TPM: Out of the three officials who met President Obama on an airport tarmac near Phoenix earlier this week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is now the only one who has characterized the president as anything other than cordial.
In numerous TV and radio interviews since the meeting, Brewer has said the president was “tense to say the least” and took issue with a book she wrote last year. She said Obama walked away from her while she was in mid-sentence and even told one Phoenix television station she felt “a little bit threatened” by the encounter.
But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who was standing just feet away from the president and the governor on Wednesday during their now-infamous encounter, told TPM that Obama seemed calm the whole time.
“He wasn’t tense at all,” Stanton said on Friday. “The guy’s a pro.”
CBS: Legendary musician Bruce Springsteen has written a letter to his New Jersey hometown newspaper taking issue with the policies of New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie.
In his letter to the Asbury Park Press, Springsteen – identified only as a resident of the town of Colts Neck – takes issue with tax “cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions.”
While the New Jersey icon doesn’t mention Christie by name, he takes aim at the governor’s policies, writing that “the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years.”
Christie … is a professed Spingsteen fan, as the Los Angeles Times notes, having claimed to have attended more than 120 Springsteen concerts in his lifetime and attempted (unsuccessfully) to get the man known as The Boss to perform at his inauguration.
Joshua Greenman (New York Daily News): …Barack Obama isn’t an all-or-nothing kind of commander in chief or an all-or-nothing kind of man. He gambled in pushing health care reform, but in his bones he’s a cautious leader who overcomplicates where others oversimplify. He turns bumper stickers into dissertations, not the other way around.
Those who are grousing about that fact now should count their blessings – and remember the alternative. This is what we said we wanted just two years ago, after eight years of Bush foreign policy impulsiveness, when offered a McCain-Palin ticket that promised more gut-driven decision-making. We wanted more candid discussion of risks and benefits. More sharing of responsibilities with allies. We wanted a President to think twice before playing Braveheart. Didn’t we?
But now, in the first major test of a crisis rearing its head on his watch, many have derided Obama’s approach as the professor’s way of war. So the pundits were craving clarity Monday night when he took the stage at the National Defense University in Washington, clamoring for something like an Obama Doctrine, a few snappy sentences that encapsulate his foreign policy, a formula where you plug in the variables and get your answer each and every time.
It didn’t happen. It was never going to happen. Nor should it have happened.
In typically Obamastic fashion, he rejected the arguments of those who suggested we should have allowed a humanitarian disaster to unfold while the world watched (that would have “been a betrayal of who we are”), and similarly dismantled the arguments of those who want a more aggressive, expansive, expensive campaign.
….To a skeptic like me, Obama made an effective and principled case … …This isn’t necessarily a brilliant war. But don’t criticize the President because he’s failed some facile and arbitrary standard of perfect clarity. That would be, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, the hobgoblin of a nation that hasn’t learned its lesson.
The marquee at the Orpheum Theatre (Madison, Wisconsin) mocks Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker showing him starring in the Arnold Schwarzengger film Total Recall
The Nation: The blowback from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s union-busting crusade has only just begun — and it may soon hit the governor where it really hurts: in the deep pockets of his biggest donors. Workers have begun organizing a “Move Your Money Campaign” against M&I Bank, whose employees are among his chief financial backers.
M&I Bank is the largest bank in Wisconsin, and was the recipient of $1.7 billion in TARP bailout money from the federal government. The bundled contributions from M&I executives were Walker’s second-largest source of campaign funds … executives at M&I Bank gave $46,308 to Walker’s campaign. And now, a group of local unions in Wisconsin have threatened to pull their money from M&I Bank unless it denounces Scott Walker’s attack on workers’ rights.
…On Thursday morning, several hundred protesters surrounded an M&I Bank across the street from the Wisconsin State Capitol shouting “You Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out.” International Association of Fire Fighters Local 311 President Joe Conway Jr. told me two union members marched in and pulled a combined $192,000 dollars out of the bank. “Hopefully this sends a message to the bank,” says Conway. “We wanted to illustrate how serious our threat is by having just two of our members pull their money out. “ The union said it plans to escalate actions and will soon begin handing out flyers at protests asking people to move their money.
A senior union researcher estimates that unions have at least $1 billion invested in M&I Bank, mostly through pension funds. Discussions are going on at the highest levels of the labor movement about how exactly to leverage this financial clout in the political debate in Wisconsin. Since the Bank of Montreal is in process of purchasing M&I Bank, US unions have reached out to the Canadian Labour Congress to urge their involvement in a disinvestment campaign.