President Barack Obama is presented a plaque by philanthropist Lois Pope and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, during the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial dedication ceremony in Washington. President Obama paid tribute to disabled U.S. veterans on Sunday, pointing to the dedication of a new memorial honoring those severely injured in war as a symbol of the nation’s perseverance and character.
President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
This will be a beautiful day……
Washington Post: President Obama will head to the Capitol next week for the dedication of a new statue honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks, a White House official confirmed Wednesday.
The statue – which will be the first of an African American woman to be placed in the Capitol — will be unveiled next Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Statuary Hall, the exhibition space that sits just south of the Capitol Rotunda.
11:25: President Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams
12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
“I knew that I better keep my day job”:
Stephanie Cutter’s Organizing for Action call tonight on gun violence prevention
Vice President Joe Biden receives a bracelet from Paige Baitinger, wife of fallen St. Petersburg, Fla., police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger, following a Medal of Valor ceremony in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 20, 2013. The Vice President and Attorney General Eric Holder presented 18 recipients with the Medal of Valor, which is awarded to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others from harm. Baitinger accepted the award on behalf of her husband who was killed in the line of duty in 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Secretary of State John Kerry made his first public remarks regarding U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy Wednesday to students and faculty at the University of Virginia – see the speech here
BobCesca.com: Obamacare is Working …. Projections for Medicare spending between 2011 and 2020 have fallen by $500 billion.
…. The Affordable Care Act is bringing down the cost of healthcare by challenging a culture of waste, not by throwing momma from the train.
Hopefully, the full interview will be on Rachael Ray’s site soon – meanwhile, here’s a clip:
WH.gov: First Lady Michelle Obama to Embark on National Tour Celebrating Third Anniversary of Let’s Move!
On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Mrs. Obama will also travel to New York City this week to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.
Steve Benen: …… John Boehner has a 900-word op-ed in the Wall Street Journal … devoted almost entirely to a desperate attempt to avoid blame …. Reading this breathtakingly dishonest op-ed, I can’t help but wonder about the House Speaker’s frame of mind. Either Boehner actually believes the transparent nonsense he wrote, which would mean the Speaker is alarmingly ignorant about the basics of current events, he’s deliberately trying to deceive the public, counting on Americans to be foolish enough to buy demonstrable falsehoods.
Either way, Boehner’s mendacious piece is a profound disappointment, and beneath the dignity of his office. If the Speaker is still capable of shame, he should be embarrassed to peddle such nonsense.
See full post here – Benen shreds Boehner’s op-ed, point by point
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama enters the latest budget showdown with Congress with his highest job- approval rating in three years and public support for his economic message, while his Republican opponents’ popularity stands at a record low.
Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s performance in office, his strongest level of support since September 2009, according to a Bloomberg National poll conducted Feb. 15-18. Only 35 percent of the country has a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest rating in a survey that began in September 2009. The party’s brand slipped six percentage points in the last six months, the poll shows.
ThinkProgress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a former hospital CEO and ardent Obamacare critic, announced at a press conference Wednesday evening that he will accept Obamacare funding in order to expand his state’s Medicaid program for low-income Americans. The move comes after Scott secured a waiver to privatize the public insurance program.
The decision represents a marked departure from Scott’s previously held stance. Scott didn’t just initially oppose taking part in the expansion — which the Supreme Court ruled to be optional last summer — he knowingly cited wildly inaccurate figures to inflate the program’s cost to the state by 2500 percent in an effort to discredit it. He eventually dropped his estimate for the expansion by $23 billion in the face of intense media scrutiny…..
Not being, well, a drones ‘fan’ (is anyone??), I’m half reluctant to post this – one civilian death is too many. But, still, an interesting take on the issue:
William Saletan (Slate): In Defense of Drones – They’re the worst form of war, except for all the others.
“UN: Drones killed more Afghan civilians in 2012,” says the Associated Press headline. The article begins: “The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan jumped 72 percent in 2012, killing at least 16 civilians in a sharp increase from the previous year.” The message seems clear: More Afghans are dying, because drones kill civilians.
Wrong. Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon. They’re the worst form of warfare in the history of the world, except for all the others.
Start with that U.N. report. Afghan civilian casualties caused by the United States and its allies didn’t go up last year. They fell 46 percent. Specifically, civilian casualties from “aerial attacks” fell 42 percent….
Jet planes. Machine guns. Bombing. Drones aren’t the problem. Bombs are the problem.
Columbus Dispatch: President Barack Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University’s graduation ceremonies this year, the White House announced today.
The trip is his first scheduled trip to Ohio since he stopped in Columbus with singer Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.
Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for noon on Sunday, May 5 at Ohio Stadium. This will be the largest class in university history and the first spring graduation on the semester system. About 12,000 students are expected to graduate that day.
AP: The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.
Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.
10:45 President Obama will call on Congress to avert the automatic spending cuts coming next week
3:30: VP Biden participates in a Facebook Town Hall on gun violence
President Obama returning to the White House, Feb 18
USA Today: President Obama will urge congressional Republicans to avoid automatic budget cuts next month by appearing Tuesday with a group of emergency responders who might have to absorb some of those cuts.
The group of emergency responders who will stand beside Obama at 10:45 a.m. are “the kinds of working Americans whose jobs are on the line if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise on a balanced solution,” said an addition to the White House schedule.
Michael Tomasky: Whose “idea” was the sequester, and why should it matter? My Twitter feed these last couple of weeks has been overflowing with people going beyond the usual “communist” and “idiot” name-calling that I get every day and throwing the occasional “liar” in there because I “withhold” the information that the sequester was the Obama administration’s idea. Very well, consider that nugget hereby unwithheld. Let’s grant that this is true. But it’s true only because the Republicans were holding a gun to the administration’s head—and besides, the Republicans immediately voted for it. In any case the important thing now is that outside of Fox News land, it’s an unimportant fact whose “idea” it was. The Republicans are partial owners of this idea, and as the party that now wants the cuts to kick in, they deserve to – and will – bear more responsibility for the negative impacts.
Steve Benen: Over the weekend, USA Today published the leaked blueprint of the White House’s comprehensive immigration reform plan, built around an eight-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), demonstrating the kind of devotion to serious policymaking we’ve come to expect over his brief career, immediately condemned the unfinished plan he had not yet seen.
Deaniac (The People’s View): So, after USA Today reported on a White House draft legislation on immigration reform – something the president has always said he would do in the event Congress follows its usual path of doing nothing – Republicans began melting down faster than wax in a lit candle. Suddenly after months of complaining that the president won’t put his own plan out to deal with the debt, Republicans are seething that the president has his own plan on immigration.
Sen. Hydration, I mean Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida accused the White House proposal of following some sort of failed path even though he wouldn’t say just what in the White House draft he disagreed with……
Comment on YouTube by ‘Jack194343’: Before Mississippi could ratify the amendment, they had to learn how to read the amendment. That only took 147 years. Wait until they discover addition. That will knock their socks off. Imagine, not having to count by their fingers. What a leap forward that will be. But first, they have to learn to count to ten, so they know how many fingers they have. First things first, you know.
Join Organizing for Action’s Stephanie Cutter and other supporters online at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time this Wednesday for a policy briefing on gun violence prevention – see here
The First Lady will be on the Rachael Ray Show tomorrow
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials to discuss policies the President put forward last month that would reduce gun violence in communities across America, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)
9:20: President Obama departs the White House
2:25: Arrives Las Vegas
2:55: Delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School
5:00: Departs Las Vegas
9:20: Arrives at the White House
Washington Post: The Obama administration has developed its own proposals for immigration reform that are more liberal than a separate bipartisan effort in the Senate, including a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, people with knowledge of the proposals said.
President Obama is expected to provide some details of the White House plans during a Tuesday appearance in Las Vegas, where he will call for broad changes to the nation’s immigration laws. The speech will kick off a public push by the administration in support of the broadest overhaul of immigration law in nearly three decades.
Atlantic Wire: The gay community seemed to gasp in unison on Monday afternoon when the Senate revealed a much anticipated immigration plan that did not, in the end, include same-sex couples. But according to multiple reports Monday night, this is just the beginning: President Obama will include same-sex couples in the proposals of a major policy speech on immigration in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon that will seek to build on “momentum” from Congress for broad reform.
Steve Benen: After a bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, most proponents of improving the status quo, including President Obama and his team, were delighted. All eyes, however, quickly turned to House Republicans, who’ve long opposed reform and are in a position to kill it in this Congress.
Liberal Librarian: So, the news of the day is that a bipartisan group of senators have a plan for comprehensive immigration reform. That’s all to the well and good. This country needs a sensible immigration policy that allows for the legalization of those undocumented immigrants already in the country, and for a rational method for immigrants to come in legally.
Now, don’t be mistaken: this Damascene conversion on the part of a few Republican senators is due more to the stranglehold that the Democratic Party has on immigrant voters, rather than to any true change of heart that maybe it would be a good idea to decriminalize 11 million US residents.
Washington Post: The nation’s housing market is surging again after years of historic declines, and the unique forces powering its return could last well into 2013.
The number of homes for sale is at its lowest level since before the recession, sparking competition among buyers that has led to 10 straight months of price increases. The volume of activity is the highest since 2007.
Builders broke ground in December on the most new housing developments in four years. And interest rates on mortgages are expected to remain near all-time lows through much of the year, galvanizing once-skeptical buyers.
President Obama hugs Donna Vanzant, the owner of North Point Marina, as he tours damage from Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: It’s taken far longer than it should have, but federal aid for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy is finally on the way.
…. it’s worth pausing to note the partisan split on Sandy relief – in the Senate, 36 Senate Republicans, including members representing coastal states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, and the Carolinas, voted against the federal aid. Or put another way, 80% of Senate Republicans opposed post-Sandy relief …. 78% of House Republicans voted against the emergency assistance.
….. it is now effectively the standard position of congressional Republicans to reject disaster relief unless the funding is offset by other spending cuts. So long, compassionate conservatism, we hardly knew you.
TPM: The Senate is fast-tracking its reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to a floor vote expected by next week, two Democratic aides tell TPM.
But House Republican leaders remain silent on how they intend to proceed, which suggests that there has not been a breakthrough since last year, when the bill fell prey to the House GOP’s resistance to expand coverage to gays, illegal immigrants and Native Americans who have suffered domestic abuse.
Business Week: Last week campaign disclosure reports revealed that Hillary Clinton had finally retired the debt from her 2008 presidential campaign—with a little help from the guy who beat her, Barack Obama. Clinton’s debt once totaled more than $20 million, although it had dwindled to about $250,000 by last year. That’s when a team of top Obama donors decided to surprise Clinton, and thank her for her loyal service, by raising enough money to pay off her bills. As secretary of state, she was forbidden from political fundraising.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
AP: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still left in President Barack Obama’s first-term Cabinet, says he plans to leave the Obama administration.
…. LaHood says he will not run for public office in his home state of Illinois, saying he believes “you should go out while they’re applauding.”
2:55: President Obama hosts a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria
4:0: Delivers remarks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium
Paul Krugman: In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: They can’t or won’t do it.
No, really …. And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble.
Steve Benen: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared on several Sunday shows yesterday, and for the first time, made explicitly clear that higher rates on income above $250,000 is a precondition to any fiscal agreement.
…. this, in a nutshell, is why talks aren’t going anywhere. The White House has a plan on the table, which includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue, relying largely on higher rates on income above $250,000. Congressional Republicans, by their own admission, have no plan….
For those who take arithmetic seriously, the GOP approach borders on laughable….
CNN: Mitt Romney supporter Kid Rock said on Sunday that he told President Obama there are “no hard feelings” over his re-election victory. In an interview with CNN, the rock singer said he spoke with the President on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors event. (Video at link)
No hard feelings? Aw, that’s nice of him. :roll:
Loved what the President said to him when they met: “I’m still here.” :cool:
Kathleen Geier (Washington Monthly): One of the more surprising voting trends in American politics over the past two decades is the dramatic shift of Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party. Only 31% of the Asian American electorate voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but 73% supported Barack Obama in 2012. What accounts for this change? Working with data from the National Asian American Survey, two political scientists have some answers.
The professors reject a variety of explanations that have recently been offered. No, it’s apparently not because, as David Brooks proposed, Asian American voters are less individualistic or less antagonistic toward government than are other Americans …. Rather, there are are cluster of “push and pull” factors …. Some of the pull factors: Asian Americans like President Obama’s policies on health care, education, and the Iraq War…..
As for the “push factors”: well, the Republican’s anti-immigrant bias and its alliance with the Christian right are not doing them any favors so far as Asian Americans are concerned….
Business Insider: One month before Election Day, David Paleologos threw himself into the poll-heavy discussion of the 2012 campaign with a bold prediction.
Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said that he would no longer poll three key swing states — North Carolina, Virginia and Florida — because he was certain Republican Mitt Romney would win them.
That prediction, obviously, turned out to be horribly wrong. Romney won North Carolina, but Romney lost Virginia by nearly 4 points — and one of the biggest surprises of the election came when President Barack Obama won Florida.
…. Paleologos said that Suffolk would re-evaluate its likely voter screen ….
ABC: When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the Constitution won’t wait …. The iron beams are in place jutting out over Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.They will become the roof of the presidential reviewing stand for the second Obama inaugural next month.
But the traditional parade with its bands and floats will not march on January 20th, the day the Constitution requires the President to be sworn in. That falls on a Sunday this time so by tradition there will only be a small Sunday ceremony for the oath-taking at noon.
…. President Obama will also have to take the oath twice: At noon Jan. 20 as the Constitution requires, and again Monday at the US Capitol with the whole world watching.
Pool report: Presidential motorcade left a soggy South Lawn at 12:45 p.m. for shopping and lunch. Fourteen minutes later the motorcade arrived at Potomac Yards in Alexandria, where the President headed into the Pet Smart store. By the time the pool was allowed in a shirtsleeved POTUS was at a checkout counter with Bo, who appeared to be sizing up a small brown “standard poodle” named Cinnamon, according to the dog’s owner.
“Okay, Bo, don’t get too personal here,” POTUS admonished, holding tightly to Bo’s leash. He pulled out a $50 bill to pay for two items, one a large dog bone. Total was slightly more than $41.
After a quick stroll POTUS entered the nearby Best Buy at 1:10 p.m. “This (stop) for the girls now,” he said as he went in.
After a round of handshaking he headed straight to the Wii section, where he bought a Just Dance game for his daughters.
“The girls beat me every time on these dance games,” he said, “but you’ll never get a picture of me (playing) because I get graded F every time.”
He also bought a pair of $50 iTunes gift cards and an unidentified game. Tab came to 194.48. “Let’s see if my credit card still works,” he said. It did.
After more grip-and-grins outside, motorcade left at 1:21 p.m. Nine minutes later, POTUS arrived via side streets at intersection of East Del Ray and Mount Vernon to pick up some pies at the Del Ray Pizzeria. More handshakes, a little sports banter…
Pool ushered out. Minutes later POTUS emerged with three large pizzas. Then he worked the crowd on all four corners of the intersection plus a fifth cluster of squealing well-wishers a bit further down Del Ray.
Motorcade including Bo rolling at 1:48, arriving South Lawn 2:05 p.m.
President Obama and his dog Bo with a poodle named Cinnamon as they check out at PetSmart in Alexandria, Va. Obama bought the presidential pup a toy bone and a bag of food while Bo played in the store with Cinnamon.
President Barack Obama speaks with customers while picking up his pizza order at Del Ray Pizzeria in Alexandria after purchasing gifts
President Barack Obama greets people after stopping for pizza at Del Ray Pizzaria in Alexandria, Virginia
President Barack Obama shops for Christmas gifts at a Best Buy store on December 21, 2011 in Alexandria, Virginia
Steve Benen: ….. “It’s safe to say Speaker John Boehner does not agree with President Obama’s suggestion on Tuesday that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office. “Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment.”
…. Obviously, national conditions aren’t close to where they need to be. …. Maybe, if guys like Boehner would start passing jobs bills and stop holding the economy back on purpose, the public would start to feel like the country is on the right track again.
But for those who take reality seriously, there’s no real question as to whether the country is better off now than in January 2009:
Then the nation was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs.
Then the economy was shrinking; now the economy is growing.
Then the American automotive industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s starting to thrive.
Then taxpayers were sending money to Wall Street; now taxpayers are being paid back.
Then Osama bin Laden was targeting Americans and our allies; now he’s dead and al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated.
Then U.S. troops were headed into the Middle East in greater numbers; now they’re headed home with their heads held high.
Republicans, including John Boehner, drove the United States into a pretty deep ditch during the Bush/Cheney era, and conditions are still pretty ugly. That doesn’t change the simple fact that the nation is much stronger now than the day the president was inaugurated ….
AP: A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
Washington Post: Car buyers were out in force in October, snapping up trucks and SUVs and taking advantage of deals on Japanese cars.
U.S. car and truck sales were expected to top 1 million in October, a surprising number for a month when sales are usually slow. When adjusted for seasonal factors, that would be the best pace since the Cash for Clunkers program in August 2009.
Mediaite: In a Quinnipiac poll taken Oct. 25-31, embattled GOP juggernaut Herman Cain continued to show amazing staying power …. (but) The real news from this poll, taken before most of the fallout from Politico‘s alleged sexual harassment expose, might be that some rays of sunshine are finally hitting President Obama.
….. President Obama gained six points on his approval rating … and is now beating all Republican challengers by margins of 5-16 points. The President has seen steady progress in the polls since rolling out his American Jobs Act in September, taking it on the road, and taking the fight to the Republicans who oppose it.
Elsewhere in the poll, Democrats opened up a lead on the generic House ballot, beating Republicans 42-36, after tying them at 39 in October.
AP: Michelle Obama has presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs, including for at-risk kids.
The programs use dance, theater, writing, music, history and other art mediums to inspire teen moms and other young people and help them reach their potential. The first lady said at a White House ceremony Wednesday that the programs show that the arts are a lifeline – not a luxury – for many of these kids.
Most of the participants graduate from high school or earn a GED and go on to college.
The 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are presented on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.