President Barack Obama greets the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal recipients in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a medal ceremony in the East Room, Oct. 20. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
9:30 AM President Obama signs the Korea, Panama, Colombia Free Trade Agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers
10:30 The President attends a reception in the Rose Garden
2:30 The President honors recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation
Andrew Sullivan: To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.
Ian Swanson (The Hill): Obama stands tall after the demise of Libyan strongman Gadhafi
The death of Moammar Gadhafi represents another major foreign policy victory for President Obama, who backed a months-long air campaign in Libya while facing criticism from the left and the right.
Obama stared down congressional skeptics across the political spectrum … Through it all, Obama kept his resolve.
…. On Thursday he basked in the second greatest foreign policy triumph of his administration, after the successful operation this spring that killed Osama bin Laden. Gadhafi’s death comes less than a month after the U.S. drone strike killed al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
…. For the unwavering Obama, Thursday came the big payoff as Gadhafi’s hopes for returning to power ended in a field outside his hometown of Sirte.
…. Obama entered the Oval Office as a novice on the international stage, criticized for a naïve outlook on the world.
…. three years into his term, both the bin Laden and Libya events suggest Obama can be steely in making decisions about U.S. force, and in sticking with them.
Washington Post: Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.
But a review of documents – including naturalization papers and other official records – reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2 and a half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity …. he mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.”….
The real story of his parents’ migration appears to be a more conventional immigrant narrative, a couple who came to the United States seeking a better life. In the year they arrived in Florida, the future Marxist dictator was in Mexico plotting a quixotic return to Cuba.
Michael Tomasky (Daily Beast): The economy needs help. The Democrats’ proposals are popular. And yet they’re dying in Congress. Why? Because the GOP hates Obama more than it loves America.
Maybe as early as Thursday night, the Senate will take its first vote on one bite-size piece of President Obama’s jobs bill, a $35 billion measure to fund the hiring of 400,000 teachers and a smaller number of cops and firefighters. It will fail. As usual not a single Republican will vote for it….
…. The Republican Party’s posture to the American people is this. Your opinion on issues like teachers and taxes doesn’t matter a whit to us … if you keep that man in the White House, we will block everything he and you want. Everything. And nothing will happen in this town for those next four years. The Republicans can’t say any of this, of course, but they don’t have to. People get it. It just sort of seeps out of them, like oil from a polluted stream.
I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing – and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.
LA Times: Republican-led opposition in the Senate blocked a key element of President Obama’s jobs plan – a proposal to send $35 billion to cash-strapped states to keep public school teachers, police and firefighters on the job.
The Senate voted 50-50 late Thursday, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Polls have shown the proposal is among the most popular flanks of Obama’s jobs initiative.
President Obama shakes hands with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) after he signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, October 8, 2010
The Hill: Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.
Steve Benen: …. I’m reminded of a recent tweet from Eli Lake, a national security correspondent for the conservative Washington Times (see above).
Though I imagine the choice of words will be very different, I suspect Obama’s re-election team will be pushing a similar message. Sure, national security policy probably won’t drive the presidential race, but for those who consider the issue, Obama and his team will have a compelling pitch to make.
There’s still a worthwhile debate to be had over whether U.S. intervention in Libya was a wise move, a terrible tragedy, or something in between, but the White House can credibly claim quite a bit of success: the Arab League endorsed intervention from the West; the administration assembled an international coalition with surprising speed; the mission gained approval from the United Nations; and as of this morning, it appears the Gaddafi regime is no more.
Steve Benen (in August): …..if McCain and Graham really want to complain about why “this success was so long in coming,” maybe they can talk more about their trip to Tripoli two years ago, when both cozied up to Gaddafi, even visiting with him at the dictator’s home, discussing delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan regime. Both senators shook Gaddafi’s hand; McCain even bowed a little.
I’m curious if McCain and Graham have simply forgotten about this, or if they’re just hoping everyone else has.
Oh, here’s McCain sharing his fine judgment with us today:
McCain statement today: “The death of Muammar Qaddafi marks an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution. While some final fighting continues, the Libyan people have liberated their country…… (bla bla bla).”
Ah ha – update:
GOPolitico: Sen. John McCain hailed the reported death of Muammar Qadhafi as a “victory” for President Obama.
“This is a victory for the president, the Obama administration but most importantly” for the Libyan people, McCain said on Fox News Thursday morning.
…. In a statement released earlier in the day, the Arizona senator said Qadhafi’s death “marks an end to the first phase of the Libyan revolution” but didn’t mention the president or the Obama administration.
Thanks Esmerelda & amk
Reuters: New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, according to a government report on Thursday that showed layoffs in recent weeks had dropped to levels last seen in April.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000, the Labor Department said. Economists had forecast claims falling to 400,000.
The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 6,250 to 403,000 – the lowest level since mid-April.
Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist at BNY Mellon in New York, said recent data on payrolls and retail sales had “effectively removed the double-dip scenario for the U.S.”
“The weekly fall in jobless claims adds to this, and the four-week moving average continues to drift lower. But we are still a long distance from the 200,000 new jobs a month we need for a sustainable improvement in the unemployment rate,” he said…..
TPM: One reason you can expect unanimous Republican opposition to Senate Democrats’ latest jobs bill Friday is because it includes a tax – a 0.5 percent surtax on income above $1 million starting in January 2013. That would raise enough money over the next 10 years to cover the $35 billion cost of hiring and retaining about 400,000 teachers and emergency responders next year – but for Republicans, it’s not worth it.
….. Enter Vice President Joe Biden, who at a Capitol Hill rally on Wednesday provided a lesson on just how modest the tax is.
“You have a one-half of one-percent surtax on the 1,000,0001th dollar — in other words it doesn’t affect anybody who makes $999,000, it doesn’t affect anybody making $999,999 — and if you want to find the guy who make $1,000,0001, it only affects that $1. That’s the only thing the rate goes up on,” Biden explained.
…. “If you make $1.1 million, and god-willing this passes, you would pay next year, $500 more in taxes,” Biden said.
….. “I say to the American people: watch your senator,” Biden said. “Watch him or her choose: Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms; are you going to put 18,000 cops back on the street, and 7,000 firefighters back into firehouses? OR are you going to save people with average income over $1 million a one-half of one-percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million.”