President Barack Obama Oval Office listens to Valerie Jarrett during a meeting with senior staff in the Oval Office on Aug. 13, 2009. From left; White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Jarrett, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Assistant to the President Mona Sutphen. Seated at far right is Alyssa Mastromonaco, Director of Scheduling. Photo by Pete Souza
A year ago: President Obama tours the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., with Sara Bloomfield, museum director, and Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor, April 23, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
12:30: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
2:15: The President honors the 2013 National Teacher of the Year
2:45: Meets with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani
6:30: Meets with a bipartisan group of women Senators for dinner
8:30: Vice President Biden Speaks at the Time 100 Dinner
Peter Beinart: The rap against Barack Obama, at least on the left, has long been that he’s too cautious, too calculating, too conciliatory. Not a guy willing to take risks.
We can apologize now.
What Obama did in the four months between December’s Newtown shooting and this Wednesday’s Senate capitulation was one of the great displays of presidential guts in American history…..
…. [he] pursued gun control with a force of mind and soul that was astonishing to behold. “I never saw a president fight so hard,” remarked Sen. Barbara Boxer, “never on any issue.”
Why did he do it? In part because the Obama-as-timid meme was always a lie …. but beyond that, I suspect that once Obama saw an opportunity, he pushed gun control so hard because he simply cares more. As a community organizer, he worked and lived in the kind of communities where Americans are most often shot…
…. The gun control struggle will likely continue for decades. And this week its arc feels particularly long. But one day, a future president will look back at the last four months as the moment when Barack Obama began to make it bend.
Steve Benen: As the debate over new measures to prevent gun violence reached its apex, Republican lawmakers and conservative activists became surprisingly hostile towards the family members of those slain in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. If there’s one group of people who would appear to be off-limits when it comes to political pushback, one might think it’d be Newtown families, but apparently not.
What’s next, cheap shots at Gabrielle Giffords? Actually, yes…..
Michael Cohen (NY Daily News): Romney’s reprehensible reaction to the violence in Libya and Egypt ….. A couple of days ago, I wrote here at the Rumble that Mitt Romney was one of the worst national politicians I’d ever seen.
I spoke too soon; it’s even worse than I thought. His reaction to the violence in Egypt and Libya over a film mocking the religious beliefs of Muslims is truly one of the most brain-dead political acts that I’ve ever witnessed – and it speaks volumes about his personal character and fitness for the nation’s highest office.
…. what does it say about a candidate who would issue a statement based on incomplete information and then double down on it even after it’s been disproven? What does it say about a candidate who actually accuses the President of openly siding with those who would harm U.S. diplomats? What does it say about a candidate who would, in a moment of grief over the death of U.S. personnel serving overseas, take the opportunity to cravenly engage in a dishonest political attack?
What it says to me is that this is a man who simply is not up to the awesome responsibilities of being President of the United States.
(There are dozens and dozens of articles like this out there today – literally)
USA Today: President Obama continued to criticize Mitt Romney for what he called an inappropriate and premature response to protests in Egypt and Libya.
“This wasn’t the time for politics,” Obama said in an interview with Telemundo, the Spanish language television network. “I have observed that there’s a tendency to shoot before you aim.”
“As President, Obama added, “my obligation is to focus on security for our people, making sure that we gather all the facts, making sure that we’re advancing American interests and not having ideological arguments on a day when we’re mourning.”
Perhaps he didn’t know he’d made it, although, really, I thought it was pretty clear.
He could do anything he wanted during this campaign as long as he sent out signals that once he got in the White House he was not likely to be truly crazy.
…. It didn’t seem to be a lot to ask, but when the crisis in the Middle East flared up, Romney turned out to have no restraining inner core. All the uneasy feelings you got when he went to London and dissed the Olympic organizers can now come into full bloom. Feel free to worry about anything. That he’d declare war on Malta….
……We’re stuck with the task of evaluating Mitt Romney, who went for a cheap attack at a time when any calm, mature adult would have waited and opted for at least a brief show of national unity.
…. Two months to go and we’re rethinking our presumption that the Republican primary voters picked the most stable option.
Erik Wemple (Washington Post): Fact-checkers say no to Romney ‘apology’ claims
…. Need yet more evidence that fact-checkers conduct their business in a silo separated from impact on politicians? Try the Romney apology-tour fact-check, Chapter Umpteen.
The fact-checkers seemed a bit fatigued by Mitt Romney’s latest round of allegations that the Obama administration goes around apologizing for America…..
…. A Romney pollster said a while back that the campaign won’t be “dictated by fact-checkers.” Now we have a clean shot at fact-checking that claim. If it’s true, expect to hear more “apology”-oriented attacks on the Obama administration in the home stretch of this election.
NYT: … For the first time in three years, the share of Americans without health insurance declined, with the number of uninsured dropping by 1.3 million people from 2010 to 2011.
A major factor was an influx of newly insured young adults, many of whom benefitted from a provision in the 2010 health-care law requiring insurers to let parents keep adult children on their plans up to age 26.
Attended an event in San Francisco yesterday where Valerie Jarrett was the speaker. It was held at the Laborer’s Local 261 center, a beautiful location. The event was a Victory Fund celebration organized by the Americans with Disability (Bay Area, I presume?), who have raised $180K for President Obama’s campaign. It was a very cordial, well-attended event. But Valerie was a revelation. I know that she’s referred to as the President’s right hand, that she has his ear, and his back :), but she is also a wonderful person in her own right. A Stanford educated lawyer (yay, Bay Area!), she has worked tirelessly for people with disabilities. Her first internship was in Chicago, advocating for children with disabilities.
Valerie is a dynamic speaker! She recounted how she met the President and First Lady 21 years back, when she was trying to recruit both of them to Mayor Daly’s campaign. She said that she was struck, even then with the inherent decency in both of them. She spoke forcefully in support of the Affordable Care Act and how events in the President’s own life, his mother’s suffering from cancer and her insurance woes, and his younger daughter Sasha’s grave illness as a child, made this piece of legislation so very important.
She recounted how the President said that when Sasha was so sick, he couldn’t breathe, like the world was closing in on him, but the fact the they had good health insurance was such a blessing. He thinks about parents who do not have that luxury and how important it is to stop the ACA from being repealed (won’t happen, PBO will be re-elected!!!). She also said that making sure the ADA is strengthened and followed is very important to the President. He believes firmly in the principle that everyone, including those with disabilities, want to achieve their maximum potential. And something I didn’t know, that he had promised to hire 100K people with disabilities into his administration in 5 years, and that they were well on the way to completing that goal.
All in all, a wonderful evening. And, did I say there was food… and wine? :)
And, if you’re ever in the 16th and Mission are a of San Francisco, take a walk around. So many wonderful murals!
Thanks a million Rita, what a gorgeous report!
12:0: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wis.
1:10: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Lions Park in Golden, Colo.
2:0 First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Carpenter Theater, Richmond, Va.
2:50: President Obama departs Colorado en route Washington, D.C.
5:0: First lady Michelle Obama speaks with grassroots supporters in Fredericksburg, Va.
7:05: President Obama arrives at the White House
8:15 (?? listed as 7:30 by CNN): VP Biden delivers remarks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 35th Anniversary Awards Gala
CNN have all these speeches listed for live streaming coverage
Prime Minister Cameron: “You don’t get to choose the leaders that you have to work with, but all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason, and with fundamental decency.”
George Clooney sits beside first lady Michelle Obama during the State Dinner
Jonathan Bernstein (Washington Post): What can you say about a debate in which one candidate had perhaps the worst moment ever in a presidential debate – Rick Perry’s brain freeze about the third of the three government agencies he wants to eliminate – and he didn’t even give the most embarrassing performance?
No, that would be Herman Cain …. after dragging American political rhetoric to a new low, referring to the House Minority Leader and a former speaker as “Princess Nancy,” it’s about time that Cain was called to account for insulting the American people and the political process for the farce that he’s engaging in….
Paul Begala: The only knockout punch in the CNBC debate was the one Rick Perry administered to himself. His tiny Texas Aggie brain froze when he tried to repeat his talking point about the three federal agencies he would close …. I have never seen a more devastating moment of self-destruction. What’s next, Perry endorsing Cain’s 9-9…ummm, what’s the third number?
Michael Tomasky: Barack Obama is winning the Rust Belt back. The overwhelming repeal in Ohio of Governor John Kasich’s anti-labor bill from last year shows that the GOP has gone way, way too far—too far for Democrats, obviously, but also for independents. It shows the potential for something else, too: the populist message can stick. “Class warfare” can work. It can take hold even with the people who allegedly despise our Kenyan leader the most: the white working class. And if this turns out to be right, then the Washington conventional wisdom will be proven as wrong as it’s been since 1998, when the Cokie Roberts caucus convinced itself that the American people wanted to throw Bill Clinton out of the White House over Monica.
…. If Romney is going to be the Republican standard bearer, is this really the right time for a nominee who’s worth $250 million and is going to be walking around talking about lower taxes on everyone, including the rich, and who presumably pays at the 15 percent rate, since most of his income is from capital gains and not compensation?
Washington Post: Reggie Love, a key member of the Obama entourage, is planning to leave the White House by the end of the year, people close to the administration said.
Love, 30, is a popular, gregarious figure in the White House. A onetime forward for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, Love started out as a staff assistant in Obama’s Senate office after college, rising to become his personal assistant, known as the “body man.”
Left to right – Martin Nesbitt, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Eric Whitaker
The State: They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he is Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.
They form the trusted circle of tightlipped friends who have sustained Barack Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha’s Vineyard and back again.
For the most powerful man on the planet who nonetheless may have one of the loneliest jobs, a close band of buddies – Eric Whitaker, Martin Nesbitt and Valerie Jarrett form the core – has become a second family, to a degree replacing the one he lost or never had with the absence of his father and death of his mother in 1995.
Apart from wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, they are the people he is closest with. And to the president, in his private life a creature of habit, there’s a comfort in turning to trusted friends with whom confidence runs deep and there is no question about where loyalties lie.
“I think that for a president of the United States who’s always on, it’s a relief to be around people who’ve known you for a very long time so that you can just be comfortable, No. 1 being yourself, and No. 2 knowing that you can trust them completely,” Jarrett said in an interview.
“There’s a level of trust that has withstood the test of time. He doesn’t have to worry about his friends leaking the details of his vacation to the press,” she said.
“He enjoys being around people who are completely comfortable teasing him and treating him like a friend and not the president of the United States.”
CBS: Obama’s Circle Of Friends (January 21, 2009) – ‘From Barry to President Obama; Erin Moriarity speaks with Marty Nesbitt, one of President Obama’s closest friends, about this historic moment and the importance of friendship.’ (You can see the original video here)
President Barack Obama walks around the South Lawn of the White House with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, while tourists in the background walk along the Ellipse, the National Mall, and the Jefferson Memorial, July 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama meets with Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel in the Oval Office, March 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett greet Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel in the Outer Oval Office before his meeting with President Barack Obama, March 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)