By George Stephanopoulos | Power Players – 6 hrs ago So, what is President Obama’s slogan this campaign? You don’t know, do you? How about Mitt Romney’s? Bet you didn’t know that one either. The answer is „Forward” for Obama and „Believe in America” for Romney — and neither has the kind of pop that Obama got from „Hope and Change” back in 2008.In just a couple of words that phrase summed up and symbolized who Obama was in that campaign and what he would do as President. But after four tough years, that slogan sounds tired.And President Obama has known he needs a new slogan this time around — something that captures in a few words who he is and what he would do as a second term as President. He told me as much in this interview that I did with him on Yahoo.But, the truth is slogans may not matter all that much.Richard Nixon’s lame 1972 slogan, „Now More Than Ever, ” didn’t stop him from a landslide in 1972. How about Lincoln’s „Vote Yourself a Farm?” That doesn’t really convey the kind of heroism and sweep that marked his presidency. But my personal favorite, „Keep Cool with Coolidge,” that didn’t signal much of a presidency at all.But the act of creating and sticking with a good slogan is good discipline for a campaign; it crystallizes what the campaign is trying to say. That certainly worked for those of us on the 1992 Clinton campaign. Our informal slogan, of course, came from James Carville — „It’s the Economy Stupid” — and that drove home what the campaign was about and what we would schedule every day on the campaign trail.It was reinforced by the candidate himself who said, time and time again, you had to be able to hone down the campaign’s message from a 30 minute speech to 10 minutes to 5 minutes to 1 minute and right down to a bumper sticker. So, a slogan does help give organization and cohesion to a campaign.So far, neither campaign this year has come up with a magic slogan and a silver bullet. My two favorites, though, are Joe Biden’s, ‘Bin Laden is Dead, GM is Alive’ for the Obama campaign and Romney’s ‘Obama isn’t Working.’ Those crystallize the message in just a few words.Can any of you do better? Tell us your slogan suggestions below.
Marco Rubio Warns of Failure in Iranian Nuclear Talks By Arlette Saenz | ABC OTUS News – 5 hrs ago Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., predicted today that nuclear talks with Iran ultimately will fail and said he would sanction a military strike before tolerating a nuclear Iran, warning that the United States should begin to prepare the country for that situation.”This is nothing but a stall tactic and I wish I was wrong, to the depths of my heart I wish that I was wrong,” Rubio said of the talks during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. „You would have to be blind not to see what’s happening here. This is nothing but a delay tactic and a stall tactic, and they now openly brag about their ability to move the red lines.””Sadly, I believe everything else probably will fail, certainly the negotiation component,” Rubio said. „Then we have to ask ourselves are we prepared to live with a nuclear Iran and what that means for the region and for the world. And I think, universally, not just in the United States but almost any society in the world the answer to that question is ‘no.’ Then at that point there’s only one country in the world that can do anything about it, and that’s us.”A round of talks between Iran and a six-nation group, including the United States, ended in Baghdad last week with an agreement to continue negotiations in Moscow from June 18-19.Rubio stressed that the United States should not sugar coat the situation with Iran and be upfront with the country about the potential for failed negotiations and what actions the United States may have to pursue in response.”I think we need to begin to prepare the people of the country and the people of the world to the reality that negotiations are probably not going to work and ultimately sanctions may not work,” Rubio said. „I don’t want to come across as some saber-rattling person because I am not, but I think I am in line with what the administration has said, which is ultimately military option may be necessary if everything else fails. And by the way, everything else should fail before we get to that stage.”Rubio, 41, said he could not envision what a strike would embody but argued that the decision would be left to the commander-in-chief and military planners.”Well, I’m not a military planner and I certainly wouldn’t pretend to be one so I can’t tell you logistically what a military strike would look like,” Rubio said. „I’m not rooting for that. I am hoping that sanctions would embolden, that there’s somebody in that government that’s saying, ‘Guys, we don’t have to do this, there’s a different way for us to be influential in the region and the world and having a weapon doesn’t necessarily have to be the outcome.”I don’t want the headlines from here to be you know ‘Rubio says, ‘Let’s hit them no.” Because that’s not necessarily what I’m saying,” Rubio reiterated.In regard to Syria, Rubio said the loss of President Bashar al-Assad would be „devastating” to the regional ambitions of Iran and argued that the United States must be more aggressive in its efforts to remove him.”I think there’s no doubt that he can no longer be there, and now the question is ‘What is America’s role in hastening that and making that happen?'” Rubio said. „I do believe that there are things we should have done in the past that weren’t done that would have perhaps accelerated the downfall of Assad. But I’m also understanding that there’s no point in looking back. I mean it’s time to act now.”Rubio expanded the conversation beyond just the Middle East. The Florida senator said the United States plays a role in speaking out on behalf of liberty and defending human rights in countries like China, but also advised that despite differing on these issues, the United States will have to work with China in the future in order to maintain peace in the world.”There is no doubt that in this 21 st century the United States and China will have to cooperate on a host of issues if the world is to improve and remain peaceful. It’s just the geopolitical reality that we’re going to have to confront,” Rubio said.Rubio repeatedly categorized foreign policy as a „bipartisan” issue and said it is not a topic that is „always neatly Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal.”Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has tried to elevate his foreign policy gravitas in recent months. He traveled to Colombia last month for the Summit of the Americas, which was also attended by President Obama, and delivered a red-meat foreign policy speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, he toured the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, his first ever trip to the island from which his parents emigrated in 1956.While he maintains one of the heaviest schedules of any VP contender, fueling speculation about his ambitions, Rubio has refused to answer recent questions about whether he would like to join Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket this year. Rubio skirted around the question when it arose this afternoon.”How does Vice President Rubio sound to you?” Time managing editor Richard Stengel, who moderated the event, asked.”It doesn’t,” Rubio responded.”It has kind of a ring to it,” Stengel said.”No, and I appreciate you trying to work that in there,” Rubio said.
Syria on brink of sectarian civil war, West says By Mariam Karouny and Dominic Evans | Reuters – 6 hrs ago BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria is nearing full-blown sectarian civil war that would be catastrophic for the entire Middle East, Western nations said on Thursday, urging Russia to end its support for President Bashar al-Assad and put pressure on him to stop the bloodshed.With anti-Assad rebels urging international envoy Kofi Annan to declare his peace plan dead, freeing them from any commitment to the tattered truce, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the prospect of spiraling violence presented „terrible” danger.”A civil war in a country that would be driven by sectarian divides … could then morph into a proxy war in the region because, remember, you have Iran deeply embedded in Syria,” Clinton said during a trip to Copenhagen where she urged Moscow to increase pressure on Assad.Russia, like China, has vetoed two Security Council resolutions calling for tougher action against Damascus, while stressing hopes that Annan’s plan can spur a political solution. Washington called a reported shipment of Russian arms to Syria „reprehensible” although not illegal.”The Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic,” Clinton said.”I think they are in effect propping up the regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition.”British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Syria was moving towards „all-out civil war or a state of collapse”. The European Union was drafting new sanctions against Syria, he added, calling on other nations to pressure Assad.A bloody crackdown on what began 14 months ago as a peaceful mass uprising has increasingly turned it into an armed conflict between heavily armed forces representing an establishment dominated by Assad’s Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, and rebel forces drawn largely from the Sunni majority.Damascus says the rebels are backed by Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states fearful of the growing influence of Syria’s main ally in the region, Shi’ite Iran.HOULA MASSACRE–U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that another massacre like Friday’s killing of 108 men, women and children in the western Houla region could pitch Syria into a devastating civil war „from which the country would never recover”.The United Nations has said the army and pro-Assad gunmen were probably responsible for the Houla killings, but Syria said on Thursday that a preliminary investigation had shown that anti-government armed groups carried out the killings with the aim of encouraging foreign military intervention.Washington’s U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, said Syria’s version of what had happened in Houla was „another blatant lie”. The massacre led a range of Western countries to expel senior Syrian diplomats and to press Russia and China to allow tougher action by the U.N. Security Council.Syria’s main rebel commander, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, urged Annan to declare that his peace plan had failed.”There is no deadline, but we want Kofi Annan to issue a declaration announcing the failure of this plan so that we would be free to carry out any military operation against the regime,” Turkey-based Asaad told Al Jazeera television, contradicting rebels inside Syria who issued a 48-hour ultimatum on Wednesday for Assad to abide by Annan’s plan.Annan’s spokesman said it was not for the peace envoy to declare defeat.”The Annan plan does not belong to Kofi Annan. It belongs to the parties that have accepted it and the international community that has endorsed it,” Ahmad Fawzi told Reuters.”So a failure of the Annan plan would be the failure of the international community to solve this peacefully … If anyone has a better plan, they should come up with it.”The United Nations says Assad’s forces have killed more than 9,000 people since the start of the uprising. Syria blames Islamist militants for the violence and says 2,600 soldiers and police have been killed.Rebel leader Asaad said his fighters had so far honored Annan’s plan. But activists have reported frequent attacks by militants and army defectors on government forces since the April 12 ceasefire agreement.BODIES FOUND–The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based network that collates reports of violence in Syria, said 11 bodies had been found outside the town of al-Qusair – killings that a Syrian television station blamed on „terrorist groups”.At least one person was killed and dozens were wounded in artillery and rocket bombardment in the Houla region on Thursday following rebel attacks on soldiers and pro-Assad ‘shabbiha’ militiamen, opposition activists said.Russian President Vladimir Putin flies to Berlin and Paris on Friday for talks that European leaders may hope to use to lean on him to loosen Moscow’s strategic links to Assad.Russia has sought to justify its weapons deliveries to Syria, saying government forces need to defend themselves against rebels receiving arms from abroad. Damascus says Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya are among the countries helping the rebels.The United States and the EU have suggested a U.N. arms embargo, but that would need the consent of Russia and China, which have so far resisted tougher action at the Security Council.China said it still had faith in the Annan plan, despite the „pain and sadness over what happened in Houla”.”Annan’s efforts are facing difficulties but no one can deny that they are making progress in some respects,” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said.”We knew from the beginning that his path would not be strewn with flowers.”Annan met Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman to discuss the regional impact of the Syrian crisis, before flying to Lebanon where he met President Michel Suleiman, telling his interlocutors he had urged Assad to „take bold steps now to end the violence” and implement the peace plan, his spokesman said.Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati visited Turkey for talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on the fate of a dozen Shi’ite pilgrims taken hostage last week in northern Syria, shortly after crossing the border from Turkey.Syrian rebels in Aleppo province said in a statement that the hostages were in good health and suggested that some had participated in fighting the rebellion.They demanded an apology from Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, an ally of Assad, for remarks on Syria he made in a speech last week.(Additional reporting by Laila Bassam and Oliver Holmes in Beirut, Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Seda Sezer in Istanbul, Douglas Hamilton in Tel Aviv; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Kevin Liffey)