President Barack Obama, accompanied by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Vice President Joe Biden, salutes as he departs the White House en route to Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 12, 2011. The President and Prime Minister participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. An interpreter, center, walks with the group. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Don’t miss our good friend Tien’s brilliant post at The People’s View – here
Eugene Robinson: I guess I was wrong. I thought Republicans surely would have come to their senses by now. Instead, they seem to be rushing deeper into madness.
With less than a month to go before the Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney, the candidate shown by polls to have the best chance of defeating President Obama, evidently remains unacceptable to most of his party. He has spent the summer and fall playing second fiddle to a series of unconvincing “front-runners” who fade into the shadows once their shortcomings become obvious.
The latest is Newt Gingrich, a man with more baggage than Louis Vuitton – and the taste for fine jewelry of Louis XIV, judging by his Tiffany’s bill. Be honest: Is there anybody out there who believes Gingrich would make it through a general-election campaign against Obama without self-destructing? I didn’t think so.
The first lady announced in an email Monday that her October bid to break the record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period succeeded. Mrs. Obama says 300,265 people participated, shattering the old record.
In order to achieve her goal, Mrs. Obama led about 400 elementary and middle-school students from Washington in jumping jacks on the South Lawn of the White House. Other jumping jacks events were held around the world on Oct. 11.
The effort was organized by National Geographic Kids magazine in support of the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to promote physical fitness and healthy eating for children.
CBS: Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich – who has acknowledged marital infidelity in the past – pledged in a written statement to an Iowa social conservative group to “uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.”
Jon Taplin (TPM): Barack Obama learned a political trick from Muhammad Ali called Rope a Dope. For you youngsters, this refers to the epic Rumble in the Jungle Heavyweight fight against George Foreman in 1974….
Last summer during the debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama appeared to be the loser, but yesterday Republicans woke up to the reality that they lost Big Time – that we were going to get $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, with 50% of the cuts coming from the military and none of the cuts from Social Security and Medicare. The Congressional water carriers for the Military Industrial Complex are in a panic.
…. So why aren’t progressives celebrating this morning? Got me … If you had suggested to me last spring that a Republican House would pass a bill cutting $600 billion from the Pentagon budget over ten years, I would have called you crazy. But that is just what happened.
So there is only one election that matters a year from now. And that is that President Obama will be reelected and able to keep his veto threat….
This is an amazing victory and all we have to do to hold on to it is reelect the President.
The Hill: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package continues to benefit the struggling economy.
…. By CBO’s numbers, the $800 billion stimulus added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011. As the effects of the stimulus wind down, Obama has been pushing Congress to enact a $447 billion jobs bill that includes infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
Steve Benen: Romney’s willingness to lie to voters raises important questions about his integrity, but the question now becomes whether television stations will participate in the lie by airing a spot that’s proven to be deceptive.
Steve Benen: President Obama’s week-long trip to Asia didn’t generate a lot of attention from the domestic media, and based on Walter Russell Mead’s description, that’s a real shame. Americans have every reason to be pleased with the results of the president’s successful efforts:
The cascade of statements, deployments, agreements and announcements from the United States and its regional associates in the last week has to be one of the most unpleasant shocks for China’s leadership – ever …. Rarely has a great power been so provoked and affronted. Rarely have so many red lines been crossed. Rarely has so much face been lost, so fast…. [I]t was as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see. Congratulations should go to President Obama and his national security team.
…. I suspect the number of Americans who’ll vote in 2012 based on foreign policy can meet in a broom closet, but it’s getting tougher for even the harshest White House critics to deny President Obama’s impressive record on foreign policy…..
Andrew Sullivan: The one thing I noticed in my continental run-around this past week is just how mad liberals are at Obama. I remain as baffled by this anger as I am by Republican contempt for the guy. New York magazine has two superb essays that sum up my own feelings on both sides pretty perfectly – by Jon Chait and David Frum. Chait notes how systemic and eternal liberal disenchantment is, and how congenitally useless Democrats are in rallying round a leader, even one who has achieved so much in such a short time.
Many Dems even now think Clinton was more successful in fighting the GOP in his first term than Obama has been. (Memo to the left: universal healthcare was achieved under Obama). But much of this is the usual Democratic limpness and whininess. If George Bush had taken out Osama bin Laden, wiped out al Qaeda’s leadership and gathered a treasure trove of real intelligence by a daring raid, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now. If he’d done the equivalent on the right of universal healthcare, he’d be the second coming of Reagan. But Obama and liberals? If I hear one more gripe about single payer from someone in their fifties with a ponytail, I’ll scream.
… I remain unrepentant in my support for this president, a man who has accomplished more in the face of a more hostile environment in his first three years than any president since Johnson. I wish more reasonable Dems and a few moderate Republicans will soon have the courage to say so.
Robert Shrum: …. In a New York Times blog post titled “Decision 2013,” Emory University psychology professor Drew Westen offers strong opinions about the shortcomings of a president “tied up in knots of indecision” ….
…. It is a scathing indictment from someone who plainly feels his counsel and wisdom have been scorned. It is also a stunning repudiation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s insistence that people are entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
…. Westen launches an overall indictment of the president’s character – Obama is a president frozen in the ice of his own intellect, too logical, too rational, too disconnected from emotions …. the portrayal here of Obama is far removed from reality.
Ask Osama bin Laden if the president is indecisive. As for delay, health care reform was delayed for a century – and Obama passed it. The economy continues to be troubled, but Obama saved it from disaster … Financial reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, the greatest infrastructure investment in a generation – the list goes on. These are not the markers of indecision and delay. Nor is something else progressive critics thought Obama could never achieve. It was Bill Clinton, who famously felt our pain, who inflicted plenty of it by signing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. It was Obama who repealed it with a masterful sense of timing and a cool and rational approach to the Pentagon.
That is a hallmark of his presidency. An effective president can’t be just a partisan, appealing solely to the base. But Obama has delivered more progressive change than anyone at anytime since the 1960s. He hasn’t, as Westen writes, “just run out the clock.” He’s moved history ahead….
Most of the local channels have posted either their full interviews with the President, or clips:
Portland – KGW, NBC, Tracy Barry
Phoenix – KSAZ, Fox, John Hook (no video yet)
Denver – KUSA, NBC, Adele Arakawa
Minneapolis – WCCO, CBS, Amelia Santaniello
Houston – KTRK, ABC, Dave Ward (no video yet)
Omaha – KETV, ABC, Rob McCartney
Tampa – WTVT, Fox, Mark Wilson
Hampton Roads – WAVY, NBC, Tom Schaad
Philadelphia – WPVI, ABC, Brian Taff
Daily Beast: ….. Dorothy Rodham’s early life was difficult, and at the age of 8, when her parents divorced, she and a younger sister were sent alone by train from Chicago to Alhambra, Calif., to live with grandparents. It was not a happy home, and at 14, she left to make her way on her own, first as a mother’s helper, then after returning to Chicago, doing clerical work. There she met Hugh Rodham, a traveling salesman eight years her senior, and after a five-year courtship, they married in 1942.
…. Dorothy Rodham was a secret Democrat …. Hugh Rodham was a staunch Republican … After Hugh Rodham died in 1993, Dorothy spent much of her time at the White House, caring for Chelsea and bucking up her daughter through a minefield of policy and personal setbacks…..
WH: In 2009, President Obama challenged the Federal Government to lead by example by becoming leaner, greener and more efficient. He asked agencies and departments to become more energy efficient, reduce waste and water use, and use its purchasing power as the largest energy consumer in the U.S. economy to support more environmentally responsible products and technologies in their operations.
The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate extraordinary achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s challenge. Given in six different categories, the awards honor Federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects and facilities, and agency programs that exemplify President Obama’s charge to lead by example toward a clean energy economy.
Meet this year’s winners and learn about the award they are receiving – here
Steve Benen: …. “Last Friday, at the swanky Barley House tavern in Concord, N.H., Rick Perry took a little jab at the Occupy Wall Street crowd, referencing an amusing quote his son had sent him from a protester occupying Toronto (see video)
…..So what’s the problem? There is no “Jeremy” – the quote Perry paraphrased appeared in a satirical piece that ran in Toronto’s Globe and Mail. The piece became a chain email, Perry’s son sent it to him, and the governor failed once again to separate fact from fiction…..
TPM: A potentially huge shoe is dropping in the Herman Cain harassment scandal: one of his accusers indicated through her lawyer on Tuesday that she wants to come forward and tell her side of the story.
Joel P. Bennett, an attorney to one of the two National Restaurant Association employees who allegedly accused Cain of sexual harassment, told the Washington Post on Tuesday that his client is currently barred from speaking by a mutual non-disparagement agreement with the organization. But he says that agreement is being violated by Cain already, who has taken to the press to slam the harassment claim as “baseless,” and that she now wants to come forward and reveal herself to set the record straight.
Daily Beast: The Tea Party Pork Binge – They brought the nation to the brink of default over spending, but a Newsweek investigation shows Tea Party lawmakers grabbing billions from the government trough. Plus, view the letters submitted by the ‘Dirty Dozen.’
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Republican leadership’s tether to the Tea Party, flutters the hearts of the government-bashing, budget-slicing faithful with his relentless attacks on runaway federal spending. To Cantor, an $8 billion high-speed rail connecting Las Vegas to Disneyland is wasteful “pork-barrel spending” ….
But away from the cameras, Cantor sometimes pulls right up to the spending trough, including the very stimulus law he panned in public. Letters obtained by Newsweek show him pressing the Transportation Department to spend nearly $3 billion in stimulus money on a high-speed-rail project – not the one he derided in Nevada, but another in his home state….
CBS: Individuals making more than $1 million a year could see an average tax cut of more than $500,000 under Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s complicated tax proposal, while some taxpayers at the other end of the income spectrum would see a tax hike compared to the current tax rates, according to an analysis released Monday.
Perry’s plan would also reduce federal tax revenues by hundreds of billions of dollars, forcing the government to make dramatic spending cuts – long a goal of many conservatives pushing for a smaller federal footprint…..
ABC: While President Obama hosts a global economic summit for the first time this month, the first lady will take spouses of the world’s leaders to the valley where ABC-TV’s “Lost” and the classic ”Jurassic Park” were filmed.
When the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit opens in Hawaii Nov.12, Michelle Obama will take as many as two dozen spouses to Kualoa Ranch, where the lush vistas and remote access lured the producers of Hawaii Five-0, Magnum, Fantasy Island, the film Pearl Harbor and Karate Kid, among many others.
This is the first time President Obama has played host to such a big summit – APEC is the conference of economies that ring the Pacific Basin. He chose his home state of Hawaii for two days of meetings, centered in Honolulu.
Rich Iott, second from right, in a Nazi SS Waffen uniform
Washington Jewish Week: Notorious Nazi impersonator Richard Iott, who’s also a former GOP House candidate, donated $2,400 (the maximum amount permitted) to Rep. John Boehner earlier this year via the House speaker’s political action committee, according to recent FEC filings.
Iott came to prominence late last year when it was revealed that the one-time candidate in Ohio apparently spent his weekends prancing around in a Nazi SS Waffen uniform, reenacting battles….
…. given what we know about Iott’s pastime, should a leader like Boehner keep the contribution? …. I asked the speaker’s office for comment and was told, well, nothing ….The National Jewish Democratic Council called on Boehner to give back Iott’s money this afternoon.
TPM: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) unleashed a verbal fusillade on Anti-Tax Guru Grover Norquist Tuesday, calling him out as the main political force behind Washington gridlock.
Wolf took the House floor to lambaste Norquist’s pledge, a promise not to raise taxes that all but six Republicans in Congress have signed, accusing him of using it to advance other pet issues that most Republicans – if not most voters – do not support.
In addition, Wolf excoriated Norquist for his associations with “unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream”….
Wolf specifically highlighted Norquist’s connections to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his lobbying on behalf of Fannie Mae. “Mr. Abramoff essentially laundered money through ATR, and Mr. Norquist knew it,” Wolf said.
But Wolf also took Norquist to task for pre-9/11 lobbying of behalf of Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is serving 23 years in jail for his ties to terrorists, and Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to help a “designated terrorist” organization….
…. After his remarks on the House floor, Wolf submitted a report to the official House record that detailed a litany of problems he has with Norquist’s clients, causes and stands. One particularly inflammatory line reads: “Documentation shows that he has deep ties to supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations that are sworn enemies of the United States and our ally Israel.”