President Barack Obama walks across the tarmac to greet people after arriving at North Carolina Air National Guard Base in Charlotte, N.C., March 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
11:00: Michelle Obama attends the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards ceremony hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
3:30: PBO hosts President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana for a meeting.
5:35: PBO and Michelle Obama have dinner with winners of a campaign contest.
PBS: The web is abuzz today about video of a speech Barack Obama gave in 1990 at Harvard Law School defending the actions of Professor Derrick Bell ….
….. the website BuzzFeed published a clip of the speech …. it claimed the clip was “not previously available online” ….. But there’s nothing new about the clip or Obama’s role in the controversy at Harvard Law School …. it’s been online at our site and on YouTube since 2008…..
In light of today’s controversy, and Breitbart.com editors’ claims that the footage had been edited, we pulled the full archived tape. In includes not just Obama’s speech, but other footage from the rally and portions of Derrick Bell’s speech….
While BuzzFeed did not publish all of the available footage of the event they did post the entirety of what was available of Obama’s speech….. (See the link to watch the video)
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s latest post at The People’s View:
‘We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.’
Greg Sargent: A new national poll of Latino registered voters by Univision News/ABC/Latino Decisions has some very interesting findings that cast doubt on GOP chances of making inroads among them:
* 61% of Latinos trust Obama and Dems to make the right decisions to improve the economy, versus only 24% who pick Republicans.
* 57% of Latinos say Obama’s health reform law should be left to stand, versus 28% who support repeal.
* Romney’s favorable ratings among Latinos are upside down, at 28-41, though many are undecided.
* 72% of Latinos say that the GOP either doesn’t care about reaching out to them (45%) or is outright hostile to them (27%)…..
….. the fact that nearly three-fourths of Latinos think the GOP either doesn’t care about or is outright hostile towards them is another sign that the primary may have badly damaged any GOP hopes of making real inroads with them.
WCNC: North Carolina’s favorite son is hoping his voice will help keep President Barack Obama in the White House for another four years.
On Friday in Ballantyne, musician James Taylor appeared at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Convention with First Lady Michelle Obama…..
…. For the next few months he is on tour and on a mission to keep Barack Obama in the White House.
On Taylor’s hat, you’ll find a small pin reading “Obama 2012.” “It’s a 2012, pump up the spirit pin,” Taylor said. “I do wear it with pride. I am so, I really love this President. I love what it says about America that we were able to elect this man… and I think of him as almost uniquely honest in this political world.”
They Gave Us A Republic: ….…I admit to watching, dumbfounded, as contraception became, in the immortal words of the Vice President, “a big fucking deal” over the last week or so…. I had a busy week, and just left it up to Obama…..
What he was up to, it looks to me like, was positioning his pieces to call “checkmate” in one of those games of eleventh dimensional chess that I am starting to believe might actually exist.
He must have been laughing his ass off when the Bishops and their GOP allies picked this fight… Some pro-choice republicans were aghast, and pleaded with the leadership not to, but they charged ahead, like a two-ton bull, right through the doors of the china shop. And Barack Obama smiled and stood aside, holding them open.
…. Obama wasn’t boxed in. Not at all. But now the Bishops are. So far, they have been silent after thunderously declaring that nothing short of total repeal of the mandate would suit them. And as they lost the healthcare reform battle, they are going to lose this one, too. Because they are wrong and their time is past. And by their silence, I think they are telling us all that they realize they’ve been had.
Deaniac (The People’s View): Nontroversy resolved. Another stroke of genius by Obama.
… now the President has stripped off all the cover for the GOP’s anti-women agenda, and they are still not smart enough to hide it. Now women know for sure that this fight is about birth control and not about religious liberty. Now women also know who stands in their corner to protect birth control and which party wants to take this very basic health care right away from them.
Smartypants: In The Atlantic, James Fallows has written one of the most interesting analyses of the Obama administration that I’ve seen.
…. if you’re like me, you won’t agree with some of the things he says. But what I appreciated about it is that he doesn’t seem to have an ax to grind from either side. He’s not trying to defend Obama or take him down. I’ll admit that its rare to see an analysis these days that doesn’t at least seem to have one or the other agenda – no matter how deep people try to bury it.
Addictinginfo: The Republican Party is tearing itself apart and many conservative voters are considering abandoning the sinking ship to vote for none other than President Obama in 2012.
According to a poll conducted by Wenzel Strategies on behalf of conservative publication World Net Daily, 1 in 5 Republicans will vote for or are leaning towards voting for President Obama in the upcoming Presidential Election in November.
Several weeks ago, I launched a new Friday afternoon feature, highlighting the most blatant Mitt Romney falsehoods of the week. It moved to Maddow Blog last week, and here’s this week’s installment. (It does not include mendacity from Romney’s CPAC speech this afternoon.)
First lady Michelle Obama is joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the future site of a Northgate Market in Inglewood, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Michelle Obama says the proposed new supermarket in the middle of a blue-collar Hispanic neighborhood in Southern California is an example of how the effort to bring healthy foods to low-income communities is paying off.
AP: First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday said the campaign to bring healthy food to all Americans is happening neighborhood by neighborhood.
Standing in a vacant Southern California store set to be refurbished and reopened this summer, Obama lauded efforts to bring large grocery retailers to inner-city areas that traditional supermarket chains spurn.
…. Obama, who is on the second day of her two-day visit to the Los Angeles area, made the stop in the blue-collar, largely Hispanic neighborhood as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to boost healthy food and fitness.
Part of the campaign includes promoting initiatives such as the $264 million California FreshWorks Fund, which finances grocery businesses willing to open in urban areas.
…. After the Inglewood event, Obama was scheduled to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and to deliver a luncheon speech at the Democratic National Committee.
Washington Post: U.S. factories grew in January at the fastest pace in seven months, boosted by a rise in new orders. And builders ended a poor year for construction by spending more on homes and projects for the fifth straight month.
The reports bolster other data showing the U.S. economy started the year strong.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Wednesday that its manufacturing index rose last month to 54.1 from 53.1 in December. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
Consumers are buying more cars and trucks, while businesses ordered more machinery and other equipment. That has driven manufacturing, which expanded for the 30th straight month.
Both new orders and order backlogs rose to nine-month highs. Increasing order backlogs suggest manufacturers are lacking the capacity to meet demand. That could mean more growth in production and employment in the near future, economists said.
Export orders also rose, a sign that U.S. manufacturers haven’t yet been affected by Europe’s slowing economy.
“This is a very encouraging report on manufacturing activity that shows particular strength in leading indicators,” said John Ryding, an economist at RDQ Economics.
Steve Benen: For campaign watchers, Florida’s Republican presidential primary was the big draw yesterday, but there was another noteworthy race on the other side of the country: a U.S. House special election in Oregon’s 1st congressional district.
Just two weeks ago, the National Republican Congressional Committee took an interest in the race, airing attack ads against Democratic candidate Suzanne Bonamici. The GOP candidate, Rob Cornilles, even released an internal poll showing him trailing by only four points.
Yesterday, however, it became clear Republicans were chasing a mirage.
Democrat Suzanne Bonamici swept to victory Tuesday in Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, continuing her party’s nearly four-decade-long hold on the seat covering the northwestern corner of the state. With the bulk of ballots counted, Bonamici was defeating Republican Rob Cornilles by about 15 percentage points…..
TPM: The Obama administration announced Wednesday that the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to receive health coverage through a private insurer, is enjoying lower costs and more customers as a result of the health care reform law.
Yahoo: If you watched President Obama’s Google+ hangout Monday night, you saw two interesting exchanges between the president and Jennifer Wedel, a 29-year-old Texas mother of two.
It turns out that Wedel’s digital meeting convinced her to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election – despite her support for the GOP.
…. Afterwards, Wedel, who described herself as a “good Republican,” is now planning to vote for Obama in this year’s presidential election.
“I didn’t vote for him four years ago. But I have been so disappointed with the presidential race. I haven’t seen anybody who would have been a good replacement. I know how Obama is now. I know how he rolls. So I’d probably vote him back in,” said Wedel in an interview with The Atlantic. “I (feel) like I know him a little more,” Wedel said. “There was a connection. He should definitely do this with more people…..”
….. for those who watched the event, a slightly odd moment near the end might have jumped out. During that personal question round, Wedel asked Obama if he would do a little jig. Obama demurred. What was that about? It’s a YouTube meme thing, explained Wedel. An extremely popular video on the site is a minute-and-a-half clip of then-candidate Obama shaking it on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” back in 2007; one version has 12 million hits and counting.
“It’s so funny,” said Wedel. “You’ve got to watch it.”
2:00: VP Biden attends a campaign event in Fort Worth, Texas.
6:30: VP Biden attends a campaign event in DeKalb, Texas.
7:15: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
9:10: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
11:00: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Los Angeles.
Michelle Obama appears on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.
In case you missed…
Chief of Staff Jack Lew briefs President Barack Obama during Lew’s first senior advisors meeting as chief of staff in the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2012. Participating in the meeting are, from left: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Lew; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler; Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Counselor to the President Pete Rouse: Press Secretary Jay Carney; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sun Times: While the attention is on the Tuesday Republican primary here, the Obama 2012 re-election team has been organizing in this state for months and already has 11 Florida offices.
…. Here are highlights of the Chicago-based Obama campaign on-the-ground organizing in the Sunshine state:
• 194 State of the Union Watch Parties ranging from Key West all the way to Pensacola.
• Held nearly 3,000 trainings, planning sessions, house parties, and phone banks.
• Held 4,500+ one-on-one meetings.
• Opened 11 campaign offices across the state, including in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In November, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 22 percent of independents.
In December, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 29 percent of independents.
And in the new poll, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 42 percent of independents — 20 points higher than two months ago.
Also: In November, Romney was beating Obama 47-34 among those voters. Now the numbers are upside down: Obama is beating Romney 44-36.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first act President Obama signed, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
The Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It gave legal support to Lilly Ledbetter’s 1998 equal-pay lawsuit – a lawsuit that the Supreme Court ruled against in 2007, by a 5-4 majority.
Lilly Ledbetter’s case had been largely ignored until then, but the decision made it “a rallying issue for the left … in their attempt to persuade the public that the Supreme Court was moving too far to the right”. (See more here)
The bill was re-introduced in Congress in January 2009. It passed in the House of Representatives with 247 votes in support and 171 against. The vote was nearly perfectly split along party lines…. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed the Senate, 61-36, on January 22, 2009.
President Obama had long championed this bill and Lilly Ledbetter’s cause and by signing it into law ensured that women like Lilly Ledbetter and other victims of pay discrimination could effectively challenge unequal pay.
By the way, here’s how professional left darling Cenk “Obama is a moron” Uygur (the pure ‘progressive’ who’s only 41, but ….. is a ‘former’ Republican whose hero was Reagan, who voted for George HW Bush and Bob Dole, who opposed affirmative action, was anti-choice on the abortion issue, supported Clarence Thomas, had a serious problem with feminism, attended Federalist Society meetings (an organization of conservatives and libertarians co-founded by the charming Robert Bork) and, to this day, is an Armenian Genocide denier – and opposed PBO from almost his first day in office and called on Democrats to vote against him in this year’s Iowa primary …. PBO got 98.5% of the vote, so that worked well) described The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:
“Eventually the Democrats had a 60 seat majority in the Senate, they were unstoppable. And what did we get? Lilly Ledbetter. If you don’t know, that’s a minor bill that passed in the beginning of the administration … it’s a good bill, that’s why I bring it up … about women being entitled to equal pay. God bless. Incredibly easy victory.”
A “minor” bill?
Ooops, Uygur’s inner Republican slipped out. He should try telling Lilly Ledbetter it’s a “minor” bill.
Read Hoos Left on this fraud, fantastic: “A failed corporate lawyer and neocon with an enhanced opinion of himself and an ego as fat as his broad ass.”
PS Uygur is so progressive, he followed Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald’s lead by setting up a PAC pleading for donations for causes he, um, passionately believes in. And as Hamsher and Greenwald could tell you, these PACs can be very profitable ;-)
First Lady Michelle Obama shows NFL PLAY 60 Super Kid James Gale, 11, historical photos from previous administrations on display in the Booksellers Area during a National Football League (NFL) taping in the East Wing of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012. At right is James’ mother Lisa Gale. The taping will air during the Super Bowl, Feb. 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
The Hill: Justice expands definition of rape – Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said the administration supported the update and worked with DOJ on the matter. The Department of Justice has broadened its definition of rape to lead to more comprehensive statistical reporting of the crime nationwide. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday announced the changes to the Uniform Crime Report’s definition of rape, which the Justice Department said better reflect state criminal codes….
Steve Benen: GOP refuses to let House Dems speak….. When President Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling, congressional Republicans respond, “You can’t do that; we’re not in session.” When the White House wants to make recess appointments, congressional Republicans respond, “You can’t do that; we are in session.” And when James Clyburn wants to say a few words from the House floor, congressional Republicans respond, “You can’t do that; we’re not in session.”
Politicususa: … On October 7th, 1998, Matthew Shepard accepted a ride from Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson … they drove Matthew into the country, tied him to a fence post and beat him severely … they attacked Matthew because he was gay. They left him there in the cold dark, bleeding and unconscious until a cyclist found him, almost 18 hours later. Matthew died from his injuries on October 12th, 1998…
Eleven years after Matthew’s death, President Barack Obama signed into law The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act … this bill makes it a federal crime to assault people based on their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity … Judy Shepard had visited President Obama in the Oval Office and he had made her a promise that this day would come. By signing The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act into law, President Obama kept his promise to Matthew’s family.
…. I asked many people to share their memories of Matthew Shepard with me, including Captain Stephen Snyder-Hill … the Army officer who was booed at the Republican debate…
Joshua Snyder-Hill: … A year later I was taken to DC for my first equality event. I was still not out to my family or friends. The one thing I remember most were the people picketing the concert hall cheering Matthew’s death and celebrating it as a victory. I remember all my fear of coming out melted away. I had spent three days in DC seeing nothing but hope and activism until that moment; it was then and there I decided, I had to be part of the fight for equality. Matthew’s death and the energy behind it, made me want to be proud of who I was and show love conquered hate.
Robert Shrum: It’s natural for the GOP to dismiss the facts in favor of misreading the entrails of a temporary congressional gain (in New York) which will be reversed in 2012. But it’s stupid, a sign of panic, and a pathetic and depressing picture to see Democrats joining in….
…. among the disaffected are elements of the labor movement …. Good luck to any union that sits out or sloughs off in 2012; if they end up with Romney or Perry, it could mark the end of organized labor in America.
…. too many members of his own party in Congress who pushed the president for a jobs bill, paid for by taxes on the wealthy, are now validating Will Rogers’s observation that they “don’t belong to any organized party. They’re Democrats”. Some of them are beginning to pick the bill apart, pursuing parochial interests …. Sen. Sherrod Brown warns that Democrats have to “compromise to get this bill up and running”; everybody can’t have all they want. He’s right, and so is Nancy Pelosi that Democrats can recapture the House – if they hold their nerve and stand with the president…..
Finally comes my friend James Carville to argue in a pyrotechnic CNN piece that yes, the White House should “panic” …. As Bill Clinton’s campaign chief in 1992, Carville didn’t panic – he certainly didn’t fire himself – in the early summer of that year, when Clinton was in last place, at 22 percent, in a three-way race with Ross Perot and the first George Bush.
…. Carville is on target about one thing: Obama has to “make a case like a Democrat”. But that’s what this president is doing now…..
…. the GOP is doing its best to block recovery as a conscious strategy to reclaim the White House: kill jobs to get the job. But there is grave risk for Republicans in this transparent cynicism; the president has the voice, and we’ve learned before that he has the strength of will to set the choice and win the big battle. Indeed, that’s what makes the comparison with Carter absurd; from health reform to financial reform to the salvation of the auto industry and the prevention of depression, Obama has a historic record of achievement.
…. Obama is a fourth quarter player. And the fourth quarter has come. It’s time for the crybaby chorus to leave the critic’s row and get in the game. The president will do his part. And then his victory in the 2012 election will be remembered long after his phony defeat in a peculiar special election fades into a footnote.
The panic isn’t justified — and Democrats can’t afford it. Grow up. As Carville might say, there’s too much at stake, stupid.
First Lady Michelle Obama takes part in a Let’s Move tennis clinic with John McEnroe at the US Open
….with James Blake
….. with Serena Williams
Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA Jon Vegosen, MaliVai Washington, Billie Jean King, James Blake, First Lady Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Katrina Adams participate in the Let’s Move!
….. at day 12 of the US Open
…. with Billie Jean King
…. with daughter Sasha watching the match between John Isner and Andy Murray
Jonathan Capehart: And now let’s turn our attention to the controversy surrounding Teamsters chief James Hoffa and his remarks preceding President Obama’s Labor Day speech in Detroit. The indignation from Tea Party members and others is just a bit much. I would say those in glass house shouldn’t throw stones, but that wouldn’t be fair to Hoffa now that I know exactly what he said.
… Tea Party folks and others ready to clobber Hoffa, unions, progressives, “the left” somehow didn’t hear him say, “Everybody here’s gotta vote.” While his language was salty, Hoffa put the emphasis where it belonged, the ballot box. The only way for labor to end what it sees as the “war on workers” is for labor to vote the Tea Party out of office. And I have no quarrel with that.
Steve Benen: It appears that one of the day’s biggest political stories yesterday, at least on the right, had to do with a Labor Day speech Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. delivered in Detroit. This has “manufactured outrage” written all over it ….
….here’s the context of the quote: “Everybody here’s got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!”
In other words, he was talking about voting. This was not a call to violence – Hoffa wants to take the far-right politicians out of office, not out of existence.
… A paid CNN analyst said that if President Obama “doesn’t condemn” the comments, “he is sanctioning violence.” This is all pretty silly. If the right is comfortable with Rick Perry’s comments about Ben Bernanke, and Sarah Palin’s “reload” cliche, and Mitt Romney talking about “hanging” Obama, I think conservatives can probably stop clutching the pearls over Hoffa’s line about voting.
Business Insider: After all the speculation that Rick Perry’s threats against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would hurt his relationship with Wall Street, at least one banker is pledging his company’s support.
WGIR New Hampshire Radio’s Paul Westcott captures this clip of an unknown individual telling the Texas governor at a “Politics & Eggs” event in New Hampshire: “I’m from Bank of America and we’ll help you out.”
UPDATE: ZeroHedge identifies the Bank of America official as James Mahoney the Director of Public Policy for the bank. Mahoney is a member of the board of directors of The New England Council, one of the events sponsors.
It’s worth noting again that Perry threatened Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and said any attempt by the Fed to print more money would be “almost…treasonous.”
UPDATE 2: Mahoney is not registered as a lobbyist, and a BofA spokesman tells POLITICO he works on policy …. Spokesman Lawrence Di Rita: “Bank of America does not endorse Presidential candidates. The reference was about following up on the substance of the speech about job creation and economic growth. Discussing policy issues that affect our company and our customers is something we do with policymakers of both parties routinely at the local, state, and Federal levels.”
ZeroHedge: Should we be surprised, frightened, disgusted or simply say “we knew it” …. At least we know now who is funding what, and whose interests potential future president Perry will be paid to defend.
NYT: Representative Nancy Pelosi today announced her three appointees to the special congressional committee tasked with finding ways to reduce federal budget deficits, even as a Republican member of the newly formed panel expressed an openness to consider possible tax increases.
Ms. Pelosi’s choices complete the 12-member panel, which is evenly divided between both the parties and the two houses of Congress.
All three members named by Ms. Pelosi hold leading roles in the party: Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat; Representative Xavier Becerra of California, vice chair of the Democratic Caucus; and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
… One Republican member of the committee, Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, said today that he would not rule out possible tax increases – a central point of contention in the recent debt talks and something many economists contend will be a necessary element to any successful bipartisan proposal.
“I don’t want to rule anything in or out,” Mr. Camp told Reuters. “I am willing to discuss all issues that might help us reduce our short and long-term debt and grow our economy. Everything is on the table, until we as a group rule it out,” he said.
Ms. Pelosi, in her statement, described Mr. Clyburn as a consensus builder with experience on the Appropriations Committee; Mr. Becerra as a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee who “placed the interests of America’s working families first”; and Mr. Van Hollen as a Democratic leader in the deficit-reduction talks led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The three Democratic members will join three House Republicans, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Mr. Camp and Fred Upton, both from Michigan, on the committee. The Senate will be represented by three Republicans, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio, along with the Democrats Patty Murray of Washington, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Max Baucus of Montana.