On this Day: President Obama and daughter Sasha swim at Alligator Point in Panama City Beach, Fla., Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Daily Beast: Treasury Monthly Statement Shows the U.S. Deficit Is Melting Away
Still complaining about the deficit? The latest monthly statement from the U.S. Treasury shows that even without destroying the social safety net or striking a grand bargain, it’s being erased.
…. So as you listen to people complaining about the annual deficit, remember that it is melting away. The miracle cure for deficits, it turns out, isn’t ripping up the social safety net, or a grand bargain. It’s growth, combined with some fiscal restraint, and higher taxes. Compared with a year ago, there are about 2.2 million more people working today, at slightly higher wages, paying slightly higher taxes. The combination of those forces pushes collections higher. Meanwhile, spending on anti-poverty programs like unemployment benefits falls as unemployment claims decline. Winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has reduced the Pentagon budget. And the sequester has taken a bite out of the budget of many agencies. The combination of those forces pushes spending lower. The latest update on this year’s fiscal situation confirms that each of these trends is fully intact.
President Obama liked the idea laid out in a memo from his staff: an ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet access in schools that would allow students to use digital notebooks and teachers to customize lessons like never before. Better yet, the president would not need Congress to approve it.
White House senior advisers have described the little-known proposal, announced earlier this summer under the name ConnectEd, as one of the biggest potential achievements of Obama’s second term.
Bob Cesca: Cory Booker Wins Senate Primary. The Far-Left Wins Nothing. Again.
Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker is one step closer to being the next senator from the Garden State. He won the Democratic primary on Tuesday by a significant margin over his rivals, Rep. Frank Pallone, Assembly Speaker Shiela Oliver and Rep. Rush Holt.
Historically speaking, if he wins on October 16, Booker will also be the only elected African American member of the United States Senate, and the ninth member in history. (Yeah, there’s still something very, very wrong with American voters.)
There’s another dimension to this election, meanwhile, that only appeared briefly on the blogs and via social media. Were it not for the divisiveness on the left created by the Edward Snowden NSA drama, with far-left activists supporting Snowden’s leaks and with pragmatic center-left liberals expressing disdain for the hyperbolic, outraged sensationalism of the story, the New Jersey special election would’ve surely been a huge battleground between those two factions.
ThinkProgress: Arizona Republicans Already Working On 2020 Gerrymander Plan
Unhappy that an independent redistricting commission devised maps it deemed too independent for the 2012 elections, Arizona Republicans are already scheming to rig the redistricting process after the 2020 elections to be more favorable to their party.
If you’ve been following the health care debate lately, you’ve probably heard quite a bit of talk about Congress being “exempt” from the Affordable Care Act. It’s a talking point the right has pushed quite aggressively, but is it true? Republicans certainly want us to think so. Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas)complained about an “outrageous exemption for Congress.” The far-right editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint touted a similar line last week. Over the weekend, Republican media figures, including Bill Kristol and Ana Navaro, repeated the talking point on the Sunday shows, and no one thought to correct them. This morning, in an unusually hysterical piece, a Washington Times columnist suggested the policy might constitute “treason.” (No, seriously, that’s what it said.)
The policy certainly sounds awful, doesn’t it? If “Obamacare” is so great, why are members of Congress eager to exempt themselves from the new federal system? No wonder Fox is soworked up over this. The problem, as you might have guessed, is that the argument is so wildly misleading, it bears no meaningful connection to reality.
USA Today: President Obama is going retro when it comes to honoring sports champions.
Next week, Obama will host a White House ceremony honoring the 40th anniversary of the 1972-73 Miami Dolphins, the last National Football League team to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs.
That Dolphins team famously went 17-0, beating the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl on Jan. 14, 1973.
Aug. 14, 2009: President Obama casts his line while fishing for trout on the East Gallatin River near Belgrade, Mont. (Photo by Pete Souza)
Aug. 14, 2010: President Obama greets members of the U.S. Coast Guard after making a statement at the U.S. Coast Guard Panama City District Office, Panama City, Fla (Photo by Pete Souza)
Aug. 14, 2012: The President waves from his campaign bus to people lining the motorcade route in Iowa (Photo by Pete Souza)
Aug. 14, 2012: President Obama has a beer with patrons at the Pump Haus Pub and Grill in Waterloo, Iowa (Photo by Pete Souza)
Aug. 14, 2012: Pete Souza: “How about a White House beer? The President was greeting patrons at Coffee Connection in Knoxville, Iowa, when this customer asked him about the White House beer. The President said he thought he might have some on his campaign bus and asked an aide to check. A few minutes later, the President delivered a bottle and the customer reacted in celebration.”
I was out participating in the democratic process and then went out for some fun, so I arrived very late to TOD last night. This afforded me a chance to read through the comment sections rapidly and with detachment, rather than living the outrage moment to moment. Then I got to sleep on it. Refreshed, I discovered a new perspective on the comment made by Mayor Booker yesterday.
First I was struck by the use of the word “nauseating” to refer to the advertising taking swipes at Mitt’s time at Bain Capital. Put in context with the glee with which the Right exploited his comment as an attack on the President, I came to realize that this is a very visceral reaction. What that tells me is that this advertising strategy is highly effective. On some level Cory might realize that, but what some are calling his false equivalence to the Rev. Wright controversy, does have a parallel.
Both the time at Bain Capital for Mitt and the time as a parishioner of Rev. Wright for the President represent a part of their respective pasts that needed to be addressed as a part of the vetting process conducted by the media for the benefit of the American electorate. Cory might not agree that part of the process needs to happen, and long for a more substantive current issues-related debate to be reflected in advertising and media scrutiny. The fact remains it IS part of the process of vetting a President. The GOP didn’t get to use their advertising featuring Rev. Wright, and the President stepped up to confront the issue with his brilliant speech on race relations in this country. The roles are reversed now: the Democrats are using advertising highlighting Mitt’s time at Bain, and Mitt isn’t stepping up to address his behavior or belief system to the American public.
Let us not lose sight of the fact that the advertising is highly effective in a visceral way. And that effectiveness is part of why the response on the blogs and twitter were so intense yesterday. People don’t want to lose those ads, or at least what they represent, as a tool to use against Romney. Not even so much about Romney, but the whole idea of exposing vulture capitalism for what it is. To that I say it is only one tool in a very large box of tools that the Obama campaign possesses. It just happens to be the one they’re wielding right now. Also bear in mind that this is the part of the campaign cycle where the Obama campaign is working to define Mitt Romney before he can define himself. During this time the campaign puts out many types of advertising to see what resonates and what is effective and which ones can or cannot be effectively countered by the opposition. This is the testing phase, not the General Election. We’re not voting for a few more months (an ETERNITY in political terms).
Second, let’s talk about the very interesting man who is Cory Booker. The man who said this and we all hailed him for it:
“Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me how much you love all His children. Before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as how you choose to live and give.”
I wish he hadn’t made the comments he did yesterday; but I also wish that he hadn’t become the subject of a character assassination the way he was. I get it, TOD is the mama bear protecting her cub and comes out, claws and teeth bared, ready to protect the President at all costs. Cory Booker is just a man. He’s allowed to make mistakes. He clearly isn’t getting the best advice about how to express his opinions in the public forum. He shows the same weakness as his fellow Rhodes Scholar, Rachel Maddow. They’re both young-ish and have egos and probably don’t have someone like Michelle Obama to keep them grounded and humble. Probably neither of them had someone like Stanley Ann Dunham to raise them to be more intuitive than they are. And they both could use a good dose of up-side-the-head maturity and learn to think strategically. They both need mentoring from an adult like the President. Of the two, I’d guess that Cory Booker would be more likely to seek out and accept that kind of mentoring than would Rachel.
I’m not going to throw Cory Booker under the bus just yet. There is too much potential for good from that man, too much capability and inner strength and capacity for honesty. I dislike what he said, but I don’t believe the President was harmed in any way by it. The President and his team know how to run a campaign for the office of President. Cory Booker does not. What happened to Cory yesterday must have been viewed by the Right as a true victory. They are as afraid of Cory’s appeal as they are President Obama. If we handed them the ultimate destruction of Cory Booker’s political career based on one gaffe, then they must be celebrating right now. Frankly I don’t think Cory did that much damage to his career. If George Allen can survive the ‘maccaca’ incident (he’s running for office again, isn’t he?), then Cory can survive this. It is my hope Cory learns a profound lesson from this and seeks out some adult guidance on how to avoid such a misstep in the future.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, watch from the back of the room during President Barack Obama’s meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to President Barack Obama as she arrives at the NATO Summit in Chicago
…. with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (center) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left)
…. with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir
…. welcoming Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
…. with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte
…. with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton