Essential Politics: Obama taking climate change victory lap as Congress cautions

Essential Politics: Obama taking climate change victory lap as Congress cautions

I’m Christina Bellantoni, the Essential Politics host today. Let’s get started.

International climate talks may be expected to yield a victory for President Obama, but that comes as the result of careful diplomacy and what White House officials deem an "exhaustive" process.

Mike Memoli, traveling with the president, writes that the Obama administration’s years-long effort to preordain success at a global gathering outside Paris reflects the degree to which Obama learned from his early setback in Denmark in 2009. Obama applied those lessons toward fighting climate change, a signature goal he has pursued as he tries to cement his legacy in his final years in office.

Obama credited pledges from China with helping to spur significant promises from more than 180 other countries to fight global warming – including developing nations that had been absent from previous accords, such as the one adopted in Kyoto, Japan, nearly two decades ago.

Since Copenhagen, the White House has worked with world leaders to determine a framework for a deal as well as each country’s commitment and to detail how reporting requirements would work absent legal binding.

Read the whole story.

But as Sarah Wire reports, Republicans back home aren’t viewing the summit in the same warm light.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) told reporters Monday that the House doesn’t have to provide funding for any climate change agreements inked in Paris. "We have the authority to debate and decide where we spend our money, and I don’t think that’s the best use of our money," he said.

What are world leaders saying? What is the mood in France? What are they eating? Follow along on our live blog.


Reality television followers might have experienced some whiplash Monday after Omarosa Manigault showed up for a two-hour private meeting between the Coalition of African American Ministers and Donald Trump in New York.

In a statement, Trump thanks the group for endorsing him, and said they discussed "issues of faith, job creation, illegal immigration and unifying communities to Make America Great Again."

As Seema Mehta points out, Manigault, who starred in Trump’s "Apprentice" series, was a surprise guest at a "Ready for Hillary" event in Los Angeles in late 2013.

At the time, the reality television star who once worked in Bill Clinton’s White House offered praise for the former first lady as organizers encouraged Hillary Clinton to run for president.

"All of us have to stick together and get behind this sister because I’m going to tell you, when I was at the White House, she cared about each and every one of us and she made sure we stayed connected to the issues that were important," Manigault said two years ago.

But Monday, she called Trump a "personal friend" and predicted, "the more America gets to know the billionaire candidate, the more they will love him and they will support him."


Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12. It’s a date that fits in between the start of the second session of the 114th Congress and the early presidential nominating contests.


— Peter Jamison finds L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has under-delivered when it comes to his promises to battle the city’s homelessness problem.

Sen. Barbara Boxer is urging Republicans to scrap a special committee probing Planned Parenthood in the wake of the Colorado shooting and some arson incidents in California, and other Democrats are asking GOP colleagues to tone down political rhetoric, Sarah Wire reports.

— A newly released batch of Clinton emails sheds light on the nicknames the then-secretary of State had coined for a couple of her GOP rivals, her ineptitude at locating a premium cable station on her television, and that the Bon Jovis of New Jersey wished her well. Evan Halper has the details.

— Lisa Mascaro sees Speaker Paul Ryan facing his first test — funding the government without a shutdown.

— Emily Alpert Reyes reports on a spat between an electric vehicle company, the city of Los Angeles and a coalition of labor and community groups over the car company's promises to pay workers a living wage.

— Molly Hennessy-Fiske is tracking what is happening to Syrian refugees attempting to resettle in Texas.


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