Posts Tagged ‘articles

11
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Sept. 11, 2010 – Pete Souza: “We were at the Pentagon to mark the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. After the formal ceremony, the President stopped to shake hands with family members of victims attending the event. Here he is holding hands with a little girl.”

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Today (all times Eastern)

8:45 AM: The President, Vice President, First Lady, Dr Jill Biden and White House staff observe a moment of silence to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks

9:30 AM: The President attends a September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial

12:30: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

2:0: The President participates in a service project in the Washington, DC Area

White House Live

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Sept. 11, 2009: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gather on the South Lawn of the White House to observe a moment of silence marking the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (Photo by Pete Souza)

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USA Today: It’s a day of remembrance for President Obama and the rest of the nation.

A full dozen years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the president, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and wife Jill Biden gather on the South Lawn of the White House for a moment of silence.

The solemn ceremony is set for the time the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

Later in the morning, Obama attends a September 11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon … this afternoon, the president participates in a service project, part of the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.

More here

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USA Today: How the Syria solution developed: The inside story

The idea of coming up with a plan to secure Syria’s chemical weapons dates back more than a year, when President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin first discussed the matter on the sidelines of an economic summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

At the time, the two remained far apart in their views on the conflict …. but they seemed to find some common ground on the need to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, although no agreement was reached.

…. Late last week, days after announcing his desire to carry out a punitive strike on Syria, Obama was in St. Petersburg, Russia, for this year’s meeting of the G-20. There was no plan for Putin and Obama to hold formal discussions, but the two chatted informally at the tail end of the first plenary session.

The two leaders then decided to go into a corner of the room and spoke about Syria for 20 to 30 minutes…. Both leaders repeated their longstanding belief that a political solution was the only reasonable end to a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 Syrians, but they remained at odds about Assad’s role in the process.

They did, however, agree something had to be done about chemical weapons, and Putin again broached the idea about finding a path for an international agreement to remove chemical weapons from Syria, according to official.

Obama agreed it was a path worth exploring, and both leaders agreed that Kerry and Lavrov should follow up…..

More here

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Steve Benen: Turning the exceptionalism debate on its ear

For much of President Obama’s first term, when conservatives weren’t questioning President Obama’s citizenship, patriotism, or affinity for capitalism, they complained loudly and frequently about the president’s commitment to “American exceptionalism.”

After last night, the criticisms look pretty silly. Obama has not only embraced the principle, he’s now begun using it as a key part of his rationale in confronting Syria.

…. After years in which Republicans expressed exasperation over the president and his indifference towards exceptionalism — Kathleen Parker, I’m looking in your direction — Obama’s presentation to the nation at times boiled down to a simple proposition: the United States has to act because we’re the United States. It’s what we do. It’s the burden that comes with being a superpower.

We can’t look the other way, the argument goes, because America isn’t just another nation with a flag.

Full post here

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Sept. 11, 2011: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet guests at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sept. 11, 2011: First Lady Michelle Obama signs a program for children at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Sept. 11, 2011 – Pete Souza: “The President greets a woman following a ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.”

Sept. 11, 2011 – Pete Souza: “Following the ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial, the President and First Lady pause as they view the crash site.”

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Morning everyone – will follow-up later with more newsie stuff.

05
Feb
13

23 years ago: ‘Down the road, he plans to run for public office’

obama+day+after+harvard+law+review+election-

Barack Obama on the day after being elected the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review, Feb. 7, 1990

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New York Times, February 6, 1990

The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

”The fact that I’ve been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ”It’s encouraging.

”But it’s important that stories like mine aren’t used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don’t get a chance,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.

….. Professors and students at the law school reacted cautiously to Mr. Obama’s selection. ”For better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,” said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. ”But I hope it won’t overwhelm this individual student’s achievement.”

Full article here

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Harvard, 1990

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LA Times (March, 1990): Barack Obama stares silently at a wall of fading black-and-white photographs in the muggy second-floor offices of the Harvard Law Review. He lingers over one row of solemn faces, his predecessors of 40 years ago. All are men. All are dressed in dark-colored suits and ties. All are white.

It is a sobering moment for Obama, 28, who in February became the first black to be elected president in the 102-year history of the prestigious student-run law journal.

The post, considered the highest honor a student can attain at Harvard Law School, almost always leads to a coveted clerkship with the U.S. Supreme Court after graduation and a lucrative offer from the law firm of one’s choice.

Yet Obama, who has gone deep into debt to meet the $25,000-a-year cost of a Harvard Law School education, has left many in disbelief by asserting that he wants neither.

“One of the luxuries of going to Harvard Law School is it means you can take risks in your life …. You can try to do things to improve society and still land on your feet. That’s what a Harvard education should buy – enough confidence and security to pursue your dreams and give something back.”

After graduation next year, Obama says he probably will spend two years at a corporate law firm, then look for community work. Down the road, he plans to run for public office….. :idea:

Full article here

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Feb 6, 1990

Click to see the rest of the post

26
Jul
12

Oh dear….

Nicholas Watt (Guardian): If Barack Obama were dreaming up the ideal start to Mitt Romney’s first overseas visit as the presumptive Republican nominee, the president might wonder whether his rival could offend the US’s historic transatlantic ally.

That would obviously be rejected as impossibly ambitious, so the president might then ask himself whether Romney would fail to remember the name of one of his hosts in London.

Surely a successful businessman would never make such a basic error. So the president would wonder whether Romney would breach convention by saying in public that he met the head of MI6, Britain’s overseas intelligence agency.

To the undoubted joy of the White House, Romney stumbled on all those fronts in London on Thursday…

….. The comparisons with Romney’s trip to Europe and Obama’s visit at almost exactly the same stage in the electoral cycle four years ago are almost too embarrassing to mention. Obama wooed a quarter of a million people in Berlin while Romney was mocked by the British prime minister.

More here

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Daily Mail: Boris Johnson today issued an Olympics rallying cry in response to Mitt Romney’s dig over London’s appetite to host the 2012 Games.

The U.S. presidential hopeful, who is in the UK on a diplomatic visit, had doubted the British public’s passion for the Olympics in a television interview for U.S. network NBC.

Despite his backtracking today – saying that the Olympics would be ‘a wonderful 17 days’ – the man who could replace Barack Obama as the world’s most important leader found himself singled out as public enemy number one.

Speaking in front of 60,000 assembled in Hyde Park at a concert to mark the end of the Olympic Torch relay, the London Mayor tonight reaffirmed the city’s zeal for the event.

‘There are some people coming from around the world who don’t yet know if we are ready,’ the Mr Johnson roared. ‘There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!’

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The Guardian: Mitt Romney handed Barack Obama a priceless gift for the US presidential election campaign when the presumptive Republican nominee blundered on his first diplomatic outing by questioning whether London was capable of staging a successful Olympic Games.

In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10 he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games.

One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”

David Cameron wasted no time in rebuking Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”

Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted jibe at Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

….. Earlier, Romney appeared to forget Ed Miliband’s name when they met at Westminster. “Like you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning,” Romney said to Miliband as they shook hands.

…. One meeting was held way from the cameras when Romney was briefed by Sir John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. This prompted Romney’s third blunder of the day when Romney announced in Downing Street that he had met Sawers. Visiting dignitaries tend not to announce when they meet the head of MI6.

More here

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Lucy Jones (UK Telegraph): Mitt Romney is a wazzock

Who does Mitt Romney think he is? The Republican presidential nominee, has questioned Britain’s preparedness to host the London 2012 Olympics and asked whether the country is genuinely willing to “celebrate” the Games. He’s meeting David Cameron today after telling US television there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness. That should be an interesting rendezvous. This rude discourse comes just after Romney’s advisors told this paper: “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” whatever that means.

I couldn’t give a monkeys about the Olympics. It’s a pain in the butt as far as I’m concerned … But perhaps Mitt Romney’s diss will transform grimaces into patriotic support. Now I feel a glimmer of protectiveness and pride. Anyway, there’s one thing Romney could learn while he’s in Britain this week: some manners.

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UK Independent

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Telegraph: …. Not content with upsetting his British hosts, Mr Romney has now also managed to enrage the travelling American press corps, who pay tens of thousands of dollars to follow him around the globe. After his meeting with Ed Miliband, the Republican presidential challenger apparently took questions only from British reporters.

The gaffe-prone Mr Romney is so rarely made available to these media “embeds” on the trail that his campaign has been nicknamed the “Mittness Protection Programme”. So his decision to ignore them during one such “avail” went down predictably badly.

The NBC News First Read blog says: “Those of us that have travelled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions”.

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Vanity Fair: Mitt Romney’s disaster of a European vacation continues to implode. In an Olympic ceremony in Hyde Park this afternoon, London mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney’s earlier gaffe—Disconcerting-gate—and Romney’s dumb name. “There’s guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!” Did Johnson make air quotes with his hands when he said “Mitt Romney”?

What else? “Romney appeared to forget [Labour Party head] Ed Miliband’s name when they met at Westminster. ‘Like you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning’ Romney said to Miliband as they shook hands.”’

O.K., what else? “One meeting was held [away] from the cameras when Romney was briefed by Sir John Sawers, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. This prompted Romney’s third blunder of the day when Romney announced in Downing Street that he had met Sawers. Visiting dignitaries tend not to announce when they meet the head of MI6.”

Anything else? People are using the hashtag #RomneyShambles to describe the events of the 24-hour trip.

Next up: Israel!

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Meanwhile, back in the grown-ups’ world:

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GOPolitico: Republicans trying to play down President Barack Obama’s decision to launch the raid that led to the death of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden are not getting much help from the military brass who oversaw the operation.

During a rare public interview on Wednesday, Adm. Bill McRaven, head of the U.S. Special Operations command, portrayed as bold and brave Obama’s decision to order the raid despite significant doubts about whether bin Laden was at the Abbottabad, Pakistan compound.

“At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden of this operation, that made the hard decision,” McRaven said during an on-stage interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that served as the kickoff session of the Aspen Security Forum.

…. “The president of the United States is fantastic,” the admiral said. “I’m not a political guy. I’ve worked in both [administrations,] very much enjoyed working with President Bush and I very much enjoy working for President Obama. This isn’t about politics. This is about a Commander in Chief who I have the opportunity to engage with on a routine basis.”

…. “I’m not a political guy, but I’ll tell you as an interested observer of this, they were magnificent how they handled the start-to-finish,” McRaven said. “The president asked all the right questions…The president gave me ample time to prepare once the conversations were through.”

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President Barack Obama signs the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Executive Order in the Oval Office, July 26, 2012. Standing behind the President, from left, are: Patricia Coulter, CEO National Urban League of Philadelphia; Rep. Danny Davis, D- Ill.; Reverend Al Sharpton; Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP; Ingrid Saunders- Jones, Chair of the National Council of Negro Women; Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.; Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools; and Michael Lomax, President of the United Negro College Fund. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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28
Jun
12

What a day….

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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AP: ….In the split-second rush to report the Supreme Court’s health care decision Thursday, CNN and Fox News Channel got it wrong.

…. CNN apologized for its error, saying it “regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion” that upheld the mandate requiring virtually all Americans to have health insurance. Fox, however, insisted it was right. “Fox reported the facts, as they came in,” said network executive Michael Clemente.

The inaccurate reports were the first ones seen by Obama, who was watching four television monitors outside the Oval Office. White House Counsel Katherine Ruemmler came in moments later with the true story.

…. Anchor Wolf Blitzer and reporter Kate Bolduan reported at 10:08 a.m. that the health care law had been struck down …. the screen read: “Supreme Ct. Kills Individual Mandate.” The news was tweeted and emailed to the network’s followers.

“The court striking down that mandate is a dramatic blow to the president,” said CNN reporter John King.

…. “Let’s take a deep breath and see what the justices actually decided,” Blitzer said. “It could be more complicated than we originally thought.”

Two minutes later, CNN reported the correct decision … that the entire law had been upheld, with King calling it “a huge, huge victory for President Obama.”

…. Obama’s first news about the decision came from television monitors outside the Oval Office, where the cable channels were reporting that the mandate had been struck down, according to administration officials. Within moments, Ruemmler hurried toward the White House and flashed the president two thumbs up. She explained her reading, and Obama hugged her as Chief of Staff Jack Lew looked on.

More here

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Charles Pierce: …. you should really read Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion in the health-care case, if, for no other reason, than to watch as, I think at least partly for the pure mischief-making hell of it, she roasts Antonin Scalia on a spit over that stupid argument about broccoli that, because he’s more bored with his day-job than the average toll-taker on the Mass Pike, Scalia dragged into the Court’s oral arguments from some drive-time doughbrain on AM radio:

That is so of the market for cars, and of the market for broccoli as well. Although an individual might buy a car or a crown of broccoli one day, there is no certainty she will ever do so. And if she eventually wants a car or has a craving for broccoli, she will be obliged to pay at the counter before receiving the vehicle or nourishment. She will get no free ride or food, at the expense of another consumer forced to pay an inflated price. Upholding the minimum coverage provision on the ground that all are participants or will be participants in the health-care market would therefore carry no implication that Congress may justify under the Commerce Clause a mandate to buy other products and services.

I hope she giggled while she read that.

More here

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Nick Anderson

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UK Independent: Huddled round a TV, with news-radio blaring in the background, Jerry and June Caldwell anxiously awaited the Supreme Court’s all-important verdict at breakfast time yesterday.

When it emerged that, against many expectations, ‘Obamacare’ had survived more-or-less intact, the couple leapt from their sofa, punched the air, and performed a celebratory high-five. “This,” declared Jerry, “is a great day for America!”

He should know. As victims of the free-market excess of the current system, the Caldwells are among hundreds of thousands of Americans who each year face bankruptcy because of unpaid medical bills….

…. ‘Obamacare’ won’t fix their problems overnight. But when it takes effect in 18 months, it will at least allow the Caldwells – who thanks to recent stays in intensive care are currently unable to find any health cover, at any price – to once more join the ranks of the insured. “From 2014, people can’t be turned down because of some pre-existing condition. And the cost of insurance will fall to a decent level,” says June.  “That’s all that matters. We will be allowed and able to purchase insurance. As to the future, almost all civilised countries have some form of public healthcare. I feel that the US will get to that point some time. And the Supreme Court has now taken us to step number one on that road.”

More here

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Charles Pierce: … as this whole pursuit of Eric Holder has gathered speed, I had no doubt in my mind at all that, sooner or later, he was going to be the first cabinet official ever held in contempt of Congress, and that it didn’t matter that the cheapjack grifter Darrell Issa already has said he doesn’t think that any crimes were committed, or that the White House was in any way involved, or that Fortune magazine pretty much blew up the raison d’etre for the whole business over the weekend. I just assumed, based on long experience, that, once they opened the ball on Eric Holder, they weren’t going to stop until they got at least a piece of what they wanted. This isn’t because they’re reckless partisans. It’s because they’re fking vandals who have the votes.

… So 17 Democrats went over the side and voted with the Republicans. The NRA has managed to scare themselves up a “bipartisan majority” about which the Republicans can crow. The rest of the Democrats proceeded to walk out en masse and Holder is now the first cabinet member in history to be held in contempt of Congress. What could not happen to John Mitchell during Watergate, Caspar Weinberger during Iran-Contra, or Alberto Gonzales during the scandal over U.S. attorneys, has happened to Eric Holder over something hardly anyone thinks is a crime, and almost nobody really understands. This is a triumph for know-nothingism, for the rule of the talk-show and the black helicopter crowd. And the Democratic party doesn’t have the faintest idea how to fight this.

More here

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Friday:

10:25: President Obama departs the White House

12:55: Arrives in Colorado Springs

4:45: Departs Colorado Springs

8:05: Arrives at the White House

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TOD Fundraisers:

a4alice * Alycee * BWD * CollegeKay * Cookemom * DonnaDem4Obama

Hgerhard * HZ * Judith Fardig * Mae Who Love Our CIC

Marlz * Meta * Pamela *prettyfoot58 * proudmemberofglobalzero * Theo67 * The Obama Diary

(If you’d like to have your fundraiser added to the list, let me know in the comments)

09
Sep
11

reaction

Steve Benen: My initial take…. this was an exceptional speech from President Obama. For all the talk about him being too professorial, or too cool, or too reluctant to show a willingness to fight, this was Obama circa 2008 – passion meets vision meets policy. This was, at its core, a address about a policy crisis, but Obama made an emotional appeal.

What’s more, the president’s vision, the “American Jobs Act,” happens to have some really good ideas that, as it turns out, would actually offer a significant boost to the economy.

Perhaps most importantly from a purely ideological perspective, Obama pushed back aggressively against the idea that government is and should be powerless when it comes to creating jobs and growing the economy. A significant chunk of the speech was a defense of the power of government itself to make a positive difference, and it was most welcome given the prevailing political winds.

I also like the fact that there’s going to be a bill that will be on the table …. Obama will present, in writing, a specific legislative proposal, which will reportedly total about $450 billion – bigger than rumors suggested, and much closer to what the economy needs.

….For two weeks, I’ve been urging the president to swing for the fences. Tonight, it looks to me like the ball easily cleared the center-left bleachers.

More here

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Paul Krugman: First things first: I was favorably surprised by the new Obama jobs plan, which is significantly bolder and better than I expected. It’s not nearly as bold as the plan I’d want in an ideal world. But if it actually became law, it would probably make a significant dent in unemployment.

….. it calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts….

…. it’s much bolder and better than I expected. President Obama’s hair may not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking; clearly and gratifyingly, he does grasp how desperate the jobs situation is.

But his plan isn’t likely to become law, thanks to Republican opposition. And it’s worth noting just how much that opposition has hardened over time, even as the plight of the unemployed has worsened.

….The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.

More here

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Andrew Sullivan: …. My own view is that this blend of short term stimulus balanced by serious long term entitlement reform is so obviously the sanest, smartest way forward it will sink in with most Americans. And complementing it with tax reform to give taxpayers a fair shake is the icing on the cake. What’s now clear is that he is betting big in the nest year. This is more aggressive than I have seen him since he got elected. There is a steely impatience here that is obviously designed either to get something done now, or, if not, to run a Truman-style anti-Congress presidential campaign…..

….. Wow. A threat to take this vision across the country if the GOP doesn’t cooperate now. That’s Truman-speak. After months of mild attempts to get Republicans to agree, he hasn’t caved, and he hasn’t demonized them. But he has now upped the ante, and has new fire in his belly. If he can succeed in getting a bulk of the jobs bill through and if the super-committee doesn’t fail, we have a chance to turn this economy around.

It was rooted in patriotism; it was framed to portray Obama as the pragmatic centrist he actually is. And it was not dishonest – these are the choices, short-term and long-term, that we have to make. And we should not be required to wait for another year and a half for action.

More here

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John Judis (TNR): Barack Obama gave the best speech of his presidency tonight. It was angry, direct, and entirely appropriate to the occasion – an “economic crisis,” which, as he said, has been made worse by a “political crisis.” He spoke to the Congress, but also over their head to their constituents, and appealed to them to put pressure on their representatives…

He eloquently defended government against those who want to dismantle it. Americans, he reminded the audience, are not just “rugged individualists” but “all connected” and “there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.” “Ask yourselves—where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges, our dams and our airports?” He made the case for government by making the case for collective action rather than for “big government.” That’s an essential distinction…..

More here

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Greg Sargent (Washington Post): … Anyone who wanted Obama to show that he’s ready to mount a sustained fight to create jobs, to give an aggressive defense of the idea that government can and must act to fix the economy, to make a serious effort to break the Beltway Deficit Feedback Loop and shift the conversation to job creation, and to offer an expansive moral and big-D Democratic critique of the conservative economic vision, should be very satisfied by what they heard.

Yes, it was just a speech…. but if this is the template for what lies ahead, it’s encouraging indeed.

…. Obama didn’t just urge Congress to pass his jobs plan; he repeatedly hectored Congress to do it. He demanded that Congress pass his plan — often demanding that they do so “right away” — no less than 15 times. And he vowed to barnstorm the country if Congress doesn’t pass the plan. The tone of urgency bordered on overkill — which is a good thing: “You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.” Aides had promised he would challenge, rather than beseech, Congress to act. That turned out to be an understatement…..

More here

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Jonathan Chait (TNR): He proposes a jobs plan that wins the approval of Paul Krugman and David Brooks. Feel the love!

Surfing on over to Fire Dog Lake, I wondered if Obama managed to win the hearts of his most fervent enemies. So far I see one item on it:

- So how was the speech?

- I didn’t see it, did Obama open up with a line about how many people he’s killed?

That’s about as positive as you’re going to get.

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EJ Dionne: The best part of President Obama’s speech tonight was his hammering over and over the need to pass “this bill,” meaning his bill to boost the economy. It wasn’t, “we can work this out,” or, “I look forward to talking to Speaker Boehner.” No, Obama said flatly that the economy is in crisis, that action is needed right now, and that he had put together a recipe whose ingredients include many ideas Republicans had supported in the past. He didn’t say it explicitly, but he might as well have said to the Republicans, “So what’s your problem?”

More here

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Eugene Robinson: President Obama raised his speechifying game Thursday night, as he had to do. Another billet doux inviting hostile congressional Republicans to please sit around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya” wouldn’t have cut it. What Obama did, instead, was issue a challenge – and, not incidentally, lay out the opening themes of his reelection campaign.

Perhaps the most significant line in Obama’s speech was his promise to take his jobs message to the people in “every corner of the country.” He told the assembled members of Congress that if they balk at passing his American Jobs Act, he will go over their heads. That answered the obvious question: What does Obama intend to do when House Republicans ball up his bill and throw it in the trash?

The measures Obama proposed are eminently reasonable……

More here

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Harold Evans (Daily Beast): Has Barack Obama found his inner Harry Truman?

The parallels are eerie. Truman in 1946 lost midterm elections, just as Obama did last fall. The Republicans took the House (their first time since 1930) and the Senate. Truman’s approval ratings tanked, falling much lower, at 32 percent, than Obama’s have done. Unemployment wasn’t the issue it is today, but inflation was just as scary, and one in 10 of the labor force went on strike in 1946.

…. Then Truman found a new voice — as Obama did in his Thursday speech ordering Congress to “Pass this Act now!” Truman did it in on two whistle stop tours. He stopped his droning speeches and adopted a feisty, homey style answering questions on the tours. About this time in September 1948, he went on an epic 21,928-mile journey. Huge crowds at every whistle stop heard Truman from the back of his rail car gleefully blaming everything on the “do nothing Congress.” The cry “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” began to rise, and the delighted 33rd president would reply: “I never give anyone hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

He romped home with 303 electoral votes.

More here

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Eleanor Clift (Daily Beast): If President Obama’s speech were only about economics, its proposals would pass easily in both chambers of Congress. Though bigger and bolder than expected, it is still at its core a common-sense mix of ideas that both Democrats and Republicans have supported….

…. “Pass it now… pass it right now,” is an effective refrain that Obama used to introduce the various elements of the American Jobs Act before a remarkably warm and receptive Congress. That doesn’t mean Republicans have suddenly had a change of heart, but it does mean they are feeling the heat from a public that thinks lawmakers ought to do more than throw spitballs at each other.

… Obama showed Thursday night he has a way forward, and when Republicans stayed glued to their seats when he talked about rebuilding schools, they were the ones who looked clueless.

More here




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