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September 5th, 2012
12:36 PM ET

Despite record fundraising month, Priorities USA strategist Bill Burton says Democrats 'starting to wake up' to 'threat' of being outspent in election

On "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Priorities USA Action senior strategist Bill Burton discusses how Republicans have raised more money than Democrats and what that means for President Barack Obama’s re-election chances.

“More money means that they have a lot more cash to spend in these targeted states, but keep in mind that, even though Republicans are going to out-raise Democrats, they need a lot more money,” Burtson says. “Having an impact on what voters think on someone like President Obama, who’s lived in their living rooms for the last six years basically on their TVs, costs a lot of money whereas for Mitt Romney he’s really a blank slate.”

The pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA has raised $35 million compared to pro-Romney superPACs, which have raised more than $100 million.

“I think Democrats are really starting to wake up and see that there’s a real threat from Karl Rove, from the Koch brothers, and from people who are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try to have a huge impact on this election to drive a very right-wing ideology,” Burton says.

August 1st, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Comedian D.L. Hughley's new book a wake-up call for America

D.L. Hughley who is best known as one of the “Kings of Comedy” and for his television sitcom “The Hughley’s” is now standing on a new platform in order to address politicians.

The accomplished comedian has a new book entitled “I Want You to Shut the [expletive] Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America" in which he criticizes politicians for corrupting the United States. Hughley warns that the problems in American society are only going to get worse and has some advice for President Obama as well – “Stand!”

Hughley says when he grew up, the American people “were proud of what we did... like quality was job one. Now you have to pay extra to talk to somebody. Like if people care about you and they believe that you’re a valuable commodity to them, then they would at least have some interest in having some dialogue with you…but they don’t do that.”

The stand-up comedian says it would be an overstatement to say the American people no longer have potential but “clearly we’re not what we were.” Hughley goes on to say, “we don’t have the same goals and ambitions or even the same kind of unvarnished look at ourselves.”

Filed under: Barack Obama • Book • Politics
August 1st, 2012
01:01 PM ET

Rep. Chris Van Hollen: President Obama's plan 'would provide tax relief for 100% of the American people'

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on bills addressing the Bush-era tax cuts this week, before congress goes on a on a five-week recess.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), ranking Democrat on The House Budget Committee, talks with Soledad O’Brien on "Starting Point" this morning about the reasons House Republicans should take up President Obama’s plan on tax cuts.

Van Hollen says, the president’s plan which passed senate last week “would provide tax relief for 100% of the American people compared to what the current law provides.” The Maryland congressman went on to say Obama’s plan would “provide total relief to 98% of the American people,” however the top 2% would not benefit “quite as much.”

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Budget • Tax cuts • Tax reform • Taxes
June 18th, 2012
12:43 PM ET

New biography questions president's memoir – Buzzfeed's Ben Smith on whether the discrepancies matter

A new biography about President Obama contains some startling new revelations. The book, David Maraniss's "Barack Obama: The Story" questions the president's history as detailed in Obama's memoir, "Dreams from my Father." The new book details discrepancies between what we've been told about President Obama's life and what Maraniss says really happened.

Ben smith,'s editor-in-chief, shares his analysis of the book and whether the discrepancies really matter.

Filed under: Barack Obama
June 11th, 2012
11:11 AM ET

What would a second term under President Obama look like? Ryan Lizza with "The New Yorker" on his latest piece

President Obama is facing an uphill battle going into the November election against Mitt Romney. If you look at the way past presidential elections have gone, he may have a hard time getting a landslide victory.

Since 1916, only seven presidents have won a second term and their margin of victory has steadily declined. In 1972, President Richard Nixon won re-election by 23 points, and in 2004 President Bush won a second term by only 2.5 points.

How hard will it be for President Obama to win a second term, and what will he be able to accomplish if reelected?

Ryan Lizza, CNN contributor and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker," spoke with a number of White House insiders to get a look at what a potential second term for President Obama would look like. He talks with Soledad this morning on "Starting Point" and says the second half might include major tax reform.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Politics
May 3rd, 2012
12:18 PM ET

Meeting Barry – President's sister Auma Obama talks about writing her book and what it was like to meet her half-brother

Throughout her childhood in Kenya, Auma Obama heard stories about her half brother in America. His name was Barack. It wasn't until they were both adults that they met. It was in Chicago in the 1980s.

She says there was an instant connection between Auma and the man who would become the 44th president of the United States. It's a connection that Auma writes about in her new book, which is called "And Then Life Happens."

She talks with Soledad this morning, explaining why she chose to write the book and what it was like to meet "Barry" for the first time.

Filed under: Authors • Barack Obama
May 3rd, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Love letters from Obama's past – the Starting Point panel weighs in

A new biography describes the juicy details of President Obama's love life before he met Michelle. Soledad and the "Starting Point" panel discuss.

Filed under: Barack Obama
May 2nd, 2012
11:06 AM ET

Defining success in Afghanistan – RAND's Seth Jones on what President Obama should have said in his speech

President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan yesterday, declaring the country is no longer a safe haven for terrorists and Al Qaeda's defeat is now within reach.

The trip included an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai outlining the strategic partnership between the two countries after 2014.

But the speech didn't please everyone, including the New York Times. In an editorial this morning they wrote,

"The White house set it up as a big moment, but the President squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war Americans are desperate to see brought to an end."

Seth Jones, senior political scientist for the RAND Corporation and former senior adviser for U.S. Special Operations command in Afghanistan, explains the important details President Obama needed to include in his speech.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama
April 30th, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Will politics around Bin Laden's death sway future presidents from taking aggressive action? Journalist Richard Miniter says yes

Soledad O'Brien speaks with investigative journalist Richard Miniter about the Obama administration and Romney campaign’s views on politicizing the 1-year-anniversarry of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Barack Obama • Osama Bin Laden • Politics
March 29th, 2012
03:31 PM ET

Fmr. Shell CEO Hofmeister says President Obama needs an energy plan, says citizens need to be activated to demand a solution to rising energy prices

Fmr. Shell CEO and head of Citizens for Affordable Energy John Hofmeister explains what is driving gas prices higher, and says citizens need to be activated to find energy solution to oil.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Gas Prices
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