Steve Benen: …. It’s a safe bet the Bishops won’t be satisfied, but it’s a pretty straightforward fix: religiously-affiliated employers that don’t want to pay for contraception coverage as part of their benefits packages won’t have to, but these employees will still get the coverage because the White House will instruct insurers to pick up the costs.
…. several major stakeholders in this fight have already offered praise for the White House move. Planned Parenthood, for example, endorsed the compromise …. Similarly, EMILY’s List said it was “reassured” by the new policy, and NARAL Pro-Choice America’s statement struck a similar note.
What’s more, Sister Carol Keehan and the Catholic Health Association have also endorsed the administration’s position, which not only offers the White House some political cover, but also further isolates the Bishops…..
For the White House, having support from both the Catholic Health Association and Planned Parenthood was critical…..
Greg Sargent: …. the Obama team is betting that any further objections to this policy will unmask opponents primarily as hidebound foes of birth control at any costs, a politically difficult position to sustain, rather than as defenders of religious liberty. Indeed, this looks like an effort to reframe the debate to Obama’s advantage: If Team Obama has its way, the argument will now be about whether all women should have access to contraception, and not about whether these institutions are having their religious freedom impinged upon.
For those who freaked out about a major compromise with the Catholic church (eh, me):
When will I ever learn?
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s first post at The People’s View – it’s predictably brilliant
President Obama signs the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 as former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly look on. The bill was the last piece of legislation on which Giffords voted before she resigned in January, a year after she sustained a gunshot wound to the head.
First lady Michelle Obama high-fives the Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy as she arrived at the Kleberg-Rylie Recreation center in Dallas
Michelle Obama judges food, along with assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator Sam Kass and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio, during a taping of the TV cooking show “Top Chef” in Dallas
Greg Sargent: There seems to be widespread agreement that the half-hour documentary attacking Mitt Romney’s Bain years that was released yesterday by the pro-Gingrich Super PAC was a very effective piece of political communication. Ed Kilgore, for instance, described it as a “heat seaking missle aimed directly at the white working class id”.
But what will South Carolina voters themselves see? Will this attack translate well in the 30-second and 60-second ads based on this documentary that the Newt Super PAC ad will run in the state?
…. Rick Tyler, the GOP operative who works for Winning The Future, says the ads are part of a $3.4 million buy that includes other media. We should obviously treat that figure with serious skepticism until the money is actually spent, but if that’s true, that’s a significant buy for South Carolina.
Robert Shrum: … what he spoke on election night in New Hampshire puts the presumptive Republican nominee at odds with the essential character of America. In a well-coiffed gentrification of the racist-tinged attack on Barack Obama as “the other” – a somehow alien and illegitimate president – Flip Romney, in full pander mode to the paranoia of the far right, arraigned the president for “tak[ing] his inspiration from the capitals of Europe” — and seeking “to turn America into a European-style entitlement society.”
…. In reality, Obama has been defending and extending the nation’s long march toward fulfilling its founding ideals. It’s Romney who, on critical economic issues, takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe….
…. I doubt Romney will give up the xenophobia anytime soon. It plays well among primary voters who are suspicious that he’s not reliably reactionary; it’s a code-coated formula to depict Barack Obama as someone from another country, another continent, another tradition. In that sense, it’s a modulated form of “birtherism.”
Romney’s right when he says this election is about “the soul of America”. With his hostility to economic justice and the social safety net, his record in business, his desertion of the American quest for equal rights, and his embrace of floundering European economics, he would, if he ever got there, be the president of a very different and lesser United States…..
TPM: If a speech Thursday morning by one of his top economists is any indication, President Barack Obama is going all in with the 2012 re-election message of stemming the rise in income inequality and reforming a system that’s increasingly perceived to be rigged in favor of the rich.
White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger rattled off a flurry of statistics illustrating the rise of inequality and its connection to the shrinking middle class. He blamed it on economic policies tilted to favor top earners – including income tax reforms (presumably during the Bush era) and the “drastic cut in the estate tax.”
He also argued that implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are eager to repeal, will help reduce the disparities.
It’s a message that bore an uncanny resemblance to the “Teddy Roosevelt” speech President Obama delivered in early December, which was interpreted by many as laying out the grounds for his re-election campaign …. Romney has taken to decrying this message as the “politics of envy” and “class warfare” …. Krueger’s speech Thursday makes clear that that’s a fight the White House is happy to have.
Our old GOPolitico friend Byron Tau got very excited today about the date on that DoJ memo on recess appointments. Read and learn Byron:
Mother Jones: ….. The opinion itself is dated January 6, two days after the appointments were announced – but that doesn’t mean the opinion was sought retroactively. “It is common, especially where time is of the essence, to give legal advice prior to a formal written opinion,” says Marty Lederman, a former attorney with the Office of Legal Counsel. “It takes time to produce an opinion with this level of detail.”
Young Byron then updated his post with this: White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in the briefing that the DoJ memo was based on advice given by the president’s Office of Legal Counsel. “The opinion was rendered verbally prior to the date of the opinion itself,” Carney said, explaining the discrepancy. “The opinion was based on the advice provided by OLC”
Discrepancy? Byron? Quit while you’re that far behind behind.
President Obama will directly call out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his speech in Dallas today, saying:
“Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. He won’t even give it a vote. Well I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?”
“Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas, look Kim Russell in the eye, and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to get a paycheck again. Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.
Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting home instead of fixing our bridges and our schools.
Come tell the small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for millionaires than tax cuts for the middle-class.
And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every Member of Congress stands.”