January 2009, the Inauguration ….. never saw that coming, eh Dick?
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will again administer the oath of office to President Barack Obama during his second inauguration this month, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced on Friday.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will take the oath officially on Sunday, Jan. 20 and again on Jan. 21 in a ceremonial swearing-in at the Capitol. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be the fourth woman to administer the oath when she swears in the vice president, the committee said.
Mediaite: …. Mitt Romney’s campaign released its first television ad …. The biggest point of contention was a moment where the ad shows 2008 footage of then-Candidate Obama making fun of a quote made by one of John McCain’s aides. However, the Romney ad makes it seem like Obama is saying the quote himself. When CNN asked Romney’s team about the error, they cheerfully responded that they did it on purpose.
This appears to have really ticked some folks at the news network off as CNN just did a segment on the ad that was one of the most blistering things we’ve ever seen…..
10:30 AM President Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey (Woot!)
4:20 The President, First Lady and their daughters participate in a service event
Wait, wait, don’t tell me! 2005
President Barack Obama greets members of the audience after delivering remarks on the American Jobs Act at Manchester Central High School, Manchester, N.H., Nov. 22. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Source – 2008 (extracts): Mary was a newlywed and ready to move to Norway, but was stopped at the airport because she didn’t have enough money for the trip. Then a stranger turned up and paid for her.
Mary Menth Andersen was 31 years old at the time and had just married Norwegian Dag Andersen. She was looking forward to starting a new life in Åsgårdstrand in Vestfold with him. But first she had to get all of her belongings across to Norway. The date was November 2nd, 1988.
At the airport in Miami things were hectic as usual, with long lines at the check-in counters. When it was finally Mary’s turn and she had placed her luggage on the baggage line, she got the message that would crush her bubbling feeling of happiness.
“You’ll have to pay a $103 surcharge if you want to bring both those suitcases to Norway,” the man behind the counter said.
Mary had no money. Her new husband had travelled ahead of her to Norway, and she had no one else to call.
“I was completely desperate and tried to think which of my things I could manage without. But I had already made such a careful selection of my most prized possessions,” says Mary.
Although she explained the situation to the man behind the counter, he showed no signs of mercy.
“I started to cry, tears were pouring down my face and I had no idea what to do. Then I heard a gentle and friendly voice behind me saying, “That’s OK, I’ll pay for her”.”
Mary turned around to see a tall man whom she had never seen before.
….She was thrilled to be able to bring both her suitcases to Norway and assured the stranger that he would get his money back. The man wrote his name and address on a piece of paper that he gave to Mary. She thanked him repeatedly. When she finally walked off towards the security checkpoint, he waved goodbye to her.
The piece of paper said ‘Barack Obama’ and his address in Kansas, which is the state where his mother comes from. Mary carried the slip of paper around in her wallet for years, before it was thrown out.
“He was my knight in shining armor,” says Mary, smiling.
She paid the $103 back to Obama the day after she arrived in Norway. At that time he had just finished his job as a poorly paid community worker in Chicago, and had started his law studies at prestigious Harvard university.
In the spring of 2006 Mary’s parents had heard that Obama was considering a run for president, but that he had still not decided. They chose to write a letter in which they told him that he would receive their votes. At the same time, they thanked Obama for helping their daughter 18 years earlier.
In a letter to Mary’s parents dated May 4th, 2006 and stamped ‘United States Senate, Washington DC’, Barack Obama writes:
“I want to thank you for the lovely things you wrote about me and for reminding me of what happened at Miami airport. I’m happy I could help back then, and I’m delighted to hear that your daughter is happy in Norway. Please send her my best wishes. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States senator.”
The parents sent the letter on to Mary.
“It’s amazing to think that the man who helped me 20 years ago may now become the next US president,” says Mary delightedly.
Pjstar: Forgive Tim and Diana Wheeler if they sometimes slip and refer to President Obama by his first name. After all, the Wheelers are quite possibly the only townsfolk in Alpha to know the leader of the free world on a first-name basis.
“Barack is coming to Alpha!” Tim Wheeler, 53, crowed with a chuckle Tuesday at Caterpillar Inc.’s Building HH, where he is a section manager.
Not that the Wheelers would be so informal Wednesday, when there’s a good chance – yet again – that they’ll get a few minutes to chat with their presidential pal. “We knew him before he was president,” Diane Wheeler, 50, said from Alpha. “We got in the habit of calling him by his first name. Out of respect, now it’s ‘Mister President.'”
Mind you, the Wheelers are no heavy-hitting politicos or deep-pocket contributors. They’re just workaday people who just happen to have the ear of the most powerful man on the planet. And when Obama saunters into the Country Corners Farm Market, the Wheelers stand the best chance of the Alpha’s 671 residents for a presidential one-on-one. It’s a special relationship, stretching from a hardscrabble farming burg to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “We consider him a friend,” Diane Wheeler said.
The connection comes via son Marcus Wheeler, who in 2004 was a 19-year-old in dire need of a liver transplant. At the time, Tim Wheeler faced the loss of his 28-year job at Butler Manufacturing, which would leave Galesburg the next year. No job meant no insurance.
Meanwhile, Obama, then a state senator from Chicago, was campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat. On May 15 of that year, he made an unplanned stop at Galesburg’s Labor Temple, to talk with 25 local labor leaders. One was Wheeler, of United Steelworkers Local 2629.
When he got a chance with Obama, Wheeler sobbed as he told of his son’s need of a second transplant and expensive drugs. Obama promised to seek help via Medicare.
Two months later, die-hard Democrats Tim and Diana Wheeler flipped on their TV to see Obama address the Democratic National Convention, as John Kerry’s keynote speaker. A riveting speech bolstered his national gravitas, in part with the heartfelt plea, “We have more work to do. More work to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs. … More to do for the father that I met who was losing his job and choking back the tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on.”
Stunned to tears, the Wheelers vowed to support Obama the next week at a Kewanee rally. Tim Wheeler approached Obama, who immediately said, “I want you to know: Every day I say a prayer for Marcus.” Thereafter, Obama would use the Wheeler story on the stump. Meanwhile, Tim Wheeler got a new job, at Cat, where insurance covered another two liver transplants for his son. In 2006, Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” mentioned Galesburg several times, including the value of on-the-road encounters with people like the Wheelers: “Those were the stories you missed on a private jet at 40,000 feet.”
Later, they there were more meet-ups. When Marcus had treatment at the University of Chicago Hospitals, his dad met Michelle Obama in a hallway. She said her husband often prayed for the family. Later, as a U.S. senator, Obama gave a speech at the University of Illinois. Marcus Wheeler, en route to a bachelor’s degree in math, got a front-row seat. To start the speech, Obama mouthed, “Hi, Marcus.”
And in 2009, before Obama toured Cat here, Tim Wheeler was picked to join 200 workers to meet with Obama. Through the throng, the president summoned Wheeler for a few personal words for the first time since inauguration.
“How ya doing?” Wheeler asked.
“Oh,” Obama said with a grin, “I’ve been kinda busy these days.” ….
President Obama is greeted by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton as he arrives at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
…. with Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken
President Obama boards his bus at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, August 15
In this Sept. 12, 2009 file photo, Igor Vovkovinskiy, 27, of Rochester, Minn, standing 7-feet and 8-inches tall, shakes hands with President Barack Obama after a health insurance reform rally in Minneapolis
Igor Vovkovinskiy, the self proclaimed biggest supporter of President Barack Obama, takes a photo with cheerleaders from the Cannon Falls high school prior to a town hall event at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park, in Cannon Falls, Minn. , Monday, Aug. 15
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) issued the following statement about his position on the debt ceiling compromise:
“As I have said all along, the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling and defaulting on our debt would be disastrous to all Minnesotans. Unfortunately, in a game of chicken, the player most concerned about protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is put in the most difficult position.
“As a result, the deal that has been struck is not balanced, as I would have preferred. It does achieve the laudable goal of reducing the deficit, but does so with only cuts, even though a significant majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, favor closing loopholes for corporations and tax increases on the wealthiest Americans to make sure everyone is paying their fair share.
“Nevertheless, I will vote for this package, because defaulting would have grave economic consequences for my Minnesota constituents. The deal does protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. And it will erase some of the uncertainty confronting businesses and the markets.
“I hope now we can get back to our job, which is to facilitate the growth of our economy and create jobs by investing in innovation, in our infrastructure and workforce, and by making sure our children get a world-class education so they are prepared for a 21st century economy.”
Text of the President’s remarks from yesterday here (full video a couple of posts below) – every word is worth listening to over and over again, but as StR suggested, the closing few minutes were especially powerful.
Some people get it:
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria with author and historian David McCullough
Some people don’t get it – see Tally’s message to Senator Sanders:
Why aren’t you calling for anyone who signed the King Norquist pledge to RESIGN or be forced from office for sedition??? A pledge they hold higher than their oath of office and the US Constitution! If YOU, or any Dem senator had EVER signed such a pledge, the GOP would scream bloody murder and that person would be out of office within 24 hours of doing so. And yet… you are silent.
Why aren’t you calling out GOP members in Congress that the 14th Amendment clearly states “CONGRESS SHALL ENFORCE” [America to pay her bills]??? THERE IS NO CHOICE ON RAISING THE DEBT CEILING! Why aren’t you calling for removal from office those in the House who refuse to raise it for DERELICTION OF DUTY???? And yet… you are silent.
No, instead, you attack the POTUS, even when YOU KNOW VERY WELL – he has been up against RECORD filibustering, RECORD opposition, and a bunch of WELL FUNDED traitors who have held this country hostage and hate their own government and fellow countrymen so much they are WILLFULLY trying to crash the US ECONOMY.
HOW DARE YOU? YOU OF ALL PEOPLE!!!
I would never have believed it of you, but I heard it with my own ears. You are suggesting someone primary Obama.
Obama has NEVER been the problem. It’s the DEMS, who have NEVER, COLLECTIVELY, had his BACK. It’s the DEMS who have no spine, and should have been calling out the weak Congressional Members who have been bought by lobbyists, but remain silent.
If all of you HAD stood with THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM, we would have gotten so much more done, and he never would have had to so much as entertain giving up the Public Option in HCR, but he KNEW he didn’t have the votes, and because of that, he was forced into negotiating with these damn terrorists in the GOP.
I get that we never had 60 votes in the Senate. But when you had the opportunity THIS SESSION to change the filibuster rules, it was OUR SIDE that was weak, and failed to do so.
It was OUR SIDE that never gave Obama the Progressive Army he needed.
TO DATE – he has NEVER stated he would put cuts to SS/Medicare/Medicade BENEFITS on the table. NOT ONCE. If I can listen and understand the words that come out of President Obama’s mouth, WHY CAN’T YOU??? He has talked about cutting other parts, like to providers (which worked before.)
Why aren’t YOU calling for the removal of the Contribution Cap on earnings so that EVERYONE pays the same percentage, including those who make over $106k a year?? WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT, INSTEAD OF ATTACKING YOUR PRESIDENT.
Let me be honest Senator, it doesn’t make Obama look weak when you say things like that. It makes YOU and the REST of the Dems look weak. And you want to know the saddest thing of all? Many of us are not surprised in the least.
My disappointment in you Senator, has shaken me to my core. I never thought YOU, of ALL PEOPLE would do anything remotely like this, ESPECIALLY at a time, IF THERE EVER WAS ONE, to have your PRESIDENT’S BACK.
NYT Editorial: For days, the White House has infuriated its Democratic allies in Congress by offering House Republicans more and more in exchange for a deal to raise the debt ceiling and prevent default. But it was never enough, and, on Friday evening, it became clear that it may never be enough. Speaker John Boehner again walked away from the “grand bargain” he had been negotiating with President Obama, leaving the country teetering on the brink of another economic collapse.
At the White House podium a few minutes later, the president radiated a righteous fury he rarely displays in public, finally placing the blame for this wholly unnecessary crisis squarely where it belongs: on Republicans who will do anything to upend his presidency and dismantle every social program they can find. “Can they say yes to anything?” he asked, noting the paradox of Republicans, who claim that financial responsibility and debt reduction are their biggest priorities, rejecting yet another deal that would have cut that debt by at least $3 trillion.
… on the eve of economic calamity, the Republicans killed an overly generous deal largely over a paltry $400 billion in deductions. Mr. Obama was willing to take considerable heat from his liberal critics over the deal, and the Republicans were not willing to do a thing to anger their Tea Party base. As the president forcefully said, there is no evidence that House Republicans are capable of making those tough decisions. If last-ditch talks beginning Saturday fail, they will have to take responsibility if the unimaginable — a government default — happens in 10 days and the checks stop going out.
President Obama addresses U.S. troops during his visit to Baghdad, April 7, 2009
Boston Globe: From a wooden perch 20 feet above the sun-bleached sand of central Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Formy-Duval is helping direct the most complex spring cleaning in American military history.
A snaking, exhaust-spewing caravan of flatbeds and tractor-trailers, coiling around 34 acres of dirt and dust, sputters and brakes and starts again in a slow-moving dance toward cargo that has been collected from US bases across Iraq … Formy-Duval is funneling the accumulation of eight years of war toward Kuwait and beyond.
…All remaining US troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by Dec. 31 … they are nearly all restricted to their bases as the end of the mission approaches, but those facilities are constantly shrinking. Joint Base Balad, which once held 50,000 troops and civilian workers, is now about one-third the size. From a high of 500 US bases in Iraq in 2007, only 66 remain.
…Christopher Sullivan, a civilian from Carlisle who works for the Defense Department, gazes around the base he has called home and looked ahead to the end. “I’m not going to be sentimental about Iraq or anything,’’ Sullivan says. “When the end comes here, it will be me and a suitcase.’’
CBS: “60 Minutes” producer Maria Gavrilovic takes us back to 2007 when she just was “the new girl” at CBS, and President Obama the longshot candidate. Those were very early days for Obama, and his campaign looked far from promising. Only a small handful of reporters were traveling with him at the time, and for Gavrilovic, it wasn’t exactly the plum assignment that a frontrunner candidate like Hillary Clinton was.
….Gavrilovic reminds us of a controversial campaign promise, made four years ago, when Obama gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. On August 1, 2007, the candidate said, “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
His Democratic opponents – including Clinton – subsequently attacked him for being naïve and inexperienced in matters of foreign policy. The dust-up lasted for weeks, recalls Gavrilovic.
Gavrilovic, who helped produce this week’s Obama episode for “60 Minutes,” connects the dots between the killing of bin Laden and a four-year-old campaign pledge that got Candidate Obama in hot water.
The original, better quality video can be seen here
Greg Sargent: Harry Reid, on the Senate floor moments ago, uncorked a blast at Republicans over Planned Parenthood that suggests Dems think they’ve got John Boehner boxed in big time:
“Republicans want to shut down the government because they think there is nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings? That is indefensible, and everyone should be outraged – women and men. Republican leaders in the House have only a few hours left to look in the mirror, snap out of it and realize how positively shameful that would be.”
“For months, this conversation has been about billions and trillions of dollars. It has been about weighty issues and difficult decisions. This debate used to be about saving money.
“No longer. We have an agreement on the cuts and savings. And that agreement includes a historic level of cuts…
“The consequences of letting our country’s funding expire would be devastating. It would be devastating to our troops, to our small businesses and to Americans’ everyday lives – people who just want to get a home loan or get their tax refund or get their paycheck. It would damage our image and credibility around the world.
“But Republicans are asking me to sacrifice my wife’s health, my daughter’s health and my nine granddaughters’ health. They’re asking me to sacrifice the health of women in Nevada and across America. I won’t do it.
“As a legislator, I’m frustrated. And as an American, I’m appalled. As a husband, a father and a grandfather, I’m personally offended.”