@petesouza: Historic phone call in the Oval Office: Pres Obama talks w Iran Pres Hassan Rouhani this afternoon
Just now, I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York. While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.
I’ve directed Secretary Kerry to continue pursuing this diplomatic effort with the Iranian government. We had constructive discussions yesterday in New York with our partners, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China, together with the Iranian foreign minister.
Going forward, President Rouhani and I have directed our teams to continue working expeditiously in cooperation with the P-5-plus-1 to pursue an agreement. And throughout this process, we’ll stay in close touch with our friends and allies in the region, including Israel.
Now, we’re mindful of all the challenges ahead. The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history. I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution. Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons. President Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons.
I’ve made clear that we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy in the context of Iran meeting its obligations. So the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions, which can also bring relief from the comprehensive international sanctions that are currently in place.
Resolving this issue obviously could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect. It would also help facilitate a better relationship between Iran and the international community, as well as others in the region, one that would help the Iranian people fulfill their extraordinary potential, but also help us address other concerns that could bring greater peace and stability to the Middle East.
A path to a meaningful agreement will be difficult. And at this point, both sides have significant concerns that will have to be overcome. But I believe we’ve got a responsibility to pursue diplomacy, and that we have a unique opportunity to make progress with the new leadership in Tehran. I also communicated to President Rouhani my deep respect for the Iranian people.
Steve Benen: …. I hope the political world can appreciate just how remarkable this turn of events really is. A decade ago, U.S. foreign policy declared Iran part of an “axis of evil” and tensions between the nations escalated to dangerous levels. Now we’re seeing diplomatic breakthroughs and there’s a credible possibility of resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai from his vehicle outside the Jane E. Lawton Community Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Sunday, March 11, 2012. The President called to express his shock and sadness over the reported killing of Afghan civilians. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama’s statement on the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan:
“I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan. I fully support Secretary Panetta’s and General Allen’s commitment to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.”
WH: “President Obama called President Karzai to express his shock and sadness at the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. President Obama extended his condolences to the people of Afghanistan, and made clear his Administration’s commitment to establish the facts as quickly as possible and to hold fully accountable anyone responsible. The President reaffirmed our deep respect for the Afghan people and the bonds between our two countries.”
Tuesday: PBO and the Vice President will meet with Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the White House.
Wednesday: PBO will travel to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. He will then travel to Los Angeles, California where he will attend campaign events. He will spend the night in Los Angeles.
Thursday: PBO will attend campaign events in Corona del Mar, California before traveling to San Francisco, California to attend campaign events. He will spend the night in San Francisco.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Seattle where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last. He will also attend campaign events in the Seattle area before returning to Washington, D.C. later in the evening.
PoliticalWire: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina rallied local volunteers in Arizona over the weekend by assuring them that Obama intends to compete in Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic.
Said Messina: “People said last time, ‘Oh, you can’t win Virginia,’ until we did. ‘You can’t win Florida,’ until we did. ‘You can never win North Carolina,’ until we did. And so a whole bunch of people are saying, ‘Can he win Arizona? Can he not win Arizona?’ The fact is you all are the secret weapon we have.”
The campaign will soon have four offices in the state.
Pew Research: Barack Obama now holds an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney in a general election matchup, and he has gained significant ground among independent voters. A month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney – today 51% say they would, while the number expressing support for Romney has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has a gift for words – self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
That’s clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.
Yahoo: The campaign team that pioneered an iPhone app for volunteer recruitment and get-out-the-vote efforts for President Obama in 2008 is out with a new tool aimed at tapping into more cash in 2012: the Obama Victory Fund mobile phone credit card donations app, with swipe attachment.
…. Organizers equipped with the small, 1-inch square attachment that plugs into a smart phone will be able to accept credit card swipes from donors, whose information will be automatically entered into the campaign’s database through the software interface downloaded on the phone.
“The idea is that if you’re at a house party or in daily interactions – at a grocery store shopping – and someone sees your Obama for America button and wants to talk to you about the campaign, you can ask for a donation and accept it right then and there,” the aide said.
The tool will be made widely available this spring, when supporters will be able to download the free app in the Apple iTunes store and obtain the swipe attachment.