Monday: The President and Vice President will host a National Conference on Mental Health at the White House that will bring together people from across the country to discuss how we can all work together to reduce stigma and help the millions of Americans struggling with mental health problems.
Tuesday: Hosts President Sebastián Piñera of Chile at the White House.
Wednesday: Welcomes the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens to the White House.
Thursday: Travels to the Charlotte area as part of his “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” He will then travel to San Jose, CA to attend an event for the DSCC. He will remain overnight in San Jose.
Friday: Travels to Los Angeles to attend an event for the DNC and then to Palm Springs, CA, to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Estate. He will remain overnight in Palm Springs.
Saturday: Returns to Washington.
ThinkProgress: Thanks To Obamacare, Young Adults And Hospitals Saved $147 Million In 2011 Alone
An estimated 3.1 million young Americans who would have lacked health coverage gained access to it thanks to an Obamacare provision that allows adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that shift saved young people from paying — and hospitals from absorbing — $147 million in high medical bills for treating catastrophic conditions such as broken bones, poisonings, and traumatic brain injuries in 2011 alone.
Given the excitement on the right this morning, you’d think they’d found a video of President Obama personally shredding Tea Party groups’ tax-exempt applications in the Oval Office. What’s all the fuss about? The Daily Caller – which really didn’t need another bogus story dragging down its reputation even further – ran a report this morning, echoing a report from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly last night, that said former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House 157 times between 2009 and 2012.
….To borrow a phrase, this isn’t a smoking gun; it isn’t even a lukewarm slingshot … The right is just embarrassing itself at this point.
11:55: President Obama and VP Biden hold an event at the White House to unveil a package of proposals to reduce gun violence
Washington Post: President Obama on Wednesday will formally announce the most aggressive and expansive national gun-control agenda in generations as he presses Congress to mandate background checks for all firearms buyers and prohibit assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
…. Obama will begin this effort Wednesday in the presence of children who wrote him letters after last month’s mass shooting at a grade school in Newtown….
In addition to background checks and restrictions on military-style guns and ammunition magazines, Obama is expected to propose mental health and school safety initiatives such as more federal funding for police officers in schools….
….. the proposals amount to the most comprehensive federal regulations of the firearms industry since 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson acted in the aftermath of high-profile assassinations…..
BBC: The mother of a British boy shot in the Newtown school massacre has wept as she told how she learned of his death. Dylan Hockley, six, was one of 20 children and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, on 14 December.
Speaking to BBC News, Dylan’s mother Nicole recalled “shaking” and not being able to stop as police revealed their son was among the gunman’s victims …. Dylan’s body was found in the embrace of his classroom assistant, Anne Marie Murphy.
…. Mr Hockley urged Washington to act on a number of different areas, saying: “The unthinkable has happened. All the shootings that have come before have indeed been terrible tragedies, but now it’s sunk so low that very small children have now been the target of this.
“How could it possibly get worse? If they cannot address this now, it’s as if they think they can never address it and they will give up and this will go on.”
Michael Tomasky: The NRA’s new ad is beyond anything we’ve seen, in political propaganda terms, in the modern history of this country….
…. It’s designed to make people who despise the president despise him even more; and it’s designed to make them despise his children, 14 and 11 years old, because they live a cosseted life that you and your kids don’t; they are ergo elitist hypocrites just like their father.
It’s not even the logic, though, that’s most disturbing … Just mentioning the president’s daughters in an ad full of violent imagery and sounds – silhouettes of assault rifles, profiles of heavily armed soldiers, martial music – is an invitation to certain viewers to make certain mental connections. I’ll stop there. But it’s really a shocking thing…..
Josh Marshall (TPM): It takes a lot for the NRA to shock. But this is just beyond disgusting …. There are so many vile things about this ad. But one thing to note is the ad is really only designed to appeal to people who have a deep – really deep – animosity toward the President. The sort of people who don’t think he and his daughters should be in the White House and wish him the sort of ill citizens should never wish upon a freely elected head of state.
Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns tells TPM: “At some point the NRA’s Washington lobbyists may realize that this kind of thing is making them irrelevant. It does nothing but offend the reasonable people who make up the bulk of their country – and the bulk of their own membership.”
Economy Watch: Retail sales rose more than expected in December as Americans shrugged off the threat of higher taxes and bought automobiles and a range of other goods, suggesting momentum in consumer spending as the year ended….
Economy Watch: For nine straight months, national home prices have been in the positive, and the gains are only getting larger. The latest reading for November shows a 7.4 percent jump from a year ago, according to CoreLogic. That includes sale prices of distressed properties, bank-owned homes and short sales. This is the largest year-over-year jump since 2006 when we were at the height of the housing boom
Chicago Sun-Times: The Chicago Public Library today unveiled artist Steve Musgrave’s new portrait of President Obama to celebrate the upcoming inauguration …. the portrait reflects Obama’s efforts as a community organizer in the South Side Chicago neighborhood prior to seeking public office.
…. the portrait features images of people who have influenced the president’s life including his First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, his mother and grandmother, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Harold Washington, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, among others.
President Barack Obama talks with Kathryn Ruemmler, Counsel to the President, in the Outer Oval Office, Jan 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
10:40: Delivers remarks at Austin Straubel International Airport, Green Bay
11:45: Departs Green Bay
1:15: Arrives Las Vegas
2:10: Delivers remarks at Cheyenne Sports Complex, Las Vegas
3:25: Departs Las Vegas
5:55: Arrives Denver, Colorado
7:0: Delivers remarks at Coors Events Center, Denver
8:45: Departs Denver
1:05: Arrives Columbus, Ohio where he will stay overnight
Steve Benen: If the White House hopes to see initial unemployment claims drop just before the election, officials got their wish. The new figures from the Department of Labor – the last report before Election Day – show a move in the right direction:
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 363,000 in the week of Oct. 21-27, keeping them in a range that indicates little change in U.S. hiring patterns over the past few months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to fall to 365,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 372,000 from an original reading of 369,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Toledo Blade: In the final few days of the presidential contest, Mitt Romney evidently recognizes that his opposition to the federal rescue of General Motors and Chrysler is costing him voter support he needs in Ohio and Michigan. So the Republican nominee is conducting an exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.
…. Mr. Romney’s own words make clear he is no friend of the auto industry, on which Ohio relies for one of every eight jobs. Voters in Ohio and Michigan — and the nation — need to remember that.
NYT Editorial: When General Motors tells a presidential campaign that it is engaging in “cynical campaign politics at its worst,” that’s a pretty good signal that the campaign has crossed a red line and ought to pull back. Not Mitt Romney’s campaign. Having broadcast an outrageously deceitful ad attacking the auto bailout, the campaign ignored the howls from carmakers and came back with more.
Mr. Romney apparently plans to end his race as he began it: playing lowest-common-denominator politics, saying anything necessary to achieve power and blithely deceiving voters desperate for clarity and truth.
….. Mr. Romney is providing a grim preview of what kind of president he would be.
Greg Sargent: The chatter continues this morning about GOP Governor Chris Christie’s astonishingly effusive praise of Obama’s handling of Hurricane Sandy. After they toured the damage yesterday, Christie thanked Obama for their “great working relationship” and claimed Obama “sprung into action immediately.” The day before, Christie praised Obama’s storm response as “outstanding,” adding: “He deserves my praise, and he will get it regardless of what the calendar says.”
What’s striking about this is how directly it undermines one of the central arguments Mitt Romney is making against Obama, with only five days left until Election Day … Romney has been closing out the campaign with a series of ads claiming that he will work with Democrats to get things done in Washington and arguing that Obama utterly failed to persuade Republicans to work with him….
Now Americans are being treated to images of a Republican Governor extensively praising Obama for working with him cooperatively and displaying leadership and a propensity for quick action at a time of crisis.
Tuesday: The President will travel to Delray, Florida and Dayton, Ohio for campaign events. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening.
Wednesday: He will travel to Iowa, Denver and Las Vegas for campaign events. He will also tape an appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.
Thursday: Campaign events in Tampa, Fla., and Richmond, Va. The President will then travel to Chicago to cast his vote under Illinois early voting rules before finishing with a grassroots event in Cleveland.
USA Today: President Obama plans to visit seven states in the three days after Monday night’s foreign policy debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Fla.
The morning after the debate, Obama will hold a rally in nearby Delray Beach, Fla., before flying on to an appearance in Dayton, Ohio….
On Wednesday and Thursday, he will make a blitz of six battleground states: Davenport, Iowa; Denver, Colo.; Las Vegas; Tampa; Richmond; Va.; then back to Ohio for an event in Cleveland.
Obama will make a sentimental stop Thursday in his hometown of Chicago, where he will cast an early vote for himself.
The president will be accompanied on his trip by NBC News anchor Brian Williams and a camera crew who will put together reports “taking viewers behind the scenes with rare, exclusive access and multiple interviews with the president.”
11:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at the J. Babe Stearn Community Center in Canton, Ohio
3:15: VP Biden speaks at Lorain High School in Canton, Ohio
Examiner: As President Barack Obama prepares for his third and final presidential debate First Lady Michelle Obama will be rallying supporters at Broward College in Davie. The First Lady will speak to grassroots supporters Monday afternoon in the George Mayer Gymnasium on Broward College’s Central Campus in Davie. It is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. (local time)
The New Yorker: … The choice is clear. The Romney-Ryan ticket represents a constricted and backward-looking vision of America: the privatization of the public good. In contrast, the sort of public investment championed by Obama — and exemplified by both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act — takes to heart the old civil-rights motto “Lifting as we climb.” That effort cannot, by itself, reverse the rise of inequality that has been under way for at least three decades. But we’ve already seen the future that Romney represents, and it doesn’t work.
The reelection of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney — a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity. A two-term Obama Administration will leave an enduringly positive imprint on political life. It will bolster the ideal of good governance and a social vision that tempers individualism with a concern for community. Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.
Paul Krugman: The U.S. economy finally seems to be recovering in earnest, with housing on the rebound and job creation outpacing growth in the working-age population. But the news is good, not great – it will still take years to restore full employment – and it has been a very long time coming. Why has the slump been so protracted?
The answer – backed by overwhelming evidence – is that this is what normally happens after a severe financial crisis. But Mitt Romney’s economic team rejects that evidence. And this denialism bodes ill for policy if Mr. Romney wins next month.
…. Obviously, Republicans like claiming that it’s all Mr. Obama’s fault, and that electing Mr. Romney would magically make everything better. But nobody should believe them.
…. the Romney team is willfully, nakedly, distorting the record …. once politicians start refusing to acknowledge inconvenient facts, where does it stop? Why, the next thing you know Republicans will start rejecting the overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change. Oh, wait.
Sunday: The President will remain at Camp David and has no public events scheduled.
Monday: The President will travel to Boca Raton, Florida where he will participate in the third Presidential Debate at Lynn University. The First Lady will also attend. The President and the First Lady will stay overnight in Boca Raton, Florida.
Tuesday: The President will travel to Delray, Florida and Dayton, Ohio for campaign events. He will return to Washington, DC in the evening.
Later in the week, the President will visit six states in two days. He will make stops in Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and Ohio, sleeping on Air Force One and spending time calling undecided voters and volunteers, the campaign said Sunday.
Adapting the campaign’s “Forward.” motto, the trip is being billed as the “America Forward!” tour.
He will begin Wednesday in Iowa, then travel to Denver for a rally and then on to Las Vegas for a late night grassroots event.
Rather than staying in a hotel, Obama will get back aboard Air Force One for a red eye flight to a Thursday grassroots rally in Tampa, Fla., and an event on the tarmac in Richmond, Va.
Then, he’ll travel west again to Chicago to cast his vote under Illinois early voting rules. The President will wrap up his travels with a grassroots event in Cleveland on Thursday night.
Helloooooooo everyone! Just a word for all the new people trying to join in on the chat the last while, including a few today – thanks a million, but in an effort to keep out the trolls please read here first: House Rules