As 2016 drew to a close, the White House released a video message from President Barack Obama. The president spoke on what he believes to be the significant progress made during his time in office. The points he made, some of which are highlighted via an audio clip, include: The shutting down of Iran's nuclear weapons program through diplomacy; a new chapter opened up with the people of Cuba; marriage equality was made a reality from coast to coast; the recession was turned into recovery; 20 million more people have health insurance; he brought home 165,000 troops; the taking out of Osama bin Laden and nearly 200 nations came together around a climate agreement that could save the planet for our children.
Jim found it interesting that on the very day that the president's video message was released, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor issued a preliminary injunction stopping the Obama administration from denying the right of religious institutions to live by their religious tenets.
Both the Obama White House and the Defense Department indicated that more of our enemies will be released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay before Obama leaves office. Neither the White House nor the Defense Department could say how many of the remaining 59 prisoners will be sent to third-world nations that are willing to take them.
In another recent development, FoxNews.com was reporting that California lawmakers are preparing for a legal brawl with the upcoming Donald Trump administration. The lawmakers have President Obama's former top attorney, Attorney General Eric Holder, in their corner. He's been selected as outside counsel to advise the California legislature on potential challenges with the Trump government.
Yesterday, members of the House and Senate were sworn in and the new congressional session is under way. In a joint press conference, Vice President-Elect Michael Pence spoke, indicating that the first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare. In an audio clip he also spoke about rolling back regulations that are stifling economic and job growth, tax reform, ending illegal immigration, building a wall and rebuilding the military.
Ford is canceling plans to build a new plant in Mexico. Instead, they're investing 700 million for a plant in Michigan that will create 700 U.S. jobs. Mark Fields, the CEO of Ford, indicated that the investment is a vote of confidence in the pro-business environment that President-Elect Trump is creating. However, he did stress that Ford did not do any sort of special deal with Trump. They did this for their business.
As this Crosstalk progressed, Jim also presented the following:
--An audio clip of Paul Ryan who also spoke at the news conference specifically related to the repealing of Obamacare.
--President Obama was on his way to Capitol Hill to discuss ways of salvaging Obamacare with congressional Democrats.
--The Human Rights Campaign wants to stop the confirmation of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general because Sessions is in favor of traditional marriage.
--The interruption of the judicial process as it relates to the Supreme Court. This was highlighted by Rachel Maddow who interviewed U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer on MSNBC. In addition to an audio clip from the interview, Jim also presented a related clip from Vice President Joe Biden back in 1992, as he made a presentation to the Senate on what became known as the Biden rule.
Jim then turned things over to Crosstalk listeners as he posed this question: What do you believe should be the top 3 priority items that President-Elect Donald Trump and the new U.S. Congress should undertake?