President Obama reacts as Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona, launches a marshmallow from his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon during the second White House Science Fair, February 7, 2012
12:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
1:35: President Obama views science fair projects, East Garden and State Dining Room
The President will host the White House Science Fair and celebrate the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in late 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire students to excel in math and science. As the President noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”
2:25: Delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair
Happy Earth Day to you.Happy Earth Day to you. Happy Earth Day, dear planet we’re destroying.Happy Earth Day to you.
Steve Benen: The latest reports suggest Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still unable to speak, due to a gunshot wound to the neck, but he’s begun to respond to questions…. while everyone involved certainly hopes these discussions produce answers, they coincide with a growing political debate, spurred on by conservative Republicans, about Tsarnaev’s legal fate….
…. It’s worth emphasizing that [Sen. Lindsey] Graham, a longtime lawyer and a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, appears to be simply be making up legal standards as he goes along.
The Obama administration has already invoked the public-safety exception to the Miranda law, though Graham is arguing this isn’t enough …. he’s saying officials should look for al Qaeda connections for a month, in the hopes that evidence might justify the move retroactively. That Tsarnaev is an American citizen, captured on American soil, apparently doesn’t matter to Graham and his allies…..
President Obama in the Connecticut Post: As a society, our first task must be to care for our children – to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.
That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try……
USA Today: NEWTOWN, Conn. — In this town where tragedy relaunched the nation’s debate over gun violence, people on all sides of the political divide expressed support Wednesday for President Obama’s proposals to ban assault weapons and establish tighter background checks for gun buyers.
“It shouldn’t be a Democratic or a Republican issue,” said Marsha Moskowitz, a Democrat who supports the president’s proposals. “It’s a human issue. It’s about humanity.”
…. Sandy Hook resident Alan Brown, a gun owner and “a life-long Republican” who voted for Romney, said Obama’s proposals make “a whole lot of sense.” “I don’t think our Founding Fathers who adopted the Second Amendment would have ever wanted Americans to have a machine of mass destruction in their hands,” he said.
…. Newtown resident Trish Dardine, a Democrat, said Obama’s gun-control efforts — “more than the killing of Osama bin Laden” — could be the “greatest act and lasting legacy” of his presidency.
Michael Tomasky: The GOP Will Lose on Guns – Conservatives’ appalling response to Obama’s gun-control proposals shows just how out of touch they are with America
Among the moon-howling reactions to the president’s surprisingly bold gun-control proposals on the right, the one that most struck me was the boiling indignation that he had the temerity to speak of, and surround himself with, school children …..
…. If those lives were real to you, you try to do something. Obama keeps that one girl’s drawing up on the wall of his private office? Thank God for that. She is real to him; her classmates are real to him, the event is real to him. That he is trying to do all this – up to and including the assault-weapons ban, the executive orders, all with the sure knowledge that the Republicans might not only block him but then find some grounds on which to impeach him – is evidence enough for me that it’s real to him….
Time: As he prepares to pitch an expansive new package of gun restrictions to a bitterly divided Congress, Barack Obama has the majority of voters on his side. A new TIME/CNN/ORC poll finds that 55% of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as President, compared to 43% who disapprove.
That ratio mirrors the public appetite for tighter restrictions on guns, with 55% of respondents favoring stricter gun control laws and 44% opposed.
…. The new poll also shows that Vice President Joe Biden’s approval rating has spiked to 59%, up from 54% in December…
E.J. Dionne: President Obama went big in offering a remarkably comprehensive plan to curb gun violence, and good for him …. Far from acting as if his work was now done, the president made clear that he is fully invested in seeing his agenda realized — and fully prepared to lead a national movement to loosen the grip of resignation and cynicism in the face of brutality and carnage…..
…. Most heartening of all was the tone the president took. He did not cast himself as an evenhanded umpire far above the fray, handing down ideas that all people of good will would inevitably accept. He acknowledged that the battle ahead would be difficult. He predicted he would have to fight the lie that his plan constituted “a tyrannical assault on liberty.” And he sought to mobilize a new effort to counteract the entrenched power of those who have dictated submissiveness in the face of bloodshed.
“Enough,” Obama declared, insisting that change would come only “if the American people demand it.”
Greg Sargent: GOP officials are greeting President Obama’s announcement of 23 executive actions on guns today as if they constitute an abuse of presidential power not seen since the dark days of Watergate….
Guess who disagrees? The former Solicitor General of the United States … under Saint Ronald Reagan.
“These are either standard exercises of presidential power, or even more benignly, standard examples of the power of the president to exhort the public or state officials to be aware of certain problems and to address them,” Charles Fried, who was Reagan’s solicitor general during his second term, told me today…
…. can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children – all of them – safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.
…. We can’t tolerate this anymore ….. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that – then surely we have an obligation to try.
….. We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?