3:45 EST: President Obama delivers remarks at Hyde Park Academy, Chicago
3:45 EST: President Obama delivers remarks at Hyde Park Academy, Chicago
@petesouza: ‘Photo of the day: POTUS w outgoing SecDef Panetta at his farewell tribute’
Greg Sargent: John Boehner’s office is circulating Charles Krauthammer’s column, which argues that Republicans should call Obama’s sequester “bluff” and make no concessions whatsoever in revenues to avert the sequester. This is still more confirmation that the GOP’s explicit position is that allowing the sequester to happen – which Republicans themselves say will gut the military and tank the economy – is preferable to compromising at all with Dems, and that they will use the threat of disaster to force a solution that averts the sequester only by giving Republicans everything they want.
….. we’re back to exactly where we were during the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling fights. Republicans are explicitly and openly using the prospect of serious harm to millions and millions of Americans to force Democrats to agree to a deal that gives Republicans everything that they want, while requiring them to make no concessions whatsoever….
Steve Benen: When it comes to the looming, automatic sequestration cuts, there seem to be two broader debates happening simultaneously. The first, more important question deals with what’s going to happen with the policy itself, and the scope of the damage it could do to the economy, the military, and the country.
The second question is a little pettier: who came up with this awful idea in the first place? A Republican National Committee spokesperson, echoing his party’s favorite new talking point, insists this is all President Obama’s fault.
…. Does the GOP have a point on this? Was the policy actually Obama’s idea? No. The argument is not only wrong, it’s dependent on the entire political world having a very short memory …. Since this has become such an important element of the larger fight, let’s take a minute to set the record straight…..
Business Insider: …. Charles Krauthammer writes that Republicans should “call Obama’s sequester bluff.” It’s being passed around by Republicans and other conservatives on Twitter and in email blasts. His argument – which exemplifies a typical conservative shift on the sequester recently – is that Republicans now have leverage on the sequester over President Barack Obama…..
…. Krauthammer wasn’t always so bullish on using the sequester as a tool for leverage. Last May, he warned in an appearance on Fox News that letting the cuts go into effect would be a “catastrophe” for the nation’s defense…..
…. The conservative editorial board of The Wall Street Journal advanced a similar argument on Thursday. In an editorial entitled “The Unscary Sequester,” the editorial board disputed Washington’s “collective fit of terror.”
…. Then there’s the editorial the board wrote not even seven months ago. It used the same language as Krauthammer – “catastrophe,” which it wrote was “playing out in slow motion.” The board also said that Obama had the leverage, and that it would be a “dangerous game” to play with the sequester.
RollCall: President Barack Obama has agreed to do more than just raise money for House Democrats’ effort to win back the majority in 2014: He is also going to help with candidate recruitment.
Obama will headline eight fundraising events in 2013 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and more fundraisers are planned for 2014. But Obama’s agreement to help DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York make the sell to would-be candidates in targeted districts is also significant.
“It’s transformational,” Israel said in an interview, adding that House Democrats are “firing on all cylinders like I’ve never seen before.”
The president’s efforts to assist House Democrats politically are more than Israel initially even asked for.
Ari Berman (The Nation): In 2006, Congress voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for another twenty-five years. The legislation passed 390–33 in the House and 98–0 in the Senate. Every top Republican supported the bill …. Civil rights leaders flanked George W. Bush at the signing ceremony.
Seven years later, the bipartisan consensus that supported the VRA for nearly fifty years has collapsed, and conservatives are challenging the law as never before. Last November, three days after a presidential election in which voter suppression played a starring role, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Section 5 of the VRA, which compels parts or all of sixteen states with a history of racial discrimination in voting to clear election-related changes with the federal government. The case will be heard on February 27.
The lawsuit, originating in Shelby County, Alabama, is backed by leading operatives and funders in the conservative movement, along with Republican attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas….
Washington Post: First lady Michelle Obama will join some of Illinois’ most recognizable politicians and clergy Saturday to mourn a 15-year-old honor student whose death has drawn attention to staggering gun violence in the nation’s third-largest city.
But Hadiya Pendleton’s family says her Saturday funeral service won’t be about politics, but about remembering a girl who loved to dance, once appeared in an anti-gang video and died just days after performing at one of President Barack Obama’s inauguration events.
None of the dignitaries are slated to speak during the service. The teen’s pastor and brother will talk, and the musical group Pendleton was a member of will perform.
NYT: Among the victims of gun violence who will be sitting in the House chamber on Tuesday night when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address will be a teacher who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Natalie Hammond, who reportedly took bullet wounds to the leg, foot and hand but narrowly escaped with her life, will attend the speech as the guest of her congresswoman, Elizabeth Esty, the representative for Newtown, Conn.
Ms. Hammond, the school’s lead teacher, and another school employee were the only two people to survive after being shot by the gunman, Adam Lanza. Ms. Hammond will be one of the many victims of gun violence who will attend the State of the Union address.
WH: On Friday, February 15, President Obama will welcome the recipients of the 2012 Citizens Medal to the White House for a special ceremony to recognize their efforts to serve their communities, and inspire others to do the same.
See the list of recipients here
State of the Union addresses:
2009 (not an ‘official’ State of the Union address’ – the first official one was in 2010):
I hope TODers living in snowy places are keeping safe and warm – this is for you:
CT Post: The six Newtown teachers and administrators who died protecting their students at Sandy Hook Elementary School will be the posthumous recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal.
President Obama will make the presentations to surviving family members during a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 15 in the White House….
The medals will go to the families of:
Dawn Hochsprung, the principal, Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist and teachers Rachel D’Avino, Lauren Rousseau, Anne Murphy and Victoria Soto.
Jonathan Capehart: There was a great story in The Post yesterday that was nothing but good news for the American consumer. “Gas prices expected to fall further heading into summer” read the headline. Truth be told, the story isn’t new. Dropping pump prices have been reported on for about a month now.
Yet, what interested me most was the chart that accompanied yesterday’s story. It depicts the daily average price for regular gas over the last year, from May 2011 through May 2012. Were it a noise meter, it would also chart the volume of Republican hysteria over rising gas prices.
….. the national average gas price, which peaked at $3.91 in early April, was down to $3.64 on Memorial Day. That’s 17 cents cheaper than a year ago.
According to Politico, Republicans are still going to target the president on gas prices. But with fuel costs expected to continue their downward slide, the GOP can expect its credibility on this issue to follow suit.
Full post here
Richard Adams (The Guardian): ….Last night – under the cover of darkness – the Mitt Romney campaign published what it claims to be a birth certificate for “Willard Mitt bin Romney”.
As we can plainly see, this is obviously a forgery, and Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio need to get right on it. Here are the five key signs:
1. This is clearly not a birth certificate at all. It’s something called a “Certificate of Live Birth” – which suggests the obvious question: where is the birth certificate?
2. This is only the “short form” of the certificate and that is plainly inadequate. Why won’t Mitt Romney publish his “long form” birth certificate? What does he have to hide?
3. Notice that the “date of birth” is listed as March 12, 1947 – but the so-called “certificate” was filed on March 17, 1947. How can Mitt Romney explain this mysterious five day gap during which time he may (or may not) have been smuggled in from Canada? – the foreign country bordering on Michigan.
4. Using my computer I note that this “certificate” image is labeled: “Adobe Photoshop JPEG file”. Clear signs of a forgery?
5. “Father’s birthplace: Mexico”. Come on, do I have to paint you a picture for this one?
To be clear, none of these obvious errors, omissions and forgery are evidence that Mitt Romney was born abroad and has engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to conceal his foreign birth – we are merely asking questions. And putting words in italics for sinister effect. That’s all. Over to you, Donald.
Richard Adams’ Election 2012 blog here
LA Times: President Obama ruffled some feathers two years ago when he lambasted the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision during a State of the Union speech. It was unusual for a president to criticize the justices as they sat before him.
Now, retired Justice John Paul Stevens has taken the equally unusual step of saying the president was right in challenging the court’s opinion.
Obama said the 5-4 ruling freeing corporations to spend unlimited sums on elections “reversed a century of law,” adding it would “open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”
“In that succinct comment, the former professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago made three important and accurate observations about the Supreme Court majority’s opinion,” Stevens said in a speech Wednesday evening. “First, it did reverse a century of law; second, it did authorize unlimited election-related expenditures by America’s most powerful interests; and, third, the logic of the opinion extends to money spent by foreign entities.”
On CNN’s live streaming schedule for today:
11:30: President Obama’s re-election campaign communications director, David Axelrod, speaks with reporters in Boston.
1:25: Bush official White House portrait revealed
10:00: Wisconsin gubernatorial debate – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic opponent Tom Barrett debate ahead of next month’s recall election.
President Barack Obama greets the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal recipients in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a medal ceremony in the East Room, Oct. 20. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
9:30 AM President Obama signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers
10:30 The President attends a reception in the Rose Garden
2:30 The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Andrew Sullivan: To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.
Ian Swanson (The Hill): Obama stands tall after the demise of Libyan strongman Gadhafi
The death of Moammar Gadhafi represents another major foreign policy victory for President Obama, who backed a months-long air campaign in Libya while facing criticism from the left and the right.
Obama stared down congressional skeptics across the political spectrum … Through it all, Obama kept his resolve.
…. On Thursday he basked in the second greatest foreign policy triumph of his administration, after the successful operation this spring that killed Osama bin Laden. Gadhafi’s death comes less than a month after the U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
…. For the unwavering Obama, Thursday came the big payoff as Gadhafi’s hopes for returning to power ended in a field outside his hometown of Sirte.
…. Obama entered the Oval Office as a novice on the international stage, criticized for a naïve outlook on the world.
…. three years into his term, both the bin Laden and Libya events suggest Obama can be steely in making decisions about U.S. force, and in sticking with them.
Full article here
Jake Tapper: Have you had any difficulty discerning Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney’s precise position on the US involvement in the NATO mission in Libya?
The one consistency has been criticism of President Obama. But beyond that, he’s seemed a bit all over the Libyan map.
Position 1: Obama was weak in not doing this sooner
Position 2: (Nothing to say)
Position 3: Obama is being too aggressive
Position 4: After Gadhafi fell: Hooray! Now release the Lockerbie bomber
Position 5 – (Somewhat similar to position 1): It’s about time! The world is a better place without him!
See full post here
Washington Post: Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents – including naturalization papers and other official records – reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 and a half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity …. he mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”….
The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.
Full article here
Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): The economy needs help. The Democrats’ proposals are popular. And yet they’re dying in Congress. Why? Because the GOP hates Obama more than it loves America.
Maybe as early as Thursday night, the Senate will take its first vote on one bite-size piece of President Obama’s jobs bill, a $35 billion measure to fund the hiring of 400,000 teachers and a smaller number of cops and firefighters. It will fail. As usual not a single Republican will vote for it….
…. The Republican Party’s posture to the American people is this. Your opinion on issues like teachers and taxes doesn’t matter a whit to us … if you keep that man in the White House, we will block everything he and you want. Everything. And nothing will happen in this town for those next four years. The Republicans can’t say any of this, of course, but they don’t have to. People get it. It just sort of seeps out of them, like oil from a polluted stream.
I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing – and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.
Full article here
The video is glitchy, will get a better version tomorrow – but stick with it, Rachel was on fire
Nearly there, thank you so much everyone:
LA Times: Republican-led opposition in the Senate blocked a key element of President Obama’s jobs plan – a proposal to send $35 billion to cash-strapped states to keep public school teachers, police and firefighters on the job.
The Senate voted 50-50 late Thursday, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Polls have shown the proposal is among the most popular flanks of Obama’s jobs initiative.
President Obama shakes hands with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) after he signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, October 8, 2010
The Hill: Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.
Contact Mark Pryor here
From two days ago:
Joan, in case you drop in, thinking of you, hope all’s well and you’re recovering from your surgery. Take care of yourself, see you soon.