First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Roxanna Green as she enters the House Chamber prior the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Washington Post: First Lady Michelle Obama’s guest list for tonight’s State of the Union includes a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a police officer who responded to the massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and the parents of a girl killed by gunfire in Chicago earlier this month.
The assembled guests make clear that the White House will emphasize gun violence with tonight’s speech. But there are also nods to technological innovation — Apple CEO Tim Cook will sit with Obama, as will the winner of this year’s Intel Science Fair and a member of NASA’s Mars rover team.
The presence of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is a nod to Medicaid reform. An Affordable Care Act advocate will also be in the box, as will an undocumented student whose deportation was deferred by an Obama executive order last year.
The full list:
Sergeant Sheena Adams (Vista, CA), Team Advisor & Lead Instructor, Female Engagement Team
Alan Aleman (Las Vegas, NV), DREAM Student
Jack Andraka (Crownsville, MD), Winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Susan Bumgarner (Norman, OK), Early Childhood Educator
Deb Carey (New Glarus, WI), Small Business Owner, New Glarus Brewing Company
Sergeant Carlos Evans, USMC (Cameron, NC), Wounded Warrior
Tim Cook (Cupertino, CA), CEO of Apple
Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr. (Chicago, IL)
Menchu de Luna Sanchez (Secaucus, NJ), Registered Nurse, NYU Langone Medical Center
Bobak Ferdowsi (Pasadena, CA), Flight Director, Mars Curiosity Rover
Bradley Henning (Louisville, KY), Machinist, Atlas Machine and Supply
Tracey Hepner (Arlington, VA), Co-Founder, Military Partners and Families Coalition
Peter Hudson (Evergreen, CO), Co-Founder and CEO, iTriage
Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR)
Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers (Avondale, AZ)
Amanda E. McMillan (Jackson, MS), Pay Discrimination Victim
Lee Maxwell (Wilton, IA), Graduate, Kirkwood Community College Wind Technician Program
Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Oak Creek, WI), The first police officer to arrive at the scene of the tragic Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.
Time: President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”
“I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”
ABC: Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
…… As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.
Greg Sargent: …. Take special note of the quote that one expert gave to ABC: “His personal finances are a poster child of what’s wrong with the American tax system.” …. this is very dicey for Romney. Dems want to paint Romney as the walking embodiment of everything that’s unfair about our tax system and of all the ways the system is rigged on behalf of the rich and against the middle class. This won’t hurt that case.
One wonders if these revelations – combined with the layoffs at Bain; Romney’s tax rate; the fact that his tax plan would give the very wealthy enormous tax cuts while raising taxes marginally on lower income people; and his penchant for saying things that perfectly feed the “one percent” storyline – will generate any concerns among Romney’s top backers about his electability.
Media Matters: The Washington Examiner blog Beltway Confidential put up a post yesterday reporting that President Obama’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, worked at Bain & Company in the late 1980s. The Examiner suggested that this could “undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney’s career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company.”
……. The criticism of Romney has focused on his work at Bain Capital, not his time at Bain & Company.
To be clear: Bain & Company is an entirely separate entity from Bain Capital …. The Drudge Report linked to the Beltway Confidential post with the headline “OBAMA PICKS BAIN MAN FOR OMB…”:
ThinkProgress: Samantha Garvey, a New York high school senior who has been living in a homeless shelter and recently named a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, will be Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
…. Israel told Newsday he was moved by Garvey’s story. “The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance,” he said.
More: …. Michelle Obama is one of those people you sense before you see, her confidence somehow arriving on the scene a few seconds before she does. Even a roomful of antsy teenagers can feel it, leading them to fall silent moments before the first lady strides into the State Dining Room and greets them with a friendly “Hey! What’s happening?”
…. “They call me FLOTUS, for first lady of the United States,” she explains, noting that the president’s internal White House acronym is POTUS. “And there are many times when FLOTUS and POTUS feel like characters.” There have even been times, she says, when she’s craned her own neck to see which celebrity might be causing all the excitement. “And it’s me. Oh, man, it’s FLOTUS. FLOTUS is here. No one told me FLOTUS was coming.”
….. “But sometimes,” Obama tells her class of mentees, “I just want to be Michelle. So you guys have to start slowly seeing me as Michelle, all right?”
First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Roxanna Green as she enters the House Chamber prior the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 25, 2011. John and Roxanna Green are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Who’s sitting with the first lady at President Obama’s jobs speech to Congress:
Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE who heads Obama’s jobs council
Steve Case, the founder of AOL
Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO president
Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Darlene Miller, a small business owner
Albert Green, the CEO of a small business
Jan Heister, the president of a small business
Philip Maung, a small business owner
Gracey Ibarra, a mother of two children
Joseph Kidd, a 30-year-old father who served in Iraq
John Raftery, a Marine who is the CEO of a construction firm
Nicole Gentile, a third-grade teacher
Kelcie Fisher, a high school senior
Hector Sealey, a director of safety at a construction company
Kirk Bergstrom, a project engineer
David Catalano, the founder of a digital advertising agency
Dannie Mangrum, a corrections officer, and Sabrina Mangrum, who is getting a teaching degree
Jessica Pickett, a technician who works with a fire department
Marlena Clark, a community college graduate
Tamara Washington, a single mother