Tuesday 26 September 2017

Obama criticised for 'failing to set agenda' in second term

Peter Foster Washington

Barack Obama's second term has been an "extraordinary disappointment" so far, according to Mitt Romney, the defeated Republican presidential candidate.

Mr Romney said Mr Obama's failure to set the agenda far outweighed the three scandals that had buffeted the administration.

In an interview with the 'Wall Street Journal', he said there had been a "lack of any clear agenda in the first 100 days" of the presidency.

Mr Romney said Mr Obama still appeared to be campaigning instead of governing.

"We were thinking, gosh, we have 100 days to really get the ball rolling. So I presumed the president would have the same kind of effort under way. And yet the only thing that has come forward has been immigration reform, which is very important, and that has been done entirely by the Senate.

"We are now over 100 days, and we have yet to see any particular agenda. That is my view, that the extraordinary disappointment of the president's second term is where the opportunity was greatest, he has proposed the least."

The former governor of Massachusetts has signalled a return to the public sphere by hosting a $5,000-a-week (€3,850) retreat for Republican thinkers in Utah next week.

The Republican Party is continuing to digest the implications of its heavy defeat in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service revealed that a suspicious letter addressed Mr Obama and similar to ricin-laced ones sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had been intercepted by a White House mail-screening facility.

The letter has been turned over to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Thursday that Mr Obama was aware of the letter addressed to him.

New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the letters apparently all came from the same machine.

The letters sent to Mr Bloomberg contained an oily substance.

DEBATE

It wasn't clear if the missive to Mr Obama contained the same substance.

The body of the letter was addressed to "you" and referenced the gun-law debate.

Mr Kelly said the letters said, in so many words: "Anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face."

Two threatening letters postmarked in Louisiana and containing traces of the deadly poison ricin were sent to Mr Bloomberg in New York and to his gun-control group in Washington, officials said.

The letters were the latest in a string of toxin-laced missives. In Washington state, a 37-year-old was charged last week with threatening to kill a federal judge in a letter that contained ricin. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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