President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the situation in Turkey, July 15, 2016. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Avril Haines, Deputy National Security Advisor, listen. Photo by Pete Souza
Voters Trust Obama More On Budget; Blame GOP For Gridlock
The Hill: A full half of Americans trust President Obama more than congressional Republicans to deal with the federal budget.
The survey by USA Today and Marist found that 50 percent of voters trust President Obama to make the right decisions on the budget, compared to 41 percent who say congressional Republicans are more trustworthy. Eight percent say they don’t believe either will make the right choices on budget priorities.
Among independents, 46 percent say they trust the president more, while 37 percent say they believe congressional Republicans have the advantage. Meanwhile, 48 percent of voters say Republicans are responsible for partisan gridlock holding up a deal on the federal budget.
The Beltway Media’s Fainting Spell Over President Obama’s 2014 Pursuits.
Alec MacGillis: Flash forward to this week, as Obama embarks on a trip to California to raise money for House Democrats, the first of 14 fundraisers he’s holding this year for the Democratic Party, up from only five that he held in 2009. Is this a sign that he learned a lesson from the 2010 disaster and the lashing he received afterward, and is determined to do better in his second midterm election? No—that would be too consistent a reaction for the Beltway. Obama’s fundraising—doing what he was slammed for not doing enough of four years ago—is now proof of his hypocritical betrayal of his principles.
But underlying the tut-tutting about Obama’s fundraising is a broader, longstanding confusion in the Washington establishment over what is to be expected of Obama. We scorn him for seeking to hold himself above the fray and then lash him with high dudgeon as soon he deigns to descend into the muck. Never mind that he is following in the footsteps of his two-term predecessors—as the Post noted, “Ronald Reagan participated in 20 fundraisers for Republicans in 1985, and George W. Bush did 14 in 2005…. Bill Clinton, committed to helping the Democratic Party eliminate debt after the 1996 campaign, appeared at a whopping 77 fundraisers in 1997.” One need look no further than the National Rifle Association’s success at blocking legislation favored by a majority of Americans to realize that the bully pulpit alone is inadequate to the task, and that it would help to spend some money on behalf of the legislation. After a bruising first term in office, Obama is painfully aware of these realities. But when he tries to address them, the Beltway blanches, to the bewilderment of those who’ve seen the realities that Obama is up against.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: The present darling of the right wing, Dr. Benjamin Carson, is a distinguished neurosurgeon who went from the depths of Detroit poverty to the heights of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. But his current status among conservatives isn’t so much rooted in Carson’s redemptive rise from rags to respectability, as it is in the belief that he is, in the long winter of Obama, the one they’ve been waiting for.
Last week, Carson came under attack for comparing advocates of same-sex marriage with advocates of bestiality and the North American Man/Boy Love Association. He then cast himself as a victim of political correctness, besieged by white liberals — “the most racist people there are” — who could not countenance his heterodoxy and wanted to keep him on the “plantation.”
ABC News: For years, supporters of marijuana legalization have pointed to polls trending their way, claiming the issue was about to tip as favorable to a majority of Americans. Now, their prediction has finally come true.
For the first time, a major U.S. poll shows a majority of nationwide support for legalizing marijuana: 52 percent now back legalized pot, compared with 45 percent who oppose it, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Pew has been asking about marijuana since 1969, when only 12 percent thought it should be legal, and 84 percent said it shouldn’t be.
The legalization charge is being led by young people: Support ranked highest among 18-29-year-old respondents, 64 percent of whom think pot should be legal. Politically, liberal Democrats overwhelmingly think marijuana should be legal, at 73 percent.
But the idea of legalization has grown by making inroads among Republicans. Since 2010, the demographic that has shifted more support than any other–including groups broken down by age, political leaning, race, gender, and education–is liberal and moderate Republicans. Among them, support has jumped 17 percentage points in the last three years, from 36 percent in 2010 to 53 percent today.
Washington Post: President Barack Obama’s budget next week will steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid. White House officials aren’t commenting, but Obama’s budget would set up a clear contrast with the Republican-led House. The GOP budget would turn Medicaid over to the states and sharply reduce future spending from currently projected levels. It would also repeal the expansion of Medicaid, along with the rest of Obama’s health care law.
Under Obama’s overhaul, Medicaid would be expanded to bring in low-income adults, mainly people with no children at home but also some parents. In states that accept the expansion, those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $15,400 for an individual — would be entitled to receive Medicaid. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion’s cost for the first three years, starting in 2014. Washington’s share would gradually phase down to 90 percent.
The Man Who Could Put Climate Change On The Agenda
Coral Davenport: Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.”
Here’s what a lot of people don’t know about McDonough: He has a background on climate change, and he takes the issue very seriously. Here’s why that’s important: If Obama wants to follow through on his 2013 Inaugural Address pledge to make climate change a cornerstone of his legacy, he’ll need to make a series of tough, highly controversial executive decisions. Ultimately, of course, the U.S. agenda on climate change will be set by the president himself. But Obama’s selection of a key adviser with such a deep record on the issue suggests he intends to take it seriously.
Greg Sargent: The news of the morning is that President Obama will propose a budget next week that includes specific cuts in Social Security and Medicare along with new revenues — an effort to bring Republicans back to the table for a “Grand Bargain” to replace the sequester. The entitlement cuts include Chained CPI for Social Security and a combination of means testing and provider-side cuts on Medicare, in addition to other spending cuts, which will anger liberal Democrats. The budget seeks $580 billion in new revenues via closing loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and oil and gas companies. There will reportedly be some new spending offset by money raised elsewhere — which is designed to prove that you can reduce the deficit and spend to prime the economy and help the middle class at the same time.
At a certain level, this shouldn’t surprise anybody. On entitlements, Obama is merely reiterating what he’s previously offered John Boehner, and it has long been clear that this offer is still on the table. Obama and his advisers don’t necessarily view Chained CPI as good policy. But they think a Grand Bargain is ultimately a better outcome than continued sequestration, and the only way to the former is to peel off individual Republicans who are open to new revenues. They believe a Grand Bargain is good for Democrats in general, because it essentially would lock in a medium-term agreement over core disputes — about the safety net and about the size of government, and who should pay for it — that have produced a debilitating stalemate in Washington.
Liberals who oppose Chained CPI need to start thinking right now about how to answer this question: Which is worse, a Grand Bargain, or continued sequestration?
Charles Pierce: The next time I hear some lefty mooing about the president’s having let down the side on something or another, it better be about something of substance, like the Keystone XL pipeline, or I’m going to boot said lefty’s hindquarters in the general direction of the federal appeals court of the District Of Columbia, which today laid down the most singular piece of partisan hackery to come out of a court since Antonin Scalia picked the previous president.
…. This, children, is what you get when you operate politically under the theory that They’re All The Same. You get 20 or 30 years of primarily Republican judges acting primarily as Republicans, drawn from the legal chop-shops in the conservative movement bubble, and doing their partisan duty like performing seals.
David Sentelle would be the one in the center ring with the ball on his nose …. This is a guy who thinks the NLRB itself is constitutionally illegitimate….
…. Three decades of this, and what you get are decisions like the one that was handed down today. Tell me again how it never mattered.
President Obama talks with PM Tusk of Poland in the private residence of the White House, Sept. 17, 2009. NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough is in the background (Photo by Pete Souza)
Washington Post: President Obama will name deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, a longtime trusted aide, as his new White House chief of staff Friday, officials said.
McDonough, 43, has spent the past two years as the No. 2 official in the National Security Council, helping guide some of the administration’s most high-profile decisions, including the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response to earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and the aftermath of the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last fall.
Obama considers McDonough one of his “closest and most trusted advisors for nearly a decade,” a White House official said.
11:0: V.P. Biden Speaks on the Administration’s Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence (Richmond, Virginia) – White House live (audio only), CNN
12:10: President Obama makes a personnel announcement
GOPolitico: The White House will also announce several other promotions Friday, including moving communications director Dan Pfeiffer to the job of senior adviser, and shifting deputy communications director Jennifer Palmieri into Pfeiffer’s old job. Pfeiffer’s move comes as David Plouffe, a longtime Obama political adviser, plans to leave the White House this month.
Other senior-level moves include:
Rob Nabors – Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy
Tony Blinken – Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor
Danielle Gray – Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary
Katy Kale – Assistant to the President for Management and Administration
Lisa Monaco – Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (upon confirmation of John Brennan as DCIA)
Miguel Rodriguez –Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs
David Simas – Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give a joint interview at the White House on Friday afternoon to CBS News’ Steve Kroft, for broadcast Sunday on “60 Minutes.”
Steve Benen: We don’t yet know exactly why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave up on ambitious reforms of filibuster rules. After months of voicing support for sweeping changes, it’s possible Reid just didn’t have the votes from his own caucus to pursue bold reforms through the “constitutional option.”
Whatever the reasoning, however, it’s important that folks understand that when Reid says protecting the filibuster is necessary to keep the Senate from being like the House, he’s wrong…..
Greg Sargent: Now that the smoke has cleared from the wreckage of yesterday’s filibuster reform debacle, what’s next for those who want to fix our broken Senate? There is no denying that yesterday’s outcome was a terrible disappoint for those who still hold out hope for functional government. At the same time, there are some silver linings…..
President Obama attends a Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School, Dec. 16, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT: The White House has decided to circumvent Capitol Hill as it concentrates its gun-control efforts on speeches and other public appearances by President Obama and Vice President Biden outside of Washington, according to officials with knowledge of the plans.
With Obama’s gun agenda dependent on centrist Democratic senators who are nervous about their reelection prospects, the administration has calculated that the president is better off helping to build a groundswell of popular support within the lawmakers’ states rather than negotiating directly with them, officials said.
NYT: The White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street on Thursday, taking the unusual step of choosing two former prosecutors as top financial regulators.
But translating that message into action will not be easy, given the complexities of the market and Wall Street’s aggressive nature.
At a short White House ceremony, President Obama named Mary Jo White, the first female United States attorney in Manhattan, to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Obama also renominated Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position he has held for the last year under a temporary recess appointment without Senate approval.
With the appointments, the president showed a renewed resolve to hold Wall Street accountable for wrongdoing, extolling his candidates’ records as prosecutors.
President Obama greets a local resident on Main Street in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Irish Examiner: The US President is to be immortalised in the birthplace of his ancestors with the Barack Obama Plaza in Moneygall, Co Offaly.
Around €6m is being invested in the plaza by Supermac’s founder Pat McDonagh, to commemorate the visit by the President and his wife Michelle in 2011.
It will also see the establishment of the Barack Obama Community Facility, where exhibitions of historic and current material marking the relationship between Moneygall and the United States will go on display.
This is the single biggest investment on the Offaly/Tipperary border region in decades and will bring 60 new jobs to the area, as well as 75 jobs during the construction phase.
Aljazeera: …… on the floor of the intelligence chief’s office (in Libya) lay an envelope addressed to Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam. Inside, I found what appears to be a summary of a conversation between US congressman Denis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader’s son.
It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby American lawmakers to suspend their support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and to put an end to NATO airstrikes. According to the document, Kucinich wanted evidence of corruption within the NTC and, like his fellow countryman Welch, any possible links within rebel ranks to al-Qaeda.
The document also lists specific information needed to defend Saif Al-Islam, who is currently on the International Criminal Court’s most wanted list…..
TPM (March 2011): A number of Democratic and Republican lawmakers are concerned about the White House’s air assault on Libya, but Rep. Dennis Kucinich raised the rhetoric to 11 on Monday, suggesting President Obama should be impeached.
“President Obama moved forward without Congress approving. He didn’t have Congressional authorization, he has gone against the Constitution, and that’s got to be said,” Kucinich said…. Obama’s decision “would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense”.
From March 2011:
CNN: Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is transforming his critique of President Obama’s actions in Libya into a fundraising plea, asking supporters to decide whether they like President Obama or the Constitution more.
After calling the president’s decision to act in Libya an “impeachable offense,” Kucinich Monday posted a letter on his website asking supporters for help in “putting together a broad fundraising structure to make sure that I’ll have the resources to continue to be a voice in the Unites States Congress.”
….Stating that he “never failed to stand up” when advocating for the “need to more our economy forward” or “internationally standing up for peace,” Kucinich asked potential donors to shore up his re-election efforts for 2012.
…. Ohio is set to undergo redistricting following the results of the most recent U.S. Census, a development that may make Kucinich’s road to re-election more difficult….
The Atlantic: …. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal is reporting this afternoon that the Ohio congressman may have translated his opposition into outright collaboration with the Qaddafi regime.
Elshayyal claims he’s uncovered a document at Libya’s intelligence headquarters in Tripoli ….. The file explains that the congressman (who is not named in the document reproduced on Al Jazeera’s site, raising questions about how Elshayyal pinpointed Kucinich) is seeking information from the Libyan government to file a lawsuit against NATO, the U.N., and the U.S., defend Saif al-Islam at the International Criminal Court, reform the image of the regime, and facilitate negotiations to end the conflict.
….. Kucinich already landed in hot water earlier this year for traveling to Syria to meet with President Bashar al-Assad …. In a statement on Friday that sounded very similar to Kucinich’s justification for visiting Assad, the representative explained, “In my efforts to end the war, I have been contacted by many parties – including members of the Qaddafi regime and some with ties to the rebels….”
Update: Rep. Kucinich’s office has sent The Atlantic Wire a statement in which the congressman flatly denies Al Jazeera’s report, claiming that the document in question is simply a summary of Kucinich’s public positions on the Libyan campaign by a Libyan bureaucrat who never consulted with Kucinich himself….
President Barack Obama listens as he is updated on the latest events in Egypt during the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, Jan. 31, 2011. From left are: Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Chief of Staff Bill Daley. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)