President Barack Obama gestures to lipstick marks on his collar – the aunt of American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez kissed the president’s collar and left the lipstick marks just before he gave his remarks at an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month event
President Obama will announce Monday he has selected Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency and MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department …. the President is also scheduled to announce he has selected Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell as head of the Office of Management and Budget.
Michael Tomasky: Why does Bob Woodward get to lie — twice! — and still be Bob Woodward? And why is it that the Republicans can be so intransigent and Barack Obama gets blamed? Michael Tomasky explains.
Woodwardgate got me reflecting on the question of Washington morality. Now yes, that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one. But surely there is some set (however bizarre) of impulses and rules that lets Bob Woodward say what he said, and Politico promote it as if it were a feud between two soap opera stars, with both walking away essentially unharmed, as they likely will …..
More important than that, there must be a set of impulses and rules that observes what has been going on in this town for the last four years, with Republicans being the most obstructionist opposition in the country’s modern history, and yet somehow contrives to blame Barack Obama for the fact that our government can’t function…..
Paul Krugman: Ezra Klein mans up and admits he was wrong. He had written a piece suggesting that if only Republicans knew how much Obama has been willing to offer, they might be willing to make a deal. Jonathan Chait set him straight, informing him that no matter what Obama put on the table, Republicans would find a way to say that it’s not enough. And sure enough, a Twitter exchange lets Klein watch that process in real time, as a top Republican consultant, confronted with evidence that Obama has already conceded what he said was all that was needed, keeps adding more demands.
….. the centrist pundits keep demanding that Obama offer what he has already offered, and condemn both sides equally (or even place most of the blame on Obama) for the failure to reach a deal. Again, informing them of their error wouldn’t help; their whole shtick is about blaming both sides, and they will always invent some reason why Obama just isn’t doing it right.
Steve Benen: Watching House Speaker John Boehner on “Meet the Press” yesterday, it was hard not to wonder about the Republican leader’s frame of mind. Given the distance between reality and his rhetoric, one question hung over the interview: does Boehner actually believe his own talking points?
For example, the Speaker insisted, “[T]here’s no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester.” Host David Gregory explained that the claim is “just not true”…..
Greg Sargent: Credit where credit is due: NBC’s David Gregory did a nice job pinning down John Boehner’s evasions and falsehoods during a lengthy interview on Meet the Press yesterday. Gregory called out Boehner for falsely claiming Dems have no plan to reduce the deficit. And Gregory didn’t let Boehner get away with suggesting Dems haven’t gotten serious about spending cuts, confronting the Speaker with the fact that they agreed to deep cuts in 2011.
But there’s still one question that I’d like to see posed to Boehner and every GOP lawmaker. It’s this: Is there any ratio of entitlement cuts to new revenues that Republicans could support, and if so, what is that ratio?
LA Times: OK, so Congress hasn’t managed to pass a budget, fix the tax code or avert the automatic spending cuts of the dreaded “sequester.”
Are they getting anything done on Capitol Hill? Yes, and you’ll probably be surprised to hear where progress is being made: gun control.
…. there is a good chance that Congress will do two things: strengthen the system of background checks on gun buyers and toughen the penalties for illegal gun trafficking. In practical terms, those measures are probably more important than an assault-weapons ban, which wouldn’t affect the millions of military-style guns already in circulation……
If Congress acts on background checks and gun trafficking but fails to pass a ban on assault weapons or ammunition clips, liberals will be disappointed. But President Obama will declare it a victory — and he’ll be right.
Addicting Info: House Republicans Give Themselves 239 Days Off, Average American Worker Only Gets 12
… even as House Republicans portray the average American as lazy bottom feeders sucking off the government teat, they have given themselves an astonishing 239 days off this year. That means they will only work 126 days during a year when the nation has a multitude of issues to deal with.
Washington Post: In Florida, President Obama has nominated the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court. In New York, he has nominated the first Asian American lesbian. And his pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit? The first South Asian.
Reelected with strong support from women, ethnic minorities and gays, Obama is moving quickly to change the face of the federal judiciary by the end of his second term, setting the stage for another series of drawn-out confrontations with Republicans in Congress.
10:05: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.
The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.
Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.
And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.
Paul Krugman: So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening – although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.
Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?
But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?
It’s mighty interesting reading Scheiber’s review now –
Noam Scheiber (October 2012): …. I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.
…. it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.
But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.
Woodward telegraphs his contempt from the get-go…..
I reckon this line says it all: “There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency…..”
ThinkProgress: Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday to complain about Gene Sperling’s email…. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:
HANNITY: The fact that the president …. wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.
WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.
Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair – Feb 21): With drastic government spending cuts due to kick in, the top job at the Pentagon still vacant, and Congress conveniently out of town for its Presidents’ Day recess, the White House press corps has paused this week to bemoan not the state of the republic but of itself.
…. as a class, they are the world’s biggest whiners. I know because I was once one of them, and a first-class whiner myself. I don’t think their argument holds water. The modern presidency is so sprawling and complex that the reporters best equipped to cover it are the experts in various fields, from defense to transportation, to agriculture, to health care….
What the White House reporters are good at is “gotcha,” at catching a president’s inconsistencies, slipups, and animadversions—at stirring the pot and producing a sharp headline, however fleeting. When The New York Times can ask Obama (with a theoretically straight face) whether he is a “socialist,” then anything can happen. Is it any wonder that he has not given the paper an interview since 2010? What president would? ….
@VP meets with parents of teen dating violence victims in his office today
Statement from the President:
Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit. And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families. They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.
I believe we should do better. We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes. That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed. But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.
Tomorrow I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward. As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington. We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise. That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.
Ever since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republicans have made journeys to the fiscal brink as commonplace as summertime visits to the beach or the ballpark. The country has been put through a series of destructive showdowns over budget issues we once resolved through the normal give-and-take of negotiations.
The old formula held that when government was divided between the parties, the contending sides should try to “meet in the middle.” But the current Republican leadership doesn’t know the meaning of the word “middle,” so intimidated by the tea party has it become.
Washington Post Editorial: “This is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress,” Justice Antonin Scalia pronounced during a Supreme Court argument Wednesday.
The subject was the Voting Rights Act, one of the most successful pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history, and in particular its Section 5….
“It was clear to 98 senators, including every senator from a covered state, who decided that there was a continuing need for this piece of legislation,” Justice Elena Kagan said, in what might seem a self-evident point.
But not to Justice Scalia. “Or decided that perhaps they’d better not vote against …. They are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: the Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?”
ThinkProgress: After nearly a year of partisan infighting on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives and the Senate finally agreed to send a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to President Obama’s desk.
…. by a vote of 286 to 138, the House passed the bipartisan Senate-approved version of the bill … all 138 votes against the bill were Republicans.
A watered down Republican version of the bill, which was offered as a substitute amendment, failed to garner enough votes to slow the process. It was struck down by a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans voted against their own party’s replacement measure. Twenty-seven members of Congress, all Republicans, voted against both versions….
President Obama and VP Joe Biden talk with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in the Outer Oval Office, following his swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office, Feb. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Greg Sargent: As expected, the Obama administration has submitted a friend of the court brief in the case challenging Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court. Just as gay rights advocates had hoped, Obama’s Solicitor General has made a sweeping case against Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, which is a bold move and makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the law with a similarly sweeping argument. This in turn could set a precedent for challenging the constitutionality of other state laws banning gay marriage — potentially leading to full equality across the country.
In short, in this brief, the United States government has put the force of a fully fleshed out legal argument behind Obama’s historic words during his Inaugural Address: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
TPM: Chrysler is investing millions in the Kokomo, Indiana, area as it shifts most of its vehicles to new transmissions that save fuel and better suit the driving habits of Americans.
The automaker will invest nearly $400 million at four plants in the Kokomo, Indiana, area, adding 1,250 jobs to what it says it the largest transmission factory complex in the world. The plants will make fuel-efficient eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions.
Still catching up with stuff on poor threatened Bob Woodward, these are just a few snippets that you probably all read, oh, hours ago. That he’s appearing on Hannity says it all, really –
Steve Benen: …. This would be an ideal time for Woodward to start walking back some of his increasingly bizarre claims, but instead, he’s agreed to appear on television tonight – with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
When it comes to his chosen profession, Bob Woodward has had the kind of career most media professionals can only dream of … Which is why it saddens me to see him become so reckless for no reason. I just can’t figure out what’s gotten into Woodward, or why he’s acting so erratically. But at this point, it seems Woodward is doing lasting, possibly irreparable harm to his once-sterling reputation, and that is a genuine shame….
Michael Tomasky: … it’s obvious to anyone who knows [Sperling] that he meant Woodward would regret having a big factual error hanging around his neck for the sake of his historical reputation… A big factual error Woodward made over the weekend that is misleading in very important ways. He said that Obama and his people were lying when they claim that revenues have been understood to be part of any sequester deal. He is wrong. Dead flat-out wrong.
He doesn’t correct this, and the Politico story, which started this whole thing, doesn’t correct it…
…. And all this is happening, of course, in a larger context in which you have one side, the side that lost the last election by the way, taking a “negotiating” position that is supported by 19 percent of the people and refusing to budge from it one inch. Which is somehow Obama’s fault because he just needs to show “leadership.” The economy is at serious risk here, and this is what our agenda-setters are feeding us? These people are children, and this is really as bad as Washington gets.
Charles Pierce: [Politico] were summoned to an undisclosed location where Bob Woodward is hiding because someone in the Obama administration pointed out that he might one day regret having been publicly stupid on the subject of the sequester, and Bob knows what that means. So, huddled in his bunker, fiddling with the knobs on the crystal set and eating cold Spaghetti-O’s out of the can, Bob summoned two of the only reporters he knows who share the same level of self-delusion that he does.
…. Jesus H. Christ on a two-picture deal, Bob, you got your ass kicked by Ezra Klein, let alone the White House. This is the guy who bravely walked into darkened parking garages in the dead of night to bring down a criminal president? He now believes himself “threatened” by Gene Fcking Sperling, because Sperling said Woodward was “going to regret” being wrong? ….
Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday announced an effort to engage 50,000 schools in an effort to bring physical activity back to the classroom, and she’s getting a big assist from Nike.
The shoe-maker will spend $50 million on the “Let’s Move Active Schools” effort over the next five years. Several other organizations are combining to donate $20 million, including the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente and the General Mills Foundation.
…. “With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active,” Michelle Obama said. “But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative.”
Michael Tomasky: How the credulousness of mainstream media figures like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier enables Republican extremism …. On Saturday, I wrote about what I called the conservative Republican “rage machine” and its poisonous impact on our politics. I argued that a number of prominent conservative thinkers and pundits …. were and are partly responsible for this problem as long as they sit there pretending it doesn’t exist.
But there’s another responsible group here, too: Just as today’s Republican extremists benefit from the silence of conservative pundits, they also gain from the credulousness of mainstream figures who keep pretending that today’s GOP is a responsible party …. So that when the GOP takes a radical position on the sequester and Barack Obama a reasonable one, both are accorded equal seriousness, even when facts have to be ignored to do so.
Bob Cesca: …. the sequestration issue has been one of those rare items that frustrate me to the point of being incapable of spending time on it. When I read about sequestration, my brain seizes. The stupidity of it all simply confounds me to the point of being speechless. For me, this is a shocking and rare predicament.
It’s not even the chronic brinksmanship — the reoccurring doomsday countdowns and the Republican-manifested economic sabotage that’s behind it all. It’s not the Keynesian in me who opposes the very notion of deficit reduction during a sluggish recovery. Granted, these are both points of irritation, but the characteristic of the sequester that ought to force us all into complete apoplexy and subsequent outrage-induced catatonia is the epidemic of ignorance regarding the status of the federal budget deficit.
Charles Pierce: The administration made a sharp play, releasing a list of how the upcoming Sequester Plague is going to affect each individual state. (You will note the predominance of red states with Republican governors in the Top 20. Here’s Kansas, the most enthusiastic lab rat in the Republican experiment, and it will lose $5.5 million in school funding and have around 8000 defense-related employees furloughed….) There’s some not unexpected bleating coming from John Boehner’s office, as they duck phone calls from the district and hide behind either the curtains, or behind Bob Woodward’s reputation, whatever’s handiest.
…..You wanted the White House to play tough. This is Ronnie Lott stuff right here.
Jonathan Bernstein: House Republicans held a quick session with the press to mainly make one point: They have no responsibility for sequestration….
…. This standoff isn’t going to be resolved by rhetoric. But it’s worth noting the extent to which Republican spin simply ignores that there was an election in November.
….. whether Boehner and the Republicans like it or not, Barack Obama was in fact re-elected on a platform of “balanced” deficit reduction — that is, new revenue and new spending cuts. Republicans have of course every right to oppose that, but it’s a little strange hearing them talk as if that campaign and election never happened.
Steve Benen: Did you happen to catch yesterday’s Capitol Hill press conference with the entirety of the House Republican leadership? House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and House Republican Conference Cathy McMorris Rodgers wanted to talk about this week’s sequestration cuts, but in the process, they offered a case study in how to insult Americans’ intelligence.
Dana Milbank: …. With just four days left to stop automatic spending cuts House Republicans had but one item on their agenda Monday: renaming a NASA facility in California.
You’d have to be on another planet to think that renaming NASA operations is Congress’s most pressing order of business this week. But for Republicans …. the naming proposal was taken up at a time when House Republicans are pursuing a considered strategy of deliberate idleness.
After months of fretting over the harmful effects of sequestration, as the automatic cuts are called, House Republicans have belatedly embraced the realization that if they do nothing at all, they will be rewarded on Friday with a 2.5 percent cut in all federal spending without coughing up a single dollar in tax increases. They have learned to stop worrying and love the sequester.
Random old pic – Pete Souza: “Following remarks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the fiscal cliff negotiations, the President greets a couple of OMB workers as he walked back across on West Executive Avenue as he walked back to the West Wing of the White House. He gave them an elbow-bump, because he had just put Purell on his hands.” (Photo by Pete Souza, Dec. 31, 2012)
Sunday: The President has no public events scheduled
Monday: Will participate in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony at the White House
Will spend the rest of the week in Washington, DC and attend meetings at the White House
A word from Bobfr:
Letter sent to PBO and VP Biden ….
Dear Mr President,
300+ million guns in the possession of folk in America is way beyond the proverbial ‘horse has left the barn.’ It would be great to ban anyone other than the military & police organizations from owning semi-automatic weapons, but I think you have a much more pragmatic way of addressing that issue and several other gun violence significant challenges.
You and your legal advisers are way more sophisticated than I ever will be so please forgive if you’ve already considered the following.
1. Focus on the ‘well regulated’ clause of the 2nd Amendment and leverage it to issue and enforce substantial reforms via Executive Order – i.e., use the law of the land to maximum extent rather than rely on new legislation (for all the reasons we know how intractable that path currently is);
2. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as every gun being registered and accounted for at all times;
3. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as each person in possession of a gun is properly trained, certified, licensed, free of any criminal record, & insured for liability for unintended or illegal harm they might cause;
4. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any person owning more than one gun was properly trained, certified and licensed for EACH gun and that their liability insurance covered EACH gun;
5. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as ensuring that each gun owner had their certification and license to possess every gun they own be renewed on an annual basis;
6. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as an accounting of every round of ammunition (as well as the equipment and components for assembling ammunition) a licensed gun owner purchased with limits set on the frequency of purchase no less stringent than the purchase of ‘Sudafed’;
7. ‘Well regulated’ would be reasonably interpreted as any violation of the use of a gun, any conviction for DUI, any conviction for assault of any form, any conviction for use of illegal drugs, and any conviction for any form of violent threat or crime automatically results in confiscation of any gun, ammunition, etc., in possession of the offender.
These pragmatic steps do not infringe on ‘2nd Amendment’ rights. These pragmatic steps do not require anyone to surrender whatever type of gun they have.
These pragmatic steps require any person in possession of one or more guns to prove they are properly trained, licensed and insured – requirements no more onerous than those drivers of automobiles, operators of a vast range of equipment, school bus drivers, etc., must adhere.
All those other activities do not have as their intended consequence killing. Only a gun has that intended consequence.
So, it is merely reasonable that the operator of a gun meet at least as rigorous a set of training, license and insurance responsibilities given that that device has ONLY ONE intended outcome – DEATH.
NYT: President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.
Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.
NYT: As lawmakers take to the Sunday shows to express their opinions on President Obama’s cabinet nominations, Colin L. Powell, the retired general and former secretary of state, will join NBC’s “Meet the Press” to voice his support for Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense.
NBC will also feature a roundtable discussion of Washington’s next debates on the debt ceiling and more with Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark and Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor.
:roll: —-> Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Manchin will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to share their views on Mr. Obama’s national security picks…..
Reuters: President Barack Obama takes his “fiscal-cliff” campaign to the home of a family in Northern Virginia on Thursday (1:35) to illustrate the impact of letting taxes go up on the middle class….
With about three weeks remaining before steep tax hikes and budget cuts that comprise the so-called fiscal cliff are set to begin, the White House said Obama would visit the home of a family that responded to a presidential Twitter request for real-life stories about the burden of a tax increase on the middle class.
Greg Sargent: Public opinion gives Dems all the leverage: Here’s another reason Republicans may have to accept the above way out: A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Americans are solidly on the side of Obama and Democrats in this battle. Voters say by 53-36 they trust Obama and Dems more than Republicans on the fiscal cliff mess. And by 51-43, voters say Republicans won’t make a “good faith effort” to cooperate with Obama on issues important to them.
Twitter meltdown of the week:
Politico’s Ben White was in a monster, well, huff because he wasn’t included in Huffington Post’s ’32 Economics Journalists You Should Be Following On Twitter’ list. But, instead of being sensible and ignoring the OUTRAGEOUS snub, what does he do? Yep, he whinged about it endlessly on Twitter.
The tweet above caused a good giggle – talk about revealing your politics. But then, he does work for Politico.
Monday: The President has no public events scheduled in observance of Veterans Day
Tuesday: Attends meetings at the White House
Wednesday: Holds a news conference in the East Room. He will also meet with business leaders at the White House
Thursday: The President will travel to the New York City area to view the storm damage, talk with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thank first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities
Friday: The President will meet with Congressional leaders of both parties at the White House to discuss the action needed to be taken to keep the economy growing and reduce the deficit
NYT: President Obama, emboldened by his decisive re-election and lessons learned over four years in office, is looking to the renewal of budget talks with Republicans this week as a second chance to take command of the nation’s policy debates and finally fulfill his promise to end gridlock in Washington, associates say.
As he prepares to meet with Congressional leaders at the White House on Friday, aides say, Mr. Obama will not simply hunker down there for weeks of closed-door negotiations as he did in mid-2011 …. He will travel beyond the Beltway at times to rally public support for a deficit-cutting accord that mixes tax increases on the wealthy with spending cuts.
…. with the election campaign over, the campaign for the Obama legacy begins: Mr. Obama will keep his grass-roots organization in place to “have the president’s back,” as its members like to say, on the budget negotiations and other issues in the second term. Democrats concede that the network has not been a particularly effective legislative lobby to date. But they argue that when it was activated to pass payroll tax cuts and low-interest student loans, the pressure made a difference.
…. His first trip outside Washington to engage the public will come after Thanksgiving, since Mr. Obama is scheduled to leave next weekend on a diplomatic trip to Asia.
Now, I don’t want to go on about this – well, that’s a complete lie, I do – but thanks to a very kind TOD lurker called Mandy, I’ve finally seen another comment left here by Scout Tufankjian – one that settles an ugly exchange between me and Bobfr for once and for all:
Bob? I accept your apology which I’m sure you’ll post soon – don’t worry about it, we can, hopefully, move on from this.
Scout? I ♥ you! Rest well after the campaign, you deserve it.
Boston.com: Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren lambasted Republican Mitt Romney as she introduced his general election opponent, President Obama, at a Boston fund-raiser.
….. Warren told a full house at Symphony Hall: “Mitt Romney tells us, in his own words, he believes corporations are people. No, Mitt, corporations are NOT people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They love and they cry and they dance. They live and they die. Learn the difference.”
…. “Mitt, learn this,” she added. “We don’t run this country for corporations; we run it for people.”
…. In opening her remarks, Warren paid tribute to Obama …. “He fought for you, students and seniors, homeowners and veterans, community banks and credit unions, and for everyone who plays by the rules,” she said.
“Big banks and Republicans fought tooth-and-nail against us,” she said. “They vowed this agency would never become law. And when the money poured in, when the pressure mounted against us, and when we were on the ropes, President Obama stood firm.”
“He planted his feet, he squared his shoulders, and he said, ‘We will stop the cheating, we will stop the trick and traps, and we will level the playing field for working families.’”
Fosters: How he’ll top future birthdays is a mystery after receiving birthday wishes on Monday from the president himself.
When Bob Noble, 73, and his wife, Betty, decided to stop for lunch at the University of New Hampshire Dairy Bar after listening to President Barack Obama deliver a campaign speech at Oyster River High School, they had no idea that Obama would be in the mood for ice cream.
“He came in and shook hands with everybody,” said Noble, calling the president’s company an “awesome visit.”
It was Noble’s first brush with fame or anyone notable, he said, though that wasn’t why he and his wife attended the speech.
“I didn’t go to him because he’s famous. I went to him because I think he’s doing a heck of a good job,” he explained.
Noble and his wife have two sons who attended school at UNH and who are now successful in their fields, he said. They are products of a man whose own father was an illegal immigrant from Spain in 1910, and when Noble hears other presidential candidates talk of immigration, it really hits home.
“When Romney talks about deportation it’s kind of like a knife in my heart,” he said.
With Obama, who he was thrilled to see take the time to speak with everyone who was present, Noble said, “what you see is what you get.”
TPM: A lesser-known but important provision in “Obamacare” that regulates how health insurance companies spend their money is yielding benefits for consumers, a new study finds.
By this August, insurers are projected to send consumers a total of $1.3 billion in rebates, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Thursday – $541 million to large employers, $377 million to small businesses and $426 million to people with their own insurance plans.
The rebates are the result of a rule in the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent or 85 percent of premium earnings on health care – as opposed to marketing and administrative activities – or otherwise provide rebates to their consumers.
Steve Benen: Joe Weisenthal published a pretty remarkable chart today noting economic growth in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe over the last nine years….
…. Once President Obama took office and the Recovery Act/stimulus began putting capital back into the economy, the U.S. economy began growing again. In the U.K., the economy started to improve, right up until British officials began implementing an austerity agenda – at which point the national economy stagnated and slipped back into a recession.
Obama rejected austerity, and as a result, American growth, while fragile and insufficient, is easily outpacing Europe’s and UK’s, where austerity measures have ruled the day.
….When David Cameron’s austerity policies began, Republicans were not only certain they would work, they pleaded with American policymakers to follow the Tories’ lead …. The remarkable thing is, Republicans aren’t the least bit chastened by the track record of failure.
ThinkProgress: …. The Romney campaign organized a conference call today with three of Romney’s foreign policy advisers to push back (against VP Biden’s foreign policy speech). During the call, Romney adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper attacked President Obama for dealing with Russia, albeit using geographical terms from the Cold War era:
PROSPER: ….. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia….
Aside from the fact that “Czechoslovakia” broke up into the Czech Republic and Slovakia nearly 20 years ago, the Obama administration never “abandoned” missile defense sites because they were never there to begin with….
Michael Tomasky: It seems clear that the main issue Mitt Romney is going to use to try to reestablish himself as a moderate is immigration …. Can Romney, who staked out an immigration position during the primaries that left him sounding like Pat Buchanan, really pull this off? My bet: He’ll be smooth, he’ll do almost everything right, he’ll say all the right things — and he’ll end up with something very much like the 31 percent of the Latino vote John McCain got, maybe two or three points more, tops. The reason is simple: Romney, like his party, is just too white.
…. There is no signal, at least yet, that Rubio would make a whit of difference. Last weekend, a poll came out in which 1,000-plus Latinos were asked about Obama-Biden matchups against Romney-Rubio, and Romney paired with various other Hispanic Republicans ….. in Florida, Obama did better among Latinos against Romney with Rubio on the ticket, suggesting that maybe to know him isn’t to love him.
NYT: The group Americans for Prosperity just went up with a $6.1 million ad buy in swing states that accuses the Obama administration of squandering American taxpayer dollars on green energy projects, asserting that some of the money actually went to foreign entities….
In making the general assertion that “billions of taxpayer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries,” the ad cites as evidence $1.2 billion that went “to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico.” In fact, the company involved in the plant, SunPower, said that the $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee was for its solar ranch in California….
The ad also says that the Obama administration sent “half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland.” …. Loans under the agency’s alternative vehicle program went to Fisker Automotive, an American electric car company based in California that has facilities in Finland, as well as China and Germany. The agency provided $169 million for engineering and tooling work, all carried out in the United States….
USA Today: Almost 4 million seniors saved about $2.16 billion through discounts for their prescription medications in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to announce today. This, administrators say, should help keep costs to the government down in the future.
“Before, many beneficiaries were forced to stop taking the drugs,” said Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare. “This reduces costs through better management.”
…. The 2010 health care law required a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the so-called doughnut hole, or the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the Medicare drug benefit, also known as Part D. In 2012, the coverage gap is $2,930. The Affordable Care Act eliminates the doughnut hole by 2020.
The previous report, with numbers through the end of October, had shown 2.65 million Medicare recipients saved $1.5 billion on prescriptions. That rose to 3.76 million recipients by the end of December.
The Hill: Senate Democrats raised more than $5.3 million in February, marking the third straight month in which they raised more than the month before.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) ended February with almost $19 million in the bank. That’s about $3.5 million more than it had one month ago, meaning the committee saved most of what it raised.
Democrats have cleared their debt and raised more than $52 million during the cycle. DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said it was the most successful February the committee has ever had.