Ta-Nehisi Coates: Stunning. Pitch perfect. No idea how it’ll play. Don’t care right now. Maybe I’ll care later. But for now, I just felt it was a stunning exercise in political minimalism. That’s a compliment.
Honestly, I haven’t made this up – a Ron Paul-supporting freak actually thought it was good news that the former KKK guy endorsed the nutjob!
Jonathan Bernstein: I have to say: If I were running Mitt Romney’s campaign, I’d much prefer reporters going on today about a mini-flap involving one of Mitt’s sons going birther and then apologizing than have them reporting on the Santorum surge.
….in the long run (or perhaps even by Tuesday) this particular incident will be long forgotten, it still can’t hurt Romney with Tea Partiers to hint that his camp is on the same page with them culturally.
Of course, I’m not hinting, nor am I voicing any suspicion, that the Romney camp would actually do something like this on purpose.
Reuters: New U.S. claims for jobless benefits rose last week but the underlying trend pointed to an improving labor market, while regional factory data showed the economy gaining momentum as the year ended.
The growth picture was brightened by other data on Thursday showing pending sales of previously owned homes jumped to a 1-1/2 year high in November, adding to signs of a tentative recovery in the housing market.
Indications the economy was wrapping up the year on a much firmer footing than had been previously anticipated leaves it better positioned to deal with headwinds from the festering debt crisis in Europe and fiscal tightening at home.
Jamelle Bouie (Prospect): …. If political courage is defined by the willingness to suffer politically for the sake of good public policy, then Affordable Care Act stands as a testament to the president’s political courage.
Which is why I also have no idea what National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar is talking about when he writes the following: “One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions…..” …. Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act – and I don’t see why you wouldn’t – this is demonstrably false….
…. One of the strangest things about the current political moment is the extent to which mainstream pundits routinely act as if crucial moments in the Obama presidency never happened … Chris Matthews demands more ambition from Obama, despite the fact that he ran hard to pass a piece of social legislation that rivals the Great Society programs in size and scope.
It’s one thing for pundits to err in their judgment – it happens to the best of us – it’s something else entirely for them to ignore reality and blame the president for his failure to conform to their magical world.
John Avlon (Daily Beast): Mitt Romney’s Campaign Is Becoming a Sinking Ship – New polls show that Newt Gingrich’s surge is hurting Mitt Romney where it counts. The game isn’t over, but time is running out for Mitt to turn it around.
The horses are getting spooked in the Romney camp. His poll numbers are plummeting in state after state, while Newt Gingrich is soaring across the board.
One reflection of the rising tension was an awkward interview with Bret Baier, in which the normally unflappable Mitt Romney got rattled by fair questions. It revealed the irritability of a man accustomed to being in control who’s watching his plans fall apart in public.
Mitt’s aura of inevitability is fading because his strategy is failing.
Joe Klein (Time): …. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel: (see post) …. The other inaccuracy is the notion that Obama wants Israel to return to its 1967 borders. He doesn’t. He wants the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, to be the basis for peace negotiations. Somehow, Romney neglects to mention the land swaps.
The fact is, Obama’s policy toward Israel has been in line with that of every US President since Nixon …. The fact is that US-Israeli military and intelligence cooperation, especially when it comes to sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program, has never been greater.
…. It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior … would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.
I was watching the President arrive in Philadelphia today and as he met the supporters waiting to greet him, I saw him shake hands with and talk to a tall, striking young man in a red t-shirt. (From 2:07 on in the video).
I just happened to record it, but didn’t get the chance to upload and post it. (Until now).
And then Isonprize left this comment:
So, I’ve been volunteering on the campaign since 2007 and I always try to volunteer for the Pres. Obama events. So, it helps to work the campaign (and do what you say you are going to do!) and get to know your regional field director. Whenever there is a presidential event, try to volunteer for it and get to the training on time!
Me getting to the airport this time was sheer luck …. a few planes landed, then about a 5 minute lag, and all off a sudden you see this HUGE plane gradually getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer. The distinctive ‘hump’ on the front of Air Force One was visible. I immediately knew that getting up at 5:30 this morning was ALL WORTH IT!!
Air Force One touched down as smooth as butter then disappear behind some of the airport buildings to taxi around to where we were. WHERE WE WERE!!!!
…. Then Pres, Obama walked straight over to us. I got video of him walking. I LOVE THAT MAN’S STRIDE!!! (:oops: Sorry Chica, I’ll behave) My son was the 3rd hand he shook.
My son said “Hi, President Barack Obama!”
He said. “Well, who is this tall young man? So, nice to meet you!”
I caught the audio on tape, but not the video because I was so close and so nervous, I forgot how to use my video camera. But I recovered enough to get them in the same frame of the camera shot.
Pres. Obama just seems so down to earth, so ‘normal’.
…. He spoke or shook hands with every single person, then waved and hopped in the “beast” I got some video of the motorcade and Air Force One just chillin’ on the runway.
Then I dropped my son off for the rest of his day. And crazy me? I went and canvassed some turf for election day. Ran into a few folks that forget it was election day (!!), got 7 campaign volunteers and knocked about 50 doors. Wanna lose some weight? Canvass in a city neighborhood. Going up and down those stairs is a workout!!! Then I voted, got the kid, got some din-din, and here I am.
All in all, an AWESOME DAY!!
Isonprize? You’re an inspiration, press on! Thrilled you and your son had such a memorable day.
4:15: The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Silva of Portugal.
8:35 PM: Delivers remarks at the National Women’s Law Center’s annual awards dinner.
Magnificent. Thanks GoBrooklyn
Ohio? We salute you!
President Barack Obama helps spell out “Ohio” with the Weithman family in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 18, 2010
Aljazeera: …… on the floor of the intelligence chief’s office (in Libya) lay an envelope addressed to Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam. Inside, I found what appears to be a summary of a conversation between US congressman Denis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader’s son.
It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby American lawmakers to suspend their support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and to put an end to NATO airstrikes. According to the document, Kucinich wanted evidence of corruption within the NTC and, like his fellow countryman Welch, any possible links within rebel ranks to al-Qaeda.
The document also lists specific information needed to defend Saif Al-Islam, who is currently on the International Criminal Court’s most wanted list…..
TPM (March 2011): A number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers are concerned about the White House’s air assault on Libya, but Rep. Dennis Kucinich raised the rhetoric to 11 on Monday, suggesting President Obama should be impeached.
“President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn’t have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that’s got to be said,” Kucinich said…. Obama’s decision “would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense”.
From March 2011:
CNN: Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is transforming his critique of President Obama’s actions in Libya into a fundraising plea, asking supporters to decide whether they like President Obama or the Constitution more.
After calling the president’s decision to act in Libya an “impeachable offense,” Kucinich Monday posted a letter on his website asking supporters for help in “putting together a broad fundraising structure to make sure that I’ll have the resources to continue to be a voice in the Unites States Congress.”
….Stating that he “never failed to stand up” when advocating for the “need to more our economy forward” or “internationally standing up for peace,” Kucinich asked potential donors to shore up his re-election efforts for 2012.
…. Ohio is set to undergo redistricting following the results of the most recent U.S. Census, a development that may make Kucinich’s road to re-election more difficult….
The Atlantic: …. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal is reporting this afternoon that the Ohio congressman may have translated his opposition into outright collaboration with the Qaddafi regime.
Elshayyal claims he’s uncovered a document at Libya’s intelligence headquarters in Tripoli ….. The file explains that the congressman (who is not named in the document reproduced on Al Jazeera’s site, raising questions about how Elshayyal pinpointed Kucinich) is seeking information from the Libyan government to file a lawsuit against NATO, the U.N., and the U.S., defend Saif al-Islam at the International Criminal Court, reform the image of the regime, and facilitate negotiations to end the conflict.
….. Kucinich already landed in hot water earlier this year for traveling to Syria to meet with President Bashar al-Assad …. In a statement on Friday that sounded very similar to Kucinich’s justification for visiting Assad, the representative explained, “In my efforts to end the war, I have been contacted by many parties – including members of the Qaddafi regime and some with ties to the rebels….”
Update: Rep. Kucinich’s office has sent The Atlantic Wire a statement in which the congressman flatly denies Al Jazeera’s report, claiming that the document in question is simply a summary of Kucinich’s public positions on the Libyan campaign by a Libyan bureaucrat who never consulted with Kucinich himself….
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.” ….
All Huntsman needs to finish him off is the support of Jeb Jr’s dad and uncle:
Miami Herald: With cellar-dwelling poll numbers and a campaign shake-up to boot, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman plans a “major announcement” on Wednesday morning in South Florida: The endorsement of Jeb Bush Jr.
His campaign said Bush Jr. will serve as national co-chair of GenH, with the mission to reach out to young people. Also joining the campaign is Republican political strategist Ana Navarro, of Miami. Her title: National Hispanic Chairperson….