A year ago: President Obama tours the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., with Sara Bloomfield, museum director, and Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor, April 23, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
12:30: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:15: The President honors the 2013 National Teacher of the Year
2:45: Meets with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
6:30: Meets with a bipartisan group of women Senators for dinner
8:30: Vice President Biden Speaks at the Time 100 Dinner
Peter Beinart: The rap against Barack Obama, at least on the left, has long been that he’s too cautious, too calculating, too conciliatory. Not a guy willing to take risks.
We can apologize now.
What Obama did in the four months between December’s Newtown shooting and this Wednesday’s Senate capitulation was one of the great displays of presidential guts in American history…..
…. [he] pursued gun control with a force of mind and soul that was astonishing to behold. “I never saw a president fight so hard,” remarked Sen. Barbara Boxer, “never on any issue.”
Why did he do it? In part because the Obama-as-timid meme was always a lie …. but beyond that, I suspect that once Obama saw an opportunity, he pushed gun control so hard because he simply cares more. As a community organizer, he worked and lived in the kind of communities where Americans are most often shot…
…. The gun control struggle will likely continue for decades. And this week its arc feels particularly long. But one day, a future president will look back at the last four months as the moment when Barack Obama began to make it bend.
Steve Benen: As the debate over new measures to prevent gun violence reached its apex, Republican lawmakers and conservative activists became surprisingly hostile towards the family members of those slain in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. If there’s one group of people who would appear to be off-limits when it comes to political pushback, one might think it’d be Newtown families, but apparently not.
What’s next, cheap shots at Gabrielle Giffords? Actually, yes…..
USA Today: Almost 4 million seniors saved about $2.16 billion through discounts for their prescription medications in 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to announce today. This, administrators say, should help keep costs to the government down in the future.
“Before, many beneficiaries were forced to stop taking the drugs,” said Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare. “This reduces costs through better management.”
…. The 2010 health care law required a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the so-called doughnut hole, or the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the Medicare drug benefit, also known as Part D. In 2012, the coverage gap is $2,930. The Affordable Care Act eliminates the doughnut hole by 2020.
The previous report, with numbers through the end of October, had shown 2.65 million Medicare recipients saved $1.5 billion on prescriptions. That rose to 3.76 million recipients by the end of December.
The Hill: Senate Democrats raised more than $5.3 million in February, marking the third straight month in which they raised more than the month before.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) ended February with almost $19 million in the bank. That’s about $3.5 million more than it had one month ago, meaning the committee saved most of what it raised.
Democrats have cleared their debt and raised more than $52 million during the cycle. DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said it was the most successful February the committee has ever had.