Steve Benen: Since I raised some concerns about David Brooks’ column, it’s only fair that I note there’s been some follow-up on the story.
To briefly recap, Brooks built his entire column around a falsehood: the bogus claim that President Obama “hasn’t actually come up with a proposal to avert sequestration,” despite the detailed, already published plan, built on mutual concessions from both sides, the White House already released.
…. Though the walk-back is welcome, Greg Sargent helps highlight why Brooks still has some room to improve his argument …. And then Brooks made one more mistake: he argued with Ezra Klein. This interview is an absolute must-read – really, it is….
Jonathan Cohn: I have a big scoop, straight from an extremely reliable White House source: The Obama Administration has endorsed means-testing of Medicare.
For some time now, Republicans have been saying that wealthy seniors should pay more for Medicare …. New York Times columnist David Brooks seconded the plea in the New York Times. Apparently Obama has been listening. According to my administration source, the president would support means-testing.
Huge news! And who was my reliable source? The White House website. See, this isn’t a new proposal. It’s part of last year’s budget….
… the failure to recognize, or at least acknowledge, that the administration has already proposed serious means-testing is widespread in Washington — and emblematic of a broader truth in the budget debate….
Read Charles Pierce on David Brooks here – nooooooooo extract would do it justice.
TPM: Top Senate Democrats excoriated the competing House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act hours after it was unveiled Friday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the author of VAWA, derided the legislation as “partisan” and said it omits critical measures designed to protect vulnerable populations like Native Americans, immigrants and the gay and lesbian community.
“Next week, the House of Representatives plans to revert back to its partisan version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act,” Leahy said in a statement. “The Republican House leadership has decided to replace the Senate-passed version with a substitute that will not provide critical protections for rape victims, domestic violence victims, human trafficking victims, students on campuses, or stalking victims. This is simply unacceptable …..”
Washington Post: The number of double-digit rate increases requested by health insurers has plummeted over the past four years, according to a Friday report from the Obama administration.
Researchers combed through data available from the 15 states that publicly post all requests for rate increases in the individual market. They found that, in 2009, 74 percent of all requests came in above 10 percent. By 2012, that number had fallen to 35 percent. Preliminary data for 2013, which only cover a handful of states, shows 14 percent of rate increases asking for a double-digit bump….
TPM: A few weeks ago, Tom Teves, of Phoenix, sent his senators a letter. His 24-year-old son, Alex, was killed last year in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, and he wanted to tell them Alex’s story and encourage them to take action on guns.
What he got in response, he said, were cold, impersonal form letters from Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans. Neither of the letters even addressed the Colorado massacre. In fact, they brought up an entirely different shooting, the schoolhouse killings in Newtown, Conn., and mentioned each senator’s ongoing support of the Second Amendment. It was like Alex Teves’ death hadn’t gotten through to the senators or their staffs.
Now, Tom Teves has shared the letters he received with TPM. He did so after his wife confronted McCain in-person Wednesday with her son’s story and a question about guns at a town hall event in Phoenix. McCain’s response included the remark that Caren Teves needed “some straight talk” on the issue of assault weapons.
Michael Tomasky: Deluded Republican Reformers – Conservative pundits’ ideas about fixing the GOP are totally meaningless, says Michael Tomasky, until they deal with the problem of their party’s rage-driven fanaticism.
Conservative pundits and intellectuals have spent the past week or two ….. talking about how to save the Republican Party. They have lots of ideas — some good, some not so good, most very sober-minded policy prescriptions …. The party they purport to support and care about has been engaged in burning down the house of American politics for three or four years now, and they are saying nothing about it; and until they say something about it, everything else they say is close to meaningless.
President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as they stand in the West Wing Lobby of the White House, Feb. 22 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, Michelle Obama, VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden will host the 2013 Governors’ Dinner at the White House on Sunday
First lady Michelle Obama and host Dr. Mehmet Oz dancing with third graders from the Terence C. Reilly #7 School in Elizabeth, N.J. during a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show,” on Friday, Feb. 22 in New York. The episode will air on Thursday Feb. 28
And, one more time (that’s a lie: I’ll probably post it every day for the next four years):
2:15: Delivers remarks at a campaign rally at Elm Street Middle School, Nashua
4:30: Vice President Biden, Jill and Beau Biden campaign in Lynchburg, Virginia (live on C-Span)
5:05: President Obama departs Nashua
6:45: Arrives White House
On Wednesday, the President will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio and Akron, Ohio for campaign events. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will welcome local children and children of military families to trick-or-treat at the North Portico of the White House.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson:
Paul Krugman: For a few days there the Romney campaign was boasting a lot about having Big Mo — and the press corps actually fell for it, briefly. At this point, however, the reality seems to be sinking in: if Romney has Big Mo, it looks like this:
Despite the Denver Debacle and its aftermath, state polls are showing a clear Obama lead in the electoral college, which if anything is getting a bit stronger….
Why? Jonathan Cohn singles out the auto bailout, and rightly so. I’d add, however, that the killing of Osama bin Laden mattered too …. what the auto rescue and the bin Laden strike have in common is that they were both very courageous decisions — decisions that could easily have gone wrong, that faced lots of second-guessing. You can criticize Obama for many things (and I have, and will in future), but he showed true grit when it mattered, and now seems likely to reap the reward.
Mediaite: Bill Maher used his final New Rule of the night to warn voters unhappy with President Obama of the political and social consequences of the other guy winning. Maher argued that Mitt Romney winning the presidency would not just be a victory for him, but for every Republican extremist Romney has ever supported in his recent political career. Maher said Romney “may seem like a nice fella,” but he’s “a compulsive liar whose whole life is secret” and would bring too much unwanted baggage into a relationship with America.
…. Maher also warned about the “fresh can of nuts” in Congress with wildly anti-scientific beliefs that would have more free reign under a Republican administration. Maher said that a Republican in the White House would mean the return of “Bible-thumping bullshit” in government.