Time: President Obama dismissed Republican rival Mitt Romney’s critiques of his foreign policy credentials in an exclusive TIME interview, saying the GOP frontrunner’s attacks are little more than primary posturing that will wither under the glare of “a serious debate.”
“I think Mr. Romney and the rest of the Republican field are going to be playing to their base until the primary season is over,” Obama told TIME’s Fareed Zakaria during a White House interview that will appear in the next issue of TIME magazine. “Overall, I think it’s going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office.”
ABC: Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
…… As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, Mitt Romney is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a shroud of secrecy around the details about his vast personal wealth, including, as ABC News has discovered, his investment in funds located offshore and his ability to pay a lower tax rate.
Greg Sargent: …. Take special note of the quote that one expert gave to ABC: “His personal finances are a poster child of what’s wrong with the American tax system.” …. this is very dicey for Romney. Dems want to paint Romney as the walking embodiment of everything that’s unfair about our tax system and of all the ways the system is rigged on behalf of the rich and against the middle class. This won’t hurt that case.
One wonders if these revelations – combined with the layoffs at Bain; Romney’s tax rate; the fact that his tax plan would give the very wealthy enormous tax cuts while raising taxes marginally on lower income people; and his penchant for saying things that perfectly feed the “one percent” storyline – will generate any concerns among Romney’s top backers about his electability.
Media Matters: The Washington Examiner blog Beltway Confidential put up a post yesterday reporting that President Obama’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, worked at Bain & Company in the late 1980s. The Examiner suggested that this could “undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney’s career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company.”
……. The criticism of Romney has focused on his work at Bain Capital, not his time at Bain & Company.
To be clear: Bain & Company is an entirely separate entity from Bain Capital …. The Drudge Report linked to the Beltway Confidential post with the headline “OBAMA PICKS BAIN MAN FOR OMB…”:
ThinkProgress: Samantha Garvey, a New York high school senior who has been living in a homeless shelter and recently named a semi-finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, will be Rep. Steve Israel’s (D-NY) guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
…. Israel told Newsday he was moved by Garvey’s story. “The State of the Union attracts the most powerful people on Earth, but I really think Samantha can teach them all a lesson in perseverance,” he said.
More: …. Michelle Obama is one of those people you sense before you see, her confidence somehow arriving on the scene a few seconds before she does. Even a roomful of antsy teenagers can feel it, leading them to fall silent moments before the first lady strides into the State Dining Room and greets them with a friendly “Hey! What’s happening?”
…. “They call me FLOTUS, for first lady of the United States,” she explains, noting that the president’s internal White House acronym is POTUS. “And there are many times when FLOTUS and POTUS feel like characters.” There have even been times, she says, when she’s craned her own neck to see which celebrity might be causing all the excitement. “And it’s me. Oh, man, it’s FLOTUS. FLOTUS is here. No one told me FLOTUS was coming.”
….. “But sometimes,” Obama tells her class of mentees, “I just want to be Michelle. So you guys have to start slowly seeing me as Michelle, all right?”
The Obama campaign announced in an email this morning that the president’s reelection effort and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $70 million in the third quarter of the year:
— In the third fundraising quarter of this year, 606,027 people donated to this campaign — even more than gave in the record-breaking previous quarter.
— Those people gave more than 766,000 total donations – 98 percent of them $250 or less, at an average amount of $56. That’s more than twice as many donations than we had at this point in the historic 2008 campaign.
— We are focused on building infrastructure that will help us win in 2012. And each quarter we set a combined goal for the campaign and our allies at the Democratic National Committee. We far exceeded our goal of $55 million this quarter between the two organizations. Great work.
— Together, Obama for America and the DNC raised more than $70 million. And it all happened during a summer when the President was focused on doing the job he was elected to do — a summer when we had to cancel a series of fundraising events and ask everyone to dig a little deeper.
The Obama campaign raised $42.8 million on its own and the DNC took in $27.3 million, an Obama campaign official said.
The announcement follows an $86 million second quarter for Obama and the DNC, and sets up the president to outraise by far the whole GOP field, combined, in back to back fundraising periods.
(Video takes 10 seconds to start! Thanks Tally)
9:0 President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome South Korean President Lee and First Lady Kim to the White House
11:0 The First Lady invites the Republic of Korea’s First Lady Kim Yoon-ok to Annandale High School in Virginia
11:05 The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Lee and official U.S. and South Korean delegations
12:20 The President holds a joint press conference with President Lee
7:0 The President and First Lady welcome South Korean President Lee and First Lady Kim to the White House for a state dinner
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders Jan. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Kornacki (Salon): At Politico on Monday, Jonathan Martin does a nice job explaining the “reality check” that Republicans are now waking up to: Barack Obama seems to be in decent political shape as the 2012 cycle begins, while “breezy predictions of Obama turning out to be the next Jimmy Carter were premature.”
That it’s come to this shouldn’t be that surprising. As we noted over and over last year as Obama and his fellow Democrats braced for a midterm drubbing, the two-year verdict on a presidency is often extremely misleading – as the examples of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both attest. With his party running Washington and with the economy reeling, it was pretty much inevitable that the first half of Obama’s first term would play out the way it did.
What is surprising, though, is how quickly it’s come to this…..barely a month after the midterms, prominent conservatives were already admitting that he was looking good to win a second term … lately, Mike Huckabee — who might be the front-runner for the GOP nomination, if only he’d get in the race — has been making headlines by talking up Obama’s strength, as he did to Politico:
“The people that are sitting around saying, ‘He’s definitely going to be a one-term president. It’s going to be easy to take him out,’ they’re obviously political illiterates — political idiots, let me be blunt.”
…for now, the consensus of the political class seems to be that Obama will be reelected in 2012 – and Republicans seem to be buying into it …. Unlike the Democrats of early 2003, who saw a chance to become the next Bill Clinton, the Republicans of early 2011 seem to fear the prospect of becoming the next Bob Dole.