Washington Post: Whitney Tilson is a hedge fund manager and a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength.
I am part of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. By that I mean that I am fortunate to be a wealthy American and I say, “It’s okay to raise my taxes.”
This morning I was at the White House supporting President Obama in his call for Congress to pass the “Buffett rule.” …. It would hit me hard….. Why am I okay with this? The answer has to do with simple math and basic fairness.
…. It’s not class warfare to say that people like me – who aren’t suffering at all in these tough economic times, who are in many cases doing the best we’ve ever done and who can easily afford to pay more in taxes with no impact on our lifestyle – should be the first to step up and make a small sacrifice.
…. I am grateful for the effective government we have in this country, which is the absolutely necessary foundation for our wonderful capitalistic economic system that has benefited me so greatly. And I’m willing to do my fair share – in fact, more than my fair share – to help rein in our deficits and put this country on a more sustainable path.
Paul Krugman: Here’s the bad news: Mitt Romney’s campaign is setting new standards in serial dishonesty. Really. He makes Bush look like a font of truth and accuracy.
Here’s the good news: reporters seem to have noticed, and – be still my beating heart – we’re starting to see reports that actually point out the distortions, rather than saying that “some Democrats” say that he isn’t being honest.
It was particularly gratifying to see the response to Romney’s ludicrous claim that Obama is anti-woman because women have lost more jobs than men since he took office. This was cherry-picking raised to the level of an Olympic sport….
….The core of Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be contempt for the news media (and the voters), the belief that he can say anything and pay no price – which was the way things worked for Bush. But maybe, just maybe, his calculation was wrong, and serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, part of the narrative.
TPM: It took tens of millions of dollars, years of preparation and three months of primary contests, but Mitt Romney is finally the GOP’s presumptive nominee. Now comes the hard part.
Romney’s first day of the general election turned into a stark reminder that Obama will be a far tougher opponent than the poorly funded, disorganized candidates he battled in the primary. Romney was outmaneuvered and forced off message throughout the day – beginning with a morning press call in which the campaign was caught flat-footed over a simple question about Romney’s position on the Lilly Ledbetter Act – overshadowing the economic message he was trying to push, with the gleeful help of an armada of professional Democratic operatives.
The Atlantic: So here is the president of the United States, enjoying canapés and small talk at Daniel, chef Daniel Boulud’s gourmet restaurant just off Park Avenue ….. “I have a question I want to ask you, Mr. President,” I venture, once I catch his attention.
“Sure,” the president says.
“Kanye or Jay-Z?”
The president smiles. “Jay-Z,” he says, as if the answer should be obvious….
“Although I like Kanye,” Obama continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.
“Even though you called him a jackass?,” I ask.
“He is a jackass,” Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.” The president gives a wink, poses for a few more pictures, and then glides away…..
A baby donkey named Demo by its owner, Silvio Carrasquilla, stands dressed as the mascot of the U.S. Democratic Party behind a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama, outside Carrasquilla’s home in Turbaco, near Cartagena, April 11. Carrasquilla, Turbaco’s former mayor who considers himself Colombia’s number one Obama fan, is sprucing up his house by painting it the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag to celebrate Obama’s arrival in Cartagena for the VI Summit of the Americas on Friday.
President Barack Obama walks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, left, and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico following their joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 2 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Ed Kilgore: Every day there’s at least one headline coming across the transom that doesn’t make you laugh, cry, cheer, or think, but simply scratch your head in puzzlement. Today’s winner is from Politico’s Lois Romano: “Ann Romney is the Romney Democrats Fear Most.”
…. Huh! Everybody thinks Ann Romney is a “rock star?” I did not know that. The “political arena” is all abuzz about her? Missed that, too; the buzzing must be confined to weekends, when I kinda check out from politics as much as possible.
…. If you read this long piece, however, it begins to appear that most of the buzzing Romano is hearing is coming from busy bees inside the Romney campaign itself….
….. Perhaps the most revealing thing about the Romneys as a team that Romano’s account mentions is that their handlers can’t decide whether Ann is more valuable on the road as a speaker, or behind the scenes as a steadying influence on the candidate. It sounds like Mitt needs a road manager and a psychologist as much as he needs a dazzling opening act. Indeed, he seems to be a very needy dude….
11:30 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
AP: It’s looking like President Barack Obama may be back in the good graces of women. His support dropped among this critical constituency just before the new year began and the presidential campaign got under way in earnest. But his standing with female voters is strengthening, polls show, as the economy improves and social issues, including birth control, become a bigger part of the nation’s political discourse.
…. Among women, his approval ratings on handling the economy and unemployment have jumped by 10 percentage points since December…. An AP-GfK poll conducted Feb. 16-20 showed that on overall approval Obama has gained 10 percentage points among women since December, from 43 percent to 53 percent…
Women also are the reason behind Obama’s lead over Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: In one-on-one matchups, Obama beats Romney 54 percent to 41 percent and tops Santorum 56 percent to 40 percent among women, but virtually ties each Republican among men….
He wants religion returned to “the public square,” is opposed to contraception, premarital sex and abortion under any circumstances, wants children educated in what amounts to little red schoolhouses and called President Obama a “snob” for extolling college or some other kind of post-high school education. This is not a political platform. It’s a fatwa.
Mediaite: Monday night, Stephen Colbert turned his gaze upon the impending Michigan primary, bringing up a some recent statements by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and digging a little deeper into their meanings.
Colbert began with Romney, who spoke last week at Ford Field in front of tens of thousands of empty seats. “Yeah, there were a lot of empty seats,” Colbert said, “but the important thing is Mitt really connected with those empty seats by also being plastic and uncomfortable.”
Steve Benen: It’s hard not to marvel at just how dishonest Mitt Romney is prepared to be in order to win. The notion of politicians misleading the public to advance their ambitions isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but Romney acts as if he doesn’t even care about getting caught, leading to blatant and obvious falsehoods.
This one, from last night’s debate, was just shameless….
Charlotte Observer: On the final night of this fall’s Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America stadium, party sources told the Observer on Monday night.
Convention officials are expected to announce the venue this morning at a news conference at the stadium. Two party sources say the decision to use the stadium was made months ago.
Steve Benen last August: “‘Corporations are people’? In this little figure of speech, wouldn’t that make Mitt Romney a metaphorical serial killer?”….. ;-)
Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Why Mitt Romney Will Prove To Be a Feeble Presidential Nominee …. I wrote about his reactionary tax plan and his refusal to release his own taxes, and what an unfortunate (for him) cocktail those two ingredients will make for him …. Now, the Bain attacks put into sharp relief another reason for his weakness. He has just one argument, and the Bain “creative destruction” narrative comes close to killing it.
…. Toss in that ghastly remark about it being all right to discuss inequality in “quiet rooms,” which I feel certain we haven’t heard nearly the last of …. He meant corporate board rooms, where everyone would agree with him. An astonishingly frank moment, like the comment about liking to be able to fire people. I know he was talking about insurance companies, but here in the 99 percent, we don’t “fire” insurance companies, or usually doctors and certain other service professionals. We change them. It was a word choice that really did reveal a world view.
….Oh, he’ll get 47, 48 percent of the vote, because we’re a divided country …. but a majority will not want to change horses, especially when the other horse is carrying Romney’s kind of personal baggage and is promising policies that are warmed over versions of the policies that created the economic crisis in the first place. I have no great confidence in the brilliance of Obama’s political team, but this should not be too hard, even for them, and Mitt can find himself a nice quiet room in La Jolla to go ponder the what-if’s.
The UK Independent: As we’re sitting down to lunch at a restaurant in Washington DC, a smartly dressed man approaches Candace Gingrich-Jones. “I just wanted to say hello,” he announces, cheerfully, “because I know your brother.”
Ms Gingrich-Jones has two stock responses to people who greet her in this fashion. The first, to those who seem friendly, is to politely say how nice it is to make their acquaintance. The second, to anyone who claims to be among her famous half-sibling’s enemies, is to smile archly and respond: “You are not alone!”
…. Regardless of whether Newt Gingrich ends up as the GOP contender in November’s election, Ms Gingrich-Jones will be working tirelessly to ensure victory for his opponent, Barack Obama.
“No matter who the Republican candidate is, I will do everything I possibly can to ensure they don’t win,” she says. “President Obama has done so much for the gay community. From repealing ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’, to getting a hate-crime prevention act passed in 2008, to anti-discrimination policies in the workplace, to laws giving gay couples hospital visitation rights. It would be a disaster if he were to lose.”
President Obama speaks during a news conference on Republican obstruction of Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the CFPB, Dec 8
Steve Benen: Two months after the Senate Banking Committee approved Richard Cordray as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Senate leadership brought the nomination to the floor this morning. Republicans refused to allow a vote …. It’s hard to overstate how outrageous today’s filibuster really is.
…. It’s all part of the normalization of extortion politics. Traditionally, if the GOP wanted to alter the powers of the CFPB, it would write legislation, send it to committee, bring it to the floor, send it to the other chamber, etc. But that takes time and effort, and might not work. Instead, we see the latest in a series of GOP extortion strategies: Republicans will force Democrats to accept changes to the agency, or Republicans won’t allow the agency to meet its legal mandate…..
The President is pre-taping interviews with WISH (Indianapolis, IN), KSNV (Las Vegas, NV), WREG (Memphis, TN) and WCHS (Portland, ME) today
Steve Benen: We generally look to the first Friday of every month for new unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but every Thursday morning, the Department of Labor releases a report on initial unemployment claims.
And this morning, the news is very good:
The number of people filing for state unemployment benefits for the first time fell 23,000 to the lowest level since late February, the government said Thursday. The Labor Department said claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 381,000 last week. The level of initial claims in the week ended Nov. 26 was revised up by 2,000 to 404,000.
The consensus expectations were for a slight drop, which makes the sharp drop that much more encouraging…..
Steve Benen: Politico has a piece today on Senate Democrats’ outrage over Republican obstructionism, as evidenced by Tuesday’s filibuster of judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan and today’s expected filibuster of CFPB nominee Richard Cordray. As Dems see it, GOP abuses are setting a new standard — which Democrats will take advantage of the next time they’re in the minority.
…. Republicans respond that these current tactics aren’t new, and the Politico article tells readers the GOP argument is sound.
…. This isn’t a subjective question on which the parties are entitled to different opinions. There are objective, often quantifiable, answers to the points Politico and Republicans are raising: are GOP senators “replicating” Democratic tactics? Were Dems abusing Senate rules in the Bush era to the same degree that Republicans are abusing them now?
The answer to both is “no,” and the false equivalence does little to advance the discussion.
Steve Benen: Most of the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect for a few years – and if court rulings and the 2012 elections go a certain way, it may not take effect at all – but there’s already evidence that the reform law is working.
It’s making a big difference in providing coverage for young adults; it’s providing treatment options for women like Spike Dolomite Ward; and it’s slowing the growth in Medicare spending.
It’s also, as Jonathan Cohn explained, saving seniors quite a bit of money on prescription medication…..
President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrive to speak in the South Court Auditorium on the White House, Dec. 7
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada talk backstage at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building following their joint press conference, Dec. 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
CBS: President Barack Obama will appear on “60 Minutes” in an interview with Steve Kroft to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Steve Kroft interviewed the president on Tuesday in Kansas after he delivered an economic speech in the small town of Osawatomie. President Obama will talk to Kroft again tomorrow at the White House for Sunday’s report.
President Barack Obama talks about extending payroll tax cuts in the White House’s Brady Briefing Room
President Obama put out a statement commending Phil Schiliro, who is leaving the administration: “As my advisor and chief liaison to Congress during one of the most productive legislative periods in our history, Phil Schiliro helped shepherd through a series of historic accomplishments on behalf of the American people, from health care reform that will make coverage more affordable and accessible to Wall Street reform that will protect consumers and our economy. The White House will not be the same without Phil, but more importantly, the country would not be the same without his steady leadership and tireless effort over the past three years.”
Time: Andrew Kaczynski digs up a 2004 video of Mitt Romney explaining to fellow Republicans why flip-flopping is so devastating to a presidential candidate. He was talking about John Kerry of course. But this kind of footage presents all kinds of opportunities for devious ad-makers to slice and dice Romney, and his repeated use of “this guy,” which, taken out of context, could be made to seem self-referential, seems destined for some absolutely brutal attack ad.
President Barack Obama will speak alongside former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and anti-AIDS activists in a World AIDS Day panel on Thursday.
The President will join the event’s hosts at George Washington University to participate in the discussion. Clinton and Bush will appear via satellite. Bush is in Tanzania with President Jakaya Kikwete.
Other guests include Bono, whose ONE and (RED) campaigns have sought to raise awareness of global AIDS and poverty issues. Artist Alicia Keys will also participate on the panel. The singer is the co-founder and global ambassador of Keep A Child Alive – a non-proft organization that helps families in Africa with HIV and AIDS by providing medicine and supplies.
The hand of President Barack Obama reaches out to ‘high-five’ a supporter at a campaign fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel, November 30, in New York
Morning everyone. I’ll be out for a few hours, but will catch up later ;-)
Tim Mathieson, partner of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, shows the First Lady his cowboy boots. The First Lady is hosting a luncheon, serving all organic food from MA’O organic farm, for spouses of the APEC leaders at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii
…. greeting Vietnam’s First Lady Mai Thi Hanh
…. greeting Indonesia’s first lady Kristiani Herawati
…. greeting Korean first lady Kim Yoon-ok
…. with Laureen Harper, spouse of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
First Lady Michelle Obama with the Honolulu Boys Choir
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks with President Obama following the first plenary session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Kapolei, Hawaii
Star Advertiser: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcomed the leaders and representatives from 20 other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations with a luau, hula and a Hawaiian proverb at the Hale Koa Hotel….
…. “We have music. We have song. We have celebration and we have hula dancing,” Obama said. “Now, Michelle doesn’t think I’m a very good dancer so I will not be performing,” which drew laughter from the crowd.
… Obama talked about the lessons he had learned from his Hawaii upbringing, concepts he hoped will guide the work of APEC leaders. “We are 21 leaders from across the Asia-Pacific who represent close to 3 billion people … men and women of every faith, color and creed,” he said. “Whatever our differences, our citizens have sent us here with a common task: to bring our economies closer together, to cooperate, to create jobs and prosperity that our people deserve so they can provide for their families, so they can give their children a better future.
“And we’ve learned that we’re more likely to realize our aspirations when we pursue them together,” Obama said. “That’s the spirit of Hawaii. It’s what made me who I am. It’s what shapes my interactions with all of you. And it’s the spirit that I hope guides us in our work this weekend.”
Obama then raised a glass of water and proposed a toast in Hawaiian. “Aohe hana nui ke alu ia,” he said. “That means, ‘No task is too big when done together by all,'” Obama said. “Cheers. Salud.”
12:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee luncheon in Jacksonville, Florida
3:10 PM: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic
3:30 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Tampa, Florida
5:05 PM: The President greets city and municipal leaders from across the country
6:45 PM: The President has dinner with winners of a campaign contest
7:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Andrew Sabl: I’ve been reading a lot about Occupy Wall Street. Last Saturday, I visited Zuccotti Park and took a look for myself. I think it’s time we recognized a clear but complex set of truths.
The demands of Occupy Wall Street are both valid and popular; Democrats and Progressives of all tendencies should endorse them. The people actually occupying Wall Street are total flakes….
…. There is no other way to put it. They are ….. fanatics: sincere (in fact, prone to worship, cloyingly and off-puttingly, a cult of sincerity) and often eloquent, but opposed in principle to anything that might give them any power: alliances, membership lists, the authority to endorse….
Here the contrast with the civil rights movement could not be starker. SCLC, CORE, and SNCC marches, freedom rides, and sit-ins always had a clear target: the Jim Crow laws and practices that the protestors were decrying …. With a view to actually getting what they wanted, they gathered as many allies as humanly possible …. In contrast, OWS proudly calls itself a “post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics”.
…. Well, they might not need politicians, but the people whose interests they claim to represent sure do. I’m all for construing politics broadly, to include union campaigns and grassroots organizing as well as the corridors of power. But OWS doesn’t like union or grassroots politics any more than the legislative kind. There’s a fine line between participatory democracy and collective narcissism. OWS has not only crossed it but made it a rampart, and they’re standing on the wrong side.
Robert Parry: A curious feature of the American Left is its resistance to recognize its own successes. So, even as President Barack Obama is bringing the eight-year U.S. occupation of Iraq to an end, some on the Left refuse to celebrate.
…. It appears that some don’t want to accept that the anti-war movement has won a hard-fought victory and that Obama’s election was a factor. It’s almost as if the fact that something has been achieved through the deeply flawed U.S. political system threatens a preferred political analysis, which holds that nothing good can happen.
… one only has to think about what the U.S. approach toward Iraq would have been under a President John McCain or even a President Hillary Clinton.
…. Obama’s election marked a significant turning point in the difficult struggle to bring this ill-begotten war to a close. It shows how anti-war dissent and electoral politics can combine – however imperfectly – to get results. Achieving an outcome may take time and surely is frustrating, but victories can be won.
… By refusing to recognize the value of Obama’s election as, in part, an expression of the nation’s anti-war sentiments, the Left could veer off into a rejection of electoral politics altogether – arguing there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Obama and, say, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry, either of whom would restore the neocons to their place of preeminence in U.S. foreign policy.
…. some on the American Left operate under what might be called “the vanity of perfectionism,” the notion that what’s most important is to have the “perfect” analysis even if its consequences are destructive to mankind.
… what might reverse the course of history would be Obama’s electoral defeat in 2012. Republican front-runners, including Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, have made clear that they would again pursue a muscular neocon agenda with higher military spending and insistence on U.S. global dominance.
… So, the question now is whether the American Left will learn from these past experiences and recognize that – as difficult and as imperfect as it was – the movement to get the United States out of Iraq succeeded.
Woot! Love how Matthews mashes the GOPolitico guy:
TampaBay.com: On May 18, 1956, Mario and Oriales Rubio walked into the American Consulate in Havana and applied for immigrant visas. The form asked how long they intended to stay in the United States.
“Permanently,” Mr. Rubio answered.
Nine days later, the couple boarded a National Airlines flight to Miami, where a relative awaited.
So began a journey that seems as ordinary as any immigrant story, but decades later served as the foundation of an extraordinary and moving narrative told repeatedly by their third child as he became one of the most powerful politicians in Florida and then a national figure.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has come under fire for incorrectly linking his parents to the Cubans who fled Fidel Castro beginning in 1959. He insists they are exiles nonetheless and angrily denounced the suggestion he misled for political gain.
…. But the visa documents cast clearer divisions between his parents, who came for economic reasons, and the Cubans who scrambled to leave their homeland but thought they could soon return. And the documents come to light amid new discrepancies since Rubio’s time line came under scrutiny last week.
CBS: …. President Obama on Wednesday announced a series of new measures aimed at easing the burden of debt on students struggling to repay their federal college loans.
….Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., lauded Mr. Obama for his plan and said the president was “right to give these students a way to pay these loans off quicker”. “These loans can be phenomenally expensive,” he said, and argued that borrowers who get buried in debt “never get their foot out of the bucket. That’s not a fair way to get started”.
Robert Shireman, former Deputy Undersecretary at the Department of Education and a chief consultant at the education-oriented California Competes program, said the administration’s plan would increase confidence among students about their post-graduate prospects.
“It means people can go to college and use federal loans and have confidence that it’s not going to drive them to bad personal situations,” he said.
The Obama administration has said that 1.6 million Americans will benefit from the lower monthly payments, and upwards of 6 million can take advantage of the loan consolidations, which will lower interest rates by up to 0.5 percent. Most of those affected will be current students or recent borrowers whose income is sufficiently low upon entering the workforce that monthly payments are a significant financial burden.
President Obama on Wednesday announced a plan to allow college graduates to cap federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in January, two years before the cap was due to take effect under federal law.
The accelerated “pay as you earn” program, which Obama will authorize through executive order, could benefit up to 1.6 million borrowers and reduce their payments by as much as a couple hundred dollars a month, administration officials said. All remaining debt on the federal loans would be forgiven after 20 years – five years earlier than under current law.
Reuters: …. President Obama’s appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” lifted the show to its highest Tuesday-night ratings since March 2, 2010, the night after Leno returned to the show.
Tuesday’s episode received a 4.1/11 metered-market household rating, a 52 percent leap over his Tuesday-night average so far this season. With Obama’s appearance,” The Tonight Show” handily surpassed “Late Show with David Letterman,” which posted a 2.7/7 household rating, “Nightline,” which drew a 3.6/9, and “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which received a 1.8./6.
Ruth Marcus (Washington Post): In an interview with Parade magazine, the Texas governor declared Obama’s place of birth a “distractive” issue even as he happily latched on to the opportunity to distract ….. It was classic Perry, combining logical incoherence and a smarmy cheap shot.
…. Is this a presidential campaign or a middle-school playground? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours? By the way, if I had Perry’s grades, I wouldn’t be mentioning them. Certainly not if I were running against a former president of the Harvard Law Review.
…. You might think this was the candidate cannily trying to have it both ways: a nod to the birther crazies with a simultaneous wink at those who know this is a ridiculous distraction. Except that Perry managed to step on his real message of the day: his unaffordable and unfair proposal to “simplify” the tax code – by grafting a flat-tax alternative onto the existing system.
…. The matter of Obama’s birth certificate should be a closed case. It is astonishing that a sitting governor, no less a serious candidate for president, would stoop to playing this game.
… The country is facing serious problems. This will be a fateful election. Voters deserve better than scare tactics and drivel.