Four years ago today: “A temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.” May 8, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:15: VP Biden attends President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea’s address to a Joint Session of Congress
12:0: VP Biden delivers remarks at the 43rd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas at the Department of State
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:25: President Obama meets with electric utility CEOs and their trade associations
5:30: Meets with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders
6:30: Has dinner with members of the House Democratic Leadership at the Jefferson Hotel
7:45: VP Biden delivers keynote remarks at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ 19th Annual Gala Awards Dinner
President Barack Obama and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea, May 7. Photo: Pete Souza
USA Today: …. The president starts this afternoon at the Energy Department, where he meets with electric utility CEOs and trade associations to talk about preparations for the upcoming hurricane season….
Later, Obama and Vice President Biden discuss budget issues with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Then comes a presidential meeting with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders. The agenda includes Obama’s efforts to win a major immigration bill and the ongoing implementation of the health care bill.
Obama caps his day with another congressional dinner, this one with House Democratic leaders. The dinner at a hotel in downtown Washington features House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., and some of her colleagues: Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, Joe Crowley, Chris Van Hollen, Rosa DeLauro, Rob Andrew, Steve Israel, and Mike Thompson.
President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own:
President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT: For decades at the White House, photographs of the president at work and at play have hung throughout the West Wing, and each print soon gives way to a more recent shot. But one picture of President Obama remains after three years.
In the photo, Mr. Obama looks to be bowing to a sharply dressed 5-year-old black boy, who stands erect beside the Oval Office desk, his arm raised to touch the president’s hair — to see if it feels like his.
…. The boy in the picture is Jacob Philadelphia of Columbia, Md. Three years ago this month, his father, Carlton, a former Marine, was leaving the White House staff….
When the pictures were taken and the family was about to leave, Mr. Philadelphia told Mr. Obama that his sons each had a question…
Jacob spoke first.
“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” he told Mr. Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to speak again.
Jacob did, and Mr. Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” He brought his head level with Jacob, who hesitated.
“Touch it, dude!” Mr. Obama said.
As Jacob patted the presidential crown, Mr. Souza snapped.
“So, what do you think?” Mr. Obama asked.
“Yes, it does feel the same,” Jacob said.
….Jacob, now 8, said he indeed does want to be president. “Or a test pilot.”
Visitors brace themselves from the rotor wash of the Marine One helicopter as President Barack Obama lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House as he travels to Vermont and Maine for campaign fundraising events
President Obama shake hands with Marine Sgt Kristie Ness prior to Ness’ last flight mission on Marine One
Students, from left, Gaby Dempsey, 12, Kate Murray, 13, and Mackenzie Grewell, 13, read in the Red Room of the White House after setting up their science fair exhibit, Feb. 6, 2012. The three girls, part of the Flying Monkeys First Lego League Team from Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa, will participate in the second annual White House Science Fair with over 100 students from 45 states. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
10:35 AM: PBO views science fair projects.
11:25 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair.
Washington Post: President Obama will use the backdrop of a White House science fair Tuesday to highlight a nationwide shortage of math and science teachers and unveil a plan to invest $100 million to help train 100,000 new educators over the next decade.
Under his proposal, Obama will ask Congress for $80 million to support new Department of Education grants for colleges that provide innovative teacher-training programs. The president also is set to announce a $22 million commitment from private companies that will support the effort, according to White House officials.
We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules By Jim Messina
In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case opened the door to a new wave of so-called Super PACs—non-candidate political committees that can receive and spend unlimited money from special interests. For the first time, these committees could accept money from corporations, not just wealthy individuals.
The decision has accelerated a dangerous trend toward a political system increasingly dominated by big-money interests with disproportionate power to spend freely to influence our elections and our government…..
As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker: “Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street.”
So when are President Obama’s critics, people like Paul Krugman and Mitt Romney, going to offer President Obama an apology? Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy worse and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect or even on Romney (who I regard as a vapid twit bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point: President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.
Standing out from the crowd, the only member of the 21 APEC leaders to opt for colour ahead of default grey, Julia Gillard busily kept her red hair off her face during the forum’s ‘family photo’ that signalled the end of their two-day Hawaiian summit.
But her battle with the sea breeze that played across the group in the grounds of a luxury resort near Honolulu drew friendly support from Barack Obama, who mimicked her by patting his short-cropped pate.
“I have to worry about mine, too,” he joked, prompting mirth from those around him, with the leaders of Malaysia, South Korea and Japan instinctively patting their heads.
….. As they walked dutifully – if a little self-consciously – towards the podium for their photo shoot, Ms Gillard was heard to refer to the grass skirts, with Mr Obama replying that “the coconut bras” were “embarrassing enough”.
SMH: BARACK Obama walked in for the first session of the G20 in Cannes last week, stopped to talk to a few people, and then spied Julia Gillard. The President crossed the room, and the camera captured the warmth. It looked so much better than Kevin Rudd saluting George Bush at NATO in 2008.
…. They have struck up a rapport. In the Oval Office she gave him a Sherrin. Their visit to a Washington school went so well that the White House proposed they repeat the publicity moment in Canberra. Obama has described her as a “quick study”. He would admire, even envy, that she has got her carbon price through Parliament, because he would like to legislate a cap-and-trade scheme, but is stymied by the American political system.
US ambassador Jeff Bleich says there is “a great deal of agreement between the two of them – they tend to see the world the same way”. He points to their substantive policy agreement, the way they interact, their similar sense of humour.
SMH: ALMOST three quarters of Australian voters are happy with the US alliance, a far cry from the peak of the Iraq war.
With the US President, Barack Obama, to arrive in Australia tomorrow for a 26-hour visit, the latest Herald/Nielsen poll shows 71 per cent of voters feel the relationship is “about right”. Only 24 per cent feel it is too close, while just 3 per cent say it is “not close enough”.
…. The Herald last asked the question in a poll in June 2004, when the Iraq war was at its peak and the relationship between the then leaders, John Howard and George Bush, was a close one…. The poll then found 46 per cent felt the relationship was too close and 47 per cent felt it was about right. Like the current poll, 3 per cent felt it was not close enough.
President Obama (speaking at a fundraiser in New York Thursday night):
Democracy is messy and it’s tough, and our system is broken to a large degree. And that makes this election more important than 2008. 2008 put us in a position to do some extraordinary things and I can’t be prouder of what we did. But in 2008, I also think everybody figured, we get through this one election and then it’s all done. And then, after two and a half years, and it’s been tough and there have been setbacks, there are a lot of folks who suddenly feel deflated, this is hard, I’m not sure I believe in change. (Laughter.) They’ve still got the Obama poster but it’s all kind of frayed. (Laughter.) And Obama is grayer — (laughter) — he doesn’t seem as cool. (Laughter.)
But in some ways, that’s a healthy thing, because what that means is in 2012 … we realize this is about us. This is not about my election; it’s not about one person. It’s about competing visions about where we’re going to take the country. Are we going to have a country that’s inclusive? Are we going to have a country that gives opportunity to everybody? Are we going to have a country where everybody is sharing sacrifices but also sharing opportunities? Are we going to have a country in which what we project to the world is not just our military might, but it’s also our capacity to champion human rights and women’s rights and feed folks and help them become self-sufficient?
And those competing visions are going to be determined in this next election as much as they ever have before. And so I hope you guys aren’t tired because we’ve got a lot more work to do. And this is an ongoing project.