@petesouza: Pres Obama greets a young girl while volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank in DC today
WTVQ: Obama Hands Out Thanksgiving Goodies To Needy In DC
President Barack Obama is continuing an annual family tradition this year, by helping to pack bags of food and distribute them to the needy on Thanksgiving eve. Obama, his wife, Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, dropped in Wednesday on the Capital Area Food Bank, one of the largest serving the Washington area.
They dropped bundles of sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and apples into reusable bags people held open as they walked by. They also handed out small white boxes stamped with the presidential seal that contain M&M’s candy. Obama wished people a “Happy Thanksgiving,” and Malia shook their hands. It’s the third straight Thanksgiving that Obama and his family have helped out at this particular food bank.
Rachel Weiner: The group launched by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, is out with its first ads criticizing senators who voted against expanded background checks for gun purchasers.
The Americans for Responsible Solutions radio spots target Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Both ads feature disappointed voters lamenting that their senator “ignored the will of the people” and opposed “common sense legislation” to “keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
To start, it’s a buy of a couple hundred thousand dollars — not huge — but it’s a sign of what the group is planning in the wake of legislative defeat. The New Hampshire ads are running in Concord, Manchester, Keene and the Seacoast. The Kentucky ads are in Louisville and Lexington.
Melanie Hicken: GE Capital, which provides consumer financing services, had previously provided lending services to gun shops to help consumers finance firearm purchases. Earlier this year, the company sent letters to shops notifying them that the program would be terminated for future purchases.
The move was the result of “a more rigorous audit process… in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms,” GE Capital spokesman Russell Wilkerson said in an e-mail.
Jared Bernstein: Here’s a US Senator (Tom Coburn) from yesterday: “the fact is, our country is headed toward bankruptcy” (from CQ News, no link).
In fact, the fact is that this is factually incorrect. To the contrary, according to a recent, detailed analysis by GS researchers, the budget deficit is falling faster than was expected, as the rate of spending is falling and receipts are rising. There are, of course, growing deficits in our future, but they have everything to do with health care spending and nothing to do with bankruptcy. Preserving current cuts–Coburn was explaining why he was blocking legislation to replace the sequester–will only make it harder to escape the current slog in which we’ve stuck for a very long time.
Dylan Matthews: Good news for George W. Bush! His approval rating is the highest it’s been in years, just as he’s set to open his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. Forty-seven percent of Americans approve of Bush, up from 33 percent when he left office as the economy cratered.
Bad news for George W. Bush! His newfound popularity comes, as my colleague Dan Balz notes, because of “the passage of time and Bush’s relative invisibility” rather than any re-evaluation of his record. Majorities still oppose his decision to invade Iraq and disapprove of his handling of the economy.
Jamelle Bouie: This week, George W. Bush dedicates his presidential library and re-enters public life after a long, quiet hiatus. Not that he was missed.
Most Americans have nothing but disdain for the former president. The failures of his administration—including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 financial crisis—left him with an abysmal approval rating. And as recently as six months ago, a majority of voters viewed him as responsible for the poor economy. If, as suggested by some conservative pundits, America has graded Barack Obama on a curve, it’s almost certainly because he is still dealing with the fallout from eight years of neglect, disinterest, and incompetence.
ThinkProgress: House Republicans plan to vote on a bill on Wednesday that would shift money from the portion of Obamacare that invests in prevention and use it to expand a temporary initiative that has helped individuals and families with pre-existing medical conditions obtain coverage.
Esther Yu-Hsi Lee: In the past year, housing ownership by Americans fell to 65.3 percent while ownership increased among immigrant households. But if the bipartisan immigration bill set forth by the Gang of Eight passes, that number could soon skyrocket.
The growing trend among immigrants has been to rent for a few years, then to purchase a house as a way of solidifying their American dream. While the rental market is expected to steady because of the projected upward mobility, housing ownership is expected to increase due to increased job growth. With the push for immigration reform, the ability for highly skilled immigrants to seek jobs will allow them to pay for a home, which is often viewed as the ultimate price of permanence. Immigrants make up just 16 percent of the United States population, but they are expected to make up 35.7 percent of homeowners by the year 2020.
DemConvention.com: The first two days of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Tuesday, September 4 and Wednesday, September 5, will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena. President Obama and Vice President Biden will accept the Democratic nominations for President and Vice President on Thursday, September 6 at Bank of America Stadium. Sign up now for your chance to attend this event. The convention committee will unveil additional convention program details and speakers in the coming days.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin * Congressman Xavier Becerra of California * Newark Mayor Cory Booker * Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina * Former President Jimmy Carter (via video) * San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro * Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee * Congresswoman Judy Chu of California * Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri * Former President Bill Clinton * Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina * Former Republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist * Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina Walter Dalton * The Honorable Arne Duncan * Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado * Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth * U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois * Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland * Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel * Georgetown Law School Graduate Sandra Fluke * Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx * Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts * Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt * Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm * Congressman Charlie Gonzalez of Texas * U.S. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina * California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris * Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper * Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland * Former Governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt * DCCC Chairman Congressman Steve Israel of New York * Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau * Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine * Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (ret.) * Congressman John Larson of Connecticut * Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California * Congressman John Lewis of Georgia * CarMax co-founder and former CEO Austin Ligon * President of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan * Caroline Kennedy * U.S. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts * Women’s rights activist Lilly Ledbetter * Obama Campaign Co-Chair Eva Longoria * Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy * Delaware Governor Jack Markell * Boston Mayor Tom Menino * The Honorable Karen Mills * U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington * Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter * U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland * Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley * Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick * House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi * House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will also lead a presentation of the women of the House: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York, Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Joyce Beatty of Ohio, Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii * California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez * Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado * Congressman David Price of North Carolina * Illinois Governor Pat Quinn * Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada * President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards * Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak * The Honorable Ken Salazar * Journalist Cristina Saralegui * U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York * Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer * The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius * Costco co-founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal * Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland * Congressman Chris Van Hollen * Los Angeles Mayor, Democratic Convention Chair Antonio Villaraigosa * The Honorable Tom Vilsack * Senate candidate from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren * DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida * Congressman Mel Watt of North Carolina
NYT Editorial: After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin.
Mr. Romney’s descriptions of when he left Bain have been erratic and self-serving …. now that Bain has been accused of helping other companies outsource jobs overseas, laying off steel company employees and wiping out their pensions, Mr. Romney says he had no management role after 1999. A Kansas City steel plant that Bain bought in 1993 under Mr. Romney’s control, for example, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 750 workers their jobs and pensions. After the Obama campaign made an ad featuring several of the angry workers, the Romney campaign said he couldn’t be blamed because he left Bain in 1999.
….. Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair…. The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents. But Mr. Romney told CNN he would not release more than the one year’s return he has already released and the one for 2011 when it is finished. “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said. It’s not even close.
Charles Pierce: …. All weekend, the question arose: What could possibly be in those tax returns that is so goddamn awful that Romney — who is still, remember, no worse than 50-50 to win this thing — is fighting so hard to keep it secret? The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is the answer to that question.
There is nothing in those tax returns that is in any way illegal …. He is not fighting the release of these returns to keep us from finding out the dark secrets about how stupid-wealthy he and his family are. He is fighting the release of these returns because he doesn’t think he should have to release them.
….This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for The Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.
USA Today: Good morning from The Oval, on a day when President Obama and his re-election team are taking the fight to Mitt Romney and, geographically at least, House Speaker John Boehner.
The campaign kicked off the day with a memorandum entitled “Unanswered Questions About Mitt Romney’s ‘Retroactive Retirement.'” It’s intended to create even more doubts about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, which he either left in 1999 or 2002, depending on your interpretation.
…. Ben LaBolt:
While Romney has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Bain’s decisions after February 1999, he has also hypocritically taken credit for jobs created well after the 1999 end date that he cites. He can’t have it both ways.
If Romney followed decades of precedent set in motion by his father, who released 12 years of tax returns, as well as the minutes from Bain Capital board meetings, the American people could finally learn to what extent Mitt Romney was involved with the actions at Bain Capital following 1999.
This week, Mitt Romney has the opportunity to provide a full accounting of his tenure at Bain Capital, the central premise of his campaign and the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not he was the job creator he claims to be.
John Cassidy (New Yorker): …. With even prominent Republicans saying that his current stance is unsustainable, the obvious question to ask is: Why is the Mittster being so obstinate? He surely isn’t standing on principle, for what principle would that be?
…… It’s only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis. Will’s comments on this were spot on: “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said. “Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it. Here are four possibilities:
1. Extremely high levels of income…..
2. More offshore accounts….
3. Politically explosive investments….
4. A very, very low tax rate….
….as Matthew Dowd noted, “there’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it’”.
Bill Keller (NYT): On the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
OBAMACARE IS A JOB-KILLER. …After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters…..
OBAMACARE IS A FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF HEALTH INSURANCE. Let’s be blunt. The word for that is “lie.”…..
THE UNFETTERED MARKETPLACE IS A BETTER SOLUTION. To the extent there is a profound difference of principle anywhere in this debate, it lies here…..
LEAVE IT TO THE STATES. THEY’LL FIX IT. The Republican alternative to Obamacare consists in large part of letting each state do its own thing. Presumably the best ideas will go viral…..
OBAMACARE IS A LOSER. RUN AGAINST IT, RUN FROM IT, BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T RUN ON IT. …Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)
…. If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”
Obama’s campaign counsel Bob Bauer seemed to suggest on a campaign media conference call just now that Romney might have broken the law:
“Scores of filings, literally scores of filings, that make it very, very clear that, over a period of a time that Governor Romney claims he was not active with Bain, the Securities and Exchange Commission was informed…that, ‘W. Mitt Romney, an individual, is the sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president of the particular Bain entity in question.'”
If, in fact, as he now claims, that he was in fact not active with the company, he was not the controlling person that is described here, that means these statements are false. And, as I said, there are very, very serious legal consequences that would follow.”
Media Bistro: “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose will interview President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama today. Highlights of the interview will air tomorrow across all CBS News programming, with the full interview airing Sunday on “CBS Sunday Morning” and Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
David Corn (Mother Jones): Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate’s reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.
But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission — and obtained by Mother Jones — list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents — one of which was signed by Romney — also contradict the official account of Romney’s exit from Bain.