President Obama visits a pre-kindergarten classroom at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Ga., Feb. 14
10:0: President Obama meets with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
11:10: Welcomes the 18 recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal
12:10: Departs the White House
1:10: Arrives Chicago
2:45: Delivers remarks at Hyde Park Academy
4:30: Departs Chicago
8:0: Arrives West Palm Beach, Florida
Washington Post: President Obama used his State of the Union address to launch a push for massively expanding pre-K and other early childhood education programs. But he was pretty vague about it. Not anymore. At 6 a.m. today, the administration released its detailed plan for early childhood education….
…. Upon opening the plan for the first time (while on the phone with me) Nobel laureate and early childhood education expert James Heckman exclaimed “Holy smokes!” in approval.
Eugene Robinson: In his bid to be remembered as a transformational leader, President Obama is following the playbook of an ideological opposite, Margaret Thatcher. First you win the argument, she used to say, then you win the vote.
Obama is gradually winning the argument about what government can and should do. His State of the Union address was an announcement of that fact — and a warning to conservatives that, to remain relevant, they will have to move beyond the premise that government is always the problem and never the solution…..
Steve Benen: Sen. John McCain, as recently as a few days ago, said he would not try to stop an up-or-down vote on Chuck Hagel’s Defense Secretary nomination. And then yesterday, he did the exact opposite.
I’m sure he’ll be coming soon to a Sunday show near you to explain his thinking, but in the meantime, take a look at what McCain told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto after the first-ever instance of a Senate minority blocking a vote on a cabinet nominee:
NYT Editorial: For the last four years, Senate Republicans have used the power of the filibuster to block legislation, bottle up nominees to courts and government departments, and strangle federal agencies, even though they are in the minority. On Thursday, they hit a new low. They successfully filibustered Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, the first time a cabinet nominee for this post has been prevented from receiving an up-or-down vote.
NYT: At a high school near his own neighborhood here, President Obama on Friday will provide new details about an initiative to select 20 communities nationwide as laboratories for better coordination of federal, local, nonprofit and private-sector investments to revitalize long-distressed areas, according to administration officials.
Mr. Obama had announced his proposal to designate the so-called Promise Zones during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but did not provide many details. As part of the effort, he also is seeking tax breaks, for capital investments in the zones and for employers who hire unemployed residents.
Steve Benen: Two weeks from today, deep, automatic sequestration cuts will kick in, doing real damage to the nation’s economy, military, and public needs. Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to avoid that fate, but only one side seems to be doing anything about the threat.
This week, House Republican leaders, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said they would do literally nothing to resolve the problem until Senate Democrats acted. It was a bizarre posture to take — the House GOP freely admits it doesn’t want to do any work at all to clean up the mess Republican helped make.