Chicago Tribune: During a trip to her hometown today, first lady Michelle Obama applauded the work of a South Loop non-profit group that is helping high school students get job experience and advice about attending college.
Obama joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule, for a visit this morning to Urban Alliance Chicago, the career training program.
… “To you all students, for having the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something that was probably initially pretty scary,” Obama told about 50 teens gathered to see her. “I know that feeling. I was you guys. I say that all the time. Living on the South Side, looking at these buildings, wondering what goes on in those offices.”
Washington Post: Whitney Tilson is a hedge fund manager and a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.
I am part of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. By that I mean that I am fortunate to be a wealthy American and I say, “It’s okay to raise my taxes.”
This morning I was at the White House supporting President Obama in his call for Congress to pass the “Buffett rule.” …. It would hit me hard….. Why am I okay with this? The answer has to do with simple math and basic fairness.
…. It’s not class warfare to say that people like me – who aren’t suffering at all in these tough economic times, who are in many cases doing the best we’ve ever done and who can easily afford to pay more in taxes with no impact on our lifestyle – should be the first to step up and make a small sacrifice.
…. I am grateful for the effective government we have in this country, which is the absolutely necessary foundation for our wonderful capitalistic economic system that has benefited me so greatly. And I’m willing to do my fair share – in fact, more than my fair share – to help rein in our deficits and put this country on a more sustainable path.
Paul Krugman: Here’s the bad news: Mitt Romney’s campaign is setting new standards in serial dishonesty. Really. He makes Bush look like a font of truth and accuracy.
Here’s the good news: reporters seem to have noticed, and – be still my beating heart – we’re starting to see reports that actually point out the distortions, rather than saying that “some Democrats” say that he isn’t being honest.
It was particularly gratifying to see the response to Romney’s ludicrous claim that Obama is anti-woman because women have lost more jobs than men since he took office. This was cherry-picking raised to the level of an Olympic sport….
….The core of Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be contempt for the news media (and the voters), the belief that he can say anything and pay no price – which was the way things worked for Bush. But maybe, just maybe, his calculation was wrong, and serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, part of the narrative.
TPM: It took tens of millions of dollars, years of preparation and three months of primary contests, but Mitt Romney is finally the GOP’s presumptive nominee. Now comes the hard part.
Romney’s first day of the general election turned into a stark reminder that Obama will be a far tougher opponent than the poorly funded, disorganized candidates he battled in the primary. Romney was outmaneuvered and forced off message throughout the day – beginning with a morning press call in which the campaign was caught flat-footed over a simple question about Romney’s position on the Lilly Ledbetter Act – overshadowing the economic message he was trying to push, with the gleeful help of an armada of professional Democratic operatives.
The Atlantic: So here is the president of the United States, enjoying canapés and small talk at Daniel, chef Daniel Boulud’s gourmet restaurant just off Park Avenue ….. “I have a question I want to ask you, Mr. President,” I venture, once I catch his attention.
“Sure,” the president says.
“Kanye or Jay-Z?”
The president smiles. “Jay-Z,” he says, as if the answer should be obvious….
“Although I like Kanye,” Obama continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.
“Even though you called him a jackass?,” I ask.
“He is a jackass,” Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.” The president gives a wink, poses for a few more pictures, and then glides away…..
A baby donkey named Demo by its owner, Silvio Carrasquilla, stands dressed as the mascot of the U.S. Democratic Party behind a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama, outside Carrasquilla’s home in Turbaco, near Cartagena, April 11. Carrasquilla, Turbaco’s former mayor who considers himself Colombia’s number one Obama fan, is sprucing up his house by painting it the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag to celebrate Obama’s arrival in Cartagena for the VI Summit of the Americas on Friday.
Steve Benen: ….. the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein asked whether Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the campaign aides, after a painfully long delay, had no idea.
These weren’t trick questions. This was, after all, a call about women’s issues. It was organized by the Romney campaign, so it’s not as if these staffers could say they were caught off guard by extraneous and unrelated issues. Presumably, these folks prepared for their own telephone press conference.
Romney has cited a misleading statistic, and his aides couldn’t defend it. Romney has said current policies are keeping women from getting more jobs, and given three separate chances to say something coherent, his aides couldn’t explain what would change if the former governor is elected president. Were they not expecting these kinds of question?
…. Welcome to the general election, Mitt. I think you’ll find it’s a little more difficult than going up against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s having a terrible time turning the tables on Democrats. But his camp’s claim that President Obama is the one waging the “real war on women” is best debunked visually.
….. male employment and female employment have nearly returned to the levels they were at when Obama took office. And if Obama is waging a war on women, he’s doing a poor job of it. Despite these setbacks, female labor force participation remains near its historic high.
Greg Sargent: I’m glad to see that there’s been a moderately aggressive media response to Mitt Romney’s latest falsehood: The claim that 92 percent of the people who have lost jobs on Obama’s watch are women.
The argument, which his campaign is now making regularly, is central to Romney’s effort to win back women who were apparently alienated by the primary.
The assertion has now been debunked by Politifact, the Post’s Glenn Kessler, and NBC’s Domenico Montanaro.
ThinkProgress: As part of its bizarre strategy of blaming President Obama for the GOP’s “war on women,” the Romney campaign released statements today from two Republican Congresswomen, Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The statements correctly note that women have been hit particularly hard by job losses in recent years, but misleadingly lay the blame for those losses on Obama, just as Romney himself has been doing recently.
…… their concern for pay equity and women in the workplace must be a recent development. Both congresswomen voted against the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009…..
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s latest post at The People’s View: The “Reagan Rule” and the GOP crackup
PPP: Barack Obama’s opened up a 13 point lead on Mitt Romney in Colorado at 53-40. He’s gained 11 points in the state since December when he led just 47-45.
The formula for Obama’s gains is the same in Colorado as it is everywhere. He’s getting more popular and Romney’s getting less popular. In December only 45% of voters approved of the job Obama was doing to 50% who disapproved. Now he’s on positive ground with 50% giving him good marks to 47% who think he’s doing a poor job. The main thing that’s changed is Democrats really rallying around him. In December he was at 76/18 with them, but now it’s 89/8. The party is getting a lot more unified as the election comes closer.
Romney’s headed in the other direction. His net favorability has gone from -18 (35/53) to an even worse -29 (31/60) …. he’s extremely unpopular with independents at 25/65.
PPP: Mitt Romney may have effectively wrapped up the GOP nomination with Rick Santorum’s withdrawal yesterday, but PPP’s newest North Carolina poll really shows how much Romney was hurt by the process with Barack Obama as the ultimate beneficiary.
President Obama now leads Romney by 5 points in North Carolina, 49-44. That’s the largest lead we’ve found for him in monthly polling dating back to November of 2010. Obama has a 51-38 advantage with independents and is particularly strong with women (54-39), African Americans (90-7), voters under 30 (61-33), and folks in the Triangle (60-33).
The Republican nomination process has taken a huge toll on Romney’s image in North Carolina. In February of 2011 voters in the state were almost evenly divided on him with 37% rating him favorably to 39% who had a negative opinion of him. Now that spread is a dreadful 29/58….
He was actually popular with independents at 45/36 last winter, now he is incredibly unpopular at 25/62.
ThinkProgress: According to several experts in Florida law, Sean Hannity could be compelled to testify about his conversations with George Zimmerman. Tamara Lave, a professor of criminal law at the Universtiy of Miami who also practiced as a public defender for 10 years, told ThinkProgress it’s a “no brainer.”
Under Florida Law, there is a “qualified privilege” for journalists that protects their conversations with sources. But this privilege can be overcome, per Florida Evidence Code 90.5015….
Don’t forget Michelle Obama on The Colbert Report tonight
Florida Atlantic University, April 10
People look at their pictures with First Lady Michelle Obama as Mrs. Obama continues to greets guests at the Joining Forces Community Challenge event on the South Lawn of the White House, April 11. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
Steve Benen: The latest CBS News poll asked national respondents whether they’d support higher taxes on millionaires to lower the deficit. The results weren’t exactly close:
….it appears “class warfare” is pretty popular with the American mainstream … Why are Democrats, from President Obama on down, so unafraid of this issue? Because they’ve seen polls like this one, and know most Americans agree with them.
Washington Post: When President Obama unveils his deficit-reduction plan this morning in the Rose Garden, the proposal sure to draw the most attention is his call for people making $1 million or more to pay more in taxes.
And there are (smart) politics everywhere in it. Here’s why.
1. Polling: The numbers on taxing the wealthy are very clear. In a July Washington Post/ABC poll, 72 percent of those tested supported raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more as a means of reducing the debt …. In our 50-50 political world, those numbers are as close as you can get to a political slam dunk.
2. Populism: Obama is an awkward populist, at best, but if ever there was a time when populism could sell, it’s now….
3. Middle class: These earners are, without question, the swing vote of the 2012 presidential election …. and at a time when many members of the middle class are feeling more and more squeezed economically, the idea of getting the wealthy to pay more will seem to many of them like a political no-brainer.
…. Make no mistake: President Obama has picked a political fight on the most solid ground on which he has to stand at this turbulent time. Winning it would help turn around his political fortunes as the calendar turns to 2012.
Warren Buffett says he’s absolutely “fine” with President Obama calling the new plan to establish a minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year the “Buffett Rule.”
….. the billionaire told the FOX Business Network the administration “asked me if they could use my name (on it) and I said, ‘Sure. It’s what I believe.'”
Buffett has long argued that the wealthiest Americans tend to pay a smaller portion of their income in federal taxes than middle-income earners because some millionaires and billionaires often get much of their income from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than basic wages.
Buffett has argued that the “billionaire-friendly Congress” has coddled the wealthy and that that practice should end.
…. When asked if he’s heard complaints or gotten friendly jabs from his wealthy friends about the Buffett Rule, Buffett quipped:
“Well, I’ve employed a food taster, but other than that…”