Biography

Bill Press is host of the nationally-syndicated "Bill Press Show" on talk radio. His show is heard in all 50 states on Sirius Satellite ...

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Bill Press

Bill Press

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Hollywood flunks the screen test

December 25, 2014

The plot was so bizarre it was hard to believe: The government of North Korea, offended by an adolescent comedy that jokes about assassinating Kim Jong-un, warns Americans not to go see the movie because they might blow up any theatre that screens it.

  • Obama's bold new policy on Cuba

    December 18, 2014

    It takes a lot to shake the jaded White House press corps. So when I walked into the briefing room last Thursday and a reporter friend greeted me with "Wow, this is a legacy day," when another reporter observed that Obama was ending his sixth year with a "thunderclap," and when Press Secretary Josh Earnest began his briefing by noting what a "historic day" it was at the White House, you knew something really big was up.

  • Who will be held responsible for torture?

    December 11, 2014

    We've never seen anything like it. Reporters almost ran out of adjectives for the kinds of torture carried out by the CIA, as described in the Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week. Their actions were called disgusting, degrading, despicable, sick, satanic, hedonistic, horrific, evil, sadistic and sadomasochist -- all of which applied. And that was just for starters.

  • Black men: Beware of police officers

    December 4, 2014

    It's one of the best-known lines of any English-language poet -- Robert Burns' reflection on the upper-class church lady who doesn't realize there's a louse crawling around on her bonnet. "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"

  • Justices try to sabotage Obamacare

    November 27, 2014

    Haven't heard much about Obamacare lately? There's a good reason for that. Because most of the news about Obamacare is good news, and Republicans don't want to talk about good news. Neither do the media.

  • A lot of good news mixed in with the bad

    November 13, 2014

    For Democrats, looking for any good news out of the midterm election results is like the ghoulish old joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" But, believe it or not, shining among the rubble are a few nuggets of good news -- mainly at the state, not federal, level.

  • Don't hold your breath for Mitch McConnell

    November 6, 2014

    In what will no doubt be remembered as the understatement of the century so far, President Obama confessed at his news conference the day after the midterm elections: "There's no doubt that Republicans had a good night."

  • Smile! Things are not as bad as they seem

    October 30, 2014

    It's the strangest out-of-body experience I ever had. About 10 years ago, while browsing in a San Francisco bookstore, I picked up a book of quotations. Routinely turning to the index, I was startled to find a quote -- from me! "Things aren't as bad as they seem," I had supposedly said at one time, "they're worse."

  • Cowardly Democratic Senate candidates

    October 23, 2014

    Maybe you had the same reaction. I've been around politics for 30 years, but I don't remember seeing anything as dumb as Kentucky Democrat Alison Grimes' refusal to say whether or not she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

  • Do you trust your government on Ebola?

    October 16, 2014

    As I write this column, two health care workers in Dallas have come down with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled from West Africa and died from the disease. By the time you read it, there will most likely be more cases.

  • Panetta bites hand that fed him

    October 9, 2014

    Four of the best years of my life were spent working for California's Jerry Brown, during his first turn as governor. Among my most vivid memories of those days were private sessions, usually late at night, where a few of us staffers would engage with the governor in a lively discussion about certain policies or people. At almost every meeting, after making some especially candid comment, Gov. Brown would suddenly point his finger at one of us and warn: "And don't put that in your book!"

  • Eric Holder: Mixed legacy at best

    October 2, 2014

    He's not exactly stepping aside quietly. Reaction to Eric Holder's resignation ranged from hagiographic to diabolical. Civil rights leaders praised him as the strongest attorney general since Bobby Kennedy. Fox News derided him as the nation's all-time worst attorney general, who left behind a "trail of scandals." Maybe we could all agree that Holder's legacy lies somewhere in between.

  • Note to Secret Service -- lock the White House door

    September 25, 2014

    As anyone who's ever tried knows, the White House is one of the most difficult buildings in the world to get into. Take it from me. I go there almost every day for the daily White House press briefings. You have to go through several layers of security to get onto the grounds, before getting into the building itself.

  • NFL makes Congress look good

    September 18, 2014

    No wonder members of Congress are walking around with big smiles on their faces these days. They're used to being the most disgraced people in the country. But now there's one group that has an even worse reputation: the NFL.

  • No new war without congressional approval

    September 11, 2014

    How does a war-weary president convince a war-weary nation to start another war? In a prime-time address to the nation on Wednesday evening, President Obama tried.

  • No rush to war in Syria

    September 4, 2014

    Give President Obama credit for one thing. He's accomplished something nobody else could do. In a city long frozen in partisan gridlock, he's done the impossible. He's succeeded in getting Democrats and Republicans to agree on something. Unfortunately for him, what they all agree on is that he's too weak in his response to the growing threat of ISIS.

  • Mitch McConnell's bromance with the Koch brothers

    August 28, 2014

    Control of the U.S. Senate is the most important prize at stake in this year's mid-term elections. There are 36 Senate seats up for election -- 21 are held by Democrats, 15 by Republicans.

  • Shock and awe in Ferguson

    August 21, 2014

    For those of us who lived through the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, and for all of us who remember the Trayvon Martin murder, just two years ago, events surrounding the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown look all too familiar. As Yogi Berra would put it, it's "deja vu, all over again."

  • Executive orders? Obama has no choice

    August 7, 2014

    Congress has fled Washington for a five-week summer recess, but don't fret about all of the serious problems left unresolved in their absence. It won't make any difference. Under Speaker John Boehner, members of the 113th Congress accomplish as much out of town as in town. Which is absolutely nothing.

  • Republicans can't stop talking about impeaching Obama

    July 31, 2014

    When Republicans in Congress complained about his relentless attacks on their record, reporters dubbed President Truman "Give 'em Hell Harry." To which Truman fired back: "I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell!"

  • GOP ignores lessons of 1994

    July 24, 2014

    President John F. Kennedy was fond of quoting the philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Indeed, Santayana's advice makes so much sense you'd think nobody could ever ignore it. Yet that's exactly what Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) doing today by refusing to allow a vote on immigration reform.

  • Why doesn't Dick Cheney just shut up?

    July 17, 2014

    Among former presidents, there's an unwritten rule: Once you leave the game, you don't stand on the sidelines and criticize the man who took your place. You never heard George H.W. Bush attack Bill Clinton. Never heard Clinton slamming George W. Bush. And, to his credit, you haven't heard a peep from George W. Bush ever since he went back to Dallas.

  • GOP now embraces frivolous lawsuits

    July 10, 2014

    We all mourn the death of former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, a great senator and statesman. And, no doubt, before his passing, Howard Baker mourned the death of the Republican Party he once knew and led so well. It ain't the same party anymore.

  • One of the worse Supreme Court decisions ever

    July 3, 2014

    There have been some great landmark Supreme Court decisions: Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, U.S. v. Nixon, and Lawrence v. Texas, to name but a few. And there have been a number of doozies. Among them: Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Korematsu v. United States and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This week's Hobby Lobby decision now joins the ranks of the worst ever. It will be soon regretted and someday overturned.

  • The IRS scandal that isn't

    June 26, 2014

    Believe me, as a columnist, commentator, and talk-show host, nobody loves a scandal more than I do. Just the thought of verbally hanging some politician or bureaucrat for wrong-doing gets my juices flowing. The problem is, House Republicans don't know a real scandal from a phony one. Today, we have one of each.

  • The unsinkable Jerry Brown

    June 19, 2014

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- There are those who don't believe politicians can ever enjoy a second life. They're wrong. Just go to Sacramento and check in on Gov. Jerry Brown. He's not only enjoying a second political life, he's survived two, three, four, or five lives, depending on which offices you count.

  • Political earthquake shakes nation's capital

    June 12, 2014

    You know what they say: "You can't believe everything you read in the newspaper." Eric Cantor learned that the hard way.

  • Did Sgt. Bergdahl deserve to be rescued?

    June 5, 2014

    There's a new trend in American politics. Call it the "Benghazi Syndrome." It used to be, when our nation was attacked, as on September 11, Americans rallied behind the president and said: "Let's go get the guys who did this to us." No longer. When terrorists attacked our consulate in Benghazi, Republicans decided to play politics instead: "Let's see how we can blame this on President Obama."

  • Time to clean house at Veterans Affairs

    May 22, 2014

    They call him "No Drama Obama" for a reason. Most of the time, it's Professor Obama who meets with us White House reporters: notorious for showing no emotion and taking so long to answer questions that, by the time he stops talking, everybody forgets what the question was in the first place.

  • Rubio fiddles while Miami sinks

    May 15, 2014

    Here's a novel idea. Since president of the United States is not only the most important job in this country, but also the most powerful on the planet, doesn't it make sense to require an IQ test before anybody can run for that office? Of course, it does. And Marco Rubio should be the first.

  • Playing politics with Benghazi

    May 8, 2014

    A funny thing happened on the way to Obamacare this week. House Republicans summoned insurance executives to Washington to help make the case that Obamacare was a total failure -- and, instead, they said just the opposite. In testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee, they reported that over 8 million people had signed up, 80 percent of whom had already paid their initial premiums. They rejected the notion that premiums would increase sharply next year. And, most significantly, they said Obamacare was no "government takeover" of the health industry. In fact, they acknowledged, insurance companies were making record profits.

  • State-approved torture in Oklahoma

    May 1, 2014

    Pity the poor people of Oklahoma. Nobody deserves a governor this incompetent.

  • Congress for sale, now more than ever

    April 3, 2014

    As chief justice, I have no doubt that John G. Roberts' number one goal is to turn this democracy into a plutocracy. And he's well on his way to doing so.

  • A challenge from the left for Hillary?

    March 27, 2014

    Most political reporters have already written the script for 2016: Hillary Clinton announces she will run for president shortly after the mid-term elections of November 2014, Democrats clear the field for her, she romps unscathed through the primaries, crushes her hapless Republican opponent, and skates triumphantly into the White House, with former president, now America's first "First Gentleman," in tow.

  • There once was a land named Crimea

    March 20, 2014

    Thanks to some strange alignment of the planets, there were two competing, yet remarkably similar, news stories this week. Both involved the disappearance of things that should never get lost: an entire passenger plane and an entire country. But, at this point, both Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and Crimea are still missing -- and may never be found again.

  • Straight out of Mad magazine: Spy vs. spy

    March 13, 2014

    Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. We found that out again this week. Not even John le Carre or Daniel Silva could write a spy novel as multi-leveled, complicated, and unpredictable as the plot unveiled by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  • Is Obama a tyrant or a weakling?

    March 6, 2014

    I'm not ashamed to admit it: I love politics. I've been at it for decades. It's important. It's fun. I've made a good living out of it, as campaign manager, candidate and commentator. But there are times when partisan politics has no place. And this is one of them.

  • An executive order Obama should sign

    February 27, 2014

    What a difference a year makes. It was only a year ago that Republicans were among the loudest voices for comprehensive immigration reform. Of course, they were speaking, not out of conviction, but out of desperation, after their party's disastrous showing among Latino voters in November 2012.

  • Is it time for a second look at LBJ?

    February 20, 2014

    The contrast could not be greater. Last year, we marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This year, we note the 50th anniversary of the election of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. One president is still revered, and rightly so. The other is still reviled, but unfairly so.

  • Monica Lewinsky, the sequel

    February 13, 2014

    OK, let's say you're a freshman Republican senator, but already a force within your party and a rising media star, and you're thinking about running for president in 2016. After all, there's no obvious frontrunner. You've got as good a chance as anybody. All you need is a good, strong, popular issue to run on.

  • Drawing the line on Obama haters

    February 6, 2014

    If you thought political rhetoric had sunk as low as it could, think again. We've never seen as much hate speech directed against any president as the vitriol unleashed by extremists every day against President Obama.

  • The imperial Obama presidency

    January 31, 2014

    What was Obama thinking? He's never made any secret of his disdain for members of Congress. After all, he made it all the way to the White House after serving only three years on the Hill. What's wrong with those dumbbells who've spent half a lifetime there? They're clearly not as smart as he is.

  • My big stoned gay wedding

    January 23, 2014

    One of the first lessons every political activist learns the hard way is: Change doesn't happen overnight. No matter how noble the cause, it usually has to simmer for years before it finally heats up and public support turns around. Then, finally, your efforts pay off, you win the day, and you wonder why it took so long -- or how anybody could have opposed your idea in the first place.

  • Does anybody believe Governor Christie?

    January 16, 2014

    Only in New York. Yes, only in the New York media market would a barely-sworn-into-office mayor get in hot water so fast over so trivial an issue. But there was Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, forced to apologize for eating pizza with a fork and knife, like they do in Italy, instead of shoveling it in with both hands, like they do in New York City.

  • Et tu, Brute? Robert Gates stabs Obama in the back

    January 9, 2014

    There are many things wrong with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book, starting with the title. He calls it: "Duty." It should have been called: "Bobby, We Hardly Knew Ye."

  • First test of the post-gridlock Congress

    January 3, 2014

    It's nothing short of a miracle: The fact that, after three years of lurching from one fiscal crisis to another, a badly-divided Congress, in the waning days of 2013, was able to come together and agree on a budget with strong bipartisan support. True, in terms of substance, it wasn't much of a deal. But the fact that, given all we've been through, they were able to reach any deal at all was itself a big deal.

  • First test of the post-gridlock Congress

    January 2, 2014

    It's nothing short of a miracle: The fact that, after three years of lurching from one fiscal crisis to another, a badly-divided Congress, in the waning days of 2013, was able to come together and agree on a budget with strong bipartisan support. True, in terms of substance, it wasn't much of a deal. But the fact that, given all we've been through, they were able to reach any deal at all was itself a big deal.