President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, before making a statement to the press in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 9, 2012. The President announced Daley’s resignation and that Lew will serve as his next chief of staff. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Mark Kelly leans on the shoulder of his wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a memorial vigil remembering the victims and survivors of the shooting that wounded Giffords, 12 others and killed six one year ago Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
NYT: The sun had fallen and a crowd had gathered on a chilly Sunday night on the mall at the University of Arizona, for the last event of a weekend commemorating the first anniversary of the mass shooting here one year ago. The vigil began with the Pledge of the Allegiance.
Reuters: Welcome to an unlikely beacon of hope for the global auto industry – Detroit.
Executives arriving this week for the Detroit auto show find a U.S. car market that has morphed from meltdown three years ago to a safe haven as concerns grow about the stability of other big economies, from Europe to China.
Analysts and executives expect 2012 U.S. auto sales to grow 4 percent to 9 percent, the third consecutive annual gain….
12:30: First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver remarks at a DNC luncheon in Richmond.
2:45: Mrs Obama will announce a major commitment by the country’s top medical colleges and universities to create a new generation of doctors, medical schools, and research facilities to ensure that veterans, service men and women receive the medical care that they deserve.
Prior to this announcement, the First Lady will tour the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center’s Polytrauma Unit to visit wounded warriors and veterans receiving in-patient treatment.
5:15 PM: Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at a DNC reception
Friday, January 13:
Morning: Mrs Obama will join the cast of Nickelodeon’s iCarly at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady,” a new episode featuring the First Lady that honors America’s military children.
At the final event of the tour, Miranda Cosgrove and the iCarly cast will be joined by Mrs. Obama at Hayfield Secondary School, a school with a large number of military children. They will screen the episode, participate in iCarly’s “Random Dancing” and answer questions from the students.
Mrs. Obama will also appear in a Joining Forces PSA produced by Nickelodeon that will debut immediately following the airing of “iMeet the First Lady” on the 16th.”
Charles Pierce (Esquire): MANCHESTER, N.H. – Just got back to town in time to feel the entire race pivot underneath my feet. Of course, this is just a naked ploy by the Gingrich campaign to sew up the critical Unemployable Dude With A Snowmobile vote, which is not a constituency lightly overlooked in this state, although in South Carolina, political observers say, it is replaced by the Unemployable Dude With A Mullet And A Truck vote ….
CBS: The nominating process may officially be underway, but Republicans have yet to enthusiastically embrace a potential nominee for president – and despite the late date, most would like to see other candidates enter the race, according to a new CBS News poll.
The survey finds that 58 percent of Republican primary voters want more presidential choices, while just 37 percent say they are satisfied with the current field. The percentage of Republican primary voters that wants more choices has increased 12 percentage points since October.
58%?! I think that’s what you call an ‘enthusiasm gap’.
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): And, suddenly, the dogwhistles have turned into air-raid sirens .. I think, maybe, it’s time for the nation to rise up and point out to the Republican party that, root and branch, it is a racist embarrassment to democracy and a blight on this nation that all the world can see…..
….there is a steady, noxious river of bile flowing through the entire Republican party, and through the conservative “movement” that empowers it …
… No, Rick, I don’t believe for a moment you meant to say something else and it came out “Blah people,” you Bible-banging coward. Nobody’s talking in code any more. It’s right out front there, for all the world to see. How dare these people? How dare their evil souls?
Steve Benen: …. As someone who was less than thrilled when Daley got the job, I’m not exactly sorry to hear the news. What’s more, I’ve liked Lew, and have no doubt he’ll be excellent in this role.
My larger concern is that Lew is a great OMB chief, and getting the Senate to confirm his replacement, whomever that may be, is going to be exceedingly unpleasant.
Regardless, I’m rather pleased with the news. The White House has been largely on the right track lately – payroll fight, mercury emissions, CFPB recess appointments, etc. – and Lew seems likely to help keep it that way.
President Barack Obama announces the change of his chief of staff at the State Dinning Room of the White House as his outgoing chief of staff William Daley and replacement Jacob Lew look on.
Sun Times: White House chief of staff Bill Daley, whose resignation was announced by President Obama on Monday, will be a co-chair of his 2012 re-election campaign, based in Chicago.
“He’s got a ton of political experience, knowledge and contacts and we look forward to leveraging those assets and working closely together to re-elect the President this year,” a member of the Obama team told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Washington Post: …. Rick Perry, whose bid for the White House depends heavily on support from religious conservatives, finds himself confronting an issue that is a flash point for that part of his base: his attempt to order schoolgirls to take a vaccine that would protect them against a sexually transmitted virus.
The uproar over the Gardasil vaccine – manufactured by Merck, a major Perry campaign donor – knocked the candidate off-stride during a Republican debate Monday night ….
Perry bristled at accusations from Michele Bachmann that he had pushed the vaccine in 2007 at the bidding of Merck, a Perry donor that also employed a former aide to the governor as a lobbyist.
“It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them,” Perry said. “I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”
But campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.
His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.
Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group…
Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group also ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years….
…. One of Perry’s closest confidantes, his former chief of staff Mike Toomey, was then working as an Austin-based lobbyist for Merck, which was in the midst of a multimillion-dollar campaign to persuade states to make the vaccine mandatory.
Toomey, who has declined requests for comment, has since helped found Make Us Great Again, a pro-Perry super PAC that can accept unlimited donations from corporations and wealthy donors. The group plans to raise as much as $55 million to help Perry compete for the GOP nomination, according to media reports.