The Buzz

March 27, 2014

BuzzChatter Thursday: Obama offers some perspective on the standoff with Russia

And...McCain likens Russia to a giant gas station

The Buzz

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

If you’ve made it to Thursday, you can get through Friday, too:

• “This is not another Cold War.” — President Barack Obama speaking Wednesday in Brussels about the standoff over Ukraine.

The speech was the president’s major address of his week-long overseas trip. Obama emphasized that neither the U.S. nor Europe is interested in controlling Ukraine. He said Russia President Vladimir Putin’s actions hinted “of the darker forces of our past.”

• “Russia is now a gas station masquerading as a country.” — Arizona Sen. John McCain

in a harsh denunciation

of Russia Wednesday in which he portrayed the country as little more than a petrochemical exporter.

McCain teamed up with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte to criticize Putin’s country. They said they are concerned that Putin will be emboldened by how easily his country seized the Crimean Peninsula.

• “We are here today to demonstrate the very real dilemmas of inaction. We are talking about real workers who are losing their jobs. We are talking about real community hospitals that will be forced to reduce services or shut their doors.” — Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO, talking about the impact of the Legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid.

The chamber is trying to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to expand Medicaid the same week that House Speaker Tim Jones all but said the idea is dead for the session. Mehan pointed to a new Missouri hospital survey that found that nearly 1,000 full-time positions have been reduced in the last six months and a hiring freeze has been implemented for another 2,145 positions. The reductions are partly in response to federal funding cuts and an increase in charity care. The problem: Funding cuts are expected to continue unless lawmakers go along with Medicaid expansion.

• “If they try to go around me and put this to a vote of the people, I will stand right beside you, and we will fight and win just like we did in 1978.” — Gov. Jay Nixon speaking about his opposition to “right to work” legislation to hundreds of union workers Wednesday who were gathered at the state Capitol.

“Right to work” remains a priority for Republican leaders this session. In fact, the House is reviewing a measure that would put the anti-union measure before a vote of the people and bypass the governor. In 1978, Missouri voters defeated a right-to-work measure.

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