A child reaches out to First Lady Michelle Obama prior to a Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way event at Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., Feb. 11, 2012. The event was held in celebration of the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Presidential Daily Schedule (All times Eastern):
9:00 AM: Arrival ceremony at White House for State Visit of French President Francois Hollande
10:00AM: President Obama begins meetings with President Hollande
12:00PM: Joint press conference
1:15PM: Vice President Biden hosts a luncheon in honor of President Hollande
6:55PM: State Dinner in honor of President Hollande
8:40PM: President Obama gives a toast at the State Dinner honoring President Hollande
President Obama and President Hollande Visit Monticello (@PeteSouza)
Chicago Tribune: Illinois Partners With The Onion To Push Obamacare Enrollment
Get Covered Illinois, the state’s official Affordable Care Act outreach vehicle, has partnered with the satirical news source The Onion in a push to spur more young and healthy people to sign up for health insurance plans.
Under terms of the agreement, The Onion will run banner ads on its website featuring a man who is forced to sell his action figures to pay for his medical bills because he doesn’t have health insurance. The Onion also will create a video, an editorial and a custom news section about Get Covered Illinois that will be featured online through March 31, the enrollment deadline.
Washington Post: President Obama To Launch Major New Effort To Help Young Men Of Color
President Obama will launch a significant new effort this week to bolster the lives of young men of color, seeking to use the power of the presidency to help a group of Americans whose lives are disproportionately affected by poverty and prison. Obama on Thursday will announce a new White House initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper,” which will bring foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies across the country to support young male minorities, taking steps to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system, a White House official said.
He will also announce that his administration will launch a more vigorous evaluation of what policies work best and publicize results to school systems and others across the country. But the announcement of the initiative is just the latest way that Obama, in his second term, has been addressing race and the fortunes of urban youth more directly. Last month, Obama and his wife, Michelle,hosted a forum at the White House to persuade colleges to recruit more low-income Americans. And last year, the Justice Department overhauled drug-sentencing guidelines so that low-level and nonviolent offenders do not face stiff minimum sentences.
Kerron Turner sat with more than a dozen other teenagers in a classroom at Hyde Park Academy High School on this city’s troubled South Side, nervously settling in for an unusual meeting with the president of the United States. They told their stories: Turner worried about the gangs he passes on his way home from school. Robert Scates had dropped out of high school and was working to catch up in time to graduate. Lazarus Daniels feared what would happen to his anger if he couldn’t play football anymore.
Eventually, it was President Obama’s turn to check in — to say how he was feeling emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. Obama’s quiet visit a year ago to the “Becoming a Man” program for inner-city youth in Chicago, along with a follow-up meeting several months later, would test whether Obama could transform the symbolism of his presidency into something more personal, one young man at a time. The meetings left a mark on the president, who has used them as motivation for a forthcoming White House initiative on young men of color that he promised to launch in this year’s State of the Union address.
Back in Room 208 of Hyde Park Academy that winter afternoon, Obama told the group he tries to exercise every day but was feeling the aches of a 51-year-old. Emotionally, he was always thinking about his daughters, and he said he feels intellectually challenged all the time. Spiritually, he said, he prays every night. Then Obama was asked to tell his story: How did a black man become president? He talked about his anger as a young man growing up without a father in the picture. When he was a teen in high school, he partied too much, ignored school too much. He confided that he drank and smoked pot. Daniels struggled to grasp what the president was saying. That could not be the life of the man who became a president, Daniels thought. He half-raised his hand, and asked, “Are you talking about you?” It wasn’t a question the president was expecting. “Yeah, I’m talking about me,” Obama said. “None of this is a secret. I wrote about all of this in my book.” Obama has recounted his meetings with the young men as among the most raw encounters of his tenure.
Slate: Charlie Crist Thinks Opposition To Obama Might Be A Little Bit Racist
The closest Crist gets to controversy, something I left out of the review, comes in a collection of musings about the rise of the Tea Party. Crist has trouble understanding the alacrity with which anti-Obama anger became so mainstream.
“Sometimes,” he says, “the public’s feelings seemed partly racial. Sometimes, I’m sure they were not. But Barack Obama was the first African American in the White House. Florida had helped to put him there. And it was impossible to imagine an equal measure of virulence for any politician whose skin was white.”
Jamie Fuller: 80,000 People Protested In NC This Weekend. Here’s Why
The NAACP estimates that 80,000 to 100,000 people gathered outside the North Carolina State Capitol Saturday morning for the Moral March in Raleigh (official attendance numbers have not been released yet). The march was the culmination of a year of Moral Monday protests at the State Capitol organized by The Forward Together Movement, a “fusion movement” of over 150 groups fighting for mostly progressive causes in North Carolina.
A year ago, only 15,000 turned out for the same march in Raleigh. The leap in turnout is a good indicator of the growing support for the movement’s agenda in the months before the 2014 midterms, and a show of how much more popular the movement has become since last February.
So why were nearly 100,000 people in the streets of Raleigh on Saturday? Mostly dissatisfaction with the current state government, which has left North Carolina — once a bastion of progressive policy-making from both parties — a petri dish for Tea Party political experimentation in the eyes of Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of NAACP and leader of the Forward Together Movement.
Reuters: White House ‘Disappointed’ Invitation Withdrawn For North Korea Visit
The White House said on Monday it was “deeply disappointed” by North Korea’s decision to rescind an invitation to U.S. envoy Robert King to visit Pyongyang to discuss the release of imprisoned U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae. The White House remains prepared to send King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
“We are deeply disappointed by the DPRK decision for a second time to rescind its invitation for Ambassador King to travel to Pyongyang to discuss Kenneth Bae’s release,” Carney told reporters at a briefing. Bae, a 45-year-old Korean-American, has been held for more than a year in North Korea after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges of trying to overthrow the state.
TPM: CBO: Guys, We Didn’t Say Obamacare Would Cost 2.5 Million Jobs
The Congressional Budget Office issued its official rebuttal Monday to the Republican talking point that Obamacare would cost 2.5 million American jobs. In a new FAQ explainer of last week’s budget report, CBO director Doug Elmendorf, answering if 2.5 million people will lose their jobs by 2024 because of the health care reform law, said: “No, we would not describe our estimates in that way.”
In the immediate aftermath of the CBO report, some Republicans characterized the report’s findings as: The law would “cost” the U.S. economy up to 2.5 million jobs. The phrase quickly found its way into a Senate GOP web advertisement. But what the CBO actually said was much different, as TPM reported. The agency said that some Americans would choose to stop working or work less because of the law. They could change their work habits for various reasons, such as starting a new business or choosing to spend time at home. The voluntary cutback in hours would be equal to 2.5 million full-time jobs.
President Obama leans backward as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel speaks during a National Economic Council and Domestic Policy Council planning meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Feb. 11, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer and Cecilia Rouse, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, watch as President Obama signs the Economic Report of the President in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama reviews his prepared remarks on Egypt at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Vice President Biden welcomes home members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division who returned from Afghanistan, at Fort Campbell, Ky., Feb. 11, 2011 (Photo by David Lienemann)
First Lady Michelle Obama at Northland in Longwood, Florida, Feb 11, 2012
First lady Michelle Obama reaches for a hand as she arrives for physical activity with kids at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, Feb. 11, 2012
Saturday: The President has no public events scheduled
Sunday: The First Family will attend Christmas in Washington at the National Building Museum
Monday: The President will travel to Redford, Michigan for an event on the economy at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant
Tuesday and Wednesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
Thursday: The President will host a Hanukkah reception at the White House
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
Business Insider: As negotiations on a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” enter the final three weeks, Republicans face a stark reality: The American public continues siding with President Barack Obama and Democrats on the issues crucial to any potential deal.
Polls taken over the past month have continually shown that a post-election bump for the President, combined with the relative unpopularity of Republicans, gives Obama a lot of leverage in the debate.
…. The kicker lies in the difference in approval ratings between Obama and Congressional Republicans. Obama’s approval rating hit an astounding 57 percent in Friday’s AP survey. Meanwhile, Congress has a 23 percent approval rating.
NYT: Fifty-eight years after it banned discrimination in public education, the Supreme Court has set the stage for the defining civil rights decision of this era — agreeing to hear two cases challenging laws that define marriage to exclude couples of the same sex. To us, and a growing number of Americans, the right course seems clear: that the justices continue the march toward real equality.
…. Public opinion is shifting on this issue as more people recognize the inherent wrong in a last bastion of official discrimination. The most important hearts and minds to be won at this point belong to the nine justices.
Washington Post: Former Florida governor Charlie Crist said late Friday night that he is now a Democrat.
The Republican governor-turned independent Senate candidate’s move was widely anticipated, especially in advance of a potential 2014 run for his old office. Crist endorsed President Obama for reelection this year and has aligned with Democrats over the last two years.