President Barack Obama greets Fermi Award recipients Dr Burton Richter, right, and his wife Laurose, and Dr Mildred S Dresselhaus, third from right, and her husband Gene, in the Oval Office, May 7. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search finalists in the Eisenhower Building
Michael Tomasky on GOP Plans to Sink the Economy: Every month brings improved job news – and bleaker prospects for the Republicans in November. Which is why they’re contemplating economic sabotage as their only hope.
We’re just under eight months away from Election Day now, which means that the GOP is starting to run out of time to think up new ways to ruin the economy so that Barack Obama doesn’t get reelected …. There are three fronts – gas prices, jobs, and the budget…
….. By opposing everything Obama wanted with such ferocity; by saying all those thousands of times that he had no clue about the economy; by sending out a parade of presidential candidates, from the semi-serious to the clown posse, all of whose central criticism of Obama is that he killed the economy – in all of these ways the party has more invested in economic failure than any out-party I can remember in my lifetime. Its best hope for now is gas prices, but even they eventually get lower, usually by late summer. Beyond that, all the GOP has to rely on is Mitt Romney’s unstoppable charisma.
Marketwatch: U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index extending an advance into a fifth session, after retail sales climbed the fastest in five months in February.
“The rising sales were pretty impressive in that rising gas prices hasn’t hurt the consumer,” said Nick Raich, director of research at Key Private Bank in Cleveland …. The Commerce Department reported retail sales climbed 1.1% to $407.8 billion in February, while the prior two months were revised higher.
The upward revisions imply first-quarter economic growth could be “a bit stronger” than first estimated, noted Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC in New York.
National Journal: More Americans trust President Obama than congressional Republicans to make the right decisions to bring down the price of gasoline, according to a new poll, although neither side commands a majority.
What’s more, as prices continue to rise and the specter of $5-per-gallon gas for the summer driving season looms over the political landscape, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows the public slightly more supportive of the energy priorities of the Democrats and the president than those of the GOP.
Forty-four percent of respondents trust Obama more “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” versus 32 percent for Republicans in Congress….
Deaniac (The People’s View): After Washington Post/ABC News put out their poll drastically over-representing GOP and Republican leaning voters, New York Times and CBS News have come up with brand new blunders of their own on their poll released late afternoon yesterday, showing the president at an approval rating of “all time low” 41%. This poll has the most glaring, dumbfounding proof that its sample is rigged staring at you in the very front page of the poll’s crosstabs.
Raw Story: The Republican fight against health care rights for women may end up hurting the party on election day, according to a new poll. A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent.
The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not.
As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008 … “The gender gap was pretty enormous four years ago,” Benen wrote. “Don’t be surprised if it’s even bigger in November.”
Steve Benen: In Arizona, Democratic Senate candidate Don Bivens released a new ad yesterday, targeting Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and hoping to take advantage of the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh. It’s probably not the last 2012 spot we’ll see highlighting the right-wing radio host.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): According to Rick Santorum, I’m doubly un-American. I was born in New York City and lived there until I was 16, at which time my family moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve lived ever since. According to Rick Santorum, I have no values. I don’t know the worth of an honest day’s work. I don’t know the benefits of charity (in which he engages very sparingly). I don’t know the duties of good citizenship. My vote shouldn’t count, because as both a New Yorker and and Angeleno, I was never exposed to rock-ribbed, middle American values. I’m an other. And everyone who lives in my two cities are similarly lacking in American moral fiber.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): In the upcoming issue of the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris has a cover story called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge….
….. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments …. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list (see post)
…. These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.
….. Unlike Paul Glastris, I’m not ready to start chiseling Obama’s mug on Mount Rushmore. But unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman – and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.
Make sure you watch the video, the Science Fair clips are a hoot!
First Lady Michelle Obama greets a chef while visiting the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., as part of a tour celebrating the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Feb. 9, 2012. Little Rock Air Force Base is part of a pilot program that has enhanced food service quality, variety, and availability through new acquisition processes and redesign efforts. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
TPM: In his 2006 Massachusetts health care law, Mitt Romney embraced a virtually identical contraception coverage mandate as President Obama recently has, experts say, and as a result expanded access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women. And Democrats really want you to know that.
“They are practically mirror images or each other,” John McDonough, a professor of public health at Harvard, said on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee. “They completely reflect each other.”
NY Mag: …. The Telegraph finally admitted that their article about Michelle Obama shutting down a block of Madison Avenue so that she could go on a $50,000 “shopping spree” at Agent Provocateur with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, was indeed completely false. They also formally apologized for printing such total (but hilarious!) bullshit, but mostly to Sheikha Moza, not Obama – indeed, the title of the correction is “Her Highness Sheikha Moza – An Apology.”
Further to our article “First Lady’s luxury buys boost Agent Provocateur” (Jan 30), we would like to make clear that the “shopping spree” involving Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Michelle Obama that we referred to in fact never occurred, and that Her Highness has never been shopping with Mrs Obama, at Agent Provocateur or otherwise, and has never sought to have any part of New York closed off to enable her to shop undisturbed. We apologise for the distress and embarrassment this article caused.
First lady Michelle Obama at an Olive Garden Restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas
A gazillion congratulations to our beloved Liberal Librarian who has been invited by Deaniac to post at The People’s View (even though he’s a Chelsea fan) – it’s just completely brilliant news. Thrilled for you LL, looking forward to reading you, you legend ;-)
I’ve added a Video Vault section to the sidebar on the right – it’s a collection of videos of PBO from the archives, up to the 2008 election. I’ll add more soon(ish).
Speaking of the archives, this is from Harvard in 1990 – hadn’t seen it before. I like. Very, very much.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a tug of war with Jimmy Fallon in the Blue Room of the White House during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping for the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Jan. 25. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
** NBC tonight at 12:35 am ET **
AP: The number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high, supporting other data that show a brighter outlook for hiring.
Companies and governments posted 3.38 million jobs in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s up from the 3.12 million advertised in the previous month and nearly matches the three-year high reached in September. Job openings in the private sector reached the highest point in almost three and a half years.
…. The report on job openings follows Friday’s optimistic employment figures. Those showed employers added 243,000 net jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.
….. It generally takes one to three months for employers to fill job openings. December’s big jump in postings is likely one reason January’s jobs report was healthy. But it also suggests job growth may continue in the coming months.
Steve Benen: For months, Republican presidential candidates have been eager, if not desperate, to accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion”….
…. Mitt Romney seems to have settled on a policy to match the attack: the Obama administration’s decision to require coverage of contraception as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act is, according to the former governor, an “attack on religious liberty”.
…. As a substantive matter, Romney’s lying. The administration’s policy already exempts churches and other houses of worship and “doesn’t require any individual or employer to violate a religious belief – it simply ensures that their employees with different beliefs have the same access to birth control as all other women.”
…. he’s not only lying; he’s also denouncing Obama for adopting a policy similar to one Romney used to support …. as governor, a previous iteration of Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
USA Today: Pundits and bishops warn President Obama he could lose the white Catholic vote over requiring a contraception option for insurance plans. But Catholic women say they want birth control covered in employee health plans.
…. The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn’t include contraception coverage as part of free preventive care options in employers’ health insurance plans …. here’s where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today:
….58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.
… the numbers might bring pause to pundits mulling the “Catholic vote”.
Steve Benen: For months, Republican super PACs have been raising vast sums from wealthy donors …. the political world, however, hasn’t heard much from Democratic super PACs, which have raised far less money.
That will apparently soon change … Jim Messina argued overnight that the Obama campaign just doesn’t have a choice.
He added that Republican super PACS, in aggregate, are “expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.” That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a reasonable estimate. The Koch brothers alone are prepared to spend $100 million later this year to defeat Obama.
…. Democrats had a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field …. The only surprise here is that anyone would be surprised by the decision.
NYT: The delicate Karl Rove said he was “frankly, offended” …. (by)…. the Chrysler ad that Clint Eastwood narrated, which many people who don’t share Mr. Rove’s political worldview thought was rather uplifting.
…. he suggested the words were dictated by “the President of the United States and his political minions,” who bailed out Detroit with taxpayer dollars. It’s just another example of “Chicago-style politics,” he said, whatever that means.
The White House said it had nothing to do with the ad, but it had a great deal to do with Detroit’s resurgence, and that’s what’s really offensive to Mr. Rove and other Republicans. They’d prefer to drown out the good news coming from the carmakers, such as these recent headlines…
….. President Obama points to the wall after fourteen year old Joey Hudy, from Phoenix, Arizona shot a marshmallow from the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon which he invented, while touring student science fair projects on exhibit in the State Dining Room at the White House
… speaking with Morgan Ard, Titus Walker and Robert Knight, 8th grade students at Monroeville Junior High School in Monroeville, Alabama, as they demonstrate their award-winning robots
President Obama has a group hug with Janet Nieto, Gwynelle Condino, and Ana Nieto all from Presidio, Texas
Students, from left, Gaby Dempsey, 12, Kate Murray, 13, and Mackenzie Grewell, 13, read in the Red Room of the White House after setting up their science fair exhibit, Feb. 6, 2012. The three girls, part of the Flying Monkeys First Lego League Team from Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa, will participate in the second annual White House Science Fair with over 100 students from 45 states. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
10:35 AM: PBO views science fair projects.
11:25 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair.
Washington Post: President Obama will use the backdrop of a White House science fair Tuesday to highlight a nationwide shortage of math and science teachers and unveil a plan to invest $100 million to help train 100,000 new educators over the next decade.
Under his proposal, Obama will ask Congress for $80 million to support new Department of Education grants for colleges that provide innovative teacher-training programs. The president also is set to announce a $22 million commitment from private companies that will support the effort, according to White House officials.
We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules By Jim Messina
In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case opened the door to a new wave of so-called Super PACs—non-candidate political committees that can receive and spend unlimited money from special interests. For the first time, these committees could accept money from corporations, not just wealthy individuals.
The decision has accelerated a dangerous trend toward a political system increasingly dominated by big-money interests with disproportionate power to spend freely to influence our elections and our government…..
As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker: “Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street.”
So when are President Obama’s critics, people like Paul Krugman and Mitt Romney, going to offer President Obama an apology? Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy worse and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect or even on Romney (who I regard as a vapid twit bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point: President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.
First lady Michelle Obama arrives in the East Room at the White House, Sept. 26, to speak at an event about supporting and retaining women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers
White House: Today is a good day for science and technology, a good day for scientists and engineers, and a good day for the nation ….. the National Science Foundation (NSF) is announcing a major, 10-year initiative to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers.
Among other advances, the NSF – the Nation’s major funder of research in engineering, computer science, mathematics, and other high-tech fields that will be central to U.S. economic growth in the years ahead – will allow researchers to delay or suspend their grants for up to one year in order to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or fulfill other family obligations.
That change and others being launched today at a White House event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and NSF Director Subra Suresh aim to facilitate scientists’ reentry into their professions with minimal loss of momentum – especially women scientists, who, more often than not, are the ones who end up delaying or dropping their promising science careers because of competing family demands.
President Obama speaks before signing the America Invents Act
President Obama visits a classroom and watches students Meghan Clark and Nathan Hughes demonstrate the FIRST Robot, a robot created in the school’s prototyping and robotics senior research labs for last year’s FIRST Robotics Competition, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Later in the morning Obama signed the America Invents Act, which reforms patent law so to give a patent to the first applicant rather than the first inventor and allows the woefully underfunded U.S. Patent and Trade Office to set and potentially keep its own fees.
Bloomberg: Republicans give Rick Perry frontrunner status … even as warning signs flash over his ability to win support in the general election.
Perry is the preferred choice of 26 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in a Bloomberg National Poll …. Mitt Romney places second at 22 percent, while all of the other Republican candidates get less than 10 percent. (Jon Huntsman is on one percent).
…. Perry trails President Barack Obama among the poll’s entire sample, 49 percent to 40 percent, about twice the deficit for Romney. He also confronts negative reactions from Americans disinclined to vote for a candidate expressing the skepticism he has about the viability of Social Security, evolution science and whether humans contribute to climate change.
Forty-five percent of Americans say they’d be less inclined to support a candidate who says science isn’t settled on whether human activity contributes to global warming, while 25 percent said it would make them more likely to back that candidate. Half said they would be turned off by a candidate who says evolution remains an unproven theory, with 20 percent saying they’d be more inclined to support someone who holds that view.
….. Palin is viewed negatively by 66 percent of Americans in the poll, while Gingrich is disliked by 55 percent.
Walter Rodgers (Christian Science Monitor): “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it.”
….the big lie repeated about President Obama has been that he’s not a real leader … Some of this maligning reflects darker bigotry toward Mr. Obama. But it also shows our outdated and wrongheaded notions of leadership.
American culture mistakenly prizes bravado and arrogance as sure signs of leadership. Public showmanship – like donning a flight suit in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – is easy. Quiet, cool, competence that gets results – like pulling together an international coalition to protect civilians in Libya in record time – is hard. It’s a bias we learn as kids. Our history books lionize war heroes, yet are often silent about the diplomats who prevented conflict.
Let’s recall the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished (see here)
….Forgetting these and other accomplishments …. Goebbels-style nihilism that rejects anything Obama does as odious remains a powerful narrative. The good news is that Obama’s shrewd and calculated management of the hunt for bin Laden shows how hollow these critiques are…
….Obama’s hawkish critics chide him for allegedly “sitting on the sidelines” during recent uprisings in Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Take it from someone who has reported from across the Middle East: Sitting out potential Arab civil wars isn’t abdication of leadership; it is wisdom.
And yet, when facing near-certain humanitarian disaster, Obama wisely and rapidly put together a broad NATO coalition to deal with the Libyan revolt while keeping American involvement to a minimum – no boots on the ground and no dead Americans.
…A friend, a center-right voter, told me recently, “The reason I voted for Obama is because he has no hatred in him.” In another era of divisive bitterness, Lincoln preached, “with malice toward none, with charity toward all.” It’s worth noting how closely Obama’s philosophy of leadership approaches that.