June 2, 2010 – Pete Souza: “Paul McCartney sings “Michelle” to First Lady Michelle Obama during an event honoring McCartney as winner of the annual Gershwin Prize. I knew this was a special moment but didn’t have a full realization of its significance until when I later heard the President telling others that his wife could never have imagined as an African-American girl growing up on the South side of Chicago that someday a Beatle would be singing this song to her as First Lady of the United States.”
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.”
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
AP: ….In the split-second rush to report the Supreme Court’s health care decision Thursday, CNN and Fox News Channel got it wrong.
…. CNN apologized for its error, saying it “regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion” that upheld the mandate requiring virtually all Americans to have health insurance. Fox, however, insisted it was right. “Fox reported the facts, as they came in,” said network executive Michael Clemente.
The inaccurate reports were the first ones seen by Obama, who was watching four television monitors outside the Oval Office. White House Counsel Katherine Ruemmler came in moments later with the true story.
…. Anchor Wolf Blitzer and reporter Kate Bolduan reported at 10:08 a.m. that the health care law had been struck down …. the screen read: “Supreme Ct. Kills Individual Mandate.” The news was tweeted and emailed to the network’s followers.
“The court striking down that mandate is a dramatic blow to the president,” said CNN reporter John King.
…. “Let’s take a deep breath and see what the justices actually decided,” Blitzer said. “It could be more complicated than we originally thought.”
Two minutes later, CNN reported the correct decision … that the entire law had been upheld, with King calling it “a huge, huge victory for President Obama.”
…. Obama’s first news about the decision came from television monitors outside the Oval Office, where the cable channels were reporting that the mandate had been struck down, according to administration officials. Within moments, Ruemmler hurried toward the White House and flashed the president two thumbs up. She explained her reading, and Obama hugged her as Chief of Staff Jack Lew looked on.
Charles Pierce: …. you should really read Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion in the health-care case, if, for no other reason, than to watch as, I think at least partly for the pure mischief-making hell of it, she roasts Antonin Scalia on a spit over that stupid argument about broccoli that, because he’s more bored with his day-job than the average toll-taker on the Mass Pike, Scalia dragged into the Court’s oral arguments from some drive-time doughbrain on AM radio:
That is so of the market for cars, and of the market for broccoli as well. Although an individual might buy a car or a crown of broccoli one day, there is no certainty she will ever do so. And if she eventually wants a car or has a craving for broccoli, she will be obliged to pay at the counter before receiving the vehicle or nourishment. She will get no free ride or food, at the expense of another consumer forced to pay an inflated price. Upholding the minimum coverage provision on the ground that all are participants or will be participants in the health-care market would therefore carry no implication that Congress may justify under the Commerce Clause a mandate to buy other products and services.
UK Independent: Huddled round a TV, with news-radio blaring in the background, Jerry and June Caldwell anxiously awaited the Supreme Court’s all-important verdict at breakfast time yesterday.
When it emerged that, against many expectations, ‘Obamacare’ had survived more-or-less intact, the couple leapt from their sofa, punched the air, and performed a celebratory high-five. “This,” declared Jerry, “is a great day for America!”
He should know. As victims of the free-market excess of the current system, the Caldwells are among hundreds of thousands of Americans who each year face bankruptcy because of unpaid medical bills….
…. ‘Obamacare’ won’t fix their problems overnight. But when it takes effect in 18 months, it will at least allow the Caldwells – who thanks to recent stays in intensive care are currently unable to find any health cover, at any price – to once more join the ranks of the insured. “From 2014, people can’t be turned down because of some pre-existing condition. And the cost of insurance will fall to a decent level,” says June. “That’s all that matters. We will be allowed and able to purchase insurance. As to the future, almost all civilised countries have some form of public healthcare. I feel that the US will get to that point some time. And the Supreme Court has now taken us to step number one on that road.”
Charles Pierce: … as this whole pursuit of Eric Holder has gathered speed, I had no doubt in my mind at all that, sooner or later, he was going to be the first cabinet official ever held in contempt of Congress, and that it didn’t matter that the cheapjack grifter Darrell Issa already has said he doesn’t think that any crimes were committed, or that the White House was in any way involved, or that Fortune magazine pretty much blew up the raison d’etre for the whole business over the weekend. I just assumed, based on long experience, that, once they opened the ball on Eric Holder, they weren’t going to stop until they got at least a piece of what they wanted. This isn’t because they’re reckless partisans. It’s because they’re fking vandals who have the votes.
… So 17 Democrats went over the side and voted with the Republicans. The NRA has managed to scare themselves up a “bipartisan majority” about which the Republicans can crow. The rest of the Democrats proceeded to walk out en masse and Holder is now the first cabinet member in history to be held in contempt of Congress. What could not happen to John Mitchell during Watergate, Caspar Weinberger during Iran-Contra, or Alberto Gonzales during the scandal over U.S. attorneys, has happened to Eric Holder over something hardly anyone thinks is a crime, and almost nobody really understands. This is a triumph for know-nothingism, for the rule of the talk-show and the black helicopter crowd. And the Democratic party doesn’t have the faintest idea how to fight this.
I have the names in alphabetical order, so no bias here …. I really should have called it ‘A Obama Diary’ :???:
Actually – and I’m being completely serious – I’d way prefer if you could donate to any of the other fundraisers, especially the newer ones, mine is permanently linked here in a shamelessly self-promoting kind of way.
You know what I always say: I honestly, honestly, honestly hate bugging people for money, because I know so many of you are going through tough times, especially those of you with kids, mortgages, elderly relatives you’re caring for or who are suffering from ill health. Some of you have shared your stories with me, you’re amazing people, you just selflessly battle away and do everything you can for Obama/Biden 2012 by volunteering, etc. You’re all inspirational.
So, I’m only asking those who can afford to donate to do so before that June 30 deadline – a gazillion thanks in advance, let’s get this fella re-elected.
Nancy Pelosi: “These very same people holding in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress a vote. They are closely aligned with those who are suffocating the system, special interests, secret money, and they are poisoning the debate. They are poisoning the debate with that money. And so what does the average citizen say? They throw up their hands and they say, a pox on both your houses, and that is a victory for the special interest”……
James Fallows (The Atlantic): … but then he gets a chance to sing at the White House tonight, doing Sweet Home Chicago with Mick Jagger and also B.B. King?? Jeesh, talk about being the most powerful man in the world.
…. The guy does have a charm that is hard to imagine the Santorums or Romneys ever matching …. for extra enjoyment check out the shots of White House chief of staff Jacob Lew bopping in the background. A real hep cat, for sure!
AP: A surging Rick Santorum is running even with Mitt Romney atop the Republican presidential field, but neither candidate is faring well against President Barack Obama eight months before Americans vote, a new survey shows.
Obama tops 50 percent support when matched against each of the four GOP candidates and holds a significant lead over each of them, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll….
….. Obama holds an 8-point lead over Romney, 9 points over Santorum and 10 points over Gingrich or Paul…. Notably, the survey showed the president dominating among independents, a group central to Obama’s 2008 victory, whose support for him had faltered in recent months. According to the poll, 6 in 10 independents would choose Obama over any of the Republicans.
Marquette: President Barack Obama leads each of his Republican rivals in Wisconsin, according to the new Marquette Law School Poll. Obama leads former Senator Rick Santorum 51 percent to 40 percent and leads former governor Mitt Romney by 53 percent to 38 percent. In January, Obama’s lead over Romney was 48 percent to 40 percent. The president holds a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Rep. Ron Paul and a 56 percent to 33 percent margin over former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Charles Pierce: It should be A Very Special Episode, this Wednesday night’s season finale of the 1,329,465,771.5 Republican debates. They should invite the whole cast back, all the people who left the show for their own spinoffs, the way they brought Rhoda and Phyllis back when Mary Richards got fired at WJM. Look, here’s Herman Cain, and there’s Michele Bachmann, and there’s Rick Perry, stumbling and falling into the potato salad. And there’s the formerly invisible Jon Huntsman. Who knew he was so tall?
Steve Benen: Last week, the House Oversight Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, held a one-sided hearing on contraception access, featuring an opening panel of five conservative men – and no one else. Democrats on the committee had invited a witness, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, but Issa refused to allow her to participate.
House Dems aren’t taking “no” for an answer …. Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that a Democratic panel will meet this week to hear testimony from just one witness: Sandra Fluke….
…. There was, however, an unexpected twist yesterday afternoon … the Republican-controlled Committee on House Administration has refused to allow the hearing to be televised ….. what is it, exactly, about Fluke’s perspective that has Republicans so concerned? The law student wants to share the story of a classmate who lost an ovary due to an ailment that could have been treated with birth control.