Posts Tagged ‘klein

14
Mar
14

Rise and Shine

President Obama listens as Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom offers a toast during the State Dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, March 14, 2012. Samantha Cameron is seated at right (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (All Times Eastern)

10:30: President Obama meets with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny of Ireland

1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

12:0: President Obama attends a St Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S Capitol with PM Kenny. The Vice President also attends.

5:10: The President and First Lady host a St Patrick’s Day reception, East Room

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Examiner: Affordable Care Act Recovers Record Amount From Healthcare Fraud

In a report released on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the agencies announced that in the 2013 fiscal year the Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare,’ was in part responsible for the record-breaking $4.3 billion recovery of funds lost due to Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Over the past four years approximately $16.61 billion has been recovered from such fraud, a 219% increase over the previous four- year period’s recovery of $7.57 billion. The savings is a return of $8.10 for every dollar used to fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

More here

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Elias Isquith: Canadian Doctor Makes Anti-Obamacare Senator Look Like A Buffoon

Speaking before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, Dr. Danielle Martin, vice president at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, masterfully showed how to smack down a disingenuous politician’s misleading and misinformed questions with courtesy, intelligence and, well, facts. In this instance, the role of disingenuous and ill-informed politician was played by North Carolina’s GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who decided to use his question time to imply that the Canadian healthcare system was bad because it led to Canadian doctors moving to America and rich people going to the U.S. to get complicated and expensive surgery. These were both good points — except for the fact that they were, as Martin made clear, completely wrong.

“Dr. Martin, in your testimony, you note that Canadian doctors exiting the public system for the private sector has had the effect of increasing waiting lists for patients seeking public health care,” Burr began. “Why are doctors exiting the public system in Canada?” “Thank you for your question, Senator,” Martin responded. “If I didn’t express myself in a way that made myself understood, I apologize. There are no doctors exiting the public system in Canada; and in fact we see a net influx of physicians from the United States into the Canadian system over the last number of years.”

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AP: Obama Orders Review Of US Deportation Practices

Seeking to pacify frustrated immigration advocates, President Barack Obama is directing the government to find more humane ways to handle deportation for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the White House said Thursday. With prospects for an immigration overhaul in Congress appearing ever dimmer, immigration advocates have been ramping up pressure on Obama to halt all deportations — a step Obama has insisted he can’t take by himself. By announcing he’s open to changing how the U.S. enforces its current laws, Obama is signaling he may be growing more inclined to test the limits of his authority in the face of congressional inaction.

Obama’s announcement came Thursday in a meeting with Latino lawmakers who are seeking ways to resuscitate an immigration overhaul despite resistance from Republicans and election-year politics that have confounded their efforts. The White House said Obama told the lawmakers — all Democrats — that he’s deeply concerned about the pain that families suffer when they are separated due to a broken immigration system. “He told the members that he has asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to do an inventory of the Department’s current practices to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law,” the White House said in a statement.

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Olexiy Haran: Don’t Believe The Russian Propaganda About Ukraine’s ‘Fascist’ Protesters

The Kremlin uses many kinds of falsifications to justify its aggression against Ukraine and plans to annex Crimean peninsula. One of which is that the mass protests of Ukrainians against the corrupt and bloody regime of Viktor Yanukovych, called the Euromaidan, was a gathering of far-right extremists intent on imposing nationalist rule over all other ethnic groups in Ukraine. But the Euromaidan was anything but this.

Although many Ukrainian nationalists passionately joined in the protests in central Kiev against Yanukovych’s plans to get Ukraine into a Moscow-led customs union instead of signing a forward-looking association agreement with the EU, the maidan was a place of multi-ethnic national solidarity in the face of repression. One shouldn’t forget that Sergey Nigoyan, the first victim of police ruthlessness in the Maidan, was an ethnic Armenian who came to support the protest from the Russian-speaking Dnipropetrovsk region in eastern Ukraine. Jews actively joined the ranks of protesters and a religious Jew headed one of the maidan self-defence units, passing command status to his Ukrainian deputy every Friday after the beginning of sabbath.

More here

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Jamelle Bouie: What Paul Ryan Gets Wrong About ‘Inner-City’ Poverty

Ryan’s target isn’t “the poor”—a broad category that includes a large swath of Americans—as much as it’s the “inner city poor,” which for most people, translates to the black poor. Inner-city poverty didn’t just happen, it was built. It’s the job of a policymaker to understand the full scope of what that means, from the blueprints of past policies, to their implementation, to the forces that drove the issues to begin with. And in the case of urban poverty, the issue was racism. If the industrial cities of the Midwest and Northeast are heavily segregated—places like Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia—

it’s because they were made that way, through law, policy, and violence. Starved of public and private investment—from schools and libraries to home loans and business development—they collapsed into the same dysfunction we see whenever we isolate a community from general prosperity, and punish its members for trying to escape. And if Ryan would look closer at the communities he’s trying to reach, he’d see countless people participating in the “culture of work.” He doesn’t have to look far, either. In Washington D.C., he could ride an 80 bus to the Capitol, early on a weekday morning. There, he’d be packed next to men and women coming from the other side of the city to work crappy jobs at long hours for the sake of their families. They don’t need lectures about the “value of work”; they need material support for their livelihoods.

More here

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Tara Culp-Ressler: 3 States Trying To Follow In Texas’ Footsteps And Shut Down Abortion Clinics

Texas isn’t the first state to shut down abortion clinics, and it won’t be the last. A stringent new law in the Lone Star State requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges with a local hospital, a medically unnecessary requirement that’s often impossible for doctors to comply with. Since hospitals are often wary to make partnerships with abortion providers, these state laws are effective tools to drive clinics out of business. Texas’ law has forced dozens of clinics to close, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

After the most recent round of closures, the second-largest state in the country now has a 400-mile swath without a single reproductive health facility that performs abortion services. This past summer, the fight over Texas’ law captured national headlines — and inspired anti-choice lawmakers in other states to adopt the same strategy. Here are the other places that are currently advancing Texas-style restrictions to shutter abortion clinics:

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Danny Vinik: The Senate Has A Deal On Unemployment Benefits. Here’s What You Need To Know

We have a deal. Five Senate Democrats and five Senate Republicans have agreed upon legislation to extend emergency unemployment insurance for five months, retroactive to December 28. Here’s everything you need to know: Pension smoothing? It’s an accounting technique that allows companies to backload their pension contributions. This increases their profits in the near-term and increases revenues the government collects from them. But over the long-term, companies have to contribute the full amount to employee pensions. And that means less revenue for the government later on. So it’s a trick designed to pay for something today by running up higher bills in the future.

OK. That’s the back story. What happened today?

Today, a bipartisan group of senators (five Democrats, five Republicans) agreed to a five-month extension of unemployment insurance, retroactive to its expiration on December 28. To pay for it, the senators included the “pension smoothing” gimmick and extended customs fees through 2024. The legislation also includes reforms, from Senators Tom Coburn and Jon Tester, that prevent people who earned more than $1 million in the previous year from collecting unemployment benefits.

In English, what does that really mean?

It means people who have been out of work more than 26 weeks and less than 73 would receive a big check from the government for unemployment benefits they would’ve been collecting over the past 10 weeks. If you were out of work 70 weeks as of December 28, you’d receive three weeks of unemployment insurance. If you were unemployed 50 weeks as of then, you’d receive 10 weeks of benefits now and continue receiving them until the five month extension expires. Oh, that’s assuming you didn’t make more than a million dollars last year. If you did, then you wouldn’t get anything.

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Gabriel Arana: Ezra Klein’s Queer New Hire

On Tuesday, former Washington Post pundit (and Prospect alum) Ezra Klein sent a shock wave through the gay community by announcing he had hired gay anti-gay apologist Brandon Ambrosino to join him at Vox Media, the much-hyped digital venture that’s aiming to remake journalism for the Internet age. Liberal watchdog group Media Matters was the first to sound the alarm, but within a day, gay-rights supporters—from Mark Stern at Slate to John Aravosis at AmericaBlog—had joined the chorus of voices asking Klein: What were you thinking?

In an interview on Wednesday evening, Klein told me he hadn’t read the pieces that had kicked up so much dust before bringing Ambrosino on but did so once he began facing criticism for the hire. “I don’t want to pretend that I have the context and the background to perfectly or authoritatively judge this debate,” Klein said. “But when I read his pieces, I didn’t come away with the impression that he holds an iota of homophobia.” Klein has come under fire for the lack of racial and gender diversity among Vox’s announced hires, and his decision to hire Ambrosino shows how much he has to learn about genuine diversity. While he has a number of female hires in the pipeline, Klein said he is struggling to find racial minorities for the venture, adding: “I also want to say, other kinds of diversity are important—ideological diversity.”

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Bloomberg: Americans Stick With Obamacare As Opposition Burns Bright

President Barack Obama’s health-care law is becoming more entrenched, with 64 percent of Americans now supporting it outright or backing small changes. “Things definitely seem to be getting better,” said Paul Attard, 50, a political independent in Evergreen, Colorado and a program manager for a cell-phone company who wants the law modified rather than repealed. “It seems like they are getting a lot more people to join. It’s a sign that the system is working.”

Through March 1, 4.2 million Americans had enrolled in health plans via the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, the government said this week. The deadline for enrollment is March 31, and the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 6 million people will sign up this year for private plans.

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The Morning Call: Millennials Are More Liberal Than Other Generations

Members of the huge millennial generation are less religious, less likely to call themselves “patriotic” and significantly more‎ liberal than older generations, new research shows. Although adults aged 18-33 are more likely to call themselves political independents than their elders are, they are also more likely to vote Democratic. Their views favoring activist government, as well as their stands on social issues such as gay rights, reinforce that voting behavior, an extensive study by the Pew Research Center shows.

The youngest generation of adults, born after 1980, has the most optimism about the country. That comes despite the economic difficulties that a large share of them have experienced since entering the workforce. And it stands in contrast with some previous generations: Baby boomers, for example, born between 1946 and 1964, were less optimistic than their elders at this stage of their lives. The millennials are also the only generation of adults with more people who identify themselves as liberals than as conservatives. Just less than one-third of millennials call themselves liberals while about one-quarter identify as conservative.

More here

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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Russia Counts Cost As West Tightens Sanctions

Russia risks a wave of capital flight and a shattering economic crisis as the West prepares a package of sanctions over the seizure of Crimea. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spelled out the danger for Russia in a speech that silenced pro-Kremlin voices in her own coalition and left no doubt that Europe is now fully behind the US on punitive measures. Russia has threatened to retaliate with “symmetrical sanctions” but Tim Ash, from Standard Bank, said it is a one-sided contest that Moscow cannot win. “Russia is facing the entire West. Its economy is already very weak and this could end up being as bad as 2008-2009, when GDP contracted by 9pc,” he said.

Russia cannot suspend oil and gas exports without cutting off its own source of foreign revenue. Any such move would destroy its credibility as a supplier of energy, accelerating Europe’s long-term switch to other sources. Standard Bank said Washington is determined to make Russia pay for tearing up the post-Cold War settlement and undermining the architecture of nuclear non-proliferation. It is drawing up stealth sanctions to freeze Russia out of global finance. These will be spearheaded by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which will enforce compliance of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The next step is to place Russia on the “grey list” for money laundering. “This would prevent global banks from dealing with Russian counterparts. Washington is tightening the noose. No bank is going to mess with the SEC,” said Mr Ash.

More here

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Alec Macgillis: Florida Special Election Result Shows Democrats Need More Obamacare

So how to get more Democratic voters out? Well, this is where the more Obamacarecomes in. To the extent that the new law has not created a groundswell of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates among the law’s intended beneficiaries it is surely in part because…so many of the law’s intended beneficiaries are not being helped by the law. Fully one half of the expansion of health coverage under the law was supposed to occur through the expansion of Medicaid, to cover all people under 138 percent of the poverty line. And in Florida and nearly two dozen other states, that expansion is not happening, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling that made the expansion optional and the opposition of Republican governors and state legislators.

So what are Democratic candidates to do? Well, for one, argue for the Medicaid expansion. Make sure lower-income voters understand what’s at stake and why they have so far been denied any of the law’s benefits. No, not every voter who gets covered by the Medicaid expansion is going to vote for the Democrats as a result—stories from states that have expanded Medicaid, such as Kentucky and West Virginia, are replete with anecdotes of voters who are grateful for their new coverage without necessarily making the connection to Obamacare and Barack Obama. But enough lower-income voters will make the connection that it could help Democratic candidates like Allison Lundergan Grimes, Mitch McConnell’s Senate challenger, who is making a strong push for downscale, Democratic-leaning voters by stressing her support for raising the minimum wage.

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Jason Millman: Understanding The Latest Fight Over The Individual Mandate

In the latest war over Obamacare, the GOP is essentially trying to encourage Americans everywhere to seek out an exemption from the individual mandate, the health law provision that requires everyone to get insurance by March 31 or face a penalty. The Obama administration says exemptions to the mandate are much more limited than the GOP and opponents of the law would have you believe.

Separately, Republicans controlling the House vote today on a bill that would delay the individual mandate until 2018. The impact of this legislation would mean 13 million fewer people would have insurance in 2018 than if the mandate were kept in place, the Congressional Budget Office said this week. Behind these renewed attacks are the GOP’s hatred of the mandate.

More here

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Your Laugh Of The Day

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On This Day:

President Obam, First Lady Michelle Obama, PM David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron greet the crowd on the White House South Lawn after a formal arrival ceremony for the British prime minister, March 14, 2012

President Obama and PM Cameron walk together as they begin a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, March 14, 2012

President Obama walks PM Cameron to his motorcade following their meetings at the White House, March 14, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

PM David Cameron and Samantha Cameron arrive at the White House for a State Dinner in their honor, March 14, 2012

The White House is seen through the window of a tent on the South Lawn during the State Dinner in honor of PM David Cameron and Samantha Cameron, March 14, 2012. The interior of the tent is reflected in the window (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with PM Cameron and Samantha Cameron, talk with guests during the State Dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, March 14, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visit with PM Cameron and Samantha Cameron during a State Dinner reception on the Truman Balcony of the White House, March 14, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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17
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

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Today (all times Eastern):

2:45: The President participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony, a traditional ceremony that marks the formal beginning of an Ambassador’s service in Washington

3:30: The President and Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel

* The President conducts an interview with Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo to discuss his plan for a Better Bargain for the Middle Class and the need for immigration reform

Excerpts of the interview will be broadcast on “Noticiero Telemundo” today at 6:30pm/5:30 central. The interview will also air in its entirety on “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart” on Sunday, September 22 at 12pm/11am central, and will be available on Telemundo.com and on the Facebook page of “Noticiero Telemundo.”

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ThinkProgress: How Gun Laws Factor Into The Navy Yard Shooting

…. details are leaking out about Alexis and they point to a disturbing history of gun violence …. Under federal law, it’s very likely that he was still able to legally posses a firearm. Permanent bans on gun ownership are only handed out to very specific groups of people including felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill …. in nearly half of states, officials are still able to give a handgun permit to someone with a history like Alexis’s.

If reports from the scene are right, however, Alexis’s gun possession Monday was illegal no matter his gun history. News outlets indicate that Alexis had as many as three weapons, including a semi-automatic AR15. The AR15 is banned in DC.

…. One of the gun regulations President Obama proposed earlier this year would outlaw the sale of AR15s and other military-grade weapons.

Full post here

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Bob Cesca: Another Gun Massacre and Another Powerful Reason for Stronger Gun Control Laws

At approximately 8 a.m. eastern time on Monday, a man named Aaron Alexis, a former reservist with the U.S. Navy, entered the Naval Sea Systems Command office building at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 10 others. The gunman used a shotgun, a handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle to rain bullets into a crowd of people before eventually being shot and killed by police.

At 2:15 p.m., six hours after the massacre, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) tweeted the following sentiment to his followers: “Remember to keep praying for those affected by both the Navy Yard shootings and the Colorado floods.”

A noble gesture — that is if you ignore the irony that the congressman is a vocal climate crisis denier, as well as one of the NRA’s most valuable allies inside the House of Representatives with a creepy obsession with AR-15 assault rifles, say nothing of being one of the only internet trolls serving as a member of Congress.

More here

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Charles Pierce: Ignorance Is Bliss

This seems like a particularly good day to be ignoring the work of academics, doesn’t it?

Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.

…. The results of the study may seem little more than an exercise in confirming the obvious, but that’s an exercise the country needs. It needs to have the obvious – guns kill people, health-insurance helps keep them alive, large banks are all thieves, economic oligarchy is incompatible with political democracy, Fk The Deficit….

Full post here

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Steve Benen: When will enough be enough?’

After two Democratic state senators were defeated in Colorado recall elections last week, there was some speculation that proponents of gun-safety would begin to retreat, backing away from efforts to reduce gun violence.

After a dozen people were gunned down yesterday at the Navy Yard in D.C., there was ample evidence to the contrary.

President Obama briefly addressed the issue at the start of his speech on the economy, arguing that policymakers must “do everything that we can to try to prevent” these mass shootings. Like-minded lawmakers followed suit.

More here

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Mediaite: In Todd We Trust? Tweet, Don’t Verify New Trend in Reporter Race to First

If the Boston bombings taught us anything about the state of media in 2013, it’s that some reporters—like quarterbacks—have trouble dealing with pressure.

…. two days after the bombings and with suspects still on the loose, four major media entities (AP, Boston Globe, CNN and Fox News) all got the name of one potential suspect wrong….

… it’s no surprise that following the shooting at a Washington Naval Yard CBS and NBC took their turn in reporting the name of the wrong suspect in an effort to beat the clock…

More here

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ThinkProgress: Under Obamacare, Millions Of Americans Will Pay Less Than $100 Per Month For Health Insurance

About 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for less than $100 each month on Obamacare’s new state-level marketplaces, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s because those people will be eligible for federal subsidies that will reduce the price of purchasing a plan under the health reform law.

The Obama administration calculated the expected premiums for people buying “silver” plans, which are the second-cheapest option on the new insurance marketplaces. Even though not every marketplace has announced its premium rates yet, researchers were still able to estimate those payments based on the health law’s rule for determining subsidies.

More here

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CNBC: Priced to sell: Sweet Obamacare deals for young

Health insurance for most young adults on New York and California’s Obamacare health exchanges will cost dramatically less than what twentysomethings have said they’d be willing to spend on insurance, a new analysis finds.

The attractive prices could significantly boost enrollment in those states’ exchanges and help keep premiums low for people of all ages, said Christina LaMontagne, vice president of price-comparison site NerdWallet, which did the analysis.

More here

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Jonathan Cohn: …. the biggest news on Monday wasn’t about Obamacare’s poll numbers. It was about Obamacare’s reach. And there the news was much clearly better. In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that will expand the state’s Medicaid program, as Obamacare envisions. The signing was the culmination of a long, difficult effort by Synder and a bipartisan, statewide-coalition to overcome Tea Party resistance….

…. Greg Sargent got Pew to give him a breakdown of exactly which voters oppose the law so much they want officials to make it fail: Sure enough, it’s Tea Party Republicans. As Greg notes, this voting bloc is highly influential within Republican Party politics, particularly as primary voters: That goes a long way to explaining why congressional Republicans are threatening to shut down the government or allow default if Obama won’t agree to delay or defund the law.

But support for such extreme positions doesn’t extend much outside this group. Meanwhile, it turns out that many people opposed to (or at least ambivalent about) the law simply don’t know much about it….

Full post here

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 AP: US to help Syrian forces fight chemical weapons

President Barack Obama on Monday cleared the way for the U.S. to send chemical weapons-related assistance to the Syrian opposition, as well as international organizations working inside the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

…. The White House said the non-lethal assistance could fall into three categories:

- Chemical weapons-related “personal protective” equipment to international organizations working in Syria, including the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

- Medical assistance to strengthen local Syrian health care providers’ ability to prepare for and respond to the use of chemical weapons

- Defensive chemical weapons training and protective equipment to vetted members of the Syrian opposition to protect against the use of deadly gases..

More here

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USA Today: Netanyahu to meet Obama on Iran

With Syria’s chemical weapons now the subject of negotiations, attention is shifting back to questions about Iran’s nuclear program.

Officials in Israel say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with President Obama in Washington on Sept. 30, with Iran at the top of the agenda.

More here

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Spandan (The People’s View): Obama on GOP’s Economic Hostage Taking: Don’t Even Think About It

The president spoke [yesterday] on the economy and the upcoming budget battles in Congress. Marking the fifth anniversary of the economic crash of 2008, President Obama spoke of the hard work he and his administration has done to pull the economy back from the brink of another Great Depression – from a rescue of the financial sector to the revival of the American auto industry, restoring confidence in the banking system and creating nearly 7.5 million jobs in the last three-and-a-half years. But he commanded the stage with a serious, “you’re pissing me off” look on his face and one clear,  unequivocal message: The President does not negotiate with economic terrorists.

More here

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Jonathan Weisman: Amid Revolt Over Fiscal ‘Gimmicks,’ Options Dwindle for G.O.P.

First came the “supercommittee,” tasked in 2011 with finding a bipartisan deficit reduction plan but doomed to fail. Then came the “McConnell plan,” a way for Congress to raise the government’s debt limit without actually voting to do so. And in January there was “no budget, no pay,” a measure coupled with the last debt ceiling increase to deny paychecks to lawmakers if they did not pass a budget…..

For three years, Congressional leaders have relied on tactical maneuvers, sleights of hand and sheer gimmickry to move the nation from one fiscal crisis to the next — with little strategy to deal with the actual problems at hand….

President Obama joined the fray Monday, castigating Republicans for the latest budget crisis but “hoping that a light bulb goes off.”

Full article here

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Jonathan Chait: Obama, Republicans, and the Crisis of Legitimacy

…. Since taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, a coterie of Republicans has challenged this informal approach. Their belief is that the absence of cooperation should lead not to stalemate but to the president bending to their will. That assumption implies a delegitimization of the presidency that Obama has come to understand, belatedly, that he can’t accept.

The Republican Establishment is trying to coax the crisis-mongers out of their fervor. Today The Wall Street Journal editorial page assails Republicans who insist on shutting down the government unless President Obama agrees to destroy his own health-care reform, a fantastical demand. “Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots,” the Journal warns.

…. Establishment Republicans are trying to talk their base out of extreme measures without addressing their deeper belief that House Republicans are entitled to extract concessions from the president, via threat, without compromising at all.

Full post here

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Daily Beast: Banks Really Are Different Five Years After the Financial Crisis

Still think our dysfunctional financial system hasn’t changed a bit since the day of the cataclysm five years ago? On debt, consolidation, and consumers, Daniel Gross explains why you’re wrong.

See here

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Steve Benen: Crusade against Texas clinics based on bogus claims

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his Republican allies in the state legislature launched an aggressive legislative campaign against reproductive rights over the summer, including measures intended to close the vast majority of clinics where reproductive services are provided.

Proponents of the policies said the measures were necessary in order to protect public safety. Becca Aaronson reports in the Texas Tribune this week that the arguments are plainly contradicted by the facts…..

More here

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On This Day:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama console Paul and Janet Monti, parents of Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti in the Blue Room following a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

A young boy listens to President Barack Obama as he delivers remarks at a rally on health insurance reform at the Comcast Center, University of Maryland in College Park, Md., on Sept. 17, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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(A Late) MooooOOOOoooorning!

16
Sep
13

Rise and Shine

Four Years Ago Today: President Obama uses a light saber during a demonstration of fencing with Tim Morehouse who won a silver medal in Men’s Saber Fencing at the Beijing Olympics, part of the U.S. Olympians youth sporting event on the South Lawn of the White House

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Today (all times Eastern):

11:40: President Obama delivers remarks to mark the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis

12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press

7:0: President Obama delivers remarks at Música Latina: In Performance at the White House; First Lady Michelle Obama also attends. The performance will be held in the East Room and will be live streamed at White House Live. More here

See ‘The Week Ahead’ here

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USA Today: Obama to speak on 5th anniversary of financial crisis

President Obama will deliver a speech Monday on the fifth anniversary of the event that helped elect him back in 2008: The financial crisis. Obama “will be joined on-stage and in the audience by people that have benefited from his economic recovery proposals over the last five years,” the White House said in a statement, “including small business owners, construction workers, homeowners, consumers and tax cut recipients.”

Obama will use the speech to kick off a week of events devoted to the economy and budget issues.

…. A Tuesday interview on the Spanish language television network Telemundo gives Obama a chance to talk about another major domestic issue, immigration. Budget issues are likely to dominate a Wednesday speech to the Business Roundtable. And Obama is likely to emphasize the auto bailout when he travels Friday to a Ford plant in the Kansas City area.

Full post here

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Your Morning Must-Read:

The People’s View: Ezra Klein’s Concern Trolling on Obama and the Federal Reserve

As soon as news hit the wires that Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration for chair of the Federal Reserve, the media went on a full-spin mode, likely embarrassed that just Friday, they were pimping a Japanese newspaper report trumpeting Summers as the chosen one. Ezra Klein, who’d been part of the media build-up toward that ‘inevitability,’ if along with his opposition to it.

This is where a little Obama Derangement Syndrome seeped in. Ezra, along with his peers in the beltway media – dude, get out a little from you Post office and the MSNBC studios; it’ll do you some good – wasn’t just convinced that Summers would be a bad choice, but that Obama would pick him just to take pleasure in some hippie-punching, i.e. just to piss off establishment media liberals like Klein.

More here

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She’s an Arsenal fan, so she has a dark side, but @DCPlod cracks me up:

…. and so does this fella:

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Had a good chuckle at these two headlines at Business Insider – here we go again: damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Yawn:

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TPM: Biden: ‘The Tail Is Wagging The Dog’ In Today’s GOP

Vice President Joe Biden warned donors and activists of a fundamental shift in the Republican party at an Iowa fundraiser Sunday, calling today’s GOP a “different breed of cat” and taking a shot at the leadership of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” he told a crowd just before Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) annual steak fry, according to a pool report. “We’re dealing with a different breed of cat as my uncle used to say. These guys aren’t bad. I’m not making moral judgments, but they have a fundamentally different view of America than we do – a fundamentally different view.”

More here

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Bob Cesca: The Goalpost for Success Was the Disarmament of Syria’s WMD, So the U.S. Won an Historic Victory

Saturday marked an historic event future generations will read about in books. Over the weekend, Russia and the United States reached an accord over the question of the Syrian government’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, most recently used against civilians late last month.

Whether the United States “won” depends entirely upon your definition of victory. Personally, I define victory in terms of the stated goal of the administration’s actions of the past three weeks: to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons to prevent another attack on Syrian civilians.

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Right’s Sickening Syria Spin

If Obama persuaded Assad to step down and move to Siberia, the critics would still find something to whine about. Michael Tomasky deflates the arguments against the new arms deal.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very interested in being lectured that Bashar al-Assad has no real intention of giving up his chemical weapons by the very same people who a decade ago were pushing this country into war — and having the deranged gall to call the rest of us unpatriotic — on the argument that there was no possible way a monster like Saddam Hussein had given up his chemical weapons. Barack Obama has been forced to spend about 70 percent of his presidential energies trying to repair crises foreign and domestic that these people created, and forced to do so against their iron opposition on all fronts; and now that he’s achieved a diplomatic breakthrough, they have the audacity to argue that he sold America out to Vladimir Putin? It’s staggering and sickening.

More here

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Steve Benen: The right struggles to hide its disappointment with diplomatic progress

A couple of years ago, after the United States and its allies used military force to help remove the Gadhafi’s government from Libya, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued one of my favorite Republican press releases ever. The two senators, who had eagerly spent months touting U.S. military action in Libya, issued a joint statement commending the “British, French, and other allies, as well as our Arab partners, especially Qatar and the UAE.”

McCain and Graham eventually said Americans can be “proud of the role our country” played, but they nevertheless condemned the Obama administration’s “failure” to act in Libya the way the GOP senators preferred.

It was striking at the time for its bitterness – the United States had achieved its strategic goals, but instead of celebrating or applauding Obama’s success, Republicans pouted and whined.

It’s funny how history sometimes repeats itself….

More here

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Science Insider: U.S. Science Laureate Bill Hits Roadblock

Climate science skeptics have derailed a congressional proposal to create the honorary position of U.S. science laureate. But proponents haven’t abandoned the idea of giving someone a national platform to foster public understanding of science and serve as a role model.

….. the U.S. House of Representatives was expected to give swift approval to a bill introduced this spring by a bipartisan coalition of legislators in both the House and the Senate….

The bill was never discussed in any committee, however, and Larry Hart of the American Conservative Union hit the roof when he saw it on the House calendar for the next day. In a letter to other conservative organizations and every House member, Hart said the bill would give President Barack Obama the opportunity to appoint someone “who will share his view that science should serve political ends, on such issues as climate change and regulation of greenhouse gases.”….

More here

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Thanks again to UT for letting us know about this blog yesterday (and this great post):

Now added to the blogroll here, if you ever need the link – you can follow Jim here on Twitter.

If you can think of any other smart liberal blogs to add to the blogroll, let me know!

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Smartypants: A Both/And Leader in an Either/Or World

For the record, I don’t think President Obama has any magical powers, or that he plays 11th dimensional chess, or that he bluffs, or that he’s merely lucky. What I do think is that he develops his North Star, takes the long view, and enters negotiations from the standpoint of finding both/and solutions (partnerships) rather than engage in the power games of either/or (dominance).

Several people are pointing to a fascinating blog post by Jim Stuart where he talks about President Obama being an integral leader. If you haven’t already read it, please do so!

More here

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Still can’t get over this tweet from the account of the President of Iran, amazing:

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On This Day:

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch Olympian Ryan Reser, in white, and Paralympian Myles Porter during a judo demonstration, part of the U.S. Olympians youth sporting event on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

….. watching a balance beam demonstration hosted by gymnast Dominique Dawes, far left, on the South Lawn of the White House, Sept. 16, 2009. Also pictured are Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett (second from left) and former Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee (in white shirt) (Pete Souza)

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President Obama fist-bumps VP Biden, as Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett looks on, before a meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 16, 2010 (Pete Souza)

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President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrive for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 32nd Annual Awards Gala dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16, 2009 (Pete Souza)

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President Obama waits in his limousine after the motorcade arrived at Westchester County Airport, N.Y., on a rainy night, Sept. 16, 2010 (Pete Souza)

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MooooOOOOoooorning, Happy Monday!

A gentle reminder: when you’re quoting posts from other blogs/sites in the comments, please only include a short extract followed by the link. Thank yoooOOOooou!

04
Mar
13

Catching Up

President Barack Obama talks with Council of Economic Advisers Chair Alan Krueger following a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, March 4 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen shreds Bill Keller’s column here

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John Boehner: ‘There’s no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester’ …. Pants on fire

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Ezra Klein: This is why Obama can’t make a deal with Republicans – File this under “Jonathan Chait is right”

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President Obama speaks alongside Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a Cabinet meeting in the White House on March 4

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Senate poised to move first bill to curb gun violence since Newtown, will be named in honor of Hadiya Pendleton – see here

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Only 6 Of Obama’s 35 Pending Judicial Nominees Are Straight White Men – ThinkProgress

(I love the fact that this could just as easily be a headline on a RWNJ site, in a ‘SHOCKER” kind of way)

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GOP Congresswoman: I Opposed Domestic Violence Bill Because It Protected Too Many Groups – ThinkProgress

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A few reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy – Ezra Klein

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Look Who’s Feuding Now – A Map of Conservative Fingerpointing:

See more at The Atlantic

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Watch the First Lady dance to Pitbull’s “Echa Pa’ Lla”:

The First Lady’s interview can be seen on Univision’s “Primer Impacto” on Wednesday, March 6

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@ks44: Here’s a pic from the First Lady’s @letsmove Google+ Hangout in the Blue Room today

Thank you LovelyPlains!

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Normal service resumed tomorrow. Hopefully :???:

22
Feb
13

David Brooks: Lying = “Over-the-top lampooning”? Good grief.

Ezra Klein (Washington Post): I had some issues with David Brooks’s column Friday on the two parties’ sequester positions …. A transcript of our conversation follows.

Ezra Klein: In the column, you said that the Obama administration doesn’t have a plan to replace the sequester. I feel like I’ve had to spend a substantial portion of my life reading their various budgets and plans to replace the sequester, and my sense is that you’ve had to do this, too. So, what am I missing?

David Brooks: First, the column was a bit of an over-the-top lampooning column about dance moves. I probably went a bit too far when saying the president didn’t have a response to the sequester save to raise taxes on the rich. In the cool light of day, I can say that’s over the top. There’s chained CPI and $400 billion in health proposals. So I should say I was unfair. I’m going to attach a note to the column, if it’s not up already.

More here

As David Roberts ‏(@drgrist) put it on Twitter: “Seriously, David Brooks’ answer to this first question is remarkable. Why wouldn’t you fire him for this?”

01
Dec
12

Rise and Shine

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President Obama has no public events scheduled on Saturday. On Sunday, he and first lady Michelle Obama will attend the Kennedy Center Honors. They will host the honorees beforehand at a White House reception.

Kennedy Center:  The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced the selection of the seven individuals who will receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. Recipients to be honored at the 35th annual national celebration of the arts are: bluesman Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive the Kennedy Center Honors.

More here

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Joe Klein (Time): The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obama’s opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. It’s getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.

…. It might have seemed “righteous” indignation when the GOP was deluding itself about representing a majority of Americans; now, it just seem puerile and petulant.

… What is difficult for the Fox talking heads to understand is this: We had an election. The President won. This gives him greater leverage than the last election we had, in 2010, when the President’s party lost…

…. the assorted Republican drama queens seem so two months ago, don’t they?

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: With Republicans balking at the prospect of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent of Americans, Democrats are losing patience. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday that the House GOP will not hold a vote on a middle-class tax bill that excludes the top income brackets, even though the Senate has already approved one.

In response, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that Democrats plan to bring the legislation to a floor vote next week no matter what. The Democrats plan to use a discharge petition, which can force a bill to the floor if it has been stuck in committee for 30 legislative days. In a new statement, Pelosi dared her Republican colleagues to reject the plan to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the country…

More here

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Gail Collins: You undoubtedly have heard that Barack Obama invited Romney for lunch this week…. …. You’d think they could have served meat loaf. Mitt’s favorite food is meat loaf. Also, Mitt loves practical jokes, and if Obama had really wanted to get in the spirit of things, he could have had Romney arrested by the Capitol Police in the lobby.

…. The makeup meal doesn’t even have to make the loser feel better. (In 2008, Obama had John McCain over for a postelection meeting in Chicago, and you can see what a healing effect that had on McCain’s ego.) …

…. [the president] elaborated at his first postelection news conference, saying that Romney “presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with.”

The “actually” didn’t sound all that enthusiastic. Also, when it came time to praise his former rival, Obama said Romney “did a terrific job running the Olympics.”

Full article here

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Completely random pics:

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MoooOOooooOoooorning everyone.

04
Feb
12

catching up

Demonstrators gather in front of the White House, Feb. 4

Statement by the President on Syria

Thirty years after his father massacred tens of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women, and children in Hama, Bashar al-Assad has demonstrated a similar disdain for human life and dignity.  Yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence, and Syrian forces continue to prevent hundreds of injured civilians from seeking medical help.  These brutal killings take place at a time when so many Syrians are also marking a deeply meaningful day for their faith.  I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones.  Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now.  He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately……

More here

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Ezra Klein: The strangest thing about January’s jobs report is that it’s pretty much all good. The headline numbers are great, of course: payrolls are up by 243,000 jobs. Unemployment is down to 8.3 percent. But the inside numbers are good, too.

…. The report also deals at least a slight blow to the case for economic pessimism. For months, forecasters have been telling us that though the end of 2011 was strong for the economy, the data showed the beginning of 2012 would be weak. That could still prove true. But we’re not seeing a slowdown in January’s payrolls. Just the opposite, actually.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t some areas of concern…..

The bottom line is that this isn’t just a good jobs report. It’s a recovery jobs report. It’s showing the sort of numbers that win elections. As my colleague Neil Irwin tweeted, “That sound you hear is champagne corks in the West Wing.”

More here

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Vote!

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01
Dec
11

catching up

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PolitiFact

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Jamelle Bouie (Prospect): …. If political courage is defined by the willingness to suffer politically for the sake of good public policy, then Affordable Care Act stands as a testament to the president’s political courage.

Which is why I also have no idea what National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar is talking about when he writes the following: “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions…..” …. Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act – and I don’t see why you wouldn’t – this is demonstrably false….

…. One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the extent to which mainstream pundits routinely act as if crucial moments in the Obama presidency never happened … Chris Matthews demands more ambition from Obama, despite the fact that he ran hard to pass a piece of social legislation that rivals the Great Society programs in size and scope.

It’s one thing for pundits to err in their judgment – it happens to the best of us – it’s something else entirely for them to ignore reality and blame the president for his failure to conform to their magical world.

Full post here

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Steve Benen: Honestly, is there any entity in politics more effective in slamming Mitt Romney than Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign?

In this new video, Team Huntsman not only draws additional attention to Romney’s awful interview with Fox News, but also fact-checks Romney’s denials about flip-flops.

More here – the video:

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John Avlon (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney’s Campaign Is Becoming a Sinking Ship – New polls show that Newt Gingrich’s surge is hurting Mitt Romney where it counts. The game isn’t over, but time is running out for Mitt to turn it around.

The horses are getting spooked in the Romney camp. His poll numbers are plummeting in state after state, while Newt Gingrich is soaring across the board.

One reflection of the rising tension was an awkward interview with Bret Baier, in which the normally unflappable Mitt Romney got rattled by fair questions. It revealed the irritability of a man accustomed to being in control who’s watching his plans fall apart in public.

Mitt’s aura of inevitability is fading because his strategy is failing.

Full post here

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TPM: There appears to be a very different definition of “small” in the Romney clan.

In an appearance at a Mitt Romney campaign office in Iowa, one of the candidate’s sons, Josh Romney, recalled a cozy Thanksgiving with the family at his parents’ “two-bedroom house, pretty small”.

…. the family spent Thanksgiving in San Diego, where he owns a two-bedroom house that’s reportedly 3,000 square feet and valued at $12 million.

More here

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Joe Klein (Time): …. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel: (see post) …. The other inaccuracy is the notion that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders. He doesn’t. He wants the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, to be the basis for peace negotiations. Somehow, Romney neglects to mention the land swaps.

The fact is, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been in line with that of every US President since Nixon …. The fact is that US-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation, especially when it comes to sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, has never been greater.

…. It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior … would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.

Full post here

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Protect the Vote

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