First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden talk outside the State Dining Room before addressing the National Governors Association annual meeting at the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Tuesday: PBO will deliver remarks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, DC.
Wednesday: PBO and the First Lady will host a dinner at the White House to honor Armed Forces, who served in Iraq, and their families.
Thursday: PBO will travel to Nashua, New Hampshire, and deliver remarks on the economy. In the evening, the President will attend campaign events in New York City.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to visit with wounded service members.
Toronto Star: When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.
And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.
Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.
“My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.
The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney …. took place June 1, 1946 – fully nine months before Romney was born…..
Slate: …. In January, workers in the manufacturing sector worked an average of 41.9 hours per week. That same figure was reached for a few months during the winter of 1997-1998, but the last time it was actually higher than that was July of 1945 when America’s factories were working overtime to fight and win World War II….
We’re at the point, in other words, where just to sustain current levels of output American factories are going to need to start adding workers.
Yahoo: Five months after the military’s ban on openly gay service expired, a photo of a young gay Marine’s homecoming kiss has gone viral. Nearly 15,000 people have liked the picture on Facebook, which was posted in a group for gay Marines on Saturday.
The Marine, Brandon Morgan, posted a response on his Facebook wall according to the JoeMyGod blog. “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt,” Morgan wrote.
ThinkProgress: An article in The Hill today describing the results of a new poll inaccurately reports that voters want “a lower tax bill” for wealthy individuals and businesses. If anything, the poll shows the opposite.
In tax policy, it’s critical to distinguish between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates … The Hill article fails to sort out this very basic distinction, then proceeds to make a number of apples-to-oranges comparisons that paint a misleading picture of what wealthy people and corporations are paying in taxes now and what people want them to pay.
….. Having repeatedly confused marginal and effective rates, the article misinterprets the poll results to conclude that people want “a lower tax bill” for individuals and corporations….
….Here’s a better explanation: Voters understand what The Hill does not – that wealthy people and corporations actually pay taxes at much lower rates than the top marginal rates on the books. And when asked what they think the “most appropriate” rates should be, a majority of people cite rates that are higher than what the wealthy and corporations are actually paying now.
Washington Post (Editorial): At a time of record debts and deficits, the two leading Republican presidential candidates are proposing a path on taxes and spending likely to add trillions more. That’s the sobering conclusion of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), whose board includes six Republican former lawmakers with expertise in budget issues, three Republican former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, and two former Office of Management and Budget directors under Republican presidents.
NY Mag: Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years – goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad – perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.
… The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before…. that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a natural-majority coalition for Democrats.
… if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic. The deepest effect of Obama’s election upon the Republicans’ psyche has been to make them truly fear, for the first time since before Ronald Reagan, that the future is against them.
Greg Sargent: Despite birth control controversy, Obama suffers no erosion among Catholics
Since the birth control controversy broke, it has been an article of faith among even some neutral commentators that the battle would cause Obama to lose crucial support among Catholic swing voters.
But Gallup has performed a new analysis of its tracking data that should complicate this assertion: It finds that Obama has suffered no meaningful downturn in recent days among that consistuency, even among church-going Catholics.
New York Times editorial: Where the Iowa caucuses illuminated the dark essence of social conservatism, the New Hampshire primary was a journey into the dingy, cramped quarters of the right wing’s economic policies.
The Republicans ritually denounced President Obama as hostile to capitalism, disdainful of individual enterprise and lacking in ideas for reviving the economy. All they had to offer were economic ideas that not only are inadequate for that purpose but were instrumental in creating the nation’s current economic problems.
…. The solution is policies that promote growth and help the middle class, not what the Republican hopefuls want. Mr. Obama said it well on Monday night: “We can’t go back to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics.” You couldn’t tell that by listening to Mr. Romney prattle about a merit-based economy and call for lowering taxes and cutting spending.
…. The answer is not more of the same failed policies. The solution is to revive the successful ones, along with policies to stimulate the economy and stop foreclosures. Mr. Obama understands this. The Republican hopefuls are deluding themselves and trying to delude the voters.
Steve Benen: Herman Cain argued yesterday about the Republican field, “Look, these candidates have broken the Reagan’s rule from the beginning. Reagan’s 13th commandment, you know? Don’t go negative against another Republican, but they did it anyway!” I think he meant “11th”.
OFA: Get the scoop – including exclusive updates and sneak peeks – on Runway to Win, a project by fashion designers in support of Obama 2012.
CNN: Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Total filings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties.
One in every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000 homes were repossessed. That’s a significant improvement from the peaks reached in 2010 – when 1.05 million homes were repossessed – and the lowest levels seen since 2007.
Yes, I saw a pig fly today – GOPolitico (Donovan Slack) actually did some half decent journalism:
Michelle Obama was raring to help her husband promote his signature health care plan during the summer of 2009. But, according to the latest book about the first couple, “the West Wing never really took the first lady up on her offer.”
“She did a few events, but they were small and drew little coverage,” New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor wrote in “The Obamas.” …. “Her support for the initiative became a mostly private matter, the subject of long conversations between the Obamas.”
But a review of news clippings during the period covered by that chapter in the book – May through August 2009 – found that Michelle Obama was very public about her support and received extensive coverage. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and ABC News, among others, reported on her efforts.
Kantor’s own newspaper declared in July 2009 that she had become “one of the Obama administration’s most visible surrogates on health care.”
Kantor says that she stands by her core assertions but believes her language could have been clearer. “As Robert Gibbs told me on the record, the White House was concerned about putting the first lady in the line of fire. But given the NYT story you mentioned, I could have been more precise about the media coverage,” she told POLITICO in a statement.
USA Today: President Obama announced a new military strategy on Thursday that will cut the Pentagon budget by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Speaking from the Pentagon, Obama said the plan is “smart, strategic” and sets priorities.
…. The new military strategy includes $487 billion in cuts over the next decade. An additional $500 billion in cuts could be coming if Congress follows through on plans for deeper reductions. The announcement comes weeks after the U.S. officially ended the Iraq War and after a decade of increased defense spending in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Dana Milbank: If this is Mitt Romney’s idea of a victory rally, one shudders to think what would have happened if he had lost the Iowa caucuses. The day after his impossibly thin eight-vote victory …. he flew here for a town hall meeting at Manchester Central High School, where he was to bask in the endorsement of his 2008 arch rival, John McCain.
But the senator grimaced when he was introduced, and as Romney delivered his own stump speech, an increasingly impatient McCain pulled up his sleeve and checked his watch. McCain gave his endorsement address without mentioning Romney’s Iowa win until the end. “By the way, we forgot to congratulate him on his landslide victory last night,” he said, laughing. Romney ignored him.
….. Romney continued to wrestle with words when he took the stage … “What a, uh, big night we had last night, or what a big morning we had, uh, last morning, this morning, in, uh, Iowa,” he began…..
Washington Monthly: What If Obama Loses? … there’s a widespread assumption that extreme positions taken in the (GOP) primaries will fade in the general election as candidates “move to the center,” and will disappear entirely once the serious business of governing begins. Surely President Newt Gingrich would not get rid of child labor laws. Surely President Perry would not seek to eliminate three cabinet departments.
We don’t think that this year, with this GOP, those assumptions are warranted. And so we asked a distinguished group of reporters and scholars to think through the hitherto unthinkable: What if one of these people actually wins?
TPM: While Republican leaders gathered in Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol office Wednesday morning for a photo op with reporters – hectoring Democrats and making the case that they’re on the right side of the payroll tax fight – an unusual scene played out on the House floor.
In an attempt to illustrate just who’s at fault for the payroll tax stalemate Minority Whip Steny Hoyer showed up to ask for a vote on the Senate’s compromise bill. Republicans could have simply objected and given Hoyer his talking point. Instead they gave him so much more.
Republicans just ignored Hoyer and refused to hear his unanimous consent request. The fill-in Speaker simply walked away.
Greg Sargent: In a speech late yesterday, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of trying to use government to “create equal outcomes.” Romney argued that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society,” in which “everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk.” He made a concerted case that under Obama’s ideal vision, everyone will “get the same rewards.”
This is a Big Lie – it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Obama has ever said, proposed or accomplished. And many liberal writers have noted today that this is Glenn Beck-level craziness, suggesting that Romney is willing to say and do anything to win.
CNN: Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.
…. President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year’s end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.
Steve Benen: It’s not uncommon for the Obama administration to do something worthwhile. Once in a while, though, the administration does something very worthwhile that will have a major impact on society.
Dave Roberts (‘New EPA mercury rules are a bona fide Big Deal’) has a helpful piece today on the EPA’s new national standards for mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants – the first of their kind – which he described as “a Big Deal” and an instance in which “history is being made.”
….. When we talk about separates a Democratic administration from a Republican one, there are no greater reminders about the differences than measures like these.
If recent history is any guide, this encouraging news won’t get quite as much attention as it deserves, and that’s a shame. Obama’s critics on the left expect developments like these, and don’t make a fuss to congratulate the administration for progress they’d like to be routine….
You may know me as the tall guy who followed Barack everywhere he went.
As the President’s body man for the last four years, it’s been my privilege to help him with whatever he needs: making sure he’s on time, finding some food when we’re on the road, or playing a quick game of basketball (he won, mostly).
Of course, this also means I’ve also eaten many, many meals with him.
So first of all, I just want to say thanks for supporting the Obamas and being part of this campaign. It means a lot, not only to the President, but to all of us who’ve worked by his side.
Two: I kind of love this “Dinner with Barack and Michelle” contest. You all have to do this.
Time: …. Admiral William McRaven speaks respectfully of Bush as Commander in Chief, saying he “made some very, very tough decisions.” About Obama, without a question to prompt him, he waxes lyrical and at length. The planning and decision-making for the bin Laden raid, he volunteers, “was really everything the American public would expect from their national leadership.”
“The President was at all times presidential,” he says. “I would contend he was the smartest guy in the room. He had leadership skills we’d expect from a guy who had 35 years in the military.”
TPM: …. in a new poll from Public Policy Polling President Obama bests former Mitt Romney 48 percent to 42 and Newt Gingrich 50 to 43 in Virginia … Only 31 percent see Gingrich favorably against 55 percent, and it’s nearly as bad for Romney at 33 – 52.
Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian): Whoever wrote the political rulebook needs to start rewriting it …. in the US Barack Obama is mired in horrible numbers – except for the ones showing him beating all-comers in the election now less than 11 months away. Even though the US economy is slumped in the doldrums, some of the country’s shrewdest commentators make a serious case that Obama could be heading for a landslide victory in 2012.
How to explain such a turnaround? In the United States, at least, there is one compellingly simple, two-word answer: Fox News.
…. it is Fox that is, in effect, picking the party’s nominee to face Obama next November …. If one is to flourish rather than wither in the Fox spotlight, there are several articles of faith to which one must subscribe – from refusing to believe in human-made climate change, and insisting that Christians are an embattled minority in the US, persecuted by a liberal, secular, bi-coastal elite, to believing that government regulation is always wrong, and that any attempt to tax the wealthiest people is immoral. Those who deviate are rapidly branded foreign, socialist or otherwise un-American.
….It was this process that led the former speechwriter David Frum to declare last year: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us – and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”
…. The extremism, anger, paranoia and sense of victimhood that Fox incubates are all unhealthy for the United States. But it’s inflicting particular damage on the Republican party, which could well lose a winnable election because of its supine relationship to a TV network. It turns out it is not liberals who should fear the Fox – it’s conservatives.
Kathleen Sibelius is getting flak for her Plan B decision. But Michael Tomasky defends the administration’s position because of the ethical issues raised by minors using the pill.
I get the reasons for liberal outrage at the Obama administration’s Plan B decision. But I can’t quite join in the indignation. I know that I am a man – a fact I’ve been aware of for some time – and so readers male and female can factor that in here as they wish. But it seems to me that to call this merely a case of politics cynically trumping science is way too dismissive of some concerns that parents with all kinds of political views might have about their teenage daughters buying this pill without their knowledge…..
NPR: For the second week in a row, the Senate on Thursday voted down proposals to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year. In the case of the Democrats’ proposal, Republicans objected to the “millionaires surtax” that would be used to pay for it.
Ever since the idea of the surtax was introduced weeks ago, Republicans in Congress have railed against it, arguing that it is a direct hit on small-business owners and other job creators.
… We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.
USA Today: As the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is completed this week, President Obama will kick off a string of military-related events this month by attending the Army-Navy game Saturday.
The Cadets and the Midshipmen tee it up at 2:30 p.m. at Fed-Ex Field in Landover, Md.
Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill, will attend the game with Obama.
Wednesday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to Fort Bragg, N.C., where the president will address the troops stationed there.
President Barack Obama attends a National Security Council holiday party at Blair House, across the street from the White House, December 9
Steve Benen: Rick Perry unveiled a rather ugly campaign ad this week, condemning gays for being able to “serve openly in the military,” and promising voters he’ll “end Obama’s war on religion.”
The Texas governor talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week, and to his credit, the host asked Perry to back up the language in the ad.
PERRY: [W]e’ve got a federal judge for instance in San Antonio that said these kids couldn’t say an invocation in school. I mean, they say you can’t even use the word invocation at their commencement. I mean, that’s —
BLITZER: Is that President Obama’s war on religion?
PERRY: I’m just giving you suggestions after what we are seeing from the left of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left of center beliefs that you can’t even have a Christmas party. You can’t say a prayer at school.
I’m beginning to think Perry was not blessed with an overabundance of intelligence….
Steve Benen: It’s generally not too much to ask that major party presidential candidates know how many Supreme Court justices there are. Alas, Rick Perry, who’s already struggled to be coherent on a wide range of issues, flubbed this one, too.
…. Let’s count the errors of fact and judgment, because this a doozy.
I’d swear this guy is getting dumber as the campaign progresses.
President Barack Obama participates in a college affordability roundtable with college presidents in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 5, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
9:35 The President departs the White House
12:25 Arrives Kansas City
1:55 Delivers remarks on the economy
4:25 Departs Kansas City en route to Andrews
AP: President Barack Obama is channeling President Theodore Roosevelt, embracing a mantle of economic fairness for the nation’s middle class Tuesday that draws parallels to the progressive reformer’s calls for a “square deal” for regular Americans more than a century ago.
Obama intends to use a speech in small town Osawatomie, Kan. – where Roosevelt delivered his “New Nationalism” address in 1910 – to lay out economic themes of giving middle-class workers a fair shake and greater financial security, concepts the president will probably return to repeatedly during the 2012 campaign.
…. The president will be speaking at a high school about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City, not far from the presidential electoral prize of Missouri, which Obama narrowly lost to Republican John McCain in 2008.
Spike Dolomite Ward (LA Times): ….. I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background. I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids…. We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years….
…. Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months …. for me it’s been a lifesaver – perhaps literally.
….. Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.
So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”
USA Today: More than 2.65 million Medicare recipients have saved more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions this year, a $569-per-person average, while premiums have remained stable, the government plans to announce today.
That’s because of the provision of the health care law that put a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the “doughnut hole,” the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the drug benefit, also known as Part D.
And, as of the end of November, more than 24 million people, or about half of those with traditional Medicare, have gone in for a free annual physical or other screening exam since the rules changed this year because of the health care law…..
Steve Benen: Politico will host an awards dinner tonight, honoring “Policymakers of the Year” in a variety of categories and fields. That wouldn’t be especially interesting, were it not for the news organization’s choice for “Health Care Policymaker of the Year.”
…..House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan….
…. It’s been several months since the political world debated Paul Ryan’s approach to health care in detail, so perhaps Politico has forgotten some of the more important realizations from the debate. Let’s remind the publication of the relevant details….. (see post)
To know all of this, and give this guy an award “Health Care Policymaker of the Year” anyway, is madness.
Steve Kornacki: President Obama’s remarks this afternoon captured how dramatically his posture toward congressional Republicans has changed since this summer …. he is shifting the battle to a new, more promising front: the looming expiration of payroll tax cuts.
On this subject, Republicans are increasingly nervous and divided ….. This set the stage for Obama’s appearance this afternoon, where he struck a confident tone and sought to make the GOP squirm even more. Just behind the president was a countdown clock that indicated a tax hike is just 26 days away unless action is taken. He called on Congress to “keep your word to the American people, and don’t raise taxes on them right now,” and belittled the GOP for its seemingly selective devotion to tax relief. “I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live,” Obama said. “How could it be the only time there’s a catch is when it comes to raising taxes for middle-class families?”
….This is a new phenomenon in the 112th Congress: Obama and his party seem to have the upper hand – and they know it.
“We agree, of course, with former Speaker Gingrich – this is a country of people of enormous talent. Those who deliver thousands of babies like Dr. Paul and those who spend their time focusing on promoting themselves for profit. We even have those who lobby, but don’t call it such because, as they say, they can make $60,000 per speech. While those of us in the Paul camp might disagree with Newt Gingrich about whether Donald Trump is the right man to host a serious political debate, we do agree New York is a wonderful place to go at Christmas. We are sure two average Americans like Speaker Gingrich and Donald Trump will have a wonderful time picking out gifts for their wives. We suggest a place called Tiffany’s, we hear it is quite nice this time of year and given their celebrity status they can probably get special deals and $500,000 lines of credit.”
Reuters: Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.
…. The effort to purge the records was made a few months before Romney launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
… Theresa Dolan, former director of administration for the governor’s office, told Reuters that Romney’s efforts to control or wipe out records from his governorship were unprecedented.
Dolan said that in her 23 years as an aide to successive governors “no one had ever inquired about, or expressed the desire” to purchase their computer hard drives before Romney’s tenure.
LA Times: ….. Romney says his Bain experience shows he knows how to create jobs …. But a closer examination of the prospectus paints a different picture of Bain’s operation …. Bain expanded many of the companies it acquired. But like other leveraged-buyout firms, Romney and his team also maximized returns by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits. Sometimes Bain investors gained even when companies slid into bankruptcy.
…. Four of the 10 companies Bain acquired declared bankruptcy within a few years, shedding thousands of jobs. The prospectus shows that Bain investors profited in eight of the 10 deals, including three of the four that ended in bankruptcy.
…. Bain formed GSI in the early 1990s by spending $24 million to acquire and merge steel companies with plants in Missouri, South Carolina and other states. Company managers cut jobs and benefits almost immediately. Meanwhile, Bain and other investors received management fees from GSI and a $65-million dividend in the first years after the acquisition….
Bloomberg: The U.S. auto industry is seeing demand recover faster than anticipated, with carmakers headed toward their best annual performance in three years at sales of 12.8 million vehicles.
Consumers entered this year’s final month demanding models ranging from big pickups to luxury sedans to fuel-sipping hybrids after pushing November’s sales to the fastest monthly pace since the government’s “cash for clunkers” trade-in program in August 2009….
…. Consumer confidence surged in November by the most in more than eight years, and the portion of consumers planning to buy a new vehicle within six months climbed to the highest since April, data from The Conference Board showed Nov. 29.
Vice President Joe Biden has a breakfast meeting at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara
Vice President Joe Biden visits a shop in the Samatya Square neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 4
Official White House Photos by David Lienemann
Just when it looked like things couldn’t get worse for Willard:
President Barack Obama meets with advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 5, 2011. Pictured, from left, are: Gene Sperling, National Economic Council Director; Dan Pfeiffer, Director of Communications; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Cody Keenan, Deputy Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
$1,000 in 24 hours? You people are just fantastic – thank you so much ;-)
President Barack Obama talks about extending payroll tax cuts in the White House’s Brady Briefing Room
President Obama put out a statement commending Phil Schiliro, who is leaving the administration: “As my advisor and chief liaison to Congress during one of the most productive legislative periods in our history, Phil Schiliro helped shepherd through a series of historic accomplishments on behalf of the American people, from health care reform that will make coverage more affordable and accessible to Wall Street reform that will protect consumers and our economy. The White House will not be the same without Phil, but more importantly, the country would not be the same without his steady leadership and tireless effort over the past three years.”
Time: Andrew Kaczynski digs up a 2004 video of Mitt Romney explaining to fellow Republicans why flip-flopping is so devastating to a presidential candidate. He was talking about John Kerry of course. But this kind of footage presents all kinds of opportunities for devious ad-makers to slice and dice Romney, and his repeated use of “this guy,” which, taken out of context, could be made to seem self-referential, seems destined for some absolutely brutal attack ad.
ThinkProgress: …. Jon Huntsman is releasing an economic plan today that is as bad for the middle-class – and as nutty – as any proposed by his rivals. It would pay for a half-million-dollar tax break for the richest 0.1 percent of Americans with tax increases on the middle-class and new taxes on seniors, veterans, and poor families.
…. Huntsman would drop the marginal rate paid by the richest Americans by more than a third to 23 percent …. He would also eliminate all taxes on all capital gains and dividend income – the primary forms of income for the wealthiest Americans…..
– All Social Security benefits would become taxable. Senior citizens who currently receive the average Social Security benefit as their primary income source (as is the case for most seniors) currently pay no income taxes on those benefits, but would under Huntsman’s plan.
– Many middle-class parents would lose child tax credits and tax benefits for education and child care that are more valuable to them than a tax rate cut.
– Huntsman’s tax plan would also eliminate the employer health insurance exclusion, which helps enable some 160 million Americans get coverage through their jobs.
– One of the most successful pro-work, anti-poverty initiatives, the Earned Income Tax Credit, would be abolished.
– Veterans pensions and disability benefits would become subject to tax, as would all military combat pay, military housing allowances and meals, workers compensation payments, public assistance benefits, and state foster care payments…..