The Buzz

TheChat: Roy Blunt insists that Barack Obama is wrong on Cuba

Happy holidays, all.

▪ “I oppose this move, and I believe it is a mistake.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, on the Obama administration’s call to re-establish ties to Cuba.

Blunt also said this: “It’s hard, if not impossible, to normalize relations with a Castro-led Cuba.” But Politico points out that back in 2000, Blunt was part of a group of GOP congressional leaders that pulled together an accord that allowed American banks to get involved in financing on the island. (link via

▪ “If I were as successful as him, I would do exactly what he’s doing.” — Missouri state Rep. Eric Burlison, a Springfield Republican, speaking about GOP mega donor Rex Sinquefield’s penchant for spending big money backing GOP candidates.

Burlison defended Sinquefield, pointing out that the financier is “passionate about issues that don’t benefit him directly.”

▪ “They don’t have the resources to have a division or department that’s devoted to regulatory compliance.” — Missouri Congressman Sam Graves bemoaning the difficulties that small businesses have complying with federal regulations.

Many small companies are so small they may not even realize that they’re out of compliance, the congressman said. Graves is leaving the committee after four years at its helm because of chairmanship term limits. He’ll be joining the Armed Services Committee.

▪ “We also want to look at if there’s any short, medium or long-term options for how to bring the annual cost down for the system.” — Kansas state budget director Shawn Sullivan speaking about the possibility of privatizing the state worker retirement plan.

Sullivan said the Brownback administration will not seek to continue its cuts to the retirement program. But the state will consider hiring a private company to dole out retirement benefits.

▪ “I’m not done.” — President Barack Obama in the subject line of an email that went out from his old political group, Organizing for Action, as his news conference concluded.

With a run of good news that includes the climate deal with China, Cuba and the economy, the president is enjoying a little run since the mid-term elections. All of that is helping him send a signal that he’s still very much relevant as his administration enters, as Obama put it, its fourth quarter.