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