President Barack Obama attends a Summit of the Americas Leaders’ Dinner at Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena, Colombia, April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and Martha Stewart drop by Operation Shower, a celebration for pregnant women whose husbands are service members, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 13, 2011. The event was part of the launch of Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Audience members embrace President Barack Obama after he spoke at the Port of Tampa in Tampa, Fla., April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with, from left: Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs; U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk; and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis aboard Air Force One while en route to Tampa, Fla., April 13, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama hugging Kitty Casey
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. The National Prayer Breakfast is in it’s 63rd year
President Barack Obama strikes the Heisman pose with Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry
President Barack Obama meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Oval Office. President Obama and President Santos are expected to make a bid for increased aid for Colombia and talk about “Plan Colombia,” a U.S. aid initiative started in 2000 to help combat Colombian drug cartels
President Barack Obama holds a Golden State Warriors basketball jersey presented to him during an event with the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors
President Barack Obama jokes while demonstrating “clowning” when talking about Stephen Curry
President Obama meets with Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne (front L), Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (front R), U.S President Barack Obama (back L), Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell (second row R) and Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez (top R) wave during the family photo of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa smiles as he listens to remarks by President Barack Obama during the first plenary session of the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama
President Obama, flanked by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, gives remarks at the first plenary session of the Summit of the Americas
A year ago: President Obama is reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall as he delivers remarks during the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 28, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:05: The President departs the White House
11:05: Arrives New Jersey
11:15: Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver keynote remarks to 70 new citizens at a special naturalization ceremony in the Justice Department
1:15: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the White House Kitchen Garden Summer Harvest
1:30: President Obama delivers remarks at Asbury Park Convention Hall
2:15: VP Biden, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and President Martelly Speak to the Press, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (Audio Only at WH Live)
2:50: President Obama departs New Jersey
3:55: Arrives the White House
5:30: Delivers remarks at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at the White House
Consumers Are Thrilled, Economic Data Is Kicking Ass, And The Stock Market Is Going Wild read.bi/152QoX4
Steve Benen: It’s been nearly a week since President Obama announced his vision for ending the nation’s post-9/11 war footing and rejecting the notion of perpetual war, and while the pushback from the right was immediate, Republican opposition to the shift appears to be hardening.
…. of particular interest were Republican complaints about the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay ….. Rep. Peter King: “…. The president had five years to end this if he really wanted to. He could’ve moved most of those prisoners out of the country.”
….. I couldn’t help but laugh …. Less than a month after President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, King’s Republican colleagues began throwing a major tantrum over the very idea of closing the detention facility….. Three months later, Congress blocked the president from transferring detainees. A year later, they Congress did it again. Does King not remember any of this? If not, why not?
VP Biden, Dr Jill Biden and Colombia’s Commander of the Armed Forces Alejandro Navas, stand for the Colombian national anthem during a ceremony to honor Air Force servicemen fallen on the line of duty in a chapel at the Air Force base in Bogota, May 27
12:20: VP Biden and President Santos Speak to the press, Bogota, Colombia (Audio only at WH Live)
The Oklahoman: President Barack Obama came to Oklahoma on Sunday to comfort grieving families, laud the work of emergency responders and offer assurances that the nation stands ready to assist with recovery from last week’s deadly tornadoes.
…. He also talked with Moore School Superintendent Suzy Pierce, Shelley Jaques-McMillin, principal of Briarwood Elementary, which also was badly damaged, and several others, including Scott Lewis, who was able to get his son, Zack, out of school and into a storm shelter in the nick of time.
“He just wanted to speak to the boy and tell him how brave he was,” Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis said. “Told us everything will be OK. And he reassured us. We told him how great FEMA was and the first responders.”
…. Afterward, the president met in private at the station for about 30 minutes with several family members of the children killed at Plaza Towers.
Republicans have tested the limits of hyperbole in attacking Obamacare. You can’t really top then-Minority Leader John Boehner warning that passage of the Affordable Care Act would be “Armageddon.” Well, we’re still here.
…. There’s no doubt that this new system that requires a health care marketplace to be set up in all 50 states will be complex and onerous to put in place — especially with Republicans purposely trying to engineer a disaster. But they’ve set expectations so low that there’s a good chance Obamacare will actually impress, especially in the blue states that are taking advantage of the landmark law.
NYT: The state of the economy is far from ideal, but some very definite positives are brewing. It’s not just that we are continuing to recover from a deep recession; we are also seeing signs that America’s long-term future may be looking up, too.
The case for optimism is hardly open-and-shut. The economy’s problems include high unemployment, mediocre productivity gains and stagnant or slow-growing earnings for most income classes. Still, let’s consider five indicators that the future is starting to brighten:
USA Today: President Obama, facing political problems over high gas prices, will announce a plan today “to increase oversight and crack down on manipulation in oil markets,” the White House announced.
“At a time when American consumers are feeling pain at the pump, it is critically important to ensure that illegal manipulation, fraud and market rigging are not contributing to gas price increases,” said the announcement.
Obama, along with Attorney General Eric Holder, is scheduled to discuss the plan at 11:10 a.m.
ThinkProgress: …. For most women, Romney maintains that a choice to work or to stay at home with the kids should be regarded as equally valid, his campaign made clear last week. But for poor women who receive government assistance, staying home is not an option — they should work….
A passage from Romney’s book, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, elaborates on this. In it, he argues that children of “nonworking parents” will be conditioned to have “an indolent and unproductive life”…
…. While Romney’s sentiment is understandable and common among conservatives, it doesn’t fit easily with his view that all “all moms are working moms”…. If nonworking mothers on welfare produce “indolent and unproductive” children, then why doesn’t the same hold true for other women?
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Joining Forces event at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, April 12 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
12:00 ET: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee event in Nashville.
3:30: Michelle Obama arrives in Pittsburgh where she will be greeted by service members and their families from the 911th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command and the 171st Air Refueling Wing.
4:30: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee event in Pittsburgh.
6:00: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee event in Pittsburgh.
7:45: VP Joe Biden attends a campaign event in D.C.
NYT: A year ago, few people outside the world of state legislatures had heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a four-decade-old organization run by right-wing activists and financed by business leaders. The group writes prototypes of state laws to promote corporate and conservative interests and spreads them from one state capital to another.
The council, known as ALEC, has since become better known, with news organizations alerting the public to the damage it has caused: voter ID laws that marginalize minorities and the elderly, antiunion bills that hurt the middle class and the dismantling of protective environmental regulations.
Now it’s clear that ALEC, along with the National Rifle Association, also played a big role in the passage of the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws around the country…..
That was apparently the last straw for several prominent corporations that had been financial supporters of ALEC. In recent weeks, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Intuit, Mars, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stopped supporting the group, responding to pressure from activists and consumers who have formed a grass-roots counterweight to corporate treasuries. That pressure is likely to continue as long as state lawmakers are more responsive to the needs of big donors than the public interest.
President Barack Obama and President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia participate in a presentation of land titles to the Afro-Colombian community at the Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena, Colombia, April 15, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Charles Pierce: ….. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Republican party, root and branch, from its deepest grass roots to its highest levels, has become completely demented. This does not mean that it is incapable of winning elections; on the contrary, the 2010 midterms, as well as the statewide elections around the country, ushered in a class of politicians so thoroughly dedicated to turning nonsense into public policy that future historians are going to marvel at our ability to survive what we wrought upon ourselves.
It is now impossible to become an elected Republican politician in this country if, for example, you believe in the overwhelming scientific consensus that exists behind the concept of anthropogenic global warming. Just recently, birth control, an issue most people thought pretty well had been settled in the 1960s, became yet another litmus test for Republican candidates, as did the Keystone XL pipeline, to which every Republican presidential candidate pledged unyielding fealty despite the fact that several prairie Republicans and an army of conservative farmers and ranchers are scared to death of the thing…..
President Obama arrives at the White House from a summit with leaders from the Americas in Colombia, early Monday, April 16
Buzzfeed: Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special “Presidential Inaugural retreat,” planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.
The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as “Romney Victory”….
Those donors will be named “Founding Members” of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered “yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.”
They will also “have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat,” the email says.
A visitor pretends to talk on a phone alongside a wax figure of US President Barack Obama on the opening day of the new Madame Tussauds exhibition in Sydney on April 16
ET: The rivalry continues! First Lady Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres continued their playful trash talking after their highly publicized push-up contest.
….. Their lighthearted back-and-forth took place via satellite, as the First Lady sat in an audience of 600 military families and their daughters in Jacksonville, Florida while Ellen reached them from her studio in Burbank, California.
…. You can see their entire exchange on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday, April 16. Check your local listings.
Colombian children look at President Obama during a land titling event for Afro-Colombian communities in Cartagena
…. gesturing to Colombian singer Shakira, as Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos looks on, during a land titling event for Afro-Colombian communities in Cartagena
…. greeting Sebastian Salgado, of the Afro-Colombian San Basilio de Palenque community, during a land titling event at the San Pedro Claver square in Cartagena
Catholic Priest Alvaro Gutierrez leads President Obama and President Santos on a tour of the Spanish colonial Cathedral San Pedro Claver in Cartagena
…. greeting people during a land titling event for Afro-Colombian communities in Cartagena
…. at a multilateral meeting with Caribbean Leaders. Front row from left to right, Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Davis Anthony, Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Joseph Thomas Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Jerome Stuart, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, President Barack Obama, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Belize’s Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega, Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. Back row, from left, unidentified, Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Winston Baldwin, Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette, Dominican Republic’s President Leonel Fernandez, Saint Kitts and Nevis’s Prime Minister Denzil Llewellyn Douglas and Suriname’s President Desire Delano Bouterse.
From left to right, clockwise: Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Winston Baldwin, Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Departing on Air Force One from Rafael Nunez International Airport in Cartagena, April 15
….. greeting school children and teachers after speaking at Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena
Catholic priest Alvaro Gutierrez leads President Obama and President Santos on a tour of San Pedro church in Cartagena
….. greeting Colombian singer Shakira during an event to hand over titles to representatives of the Afro-Colombian community during an event at the Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena. The land restitution is an attempt by Colombia to recognized marginalized communities who were forced from their land by armed groups.
Sebastian Salgado, leader of the San Basilio de Palenque community of descendants of former slaves, receives a land title from President Obama during the ceremony
…. at a joint press conference with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos
…. departing on Air Force One from Rafael Nunez International Airport in Cartagena en route to Washington DC