19 May 2016 (Washington, DC): In this segment of Focus Washington, Chuck Conconi sat with Pierre Ghanem, an Arab journalist covering Washington and the United States, to discuss the Arab world’s reception of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Just like many here in the US, Donald Trump’s rise has surprised the Arab world, but officials of Arab countries are unlikely to be caught off guard. Ghanem elaborates, “Trump may be different but government officials are professionals, we can make it work.” However, the Arab street may harbor some resentment after Trump’s numerous offensive remarks about Muslims.

Clinton, on the other hand, doesn’t elicit as many negative preconceived notions. As Secretary of State, she has not been associated with the worst aspects of the Obama administration in the eyes of Arabs; She hasn’t been tainted by the perceived pivot to Iran, as Kerry has. She was also one of the first US officials to focus on Palestine and its citizens, saying that they deserved a state. According to Ghanem, whether it’s Hillary or Trump, the new president will be a welcome relief after Obama whose empty promises and poor leadership in Syria disappointed most of the Arab and Muslim world.  Continue reading »

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In 2008, when President Barack Obama was elected, progressive liberals looked forward to a leader who could move a progressive agenda along. On this week’s episode of Focus Washington with Chuck Conconi, liberal political commentator Bill Press addresses his disappointment in Obama’s pursuit of progressive legislation and change; Press’s recent book, Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down, makes a case for each missed opportunity.

According to Press, who is the former chairman of the Democratic Party in California, Obama fell short of progressive expectations on issues such as gun control, health care and immigration. Nevertheless,  Press praises Obama for several accomplishments during his eight years in the White House, “I give him credit for all the good things…brought the economy from the brink of ruin, saved the American auto industry… the [recent] Iran nuclear deal, re-opening relations with Cuba, so long overdue…”

Press criticizes the philosophical underpinnings of Obamacare’s in particular. “[Obama] said single-payer option was not under consideration–mistake number one,” says Press.  “Then a public-plan option was offered, giving people the option: instead of buying private insurance they can set up for Medicare, he sold that public plan action, dropped it without a vote or fight.” Current Obamacare requires every single American to buy insurance from a private insurance company… pharmaceutical companies can charge anything they want for prescription drugs.”

Press says that where the President walked away from Congress, he should have stepped forward. Both gun control and immigration reform present similar scenarios: Democrats had the majority in Congress for the first two years, and the Obama administration failed to act decisively.

“Obama should have fought the fight…. there are people that know how to work Congress. President Obama didn’t develop any strong relations when he was there and certainly didn’t as president.”

A progressive will work with Congress, says Press, engage in conservation, and “fight the fight.” To the extent that Obama didn’t use the power of the presidency with Congress, he let down the progressive liberals like Bill Press down.


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In an interview following the bloodiest day in Egypt following the January 2011 revolution, Will Dempster – Vice President of Qorvis Geopolitical Solutions – discusses how violence in Egypt has further destabilized Egypt and both the Army and Muslim Brotherhood need to pull back from the brink to avoid additional bloodshed.

Continue reading »

D.C. Votes

On November 5, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

By Colleen Flanagan

Tomorrow decides the fate of the next four years of our country, who will be occupying the White House come January, as well as numerous state and local issues included on the ballot. The polls will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm at various voting locations in D.C. and Maryland. In Virginia, polls will open an hour earlier at 6:00am and close likewise at 7:00pm.
This year’s election is unique because a record number of residents in the area took advantage of Early Voting. Over the past week, residents waited in lines for up to two-hours long to cast their ballot. The New Jersey government is allowing residents to email or fax in ballots due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Today you can research ballot issues and follow Washington Post’s comprehensive guide to local and national elections. Tomorrow we here at Focus Washington urge you to get out and vote.

There are many ways to celebrate Election Day in D.C. including events at Busboys & Poets, The National Press Club, and various restaurants and venues around town. The Kennedy Center is featuring Election Night Jam to ring in the Election. One thing’s for sure, no matter where you go the live results will be prominently displayed.

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Focus Washington: 2012 Election & Conventions

On September 6, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington


Qorvis‘ Chuck Conconi sits down with Ron Faucheux to discuss the 2012 election. The presidential race as close to a tie as an election can be as Republicans and Democrats focus on rallying their base and swaying undecided voters with their conventions. Democratic National Convention got off to a fast start with a lot of enthusiasm attendees while the Republican National Convention schedule had to get shuffled last minute to due to hurricane Isaac. The Democrats stand a chance to pick up some house seats, but republicans are likely to hold the majority. However control of the Senate is up for grabs.

Focus Washington: Wessel on the Politics of the Federal Budget

On August 24, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

The budget deficit situation has never been this bad. The numbers have never been this large. Politicians are unwilling to compromise.

Focus Washington: 2012 Election: Is it the 99% v. 1%?

On July 31, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Bill Press, an astute observer of the American political scene, discusses the 2012 election with Focus Washington host and chairman at Qorvis, Chuck Conconi. The 2012 election comes down to a choice between somebody who comes from the 1% and will fight for the 1% or someone body who comes from the 99% and will fight for you. Do we go forward with Obama’s program or go back to the policies of Bush and Cheney? Why isn’t gun control part of this campaign?

Focus Washington: Bill Press Forecasts the 2012 Election

On July 25, 2012, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Bill Press joins Qorvis’s Chuck Conconi on Focus Washington to forecast the 2012 election. National polls are now showing the race to be close, but the United States doesn’t elect presidents as a nation we elect them state by state. The majority of people in the U.S. Know who they are going to vote for already. This election is going to come down to the 10-20% of independents who turn out on election day. Bill Press sees the economy as the main issue this year. In his opinion Mitt Romney’s clearly for the millionaires and billionaires while Obama will fight for middle class families.


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Bob Cusack, editor of “The Hill” stops by Focus Washington to sit down with Qorvis’ Chuck Conconi to discuss the fundraising efforts of both Mitt Romney and President Obama, and Cusack weighs in on the 2012 congressional race.

40 Years Ago…

On January 5, 2009, in DCView, by Focus Washington

It was April 3rd, more than 40 years ago, that Dr. Martin Luther King told a Memphis audience that he had been to the mountain top. He prophetically said, “…I’ve looked over and seen the Promised Land. I may not get there. But I want you to know … we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” The next day he was killed by an assassin’s bullet.


What Dr. King could never have predicted or even dreamed, was that all these years later Barack Obama, a black man, would be elected president of the United States – nothing could have been more indicative of reaching the Promised Land to Dr. King. In one of the most troubled times in American history, with an economic collapse and escalating wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, Obama will be sworn in on January 20th, as president. Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt has a president come to office facing such domestic and international dilemmas.


And, Obama, a man with a cool, seemingly unflappable demeanor, comes to office at the right time. He follows a disengaged President Bush whose cavalier international adventuring effectively destroyed much of this country’s stature abroad and stimulated the recruitment of radical Islamic terrorists. In the Arab word, the escalating Israeli war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, is seen not an Israeli attack, but an American offensive. The heart-rending photographs on the front pages of most American newspapers and network television news programs of Palestinian children suffering and dying in the Israeli attacks are only a small sample of the proliferation of similar photographs and television reports of the carnage of non-combatants seen in the Arab world. These same photographs are perceived in the Arab world as another example of American perfidy in its war on Islam.


In addition to the seemingly insurmountable economic crisis, President Obama will have to deal with this deep-seeded hatred the Bush Administration’s Middle East policy has exacerbated. For Obama, the challenges seem insurmountable, while the expectations for success are dangerously high. This President will have a short honeymoon and will direct one of the busiest Administration’s in recent history that includes such festering conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the growing threat of a nuclear Iran. It will help that President-elect Obama is a man of color with a decidedly non Anglo Saxon name. The simple fact of his unexpected election stunned much of the world and raised the esteem of the United States abroad in ways that are yet to be understood. But now, he has to deliver. He has an opportunity to succeed on the world stage, mostly because there is a desire that he will succeed. It is possible that desire will give him an edge that few incoming presidents have ever had. It remains to be seen if that will be enough of an edge.


On January 20th, a vast world audience will be watching and listening to President Obama’s Inaugural Address. There will most likely be a Kennedy-like call for national sacrifice, but he will also speak out across the assembled millions crowding the capital to that world audience, and talk of the need for a resolution to the Palestinian problem that has troubled the world since the creation of Israel in 1948. Like most of his speeches, it will undoubtedly be inspiring, but for many Americans who watched the painfully slow, often frightening and dangerous civil rights movement, there will be tears – tears of happiness in recognition of the accomplishment of Martin Luther King’s mountain top dream realized. It will not be the Promised Land of King’s soaring rhetoric, there is no such place, but it will be an affirmation of an America facing the reality of an ugly racial past with the realization that it can be better and that in such perilous times an inspirational, committed President Obama is a man who can speak to the world in a new and different way, and that in itself evokes some reassurance and comfort. And that may be part of what King meant that fateful night in Memphis.

Doug Poretz, Partner at Qorvis Communications

On November 7, 2008, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Doug Poretz, a founding partner of Qorvis Communications, talks with me about the role of communications in the current economic crisis and the future role of communications in the Obama Administration.

Stan Collendar, leading financial expert, discusses the economy

On November 6, 2008, in DCView, by Focus Washington

With extensive experience on Capital Hill and considered one of the leading experts on the U.S. budget and congressional budget process in Washington, DC, I asked Stan Collender, one of the leading experts on federal fiscal and monetary policies, to discuss the U.S. economy and what to expect out of an Obama administration. His comments were spot on and eye-opening.

Stan is one of only a handful of people who has worked for the House and Senate Budget Committees and has worked for three U.S. representatives who served on the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees.

Susan Eisenhower Discusses Republican Endorsements of Obama

On October 21, 2008, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Today, I spoke with Susan Eisenhower, president of the Eisenhower Group Inc., granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a former Republican Party official and now a supporter of Barack Obama for President. I talked with Susan on the direction of our country and why she left the Republican Party to endorse Senator Obama’s campaign. Susan just returned to Washington from campaigning for Barack Obama in Florida.

“I didn’t leave the Republican Party, they left me,” said Susan. “The Republican Party today does not look a thing like it did during President Eisenhower’s administration. I am very concerned about America’s position in the world. This is why I endorsed Barack Obama — because I do not see things changing without a new cast of characters in the White House.”

Susan has been vocal in her criticism of the Republican Party including the direction the McCain for President Campaign has taken the Party. “Many things have happened with the Republican Party over time. It is the way the campaign has been conducted. For instance, the choice of Sarah Palin was a signal to moderates in the party that the future of the party is to the hard right rather than to the sensible center.”

I hope you like this interesting interview.

You can visit Susan’s Website at: www.susaneisenhower.com

Bill Press, political commentator, on the Presidential Debates

On October 16, 2008, in DCView, by Focus Washington

This time around, I asked political commentator Bill Press to discuss the presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain on October 15, 2008. In a partisan interview Bill Press proclaims John McCain a phony.

On assignment elsewhere, I asked Rich Masters to stand in for me. Rich asks former advisor to Colin Powell, Matt Lauer, who he thought won the debate and what his predictions are moving forward.

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