“He leans back, tea at his side, legs crossed, to explain what he thinks just happened. ‘It was easy to think that maybe 2008 was the anomaly,’ he says. ‘And I think 2012 was an indication that, no, this is not an anomaly. We’ve gone through a very difficult time. The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect. And yet despite all that, this is who we want to be.’
Pete Souza: “The President works on his Newtown speech. Two days earlier, I photographed him when John Brennan first briefed him on the shootings. Throughout that day, he reacted as we all did, which people witnessed when he delivered his statement a few hours later. Before we headed to Newtown for the Sunday night vigil, he went to watch his daughter Sasha, 11, rehearse for her ballet performance in the Nutcracker. He was going to miss her performance that night because of the trip to Newtown. During breaks in the rehearsal, he worked on the speech. His expression in this photograph may be subtle to the viewer, but not to me. There is emotion and resolve etched on his face, and I know this was perhaps the toughest day of his Presidency.”
NYT: President Obama has ordered Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to lead an interagency group to develop a multifaceted response to last week’s mass shooting at a Connecticut school, a White House official said.
Mr. Obama will appear in the White House briefing room alongside Mr. Biden at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday to announce the assignment but an aide said they will not announce any major policy decisions. Instead, the aide said the president will lay out a process for developing new policies.
Greg Sargent: I continue to be cautiously — or perhaps foolishly — optimistic that we may really see Democrats attempt gun law reform in the wake of the Newtown carnage, and today brings fresh reasons for that optimism.
At the White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney confirmed that President Obama supports Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to renew the assault weapons ban, which she intends to introduce on the first day of the new Congress.
Here’s more: A top member of the Senate Democratic leadership tells me Dems are very likely to introduce a whole package of reforms — not just the assault weapons ban; that plus a host of other initiatives — during the first half of 2013.
President Barack Obama listens to Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 18, 2012. At right is Roberto Rodriquez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Time: A social media director for the Obama campaign tells the story of how a well-timed photo of Barack and Michelle Obama broke records for Twitter and Facebook.
A red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michael Grunwald (Time): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan….
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party…..
…. we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
David Firestone (NYT): Republicans reportedly laughed when they saw the Obama administration’s initial offer in the fiscal negotiations yesterday. The idea that President Obama might actually want to enact his campaign promises – tax hikes on the rich, modest Medicare cuts, investments in infrastructure – is apparently considered a joke to the party that has shown virtually no flexibility in the last four years.
But some of that laughter may contain nervousness, because there is more going on here than just a pathway to splitting the difference. The White House made clear yesterday that it is approaching these talks from a position of responsibility, and that it actually takes seriously the notion of old-fashioned bargaining. That’s something Republicans have refused to do — and now they realize they’ve been called out.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he’s barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration’s opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here’s a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): There’s one particular strain of Republican reaction to their election loss that’s always given me the biggest chuckle, and today Paul Waldman highlights it: the absurd proposition that Mitt Romney never forthrightly defended conservative principles….
…. For months, conservatives yelled from the rooftops about how 2012 presented the sharpest choice ever in governing philosophies …. [they] claimed that this one was truly an ideological turning point, America’s last chance to choose what kind of country we should be. But literally within hours of defeat, they turned on a dime and insisted that the American people weren’t given a real chance to decide between two competing visions. And they’ve maintained this claim despite losing the popular vote in the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and despite the fact that demographic trends very clearly spell even further trouble in the future for their hardnosed brand of social intolerance and slavish dedication to the interests of the rich.
USA Today: President Obama says he’s older and wiser than he was during the heady 2008 campaign, and he has a more complicated message urging voters to stick with him as the country slowly digs out of “a very deep hole” on the economy.
So is the election less fun, the second time around?
“Well, I’ll tell you, it’s different,” he says with a slightly pained expression on his face, then offers: “But the plane is a lot nicer.”
At this moment, Obama is perched on the edge of a swivel chair in his office on that nicer plane, also known as Air Force One, his shirt sleeves rolled up. On the first leg of four days of travel that will take him to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, he talked with USA TODAY about his Thursday acceptance speech, his policy priorities for a second term and the lessons he’s learned about the need to take his case to the American people over the heads of a polarized Congress.