June 2, 2010 – Pete Souza: “Paul McCartney sings “Michelle” to First Lady Michelle Obama during an event honoring McCartney as winner of the annual Gershwin Prize. I knew this was a special moment but didn’t have a full realization of its significance until when I later heard the President telling others that his wife could never have imagined as an African-American girl growing up on the South side of Chicago that someday a Beatle would be singing this song to her as First Lady of the United States.”
Today was a dark day in European history – Ireland finished last in the Eurovision Song Contest ….. out of 26 countries ….. with this epic tune.
They got five points, just 276 fewer than the winners, Denmark.
Their only votes came from Cyprus (2), Sweden (2) and the UK (1) – nothing from Greece, for example, which Ireland will remember next time there’s a European Union vote on bailing them out.
This is the musical equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire, because Ireland have won more Eurovision Song Contests than any other country in the entire, total and complete history of Europe.
What’s gone wrong? Democracy, that’s what. Before the break up of the Soviet Union, everything was fine, Ireland kept winning, but then about 95,000 new Eastern European countries won independence, got to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, didn’t like Ireland’s music, gave them no votes, and that was that.
So tonight I say: “Mr. Gorbachev, put that wall back up.”
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.
NYT Editorial: This is how voter intimidation worked in 1966: White teenagers in Americus, Ga., harassed black citizens in line to vote, and the police refused to intervene. Black plantation workers in Mississippi had to vote in plantation stores, overseen by their bosses. Black voters in Choctaw County, Ala., had to hand their ballots directly to white election officials for inspection.
This is how it works today: In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout.
The thing that’s different from the days of overt discrimination is the phony pretext of combating voter fraud. Voter identity fraud is all but nonexistent, but the assertion that it might exist is used as an excuse to reduce the political rights of minorities, the poor, students, older Americans and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.
Michael Tomasky: The release of the Romney tax returns is so amateurish that it almost offends me…..
Romney had pledged, in that ABC interview in Israel, that he’d never paid less than 13 percent to the feds. But to make that true for tax year 2011, the campaign admits that he artificially refused to take some deductions so that the rate would stay above the magic number.
But wait a second. Isn’t this the same Mitt Romney who said back in January: “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
In fact, it is. So he just released returns that, when stacked against his earlier statement, disqualify him for the presidency by his own lights. Amazing…..
Demonstrators hold up signs as Mitt Romney’s motorcade passes enroute to a campaign fundraiser in Hillsborough, California, September 21
Washington Post editorial: Going with the best-defense-is-a-good-offense approach, the Romney campaign is accusing President Obama of being a — gasp! — redistributionist. In a rather pale replay of 2008’s Joe the Plumber spread-the-wealth debate, the GOP dredged up a 14-year-old video.
…. The campaign apparently thinks that voters will find “redistribution” a scary word. But does Mr. Romney really disagree with the belief that part of government’s role is, in Mr. Obama’s words, to help “make sure that everybody’s got a shot”? To tax is to redistribute. To govern is to redistribute….
…. It’s indisputable that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have diverging views about the danger posed by increasing income inequality and the degree of redistribution in which government should engage. But the Romney campaign’s desperate, clownish portrayal of Mr. Obama does this important debate a serious disservice.
1:30 Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill campaign at a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire
6:40: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee (I need to check that time, CNN’s live streaming schedule has a habit of getting these things wrong)
7:30 ET: Michelle Obama will address the Congressional Black Caucus – live on C-SPAN
Charles Blow: Elections often turn on character moments and the slopes of lines. They are about who a candidate reveals himself to be under pressure more than who he says he is on stage…..
Taking that into account, at this moment, President Obama’s chances of being re-elected look stronger than they have in months. The Romney campaign seems to be coming off the tracks with no clear vision for how to get back on.
Romney’s panicky, premature excoriation of the Obama administration over violence in the Middle East — a response that was factually flawed and widely panned — only served to shake the fragile faith of those who might be holding their noses to support him…..
It also doesn’t help that Romney seems incapable of concealing his anxiety. He too often looks like a boy who just stepped on a nail and can’t remember his last tetanus shot.
Liberal Librarian: I think that this week has been a fulcrum not only in the election, but in the very real fight for the soul of the country.
Yes, way too many of our fellow citizens are still addled by hatred and bigotry. Obama should be ahead by 10-15 points, not 4-8. But let’s put that into perspective: Before the conventions, the polling averages had him ahead by at most 2 points. The debacle of Tampa and the triumph of Charlotte, without the media filter, basically reintroduced the country to both parties.
The GOP was seen as a heartless collection of ideologues whose only interest was in achieving power to service its rich backers. There was no positive vision of the future, but a wallowing in the contention that America was “in decline”. Charlotte highlighted a party and a President who believed in the nation, believed in the ability of its citizens to make an adult decision when presented with facts. The country saw a party united in its determination to make life better for all citizens, not just the fortunate few. It was the antithesis of the malaise bruited about by the GOP.
ThinkProgress: Biotechnology firm Monsanto Company, which currently owns most of the patents for America’s staple crops, is already cozy with American lawmakers. A new Nation report, however, indicates that “a very old friend in a very high place” may usher in the corporation’s most prosperous years yet.
The Nation’s investigative report has uncovered how Mitt Romney personally helped Monsanto shed its string of toxic chemical-related scandals and reinvent itself to dominate American agriculture. Monsanto, an early Bain & Company client, was so impressed with Romney that they started bypassing his superiors to deal with him directly.
ThinkProgress: House Republican Leader Eric Cantor announced Friday that after next week, the House will stand in recess until November 13. His plan for a nearly two month vacation will undoubtedly allow more time for campaigning, but will leave several vital bills awaiting action.
Among the important legislation the House will likely not address before the November elections:
1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization…. 2. The American Jobs Act…. 3. Tax cuts for working families…. 4. Veterans Job Corps Act….
The Independent (UK): …. Mitt Romney has a fight on his hands if he wants to keep using Thin Lizzy music to back his campaign. The widow of Phil Lynott, the band’s legendary frontman, said there was no way the singer would have supported the Republican candidate.
Caroline Lynott-Taraskevics has told the band’s record company to issue a cease and desist order preventing Romney from using Thin Lizzy classics …. she and his mother Philomena were angered after Mr Romney used the anthem The Boys Are Back In Town at the Republican convention in Florida.
The rocker’s mother has said her son would have rejected any association with the Republicans, particularly the Christian right-wing of the party and what she called anti-gay and pro-rich policies.
In a message published by Irish music magazine Hot Press, Ms Lynott-Taraskevics said that were Lynott still alive, he would back Democrat US President Barack Obama.
“Absolutely in no way would Philip have supported Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan and he would have been so happy about Obama becoming US president,” she said.