Nearly five years after moving into the White House, Michelle Obama could not look more at home. Posing in the formal Green Room, she appears both relaxed and invigorated, embracing the undefined (and undefinable) roles of Spouse in Chief, Role Model in Chief, and Mom in Chief. But it’s the last one that makes the first lady shine brightest of all. Put her in a room with kids—whether her own or the nation’s—and she glows. In fact, at the second annual Kids State Dinner on July 9, Mrs. Obama beamed at the success of 54 students who won a nationwide competition, sponsored by Epicurious.com, to develop creative, delicious, and healthful recipes.
An outgrowth of her Let’s Move! program to curb childhood obesity within a generation, the State Dinner (which happened at lunch) featured dishes like Lucky Lettuce Cups and Bodacious Banana Muffins, as well as an appearance by her husband, whom she playfully tweaked for admitting he’d hated vegetables as a kid. As she sat with Parade the following day, Mrs. Obama was regal in a magenta sheath yet so down-to-earth that she quickly fluffed the cushion of an antique couch between photo takes. No longer sporting the bangs that caused such a sensation (“You know, it’s hard to make speeches with hair in your face!”), the first lady spoke to us about her second-term goals for her childhood obesity fight, her maturing family, and her dreams for America’s children.
a quote from Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) stood out. “There are two things they all agree on: you can’t shut down the government, and you can’t default on the debt,” he told Harwood. “At some point, leaders have to lead.” True. But that requires someone to follow, and time and again the GOP’s raucous caucus, especially in the House, has shown contempt for its leaders.
the prospects of a disastrous fall with a government shutdown or an unprecedented default have Republican strategists and donors freaked out. They write that one of the fears is that if one or both of those things happen it would “[end] all hopes of proving they are not insane when it comes to governance.” Folks, that horse has long left the barn.
Almost as soon as George Zimmerman was pronounced “not guilty” in a Florida courtroom, the cry went up. The U.S. government must get “justice for Trayvon,” insisted protesters angry about the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. The call will resound again later this month through events marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder, the first black man to lead the nation’s law enforcement, says the Justice Department is investigating.
Why would the feds consider stepping into a state murder case? The federal government has claimed its power of protecting civil rights against violence as far back as the Reconstruction era. Empowered by constitutional amendments and early civil rights laws passed after the Civil War, the government sought to protect newly freed blacks and their voting rights, mostly from the Ku Klux Klan.
NPR: RNC Isn’t Focusing On The Elephant In Its Ballroom
They talked about the Hillary Clinton documentary and miniseries. They talked about how well they’re doing raising money. They talked about how they’re building a state-of-the-art data mining and voter turnout operation. Here’s what the Republican National Committee members didn’t talk about at their summer meeting, but, rather, talked around: their existential need to broaden their base of support, and how so far their traditional base is not exactly embracing the idea.
These leaders are getting strong resistance from much of their own white, disproportionately southern base of support. The GOP establishment is having to counter a “missing white voters” theory that posits that minority outreach is not necessary (at least not in the next few election cycles) if the party can instead bring disaffected whites back to the polls.
Privately, other Republicans are less sanguine — and already wondering if it will take another White House loss in 2016 for the party base to accept what they are already certain is demographic inevitability.
When the group of student activists known as the Dream Defenders entered the Florida Capitol last month to demand a special session on the controversial “stand your ground” law, they couldn’t have predicted how they would leave. They left Thursday with tangible accomplishments and the seeds of a promising, progressive organization. They did not force a special session of the Legislature or a repeal of the indefensible law, but they did capture the attention of the public, the ear of Tallahassee lawmakers and a promise of a legislative hearing this fall. Not bad for a bunch of young people with passion for what is right and no political connections or campaign cash.
Even on a summer family vacation, President Barack Obama is followed by an entourage whose behind-the-scenes movements are juggled by a woman who was born into politics and has been with him since his Chicago days. Ashley Tate-Gilmore heads the White House Travel Office, a five-person operation that handles precise logistics behind every presidential trip. The details usually go unnoticed by the public, unless something goes horribly wrong. Tate-Gilmore not only acts as a high-stakes travel agent for White House press and staff, but a mini-ambassador who is often the first to arrive at presidential destinations.
From the island she’s dealing with visa applications for Obama’s visit to Russia next month and setting up Obama’s bus tour next week to New York and Pennsylvania. And she is planning to travel overseas next week to make arrangements for a future presidential trip. Tate-Gilmore has learned to be no-nonsense in her dealings with local officials, hotels and venues Obama will visit. In preparation for his trip to Africa earlier this year, members of the White House advance party suffered bug bites staying in the press hotel. Tate-Gilmore demanded the hotel hire an exterminator — and take along a photographer who could email her pictures back in Washington to prove all the rooms had been fumigated. When a radio reporter contracted food poisoning on the stop in Tanzania, Tate-Gilmore insisted on staying overnight in the hospital and worked with doctors to ensure she got proper care.