President Obama plays with Bo aboard Air Force One during a flight to Hawaii, Dec. 23
….. making phone calls to 10 American service members stationed around the world, from his vacation rental home in Kailua, Hawaii, Dec. 24. WHCA Presidential Communications Officer CPT Mallory Fritz and Military Aide Lt. Col. Sam Price coordinate the calls in the background
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, descend the Grand Staircase before delivering remarks at a Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 8
….. greeting Kennedy Center honoree Meryl Streep in the Blue Room of the White House, Dec. 4
…… taking a picture of guests Marilyn Arleen Nelson and Glen D. Nelson during the Kennedy Center Honors reception
….. greeting Elie Wiesel in the Oval Office, Dec. 5
….. arriving aboard Marine One at Osawatomie-Paola Municipal Airport in Osawatomie, Kan., Dec. 6
….. greeting U.S. Military Academy Cadets during the annual Army vs. Navy football game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., Dec. 10
…… returning from a Christmas shopping trip, Dec. 21
All official White House Photos by Pete Souza and Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama talks with Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady, on the Colonnade of the White House, Jan. 10, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama greets the crowd during a visit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, Jan. 10
Greg Sargent: Newt Gingrich unleashes an absolutely brutal new ad in South Carolina ripping Romney’s previous moderation and flip flops on social issues, another sign of Newt’s determination to tear Romney down:
Jonathan Cohn: Forget Mitt Romney’s verbal gaffes for a moment. Something more important has happened in the last few days. The linchpin of Romney’s most powerful argument has turned out to be bogus.
I’m talking about Romney’s claim about job creation – specifically, that Obama lost 2 million jobs as president while Romney, as a leader of Bain Capital, created 100,000 jobs. It’s taken a few weeks, and what seems like a few hundred posts by the indefatigable Greg Sargent, to get the media to focus on this claim. But now they are. And it turns out to be even more laughable than it appeared upon initial inspection.
Here’s the story, in case you haven’t read it elsewhere:
From the get-go, Romney’s argument was weak. Among the many flaws: Romney calculates the Obama era job losses by using, as a baseline, the employment rate as of January, 2009, when Obama first took office. That’s absurd. The economy was in free-fall when Obama took over….
OFA: “I had that deer-in-the-headlights look – these kinds of things just don’t happen to me.”
That’s how Kathie, a Head Start teacher for special-needs kids, felt when she got the call about being one of four campaign supporters to sit down to a meal with President Obama.
…. “…. the conversation just flowed. He asked about our families and what was happening in our area, and the work that we do. The President ordered a burger and fries, a spinach salad, and iced tea. And then the waiter came to me and I was thinking, ‘How am I going to eat?’ But the President was so warm and considerate – he offered us some of his fries! And I thought, ‘This is the leader of the free world.’
Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Conservatives are furious with GOP candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for attacking Mitt Romney’s Bain tenure as capitalism run amok. Gingrich has claimed that Bain “looted” other companies, and Perry today slammed enterprises like Bain as “vultures” who “eat the carcass” of its victims, prompting a fresh round of outrage from the right.
Conservatives have good reason for being angry about this. In attacking Romney’s Bain years in these terms, his fellow Republicans are mainstreaming and giving bipartisan legitimacy to one of the chief arguments Obama and Dems will use against Romney in the general election. They are badly undermining Romney’s whole pushback against it – giving Dems an advantage in the coming war to define Romney’s Bain years, which will be as central to the general election narrative as the war over John Kerry’s Vietnam service was in 2004.
WH: …. Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added 170,000 jobs – the best period of job growth for the industry in more than a decade.
When President Obama took office, the American auto industry was shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands and GM and Chrysler faced the possibility of liquidation – which would have caused at least 1 million more jobs to be lost. The President made the tough choice to help provide the auto industry the temporary support it needed to grow and prosper.
Today, GM and Chrysler have repaid their government loans, and the “Big Three” automakers – GM, Ford, and Chrysler – are all adding jobs, generating profit, and investing in their U.S. facilities. Auto sales climbed in December for the seventh consecutive month and GM, Chrysler, and Ford saw their market share increase to over 47 percent in 2011, the second straight year that Detroit gained market share against their foreign competitors, something that had not previously happened since 1995….
TPM: In a positive sign for the economy, November saw the biggest growth in consumer credit for 10 years. It should have happened much earlier. What threw it off was the GOP taking the debt ceiling hostage.
Steve Benen: A few weeks ago, PolitiFact made a serious mistake in selecting its “Lie of the Year” … Democratic claims that House Republicans voted to “end” Medicare earned the ignoble designation, despite the fact that the Democratic argument is easily supportable.
It was easy to predict what would happen next. As part of the party’s 2012 campaign message, Democrats would run ads criticizing GOP lawmakers for their anti-Medicare vote … GOP leaders would go to every station in the country, telling them not to run campaign commercials that include claims proven to be untrue. That PolitiFact’s decision was ridiculous wouldn’t matter.
And sure enough, we’re already seeing this start to play out. Greg Sargent has the latest: Earlier this week, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee aired a TV ad, timed to the GOP presidential debate, attacking GOP incumbent Rep. Charlie Bass for voting to “end Medicare.” The Bass campaign sent letters to two New Hampshire stations – WMUR and WHDH – demanding the ads be yanked. Crucially, the Bass campaign repeatedly cited PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year designation to bolster its case.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka lauds Cecilia Muñoz’s appointment to head the Domestic Policy Council: “Cecilia Muñoz is a dedicated advocate for civil and human rights and longtime friend to the Labor movement. The AFL-CIO congratulates Cecilia on her appointment to Director of the Domestic Policy Council and looks forward to working with her to develop and implement a policy agenda that improves the lives of working families.”
President Barack Obama is introduced by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson before he speaks to employees of the EPA in Washington January 10
In the comments under the last post, Kasai passed on this article by Maze Jackson that was sent to her recently (there’s a link to it here at the TruthBTold blog). It’s such a pile of steaming crap I’m not posting it all, but here are a few lines:
“…. I have not been the most ardent Barack Obama supporter. I have always been wary of his commitment to Black people…”
“…..Combine that with another seemingly legitimate Black candidate, Herman Cain….”
(Note: The President is “seemingly legitimate”)
“Obama’s election demonstrated that in dire times, Americans are willing to give anything a try, hence the first Black President…”
“Make no mistake about it; I have my own personal grievances against OUR President. I really think he could have done more for Blacks, but I know “he’s trying not to be the angry Black man,” as Jay – Z was recently quoted in Rolling Stone. I think if he would have been the angry Black man, capable of properly articulating his thoughts, they would not be trying to punk him right now….”
“But he’s still family, and when someone attacks your family, no matter what the circumstances, you defend home. We can take Obama to the woodshed for ignoring us these past three years AFTER we get him re-elected. But he better get it right or he’ll be the LAST BLACK PRESIDENT.”
….I would NEVER join the Tea Party, I profess to be a life-long Democrat. But I must admit, that if it weren’t for the programs and initiatives that I benefited from personally (and now the fact that they’ve gone completely loony) I would have considered joining the Republican Party. Pause for shock and awe. I only say that because of their position on taxes and the fact I would like to keep more of what I earn. Being a Democrat has been good to me, so I will remain loyal.
It got me to thinking about why isn’t our generation more open minded to the possibilities of joining other political parties. Make no mistake, I am not advocating for the Republican Party, but just considering our interests….
…. Do you ever wonder why our community always seems to get the short end of the stick, no matter who is in power? I surmise that it is precisely because of our ABSOLUTE loyalty to the Democratic Party, that we remain virtually powerless politically ….
So here’s what I say…let’s be a little smarter. Let’s not be blinded by the D or the R behind someone’s name, but by what they can do for us…
…. I bet if the Republicans thought they even had a chance to win the Black vote, they’d be more willing to compromise on social and fiscal issues most important to us. That scenario – all we do is “WIN, WIN and WIN, NO MATTER WHAT!” See why I like Black Republicans?
Oh Maze, you’re just not subtle, are you?
PS His bio (here) says he has “successfully operated Universal MazJac Enterprise for fifteen years” – funny, its website is still under construction
But you have to admit, Maze is delightfully modest: “Recognized as one of the sharpest young political minds in Illinois, Maze has a penchant for winning difficult and challenging campaigns, clearly identifying the path to victory, developing the strategy, and executing the tactics needed to ensure victory. Most recently, Maze served as Statewide Field Director for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and was widely recognized as one of the key components to victory.” (Link)
Steve Kornacki (Salon): …if this does end up being the end for Anthony Weiner’s public career, it might not be quite the injustice it seems like – at least if you know how his career began.
Twenty years ago, Weiner’s opening came when the City Council was radically expanded … One of the new districts, the 48th, would be in Southern Brooklyn. It was a neat match for Weiner … there was no incumbent, and the population was heavily Jewish. He jumped in the race.
He was not the favorite … as the all-important Sept. 10 Democratic primary approached, the consensus was that he’d come up short…
It was at this point that Weiner’s campaign decided to blanket the district with leaflets attacking his opponents. But these were no ordinary campaign attacks: They played the race card, and at a very sensitive time. They were also anonymous.
Just weeks earlier, the Crown Heights riot – a deadly, days-long affair that brought to the surface long-standing tension between the area’s black and Jewish populations – had played out a few miles away from the 48th District…
It was just days after order had been restored that Weiner’s campaign distributed its anonymous leaflets, which linked (Democrat rival) Adele Cohen – whose voters he was targeting in particular – to Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins, who was then New York’s mayor. It is hard to imagine two more-hated political figures in the 48th District at that moment … The leaflets urged voters to “just say no” to the “Jackson-Dinkins agenda” that Cohen supposedly represented. At City Hall, Dinkins held up the flier and branded it “hateful.”
….Weiner finished in first place … only after the ballots were counted did he admit that he’d been behind the leaflets, claiming that “We didn’t want the source to be confused with the message.”…
… who knows where Weiner would be today if he hadn’t made such a dark appeal to racial hostility days after a notorious riot?
…..Is it unfair if he loses his political future because of a scandal as dumb as this one? Sure. But it’s also not exactly fair that he ever made it this far.
GOPolitico: Rev. Jesse Jackson told POLITICO today that the birther movement is part of a larger pattern of rollbacks against civil rights and and an attack on the legitimacy of the nation’s first African-American president..
“Any discussion of his birthplace is a code word,” said Jackson. “It calls upon ancient racial fears. Trump has trumpeted this cause. For him to go down this low is a bit surprising,” Jackson said, making explicit what many black leaders have suggested. “He is now tapping into code-word fears that go far beyond a rational discourse.”
Jackson also pointed to a broader pattern of hostility towards civil rights – pointing to a number of events, including the battle over public sector unions, a transportation policy that he says disadvantages poor minority city dwellers, and a renewed interest in policies like voter ID.
“I’m saying there’s a pattern here. It’s not just name calling of Barack. We’ll win that battle,” said Jackson ‘There is a retreat – a pronounced, documented retreat on civil rights enforcement.”
“This is the most personal attacks on any president ever,” said Jackson. “Whose personal religion has ever been challenged before? That has strong racial overtones.”
Jesse Jackson (in the Chicago Sun-Times): Donald Trump has risen to the top of the Republican presidential candidate ratings while campaigning on the nutty charge that President Obama isn’t American, that he is not legally qualified to be president.
The Trump effect has led others, like Sarah Palin, to start hedging their dismissal of these absurdities. If this continues, the Republican race could turn into a race for the muck.
…he’s riding a toxic wave by emitting poisonous charges he must know are not true. This nonsense about Obama’s birth is one of various efforts to label him as un-American, as alien. Some say he’s not a Christian, but a Muslim. Mike Huckabee muses on the Kenyan socialism Obama must have imbibed while growing up in Kenya, where he never lived.
This is an old and tawdry game. When Dr. King was challenging segregation, Southerners knew they couldn’t win the argument with him on equal rights or the right to vote. So they labeled him a communist. They said he was an outside agitator, even though his church was in Georgia. When he spoke out against Vietnam, they debated not his views, but his qualification even to have an opinion. He was a preacher, they scorned, not a foreign-policy expert, even though the experts got us into the debacle. For King, as for Obama, all this was simply a diversion, a way not to debate his ideas or his positions, but to dismiss them from consideration by slurring the messenger.
…We now know Donald Trump is happy to peddle a lie about America’s president. We know virtually nothing about his views on America’s course forward … Voters shouldn’t honor or reward him – or anyone – for that.
First Lady Michelle Obama visits Fort Jackson, South Carolina, January 27
CNN : First Lady Michelle Obama took her campaign to battle childhood obesity to the military on Thursday. “It’s not just a health issue for children, its a national security issue,” Mrs. Obama said at Fort Jackson in South Carolina as she promoted her ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative. Fort Jackson is the Army’s largest basic training facility.
Obama attended a briefing led by Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the Army’s Deputy Commanding General for training, on the poor state of physical fitness for today’s youth, and the difficulty for the military to attract new recruits who can meet basic fitness standards. Of the 129,000 new recruits every year, approximately 40 percent are overweight.
While at Fort Jackson, Obama also toured the base and visited it’s “Go Green” dining program, which encourages healthy eating. She also attended a ceremony for 1,100 soldiers of the First battalion thirty fourth regiment, 165th brigade who were graduating from basic training.
The Justice Department sued BP, Transocean and three other companies involved in the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, charging that they broke environmental laws.
The Obama administration is suing the companies “for the impact this spill has had on our environment and the livelihoods of those who depend on the Gulf’s ecosystem,” Lisa Jackson, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said at a press conference.
The Justice Department’s civil and criminal investigations into the oil leak are continuing, said Attorney General Eric Holder. “We intend to hold them fully accountable for their violations of the law,” he said of the companies in the suit.
Matryoshka dolls in the likeness of late singer Michael Jackson, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama stand on display at a souvenir stall in the city center on June 20, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Russia