President Obama talks with Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia, left, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon in the Oval Office, Nov. 13 (Pete Souza)
10:0 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi addresses reporters (C-Span)
1:30: President Obama holds a news conference
2:45: President Obama and VP Biden attend a meeting with business leaders
McClatchy: President Obama assured labor unions and liberal organizations Tuesday that he’s firmly committed to letting tax cuts for higher incomes expire as scheduled at the end of the year….
Obama met with the labor and liberal groups for an hour at the White House, his first extended meeting with anyone from outside his administration since he won re-election a week ago. He told them he’s committed to raising taxes on higher incomes as he negotiates with Congress on avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases when Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year and automatic spending cuts negotiated during last year’s debt crisis kick in.
“President Obama today strongly reiterated his steadfast commitment to ensuring that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent finally end Dec. 31 and to protecting the middle class in the process,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org….
Dana Milbank: President Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” They want to secede from the union.
If Obama were serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
…. a large number of patriotic Americans, mostly from states won by Mitt Romney last week, have petitioned the White House to let them secede. They should be careful about what they wish for…..
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes. The balance is the opposite in blue states. The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
…. would-be rebels from the red states should keep in mind during the coming budget battle that those who are most ardent about cutting government spending tend to come from parts of the country that most rely on it.
The Oval: President Obama celebrated working people on this Labor Day, but also blitzed Mitt Romney’s economic plan with football metaphors.
“There’s a flag on the play,” Obama told crowd of auto workers in Toledo, Ohio, at one point.
Riffing on Romney’s weekend claim that the economy needs “a new coach” in the White House, Obama said that “the problem is that everybody’s already seen his economic playbook … we know what’s in it.”
The “first down” is tax cuts for the wealthy that will lead to tax hikes for the middle class, Obama said. “Second down” is an audible” ending financial and environmental regulations. Romney’s “third down” is a “Hail Mary” of cuts that would “end Medicare as we know it.”
Obama’s suggestion for the fourth down of the Romney plan: “Punt it away! … It won’t work! It won’t win the game!
“You don’t need that coach,” he said of Romney. “That’s a losing season!”
A Wounded Warrior walks out of the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House to participate in the sixth annual Soldier Ride, a cycling event to help them restore their physical and emotional well-being, April 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Robert Shrum: As he finally claims the nomination that was his all along, but which was so reluctantly yielded to him, Mitt Romney enters his Etch A Sketch period. He may twist the knobs to try and shift his professed beliefs as easily as the aluminum granules on the screen of one of the last century’s most famous toys. But it’s hard for the epic flip-flopper to reframe himself again – or it should be.
Romney is only doing what comes naturally to a man who once said he was “better” on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, but then later donated $25,000 to the homophobic National Organization For Marriage – through a conduit that was designed to hide his contribution. Romney’s public life across two decades has been a ceaselessly revised Etch A Sketch.
Quarterback Phillip Sims takes a picture of President Barack Obama as he poses for a photo with members of the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team following a ceremony to honor their 14th national championship and their 2011-2012 season, on the South Lawn of the White House, April 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: LORAIN, Ohio — Just a day after President Obama visited this crucial swing state, Mitt Romney spoke at a shuttered drywall company visited four years ago by then-candidate Obama to make the argument that Obama’s record has yet to live up to his lofty rhetoric.
On an empty warehouse floor, Romney laid the blame for the company’s fate squarely on Obama.
…. The company actually shut down in June 2008, months before Obama took office and his economic policies took effect.
…. Romney campaign aides said that Obama hasn’t delivered on the promise to jump-start the economy.
… But in Ohio, the economy is improving.
With an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent in February, Ohio’s jobless stats are lower than the national average of 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate, which peaked at 10.6 percent in December 2009, has steadily fallen since then — it was at 8.6 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.
ThinkProgress: If It’s Sunday, It’s Meet The Republican White Men
ThinkProgress: Yum! Brands, the owner of fast food brands KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut told Color of Change that they will no longer support the American Legislative Exchange Council, the right-wing front group that, until recently, was a driving force behind state voter suppression and “stand your ground” gun laws. Yum!’s decision means a dozen corporations (plus the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) have now dropped the conservative group.
Greg Sargent: In a speech to the United Auto Workers just now, Obama defended his decision to bail out the auto industry, lacing into Mitt Romney with withering derision. But this speech was about more than the auto-bailout. It was Obama’s case for reelection.
This speech constituted Obama’s most ambitious effort yet to weave his defense of the auto rescue into the larger contrast he will try to draw between his vision and the “you’re on your own” ideology he will accuse Republicans of representing.
…. today’s speech was important: It revealed that the alternate reality Romney has been functioning in throughout the GOP primary is soon going to give way to another reality entirely, a general election reality — and Romney, presuming he will be the nominee, will soon collide with it.
Michael Tomasky: Ideological rigidity and Obama hatred led Republicans to reject the auto bailout. Now they’re doubling down on their opposition – and surrendering Michigan in the general election.
Michiganders, take pride: your 2012 primary will go down in American political history as perhaps the single most eye-popping case ever of a party’s demands on its candidates during the primary fight reducing its chance of winning the state in November from something not far from half to near zero. This is especially true if Rick Santorum manages to pull the upset and go on to be the nominee; Barack Obama’s campaign wouldn’t have to spend one thin dime in Michigan and would still win by at least 15 points. But it’s true also if unfavorite son Mitt Romney manages to win. Horse-race polls that once showed a tough battle between the two now project an Obama blowout.
The Atlantic: The president of the United States reflects on what Abraham Lincoln means to him, and to America.
By Barack Obama
Lincoln is a president I turn to often. From time to time, I’ll walk over to the Lincoln Bedroom and reread the handwritten Gettysburg Address encased in glass, or reflect on the Emancipation Proclamation, which hangs in the Oval Office, or pull a volume of his writings from the library in search of lessons to draw.
Always thoughtful, always eloquent, Lincoln’s writings speak to me as they speak to so many Americans, reminding us what is best about ourselves and the Union he saved: that though we may have our differences, we are one people, and we are one nation, united by a common creed.
Charles Pierce: By now, everybody’s seen the America’s At Halftime commercial, featuring Clint Eastwood…. The general feeling is that the ad itself was a kind of endorsement of the president’s re-election bid, what with its emphasis on the recovery of the auto industry, which Willard Romney opposed in favor of letting the major automakers go bankrupt.
… The president can’t run on “It’s Morning In America.” He’d look foolish. He can, however, credibly run on the notion that the sky is getting a little brighter in the east. By contrast, more than a few people have noted that the Republicans in general, and Willard in particular, seem interested in running on “It’s Apocalypse In America,” gloomily drooping around the country as the people to whom they’re talking try desperately to feel optimistic again…..
Thirty years after his father massacred tens of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women, and children in Hama, Bashar al-Assad has demonstrated a similar disdain for human life and dignity. Yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence, and Syrian forces continue to prevent hundreds of injured civilians from seeking medical help. These brutal killings take place at a time when so many Syrians are also marking a deeply meaningful day for their faith. I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately……
Ezra Klein: The strangest thing about January’s jobs report is that it’s pretty much all good. The headline numbers are great, of course: payrolls are up by 243,000 jobs. Unemployment is down to 8.3 percent. But the inside numbers are good, too.
…. The report also deals at least a slight blow to the case for economic pessimism. For months, forecasters have been telling us that though the end of 2011 was strong for the economy, the data showed the beginning of 2012 would be weak. That could still prove true. But we’re not seeing a slowdown in January’s payrolls. Just the opposite, actually.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t some areas of concern…..
The bottom line is that this isn’t just a good jobs report. It’s a recovery jobs report. It’s showing the sort of numbers that win elections. As my colleague Neil Irwin tweeted, “That sound you hear is champagne corks in the West Wing.”
2:00: First Lady Michelle Obama visits Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
2:10: President Obama delivers remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism
Thanks amk ;-)
About today’s AP-GfK poll – OMG! Doom! Gloom!
As GOPolitico told us, white people hate the President!! Real bad!
The best bit was when they quoted Ron Fournier saying the President “only won 40%” of the white seniors’ vote in 2008 and “his approval rating with them now is 41%”. Em, I was never too hot at math ….. but is that, eh, not technically an increase? :???:
Any way, not surprisingly, the economy remains the number one concern of those polled. You’ll get all the bad news everywhere today, what will be largely ignored:
* After the jobless rate fell to 8.6% last month (its lowest level since March 2009), the President’s approval rating on handling unemployment rose 5% to 45% in the poll.
* 20% say the economy got better in the past month, up from 6% two months ago (64% said it stayed the same)
* 15% said it got worse, down from 49% two months ago
* Respondents describing the economy as “very poor” fell from 43% in October to 34% in the latest poll, the lowest since May.
* 60% say the financial situation in their own household is good, up 6%
* 30% blamed the President for the economy, compared to 43% who blame Bush
* Despite the struggles with the economy, the President still beats Romney in a match-up: 47 to 46.
* The President beats the Newt 51-42.
* Among independents, it’s even better. The President beats Romney 45-41 and the Newt 54-31.
And buried in the last line in Time’s report on the poll:
“Among those with annual household incomes of $50,000 or less, Obama’s approval rating on unemployment climbed to 53 percent from 43 percent in October.
Get that? Climbed 10%.
* 60% approve of how the President is handling terrorism, 59% say he will “keep America safe”. Not bad for an appeaser, eh?
* 53% say he is a “strong leader”
* 76% say he is “likable”
There you go – the bits you won’t hear today. And hey, wait til the fella actually starts campaigning against Romgrich ;-)
OFA: Headlines over the past few weeks have shown with hard numbers how President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is helping young people and seniors. The reform allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26 and helps Medicare recipients save money on prescription drugs.
Take a look at this infographic summing up how the Affordable Care Act is impacting millions of Americans – then share it to pass on the good news:
Texas Monthly: As most readers know, every January TEXAS MONTHLY picks a Bum Steer of the Year, an honor conferred on whatever individual we feel has been responsible for the biggest screw-up, gaffe, fumble, stumble, train wreck, or humiliation of the past twelve months. This year, as the above cover makes pretty darn clear, our Bum Steer of the Year is Governor Rick Perry.
Jonathan Chait (NY Mag): With Ron Paul ascending in Iowa, winning the hearts of independents, and even the endorsement of Andrew Sullivan, it’s worth pointing something out: Ron Paul is not a kindly old libertarian who just wants everybody to be free. He’s a really creepy bigot.
…. Paul comes out of an intellectual tradition called “paleolibertarianism,” which is a version of libertarianism heavily tinged with far-right cultural views …. Paul is tied in deep and extensive ways to neo-Confederates, and somewhat less tightly to the right-wing militia movement. His newsletter, which he wrote and edited for years, was a constant organ of vile racism and homophobia ….. Fear and hatred of blacks and gays, along with a somewhat less pronounced paranoia about Jewish dual loyalty, are fundamental elements of his thinking….
Time: …. Admiral William McRaven speaks respectfully of Bush as Commander in Chief, saying he “made some very, very tough decisions.” About Obama, without a question to prompt him, he waxes lyrical and at length. The planning and decision-making for the bin Laden raid, he volunteers, “was really everything the American public would expect from their national leadership.”
“The President was at all times presidential,” he says. “I would contend he was the smartest guy in the room. He had leadership skills we’d expect from a guy who had 35 years in the military.”
TPM: …. in a new poll from Public Policy Polling President Obama bests former Mitt Romney 48 percent to 42 and Newt Gingrich 50 to 43 in Virginia … Only 31 percent see Gingrich favorably against 55 percent, and it’s nearly as bad for Romney at 33 – 52.
Jonathan Freedland (The Guardian): Whoever wrote the political rulebook needs to start rewriting it …. in the US Barack Obama is mired in horrible numbers – except for the ones showing him beating all-comers in the election now less than 11 months away. Even though the US economy is slumped in the doldrums, some of the country’s shrewdest commentators make a serious case that Obama could be heading for a landslide victory in 2012.
How to explain such a turnaround? In the United States, at least, there is one compellingly simple, two-word answer: Fox News.
…. it is Fox that is, in effect, picking the party’s nominee to face Obama next November …. If one is to flourish rather than wither in the Fox spotlight, there are several articles of faith to which one must subscribe – from refusing to believe in human-made climate change, and insisting that Christians are an embattled minority in the US, persecuted by a liberal, secular, bi-coastal elite, to believing that government regulation is always wrong, and that any attempt to tax the wealthiest people is immoral. Those who deviate are rapidly branded foreign, socialist or otherwise un-American.
….It was this process that led the former speechwriter David Frum to declare last year: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us – and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”
…. The extremism, anger, paranoia and sense of victimhood that Fox incubates are all unhealthy for the United States. But it’s inflicting particular damage on the Republican party, which could well lose a winnable election because of its supine relationship to a TV network. It turns out it is not liberals who should fear the Fox – it’s conservatives.
President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton tour a building under construction in Washington as part of President Obama’s Better Building Initiative to promote energy efficient buildings
WH: President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.
The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers.
In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This announcement builds on a commitment made by 14 partners at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.
Media Matters: Following breaking news that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent in November, Fox & Friends aired the following on-screen graphic:
Washington Post: The U.S. military transferred control of its sprawling headquarters outside Baghdad to the Iraqi government Friday, a deeply symbolic moment that launched the final month of a nearly decade-long U.S. presence.
The last few soldiers at Camp Victory, a base that once housed 68,000 military personnel and contractors, departed early Friday afternoon. There are currently 12,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq at five bases, down from a peak of 170,000 at 500 bases in 2007, military spokesman Col. Barry Johnson said. All will be gone by the end of the year.
The Hill: Manufacturing grew for the 28th straight month and faster than it has since June, a report showed Thursday.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 52.7 percent in November, up from 50.8 percent in October. The index’s most recent high was 55.3 percent. Earlier in the year the sector was expanding above 60 percent each month before the economy hit a rough patch in the early summer. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
President Obama smiles for a photo with a group Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers after delivering remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Dec. 2
Robert Shrum: …. Mitt Romney is at heart a con man …. he would govern as he campaigns, no matter what he actually believes. That’s why the rest of us should be afraid of what Mitt Romney’s America would look like.
In Mitt Romney’s America, unemployment could escalate – or soar …. His long-term fiscal policy would shred the social safety net and devastate programs ranging from college loans to research and development and environmental protections. The wealthy would never be asked to pay their fair share by a president who would never risk alienating Grover Norquist….
Thus the “jobs” candidate could become the jobs destroyer as president – which, of course, was what he was when he dismembered companies and fired workers during his years in the private sector…
….. Medicare would be voucherized and Social Security would be privatized. Insurance companies would be free again to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and to cancel policies as the costs of life-saving treatment mounted. Tens of millions more would be left without health insurance.
And Mitt Romney’s America would be a narrow and bigoted place, too. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He’s proposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. His Supreme Court nominees would tip the balance and overturn Roe v. Wade. And what about civil rights? Romney has become an immigrant-baiter who now wants to build that “danged fence” along the border. The co-chair of his Justice Advisory Committee is Robert Bork, who called the 1964 Civil Rights Act “unsurpassed ugliness”. On issues of equality, Mitt Romney’s America would look a lot like Ted Kennedy’s famous description of Robert Bork’s America, where “rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country [this] is and ought to be.”
….. And that’s why I hope we never have to live in Mitt Romney’s America.
Steve Benen: Every single time the Huntsman campaign releases another anti-Romney video, I have the same reaction: “Hey, that’s pretty good!”
I thought that about the “pretzel” video, the flipping-toy-monkey video, the weathervane video, and this week’s “Mittstant Replay” video.
Today, via Taegan Goddard, Huntsman’s team offers another gem, this time connecting Romney’s incessant flip-flopping to his background with the Olympics. It turns out, Romney flips with all the grace of a crashing gymnast:
You know the way GOPolitico is obsessed with the President and Israel and spends its days searching for polls that suggest he is struggling with the Jewish community? Well, spare a thought for them, today was a very difficult day:
Greg Sargent: The first thing you should watch this morning is this harsh new Web video from the Obama-allied Priorities USA Action. It paints a very lurid picture of “Mitt Romney’s America,” and it provides the clearest clues yet as to what kind of campaign Obama and outside groups will run against him if he’s the nominee.
Romney’s corporate background, as well as that infamous Bain picture, get top billing, and are tied to the allegation that Romney’s policies would be a boon to corporations while decimating the middle class. Obama advisers and allies intend to paint an extremely vivid and even frightening picture of what Romney’s desire to roll back Obama’s post-Bush reforms would mean for the economy, the country, and the future. Beyond his pro-corporate policies, the feeling on the Obama team is that Romney’s corporate past is an unexplored and potentially serious liability, particularly amid the intense anti-Wall Street sentiment that seems to be on the rise…..
You know how much I hate GOPolitico and how I hold my nose when I link to it – well, I’m holding my nose again because this article is worth reading: link
Quinnipiac: President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is up, from a negative 41 – 55 percent October 5, to a split today with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. The president has leads of 5 to 16 percentage points over likely Republican challengers.
…. “President Obama seems to be improving in voters’ eyes almost across-the-board,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He scores big gains among the groups with whom he has had the most problems – whites and men. Women also shift from a five-point negative to a four-point positive.
….. Obama also is looking better in matchups against potential Republican nominees:
47 – 42 percent over Romney, compared to a 46 – 42 percentlead October 5;
52 – 36 percent over Perry, up from a 45 – 44 percent tie last month;
50 – 40 percent over Cain, who was not included in a matchup last month;
52 – 37 percent over Gingrich, who was not matched last month.