Time: Pete Souza – “This was one of the most poignant moments of the President’s first term. He was visiting wounded warriors in the intensive care unit ICU at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. He had just presented a Purple Heart to Sgt. Chase Haag, who had been injured by an IED just hours before. Sgt. Haag was covered with a blanket and it was difficult to see how badly he was injured. He was also seemingly unconscious so the President whispered in his ear so not to wake him. Just then, there was a rustling under the blanket and Sgt. Haag, eyes still closed, reached his hand out to shake hands with the President.”
11:30 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
AP: It’s looking like President Barack Obama may be back in the good graces of women. His support dropped among this critical constituency just before the new year began and the presidential campaign got under way in earnest. But his standing with female voters is strengthening, polls show, as the economy improves and social issues, including birth control, become a bigger part of the nation’s political discourse.
…. Among women, his approval ratings on handling the economy and unemployment have jumped by 10 percentage points since December…. An AP-GfK poll conducted Feb. 16-20 showed that on overall approval Obama has gained 10 percentage points among women since December, from 43 percent to 53 percent…
Women also are the reason behind Obama’s lead over Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: In one-on-one matchups, Obama beats Romney 54 percent to 41 percent and tops Santorum 56 percent to 40 percent among women, but virtually ties each Republican among men….
He wants religion returned to “the public square,” is opposed to contraception, premarital sex and abortion under any circumstances, wants children educated in what amounts to little red schoolhouses and called President Obama a “snob” for extolling college or some other kind of post-high school education. This is not a political platform. It’s a fatwa.
Mediaite: Monday night, Stephen Colbert turned his gaze upon the impending Michigan primary, bringing up a some recent statements by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and digging a little deeper into their meanings.
Colbert began with Romney, who spoke last week at Ford Field in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. “Yeah, there were a lot of empty seats,” Colbert said, “but the important thing is Mitt really connected with those empty seats by also being plastic and uncomfortable.”
First lady Michelle Obama listens to President Barack Obama speak in the State Dining Room of the White House, February 26. President Obama hosted the 2012 Governors Dinner which coincides with the yearly meeting of the National Governors Association meeting in DC.
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden also deliver remarks.
The week ahead:
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.
Ooops – this is one poll Politico will have troubling ignoring …. because it’s their own:
A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll reveals the prolonged nominating battle is taking a toll on the GOP candidates and finds the president’s standing significantly improved from late last year.
President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 53 percent, up 9 percentage points in four months. Matched up against his Republican opponents, he leads Mitt Romney by 10 points (53-43) and Rick Santorum by 11 (53-42). Even against a generic, unnamed Republican untarnished by attacks, Obama is up 5 percentage points. In November, he was tied.
USA Today: ….. Today …. President Obama meets with state executives from across the country and with political donors in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will both speak today to the National Governors Association during a meeting in the State Dining Room. Their wives, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will also deliver remarks.
…. This afternoon, Obama and Biden will meet with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner …. Obama ends his day with a closed-door campaign fundraiser in Washington.
CBS: Mitt Romney went to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race Sunday for what should have been a chance to show he’s one of the guys. Instead, in casual conversation with an Associated Press reporter at the Florida track, he reminded people once again that he is not exactly a regular Joe.
Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
Democrats and liberals quickly ridiculed the remark on Twitter. “I don’t know people who fish but I know people who own yachts,” tweeted Brad Woodhouse, communications director of the Democratic National Committee….
Donna Dem: I’m raising money on my grassroots fundraising page to help President Obama win in 2012. The President is counting on people like you and me giving what we can afford to build this campaign. Will you donate $5 today to help me try and reach my goal?
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark talk at the end of their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 24, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: Christian Kettel Thomsen, Permanent Secretary of State; Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Ambassador of Denmark to the United States; Liz Sherwood-Randall, Senior Director for European Affairs; and Bill Moeller, Director for Central European Affairs. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Guardian: Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney’s much-heralded economic speech flopped Friday, overshadowed by a gaffe over luxury Cadillacs and his choice of an over-ambitious venue….
Romney opened himself up to derision for choosing a 70,000-seat stadium which attracted just over 1,000 people, many of them school children bussed in to help fill out the crowd, tucked into a corner of the astro-turf pitch….
The speech too turned out to be a flop …. It will be the picture of the near-empty stadium, contrasting with a much fuller one when Barack Obama was campaigning in February 2008, that will be remembered.
…. his words echoed round the empty stadium seats. He was not helped by the near-silence, winning only an occasional round of applause. At one point, having made a joke about the reluctance of children to leave home, only a handful of people in the audience laughed, an embarrassing response that the empty stadium amplified.
… In an attempt to ingratiate himself in the motor capital of America and undo some of the damage caused by a call in 2008 to let the car industry go bankrupt rather than be bailed out by the federal government, he listed cars owned by himself and his wife Ann.
He would be a president who loves cars, he said. “I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered.” …. It is a mistake on par with his $10,000 bet in a televised debate with Texas governor Rick Perry.
Steve Benen: Paul Krugman argued today that Mitt Romney “is running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty.” That need not be considered hyperbole.
Indeed, Greg Sargent added this morning that Romney’s “falsehoods and all around dissembling” may be designed to “simply wear reporters and commentators down by trafficking in them so heavily that they throw up their hands and give up on trying to track or debunk them.”
You can watch Willard’s speech in the PACKED stadium here (12:0 ET)
Watch how those 65,000 people can barely control their excitement in anticipation of Willard’s arrival:
And watch how they erupt when he appears – Mitt Mania!
Freep.com: It won’t be hard to fit 1,200 members of the Detroit Economic Club into 65,000-seat Ford Field for today’s speech by GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
What will be hard is making it look like Romney isn’t speaking to a nearly empty stadium.
The Romney campaign and the Economic Club think they’ve solved the problem. The guests will be seated at one end of the playing surface, roughly between the end zone and the 30-yard line, while Romney will speak from a stage in front of them.
A segment of the line of people waiting for tickets to see President Barack Obama speak on Friday starts near the Michigan Union, winds around the Fleming Administration Building, back toward the Literature, Science, and the Arts Building, and north down Maynard St. Angela J. Cesere
People sleep on the floor outside of the Michigan Union Ticket Office
AnnArbor.com: Roughly 3,000 people Thursday morning received tickets to President Barack Obama’s upcoming speech — many camping outside overnight to secure their place in line — and still hundreds of hopefuls were turned away.
It’s clear: Obama mania has seeped into the University of Michigan campus as the school prepares for his speech on college affordability Friday at 9:35 a.m. at the Al Glick Field House…..
AnnArbor.com: They brought blankets and sleeping bags, sent friends on doughnut runs, did homework and broke out into an impromptu dance party next to the Cube as at least 1,000 people converged into a line at the University of Michigan overnight to get tickets to see President Barack Obama.
The crowd snaked from the Michigan Union ticket office through Regents Plaza, building from about 80 at 10 p.m. Wednesday to much larger early Thursday, prompting one person to say “people in the back of the line have no idea how many people are here because it’s so long.”….
Between 2,000 and 3,000 people were in line by 9 a.m. At that time, the line reached the intersection of South University and South State and stretched toward the Law Quad.
….Update: As of about 1 p.m. all tickets to Obama’s speech had been distributed, according to the Michigan Union Ticket Office.
A group of ten students rest their backs against each other to stay warm and get some sleep while waiting in line by the Michigan Union. They arrived around 11:30 pm Wednesday night.
U-M Taubman College of Architecture faculty member Teman Evans holds up his ticket to see President Barack Obama speak while people in line behind him cheer. Evans was the first person in line at 7:30 pm Thursday night.
First Lady Michelle Obama watches as children of military families play baseball during an event to support the families, at Coors Field in Denver April 13. The White House on April 12 launched a “Joining Forces” initiative to encourage non-government support of the particular needs of military families. Leading the initiative, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden travelled to several locations across the country that provide examples of the initiative’s core areas of supporting employment, education, and wellness of service members and their families.
…with Jessica Simpson
First Lady Michelle Obama greets Marines following her remarks to the base community at Goettge Memorial Field House at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 13. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Joe Klein (Time): ….It is excruciating watching the Republican Party presidential candidates who, on a daily basis, pronounce some ignorant racist or irreligious twaddle…today’s example primo is Newt, who really needs to get back on his meds, worrying about his grandchildren:
“I have two grandchildren – Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
There is genius in this: no other human had located the secular humanist wing of radical Islam before. And then there is Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who is pretending to run for President, proving that a black man can be as gutter-cheap bigoted as anyone. If elected, he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal bench because: “There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.”
…This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. … this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012…
Here’s a reply from Steve Benen to Klein’s ‘plea’ for Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush to run (see the link above, Klein mentions them at the end of his article):
“….where I part ways with Klein is his expectation that Daniels and Jeb Bush could somehow put things right. For one thing, when it comes to the major issues of the day, the substantive differences between these two and the Seven Dwarves (Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Barbour, Gingrich, Santorum, and I suppose Bachmann) are quite narrow.
For another, Klein doesn’t explain how a sensible, self-respecting, qualified Republican is going to win primaries without also becoming some ridiculous caricature. Indeed, note that Klein made no mention of Jon Huntsman — who presumably would qualify as a reasonable GOP candidate unwilling to “behave like a public clown” — probably because no one seriously believes the party base will tolerate him.”