Putin Wishes Obama a Happy New Year

On the last day of 2013, the Russian president praises his American counterpart for a tough but successful year of working together.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Dec. 31, 2013, 5:38 a.m.

The last time Pres­id­ent Obama and Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin met, in Septem­ber, they shared a brief hand­shake and pleas­ant smiles. Next year, Putin hopes there might be a few more mo­ments like that.

In a New Year’s Eve greet­ing to Obama on Tues­day, the Rus­si­an pres­id­ent praised co­oper­a­tion between the two na­tions in 2013. He said Mo­scow is “de­term­ined to pur­sue con­struct­ive re­la­tions” with the United States.

“The events of this year have vividly shown that by act­ing in the spir­it of part­ner­ship and re­spect for each oth­er’s in­terests, Rus­sia and the U.S. are able to make an ac­tu­al con­tri­bu­tion to ef­forts aimed at main­tain­ing glob­al sta­bil­ity and resolv­ing the most com­plex in­ter­na­tion­al prob­lems,” Putin wrote, ac­cord­ing to The Voice of Rus­sia.

This year has been a rocky one for U.S.-Rus­si­an re­la­tions, thanks to a myri­ad of reas­ons: a ban on Amer­ic­ans ad­opt­ing Rus­si­an chil­dren, Ed­ward Snowden, con­flict in Syr­ia, crit­ic­al op-eds, and Amer­ic­an con­cerns with an­ti­gay laws in Rus­sia ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in So­chi.

In times of tragedy, however, the two coun­tries have put polit­ics aside. After two sui­cide bomb­ings killed dozens in Rus­sia this week, the White House offered its “full sup­port” to Mo­scow in se­cur­ity pre­par­a­tions for the winter games, adding that it “stands in solid­ar­ity with the Rus­si­an people against ter­ror­ism.”

The two coun­tries have closed out the year on shaki­er terms in the past. On this day in 1961, Pres­id­ent Kennedy is­sued a state­ment ex­tend­ing his “sin­cere wishes” to So­viet Premi­er Nikita Khrushchev and the rest of the So­viet Uni­on for a peace­ful and pros­per­ous New Year. The year had been a “troubled one” between the two world powers, Kennedy wrote, and he hoped 1962 would bring im­proved re­la­tions. Khrushchev pledged fu­ture co­oper­a­tion too. Their hol­i­day ex­change came at the height of the Cold War, when nuc­le­ar war was al­most a palp­able threat.

What We're Following See More »
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.