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Sunday Study Guide: McDonough, McCain, Kelly and Roundtable

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough

  • Denis McDonough is President Obama’s new White House chief of staff. He is  replacing Jack Lew, who is the president’s Treasury secretary nominee. McDonough also served as deputy National Security Adviser since 2009. Prior to that, he was an adviser on President Obama’s 2008 campaign and served as an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).
  • President Obama appointed McDonough chief of staff last month. In the announcement, he called McDonough one of his “closest friends” and “closest advisors” who “played a key role in every major national security decision of my presidency.” He said, “I know you’ll always give it to me straight, as only a friend can -- telling me not only what I want to hear, but more importantly what I need to hear to make the best possible decisions on behalf of the American people.”
  • Watch his most recent Meet the Press interview here.


Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has served in the U.S. Senate since 1986 and before that, served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee. He serves on several committees in the Senate: the Armed Services Committee; the Committee on Foreign Relations; the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
  • McCain was one of the Republican senators who voted to delay a confirmation vote on Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel because “we didn’t get the answers to many questions” in time. He said Hagel will “probably get the votes” needed after the Senate’s recess but many Senators feel “ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly, at one point said he was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said that the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense, and was very anti his own party and people. People don`t forget that.”
  • Watch his most recent MTP appearance.


Captain Mark Kelly

  • Retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot while holding a Congress on Your Corner event in Tucson in January 2011.
  • Captain Kelly testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about gun violence last month. He said, “One of our messages is simple, the breadth and complexity of gun violence is great, but it is not an excuse for inaction.” And while he and former Rep. Giffords “believe wholly and completely in the second amendment” and are themselves gun owners, “our responsibilities are serious. And as a nation, we're not taking responsibility for the gun rights that our founding fathers have conferred upon us.”  


Roundtable: Newsom, Fiorina, Castellanos, Matthews

  • Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is the author of “Citizenville,” which looks into how citizens can use technology to solve problems and become more engaged. He was recently on The Colbert Reportto talk about the book. He said, “You can’t educate our children like we were educated. This whole idea that we continue to govern as we’ve governed is no longer relevant to the world we’re living in. People are using these tools of technology to solve problems peer-to-peer, to engage directly.” Watch his most recent appearance here.
  • Carly Fiorina, vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and former CEO of HP, recently announced she was partnering with Opportunity International to provide loans and promote entrepreneurship in women around the world. She said, “When a woman’s life is changed, a family’s life is changed, a community’s life is changed. If we want to solve these global problems around the world – poverty, disease, lack of poverty, conflict resolution, AIDS, you name it – everyone agrees – the UN agrees, the World Bank agrees – you have to get women engaged.” She is also the author of “Tough Choices: A Memoir.” Watch her latest appearance here.
  • GOP Strategist Alex Castellanosrecently wrote about the president’s second-term agenda: “No longer is Barack Obama a national Rorschach test in which anyone can see anything. He has staked his ground: President Obama is an unabashed advocate of the old-fashioned American left. That's not good news for Democrats who have trekked with him to the end of an ideological limb.” Watch his most recent MTP appearance.
  • Chris Matthews is the host of MSNBC’s Hardball. This week he talked about the senators who oppose Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s confirmation. He said, “What they hate -- despise, really -- is the fact that now in the history books, the American people voting in great numbers reject their war-like jingoistic notions of what America stands for. Their problem is not with Obama’s choice for a cabinet appointment. Their problem is with America’s choice of who it wants to be president, who it wants deciding what we should be doing in this world.” He is also the author of “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” Here is his latest appearance.


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