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GOP Rep.: ‘I don’t know what could be more important’ than Obama’s safety

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Desiree RogersIn the wake of the White House dinner gate-crashing controversy, some Republican members of Congress are showing an unexpected amount of concern for the president’s safety. But if the words of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) are anything to go by, it may all just be a ploy for a political attack on a White House staffer.

“This is not [about] gate-crashing, this is [about] the security of the president of the United States,” Rep. King told NBC’s Matt Lauer Friday. “When [Obama adviser] Valerie Jarrett says this is not that important an issue — I don’t know what could be more important than the security of the president of the United States.”

But King may have betrayed a political motive behind his concern for President Obama when he told Lauer that he wasn’t interested in hearing from the Salahis — the couple who gate-crashed a White House state dinner last week — but did want to hear from Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary.

“I’m not that concerned about the Salahis,” King said. “If they show up, fine, but it is important to have Desiree Rogers there, because in his testimony … Director Sullivan said the security arrangements were worked out with the social secretary’s office, and at every dinner we’ve been able to track … for at least the last 20 years, the social director has been there with the Secret Service agents, she decided to pull them away and we want to know why.”

Democratic Representative Loretta Sanchez told Lauer she thought that “maybe we shouldn’t even have this,” referring to House homeland security committee hearings into the incident. But Sanchez appeared to reverse herself and argue that she would like to hear from Rogers as well.

“I would certainly like to hear from her what steps are being taken to ensure that, in fact, there is not only a Secret Service agent there with the list, but there is somebody always there from the White House,” said Sanchez. “I mean, even Wal-Mart has a greeter. So you know, I would like to hear from her,” she said.

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The Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein reports that friends and colleagues have stepped forward to defend Rogers.

People close to Rogers say that the emerging caricatures of her as a spotlight-seeking diva who invited herself to the dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and skirted her responsibilities while there are drastically off the mark.

“What are the odds she was going to be lackadaisical at the biggest moment of her life?” the source asked. “Zero. That’s why these stories don’t make any sense. Her reputation is at stake.”

The source spoke in defense of Rogers because the social secretary had been told not to speak to the press. “I think the way it is being characterize[d] and the way it is coming off that she is too big a personality for the White House, it just doesn’t make sense,” the source said.

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White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has also expressed support for the social secretary. “The president, the first lady and the entire White House staff are grateful for the job that she does and thinks she has done a terrific and wonderful job pulling off a lot of big and important jobs here at the White House,” Gibbs said Wednesday.

This video is from NBC’s Today Show, broadcast Dec. 4, 2009.



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QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.

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Population of Earth to reach 9.7 billion in 2050: UN

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The world population is expected to climb to 9.7 billion in 2050 from 7.7 billion today, with the population of sub-Saharan Africa doubling, a United Nations report released Monday said.

The population could then grow to 11 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs's "World Population Prospects" report.

The study paints a picture of a future in which a handful of countries see their populaces surge as life expectancy lengthens while the global growth rate slows amid declining fertility rates.

By 2050, more than half of the world's population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.

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Trump’s only winning strategy is to tear down Democrats — because he has nothing to promote: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has little to promote for 2020, so political analysts on MSNBC think that he'll likely spend the campaign working to tear everyone else down.

Howard Fineman noted that if Trump intends to do a "tear down" campaign, the most important things Democrats will have are policy proposals to set themselves apart from a White House that is unwilling to pass anything through Congress.

"It's just a question of can he do what he did in 2016 and 2018, which was, frankly, mobilize voters in a fear-tactic kind of way," said Fineman during Monday's "Meet the Press."

Host Kasie Hunt said that it seems the new Trump poll numbers show that his base is losing enthusiasm as they go into the election.

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