Obama Chides Israelis For Settlements, Calls For Palestinian State

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama speaks at the Jerusalem Convention Center in Jerusalem, Israel, Thursday, March 21, 2013, (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama called for Israel to halt its settlement activity and work harder towards an independent Palestinian state in a speech to students in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable — that real borders will have to be drawn,” Obama said to an enthusiastic crowd. “I’ve suggested principles on territory and security that I believe can be the basis for talks. But for the moment, put aside the plans and process. I ask you, instead, to think about what can be done to build trust between people.”

The speech at times levied implicit criticism at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though Obama is trying to bolster his relationship with him during this visit.

“Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do,” Obama told the crowd. “You must create the change that you want to see.”

Obama brought up Israel’s increasing isolation in the international community.

“Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine,” he said. “Given the frustration in the international community, Israel must reverse an undertow of isolation. And given the march of technology, the only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war – because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough, to stop every enemy from inflicting harm.”

“The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized,” Obama said. “Put yourself in their shoes, look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day. It is not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.”

Though Obama was at one point during the speech heckled by a young Arab-Israeli student in the audience, his words were more frequently met with cheers from the young crowd.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the heckler’s identity. (3/22/2013)

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/obama-chides-israelis-for-settlements-calls-for-palestinian

Gay Republican Blitzes Puerto Rico, Gets Ignored

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Everywhere he goes, he’s ignored by his own party — including, apparently, in Puerto Rico.

Fred Karger, an openly gay protest candidate for the Republican nomination, has spent six days on the island campaigning and lobbying the office of Gov. Luis Fortuno for a meeting. But according to an article in today’s Puerto Rico Daily Sun, the territory’s only English-language daily newspaper, the administration never got back to him. The article points out that Karger has spent more time here than any other presidential candidate.

Of course, Fortuno isn’t the first prominent Republican to snub Karger: he has devoted much of his candidacy to antagonizing the GOP for what he sees as an anti-gay agenda. Most in the party establishment view him as a gadfly at best — if they know who he is.

But while Karger has failed to make inroads with the party, he’s proven extremely adept at getting local press to pay attention to his efforts. Versions of the Sun’s headline have appeared in newspapers from Manchester to Michigan: It’s practically a genre by now.

Meanwhile, the front page of the Sun makes it clear that editors didn’t take kindly to Romney ending his visit to the island early in order to focus on Tuesday’s primary in Illinois.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/gay-republican-blitzes-puerto-rixo-gets-ignores

Snooping Story Becomes A Talking Point For Autocrats

Obama arrives in California ahead of talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Nick Ut / AP

The revelation that the National Security Agency has been conducting secret large-scale surveillance of Americans’ telephonic and electronic communications is already becoming a talking point for regimes from Moscow to Beijing who are eager to dismiss Washington’s criticism of their own practices.

“How can the US give China a hard time for cyber spying after today’s stunning revelations about something called “PRISM”, which allegedly for the past seven years has allowed the intelligence community to see whom every one of us is talking to…and by some accounts actually look over our shoulder as we type this?” asked Chris Nelson, an Asia policy expert, in his nightly Nelson Report email list. “Sure sounds like something to be very, very, very worried about. As Pogo said, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us.’”

The concern about how America’s domestic policy will play internationally isn’t a new one: During the Cold War, American racism was a frequent Communist target, and American liberals made that propaganda argument part of the case against segregation. Now the subject — civil liberties — is different, but the dynamic with countries the U.S. regularly accuses of foreign and domestic surveillance is the same.

Slate’s Will Dobson Friday imagined Chinese president Xi Jinping’s response when President Obama brings up hacking at the leaders’ meeting this weekend: “So, let me get this straight, Barack. You’re mad at us for spying on American companies online while you’re stealing every single thing my people do on Microsoft, Google, Skype, and Yahoo? Really? Are you $%� kidding me? … Or, maybe we can think about this differently? I know we are a police state and all, but we don’t have anything like this PRISM thing? Can you guys give us some pointers?”

The White House waved off the notion that evidence of the U.S. government spying on its own citizens will weaken Obama’s position in discussions with Xi.

“This is a pretty good illustration of type of conversation we want to have about respecting civil liberties and protecting the constitutional rights of the people that you govern,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday when asked if the NSA spying undercut the president’s message with Xi. “What the president did, was he put in place a very strict oversight regime, one that he strengthened when he took office…one that constrained his own ability, constrained his own authority. I think that is a testament to the strength of our system of government.”

But new revelations that the White House has been ordering plans for cyber-attacks on other countries have particular bearing on the hacking debate with China.

“An intelligence source with extensive knowledge of the National Security Agency’s systems told the Guardian the US complaints again China were hypocritical, because America had participated in offensive cyber operations and widespread hacking – breaking into foreign computer systems to mine information,” the Guardian writes in its new story about Obama’s cyber warfare directives.

“We hack everyone everywhere,” the Guardian’s source told them.

The news of the surveillance could also weaken intermittent American attempts to press Russia on human rights abuses.

Nikolay Pakhomov, of the pro-Kremlin Institute of Democracy and Cooperation think tank in New York, said the U.S. could no longer claim a moral upper hand when it comes to surveillance issues, and defended the United States’ approach.

“Almost all countries in the world are currently confronted with a dilemma on how to protect public security without curtailing public freedom,” Pakhomov said. “Almost all of them choose security over freedom, knowing that they will receive public support.”

“The United States is no exception,” Pakhomov said. “The Obama Administration continues policies started by Bush Administration. Because of that the US is in the same motley group of countries (‘old’ democracies, ‘new’ democracies, and non-democracies) which choose protection of security over freedom.”

And the revelations could come into play in the regional propaganda war with Iran.

“Certainly the regime will utilize that and a lot of people will point out we should have our own house in order,” said Trita Parsi, the president of the National American Iranian Council, which has argued for rebuilding diplomacy with Iran. “If you talk about the general population in Iran, there is a segment that doesn’t care if the U.S. is pure or not — their beef is with the Iranian regime.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/snooping-story-becomes-a-talking-point-for-autocrats

The Scariest Question For Anthony Weiner: What’s Next?

Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner makes his concession speech at a Midtown bar. Associated Press

There was one question Anthony Weiner didn’t want to answer — maybe couldn’t answer — in his final moments as a contender for mayor of New York City, the only job he’s ever wanted: “What’s your plan for tomorrow?”

That’s what Shimon Prokupecz, a reporter for WNBC-TV, hollered at Weiner as he came bounding from Connolly’s Pub & Restaurant, the site of his emotional concession speech, across the sidewalk and into a car idling on 47th Street. But Prokupecz didn’t get his answer. Weiner jumped inside, rolled up the window, and flashed his middle finger instead before speeding away.

“He looked straight at me in the eye,” Prokupecz said later.

After a dead-last finish in the mayoral primary — even a candidate tangled in a criminal fundraising investigation managed more votes — the question of Weiner’s plan for tomorrow hung heavy on the former candidate.

In his concession speech, delivered to a rowdy crowd of supporters and volunteers, Weiner vowed to stay the course, whatever course that is.

“The reason we never quit is because all over New York, families have been knocked down again and again, and each and every time they get up,” he said. “This is why this campaign will never quit. Because those New Yorkers never quit. And I will never stop, and nor will you, I hope, stop fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it.”

But what does life look like Wednesday morning for Weiner? For a guy who has campaigned for more than half his life toward becoming mayor; who never truly stopped running when he lost the first time in 2005; who spent his years in Washington shirking committee duties and fundraising dues to fly home for town halls in Queens or graduation ceremonies in Brooklyn; who, as Robert Draper put it in his book on Congress, “only wanted one thing, really,” and that was to become mayor of New York City?

After resigning from Congress two years ago, Weiner stayed at home, looked after his toddler son, and did some consulting work — but mostly he readied his next mayoral campaign. Dating back to his college years at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he was voted “most effective student senator” after staging sit-ins and protests, Weiner has shaped his life around public office with near obsessive focus — so much so that in a Monday night interview on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell asked Weiner the same question, over and over again, for six straight minutes of primetime television: “What is wrong with you that you cannot seem to imagine a life without elected office?”

Earlier this summer, Weiner came close to redemption — and maybe even winning the mayoral race — but after a second scandal broke in late July, he limped on toward primary day as his poll numbers plummeted. Standing alone on the stage Tuesday night, with just 4.9% of the vote, Weiner gave what felt like a final concession, despite his vague promise to “never quit.”

During his last hours on the campaign trail, when poll numbers showed him in a distant fourth place, Weiner’s disappointment was evident even as he attempted to project an air of optimism, making somewhat halfhearted use of the future tense — a reference to “when I’m mayor,” or a call to “vote for me in the general, thank you!” For his last meet and greet with voters, Weiner returned to what he called his “good-luck corner,” a Harlem subway stop at the intersection of 125th and Lenox Avenue, where he has kicked off and wrapped up his past mayoral bids.

“This was the last stop I did in 2005, the first stop I did in 2013, the last stop I did in the primary in 2013, and I plan for it to be the last stop I do in the general,” he told the four reporters still bothering to cover his moribund campaign.

While Bill de Blasio, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday night, spent the days leading up to the primary telling reporters he cautiously expected a runoff election, Weiner played up his confidence, at times to the point of delusion.

“Prospects are looking great,” he said Tuesday morning, echoing an equally assured interview he gave to NBC News over the weekend, when he told Savannah Guthrie his chances of winning were “good.” When asked in Harlem whether he could make a comeback before polls closed that night, Weiner dismissed the premise of the question altogether. “I’m not sure I need to make a big comeback. I just feel like I’ve got to win,” he said.

Weiner, of course, couldn’t say he was going to lose, for just the same reasons John Liu or Sal Albanese, two other low-polling candidates, couldn’t. The campaigns had staffers and volunteers, donors and community organizers, all invested in their efforts. As Weiner put it, “The Jets didn’t walk off the field when they were down — people play the game.”

But unlike the other mayoral hopefuls who came up short, Weiner’s false confidence barely masked a sharply felt anxiety about the future.

Weiner, who has invested so much of his career in running for mayor, seemed to acknowledge the blow his campaign’s loss might deliver to him personally. Twice, unprompted, Weiner volunteered that he was not “depressed” by primary day, as if to assure he’d make it past Tuesday unscathed.

“Election Day’s a fundamentally very optimistic day,” he said at the subway stop. “People are talking about their forward-looking aspirations, so it’s hard to be depressed on Election Day.” Later that night, when he thanked campaign volunteers in his concession speech, he affirmed his good spirits again. “It is impossible to be depressed, to get down, or to even think about quitting,” he said, “when you see so many people working so hard based on their beliefs.”

But his last day on the campaign trail, marked by a series of painful, circus-like missteps, seemed a final coda to his failed comeback bid, and possibly to his hope for a career in public office.

When a complication with his voter registration would have required him to cast his ballot by paper affidavit — and not inside the voting booth — Weiner asked the Board of Elections to intervene so that he could have his Election Day photo op. “We’d have voted by paper ballot,” Weiner said, “but the association of still photographers says that would be violating the rules of Election Day photo ops.”

When Sydney Leathers, the Indiana woman Weiner courted online for months, appeared outside his campaign headquarters during a scheduled stop there, staffers hurried to move the event to far-away southeast Queens.

And when Leathers waited outside Connolly’s Pub later that night, the campaign plotted with a McDonald’s cashier next door to get Weiner into the bar by way of a back stairwell shared by both venues. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., the candidate’s car pulled up to 47th Street, and Weiner dashed without warning into the fast-food restaurant. Reporters, joined by Leathers, sprinted after Weiner, but staffers blocked the group from advancing further.

Two minutes later, the candidate was on stage, chanting “New York, New York!”

“All that to avoid a 23-year-old,” Leathers said in frustration. She flew all the way to New York from Indiana to “confront” Weiner, but instead spent the night posing outside Connolly’s for news photographers who called out to her like a model on the catwalk.

“I need a full-length!”

“This way, Sydney!”

“Hey, Sydney, right at me now! Lovely.”

Leathers, for her part, said she thought her former texting partner should “focus on getting some sex therapy and maybe not running for any public office,” she said. His next career, she suggested again, should be “anything out of public office.”

Inside the bar, on a stage on the second floor, Weiner was well on his way out of that line of work — though toward what remained unclear.

Without direct mention of his son, Jordan, or his wife, Huma Abedin, both of whom appeared to be absent from the event, Weiner suggested his personal failings had let the campaign down. “There’s no doubt about it, we had the best ideas,” he said. “Sadly, I was an imperfect messenger.”

“All of us, wherever we came from, want to leave a city a little bit better than the one we found,” he said, his eyes welling up as he closed the concession speech at what was billed to supporters as a “victory party.” “If you keep fighting, I’m gonna keep fighting.”

The onetime candidate descended, the crowd cheered, and the speakers blasted Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Weiner’s mother, Fran, a public schoolteacher and a mainstay in her son’s campaign ads this year, was seated against the wall, watching him work the crowd.

“So it’s over,” she said, turning away from her son and toward the man seated next to her. “We’ll have to see what happens now.”

Weiner, leaving his primary night party in Midtown, gives a WNBC reporter the finger from his car. Twitter / Via Twitter: @KateRoseMe

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/the-scariest-question-for-anthony-wiener-whats-next

Would Paul Supporters Hold Their Noses And Vote For Romney?

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

EAST LANSING, Michigan — Many Ron Paul supporters at a Michigan State University rally said today that they would vote for a Romney ticket if it came down to it — but only if Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul, was his running mate. And no one thinks that such a ticket could possibly come out of a deal brokered between the two campaigns.

“That’s a tough question,” said Kurt Meister of Saginaw, Michigan. “Romney’s everything that we don’t want.” He didn’t rule out voting for Romney in that situation.

As for the rumored Paul-Romney deal, Meister doesn’t think it exists. “I’m sure he’s having a hard time with this himself. You’re asking me, do you think Ron has struck a deal? I think the main thing on his agenda is to be the nominee.”

University of Michigan students Ryan and Curtis (neither wanted their last name used) don’t believe that Paul’s struck a deal either.

“I don’t think he’s shady like that,” said Ryan.

As for Rand as VP, it could work. “I think Ron is paving the way for Rand,” Ryan said. “I don’t think the American people are ready for his ideas yet. Things have to get a little shittier first.”

Both would vote for a Romney/Rand ticket; Curtis thinks it would set the stage for Rand to become president afterwards.

“If they win, he’d be running for president later as the vice president, which is a huge advantage,” he said

Becky Buehrer, an employee of the Michigan secretary of state, told BuzzFeed that “If Rand was on the ticket I probably would [vote for Romney]. But only if he was, otherwise no.”

Like the others, she resists the idea of a possible deal between the Romney and Paul campaigns.

“I’d be shocked,” she said. “I’d be absolutely amazed.”

But some Paulites draw a hard line at voting for any presidential ticket that doesn’t include the Doctor. It’s the principle, after all.

Rich Dudek, ex-military from Flint, said that “It’s Ron Paul or no one.”

As for Romney/Rand 2012, “I don’t want to have to hope that Mitt Romney gets killed,” he said.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/would-paul-supporters-hold-their-noses-and-vote-fo

Chick-Fil-A Promises Not To Fund “Anti-Gay Groups,” Advocates Claim

“Chick-fil-A appreciation day” in Columbus, Georgia this summer. Mike Haskey / AP

A Chicago advocacy group says that the restaurant Chick-fil-A has promised to back away from funding socially conservative groups that have pressed to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

The apparent decision by the chain’s WinShape Foundation would mark a retreat from the summer’s culture war pitting advocates of marriage equality against conservative claims that the chain was under assault for simple free speech. The comments came, the group The Civil Rights Agenda said, in correspondence with a Chicago alderman who had opposed the chain’s expansion to the city.

“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” the chain is said to have written in a letter to Alderman Proco Moreno. The Chicago group added in a press release: “In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.”

The company did not contest the report in a statement from spokesman Steve Robinson emailed to BuzzFeed on Wednesday — though it also would not confirm the new report.

“We have no agenda, policy or position against anyone. We have a 65-year history of providing hospitality for all people and, as a dedicated family business, serving and valuing everyone regardless of their beliefs or opinions,” he said in a general press statement emailed to BuzzFeed by another Chick-fil-A spokesman, Jerry Johnston, who said the company’s press statement is not new. “The genuine, historical intent of our WinShape Foundation and corporate giving has been to support youth, family and educational programs.”

The company also re-iterated an earlier statement promising to respect LGBT customers.

“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” the company said in a July attempt to tamp down protests.

An advocate for marriage equality and LGBT rights welcomed the move.

“With some of the groups that they were donating to being classified as hate groups, and others actively trying to halt the movement toward full civil rights for LGBT people, Chick-fil-A has taken a big step forward,” Civil Rights Agenda executive director Anthony Martinez said in a statement.

UPDATE: National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown suggests this isn’t much of a concession: “WinShape never gave to us,” he said in an email.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedpolitics/chick-fil-a-promises-to-stop-funding-anti-gay-gro

Key Christian Conservative Leader Defends Romney Engagement With ‘Values Voters’

WASHINGTON, DC — Family Research Council president Tony Perkins Saturday sought to tamp down complaints that Mitt Romney is ignoring social conservatives, rejecting the idea that the GOP nominee has “slighted” conservative voters even as he acknowledged “theological” differences with Romney.

“I in no way, in no way, let me be very explicit, in no way do I feel like he’s slighted values voters. I feel that he’s very responsive,” Perkins told reporters Saturday.

“I’ve been communicating regularly with the campaign,” Perkins said. “I have met with the candidate. And I will say he even called me on the day that FRC was attacked in a shooting, he called to extend his condolences, his thoughts, his prayers for our team.”

“So I will say the communications we have had with this campaign and their responsiveness to the issues we care about has actually been better than any candidate or campaign that I have worked with at the nine years I’ve been at FRC,” Perkins said.

Still, Perkins expressed some reservations with Romney despite the communication between the two, pointing out that he and Romney had different faiths, for example.

“That does not mean that he is the one that I am most ideologically aligned with,” Perkins said. “He and I, I’ve said this many times, I’ve said this to him, we share some significant theological differences when it comes to our personal faith.”

Social conservatives took a long time to come around to Romney, forcing him through a long primary season and occasionally giving the edge to competitors like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Romney himself didn’t come to the Values Voter Summit, sending vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in his stead, though he did appear in a video message.

Romney’s not appearing in person was a “major diss” and “inexcusable,” conservative radio host Bryan Fischer told BuzzFeed yesterday.

“It’s just kind of an indication that he has not yet found a way to connect with social conservatives,” Fischer said, although he did later say that he approved of the content of Romney’s video message.

But Perkins dismissed those complaints.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a place other than the Republican convention where you’ll have the presidential candidate and the vice-presidential candidate in the same place,” Perkins argued.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/key-christian-conservative-leader-defends-romney-e

Washington Eyes A Weaker Benjamin Netanyahu

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters as he arrives with Former Israel Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman at his election campaign headquarters on Tuesday.

Israel’s national elections Tuesday left the Obama administration and its allies with a new prospect: a weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose years of testiness and occasional confrontation with President Barack Obama failed to prevent the rise of a new centrist party.

Israel’s election — and the emergence as the country’s second-largest party of Yesh Atid, led by former television personality Yair Lapid — were driven largely by domestic economic and social issues. But it surprised many who had anticipated the victory of a militant right-wing bloc. And Washington was scrambling Tuesday to process what appears to be a new, more centrist coalition in a year that could test American-Israeli relations over a brewing conflict with Iran and an American desire to move toward Palestinian statehood.

According to the Israel’s Channel 2, with 95% of votes counted, Likud-Beiteinu had won 31 seats, while Lapid’s party won 19, and Labor won 17.

“The net impact is that a broader coalition may provide more openings as part of a renewal of peace negotiations with the Palestinians,” said David Makovsky, the director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, though he also predicted protracted bargaining in the “Rubik’s cube” of Israeli coalition politics.

“Another incentive for a wider coalition is the biggest issue in play between Washington and Israel this year is Iran,” Makovsky said. “Accordingly, Israel will need to prioritize relations with the Obama administration towards reaching a successful resolution.”

That fact, and Lapid’s demand that negotiations be restarted with Palestinian leaders, have offered backers of the peace process a rare reason for optimism.

“I think Netanyahu forming a coalition with partners who demand peace negotiations with Palestinians, that’s good for Obama,” said Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir.

And while Obama may have been burned once too often by the difficult politics of Israel and Palestinian, the eternally optimistic peace processers are hoping for a new champion: his incoming Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry.

“There’s a lot of buzz going around that Kerry wants to own this issue,” said Zvika Krieger, a vice president at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and contributing editor to The Atlantic. “If Kerry does in fact request that, we might see some movement on this issue.”

Another Democratic Mideast analyst said Netanyahu would be pulled in both directions by his new coalition. A centrist coalition may make “it easier to get some things done, which could please the White House, but he will also face real pressure from the right and within his own base, which will also give him a pressure release valve,” the analyst said.

Others shrugged off the heated rhetoric surrounding the elections’ impact both here and in Israel.

Writing in Bloomberg View, Jeffrey Goldberg argued that the effect of the election results on the peace process would be ” not as much as you’d expect.”

“In the past week, especially, Netanyahu has been running against President Barack Obama,” Goldberg wrote. “Netanyahu had been trying to convey to the settlers and their supporters that he is the only one strong enough to resist another U.S. pressure campaign to freeze Israeli settlement-building.”

“The next coalition — even if it is center-right, rather than hard-right — is going to have a hard time selling a revitalized peace process,” Goldberg wrote.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu appeared to signal a preference for a centrist coalition, telling supporters Tuesday night that his government will be “as broad as possible.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/washington-eyes-a-weaker-benjamin-netanyahu

Big Bird’s Creator A Big Obama Backer

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

The woman who founded the Children’s Television Workshop, which created Sesame Street, is a maxed-out contributor to the Obama campaign and a significant donor to the Obama-backing Priorities USA Super PAC, campaign finance records show.

Joan Ganz Cooney contributed the the maximum $35,800 to the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee, plus an additional $30,400 that could be distributed by the “Obama Victory Fund” to state parties. She then gave $50,000 to the Priorities USA Super PAC that is backing Obama’s re-election.

Additionally, records show that Cooney gave $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation in 2011 and 2012 and $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2011.

With the Obama campaign in overdrive protecting Big Bird from attack from the Romney campaign — see today’s ad — there’s at least one donor who is certainly happy to see the quick-footed reaction from Chicago.

Records show that she also had maxed out to Obama in his first campaign — after initially backing both Sen. Chris Dodd and then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s runs.

Michael Petrelis first noted some of Cooney’s contributions earlier today.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/big-birds-creator-a-big-obama-backer