President Obama, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev listen to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel during the start of the first working session of the G8 Summit at Camp David
First Lady Michelle Obama gives a tour of the White House to (from left) Laureen Harper (wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen), Elsa Monti (wife of Italian PM Mario), Valerie Trierweiler (partner of French President Francois Hollande), Geertrui Windels (wife of European Union President Herman Van Rompuy) and Hitomi Noda (wife of Japanese PM Yoshihiko)
From right: First Lady Michelle Obama, Hitomi Noda, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and Valerie Trierweiler, partner of French President Francois Hollande, listen to the White House curator
Valerie Trierweiler (R), companion of France’s President Francois Hollande
From left: The White House curator, Valerie Trierweiler and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s wife Hitomi
Bloomberg: From northern Michigan’s iron mines to Pennsylvania’s natural-gas fields, the industrial heartland of America is humming with jobs again as a region once left for dead recovers faster than the rest of the U.S. ….. The economies of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania have improved faster than that of the U.S. since the recession’s depth in April 2009 …. Michigan is expected to lead all 50 states during the next six months….
…. from Detroit and Pittsburgh to Peoria, Illinois, and the town of Mellen in Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills, employers plan to add jobs and facilities …. Improvement in unemployment, which dropped 19% in Ohio and 29% in Michigan from April 2009 through the end of last year, is a key driver for the Midwest recovery …. The recovery isn’t just about autos and shale – it’s all sorts of related industries, said Steve Steinour, Huntington Bancshares Inc.’s chief executive officer. “We’re seeing now a revival that no one had expected in this sort of time frame”…
…. Michigan gained 66,000 jobs in 2011 ….. It was the first gain in the state since the turn of the century….. “We’ve always heard this Rust Belt thing about our region, even just a few years ago,” said Steinour, speaking of the disparaging image of closed factories and declining industry. “But you don’t hear it so much now, and we might not have to hear it much in the future.”
ABC: President Obama was expected to visit the Washington Auto Show on Tuesday, giving him another forum to talk about GM and Chrysler, along with the administration’s attention to manufacturers and efforts to boost fuel efficiency standards…..
Robert Shrum: …. lost in this year’s bloviating combat over the Reagan banner is another reality that will at first rile and finally infuriate Republicans as the opportunistic Romney runs and then stumbles toward a November showdown with Barack Obama. For on the evidence of history, it’s likely that Obama will be the Reagan of 2012.
The one is certainly not the ideological heir of the other. But this president is beginning to travel a path along an emerging political landscape that parallels Reagan’s in potentially decisive ways.
….. Obama, like Reagan before him, offers an overarching theme that resonates with the distinctive mood of his re-election year …. he has trumpeted his own overarching summons to an America “where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” …. the narrative can be summed up – and the president has done so – in the “Buffet Rule”…. It connects as well to Mitt Romney ….. Romney is the face of the Republican establishment – and he’s becoming the face of unfairness in America ….
….. in the politics of 2012, Gingrich isn’t the Gipper, and Romney isn’t Ronnie. It’s the other guy, the Democrat who in 2008 presciently – and controversially – praised President Reagan for “chang[ing] the trajectory of America.” He did so amid the winds of an economic storm that finally and slowly cleared. So, in his own landmark achievements, has Barack Obama – and this election year, the trajectory is turning for him as it once did for Ronald Reagan.
Richard Cohen (Washington Post): On Saturday night, at precisely 9:19 and 30 seconds, my iPhone, my iPad, my computer and, for all I know, my toaster were informed that Herman Cain had endorsed Newt Gingrich ….. it was just additional evidence that the Republican Party has become a circus: One clown endorsed another.
….. This has been an exceedingly silly political season … But it has also been a sad one. The Republican establishment acts as if this season’s goon squad of presidential candidates has come out of nowhere, an act of God …. it has only itself to blame. For too long it has been mute in the face of a belligerent anti-intellectualism, pretending that knowledge and experience do not matter and that Washington is a condition and not a mere city. The endorsement of Gingrich by Cain was not a bulletin. It was a feeble blip on a scope. The GOP is brain-dead.
Pew: A new Pew poll confirms a trend that’s been surfacing for a few weeks – with the constant changes in the GOP presidential primary race, President Obama has seen an uptick in a few key metrics, maintaining a slim lead against former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and a larger one against other possible challengers.
Pew’s numbers shows that the President’s approval rating, which has been consistently underwater during a difficult summer in Washington, is now even at 46 percent. It also shows that his favorability rating, a point of particular strength for him, continues to be positive. 52 percent of those Americans polled holds him in a positive light, versus 45 percent who see him unfavorably.
Steve Benen: President Obama told business leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that U.S. policymakers have been “a little bit lazy” when it comes to attracting businesses to American soil. Republicans have taken this line and said the president called Americans “lazy.” They’re lying.
It’s been pleasantly surprised by the number of news outlets who’ve been willing to tell the public the truth…. And then there’s Politico, which ran a 1,300 word piece that emphasized Republicans’ use of the out-of-context quote, while downplaying the relevant detail: Republicans are misleading the public.
…. What matters, according to the cynical Politico article, is the way in which the GOP is exploiting an opportunity, not whether that exploitation is accurate, fair, or advancing the public debate. That’s just not how quality political journalism is supposed to work…..
Alec MacGillis (TNR): …. As a news reporter, one has a choice. One can do what NBC’s Mark Murray, Time’s Michael Scherer, or the New York Times’ Richard Oppel all did yesterday and today, which is to declare Republicans’ exploitation of Obama’s line as blatantly out of context and unfair.
Or one can do what Politico did, which is to write a full story headlined “Obama’s ‘lazy’ remark catches fire,” which reports, in a tone of barely suppressed glee, that Republicans have been handed a gift….
…. let’s be clear: this sort of story is why people hate Washington, and why they can’t stand us political reporters. The story is a purveyor of the worst sort of lazy – yes, lazy – cynicism.
Mediaite: Earlier today, we brought you the hard-to-believe story that Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, challenging her to a debate on Monday. Pelosi’s response quickly underscored the problem with Perry’s challenge when she tweeted her response: “Re: Gov. Perry–Monday I’ll be in Portland. Later visiting labs in CA. That’s 2. I can’t remember the 3rd thing.”
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
Richard Cohen (Washington Post): …The Fact Checker is possibly the most powerful force for good since Clark Kent encountered a phone booth. The other day it laid into Newt Gingrich, who had just announced he was running for president to save the nation from what would happen if he did not run for president.
Glenn Kessler had to use almost 2,000 words in the online version of his Sunday column – so many lies, so little newspaper space – to deal with just some of Gingrich’s exaggerations and wound up awarding him four Pinocchios. For most politicians this would be a titanic embarrassment, but for Gingrich it is not even a personal best.
….This core dishonesty is what separates Gingrich from the rest of the Republican presidential candidates, committed or not-quite-yet. Some of the others say things that are untrue – Sarah Palin’s “death panels,” for instance – but these untruths spill out of the mouths of ditzes. Not so with Gingrich.
He is a former history professor with a doctorate, someone who knows his way around the stacks …. He employs the ugly language of demagoguery not because he is oblivious to its history but on account of it. He mimics. He was, however, brilliantly original in explaining to the Christian Broadcasting Network why he had committed adultery. It had to do with “how passionately I felt about this country” – a genuine contribution to the annals of sexual fibbery….
…There is more than a little Richard Nixon in Gingrich – the same lack of place, the same keen intellect, the same petty fights and imaginary enemies, the same hallucinatory grievances, the same willingness to lie, exaggerate and smear. On a given day, Newt Gingrich could be a brilliant president. On any night, he could be a monster.
Eugene Robinson: Newt Gingrich’s meltdown on the launch pad …. “I want to make sure every House Republican is protected from some kind of dishonest Democratic ad. So let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have publicly said those words were inaccurate and unfortunate.”
A grateful nation thanks you, Newt Gingrich. The presidential campaign is just starting, and already you’ve given us a passage that will live in infamy – forever – in the annals of American political speech. Your delightful quotation shall be filed under “fiascos” and flagged with a cross-reference to “utter nonsense.”
I can’t remember when we’ve heard a politician plead so desperately to take back something he said. Then again, naked desperation is clearly in order. The favorite parlor game in Washington this week has been trying to remember a more disastrous campaign launch than the one Gingrich is having. Many candidates have stumbled coming out of the gate, but few have taken off like a shot in the wrong direction…..
NYT: Callista Bisek’s friends from rural Wisconsin were stunned when, well over a decade ago, she confided that she was secretly dating an older, married man: Newt Gingrich. (She was) still in her 20s when they met …
Today, Ms. Bisek is Mrs. Gingrich, married for 11 years, but perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband’s political downfall. His critics cast Mr. Gingrich as a hypocrite who sought to impeach a president over infidelity while engaging in it himself with Ms. Bisek, who was a Congressional aide.
….As he prepares for a Republican presidential primary run Mr. Gingrich is presenting himself as a family man who has embraced Catholicism and found God, with his wife as a kind of character witness….
Barely a sentence goes by without Mr. Gingrich uttering the words “Callista and I.” They are constantly together … she is the voice on his audio books; her face is all over his 2012 Web site, where visitors can read “A Note from Newt & Callista”.
…Mr. Gingrich is well aware that social conservatives are skeptical of him because of his two divorces and admission of infidelity. He has been meeting with religious leaders around the country to address their concerns.
…At 45, 22 years her husband’s junior … she runs Gingrich Productions, making documentaries in conjunction with Citizens United, the nonprofit group that drew national attention in a Supreme Court case last year.
…The same friends who tried to talk her out of out of dating him more than a decade ago have concluded that she knew what she was doing, and are banking that voters will forgive and forget. Karen Olson, best friend of Mrs. Gingrich, summed up their history in what might just become a campaign catchphrase:
“They’re a great couple,” she said, “that had a nontraditional start.”
First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at a Mother’s Day event for military-connected mothers, grandmothers, spouses and other special guests, as a part of Military Spouses Appreciation Day in the East Room of the White House, May 6
From the President and First Lady’s tax returns, released today
Wiki: The Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund, is the operating name of an annuity fund of the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Trust, benefiting first ladies of the United States. It began in 1912, as part of the will of Henry G. Freeman Jr., a prominent Philadelphia real estate developer.
Freeman believed that the U.S president was paid a “miserable pittance”, and that a way of increasing his income while avoiding the appearance of political gifts was to institute an annuity to be paid “to the lady termed the first lady in the land; that is, the President of the United States [sic] wife, or anyone representing the president as such, should he not be married or should she die during his administration”.
Freeman’s will specified that the money be for the first lady’s “own and absolute use” and the payments “shall continue in force as long as this glorious government exists.”
The fund became active in November 1989 during the administration of George H.W. Bush, but due to a court dispute the first payments were not made until December 1992.
Barbara Bush received US $36,000.00 retroactively and donated a portion to her charity work, and spent an unspecified amount doing “something nice for my grandchildren”. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and First Lady Laura Bush have donated the payments to charity. The income is taxable, and the fund is overseen by Wachovia Trust Services.
There’s another article here on the Pin Money Fund (MSNBC)
First Lady Michelle Obama watches as children of military families play baseball during an event to support the families, at Coors Field in Denver April 13. The White House on April 12 launched a “Joining Forces” initiative to encourage non-government support of the particular needs of military families. Leading the initiative, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden travelled to several locations across the country that provide examples of the initiative’s core areas of supporting employment, education, and wellness of service members and their families.
…with Jessica Simpson
First Lady Michelle Obama greets Marines following her remarks to the base community at Goettge Memorial Field House at Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 13. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Dr Jill Biden and First lady Michelle Obama arrive with baby gifts while visiting expecting mothers during Operation Shower, a celebration for pregnant women whose husbands are service members, April 13, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
First lady Michelle Obama speaks to Marines at a military community at Camp Lejeune
First lady Michelle Obama visits with wounded warriors during a tour of the Warrior and Family Support Center, April 13, in San Antonio
NY Mag: …..Newt Gingrich didn’t just get divorced three times, he also cheated on both of his first two wives. And furthermore, he left both of them when they were sick. As Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall recaps today:
Let’s remember, Newt famously dumped wife #1 for wife #2 while wife #1 was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. As in literally went to the hospital to present her with divorce papers while she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer.
He eventually dumped wife #2 for wife #3 shortly after wife #2 was diagnosed with MS back in 1999. And he was having the affair on wife #2 with wife #3 while he was turning the country upside down trying to drive Bill Clinton from office over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
….Gingrich, naturally, is trying to frame his misdeeds in the best light possible under the circumstances. In a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, he discussed the issue in religious terms that the voters he hopes to win over may understand:
“I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God.”
If God can forgive him, then surely Iowa caucusgoers can, too. And besides, Gingrich has a pretty good explanation for why he did it:
“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”
Sometimes you just feel so passionate about America that you need to go have some extramarital affairs. We’ve all been there.