Huuuuuuuuge thanks to both LL and Zizi for their wonderful posts today, both of which got an amazing response on the Twitter machine. Add this one to your collection of today’s must-reads, in case you missed it:
A year ago: “The President hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped her friend, Allie Young, left, stay alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital. Photo by Pete Souza, July 22, 2012
The Week Ahead:
3:0: The President meets with Secretary of State Kerry
7:25: Delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action event, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington, DC (Open Press)
8:10: Delivers remarks and answers questions at an Organizing for Action dinner, Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Print Pool for Remarks Only)
Tuesday: The President will welcome NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Wednesday: He will travel to Galesburg, Illinois and Warrensburg, Missouri for events on the economy
Thursday: He will welcome President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam to the White House. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Jacksonville, Florida for an event on the economy. On Thursday evening, he will host an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House
Friday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
Time: Drawing renewed attention to the economy, President Barack Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency.
The address Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in a new series of economic speeches that White House aides say Obama intends to deliver over the next several weeks ahead of key budget deadlines in the fall. A new fiscal year begins in October, and the government will soon hit its borrowing limit.
…. The president will also speak Wednesday at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo.
AP: Survey: Brighter U.S. Economic Outlook Boosts Hiring
Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists.
Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter …. That’s the highest percentage in nearly two years. And 39 percent expect their firms will hire more in the next six months. That’s near the two-year high of 40 percent reached in the January-March quarter.
…. Optimism about future economic growth increased. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents forecast growth of 2.1 percent or more over the next 12 months. That’s up from two-thirds in the first quarter survey, released in April, and the most in a year.
ThinkProgress: No, Obamacare Won’t Raise Insurance Premiums In Indiana By 72 Percent
On Friday, the Indiana Department of Insurance announced that initial rates submitted by individual health plan providers for the state’s Obamacare insurance marketplace would cost 72 percent more than currently available plans …. Gov. Mike Pence’s (R) administration was quick to use the figures to criticize the health law….
The problem is, the Department of Insurance didn’t really release “data” in the plural — it released a single data point. The $570 per month figure is the average of all of the submitted rates, including cheaper plans with less benefits (so-called “Bronze” and “Silver” level plans) as well as the more generous and expensive “Gold” and “Platinum” level plans. That’s like saying the average cost of a car in an Indiana dealership is $100,000 because it sells $20,000 Fords, $60,000 BMWs, and $220,000 Lamborghinis — technically true, but highly misleading.
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.
NYT: A longtime aide to George W. Romney issued a harshly worded critique of Mitt Romney, accusing him of shifting political positions in “erratic and startling ways” and failing to live up to the distinguished record of his father, the former governor of Michigan.
Walter De Vries, who worked for the senior Mr. Romney throughout the 1960s, wrote that Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House was “a far cry from the kind of campaign and conduct, as a public servant, I saw during the seven years I worked in George Romney’s campaigns and served him as governor.”
“While it seems that Mitt would say and do anything to close a deal – or an election,” he wrote, “George Romney’s strength as a politician and public officeholder was his ability and determination to develop and hold consistent policy positions over his life.”
… “George would never have been seen with the likes of Sheldon Adelson or Donald Trump.”
… Mr. De Vries, who said he wished to the see the Republican Party return to its moderate roots, said he intended to vote for Mr. Obama on Election Day.
10:45: Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Chesterfield, Virginia
(Don’t forget The View today)
1:25: President Obama departs New York City
2:35: Arrives at the White House
NYT Editorial: Mitt Romney …. told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that he is tied with President Obama; he has a “very effective campaign; it’s doing a very good job” …. That’s an outright denial of political reality, but Mr. Romney’s willingness to stray from the truth is at the root of what’s really going on….
To some extent, Mr. Romney’s diminishing stature is because of two recent statements that revealed his deficiencies to a newly interested audience. He falsely suggested that the Obama administration was sympathetic to the violent Muslim protests in Libya and Egypt, illustrating his ignorant and opportunistic critique of foreign policy. And he was caught on video belittling nearly half the country for an overreliance on government handouts.
These moments, though, were not fumbles or gaffes. They were entirely consistent with the dismissive attitude Mr. Romney has routinely shown toward non-Americans or the non-rich….
Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.
President Barack Obama greets people in the audience at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 15. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT: President Obama and the Democrats raised $43.6 million in April, adding to the president’s edge over his rival, Mitt Romney, even as money continues to pour in to outside groups ahead of the fall campaign.
The $43.6 million is a slight dip from March, when Mr. Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $53 million. But it does not count several large fund-raisers — including one in Hollywood that reportedly raised $15 million — that took place in early May.
USA Today: Vice President Biden will deliver a blistering attack on Mitt Romney’s business career in a speech to be delivered later today in Youngstown, Ohio.
…. “He thinks that because he spent his career as a ‘businessman,’ he has the experience to run the economy,” Biden plans to say. “In the 1990s, there was a steel mill in Kansas City, Missouri. It had been in business since 1888. Then Romney and his partners bought the company. Eight years later it went bankrupt.”
The vice president goes on to tell the story of GST Steel, one of the companies taken over by Bain Capital that didn’t fare as well as, say, Staples or Sports Authority.
It’s the same company the Obama campaign will feature tonight in a two-minute campaign ad airing briefly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa.
TPM: A new Quinnipiac poll shows that President Barack Obama is a strong favorite to win New Jersey in November — even when he is matched up against the Garden State’s popular governor.
In the statewide poll of registered voters, Obama bests presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, 49 percent to 39 percent. For a state that has voted Democratic in the past five presidential elections, that is not necessarily surprising. But the poll gets intriguing when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enters the equation. When Quinnipiac asked voters to decide between the incumbent ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and a Republican ticket of Romney and Christie, the president’s team still comes out on top — 50 percent to 42 percent.
ThinkProgress: The White House has issued a veto threat should the House version of the Violence Against Women Act reach the President’s desk.
In a statement, the administration said that the House version of the bill is unacceptable. Sponsored Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL), the House version removes the protections for marginalized communities, stripping out provisions that were passed in the Senate version of the bill.
Wednesday: PBO will deliver remarks in the Washington, DC area, where he will continue to call on Congress to act on a “To Do List” that will create jobs and help restore middle class security. Also on Wednesday, the President will award Specialist Leslie H. Sabo, Jr., U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. The First Lady will also attend.
Thursday: PBO will attend meetings at the White House.
Friday: PBO will deliver the opening keynote to the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. Later on Friday, the President will travel to Camp David for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues. The President will remain overnight at Camp David.
Saturday: PBO will remain at Camp David for the G-8 Summit. Later on Saturday, the President will travel to Chicago where he will welcome NATO allies and partners to his hometown for the NATO Summit on May 20-21. The First Lady will travel to Chicago with the President.
ABC: …. When asked whether his crooning embarrassed his daughters, he retold a story from his 50th birthday party last summer, explaining that they think he’s “embarrassing, but not too embarrassing.”
“Malia and Sasha and a bunch of my friends and Michelle had sort of like a roast, a little private roast, each one of them read something and Malia and Sasha had written out why I am such a wonderful dad. And they had this list, it was so sweet and one of the items on Malia’s list was you are just the right amount of embarrassing,” he said to laughter from the audience.
10:55: PBO delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial
2:15: Welcomes Major League Soccer champions, the LA Galaxy, to the White House
3:0: Michelle Obama hosts a Let’s Move! soccer event with students from across the country and the Major League Soccer champions, the LA Galaxy, in the State Dining Room
7:0: PBO and Michelle Obama host a dinner for the Combatant Commanders and spouses at the White House, VP Biden also attends
OFA: “I need to sit down…” That’s what Beth, a teacher in New Jersey, said when she found out she was one of the grassroots supporters who had won the chance to meet President Obama at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house.
…. “When the President arrived, we went into George Clooney’s living room. The anticipation of actually meeting him … I didn’t want to mess up! But the President was so calm and down to earth, it put us right at ease.”
….Beth: “It was like meeting a friend. As a teacher, I thanked him for his STEM initiatives. And we talked about his daughters, what sports they’re in, and how he misses having time with them now that they’re older and busy with activities. He said when they run into the house they go blasting by and give him a peck on the cheek. The day before we left the President spoke out in support of gay marriage, and when I saw how he talked about his daughters’ reaction … it’s neat that he cared about how they see the world.”
Tom Junod: …… And so it was with a shock of recognition that I heard last week’s revelations that Mitt Romney was a prep-school bully …. he blew the report off. Mitt Romney said that he didn’t remember the incidents in question – that he didn’t remember orchestrating an attack on a long-haired classmate, that he didn’t remember pinning the boy down and personally taking the scissors to him, that he didn’t remember the boy weeping and begging for mercy. Mitt Romney apologized for “whatever pain” his “prank” may have caused ….. He has to remember, because no one forgets doing something like that, and the ones who do forget….
…… What if Mitt Romney is telling the truth? What if he doesn’t remember because he thought nothing of it? The language of his statement suggests that he’s copping to being a prankster but not a bully ….long ago, I made an innocent kid suffer; one of the great gifts of my life is that I suffered in return. Mitt Romney doesn’t appear to have suffered at all for the suffering he inflicted; but as one lucky enough to have broken the mean bone in my body and to have worn it in a sling, I can tell him that what he’s accused of doing to the boy whose hair and existence was such an affront to him was not a prank; it was a punishment, to both the victim and the perpetrators. The victim almost certainly remembered it to the day he died; the least the perpetrator can do, if only for himself, is to try and do the same.
Charles Pierce: So truthless hack Ed Klein is back with another book, this one about Barack Obama, and it’s pretty much as bad as you think any book would be that the New York Post would choose to excerpt. None of which should matter to any thinking primate, except as an excuse to savor, once again, the greatest segment in the history of the late Air America radio network – see here