President Barack Obama receives an update from officials via video teleconference on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy, in the Situation Room of the White House, Oct. 30, 2012. Pictured, from left, are: John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; David Agnew, Director for Intergovernmental Affairs; Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Benen: After three consecutive weeks of discouraging news, today’s report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims pointed to a sharp improvement in the data.
Indeed, the new numbers not only reverse the discouraging trend, they’re back to the level we saw in mid-March, which is near a four-year low.
…. It’s worth emphasizing that week-to-week results can vary widely, and it’s best not to read too much significance into any one report. Still, it’s generally heartening when the numbers are at least pointing in the right direction.
E.J. Dionne: We expect some hypocrisy in politics, but it was still jaw-dropping to behold Republicans accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Wasn’t it just eight years ago that the GOP organized an entire presidential campaign — including the choreography of its 2004 national convention — around the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and George W. Bush’s response to them?
Obama’s opponents don’t just think we have short attention spans. They imagine we have no memories whatsoever…
…. On foreign policy, Obama has kept his 2008 promise to turn history’s page. The nation is in no mood to turn it back.
MSNBC: GM posted a profit of $1 billion in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations on strong demand in its key North American market.
GM also said the U.S. economy was improving and it expected its core North American results in the second and third quarters to largely match the first quarter due to scheduled downtime at its large truck plants.
President Barack Obama receives an update on Hurricane Irene in the Situation Room of the White House, August 27, 2011.
Clockwise from left, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Richard Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; Nick Shapiro, senior policy advisor to John Brennan; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; and Chief of Staff BIll Daley. Onscreen are FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Joing by phone are Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The President convened a video teleconference at 10:30AM this morning in the White House Situation Room so that he could receive an update on the impact of Hurricane Irene.
Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Daley, DHS Secretary Napolitano, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Transportation Secretary LaHood, Energy Secretary Chu, FEMA Administrator Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor Brennan and other senior White House officials participated in the call.
The President was updated on the response and recovery efforts that are currently underway in coordination with state and local officials as well as the status of critical energy and transportation infrastructure in areas that have been impacted as well as areas that continue to be impacted by this storm.
He was updated on FEMA’s support to state and local partners as important damage assessments begin in areas where the storm has passed.
The President asked Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate to continue to be in touch with Governors and local leadership up and down the East Coast. The President directed that all federal efforts on response and recovery operations underway continue, and he will reconvene the team this evening.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said Sunday that federal, state and local governments are working together better in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“We’ve learned to really work as one team, not as separate levels of government, and to put everything together early before the storm hits,” Fugate said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think the big [lesson] — and this is one Congress recognized and passed the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act – was that we shouldn’t have to wait until a state is overwhelmed to begin getting ready, that we should be able to go in before the governor’s made a request, have supplies ready, have our teams in the state and work as one team, not waiting for damages to occur and that formal request to come,” Fugate said.
Jezebel: Ultra Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung is telling its readers like it isn’t – by editing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the now-iconic Bin Laden raid Situation Room photo. Oy vey.
The religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered “sexually suggestive.” Apparently the presence of a woman, any woman, being all womanly and sexy all over the United States’ counterterrorism efforts was too much for the editors of Der Tzitung to handle.
…Audrey Thomason, the counterterrorism analyst seen peeking out from behind another onlooker in the back of the original photo, was also airbrushed away, due to all of the sexy man-tempting that her very presence in a photograph would do.
CBS: Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper Der Zeitung has apologized for publishing an iconic photograph of President Obama and his national security team with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security team member Audrey Tomason photoshopped out.
….Der Zeitung has now released a statement saying that “we should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department”….
…The newspaper offered kind words for Clinton and said it respects all government officials, but that religious considerations prevent it from showing images of women.
“In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.”
President Obama greets 9/11 families and elected officials from the New York area at Ground Zero
A signed message from President Obama is seen on a pamphlet during his meeting with 9/11 family members
Paul Krugman: After reading John Yoo’s attack on the president for not taking Osama alive and bringing him to Gitmo, I thought I might take a minute to explain something I sometimes say … the Bush administration saw torturing people as a plus, not a cost … not because they’re sadists, but because it suited their self-image.
From day one of the War on Terror (TM), it was clear that the Bush people reveled in the notion that they were tough guys, willing to Do What Needs to be Done. They were all wannabe Kiefer Sutherlands. Far from showing qualms about suspending the rule of law and using torture to extract information, they obviously enjoyed the idea that they were willing to go all the way, unlike those wimpy liberals…..
…And so they are, inevitably, deeply upset that someone who isn’t a tough guy by their standards seems to be doing a better job of getting the terrorists than they did.
Krugman: ….isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair?
It’s particularly striking if you remember the atmosphere from 2001 through until 2004 or so. Back then, any hint of criticism of Bush’s War on Terror, or even a failure to show sufficient enthusiasm for his leadership, led to accusations that you were unpatriotic and somehow warped by your partisanship.
Now Obama actually gets his man – and does it in what seems to have been a truly gutsy fashion – and all we get is carping.
I can’t actually say I’m surprised, but it’s still kind of amazing.
It’s hard to believe this was only a week ago …. think of all that has happened since:
Michael Hirsh (National Journal): Ever so gingerly, even as they praised President Obama’s success against Osama bin Laden, some former senior Bush administration officials have sought to take a little credit for the mission themselves. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, interviewed by MSNBC this week, even called the operation “a good story for continuity across two presidencies.”
That assessment couldn’t be further from the truth.
Behind Obama’s takedown of the Qaida leader this week lies a profound discontinuity between administrations – a major strategic shift in how to deal with terrorists. From his first great public moment when, as a state senator, he called Iraq a “dumb war,” Obama indicated that he thought that George W. Bush had badly misconceived the challenge of 9/11. And very quickly upon taking office as president, Obama reoriented the war back to where, in the view of many experts, it always belonged. He discarded the idea of a “global war on terror” that conflated all terror threats from al-Qaida to Hamas to Hezbollah. Obama replaced it with a covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn….
…Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once famously lamented that “we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror.” Neither he nor other senior members of the Bush administration ever developed those “metrics.” But by any metric, Barack Obama has just tallied a major victory.
David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy): …..let’s try to put this week in perspective by highlighting a few winners, a few losers…The winners who have thus far emerged from the shootout at the Abbottabad corral include, in reverse order of the size of the win:
….The Families of U.S. Service Men and Women in Afghanistan: They’re coming home sooner now. This was their mission too. You can hardly beat that … and because there are so many of you, that’s why you edge out those folks at the pointy end of the spear who completed the mission.
….Barack Obama: His finest hour. Decisive. Cool. Able to both strike hard and do so with the kind of American values and restraint that elevated the mission and stands in stark contrast to the bombast and recklessness of some of his predecessors.
….The Planet Earth: A day without bin Laden is a better day for everyone.
Washington Post: …..When bin Laden’s corpse was laid out, one of the Navy SEALs was asked to stretch out next to it to compare heights. The SEAL was 6 feet tall. The body was several inches taller.
After the information was relayed to Obama, he turned to his advisers and said: “We donated a $60 million helicopter to this operation. Could we not afford to buy a tape measure?”
Thank Edwina ;-)
Daily Texan: Meet Rick Perry. He’s been the governor of the great state of Texas since Dec. 21, 2000. Meet Hannah Treadway. She’s my little sister, who lives with my family in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and was born on July 20, 1999.
Gov. Perry and Little Sister Hannah seem like they have a lot in common – strong leadership skills, great hair and my best guess is that they’re both into watching cartoons.
…I decided it would be a fun exercise to test how closely they align or differ on policy issues … I’m going to write out the question I asked my little sister, and then I’m going to put two answers. One will be the response my little sister gave me, and one will be a quote from our governor….
Question 1: What is Juarez, Mexico?
Answer 1: “It’s a place in Mexico. My dad says it’s not very safe.”
Answer 2: “Juarez is reported to be the most dangerous city in America.”
If you guessed that it was Hannah’s dad that told her that Juarez is not very safe, you are correct. In February, Perry delivered the second answer to reporters, but in fairness, it was an honest mistake that any politician who doesn’t speak in front of the media very often could have made. Now, moving on to question two.
Question 2: Who is responsible for the BP oil spill?
Answer 1: “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Answer 2: “BP.”
Answer 2 belongs to my naive 11-year-old sister, who in her youth thinks oil companies that skirt regulations are accountable for their mistakes. Fortunately our governor, in all his experience, has enough perspective to realize that it could have just been God’s fault.
This was the caption: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011
Some headlines from today:
From the Mail: “President Obama was watching on a TV screen as a commando gunned down Osama bin Laden. Via a video camera fixed to the helmet of a U.S. Navy Seal, the leader of the free world saw the terror chief shot in the left eye.”
New York Times: The president and his advisers watched Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, on a video screen, narrating from his agency’s headquarters across the Potomac River what was happening in faraway Pakistan.
Independent (UK): ….It was on Sunday afternoon that the drama of at last netting “Geronimo” – the codename given to Bin Laden for the operation – began. Obama, Clinton, Gates, Donilon, Brennan and a few others huddled in the White House Situation Room. A video and audio link connected them to Leon Panetta, the CIA director in Langley, Virginia, who would talk them through what was going on in Pakistan in real time, beginning with the helicopters carrying the Seals clattering through the night sky and arriving above their target.
Jake Tapper on ABC Word News tonight: “The President and his top aides were not able to watch any real time action being shot by the Navy Seals themselves…”.
So, the President did not watch as “the terror chief was shot in the left eye”.
All those people (mainly professional left types) calling him ‘ghoulish!” today ….. be embarrassed ;-)
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1
President Obama during one in a series of meetings in the Situation Room of the White House discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is pictured at right.
The Situation Room, May 1
… the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden …. Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is seen on the screen.
….editing his remarks in the Oval Office prior to making a televised statement detailing the mission against Osama bin Laden
….delivering a statement in the East Room of the White House on the mission against Osama bin Laden
Senior administration officials listen as President Barack Obama delivers his statement. Seated, from left, are: James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; CIA Director Leon Panetta; Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Vice President Joe Biden.
President Obama shakes hands with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Green Room of the White House following his statement. CIA Director Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are pictured at left.
President Barack Obama is briefed on the events in Egypt during a meeting with his national security team in the Situation Room of the White House, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Marc Lynch (Foreign Policy): After President Obama spoke last night about the situation in Egypt, my Twitter feed and inbox filled up with angry denunciations, with lots of people complaining bitterly that he had endorsed Mubarak’s grim struggle to hold on to power, missed an historic opportunity, and risked sparking a wave of anti-Americanism.
….I think the instant analysis badly misread his comments and the thrust of the administration’s policy. His speech was actually pretty good, as is the rapidly evolving American policy. The administration, it seems to me, is trying hard to protect the protestors from an escalation of violent repression, giving Mubarak just enough rope to hang himself, while carefully preparing to ensure that a transition will go in the direction of a more democratic successor.
….What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down … and that’s what the administration is doing. The administration’s public statements and private actions have to be understood as not only offering moral and rhetorical support to the protestors, or as throwing bones to the Washington echo chamber, but as working pragmatically to deliver a positive ending to a still extremely tense and fluid situation.
…anything short of Obama gripping the podium and shouting “Down With Mubarak!” probably would have disappointed activists. But that wasn’t going to happen, and shouldn’t have. If Obama had abandoned a major ally of the United States such as Hosni Mubarak without even making a phone call, it would have been irresponsible and would have sent a very dangerous message to every other U.S. ally. That doesn’t mean, as some would have it, that Obama has to stick with Mubarak over the long term – or even the weekend – but he simply had to make a show of trying to give a long-term ally one last chance to change.
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University
Robert Fisk (UK Independent): A people defies its dictator, and a nation’s future is in the balance …. It might be the end. It is certainly the beginning of the end. Across Egypt, tens of thousands of Arabs braved tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and live fire yesterday to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak after more than 30 years of dictatorship.