….. with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the Colonnade of the White House, March 15
Bo waits for First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn driveway before departing the White House, March 20. Bo accompanied Mrs. Obama during her visit to Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda
President Obama and Dr. Suleiman A.D. Al Farajat, a University of Jordan tourism professor, jump from a ledge of the Nabataean Amphitheater during a walking tour of the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, March 23
…. with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel before a Cabinet meeting, March 4
….. on their way to attend an Easter service at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., March 31
All photos by Pete Souza, except the one of Bo – taken by Lawrence Jackson
Puneet Kollipara: President Barack Obama has drawn a line in the sand in his ongoing fight with budget-cutting lawmakers when it comes to future federal funding for research and development. He’s calling for reversing recent spending cuts to most sectors of R&D spending and adding new funds for many areas next year — despite tough fiscal times.
Big winners in the president’s budget include the Department of Energy, whose funding would rise 18 percent. The National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and National Institute of Standards and Technology would also see healthy increases. The Health and Human Services Department, which houses the National Institutes of Health, would see a slight increase from 2012 — again, all before accounting for inflation.
2:10: President Obama Awards Chaplain Emil Kapaun the Medal of Honor
David RothKopf: America is rightly on edge. When a man with the power to make life-or-death decisions affecting thousands of U.S. citizens recklessly shows contempt for decency and international norms of behavior, it is no wonder the American people would be both angry and fearful. When his threats are so clearly contrary to the interests of those he represents and even those who might otherwise support him, it is natural to wonder whether he has somehow become unhinged.
But Kim Jong Un is no Mitch McConnell. Because Kim, even with his nuclear weapons, is hardly likely to launch an attack on Americans anywhere given that the response would produce the instant and certain obliteration of his regime. What that means is that for all his bluster, the chubby little autocrat is very unlikely to cost one American his life. But in vowing to block any vote on even the most modest legislation to rein in America’s out-of-control gun culture, the Senate minority leader all but guarantees that the toll in America’s street-corner war will continue to rise.
Robert Greenstein: The news that President Obama’s new budget will propose adopting the “chained” Consumer Price Index (CPI) for cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs, and annual inflation adjustments in the tax code, has intensified the debate on this issue. Some commentators portray this proposal as a test of fiscal rectitude, arguing that the chained CPI more accurately measures inflation — period — and that if you’re opposed to it, you aren’t really serious about addressing deficits. Others, including many progressives, strongly reject the proposal, believing it would impose serious hardship on seniors with modest incomes.
I’m not comfortable with either position. There are legitimate reasons not to adopt the chained CPI, and many people who aren’t affluent would indeed be worse off. At the same time, fears that the chained CPI would impose severe hardship are overblown, especially if policymakers accompany it with a robust package of protections and mitigating measures for those who are very old or have low incomes.
CNN: A majority of Americans generally favor stricter gun control laws, and there has been a big jump in the number of Americans who say that gun policy is extremely important, according to a new national poll.
Overall, 40% of Americans say that it is extremely important for government officials to deal with gun policy this year and another 31% say it is very important. That’s substantially higher than the number of thought gun policy was important in previous years – a reflection of the amount of attention gun policy has gotten in the wake of December’s horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 young children and six adults dead.
Greg Sargent: This afternoon on CNN, GOP Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the NRCC, opened fire on Obama’s budget by claiming it is an assault on seniors. For one thing, it directly contradicts what GOP leaders themselves said earlier today. Remember, John Boehner and Eric Cantor effectively endorsed Chained CPI by claiming we should proceed with those cuts while not raising taxes. Boehner said Obama “deserves some credit” for embracing it. But now the NRCC chair is calling it an assault on seniors?
You could not illustrate the farcical nature of the GOP position on all this more perfectly. Folks should acknowledge and call out how truly farcical and deeply unserious this really is.
Kate Sheppard: It was clear in both the lead up to and the aftermath of the November 2012 election that Republican candidates are not faring well among women voters. From Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to Mitt Romney’s 11-point loss among women voters, it became painfully clear that the GOP has a lady problem. A new memo from a pair of liberal groups that pulls together some of the polling figures makes a strong case for paying more attention to this divide.
The memo points to the unprecedented attack on access to abortion underway in states like North Dakota and Arkansas, the 160 Republicans that voted against the Violence Against Women Act at the federal level, and the ongoing fights over both contraception coverage and cuts to the federal family planning budget.
Ed Kilgore: It’s no secret that political scientists as a tribe tend to downplay the importance of ideology and even of “issues” as active factors in American politics. Elections, they say (as an often-welcome corrective to Game Change-style overinterpretation of campaign events), are largely determined by “the fundamentals,” especially economic conditions and the identity of the party in power. Partisan attachments by voters, they often point out, are far more durable than anything you can explain by the day’s, month’s, or year’s controversies and positioning.
So it didn’t totally shock me that in a Salon piece on the “broken” nature of our political system, my esteemed friend the political scientist Jonathan Bernstein issues a disclaimer about the role that conservative ideology plays. I don’t disagree with any of those insights, but when Jonathan comes up with his list of the GOP’s bad habit, I can’t help but notice ideology would explain every single one.
Bloomberg: A rebound in homebuilding after a six-year slump should generate as many as 500,000 jobs in 2013 and 700,000 in 2014 including related services, estimates Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit and the top forecaster of employment for the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.