The Buzz

February 12, 2014

Roberts’ office doesn’t want to talk about how much time the senator spends in Kansas

Obama is frustrated with the slow progress in Syria

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

In the quotes today: the office of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, President Barack Obama and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio:

• “We’re not going to release numbers because we’re not sure that any number would be acceptable to some of these outside groups.” — a spokeswoman for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts

declining to release information

about how much time the senator spends in Kansas.

The senator’s office had initially agreed to work with the Washington Examiner newspaper on how much face time Roberts was giving his state, but then later reversed course. By “outside groups,” the spokeswoman may have been referring to Roberts’ primary opponent, Milton Wolf, who is having a field day with the flap over Roberts’ residency, or non-residency, in Kansas. Roberts now is declining to talk about the issue. But if Wolf is truly going to challenge Roberts in the August primary, he’s going to have to find a way to capitalize on the residency issue. So far, the campaign hasn’t shown the ability to do that.

• “Right now we don’t think that there is a military solution per se to the problem.” — President Barack Obama discussing the situation in Syria. The president said international pressure on Syria to give up its chemical weapons is making a difference, although he acknowledged that there’s still “enormous frustration here.”

Obama called the situation fluid and said his administration was exploring “every possible avenue” for a resolution. “It’s not just heartbreaking for the Syrian people, it’s very dangerous for the region as a whole,” he said.

• “If I tell you that I haven't, you won't believe me. If I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, 'Well, I can smoke marijuana, because look how he made it.'... At this point, it's irrelevant.” — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential contender, declining to tell the National Journal whether he smoked pot or not.

Yea, but these days it’s fairly easy to admit you did, say it was a mistake and move on. Rubio may be turning this into a bigger controversy by declining to confirm or deny.

• “Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party.” — Barney Keller, an adviser to the conservative Club for Growth, on House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to proceed with a vote on a “clean” debt-ceiling vote. Keller and other conservatives wanted to continue to fight on the issue in an attempt to lower federal spending.

But the 28 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to pass the measure Tuesday were concerned that their party could suffer in the polls if it fought to the bitter end again. Threatening the nation with insolvency to pay for already approved spending hasn’t worked well for the GOP in recent years.

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