President Barack Obama picks up 13-month-old Larnell Maurice Perry Jr., grandson of Angelene C. Carter, who was killed in the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon, at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014
Today (all times Eastern)
11:20: President Obama delivers remarks at the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Event, South Lawn
1:0: White House Press Briefing
3:20: President Obama departs White House
3:40: Arrives Baltimore
3:55: Tours Fort McHenry
5:55: Appears at a fundraiser for Senate Democrats, private residence, Baltimore
6:30: Departs Baltimore
6:50: Arrives White House
@PeteSouza: Pres Obama, Def Sec Hagel, and Joint Chiefs Chrman Dempsey at Pentagon for 9/11 remembrance
President Barack Obama drops in to a meeting held by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice with Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai and Christian Religious Leaders of the Middle East in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Sept. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Madison: “I really wanted it to be Beyoncé….”
President: “I understand, Malia and Sasha would feel the same way.”
Madison: “But then I realized it was going to be you and that’s even better.”
President: “I appreciate you saying that in front of the press. I know it’s not really true.”
These are just a sliver of the performances I’ve seen on awards shows that made my jaw drop and say to myself: “WOW! THAT’S TALENT!” What are some of yours?
This performance was all the more stunning because she was still tweaking it the day and night of the event yet she pulled it off flawlessly. She had me clapping and saying yes, women do indeed “Run The World.”
This performance left me breathless. Singing live without sounding out of breath and the acrobatics. That’s brave. An amazing fact? She had a shoulder problem and still nailed every single part. A+!
Looooved this performance. Mary J. Blige poured her heart out and left everything on the stage. She was going through a turbulent time; drugs, domestic abuse, so called “friends” who were only in her life for her fame and success. Whoever said music has no power, clearly hasn’t met Mary.
This is another brilliant Pink performance. She is fearless every. single. time. and that makes her one of the best. Newsflash Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and the like…THIS is a true artist.
The stamina it took to execute this made me say bravo! That’s the wonderful thing about Beyoncé; you are not bored at any of her performances. She gives 110%.
4:45: President Obama hosts cast and crew members of the television show 1600 Penn for a screening at the White House
Must-read from Michael Grunwald:
I pledged awhile back, after a certain media mogul trashed President Obama for failing to solve global warming, that I would not spend all my time ridiculing the Obama-bashing disillusionment addicts of the left. (Pretty good week for that mogul, huh?) I mostly kept my word for 18 months, until their whiny response to the fiscal cliff deal inspired me to launch a Twitter tirade about Ivory Soap liberals, Choose Your Own Adventure liberals, Heighten The Contradictions liberals, and progressive utopianism in general. Now that I’m back from vacation, I thought I’d try to explain in more than 140 characters what I meant….
Norman Ornstein (The New Republic): One of the most stunning outcomes of the 2012 elections was the Democrats’ two-seat gain in the Senate. With 23 seats at risk to only ten for Republicans, Democrats were hoping simply to hold their own or keep their losses to a minimum. A gain of a single seat was almost wildly optimistic; picking up two seemingly unrealistic.
But just as important as the overall gain was the nature of the new class of Democrats sworn in to the Senate last week. With the addition of Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy, and the possibility of Barney Frank joining them for a few key months and being followed by Ed Markey, the Senate has seen an infusion of liberal talent. Thanks to an impressive class of 2006…. and the class of 2008, the Senate has a core of assertive, brainy liberals greater than we have seen in decades…..
Politico: The Presidential Inauguration Committee on Wednesday named the Inaugural poet, who will appear at President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on Inauguration Day. Richard Blanco will be the country’s youngest Inaugural poet and also the first Hispanic and first member of the LGBT community to serve in the position, according to a statement from the committee:
“I’m honored that Richard Blanco will join me and Vice President Biden at our second Inaugural,” Obama said in the statement. “His contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved a path forward for future generations of writers. Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an Inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity.”
Charles Pierce: …… If you remember all the way back to 2008, you will recall that the president took some altogether justified heat for picking noted multimillionaire faith-based grifter Rick Warren to give the invocation. Now, I don’t think there even should be an invocation to any Deity as part of the ceremony by which we install the leader of one-third of our secular government … but if we are going to Pause For Prayer, we should do a lot better than Warren …. And, thanks be to Whoever, the president has managed to do so.
…. In too many other places, people choose to remember the [Civil Rights] Movement as a triumph for the American nation and not a victory for basic human rights that had to be wrenched out of the nation itself. And the struggle is ongoing. There is a substantial portion of the American people who will not accept the legitimacy of a black president 50 years after the March On Washington. It took Myrlie Evers-Williams 31 years to get simple justice for her husband’s murder. It will be nice to hear a prayer from someone with so very few illusions.
CNN: The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.
The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama are scheduled to meet on Friday in Washington.
Washington Post: Groups within the Obama administration are pushing to keep no more than a few thousand troops in Afghanistan after 2014, U.S. officials said …. As the debate over the size and scope of the post-2014 coalition mission nears its end, some in the administration are pressing for a force that could be as small as 2,500, arguing that a light touch would be the most constructive way to cap the costly, unpopular war.
NYT Editorial: After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin.
Mr. Romney’s descriptions of when he left Bain have been erratic and self-serving …. now that Bain has been accused of helping other companies outsource jobs overseas, laying off steel company employees and wiping out their pensions, Mr. Romney says he had no management role after 1999. A Kansas City steel plant that Bain bought in 1993 under Mr. Romney’s control, for example, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 750 workers their jobs and pensions. After the Obama campaign made an ad featuring several of the angry workers, the Romney campaign said he couldn’t be blamed because he left Bain in 1999.
….. Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair…. The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents. But Mr. Romney told CNN he would not release more than the one year’s return he has already released and the one for 2011 when it is finished. “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said. It’s not even close.
Charles Pierce: …. All weekend, the question arose: What could possibly be in those tax returns that is so goddamn awful that Romney — who is still, remember, no worse than 50-50 to win this thing — is fighting so hard to keep it secret? The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is the answer to that question.
There is nothing in those tax returns that is in any way illegal …. He is not fighting the release of these returns to keep us from finding out the dark secrets about how stupid-wealthy he and his family are. He is fighting the release of these returns because he doesn’t think he should have to release them.
….This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for The Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.
USA Today: Good morning from The Oval, on a day when President Obama and his re-election team are taking the fight to Mitt Romney and, geographically at least, House Speaker John Boehner.
The campaign kicked off the day with a memorandum entitled “Unanswered Questions About Mitt Romney’s ‘Retroactive Retirement.'” It’s intended to create even more doubts about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, which he either left in 1999 or 2002, depending on your interpretation.
…. Ben LaBolt:
While Romney has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Bain’s decisions after February 1999, he has also hypocritically taken credit for jobs created well after the 1999 end date that he cites. He can’t have it both ways.
If Romney followed decades of precedent set in motion by his father, who released 12 years of tax returns, as well as the minutes from Bain Capital board meetings, the American people could finally learn to what extent Mitt Romney was involved with the actions at Bain Capital following 1999.
This week, Mitt Romney has the opportunity to provide a full accounting of his tenure at Bain Capital, the central premise of his campaign and the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not he was the job creator he claims to be.
John Cassidy (New Yorker): …. With even prominent Republicans saying that his current stance is unsustainable, the obvious question to ask is: Why is the Mittster being so obstinate? He surely isn’t standing on principle, for what principle would that be?
…… It’s only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis. Will’s comments on this were spot on: “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said. “Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it. Here are four possibilities:
1. Extremely high levels of income…..
2. More offshore accounts….
3. Politically explosive investments….
4. A very, very low tax rate….
….as Matthew Dowd noted, “there’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it’”.
Bill Keller (NYT): On the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
OBAMACARE IS A JOB-KILLER. …After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters…..
OBAMACARE IS A FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF HEALTH INSURANCE. Let’s be blunt. The word for that is “lie.”…..
THE UNFETTERED MARKETPLACE IS A BETTER SOLUTION. To the extent there is a profound difference of principle anywhere in this debate, it lies here…..
LEAVE IT TO THE STATES. THEY’LL FIX IT. The Republican alternative to Obamacare consists in large part of letting each state do its own thing. Presumably the best ideas will go viral…..
OBAMACARE IS A LOSER. RUN AGAINST IT, RUN FROM IT, BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T RUN ON IT. …Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)
…. If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”