NYT Editorial: After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin.
Mr. Romney’s descriptions of when he left Bain have been erratic and self-serving …. now that Bain has been accused of helping other companies outsource jobs overseas, laying off steel company employees and wiping out their pensions, Mr. Romney says he had no management role after 1999. A Kansas City steel plant that Bain bought in 1993 under Mr. Romney’s control, for example, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 750 workers their jobs and pensions. After the Obama campaign made an ad featuring several of the angry workers, the Romney campaign said he couldn’t be blamed because he left Bain in 1999.
….. Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair…. The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents. But Mr. Romney told CNN he would not release more than the one year’s return he has already released and the one for 2011 when it is finished. “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said. It’s not even close.
Charles Pierce: …. All weekend, the question arose: What could possibly be in those tax returns that is so goddamn awful that Romney — who is still, remember, no worse than 50-50 to win this thing — is fighting so hard to keep it secret? The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is the answer to that question.
There is nothing in those tax returns that is in any way illegal …. He is not fighting the release of these returns to keep us from finding out the dark secrets about how stupid-wealthy he and his family are. He is fighting the release of these returns because he doesn’t think he should have to release them.
….This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for The Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.
USA Today: Good morning from The Oval, on a day when President Obama and his re-election team are taking the fight to Mitt Romney and, geographically at least, House Speaker John Boehner.
The campaign kicked off the day with a memorandum entitled “Unanswered Questions About Mitt Romney’s ‘Retroactive Retirement.'” It’s intended to create even more doubts about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, which he either left in 1999 or 2002, depending on your interpretation.
…. Ben LaBolt:
While Romney has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Bain’s decisions after February 1999, he has also hypocritically taken credit for jobs created well after the 1999 end date that he cites. He can’t have it both ways.
If Romney followed decades of precedent set in motion by his father, who released 12 years of tax returns, as well as the minutes from Bain Capital board meetings, the American people could finally learn to what extent Mitt Romney was involved with the actions at Bain Capital following 1999.
This week, Mitt Romney has the opportunity to provide a full accounting of his tenure at Bain Capital, the central premise of his campaign and the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not he was the job creator he claims to be.
John Cassidy (New Yorker): …. With even prominent Republicans saying that his current stance is unsustainable, the obvious question to ask is: Why is the Mittster being so obstinate? He surely isn’t standing on principle, for what principle would that be?
…… It’s only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis. Will’s comments on this were spot on: “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said. “Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it. Here are four possibilities:
1. Extremely high levels of income…..
2. More offshore accounts….
3. Politically explosive investments….
4. A very, very low tax rate….
….as Matthew Dowd noted, “there’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it’”.
Bill Keller (NYT): On the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
OBAMACARE IS A JOB-KILLER. …After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters…..
OBAMACARE IS A FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF HEALTH INSURANCE. Let’s be blunt. The word for that is “lie.”…..
THE UNFETTERED MARKETPLACE IS A BETTER SOLUTION. To the extent there is a profound difference of principle anywhere in this debate, it lies here…..
LEAVE IT TO THE STATES. THEY’LL FIX IT. The Republican alternative to Obamacare consists in large part of letting each state do its own thing. Presumably the best ideas will go viral…..
OBAMACARE IS A LOSER. RUN AGAINST IT, RUN FROM IT, BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T RUN ON IT. …Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)
…. If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”
President Barack Obama high fives a young boy outside an event in Palm Beach Garden, Fla., April 10, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama returns to the White House after a visit to Florida, April 10
**** 10:15 AM ET: President Obama delivers a statement on the Buffett Rule ****
EJ Dionne: Conservatives are not accustomed to being on the defensive. They have long experience with attacking the evils of the left and the abuses of activist judges. They love to assail “tax-and-spend liberals” without ever discussing who should be taxed or what government money is actually spent on. They expect their progressive opponents to be wimpy and apologetic.
So imagine the shock when President Obama decided last week to speak plainly about what a Supreme Court decision throwing out the health-care law would mean, and then landed straight shots against the Mitt Romney-supported Paul Ryan budget as “a Trojan horse,” “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country,” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”
….. Romney pronounced himself appalled …. yet could neither defend the cuts nor deny the president’s list of particulars, based as they were on reasonable assumptions. When it came to the Ryan budget, Romney wanted to fuzz things up. But, as Obama likes to point out, math is math.
And when Obama went after the right’s willingness to use the power of the Supreme Court for ideological purposes, conservatives were aghast – and never mind that conservatives have been castigating activist judges since at least the 1968 presidential campaign….
Paul Krugman: Oh, boy. It turns out that the WaPo featured on its front page a report by Charles Blahous of the (yes, Koch-funded) Mercatus Center – although the Post describes him as a Medicare trustee, giving the impression that this is somehow an official document – claiming that the Affordable Care Act will actually increase the deficit. Jonathan Chait does the honors…..
….. this is basically a sick joke that doesn’t pass the laugh test. Unfortunately, it seems that some news organizations don’t have mandatory laugh-testing.
Steve Benen: ….. The problem, which the Post article didn’t mention, is that Blahous’ research falls apart under scrutiny. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul N. Van de Water easily dismissed the Republican’s report.
…. I can appreciate the fact that these budget figures can seem complex, but certainly a guy who worked on entitlement policy for Bush/Cheney should understand the basics here, and the basics tell us that Obama’s health care law helps lower the national debt. Whether the right finds this inconvenient or not is irrelevant.
ET can exclusively reveal that George Clooney is hosting a fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign – but there’s one thing he won’t do to help the president.
Clooney tells ET, “I’m proud to do whatever I can to support the President… as long as no one asks me to sing.”
… Clooney will host the president and about 150 supporters at the event on May 10 at his home in Los Angeles, California …. tickets will run $40,000 each, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.
President Barack Obama greets the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal recipients in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a medal ceremony in the East Room, Oct. 20. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
9:30 AM President Obama signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers
10:30 The President attends a reception in the Rose Garden
2:30 The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Andrew Sullivan: To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.
Ian Swanson (The Hill): Obama stands tall after the demise of Libyan strongman Gadhafi
The death of Moammar Gadhafi represents another major foreign policy victory for President Obama, who backed a months-long air campaign in Libya while facing criticism from the left and the right.
Obama stared down congressional skeptics across the political spectrum … Through it all, Obama kept his resolve.
…. On Thursday he basked in the second greatest foreign policy triumph of his administration, after the successful operation this spring that killed Osama bin Laden. Gadhafi’s death comes less than a month after the U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
…. For the unwavering Obama, Thursday came the big payoff as Gadhafi’s hopes for returning to power ended in a field outside his hometown of Sirte.
…. Obama entered the Oval Office as a novice on the international stage, criticized for a naïve outlook on the world.
…. three years into his term, both the bin Laden and Libya events suggest Obama can be steely in making decisions about U.S. force, and in sticking with them.
Washington Post: Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents – including naturalization papers and other official records – reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 and a half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity …. he mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”….
The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.
Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): The economy needs help. The Democrats’ proposals are popular. And yet they’re dying in Congress. Why? Because the GOP hates Obama more than it loves America.
Maybe as early as Thursday night, the Senate will take its first vote on one bite-size piece of President Obama’s jobs bill, a $35 billion measure to fund the hiring of 400,000 teachers and a smaller number of cops and firefighters. It will fail. As usual not a single Republican will vote for it….
…. The Republican Party’s posture to the American people is this. Your opinion on issues like teachers and taxes doesn’t matter a whit to us … if you keep that man in the White House, we will block everything he and you want. Everything. And nothing will happen in this town for those next four years. The Republicans can’t say any of this, of course, but they don’t have to. People get it. It just sort of seeps out of them, like oil from a polluted stream.
I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing – and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.
LA Times: Republican-led opposition in the Senate blocked a key element of President Obama’s jobs plan – a proposal to send $35 billion to cash-strapped states to keep public school teachers, police and firefighters on the job.
The Senate voted 50-50 late Thursday, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Polls have shown the proposal is among the most popular flanks of Obama’s jobs initiative.
President Obama shakes hands with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) after he signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, October 8, 2010
The Hill: Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.