President Barack Obama greets neighbors outside the home of William and Endia Eason in Cleveland, Ohio, Jan. 4, 2012
(Despite having the latest version, I can’t see these Videopress videos with Firefox any more, but I can with Safari. What’s up with Firefox?!)
NYT: For the first time in many years, manufacturing stands out as an area of strength in the American economy.
When the Labor Department reports December employment numbers on Friday, it is expected that manufacturing companies will have added jobs in two consecutive years. Until last year, there had not been a single year when manufacturing employment rose since 1997.
David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy): …. the Obama track record on many fronts is much better than the administration gives itself credit for. They could be doing much, much more to tout what is an impressive litany of successes.
While the list of those successes is long and compelling-defeating Bin Laden, getting out of Iraq, helping to oust Qaddafi, restoring our reputation internationally, resetting our international priorities to better coincide with our long term interests (the “pivot” to a focus on Asia), producing meaningful healthcare reform, producing significant financial services reforms, stopping the downward spiral in the economy and laying the foundations of recovery, etc. – let me focus on three areas that deserve much more attention and appreciation ….. ** See article **
…. the president is actually doing remarkably well in the world’s toughest job right now, and he is and has been doing so under truly extraordinarily adverse circumstances. This is one of those circumstances in which the substance is better than the PR – and it’s time for the White House’s political and communications brain trust to get out a clean sheet of paper and begin to make new and better plans for claiming the credit the Obama team deserves.
Jonathan Cohn: Should President Obama use the recess appointment power when Republicans in Congress refuse even to consider his nominees? You better believe it.
Not only are Republicans blocking Obama’s nominations at a record rate. They are doing so in order to impose their own ideological agenda and, in some cases, to undermine duly passed laws they don’t like but can’t repeal.
That’s a modern-day form of nullification … Obama would be derelict in his duties if he did not use every inch of executive branch authority to overcome it.
…. based on a series of conversations today, I think Obama was within his rights after all.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s tax plan is more complex than those of his current and erstwhile primary competitors. But in broad effect it accomplishes the conservative goal of dramatically lowering taxes on the wealthy at the expense of the lower and middle classes.
ESPN: President Barack Obama called Dewey Bozella on Thursday to wish him luck in Saturday night’s cruiserweight bout with Larry Hopkins in Los Angeles.
The 52-year-old, who was released from prison in 2009 after serving 26 years for a murder he did not commit, will make his professional boxing debut at the Staples Center on the undercard of light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins’ defense against Chad Dawson.
“I was so humbled and overwhelmed at the president’s call,” Bozella told The Ring. “It brought tears to my eyes. I thanked him for taking an interest in my story. Wow. There is a lot riding on this fight now.”
“This is just getting bigger. President Obama told me that he was rooting for me. I would love to meet him in person someday.”
…. Bozella, who boxed as an amateur and while he was in an upstate New York prison, dreamed of fighting professionally while he was incarcerated….
In 1983, Bozella was convicted of the 1977 murder of a 92-year-old woman in her Poughkeepsie, N.Y., home …. There was no physical evidence of Bozella being in her home and he had been bicycling by himself miles away, but was arrested and ultimately convicted. Eventually, the case against him was overturned when witnesses against Bozella recanted their stories.
The Obama campaign announced in an email this morning that the president’s reelection effort and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $70 million in the third quarter of the year:
— In the third fundraising quarter of this year, 606,027 people donated to this campaign — even more than gave in the record-breaking previous quarter.
— Those people gave more than 766,000 total donations – 98 percent of them $250 or less, at an average amount of $56. That’s more than twice as many donations than we had at this point in the historic 2008 campaign.
— We are focused on building infrastructure that will help us win in 2012. And each quarter we set a combined goal for the campaign and our allies at the Democratic National Committee. We far exceeded our goal of $55 million this quarter between the two organizations. Great work.
— Together, Obama for America and the DNC raised more than $70 million. And it all happened during a summer when the President was focused on doing the job he was elected to do — a summer when we had to cancel a series of fundraising events and ask everyone to dig a little deeper.
The Obama campaign raised $42.8 million on its own and the DNC took in $27.3 million, an Obama campaign official said.
The announcement follows an $86 million second quarter for Obama and the DNC, and sets up the president to outraise by far the whole GOP field, combined, in back to back fundraising periods.
(Video takes 10 seconds to start! Thanks Tally)
9:0 President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama welcome South Korean President Lee and First Lady Kim to the White House
11:0 The First Lady invites the Republic of Korea’s First Lady Kim Yoon-ok to Annandale High School in Virginia
11:05 The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Lee and official U.S. and South Korean delegations
12:20 The President holds a joint press conference with President Lee
7:0 The President and First Lady welcome South Korean President Lee and First Lady Kim to the White House for a state dinner
President Barack Obama stops by Press Secretary Jay Carney’s meeting with James Brady in Carney’s West Wing office at the White House, March 30. Brady was former President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary during the assassination attempt on President Reagan thirty years ago. Brady’s wife Sarah, right, and son Scott, center, joined him for the meeting. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Marketwatch: New applications for U.S. jobless benefits fell by 20,000 to 368,000 in the week of Feb. 26, the lowest level in nearly three years, the Labor Department reported Thursday.The last time claims were that low was in May 2008.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected first-time jobless claims to rise to a seasonally adjusted 398,000 from last week’s revised level of 388,000.
….The four-week average is considered a more accurate gauge of employment trends because it lessens week-to-week volatility in the data. The decline in claims, which have fallen 27% since last August, appears to be consistent with a modest pace or hiring and fewer layoffs.
Continuing claims, meanwhile, declined by 59,000 to 3.77 million in the week of Feb. 19. About 9.24 million people received some kind of state or federal benefit in the week of Feb. 12, up 74,000 from the week before.
Washington Post: Stocks jumped Thursday after a government report showed that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week. Retailers also reported solid February sales.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell to 368,000. That’s the lowest level for claims since May 2008. Economists had expected them to rise.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders Jan. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Steve Kornacki (Salon): At Politico on Monday, Jonathan Martin does a nice job explaining the “reality check” that Republicans are now waking up to: Barack Obama seems to be in decent political shape as the 2012 cycle begins, while “breezy predictions of Obama turning out to be the next Jimmy Carter were premature.”
That it’s come to this shouldn’t be that surprising. As we noted over and over last year as Obama and his fellow Democrats braced for a midterm drubbing, the two-year verdict on a presidency is often extremely misleading – as the examples of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both attest. With his party running Washington and with the economy reeling, it was pretty much inevitable that the first half of Obama’s first term would play out the way it did.
What is surprising, though, is how quickly it’s come to this…..barely a month after the midterms, prominent conservatives were already admitting that he was looking good to win a second term … lately, Mike Huckabee — who might be the front-runner for the GOP nomination, if only he’d get in the race — has been making headlines by talking up Obama’s strength, as he did to Politico:
“The people that are sitting around saying, ‘He’s definitely going to be a one-term president. It’s going to be easy to take him out,’ they’re obviously political illiterates — political idiots, let me be blunt.”
…for now, the consensus of the political class seems to be that Obama will be reelected in 2012 – and Republicans seem to be buying into it …. Unlike the Democrats of early 2003, who saw a chance to become the next Bill Clinton, the Republicans of early 2011 seem to fear the prospect of becoming the next Bob Dole.
Virginia Shelton, 105, of Ashland, a retired nurse, was surprised to learn that she would not be going to a senior center today. Instead, she is among the guests attending the president’s appearance at a South Richmond recreation association.
Shelton turned 105 on Sept. 8. She said that on her birthday she received a “wonderful” letter from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Shelton believes the mayor of Ashland arranged for her invitation to Obama’s event … Asked what advice she might have for Obama, Shelton said: “As long as he tells the truth, keeps looking up and keeps Christ in his life,” he will be fine. “Take the JC pill and you’ll get to 105,” she said.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Today’s jobs report provides evidence that the policies of the Democratic-led Congress are helping to create jobs and revitalize our economy – adding more jobs in 2010 than President Bush did over eight years. With so many Americans still looking for work, now is not the time to reverse course.
“Republicans must join Democrats in focusing on putting people to work, instead of making their top priority repealing critical patient protections, putting insurance companies back in charge of the health of the American people and blowing a $230 billion hole in the deficit.
“Building on the progress of the December jobs numbers – marking the last full month of Democratic leadership of the House – we will continue to measure every proposal by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit.”