President Obama listens as he has lunch with five young people at The Coupe restaurant in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, Friday, Jan. 10. The five are spearheading creative outreach efforts to connect with and help enroll young consumers through the Marketplaces or are interested in getting more involved with these efforts. Seated at the table with Obama are, from left, Anne Johnson, Andres Cruz, Obama, Jasmine Hicks, Tommy McFly and David Dimock:
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.
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?
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…
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.”
A red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michael Grunwald (Time): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan….
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party…..
…. we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
David Firestone (NYT): Republicans reportedly laughed when they saw the Obama administration’s initial offer in the fiscal negotiations yesterday. The idea that President Obama might actually want to enact his campaign promises – tax hikes on the rich, modest Medicare cuts, investments in infrastructure – is apparently considered a joke to the party that has shown virtually no flexibility in the last four years.
But some of that laughter may contain nervousness, because there is more going on here than just a pathway to splitting the difference. The White House made clear yesterday that it is approaching these talks from a position of responsibility, and that it actually takes seriously the notion of old-fashioned bargaining. That’s something Republicans have refused to do — and now they realize they’ve been called out.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he’s barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration’s opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here’s a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): There’s one particular strain of Republican reaction to their election loss that’s always given me the biggest chuckle, and today Paul Waldman highlights it: the absurd proposition that Mitt Romney never forthrightly defended conservative principles….
…. For months, conservatives yelled from the rooftops about how 2012 presented the sharpest choice ever in governing philosophies …. [they] claimed that this one was truly an ideological turning point, America’s last chance to choose what kind of country we should be. But literally within hours of defeat, they turned on a dime and insisted that the American people weren’t given a real chance to decide between two competing visions. And they’ve maintained this claim despite losing the popular vote in the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and despite the fact that demographic trends very clearly spell even further trouble in the future for their hardnosed brand of social intolerance and slavish dedication to the interests of the rich.
11:0: VP Biden attends the inaugural speech of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the National Palace
11:05: PBO arrives in Philadelphia
11:45: Tours The Rodon Group manufacturing facility
12:05: Delivers remarks
2:00: Departs Philadelphia
2:55: Arrives at the White House
NYT: Timothy Geithner presented John Boehner a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance …. the details show how far the president is ready to push House Republicans. The upfront tax increases in the proposal go beyond what Senate Democrats were able to pass earlier this year….
…. Senate Democratic leaders left their meeting with Mr. Geithner ecstatic. If the Republicans want additional spending cuts in that down payment, the onus is on them to put them on the table, said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.
Steve Benen: President Obama had to endure some deeply unpleasant experiences with Congress over the last couple of years, but the result of the incidents taught him valuable lessons. It’s clear, especially after last year’s debt-ceiling crisis, that the president now knows exactly how to negotiate with reckless, radicalized Republicans.
…. The days of preemptive concessions and negotiating from a defensive crouch are over …. Obama is acting like a confident, re-elected president who expects congressional Republicans to start moving in his direction, not the other way around. GOP leaders aren’t accustomed to this dynamic, but it’s probably time they adapt to their new surroundings.
…. Republicans desperately want the president to negotiate with himself …. Obama clearly isn’t willing to play that game anymore.
Greg Sargent: … the White House position is that it has laid out what it wants in the way of new revenue and spending, and that it’s now up to Republicans to detail their bottom line on cuts. It’s the GOP’s turn now. This opening bid will cheer liberals – it strongly suggests the White House is willing to push Republicans very hard, in the belief that it has all the leverage.
The Daily Dolt: Humanity’s most divisive figure, Barack Hussein Obama, is set to become the first president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 to win over 51% of the popular vote twice. The Great Divider is currently at 50.9% of the popular vote, and his lead continues to expand as results are still being tallied.
….. now we shall commence with the childish, entirely unprofessional gloating segment of this blog post:
Suck it, Marco Rubio. Suck it, Mitch McConnell. And suck it, Reince Priebus.
Maria Ibarra, 19, originally from Durango Mexico, and Candido Renteria, 24, of Monterrey Nuevo Leon, hug with joy after President Obama announced he would ease enforcement of immigration laws, June 15, in Edinburg, Texas
Julio Calderon, a 23-year-old student at Miami Dade Community College who arrived to Miami from Honduras when he was 16, wipes away tears during President Obama’s press conference
Niouseline St. Jean, originally from Turks and Caicos Islands
People gather around a laptop to watch the live broadcast of President Obama’s announcement easing enforcement of immigration laws in Salt Lake City
Rosa Maria Soto of Phoenix hugs Eva Monteloneo after hearing President Obama is easing enforcement of immigration laws
President Obama responds to a reporter interrupting his comments on immigration in the Rose Garden of the White House
President Obama sits down to lunch with supporters who won a campaign contest at Lincoln restaurant in Washington, DC
President Obama speaks at a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month at the White House
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.”
Detroit Free Press: All Detroit Public Schools students will receive free breakfast, lunch and snacks in an effort to remove the stigma of being from a low-income family.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture program chose Michigan as one of three states to participate in the pilot program. Charter schools and districts in Michigan can participate if at least 40% of students are eligible for public assistance.
“One of the primary goals of this program is to eliminate the stigma that students feel when they get a free lunch, as opposed to paying cash,” said DPS Chief Operating Officer Mark Schrupp. “Some students would skip important meals to avoid being identified as low-income. Now, all students will walk through a lunch line and not have to pay. Low-income students will not be easily identifiable and will be less likely to skip meals.”
Although not required to participate, parents are still being asked to fill out a survey that includes income analysis to ensure that children, schools and the district will continue to receive millions of dollars in benefits and resources from the state and federal governments, as well as private grants. Program funding dependent on the surveys includes tutoring, after-school programs, field trips, technology and equipment, DDOT bus cards, free college testing, enrichment activities and others.
The Community Eligibility Option is among the early reforms enacted under President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized the USDA to select up to three states to test the option in School Year 2011-12. A main factor in choosing the finalists was the prevalence of high-poverty areas. The option will be offered to more states in successive years, and will be available to all states beginning School Year 2014-15.
President Barack Obama, flanked by Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors, left, and Chief of Staff to the Vice President Bruce Reed, eats lunch at the Good Stuff Eatery, Aug. 3
President Obama leads members of his economic team back to the White House after taking them out to lunch