Inept leader in a gathering storm

On March 25, 2014, in Featured, by Focus Washington

By Chuck Conconi 

After six years in the White House, it is not unfair to say that President Obama is politically inept in his relationship with Congress. If he thinks he has been having trouble dealing with recalcitrant Republicans on the Hill, what will he do in the last two years of his term if, as predicted, in November’s off-year elections the Republicans hold onto and build their majority in the House of Representatives and take over the Senate?

Even among his allies and supporters there is dismay over his recent nominations for Senate confirmation, such as Debo P. Adegbile, to head the Justice Department’s civil rights decision. He was resoundingly rejected by the Senate, with several Democrats joining the Republican opposition.  There was intense criticism of Adegbile’s involvement in the legal appeals of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is serving a life sentence without parole for killing a Philadelphia police officer. Continue reading »


Republic of Zambia celebrates ‘Golden Jubilee,’ of independence marked by peaceful government transitions, strong opportunities for economic growth and investment, and lack of war and conflict


WASHINGTON– March 12, 2014 – “Achievements are many, but one that stands out is Zambia has managed to maintain peace and stability for the last 50 years,” Zambian Ambassador to the U.S. Palan Mulonda told Chuck Conconi during an interview on Focus Washington.   “We have managed to have two government transitions peacefully, and our democracy, one can argue, is now firmly entrenched.”

As the Republic of Zambia celebrates 50 years of independence, the Ambassador paid tribute to the founding fathers of Zambia in their sacrifice and actions to secure the peace that exists today.  “Zambia was created with a motto,” the Ambassador said, “this motto resonated very well.  This was “One Zambia, One nation.” And what that means he explained, “was that as a nation, tribe, color, be it any form of distinction was never to be a factor.” Continue reading »


Vietnam’s Red Line Blurs As It Engages America

On March 11, 2014, in DCView, Special Features, by Focus Washington


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By James Borton

Vietnam is writing a new story and it is not about the wounds of war that Americans saw on the evening news when the last American citizens boarded the helicopter from the American Embassy rooftop in Saigon almost 40 years ago. It appears that the Obama administration, like earlier Washington administrations, is leaving this new chapter untranslated and unread.

In an interview last year with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the historic Waldorf Astoria, he reinforced the new chapter, when he stated, “ we will do everything we can to be an active, constructive and responsible member of the international community. All that is for the goals of peace, friendship, mutual respect, equality and win-win, and this is particularly true with our relations with the U.S. since they are based on that same policy.”

For the past year, Vietnam has pursued a purposeful diplomatic drive to usher in a new period of bilateral relations with the United States that included a visit by Socialist Republic of Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang with President Barack Obama at the White House, to Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s Harvard Executive Leadership class, and to the run-up last November of Mr. Dung’s formal address to the United Nations assembly.

Vietnam wants America to know that it is deeply engaged in forging a closer and comprehensive partnership with its once former enemy. Continue reading »


China’s President Applauded for Walking Street Without Air Mask

On February 27, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, is surrounded by onlookers during an unannounced visit to a residential alley in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2014. AP Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, is surrounded by onlookers during an unannounced visit to a residential alley in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2014. AP Photo

From ABC News

China’s President Xi Jinping  made a rare public appearance on a popular Beijing street today, which is  Day 6 of air so hazardous the city has been placed under a “pollution alert.”

Social media is lighting up with the news Xi strolled down Nanluoguxiang, known for selling “stinky tofu,”  and most of the commentary positive:

“Breathing together, sharing the same fate,” read one post on Weibo, China’s Twitter.

Nanluoguxiang is packed with hip cafes and bars frequented by Beijing youth and tourists. Xi allowed several photos to be taken as he visited two homes, inquiring about living conditions.

Breathing bad air, without a mask, won Xi an enormous amount of praise online. “Right on! Big Xi didn’t wear a face mask!” wrote one blogger according to the South China Morning Post.

Chen Heng, owner of Chen’s Small Intestine Restaurant, posted a complaint that police were checking the area “like mad dogs” in the days leading up to the visit.


Cokie Roberts Talks Partisan Rigidity and Her New Book

On February 6, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington

Cokie Roberts FW

Cokie Roberts says that in the Washington in which she grew up there was a friendliness and camaraderie among the congressional political families because they lived in Washington and got to know each other.

The ABC and NPR news analyst, writer and author, Roberts said in a Focus Washington interview with Chuck Conconi that contemporary congressional families don’t move to Washington, “and as a result they don’t get to know each other.” She conceded that it is complicated when both work and the reality makes it very expensive to maintain two households. This situation then leads to the partisan rigidity so much a part of the current legislative debates. Continue reading »


Former Senator John Breaux Diagnoses Partisan Illness

On February 4, 2014, in DCView, by Focus Washington

John Breaux FW

Former Senator John Breaux said he felt that President Obama’s threat in the State of the Union speech that if Congress was going to be bogged down in partisan wrangling he would use the executive power of the White House to get what he wanted accomplished could have the effect of making everyone in Congress angrier and not be helpful. Continue reading »


Bloomberg: China’s U.S. Ambassador Cui Tiankai

On January 21, 2014, in Featured, Special Features, by Focus Washington

On “Charlie Rose,” a conversation with Cui Tiankai. In April, he became China’s ambassador to the United States. He previously served as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Source: Bloomberg)



New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Vice President Joe Biden, both with 2016 presidential ambitions, have had a disastrous week that could negatively impact their White House ambitions. Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill newspaper, told Chuck Conconi in a Focus Washington video interview, that Defense Sec. Robert Gates sharp criticism of the vice president in his book, Duty, will probably help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her presidential ambitions.

The criticism is so devastating for the vice president, Cusack explained, because Gates was attacking him on his foreign policy stands and that “goes to his perceived strength in foreign policy.”

As for Christie, Cusack said, he has been hurt by the seemingly small minded closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge to allegedly punish the Mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey. He added, however, that if Christie’s contention holds that he didn’t know anything about it, then he could survive this and the voters may forget it since it’s a long way to 2016.

Continue reading »


Sharing experience is the latest phase in a nearly 400-year-old partnership

Experts from the Netherlands have been busy offering advice to federal, state and local governments on how to manage water in the environment, according to Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink.

In an interview with Chuck Conconi of Qorvis Focus Washington, Ambassador Bekink said that water—living with and managing water in areas in urbanized and agricultural areas—has  been a major topic of discussion between Dutch and Americans. Continue reading »


10 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in D.C.

On November 19, 2013, in DCView, by Focus Washington

The last of the candy corn is gone, your local coffee shop is starting to play holiday-themed music, and it’s finally starting to turn colder. All of this can only mean one thing… Thanksgiving season is upon us! Whether you’re looking for something to do with the in-laws or just going solo, here’s a list of the best holiday-centric activities in the D.C. area for the next couple of weeks.

  1. Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger

    Looking for a fun and creative way to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving? This popular 5k fun run and family walk helps SOME (So Others Might Eat) serve more than 800 meals to the hungry every day of the year.

    November 28, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
    Beginning at Freedom Plaza, between 13th Street NW and 12th Street NW

  2. Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

    Kick off Thanksgiving week with a lively celebration in downtown Silver Spring. The family friendly event will include giant balloons, a variety of floats, and the Washington Redskins Marching Band. There will also be clowns, mounted police, costumed characters, fire engines, trained dogs, classic cars, South American dancing groups, and high school marching bands. Can’t wait for Christmas? Santa will be there with his elves and reindeer, as well!

    November 23, 2013, 10 a.m.
    Begins at Ellsworth Drive and Veterans Place and proceeds South on Georgia Avenue, ending on Silver Spring Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland

  3. Mount Vernon by Candlelight

    Each holiday season, a costumed guide will take you through George Washington’s historic estate along candlelit lanes. Characters from Washington’s time, including “Martha Washington” and “Nelly Custis,” will tell stories about how the Washingtons celebrated Christmas. After the tour, guests can partake in 18th-century dancing in the greenhouse, sing their favorite carols, and enjoy warm cider and cookies by an outdoor bonfire.

    November 29 – December 22, 2013, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    23200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway

  4. Anchorman: The Exhibit

    In partnership with Paramount Pictures, the Newseum presents “Anchorman: The Exhibit,” including props, costumes, and footage from the 2004 hit comedy, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” The exhibit features more than 60 costumes and hilarious props and a re-creation of the KVWN-TV anchor desk and news set. The long-anticipated exhibit is the perfect activity for the seasoned DC veterans who have already visited all of the classic tourist spots.

    November 14, 2013 – August 31, 2014
    555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

  5. Stroll through the National Zoo

    What better way to entertain the kids and the adults all at once than with a good old fashioned visit to the zoo? If it’s particularly nippy out, sip some hot cocoa while you say hello to the animals. Did we mention that it’s free?

    3001 Connecticut Avenue NW

  6. Remembering John F. Kennedy

    President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Honor our 35th president on the 50th anniversary of his death with a visit to his gravesite, the “Eternal Flame” at Arlington National Cemetery. The Newseum is also paying tribute to his death with an exhibit, “Three Shots Were Fired,” and an original documentary, “A Thousand Days,” chronicling his presidency, family life, and death. The exhibit and film will be on display through January 5, 2014.

    Arlington National Cemetery
    555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

  7. Alexandria Turkey Trot

    Burn off those extra calories before the big feast while doing some good on Thanksgiving with a 5-mile run/walk through the historic town of Alexandria in Virginia. The 38th annual trot is hosted by the DC Road Runners Club, a local group affiliated with USA Track & Field. Food donations support ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization serving Alexandria’s needy.

    November 28, 2013, 9 a.m.
    George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia

  8. Holidays on Display

    Interested in the history of the holiday season? Want a little perspective next time you’re watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning? Visit the National Museum of American History to see “Holidays on Display,” which opened on November 13 of this year. The exhibit examines the “art, industry, and history of holiday display across the United States” by showcasing objects from original displays, photographs, postcards, and illustrations, including items from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Marshall Field & Company Christmas windows.

    14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, on the National Mall

  9. Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art

    Sure, ice skating is always fun, but there’s something extra special about skating outdoors to a backdrop of the National Archives and the National Gallery’s magnificent Sculpture Garden. If you’re not in the mood to strap into some skates, come check out the scene while sitting at the Pavilion Café, located in the Sculpture Garden, where you can grab a bite to eat and a mug of something hot.

    Mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting
    Constitution Avenue NW, between 3rd Street NW and 9th Street NW

  10. National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

    For the first time in almost 100 years, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will overlap. Celebrate this rare event by attending the National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony at the White House. Festivities will include a musical performance by the US Air Force Band, hot latkes, and donuts. The Menorah will be lit each night of Hanukkah.

    November 27, 2013, 4 p.m., rain or shine
    The Ellipse, at the NW end of the White House, near Constitution Avenue

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