…. with U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Korea Sung Kim aboard Marine One during an early morning flight from Osan Air Base to the landing zone at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25
….. greeting troops the dining hall at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25
….. signing a bar in the dining hall at Camp Bonifas
…. briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas
…. greeting members of the audience following his remarks at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul
…. with President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at a bilateral meeting at the Coex Center in Seoul
….. talking with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon during a break in the Nuclear Security Summit
….. in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan
People wave along President Obama’s motorcade route to the landing zone at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul
…. waving from the top of the stairs before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base
TPM: The snap reactions to today’s Supreme Court arguments about the constitutionality of the health care law’s individual mandate gave reform supporters a collective case of heartburn. The conservative justices seemed broadly hostile to the law’s requirement that everyone carry health insurance. President Obama’s Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, was widely panned by experienced court watchers for stumbling at key moments. Jeffery Toobin — a seasoned vet of the high court — called it a “train wreck” for the Obama administration.
Here’s some antacid.
Over the first two days of arguments, two of the Court’s five conservative justices have expressed sympathy for key parts of the administration’s arguments. And the administration probably only needs one of their votes to fully uphold the law.
TPM: In a little-noticed exchange Monday, conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts may have tipped his hand that he’s entertaining the possibility that the health care law’s individual mandate can be upheld on a constitutional basis that’s different from the one supporters and opponents have made central to their arguments.
…. In an exchange with a plaintiffs attorney, Roberts suggested he’s skeptical that the mandate and its penalties can be treated separately and may have opened the door to finding that Congress’ power to impose the mandate springs from its broad taxing power.
…. That wasn’t what the challengers wanted to hear.
Michael Tomasky: Conservatives love to say Obama has robbed us of our liberty. But can they name a single freedom that the administration has curtailed?
Behind the challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being heard at the Supreme Court this week is the idea that Barack Obama wants to take away your freedoms ….. I defy anyone to name for me a specific and precise freedom that Obama has taken away from the American people. You can’t. When they’re not just invented out of whole cloth by multi-millionaire propagandists, all such laments are based on ignorance about what freedom actually means and an equal ignorance about how our system of government works.
…. if you’re healthy and 35 and you don’t buy insurance and you get hit by a bus and you need $10,000 in medical care and you can’t and don’t pay for it, that harms me, because I’m an insured taxpayer and I’m helping to pick up your tab. That is freedom: not just the right to be left alone, but also the obligation to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s own actions on the freedom of other members of society. By that definition, the ACA is enhancing freedom, and personal responsibility – which is why conservatives were for the mandate in the first place.
ThinkProgress: Mitt Romney is trying to make hay about a comment President Obama made to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this week that he needs some “space” on the missile defense issue until after the election this year. Russia “is without question our number one geopolitical foe,” Romney said, calling Obama’s comment “very, very troubling.”
Politico reports that Medvedev shot back at Romney today at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea:
“I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as ‘No. 1 enemy.’ It is very reminiscent of Hollywood in a certain period of history…. My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time. It is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account.”
Charles Pierce: They’re circling the wagons down in Sanford these days. The defenders of George Zimmerman, the trigger-happy wannabe who clipped Trayvon Martin for the crime of being a black kid in a hoodie with snack foods in the wrong neighborhood, is now being cocooned by his lawyer, by some alleged friends, and by the local police department …. Ask yourself how we suddenly know that the dead kid had been suspended from high school because he got caught with a bag that might once have contained marijuana. Ask yourself why we know that. We know that because this case is Not About Race.
It is Not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Race is the past. Black people can vote. One of them is president. Nothing Is About Race anymore. Just ask Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum – and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick that guy is? – and they’ll tell you that the president “injected” race into the tragedy. It wasn’t there before the president – who is (shhh!) black, you know – put it there…..
First lady Michelle Obama and Yoriko Fujisaki, wife of the Ambassador of Japan to the United States, commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. by planting a cherry blossom tree near the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 27
Thanks a million to everyone who has donated to Collegekay’s fundraising challenge – if you can help, you can donate here
…. greeting US soldiers and family members before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base outside Seoul, March 27
Time: ….. Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton were on the long stretch of a turnpike between Orlando and Miami on March 23 when they heard President Obama’s poignant remark about their boy — that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”
They say that was when they realized how far-reaching the impact of his controversial death, and their effort to get to the bottom of it, is. “It felt real warm to know our son’s name had been mentioned by the President of the United States and all over the nation and the world,” Martin says.
“His name is ringing all over the country, all over the nation, all over the world.” Fulton agrees, saying, “It showed us that even President Obama understands we need justice, that he understands our situation.” Adds Martin: “The nation is saying, What if — what if this was my son, what would I do?”
Charles Pierce: This picture, which ran on the front page of The New York Times this morning, and which accompanied the story about the opening of the arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, makes me as sad and despairing about the state of the country as I have been in an awfully long time. There are better places on the Intertoobz than this one to look either for a general overview of what may happen in the Court over the next three days – Ezra Klein’s joint did a masterful job this morning – …. but this picture makes the whole affair ring a little hollow already.