President Obama meets with the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the Eisenhower Building
Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy: Every month brings improved job news – and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.
We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected …. There are three fronts – gas prices, jobs, and the budget…
….. By opposing everything Obama wanted with such ferocity; by saying all those thousands of times that he had no clue about the economy; by sending out a parade of presidential candidates, from the semi-serious to the clown posse, all of whose central criticism of Obama is that he killed the economy – in all of these ways the party has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime. Its best hope for now is gas prices, but even they eventually get lower, usually by late summer. Beyond that, all the GOP has to rely on is Mitt Romney’s unstoppable charisma.
Marketwatch: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index extending an advance into a fifth session, after retail sales climbed the fastest in five months in February.
“The rising sales were pretty impressive in that rising gas prices hasn’t hurt the consumer,” said Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland …. The Commerce Department reported retail sales climbed 1.1% to $407.8 billion in February, while the prior two months were revised higher.
The upward revisions imply first-quarter economic growth could be “a bit stronger” than first estimated, noted Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC in New York.
National Journal: More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, although neither side commands a majority.
What’s more, as prices continue to rise and the specter of $5-per-gallon gas for the summer driving season looms over the political landscape, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows the public slightly more supportive of the energy priorities of the Democrats and the president than those of the GOP.
Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress….
Deaniac (The People’s View): After Washington Post/ABC News put out their poll drastically over-representing GOP and Republican leaning voters, New York Times and CBS News have come up with brand new blunders of their own on their poll released late afternoon yesterday, showing the president at an approval rating of “all time low” 41%. This poll has the most glaring, dumbfounding proof that its sample is rigged staring at you in the very front page of the poll’s crosstabs.
Raw Story: The Republican fight against health care rights for women may end up hurting the party on election day, according to a new poll. A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent.
The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not.
As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008 … “The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago,” Benen wrote. “Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.”
Steve Benen: In Arizona, Democratic Senate candidate Don Bivens released a new ad yesterday, targeting Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and hoping to take advantage of the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh. It’s probably not the last 2012 spot we’ll see highlighting the right-wing radio host.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): According to Rick Santorum, I’m doubly un-American. I was born in New York City and lived there until I was 16, at which time my family moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve lived ever since. According to Rick Santorum, I have no values. I don’t know the worth of an honest day’s work. I don’t know the benefits of charity (in which he engages very sparingly). I don’t know the duties of good citizenship. My vote shouldn’t count, because as both a New Yorker and and Angeleno, I was never exposed to rock-ribbed, middle American values. I’m an other. And everyone who lives in my two cities are similarly lacking in American moral fiber.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): In the upcoming issue of the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris has a cover story called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge….
….. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments …. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list (see post)
…. These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.
….. Unlike Paul Glastris, I’m not ready to start chiseling Obama’s mug on Mount Rushmore. But unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman – and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.
President Barack Obama greets neighbors outside the home of William and Endia Eason in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 4, 2012
(Despite having the latest version, I can’t see these Videopress videos with Firefox any more, but I can with Safari. What’s up with Firefox?!)
NYT: For the first time in many years, manufacturing stands out as an area of strength in the American economy.
When the Labor Department reports December employment numbers on Friday, it is expected that manufacturing companies will have added jobs in two consecutive years. Until last year, there had not been a single year when manufacturing employment rose since 1997.
David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy): …. the Obama track record on many fronts is much better than the administration gives itself credit for. They could be doing much, much more to tout what is an impressive litany of successes.
While the list of those successes is long and compelling-defeating Bin Laden, getting out of Iraq, helping to oust Qaddafi, restoring our reputation internationally, resetting our international priorities to better coincide with our long term interests (the “pivot” to a focus on Asia), producing meaningful healthcare reform, producing significant financial services reforms, stopping the downward spiral in the economy and laying the foundations of recovery, etc. – let me focus on three areas that deserve much more attention and appreciation ….. ** See article **
…. the president is actually doing remarkably well in the world’s toughest job right now, and he is and has been doing so under truly extraordinarily adverse circumstances. This is one of those circumstances in which the substance is better than the PR – and it’s time for the White House’s political and communications brain trust to get out a clean sheet of paper and begin to make new and better plans for claiming the credit the Obama team deserves.
Jonathan Cohn: Should President Obama use the recess appointment power when Republicans in Congress refuse even to consider his nominees? You better believe it.
Not only are Republicans blocking Obama’s nominations at a record rate. They are doing so in order to impose their own ideological agenda and, in some cases, to undermine duly passed laws they don’t like but can’t repeal.
That’s a modern-day form of nullification … Obama would be derelict in his duties if he did not use every inch of executive branch authority to overcome it.
…. based on a series of conversations today, I think Obama was within his rights after all.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s tax plan is more complex than those of his current and erstwhile primary competitors. But in broad effect it accomplishes the conservative goal of dramatically lowering taxes on the wealthy at the expense of the lower and middle classes.
Star Advertiser: College interns who help run one of the island’s largest organic farms guided first lady Michelle Obama through fields of budding salad greens today, then sat down to swap stories with her about their efforts to improve the health of their communities.
Wearing a sleeveless navy dress, Obama traded hugs and laughs with the students, immediately disarming them. “She was so outgoing, just the easiest person to talk to,” said Ku’uleilani Samson, one of the young co-managers at the farm, who completed an internship and earned an associate’s degree. “She made you feel totally comfortable.”
The nonprofit MA’O Farms, on 24 acres of Lualualei Valley, is devoted to raising healthy crops for local consumption while also growing a new generation of leaders in touch with the land and their heritage.
“I’ve heard about all that’s going on here for years and years,” Obama told the students. “I jumped at the opportunity to come and not just see for myself but also allow the world to see what you all are doing.”
…. MA’O’s mission dovetails with Obama’s nationwide “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to raise a healthier generation of children through better nutrition and exercise.
First lady Michelle Obama with interns after touring the Ma’o Organic Farms in Waianae, Hawaii, November 12
A Quiet Saturday:
President Obama shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during the APEC Summit in Honolulu
…. with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
…. with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk
…. speaking to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit
… with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
… with Chinese President Hu Jintao
Leaders’ statement: We, the Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce today the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement among our nine countries.
We are delighted to have achieved this milestone in our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment and addresses new and traditional trade issues and 21st-century challenges.
We are confident that this agreement will be a model for ambition for other free trade agreements in the future, forging close linkages among our economies, enhancing our competitiveness, benefiting our consumers and supporting the creation and retention of jobs, higher living standards, and the reduction of poverty in our countries.
Lara Sutton places a kiss on a cut out poster of President Barack Obama in Waikiki, Hawaii, Nov. 12
Tonight (11:20 ET): The President and First Lady welcome APEC leaders and spouses in an arrival ceremony
Sunday: The President delivers opening comments at the APEC Summit and attends sessions through the day; holds a press conference to wrap up the summit. In the evening meets with the Mexican President and the Canadian Prime Minister at the North American Leaders Summit. The First Lady hosts a luncheon with APEC leaders’ spouses at Kualoa Ranch.
Monday: Holds a fundraiser in the morning. That will be his only event for the day before he leaves on Tuesday morning for Canberra, Australia.
National Confidential: Mitt Romney announced a key member of his economic team whose past statements and affiliations could hurt the campaign. Gregory Mankiw, an economist who was chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, has previously called for a carbon tax, explaining in the New York Times that “if we want to reduce global emissions of carbon, we need a global carbon tax.”
Mankiw also caused controversy when in 2004 he described outsourcing – shipping American jobs overseas – as “probably a plus”.
As a former member of the Bush administration, Mankiw may have to explain why he should be trusted on economic issues after the former President’s record of causing massive deficits while also providing insufficient oversight in advance of the global financial crisis.