First Lady Michelle Obama: “I’m helping to track Santa tonight. He’s flying all over the world delivering presents to boys and girls. And I can see him on my radar screen in his sleigh, and he’s heading towards your house.” —The First Lady and NORAD are tracking Santa’s sleigh around the world
President Barack Obama addresses an audience of armed forces at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. President Obama thanked the troops for their service and marked the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan. ahead of the upcoming holidays
President Barack Obama returns a salute as he steps off Marine One helicopter upon his return on the South Lawn of the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama reads “Twas the night before Christmas” to patients, families, and staff at Children’s National Health System in Washington
President Obama at Kretchmar’s Bakery in Beaver, Pa., July 6 (Pete Souza)
Okay, a few things.
* A gazillion thanks to our beloved VC for her highly excellent #CanMittMatchThis? post.
* And a gazillion thanks too for all the very lovely emails today about last night’s ’20 Reasons Why We Fight For This Fella‘ post, I’ll get around to replying to you all eventually, I promise – but I’m abysmally behind with my emails, so please forgive me!
* To all those who tried to comment on the blog for the first time the last couple of days – if you’re genuine PBO supporters, thank you. But the house rules stay the same: newcomers’ comments are only put through if they sign in with longstanding Twitter, Facebook or WordPress accounts. Sorry about that, but it’s the only way to keep this a Tea/Firebagger-free zone.
* I’m up in the air tomorrow afternoon – literally. In a very small plane :???: Gulp. I’ll almost be sitting on the pilot’s lap. Poor creature. So, there’ll be a gap in posting, until I hit the ground – gently, hopefully – and then I’ll battle with my broadband-will-probably-be-dodgy-in-this-middle-of-nowhere-location difficulty.
TPM: While Republican leaders gathered in Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol office Wednesday morning for a photo op with reporters – hectoring Democrats and making the case that they’re on the right side of the payroll tax fight – an unusual scene played out on the House floor.
In an attempt to illustrate just who’s at fault for the payroll tax stalemate Minority Whip Steny Hoyer showed up to ask for a vote on the Senate’s compromise bill. Republicans could have simply objected and given Hoyer his talking point. Instead they gave him so much more.
Republicans just ignored Hoyer and refused to hear his unanimous consent request. The fill-in Speaker simply walked away.
Greg Sargent: In a speech late yesterday, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of trying to use government to “create equal outcomes.” Romney argued that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society,” in which “everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk.” He made a concerted case that under Obama’s ideal vision, everyone will “get the same rewards.”
This is a Big Lie – it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Obama has ever said, proposed or accomplished. And many liberal writers have noted today that this is Glenn Beck-level craziness, suggesting that Romney is willing to say and do anything to win.
CNN: Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.
…. President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year’s end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.
Steve Benen: It’s not uncommon for the Obama administration to do something worthwhile. Once in a while, though, the administration does something very worthwhile that will have a major impact on society.
Dave Roberts (‘New EPA mercury rules are a bona fide Big Deal’) has a helpful piece today on the EPA’s new national standards for mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants – the first of their kind – which he described as “a Big Deal” and an instance in which “history is being made.”
….. When we talk about separates a Democratic administration from a Republican one, there are no greater reminders about the differences than measures like these.
If recent history is any guide, this encouraging news won’t get quite as much attention as it deserves, and that’s a shame. Obama’s critics on the left expect developments like these, and don’t make a fuss to congratulate the administration for progress they’d like to be routine….
You may know me as the tall guy who followed Barack everywhere he went.
As the President’s body man for the last four years, it’s been my privilege to help him with whatever he needs: making sure he’s on time, finding some food when we’re on the road, or playing a quick game of basketball (he won, mostly).
Of course, this also means I’ve also eaten many, many meals with him.
So first of all, I just want to say thanks for supporting the Obamas and being part of this campaign. It means a lot, not only to the President, but to all of us who’ve worked by his side.
Two: I kind of love this “Dinner with Barack and Michelle” contest. You all have to do this.
Hiya people, just to let you know I’m going to be away from home for the next three weeks or so and at times I’ll have limited internet access. I will, though, be posting every day, it’s just that updates will be slower some of the time.
On days like that I’d hugely appreciate it if you could keep things going by posting links to articles and videos in the comments – and when I get back on the blog I’ll update everything and release unregistered visitors’ comments from the hell that is ‘pending’ (unless you’re Tea/Firebaggers, of course).
Love ya all ;-)
PS Just to reassure you, everything is excellent – those three weeks on the road will be 1% work and 99% pleasure!
Washington Post (2002): …President Bush … sprang from his golf cart at 6:15 a.m. and said he was “distressed to hear about the latest suicide bombers in Israel.” Just over four hours before, as Bush slept at his parents’ seaside retreat, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus in Israel, killing nine passengers.
Bush, wearing khakis and a knit shirt, was holding a driver in his gloved left hand …. however incongruous the setting, the president plunged ahead. “There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started, and we must not let them,” he said. “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.”
His business out of the way, Bush barely paused for breath before saying, “Thank you. Now watch this drive.”
The abrupt segue illustrates the dilemma Bush will face over the next month as he relaxes and works at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., at a time of global political volatility. On Tuesday, Bush will leave Washington behind until Labor Day. That is likely to mean a return to the golf-cart diplomacy of last summer when Bush talked Middle East peace between playing holes, at one point dripping sweat as he said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “can do a lot more to be convincing the people on the street to stop these acts of terrorism.”
With pen in hand, President Barack Obama sits at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office as Staff Secretary Lisa Brown organizes a stack of 35 bills for him to sign into law, Jan. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
You know all those Teapublicans and their media buddies who are complaining about the amount of time the President takes off?
In fairness to them, they were just as critical of President Bush. And they concede that he took waaaaaaaay more time off than President Obama. Ho ho, kidding …. they tend to, um, overlook these pesky facts and figures:
President Obama (over two years)
Vacation trips: 10 (spanning 58 days)
Trips to Camp David: 15 (spanning 35 days)
Total over two years: 93 days
** Percentage days ‘off’: 12.7 **
George W Bush (over eight years)
Trips to Camp David: 149 (spanning 487 days)
Trips to his Texas ranch: 77 (spanning 490 days)
Trips to his parents’ home in Maine: 11 (spanning 43 days)
Total over eight years: 1020 days
** Percentage days ‘off’: 34.9 **
Source: CBS/Mark Knoller – President Obama ‘By The Numbers’ here; Bush ‘By The Numbers’ here
But, but, but: what about all the golf President Obama plays?!
Well, if he, say, played Monday to Friday or canceled his State of the Union speech or postponed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks so he could play an extra round, I’d understand the Teapublican OUTRAGE (capital letters are important when you’re talking OUTRAGE).
But…. he plays at weekends and during his vacations. He’s active, fit, healthy – you know, good things. Bush spent most of his time off (over a third of his Presidency) watching sport on TV, sometimes getting so excited he choked on pretzels. I dunno, do Teapublicans believe pretzel-choking on the couch to be a more noble Presidential pursuit?
But, but, but: when Bush was at Camp David he was still working! Presidents are never off duty!
Okay, let’s do a deal – we’ll deduct the Camp David days … for both Presidents.
Deduct the Texas ranch trips too!
But, but, but: what about the cost of President Obama’s trip to Hawaii?!
That once-a-year-trip? Teapublicans? Do you really want to go there? No, no, I don’t mean Hawaii, I mean the cost thing.
… arriving at Hickam Air Force Base, December 22, in Honolulu, Hawaii
NYT: President Obama’s delayed Christmas vacation began at 11:42 p.m. (Hawaii time – 4:42 a.m. on the East Coast) when Air Force One touched down at Hickam Air Force Base. Mr. Obama stepped off the plane into the sultry Hawaiian darkness with two members of Congress, Senator Daniel Akaka and Representative Mazie Hirono, both Democrats of Hawaii, who accompanied him for the 10-hour flight home. The president hopped into his S.U.V., and his motorcade sped off in a hurry to take him to his wife and daughters, who left Washington Saturday for their luxury rented beach home at Kailua, on the windward shore of the island of Oahu. He got there at half past midnight. The White House hopes Mr. Obama, who is scheduled to be here until January 2, will have 11 days of relative quiet. (He was originally scheduled to return home on the first, but has decided to extend his stay by a day.)