President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China on his way to Myanmar
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, right, shakes hands outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One upon his arrival at Naypyitaw International Airport in Naypyitaw, Myanmar
President Barack Obama is greeted upon his arrival on Air Force One at Naypyitaw International Airport
China’s Premier Li Keqiang, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, U.S. President Barack Obama, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev hold hands as they pose at the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Naypyitaw
President Barack Obama and Myanmar President Thein Sein and his wife
TPM: The snap reactions to today’s Supreme Court arguments about the constitutionality of the health care law’s individual mandate gave reform supporters a collective case of heartburn. The conservative justices seemed broadly hostile to the law’s requirement that everyone carry health insurance. President Obama’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, was widely panned by experienced court watchers for stumbling at key moments. Jeffery Toobin — a seasoned vet of the high court — called it a “train wreck” for the Obama administration.
Here’s some antacid.
Over the first two days of arguments, two of the Court’s five conservative justices have expressed sympathy for key parts of the administration’s arguments. And the administration probably only needs one of their votes to fully uphold the law.
TPM: In a little-noticed exchange Monday, conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts may have tipped his hand that he’s entertaining the possibility that the health care law’s individual mandate can be upheld on a constitutional basis that’s different from the one supporters and opponents have made central to their arguments.
…. In an exchange with a plaintiffs attorney, Roberts suggested he’s skeptical that the mandate and its penalties can be treated separately and may have opened the door to finding that Congress’ power to impose the mandate springs from its broad taxing power.
…. That wasn’t what the challengers wanted to hear.
Michael Tomasky: Conservatives love to say Obama has robbed us of our liberty. But can they name a single freedom that the administration has curtailed?
Behind the challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being heard at the Supreme Court this week is the idea that Barack Obama wants to take away your freedoms ….. I defy anyone to name for me a specific and precise freedom that Obama has taken away from the American people. You can’t. When they’re not just invented out of whole cloth by multi-millionaire propagandists, all such laments are based on ignorance about what freedom actually means and an equal ignorance about how our system of government works.
…. if you’re healthy and 35 and you don’t buy insurance and you get hit by a bus and you need $10,000 in medical care and you can’t and don’t pay for it, that harms me, because I’m an insured taxpayer and I’m helping to pick up your tab. That is freedom: not just the right to be left alone, but also the obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions on the freedom of other members of society. By that definition, the ACA is enhancing freedom, and personal responsibility – which is why conservatives were for the mandate in the first place.
ThinkProgress: Mitt Romney is trying to make hay about a comment President Obama made to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week that he needs some “space” on the missile defense issue until after the election this year. Russia “is without question our number one geopolitical foe,” Romney said, calling Obama’s comment “very, very troubling.”
Politico reports that Medvedev shot back at Romney today at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea:
“I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as ‘No. 1 enemy.’ It is very reminiscent of Hollywood in a certain period of history…. My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time. It is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account.”
Charles Pierce: They’re circling the wagons down in Sanford these days. The defenders of George Zimmerman, the trigger-happy wannabe who clipped Trayvon Martin for the crime of being a black kid in a hoodie with snack foods in the wrong neighborhood, is now being cocooned by his lawyer, by some alleged friends, and by the local police department …. Ask yourself how we suddenly know that the dead kid had been suspended from high school because he got caught with a bag that might once have contained marijuana. Ask yourself why we know that. We know that because this case is Not About Race.
It is Not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Race is the past. Black people can vote. One of them is president. Nothing Is About Race anymore. Just ask Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum – and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? – and they’ll tell you that the president “injected” race into the tragedy. It wasn’t there before the president – who is (shhh!) black, you know – put it there…..
First lady Michelle Obama and Yoriko Fujisaki, wife of the Ambassador of Japan to the United States, commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. by planting a cherry blossom tree near the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 27
Thanks a million to everyone who has donated to Collegekay’s fundraising challenge – if you can help, you can donate here
…. greeting US soldiers and family members before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base outside Seoul, March 27
Time: ….. Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton were on the long stretch of a turnpike between Orlando and Miami on March 23 when they heard President Obama’s poignant remark about their boy — that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”
They say that was when they realized how far-reaching the impact of his controversial death, and their effort to get to the bottom of it, is. “It felt real warm to know our son’s name had been mentioned by the President of the United States and all over the nation and the world,” Martin says.
“His name is ringing all over the country, all over the nation, all over the world.” Fulton agrees, saying, “It showed us that even President Obama understands we need justice, that he understands our situation.” Adds Martin: “The nation is saying, What if — what if this was my son, what would I do?”
Charles Pierce: This picture, which ran on the front page of The New York Times this morning, and which accompanied the story about the opening of the arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, makes me as sad and despairing about the state of the country as I have been in an awfully long time. There are better places on the Intertoobz than this one to look either for a general overview of what may happen in the Court over the next three days – Ezra Klein’s joint did a masterful job this morning – …. but this picture makes the whole affair ring a little hollow already.
….. with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ahead of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit working dinner in Seoul on March 26
… with Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard
…. with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
… with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev after their bilateral meeting in Seoul on March 26
President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Yoon Bong-hee, left, as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. A translator assists during the briefing. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
People rally on the sidewalk as legal arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take place at the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26
Medical students show their support for President Obama’s healthcare law
Linda Door protests against President Obama’s health care plan :roll:
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to children at the White House’s garden on March 26. The First Lady welcomed school children from across the country to join her for the fourth annual White House Kitchen Garden spring planting.
Caroline Kennedy speaking to volunteers in a field office in Florida, March 23
Hi everyone, just a few pics and videos for now, I’ll try and catch up properly with all the news tomorrow – I’m way behind!
NYT: Russia has offered to use its contacts in the Libyan government to expedite Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s departure from power, top officials announced Friday at a meeting of the Group of 8 countries in Deauville, France.
….The announcement, which came after intensive talks between President Obama and the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, represents a sharp shift in Russia’s tone on Libya….
Mr. Medvedev told Mr. Obama in their meeting that Russia is committed to seeing Colonel Qaddafi leave office …The offer articulated on Friday would remove Russia from the sidelines and cast it as a central player in resolving the conflict.
When Medvedev was a law student he used to read articles in the Harvard Law Review by a guy with a funny name. He was, he said, hugely impressed. Now? Medvedev is Russian President, Barack Obama….well, you know.
From April 2010:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of Barack Obama the man?
MEDVEDEV: He’s a very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people – I won’t name anyone by name – he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)
MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don’t want to offend anyone. He’s eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.
Not for the first time, brains, diplomacy and mutual respect have paid off ;-)
President Barack Obama talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a phone call in the Oval Office, Jan. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
CNN: Russia’s lower house of parliament ratified Tuesday the first post-Cold War nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States, the Interfax news agency said.
The sweeping arms reduction pact, known as New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) replaces START 1, which expired in December 2009.
The treaty, considered a critical component of nuclear non-proliferation efforts, was signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last April and approved by the U.S. Senate in December.
It is designed to slash the stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons in both countries to 1,550 warheads — down from a current cap of 2,200 — and 700 launchers.
The treaty also calls for a resumption of inspections of nuclear arsenals that ended when START 1 expired and helps move forward with White House efforts to “reset” U.S.-Russian relations.
Obama has called the treaty “the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades” and the U.S. Senate’s approval in December gave Obama a key victory on what has been considered one of his top foreign policy priorities.
Politico: President Obama is calling a press conference for 4:15 p.m., most likely the last thing he’ll do at the White House before leaving for Hawaii. The presser is in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
AFP: President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, held an impromptu summit in Lisbon in an effort to build confidence between the two nations, a White House official announced.
“They were able to go aside into a room by themselves and talk for 15 to 20 minutes,” White House spokesman Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One before it landed in Washington late Saturday. “It was informal, it wasn?t planned.”
Only a translator accompanied the two leaders at their meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit, US officials said.
NATO and Russia agreed earlier Saturday to jointly examine a missile shield to defend Europe and boost the flow of supplies to the Afghan war, burying a period of tensions between the former Cold War foes.
The day before, the Western military alliance had agreed to set up an anti-ballistic missile defence system to protect Europe’s populations against rogue rocket attacks and invite Russia to cooperate.
The two sides agreed to study how this cooperation would work, but Medvedev warned Russia would have to be treated as an equal partner if it is to participate.
Rhodes said Obama and Medvedev had developed what he called “a very strong rapport.” “They like each other. They like to see each other,” the spokesman said. “They like to get along and consult about things.” According to administration officials, the meeting was initiated by Obama, who later described it as “very cordial.”