Washington Post: Whitney Tilson is a hedge fund manager and a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.
I am part of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. By that I mean that I am fortunate to be a wealthy American and I say, “It’s okay to raise my taxes.”
This morning I was at the White House supporting President Obama in his call for Congress to pass the “Buffett rule.” …. It would hit me hard….. Why am I okay with this? The answer has to do with simple math and basic fairness.
…. It’s not class warfare to say that people like me – who aren’t suffering at all in these tough economic times, who are in many cases doing the best we’ve ever done and who can easily afford to pay more in taxes with no impact on our lifestyle – should be the first to step up and make a small sacrifice.
…. I am grateful for the effective government we have in this country, which is the absolutely necessary foundation for our wonderful capitalistic economic system that has benefited me so greatly. And I’m willing to do my fair share – in fact, more than my fair share – to help rein in our deficits and put this country on a more sustainable path.
Paul Krugman: Here’s the bad news: Mitt Romney’s campaign is setting new standards in serial dishonesty. Really. He makes Bush look like a font of truth and accuracy.
Here’s the good news: reporters seem to have noticed, and – be still my beating heart – we’re starting to see reports that actually point out the distortions, rather than saying that “some Democrats” say that he isn’t being honest.
It was particularly gratifying to see the response to Romney’s ludicrous claim that Obama is anti-woman because women have lost more jobs than men since he took office. This was cherry-picking raised to the level of an Olympic sport….
….The core of Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be contempt for the news media (and the voters), the belief that he can say anything and pay no price – which was the way things worked for Bush. But maybe, just maybe, his calculation was wrong, and serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, part of the narrative.
TPM: It took tens of millions of dollars, years of preparation and three months of primary contests, but Mitt Romney is finally the GOP’s presumptive nominee. Now comes the hard part.
Romney’s first day of the general election turned into a stark reminder that Obama will be a far tougher opponent than the poorly funded, disorganized candidates he battled in the primary. Romney was outmaneuvered and forced off message throughout the day – beginning with a morning press call in which the campaign was caught flat-footed over a simple question about Romney’s position on the Lilly Ledbetter Act – overshadowing the economic message he was trying to push, with the gleeful help of an armada of professional Democratic operatives.
The Atlantic: So here is the president of the United States, enjoying canapés and small talk at Daniel, chef Daniel Boulud’s gourmet restaurant just off Park Avenue ….. “I have a question I want to ask you, Mr. President,” I venture, once I catch his attention.
“Sure,” the president says.
“Kanye or Jay-Z?”
The president smiles. “Jay-Z,” he says, as if the answer should be obvious….
“Although I like Kanye,” Obama continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.
“Even though you called him a jackass?,” I ask.
“He is a jackass,” Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.” The president gives a wink, poses for a few more pictures, and then glides away…..
A baby donkey named Demo by its owner, Silvio Carrasquilla, stands dressed as the mascot of the U.S. Democratic Party behind a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama, outside Carrasquilla’s home in Turbaco, near Cartagena, April 11. Carrasquilla, Turbaco’s former mayor who considers himself Colombia’s number one Obama fan, is sprucing up his house by painting it the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag to celebrate Obama’s arrival in Cartagena for the VI Summit of the Americas on Friday.
11:30 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
AP: It’s looking like President Barack Obama may be back in the good graces of women. His support dropped among this critical constituency just before the new year began and the presidential campaign got under way in earnest. But his standing with female voters is strengthening, polls show, as the economy improves and social issues, including birth control, become a bigger part of the nation’s political discourse.
…. Among women, his approval ratings on handling the economy and unemployment have jumped by 10 percentage points since December…. An AP-GfK poll conducted Feb. 16-20 showed that on overall approval Obama has gained 10 percentage points among women since December, from 43 percent to 53 percent…
Women also are the reason behind Obama’s lead over Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: In one-on-one matchups, Obama beats Romney 54 percent to 41 percent and tops Santorum 56 percent to 40 percent among women, but virtually ties each Republican among men….
He wants religion returned to “the public square,” is opposed to contraception, premarital sex and abortion under any circumstances, wants children educated in what amounts to little red schoolhouses and called President Obama a “snob” for extolling college or some other kind of post-high school education. This is not a political platform. It’s a fatwa.
Mediaite: Monday night, Stephen Colbert turned his gaze upon the impending Michigan primary, bringing up a some recent statements by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and digging a little deeper into their meanings.
Colbert began with Romney, who spoke last week at Ford Field in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. “Yeah, there were a lot of empty seats,” Colbert said, “but the important thing is Mitt really connected with those empty seats by also being plastic and uncomfortable.”
Steve Benen: It’s hard not to marvel at just how dishonest Mitt Romney is prepared to be in order to win. The notion of politicians misleading the public to advance their ambitions isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but Romney acts as if he doesn’t even care about getting caught, leading to blatant and obvious falsehoods.
This one, from last night’s debate, was just shameless….
Charlotte Observer: On the final night of this fall’s Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium, party sources told the Observer on Monday night.
Convention officials are expected to announce the venue this morning at a news conference at the stadium. Two party sources say the decision to use the stadium was made months ago.
Steve Benen last August: “‘Corporations are people’? In this little figure of speech, wouldn’t that make Mitt Romney a metaphorical serial killer?”…..
Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Why Mitt Romney Will Prove To Be a Feeble Presidential Nominee …. I wrote about his reactionary tax plan and his refusal to release his own taxes, and what an unfortunate (for him) cocktail those two ingredients will make for him …. Now, the Bain attacks put into sharp relief another reason for his weakness. He has just one argument, and the Bain “creative destruction” narrative comes close to killing it.
…. Toss in that ghastly remark about it being all right to discuss inequality in “quiet rooms,” which I feel certain we haven’t heard nearly the last of …. He meant corporate board rooms, where everyone would agree with him. An astonishingly frank moment, like the comment about liking to be able to fire people. I know he was talking about insurance companies, but here in the 99 percent, we don’t “fire” insurance companies, or usually doctors and certain other service professionals. We change them. It was a word choice that really did reveal a world view.
….Oh, he’ll get 47, 48 percent of the vote, because we’re a divided country …. but a majority will not want to change horses, especially when the other horse is carrying Romney’s kind of personal baggage and is promising policies that are warmed over versions of the policies that created the economic crisis in the first place. I have no great confidence in the brilliance of Obama’s political team, but this should not be too hard, even for them, and Mitt can find himself a nice quiet room in La Jolla to go ponder the what-if’s.
The UK Independent: As we’re sitting down to lunch at a restaurant in Washington DC, a smartly dressed man approaches Candace Gingrich-Jones. “I just wanted to say hello,” he announces, cheerfully, “because I know your brother.”
Ms Gingrich-Jones has two stock responses to people who greet her in this fashion. The first, to those who seem friendly, is to politely say how nice it is to make their acquaintance. The second, to anyone who claims to be among her famous half-sibling’s enemies, is to smile archly and respond: “You are not alone!”
…. Regardless of whether Newt Gingrich ends up as the GOP contender in November’s election, Ms Gingrich-Jones will be working tirelessly to ensure victory for his opponent, Barack Obama.
“No matter who the Republican candidate is, I will do everything I possibly can to ensure they don’t win,” she says. “President Obama has done so much for the gay community. From repealing ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’, to getting a hate-crime prevention act passed in 2008, to anti-discrimination policies in the workplace, to laws giving gay couples hospital visitation rights. It would be a disaster if he were to lose.”
President Obama speaks during a news conference on Republican obstruction of Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the CFPB, Dec 8
Steve Benen: Two months after the Senate Banking Committee approved Richard Cordray as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Senate leadership brought the nomination to the floor this morning. Republicans refused to allow a vote …. It’s hard to overstate how outrageous today’s filibuster really is.
…. It’s all part of the normalization of extortion politics. Traditionally, if the GOP wanted to alter the powers of the CFPB, it would write legislation, send it to committee, bring it to the floor, send it to the other chamber, etc. But that takes time and effort, and might not work. Instead, we see the latest in a series of GOP extortion strategies: Republicans will force Democrats to accept changes to the agency, or Republicans won’t allow the agency to meet its legal mandate…..
The President is pre-taping interviews with WISH (Indianapolis, IN), KSNV (Las Vegas, NV), WREG (Memphis, TN) and WCHS (Portland, ME) today
Steve Benen: We generally look to the first Friday of every month for new unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but every Thursday morning, the Department of Labor releases a report on initial unemployment claims.
And this morning, the news is very good:
The number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 23,000 to the lowest level since late February, the government said Thursday. The Labor Department said claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000 last week. The level of initial claims in the week ended Nov. 26 was revised up by 2,000 to 404,000.
The consensus expectations were for a slight drop, which makes the sharp drop that much more encouraging…..
Steve Benen: Politico has a piece today on Senate Democrats’ outrage over Republican obstructionism, as evidenced by Tuesday’s filibuster of judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan and today’s expected filibuster of CFPB nominee Richard Cordray. As Dems see it, GOP abuses are setting a new standard — which Democrats will take advantage of the next time they’re in the minority.
…. Republicans respond that these current tactics aren’t new, and the Politico article tells readers the GOP argument is sound.
…. This isn’t a subjective question on which the parties are entitled to different opinions. There are objective, often quantifiable, answers to the points Politico and Republicans are raising: are GOP senators “replicating” Democratic tactics? Were Dems abusing Senate rules in the Bush era to the same degree that Republicans are abusing them now?
The answer to both is “no,” and the false equivalence does little to advance the discussion.
Steve Benen: Most of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect for a few years – and if court rulings and the 2012 elections go a certain way, it may not take effect at all – but there’s already evidence that the reform law is working.
It’s making a big difference in providing coverage for young adults; it’s providing treatment options for women like Spike Dolomite Ward; and it’s slowing the growth in Medicare spending.
It’s also, as Jonathan Cohn explained, saving seniors quite a bit of money on prescription medication…..
President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrive to speak in the South Court Auditorium on the White House, Dec. 7
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada talk backstage at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building following their joint press conference, Dec. 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
CBS: President Barack Obama will appear on “60 Minutes” in an interview with Steve Kroft to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Steve Kroft interviewed the president on Tuesday in Kansas after he delivered an economic speech in the small town of Osawatomie. President Obama will talk to Kroft again tomorrow at the White House for Sunday’s report.