10:05: President Obama hosts the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress at the White House; VP Biden also attends.
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
AP: The White House says automatic spending reductions set to kick in will be put off until as close to midnight Friday as possible.
The law, passed by Congress on Jan. 2 simply says that “on March 1, 2013, the president shall order a sequestration for fiscal year 2013.” That’s budget talk for an $85 billion reduction in defense and domestic spending between now and Oct. 1.
Obama can issue that order at any point in the day.
And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, Friday – or as close to midnight as possible: 11:59 p.m. and 59 seconds.
Paul Krugman: So, after reading the Bob Woodward saga of the alleged “threat” from Gene Sperling, the White House supereconwonk, I went through my own correspondence with Gene, and couldn’t find anything threatening – although I guess you could read his injunction, at one point, to “take care” in an ominous tone of voice.
Hey, don’t I rate some proper intimidation?
But then, Woodward’s story is looking supremely silly too. Can Robert Redford unportray him, or star in a sequel titled “All the president’s crybabies”?
It’s mighty interesting reading Scheiber’s review now –
Noam Scheiber (October 2012): …. I didn’t find Woodward’s book unusually tedious. In fact, I learned a lot from it. What I found it to be was remarkably slanted.
…. it is relentlessly biased against the president. Woodward argues that the White House and Congress failed to reach a major deficit-reduction deal last summer because Obama didn’t provide the necessary leadership, even though this thesis is untethered from Woodward’s own reporting, to say nothing of reality.
But, in another sense, the book is perfectly in sync with Woodward’s oeuvre. There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency: he hadn’t put in his time before running, didn’t grasp the majesty of the office, evinced no respect for the way things were done. He not only won without courting the city’s elders, he had the bad manners to keep his distance even after winning. This is the view Woodward distills.
Woodward telegraphs his contempt from the get-go…..
I reckon this line says it all: “There is a body of respectable Washington opinion that considers Obama unworthy of the presidency…..”
ThinkProgress: Bob Woodward appeared on Fox News’ Hannity on Thursday to complain about Gene Sperling’s email…. During his interview with Sean Hannity, Woodward claimed that he had been “roughed up” by Sperling and agreed with the host’s characterization of the Washington journalists as liberals who are disinterested in challenging the president with Bill Ayers, an education advocate who was part of the group the Weather Underground:
HANNITY: The fact that the president …. wasn’t asked about his association with Bill Ayers was troublesome to me, I think we’ve got a media that’s not as critical as perhaps it once was in, for example, the days of Watergate.
WOODWARD: Well, I agree with that. We need to be very aggressive and it’s one of the judges that said democracies die in darkness and I really think that’s true.
Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair – Feb 21): With drastic government spending cuts due to kick in, the top job at the Pentagon still vacant, and Congress conveniently out of town for its Presidents’ Day recess, the White House press corps has paused this week to bemoan not the state of the republic but of itself.
…. as a class, they are the world’s biggest whiners. I know because I was once one of them, and a first-class whiner myself. I don’t think their argument holds water. The modern presidency is so sprawling and complex that the reporters best equipped to cover it are the experts in various fields, from defense to transportation, to agriculture, to health care….
What the White House reporters are good at is “gotcha,” at catching a president’s inconsistencies, slipups, and animadversions—at stirring the pot and producing a sharp headline, however fleeting. When The New York Times can ask Obama (with a theoretically straight face) whether he is a “socialist,” then anything can happen. Is it any wonder that he has not given the paper an interview since 2010? What president would? ….
Washington Post: President Obama will announce details Friday for a $1 billion Veterans Job Corps that the White House says will put up to 20,000 veterans to work over the next five years on projects to preserve and restore national parks and other federal, state and local lands.
….. Obama proposed the corps in his State of the Union address last month, describing it as “enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.”
From the White House: “President Obama and the First Lady will welcome Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and his wife, Samantha Cameron, to the White House for an Official Visit with a State Dinner on March 13-14, 2012….”.
Navy corpsmen help Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden into gowns before their meeting with patients and families during a Christmas visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Dec. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Honolulu Advertiser: President Barack Obama took time out of a quiet Christmas with family, friends and basketball to greet servicemen and women during their Christmas dinner on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii yesterday afternoon.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama posed for pictures, shook hands, hugged children and picked up babies … “I don’t think he left before he got a chance to shake hands with everyone who was there,” said Maj. Alan Crouch, the public affairs officer for the base. “He seemed appreciative of the service members and family members. It seemed like he got a lot out of it, as well.”…
…The president and his wife spent more than an hour shaking hands and hugging service members … Obama picked up 3-month-old Jensen Lao and bounced him a couple of times. “Merry Christmas, Mr. President,” one little boy called out.
“Did you get everything you wanted?” Obama asked a little girl. She showed him a new bracelet and the president pointed to Michelle Obama, who also had a new bracelet, and the first lady and the little girl compared bracelets.
…As the president moved down a dining table, he encountered a large man, taller than the president, wearing a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt.
“We’ve got to get you on the court,” Obama quipped. “I will not get an elbow in the lip if we play with this guy.”
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama visit the Marine Corps Base Hawaii on December 25, in Kaneohe, Hawaii