Time: President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”
“I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”
ABC: Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
…… As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.
Greg Sargent: …. Take special note of the quote that one expert gave to ABC: “His personal finances are a poster child of what’s wrong with the American tax system.” …. this is very dicey for Romney. Dems want to paint Romney as the walking embodiment of everything that’s unfair about our tax system and of all the ways the system is rigged on behalf of the rich and against the middle class. This won’t hurt that case.
One wonders if these revelations – combined with the layoffs at Bain; Romney’s tax rate; the fact that his tax plan would give the very wealthy enormous tax cuts while raising taxes marginally on lower income people; and his penchant for saying things that perfectly feed the “one percent” storyline – will generate any concerns among Romney’s top backers about his electability.
Media Matters: The Washington Examiner blog Beltway Confidential put up a post yesterday reporting that President Obama’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, worked at Bain & Company in the late 1980s. The Examiner suggested that this could “undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney’s career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company.”
……. The criticism of Romney has focused on his work at Bain Capital, not his time at Bain & Company.
To be clear: Bain & Company is an entirely separate entity from Bain Capital …. The Drudge Report linked to the Beltway Confidential post with the headline “OBAMA PICKS BAIN MAN FOR OMB…”:
ThinkProgress: Samantha Garvey, a New York high school senior who has been living in a homeless shelter and recently named a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, will be Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
…. Israel told Newsday he was moved by Garvey’s story. “The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance,” he said.
More: …. Michelle Obama is one of those people you sense before you see, her confidence somehow arriving on the scene a few seconds before she does. Even a roomful of antsy teenagers can feel it, leading them to fall silent moments before the first lady strides into the State Dining Room and greets them with a friendly “Hey! What’s happening?”
…. “They call me FLOTUS, for first lady of the United States,” she explains, noting that the president’s internal White House acronym is POTUS. “And there are many times when FLOTUS and POTUS feel like characters.” There have even been times, she says, when she’s craned her own neck to see which celebrity might be causing all the excitement. “And it’s me. Oh, man, it’s FLOTUS. FLOTUS is here. No one told me FLOTUS was coming.”
….. “But sometimes,” Obama tells her class of mentees, “I just want to be Michelle. So you guys have to start slowly seeing me as Michelle, all right?”
Dana Milbank: ….Solyndra has become a tool for Republicans to discredit most everything the administration seeks to do … this week, the government faced the prospect of a shutdown because House Republicans added a provision to the spending bill to draw more attention to – what else? – Solyndra.
“…. we have all agreed to add emergency funds we didn’t originally plan in this bill, and Republicans have identified a couple of cuts,” explained Mitch McConnell, including “a cut to a loan-guarantee program that gave us the Solyndra scandal.”
…. What McConnell neglected to mention is that Solyndra was cleared to participate in this loan-guarantee program by President George W. Bush’s administration. He also did not mention that the legislation creating the loan-guarantee program, approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005, received yes votes from – wait for it – DeMint, Hatch and McConnell.
…. the Republican paternity of the program that birthed Solyndra suggests some skepticism is in order when many of those same Republicans use Solyndra as an example of all that is wrong with Obama’s governance.
…. DeMint said the Solyndra case exposed the “unintended results when our government tries to pick winners and losers.” That’s a valid criticism, but it would be more valid if DeMint hadn’t been a supporter of the loan-guarantee legislation in 2005.
But that was before Obama’s presidency, and views back then were different. They were more like the March 2008 press release from Bush’s Energy Department, announcing that it was funding research projects on photovoltaic technology: “These projects are integral to President Bush’s Solar America Initiative, which aims to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.”
Among the winners listed in the press release? Solyndra.
Steve Benen: I find it hard not to enjoy stories like these:
On her visit to a traffic-signal plant [in Iowa] …. Michele Bachmann called it an example of how President Obama’s policies are “continuing to dig us deeper into the hole toward another recession”. …. she said her plans for a smaller government with fewer rules and lower spending would help OMJC Signal Inc. “grow, grow, grow, grow, grow”. “That’s my goal – to see you succeed wildly,” she told a gathering of OMJC workers on the plant floor here in the central Iowa town where she grew up.
So, what’s the problem? As it turns out, OMJC thrives thanks to government contracts – more than 80% of the company’s revenue comes from government….
The company’s CEO is a self-identified conservative Republican, who was apparently loath to ruin Bachmann’s appearance, but he conceded to reporters that his company benefited from the kind of projects promoted by President Obama and congressional Democrats.
…. Michele Bachmann, in other words, accidentally made Obama’s agenda look pretty good…..
HughBoyOhBoy (DK): I did some checking this afternoon on the Federal Election Commission’s database of financial contributors to political candidates. Within minutes I found that Harold W. McGraw III, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Standard & Poor’s parent company, is a big money contributor to lots of Republicans.
Repeat recipients of McGraw’s largess include Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, something called the Bush-Cheney Compliance Committee, and many more Republicans …. He has never given any money to the Obama campaign nor any to the Democratic Party.
Gee, how convenient. Standard and Poor’s issues a politically biased rating with a $2 trillion error. Republicans wave that rating around like Moses just brought it down from the mountain as verification of their defamation about the Obama presidency. And the head of the company making those ratings happens to give money to the likes of Mitt Romney and the Republican Party…