Brooks Kraft has won “Political Photo of the Year” from the The White House News Photographers Association for this image of President Barack Obama speaking in the pouring rain during a campaign rally in Glen Allen, Va. (See here)
9:35: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
11:30: Arrives in Decatur, Ga.
12:10: Visits a pre-kindergarten classroom at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center
1:20: Delivers remarks at Decatur Community Recreation Center
2:40: Departs Decatur
4:25: Arrives at the White House
4:50: Participates in a “Fireside Hangout” with Google+ to discuss his State of the Union Address
WH: On Thursday, President Obama will join the latest in a series of “Fireside Hangouts” – a 21st century take on FDR’s famous radio addresses – to talk about his State of the Union Address.
During a completely virtual conversation hosted by Google, the President will answer questions from Americans across the country about the issues and policies laid out in the speech. Anyone can submit a question for the President and vote on your favorites on the White House YouTube channel
TPM: Today the presidential gloves really come off.
In a Tuesday speech hosted by the Associated Press in Washington, D.C., President Obama will deliver a broadside to the House-passed Republican budget, which calls for upending Medicare and making deep cuts to domestic social programs. Obama will describe it as a dark vision for America and draw a clear contrast with his campaign themes of reducing inequality and asking the wealthy to help pay down the nation’s debt.
“This congressional Republican budget, however, is something different altogether. It’s a Trojan Horse,” Obama plans to say, according to excerpts provided by the White House. “Disguised as deficit-reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly veiled Social Darwinism. It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it — a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class. And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline.”
Business Insider: Over the next eight hours, twenty automakers will report March auto sales in the U.S. Already, it appears the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales will top all industry estimates, new data out of Business Insider shows.
First out the gate this month is Chrysler, with a better-than-expected sales gain of 34.2 percent, moving 163,381 units in March.
At that healthy gain, Business Insider estimates total U.S. SAAR will run between 15.2 million and 16.1 million. This is well above current estimates of 14.6 million units, per Bloomberg.
The last time auto sales topped an annualized pace of 15.2 million was four years ago, in February 2008.
Detroit News: Chrysler Group LLC sold 163,381 cars and trucks last month, translating into a 34 percent year-over-year increase and making March another stellar month for the Auburn Hills automaker.
Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that its auto sales were up 5 percent in March — the company’s best March in five years. And Hyundai Motor Co. said it set a new all-time record for U.S. auto sales in March, up 13 percent to 69,728 on strong sales of its fuel-efficient models.
NYT: For several weeks, Mitt Romney has seized on the rising cost of gasoline to attack President Obama and his environmental aides for what Mr. Romney calls their misguided desire to see higher energy prices.
…. But Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has in the past appeared much more open to the notion that rising energy costs could be good for the American economy. In his 2010 book, “No Apology,” Mr. Romney described a gradual increase in the cost of energy as the kind of market-based incentive that conservatives could embrace.
…. Charles Ebinger, the director of the energy security initiative at the Brookings Institution, said Mr. Romney’s openness to the benefits of higher energy prices was similar to the approach that Mr. Obama’s advisers had espoused for years.
Steve Benen: ….. The main problem, as the New York Times reported today, is that Romney has already argued for the same policies he’s now against.
…. As governor, Romney also raised gas taxes — by 400% — and hired an energy advisor who opposes reduction in oil prices. Romney even pushed for more energy-efficient light bulbs, though he now opposes the idea.
Clearly, the former governor is aware of public concerns and wants to incorporate energy policy into the 2012 race, but between Romney’s Big Oil ties and his previous personas, it’s not going to be easy for him to stay coherent on the subject.
TPM: A new report by an independent government auditor concludes that implementing President Obama’s health care law as intended will make a significant dent in the long-term debt forecast.
…. it concludes that if key cost-control measures in the law, and other automatic cuts to Medicare spending baked into current law, are ignored, or overridden by Congress, the implications for the national debt are vast.
If “Obamacare” is implemented as intended, and other measures, such as automatic payment cuts to Medicare physicians, take effect, “spending on Medicare and Medicaid grows from 5 percent of GDP in 2010 to over 7 percent by 2030.”
By contrast, if Congress overrides those provisions, “spending on health care grows much more rapidly ….”