Greg Sargent: In a surprise appearance before reporters at the White House just now, Obama made a striking, if perhaps long overdue, charge: He pushed back on GOP claims he’s running a dirty campaign by arguing that Romney’s entire campaign is based on flat out lies.
…. it remains the case that we are seeing nothing from the Obama side that’s anything like what Romney is attempting. Romney right now is premising one of the central arguments of his whole campaign on a complete lie. The notion that Obama “gutted” the work requirement in welfare reform has been debunked again and again by independent fact checkers and by the president who signed the law Obama supposedly gutted (see Clinton, Bill).
But Romney has now run three ads — one, two, three — making this claim. Incredibly, the Romney campaign is doing this, even though he himself said that campaigns should pull ads that are called out by fact checkers. Romney and his surrogates have repeated the welfare lie in forum after forum after forum.
…. The folks working at the big news organizations know Romney is lying with abandon. What should they do about it? I’m sympathetic to political journalists — it’s not easy to keep up with all the falsehoods, and at a certain point, the same lie told again and again loses its news value. But perhaps Obama’s comments today will prompt at least a bit of media discussion about what it means that one candidate — yes, far more than the other — is running a campaign of such epic dishonesty.
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s post on Todd Akin here
Greg Sargent: The national battle over Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” has shed light on a “personhood” bill, co-sponsored by Akin and Paul Ryan, called the Sanctity of Life Act. Much of the chatter today has focused on whether Ryan opposes abortion in cases of rape. The Romney campaign confirmed today that Ryan does personally oppose it, while clarifying that a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose it.
But what about the other legal implications of the bill Ryan and Akin co-sponsored? In an interview just now, Dem Rep. Louise Slaughter, one of the leading pro-choice voices in Congress, raised two startling possibilities.
“One of the questions around this legislation is, Could a rapist who impregnated a victim sue that victim if she decided not to carry that baby and to have an abortion?” Slaughter said. “Another question: Could in vitro fertilization be outlawed?”
Student Loans: In April, Akin cited a law Democrats passed in 2010 that saves billions of dollars by preventing private banks from profiting, risk free, on federally backed student loans as an example of the notion that “America has got the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism, because the federal government is tampering in all kind of stuff it has no business tampering in.”
When offered the chance to clarify, he declined, saying “I called a spade a spade.”….
First Amendment: In June 2011, Akin told Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, that “the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”
Marital Rape: In 1991, as a state legislator, Akin questioned whether anti-marital rape legislation might be used “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.” He ultimately voted for the bill.
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, and today’s report offers additional good news.
In fact, the new figures are the best since April 2008, and even exceeded positive expectations:
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 last week to 357,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would total 360,000, seasonally adjusted, in the week ended March 31. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 363,000 from 359,000. The average of new-benefit applications over the past four weeks, meanwhile, dropped by 4,250 to 361,750.
President Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act as Small Business leaders and members of Congress, including Eric Cantor, look on
President Barack Obama greets participants In the Roosevelt Room of the White House prior to signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, April 5 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: New numbers from a USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 swing states suggests that Mitt Romney is quickly losing support among independent voters – a voting bloc considered the crown jewel of the 2012 election.
Romney’s number in Gallup polling has dropped 10 points among independents since last fall, while President Obama’s number is up by nearly that same amount during the same time frame.
Romney’s struggles among independents are due almost entirely to the fact that independent women, who were voting for him over Obama by 5 points last fall, now favor the Democratic incumbent by a 51 percent-to-37 percent margin.
ThinkProgress: PepsiCo, the world’s second largest beverage company, has ended its partnership with ALEC, the controversial right-wing group that lobbies for voter suppression efforts. Pepsi’s move, which actually came in January but was first reported this morning by NPR, may also have had a role in compelling Coca-Cola to drop its support for ALEC.
Yesterday, progressive advocacy group Color of Change announced a boycott effort targeting several other corporations that are still members of the group, which for years has partnered with elected officials at a state level to draft and pass controversial, far-right legislation. Just a few hours later, Coke announced that they too are severing ties with the ALEC.
Actress Julianne Moore, who was just in town for the D.C. premiere of “Game Change,” will be back on Monday for an event at the White House.
Moore, who played Sarah Palin in the controversial HBO flick, will read to children at the annual Easter Egg Roll, the White House announced on Twitter. Actor Forest Whitaker, Disney star Bella Thorne and Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” will also take part in the reading.
A bunch of celebrity chefs will also be on hand, including Andrew Zimmern, Richard Blais, Marcus Samuelsson, Carla Hall and Bryan Voltaggio. Other notables you might see wandering around the South Lawn: Andy Roddick, Michelle Kwan and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Ed Kilgore: You never know how these things are going to turn out, but I get the feeling that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ comparison of Democratic claims of a GOP “war on women” to a hypothetical “war on caterpillars” could be an iconic moment in the 2012 election cycle. No, it won’t necessarily change any votes right away, but it is likely to become a convenient symbol of the cavalier attitude the GOP has towards “women’s issues.”
I’m waaaaaaay behind with all this news today, apologies!
In case you missed Hachikō’s update, she will be staying tonight with one of the great people here who offered to help. I’m sure when she gets a chance she’ll update us on her situation, the main thing, for now, is that she is safe.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden talk outside the State Dining Room before addressing the National Governors Association annual meeting at the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Tuesday: PBO will deliver remarks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, DC.
Wednesday: PBO and the First Lady will host a dinner at the White House to honor Armed Forces, who served in Iraq, and their families.
Thursday: PBO will travel to Nashua, New Hampshire, and deliver remarks on the economy. In the evening, the President will attend campaign events in New York City.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to visit with wounded service members.
Toronto Star: When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.
And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.
Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.
“My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.
The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney …. took place June 1, 1946 – fully nine months before Romney was born…..
Slate: …. In January, workers in the manufacturing sector worked an average of 41.9 hours per week. That same figure was reached for a few months during the winter of 1997-1998, but the last time it was actually higher than that was July of 1945 when America’s factories were working overtime to fight and win World War II….
We’re at the point, in other words, where just to sustain current levels of output American factories are going to need to start adding workers.
Yahoo: Five months after the military’s ban on openly gay service expired, a photo of a young gay Marine’s homecoming kiss has gone viral. Nearly 15,000 people have liked the picture on Facebook, which was posted in a group for gay Marines on Saturday.
The Marine, Brandon Morgan, posted a response on his Facebook wall according to the JoeMyGod blog. “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. Dalan, the giant in the photo, can’t believe how many shares and likes we have gotten on this. We didn’t do this to get famous,or something like that we did this cause after 3 deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt,” Morgan wrote.
ThinkProgress: An article in The Hill today describing the results of a new poll inaccurately reports that voters want “a lower tax bill” for wealthy individuals and businesses. If anything, the poll shows the opposite.
In tax policy, it’s critical to distinguish between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates … The Hill article fails to sort out this very basic distinction, then proceeds to make a number of apples-to-oranges comparisons that paint a misleading picture of what wealthy people and corporations are paying in taxes now and what people want them to pay.
….. Having repeatedly confused marginal and effective rates, the article misinterprets the poll results to conclude that people want “a lower tax bill” for individuals and corporations….
….Here’s a better explanation: Voters understand what The Hill does not – that wealthy people and corporations actually pay taxes at much lower rates than the top marginal rates on the books. And when asked what they think the “most appropriate” rates should be, a majority of people cite rates that are higher than what the wealthy and corporations are actually paying now.
Washington Post (Editorial): At a time of record debts and deficits, the two leading Republican presidential candidates are proposing a path on taxes and spending likely to add trillions more. That’s the sobering conclusion of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), whose board includes six Republican former lawmakers with expertise in budget issues, three Republican former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, and two former Office of Management and Budget directors under Republican presidents.
NY Mag: Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years – goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad – perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.
… The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before…. that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a natural-majority coalition for Democrats.
… if they lose their bid to unseat Obama, they will have mortgaged their future for nothing at all. And over the last several months, it has appeared increasingly likely that the party’s great all-or-nothing bet may land, ultimately, on nothing. In which case, the Republicans will have turned an unfavorable outlook into a truly bleak one in a fit of panic. The deepest effect of Obama’s election upon the Republicans’ psyche has been to make them truly fear, for the first time since before Ronald Reagan, that the future is against them.