednesday with Hillary Clinton and Mitch McConnell — both of which were quickly leaked — were "theater of the absurd" and, especially in the latter case, unlikely to produce much of substance, says former Rep. Mark Foley.

"Sadly for the president, [incoming Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell knows more about legislative battles and government operations than our own president of the United States, so he will have met his match," lobbyist Foley told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday.

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Florida Republican Foley, who served in Congress from 1995 to 2006, joined Berliner to discuss everything from Obama's final years in office to fallout over the deaths of two black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, in confrontations with white police officers who were spared grand jury indictments.

"We have to recognize why the African American community feels put upon," said Foley.

"If you look at the Eric Garner tape and don't feel compelled that a wrong was established by choke-holding a man when he says he can't breathe, then your sensitivity meter is completely off."

"Michael Brown's a little bit different," he said. "We have to look at the facts of cases, and we shouldn't jump to conclusions. Regrettably, because of the media influence and the reporting of these incidents, people lose sight of the facts.

"That aside, members of Congress — black, white, Hispanic — need to come together and recognize there's still racial tension in America and it has to be resolved by dialogue, not demonstration," said Foley.

Foley said that the president erred by not publicizing in advance the Wednesday meeting with McConnell, his longtime Republican adversary from Kentucky — and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader after Democrats were trounced in the midterm election.

"The fact that he has only met with the minority leader three times in his six years as president is telling," said Foley, adding that if a president wants to make a show of more dialogue with the opposition, "Let the public in to see the conversation."

"To keep it behind closed walls, to me, defeats the purpose of the meeting," he said.

Obama meeting with Clinton, who is widely expected to try to succeed him, made more sense, he said.

"The fact he and Hillary are probably jawboning over something … is understandable," he said. "She's the former secretary of state" in his administration.

"They're going to share a bond," added Foley. "I'm not sure it's a good one for Hillary. Their linkage, their closeness, their proximity may be perilous for her presidential campaign. It's a difficult time."

Clinton has already made critical comments about current foreign policy under Obama in an apparent attempt to distance herself from the party's unpopular leader.

Foley quipped that Clinton might have met with Obama to let him know to expect more of the same.

"Maybe she was saying … 'Mr. President, I'm about to drop-kick you,' " said Foley.

Foley said that Republicans in Congress have to prove they can govern, and that means leaders including McConnell will have to keep some of their more restive conservative members "in check."

"It's a difficult party to corral,' he said, but also a party that wants "to prove to America, 'You've given us a chance; we will not blow it. We will make something happen.'"

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President Barack Obama's private, separate sit-downs on Wednesday with Hillary Clinton and Mitch McConnell — both of which were quickly leaked — were "theater of the absurd" and, especially in the latter case, unlikely to produce much of substance, says former Rep. Mark Foley.
meetings, mitch mcconnell
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2014-17-04
Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 09:17 PM
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