President Barack Obama greets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India at the start of their bilateral meeting at the ASEAN Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Nov. 18, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The BIG news!
“On Wednesday, November 23, 2011, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The President will celebrate the 64th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday. The 2011 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate were raised on AgForte farm in Willmar, Minnesota.
“After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during ‘Christmas at Mount Vernon,’ a special program through January 6. After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility.”
Steve Benen: One of the top priorities of the House Republican leadership for this Congress was passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As of this afternoon, we can add another item to the list of GOP failures …. it needed 290 votes in the lower chamber, and came up with 261.
….only four House Republicans voted against it. The majority needed roughly 50 Democrats to break ranks, but ended up with about half the necessary total. [Here’s the roll call.]
The nation dodged a bullet today. This amendment would have devastated the economy and made responses to future crises effectively impossible….
Washington Post: Despite it all, the U.S. economy has entered a strong patch.
…. following a year of one economic disappointment after another, a variety of economic indicators are pointing in a more positive direction. The question is whether the U.S. economy has built enough momentum to withstand new shocks from overseas.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department said the number of permits to build new housing units rose 10.9 percent in October, compared with the 2.4 percent gain analysts had expected, suggesting that home-building may be finally picking up. And the Labor Department said the number of people filing new claims for unemployment-insurance benefits fell last week to its lowest level since April, continuing a two-month downward trend.
NYT: Even with low approval ratings and an uncertain path to reelection, President Obama is exceeding expectations in one area: His campaign is doing far better at attracting grass-roots financial support this year than his GOP rivals or his own historic effort in 2008, according to new contribution data.
The sheer scale of small donations, totaling $56 million for Obama and his party, has surprised many Democratic strategists and fundraisers, who feared that a sour economy would make it difficult for Obama to raise money from disenchanted and cash-strapped voters.
A Washington Post analysis shows that nearly half of his campaign contributions, and a quarter of the money he has raised for the Democratic Party, has come from donors giving less than $200. That’s much higher than it was four years ago, and far beyond what the best-funded Republicans have managed.
…. “The number of small donations shows who it is that supports this president and who put him there,” said Katherine Hahn, a self-described “mom and artist” from Evergreen, Colo., who gives Obama $25 a month. “It wasn’t the powers that be so much as it was people like me.”