…. not forgetting: In June 2010, Joe Williams was the first African American editor hired at Politico after an outcry erupted over the news organization’s lack of diversity …. he ‘left’ last year (Poynter)
… Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it….
…. FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.
The agency was put back in working order by President Obama, but ideology still blinds Republicans to its value. Many don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions, which this week includes living on the East Coast.
Over the last two years, Congressional Republicans have forced a 43 percent reduction in the primary FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness ….
….. Those in Hurricane Sandy’s path are fortunate that, for now, [Romney’s] ideology has not replaced sound policy.
President Barack Obama waves from the Colonnade to visitors as they tour the White House grounds and gardens, Oct. 19, 2012. Members of the public were invited to tour the grounds as part of the 2012 White House Fall Garden Tours. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT: If Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would extend far beyond the borders of the United States.
In this country, they would support the recriminalization of abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and they would limit access to contraception and other services. But they have also promised to promote policies abroad that would affect millions of women in the world’s poorest countries, where lack of access to contraception, prenatal care and competent help at childbirth often results in serious illness and thousands of deaths yearly. And the wreckage would begin on Day 1 of a Romney administration.
….. House Republicans want to cut the nation’s investment in international family planning severely. Mr. Romney’s record of bending to suit the most extreme elements of the Republican Party suggests that he may well go along on this critical issue as well.
NYT: Three leading Democratic “super PACs” raised more money in September than in any other month this election cycle, officials said, underscoring the growing willingness of wealthy Democrats to bankroll groups whose existence they had long opposed.
Priorities USA Action, the group backing President Obama, will report raising $15.2 million in September, thanks in part to aggressive fund-raising by party leaders like former President Bill Clinton and Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. The group has already reserved millions of dollars in advertising for the closing weeks of the campaign.
Majority PAC, which supports Senate Democrats, raised $10.4 million in September and has brought in an additional $9.7 million through mid-October, officials announced on Friday, a period during which the party’s chances of holding a majority in the chamber appeared to be improving. House Majority PAC, the Congressional Democrats’ super PAC arm, raised $5.9 million, a figure the group said it was on pace to double this month.
The Journal Times: Celia Poole was outside Memorial Hall at 4:15 a.m. Friday waiting to get inside to see first lady Michelle Obama. When the doors opened at 10:30 a.m. she was one of the first inside and she was followed by approximately 2,500 more people.
…. So many people were inside that approximately 400 people were directed to the hall’s basement, where they were told they could hear the first lady but there was no video screen to see her.
But the first lady did not ignore those supporters. Even before she went up to the main floor and started talking to the crowd there, she went downstairs.
Linetta Davis, 38, an 8th grade teacher from Milwaukee who was in the basement, said it meant a lot for Obama to go downstairs. “With all the political discussion going on right now, it’s easy to feel overlooked,” Davis said, “but for the first lady to be aware people were downstairs and to acknowledge them meant a lot.” If she had been on the fence about who to vote for, she said that would have been a turning point for her.
Wausau Daily Herald: …. The first lady appealed to the crowd — 980 people, plus 600 more in an overflow room — at Friday’s rally to vote early, when early voting starts Monday. And she asked the audience to encourage others to vote for her husband, noting that an election can be decided by just a few votes in each ward.
St Louis Post-Dispatch: Four years ago, in endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, we noted his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure. He was unproven, but we found him to be presidential, in all that that word implies.
In that, we have not been disappointed. This is a serious man. And now he is a proven leader. He has earned a second term.
Mr. Obama sees an America where the common good is as important as the individual good. That is the vision on which the nation was founded. It is the vision that has seen America through its darkest days and illuminated its best days. It is the vision that underlies the president’s greatest achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Twenty years from now, it will be hard to find anyone who remembers being opposed to Obamacare.
He continues to steer the nation through the most perilous economic challenges since the Great Depression. Those who complain that unemployment remains high, or that economic growth is too slow, either do not understand the scope of the catastrophe imposed upon the nation by Wall Street and its enablers, or they are lying about it.
To expect Barack Obama to have repaired, in four years, what took 30 years to undermine, is simply absurd. He might have gotten further had he not been saddled with an opposition party, funded by plutocrats, that sneers at the word compromise. But even if Mr. Obama had had Franklin Roosevelt’s majorities, the economy would still be in peril…..
….. The question for voters is actually very simple. The nation has wrestled with it since its founding: Will this be government for the many or the few?
It turns out that Mitt Romney was right. There is class warfare being waged in the 2012 campaign. It is Mr. Romney who is waging it, not President Obama, and he’s stood the whole idea on its head.
When you think of class warfare, you probably think of inciting anger, resentment and jealousy among the have-nots against the haves. That’s what Mr. Romney has accused Mr. Obama of doing, but those charges have always been false. The truth is that Mr. Romney has been trying to incite the anger of a small slice of the richest Americans who need no government assistance but get it anyway, against the working poor, the elderly, the disabled workers and veterans, and even a significant chunk of middle-class Americans.
…. The right wing has long been whining about people who don’t pay taxes and who therefore don’t deserve a say in government. They have it exactly backward. The shame is not that those people don’t pay income taxes. The shame is how many poor people there are when the top 1 percent can amass uncountable fortunes fed by tax breaks and can donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates to keep it that way.
12:45: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Colorado State Fairgrounds (CNN/CBS live streaming)
2:50: Departs Pueblo
3:20: Arrives in Colorado Springs
4:45: Delivers remarks at a campaign event (CNN/CBS live streaming)
6:25: Departs Colorado Springs
9:45: Arrives at the White House
SacBee: The nation’s first lady is hitting the campaign trail in eastern Pennsylvania. Michelle Obama will stump for the president’s re-election on Thursday in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley areas.
She’ll first hold a rally in west Philadelphia at the University of the Sciences’ athletic center. She will then travel to suburban Fort Washington, where she’ll greet supporters at Upper Dublin High School, and end her trip with remarks at Moravian College in Bethlehem.
2:0 The First Lady delivers remarks at the Bobby Morgan Arena at the campus of the University of Sciences, Philadelphia
4:0 Delivers remarks at Upper Dublin High School in Fort Washington
7:10: Delivers remarks at Moravian College in Bethlehem
NYT Editorial: Mitt Romney’s campaign has hit new depths of truth-twisting with its accusation that President Obama plans to “gut welfare reform” by ending federal work requirements. The claim is blatantly false, but it says a great deal about Mr. Romney’s increasingly desperate desire to define the president as something he is not.
…. this is what happens when a flailing campaign searches for a wedge issue to gain popularity among blue-collar voters. Mr. Romney’s empty promises to magically turn around the economy are losing effectiveness, so why not vilify welfare recipients and portray the president as coddling them?
That approach was favored by an earlier generation of Republican operatives, and it helped divide the country into warring political classes. Mr. Romney, no less cynical, seems bent on repeating the past.
E.J. Dionne Jr: …. Political commentary these days is obsessed with the triviality of this campaign. Most of it is rooted in the refusal of conservatives to be candid about the implications of how their beliefs and commitments would affect the choices they would have government make — and how they differ from the president’s.
In Romney’s case, this often requires him to invent an Obama who exists only in the imagination of his ad makers. So they take Obama’s statements, clip out relevant sentences and run ads attacking some strung-together words that have a limited connection to what the president said. In the welfare ad, Romney lies outright.
But this is part of a larger pattern on the right, illustrated most tellingly by conservative rhetoric around the Affordable Care Act. In going after Obamacare, conservatives almost never talk about the specific provisions of the law. They try to drown it in anti-government rhetoric….
….Here’s your chance, conservatives. Big, bad government is forcing those nice insurance companies to give people a break. From what you say, you see this as socialism …. You cannot possibly keep this money. So stand up for those oppressed insurers and give them their rebates back!
…. I’d also be curious to know whether Romney got a rebate on his health insurance premiums courtesy of Obamacare and whether he plans to return it. But given his attitude toward disclosure, we’ll probably never find out.
Needless to say I’m not going to post it, but I just happened to see a listing for a Young Turks/Cenk Uygur video on YouTube posted two days ago, with the title ‘What If Trayvon Had Died In A Drone Strike?’ Yep, that’s the level to which the fraud has descended in his increasingly desperate campaign against the President. Uygur? **** off, you right wing piece of crap.
1:40: President Obama delivers remarks calling on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1
NYT Editorial: The political feud between the White House and Congressional Republicans has now culminated in a House oversight committee vote to cite Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for criminal contempt. His supposed crime is failing to hand over some documents in an investigation of a botched gunrunning sting operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation. And the White House responded as most administrations do at some point: it invoked executive privilege to make a political problem go away.
…. Mr. Issa has relished making this investigation a political fight….There was no reason the House committee and the Justice Department could not work out a deal to produce the documents requested, or some form of them. Instead, they show again that every issue, large or small, can be turned into ammunition for political combat.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s campaign asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to downplay his state’s job growth after several press releases from the governor’s campaign and messages from the Florida Chamber of Commerce trumpeted gains for the month of May, according to Bloomberg News.
Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May, though still significantly above the national rate of 8.2 percent.
A Romney adviser reportedly requested that Scott’s office say that Florida’s unemployment rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency….
The development is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the messaging predicament the Romney campaign finds itself in …. when you ask Republican governors how things are going, especially in swing states, the economic picture starts to brighten considerably…
NYT Editorial: In ruling on the constitutionality of requiring most Americans to obtain health insurance, the Supreme Court faces a central test: whether it will recognize limits on its own authority to overturn well-founded acts of Congress.
… The court has no authority under the Constitution to judge the merits or effectiveness of the health care law. That is Congress’s job.
…. If the Supreme Court hews to established law, the only question it must answer in this case is modest: Did Congress have a rational basis for concluding that the economic effects of a broken health care system warranted a national solution? The answer is incontrovertibly yes.
Greg Sargent: If you want to understand what’s really at stake in the battle over Obamacare you need to watch Mitt Romney’s appearance on Jay Leno last night.
It comes down to this: Should the federal government play any meaningful role at all in helping the millions of uninsured who can’t get coverage — particularly those with preexisting conditions?
On Leno, Romney repeated his vow to transfer health reform back to the states. But he was also repeatedly pressed to say what he would do for those with preexisting conditions if Obamacare were repealed. Without saying how, Romney replied that people with preexisting conditions should continue to get insurance — as long as they’ve been insured in the past. He refused to say what should be done about those who have never had insurance.
Washington Post: Half of all Americans now express unfavorable views of Mitt Romney, a new high for the GOP presidential hopeful in Washington Post-ABC News polling…
….. Negative impressions are up eight percentage points in the past week, nudging past the previous high …. 50 percent of all adults and 52 percent of registered voters express unfavorable opinions of Romney…
…. 53 percent of Americans hold favorable views of the president; for Romney, that number slides to 34 percent …Romney is underwater with independents: 35 percent view him favorably, 52 percent unfavorably.
TPM: A set of three new swing state polls from Quinnipiac University show President Obama leading Mitt Romney in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. His smallest lead is in Pennsylvania, where Obama holds a small three point advantage at 45 – 42, and he leads in Ohio 47 – 41. Obama leads outside the margin of error in Florida, a state which Romney has done well in previously, at 49 – 42.
“President Barack Obama is on a roll in the key swing states. If the election were today, he would carry at least two states. And if history repeats itself, that means he would be re- elected,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in a release. “The biggest reason for the president’s improving prospects probably is the economy. Roughly six in 10 voters in all three states think the economy is recovering. Moreover, voters blame the oil companies and oil-producing countries for the rise in gasoline prices and only about one in six voters blame them on President Obama.”
USA Today: The White House is again unleashing Vice President Joe Biden on the campaign trail, this time to attack Mitt Romney over manufacturing policy …. It’s the third in a series of four campaign speeches Biden is delivering on the economy. The vice president previously discussed the auto bailout in Ohio and Medicare policy in Florida, attacking Romney and other Republican candidates along the way.
Today at PCT Engineered Systems in Davenport, Iowa Biden plans to stress the 430,000 new manufacturing jobs created since January of 2010 …. The Obama campaign has released other excerpts from Biden’s speech:
“Mitt Romney has been remarkably consistent – as an individual investor, a businessman, as Governor of Massachusetts, and now as a candidate for President.
Washington Post: The Obama 2012 campaign unveiled a Barack Obama Pinterest page on Tuesday, taking advantage of the fast-growing social network by sharing images of Obama and his family, campaign supporters and paraphernalia and visuals that support administration policies.
The page, run by the Obama 2012 campaign staff, features eight “boards.” (For those of you not among the 17.8 million Pinterest users last month, boards are like folders where users categorize “pins,” or images they collect and share on the site).
Five of the boards feature lighter fare: ”Obama-inspired recipes” shows the family chili recipe and cupcakes with images of the president on them. The first family and pets wearing Obama gear get their own boards, and merchandise from the Obama campaign store is featured in another. The more substantive boards include pinned infographics on job growth and the health-care act, and another with images of people supporting or affected by the administration’s initiatives.
MTV: Michelle Obama will appear at Nickelodeon’s 25th annual Kids’ Choice Awards to present a special award to Taylor Swift. The first lady will be on hand to honor Swift with the Big Help Award, in recognition of her philanthropic efforts, including work with U.S. tornado and flood survivors. Obama herself was the recipient of the award in 2010, in recognition of her Let’s Move! Campaign…
…. The 25th annual Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles air live Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Nickelodeon.
President Barack Obama signs the prosthetic arm of Sgt. Carlos Evans, USMC, after greeting wounded warriors in the East Room during their tour of the White House, March 6, 2012. First Lady Michelle Obama first met Evans, who was injured in Afghanistan while on his fourth combat deployment, during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Supporters of Mitt Romney wait for his “Super Tuesday” primary election night rally to begin in Boston, Massachusetts, March 6
Washington Post: Super Tuesday confirmed anew that Mitt Romney remains the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, but his slow, unsteady march is coming at a steep price. As he advances toward victory in the primaries, he is losing ground in the general election.
…. Romney is in worse shape at this point in the campaign than virtually all recent previous nominees …. Demographically, his image among independent voters, the most critical swing group, is more negative now than it was when the primary battle began. He could be hurt among women. He is in trouble with Latinos, a growing part of the electorate that is tilting even more Democratic than it was four years ago….
Geographically, the numbers from several key states have been discouraging for the former Massachusetts governor. Pre-primary polls in Ohio, Virginia and Michigan showed him running behind Obama by low double digits. Ohio is a must-win for the Republican nominee in the fall, and Virginia is a state the GOP is determined to take back from the president. Republicans once thought Michigan would be a possible battleground, but at this point it isn’t.
NYT Editorial: Long before Super Tuesday, the Republican Party had cemented itself on the distant right of American politics, with a primary campaign that has been relentlessly nasty, divisive and vapid. Barbara Bush, the former first lady, was so repelled that on Tuesday she called it the worst she’d ever seen. We feel the same way ….. the Republican candidates are so deep in the trenches of cultural and religious warfare that they aren’t offering any solutions.
The results Tuesday night did not settle the race. Republican voters will have to go on for some time choosing between a candidate, Mitt Romney, who stands for nothing except country-club capitalism, and a candidate, Rick Santorum, so blinkered by his ideology that it’s hard to imagine him considering any alternative ideas or listening to any dissenting voice.
….. There is also no space between Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum in the way they distort reality to attack Mr. Obama for everything he says, no matter how sensible, and oppose everything he wants, no matter how necessary…..
Washington Post: Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio), the two-time presidential candidate and icon of the antiwar left, suffered a bruising primary defeat Tuesday as a new Republican-drawn congressional map threatened to end the career of one of the most colorful figures in Congress.
With most attention focused on the state’s GOP presidential primary battle, and no Democratic primary for president, Kucinich was left in a low-turnout race in a newly drawn district against his once-close ally, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). With about 90 percent of the vote in, Kaptur led 60 to 36 percent….
Charles Pierce: ….. there remains a substantial amount of Republican voters who would rather remove their spleens with a melon baller than vote for Willard Romney for anything.
…. Is there anything else he can do to pander sufficiently to the crazoid elements in his party’s base short of immolating himself on Sarah Palin’s lawn? ….. And when, oh, when will they finally see that, even though Willard is struggling to beat the colossal dick Rick Santorum, he is still The Only Man Who Can Beat Obama? ‘Ees a puzzlement, no question.
…. As he spoke, you could see the people stealing away, huddling around the TV sets. It will go on. This time next week, Romney will be telling voters in Alabama and Mississippi what a hellhole that state was where he used to be the governor. The rubes will find this very funny. And he will know in the unsold part of his soul that he’s going to be running for president for a very long time.
TPM: Rush Limbaugh may be steering the GOP into another Democratic-friendly trap with his consistent bashing of the Chevy Volt.
America’s attempt to to one-up the Prius …became an important symbol for the administration, and thus an immediate whipping boy for Limbaugh. Right-wing pundits and Republicans have followed suit, putting them in the bewildering position of rooting against a product of American engineering and manufacturing.
….. “As for the Volt, it is emblematic of a larger problem the GOP has: the sense that they are rooting for America to fail,” Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and adviser to President Obama’s super PAC told TPM. “When a good jobs report comes out, Mitt Romney looks sad. When Clint Eastwood makes an unapologetic, patriotic Super Bowl ad for Chrysler, Karl Rove says it makes him sick. They booed a gay soldier at a GOP debate, and didn’t even want to give the President his due for ordering the mission that killed bin Laden. One wonders if they will be rooting for communist China during the summer Olympics.”
Boston.com: First Lady Michelle Obama will headline two Democratic National Committee events in Boston on Friday evening, the White House has announced …. Earlier Friday she will be in Concord, N.H., as part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative to foster healthy eating and active living. She will visit the Penacook Community Center to highlight an example of a collaborative community effort to promote health and wellness, good nutrition, and physical activity.
New York Times editorial: Where the Iowa caucuses illuminated the dark essence of social conservatism, the New Hampshire primary was a journey into the dingy, cramped quarters of the right wing’s economic policies.
The Republicans ritually denounced President Obama as hostile to capitalism, disdainful of individual enterprise and lacking in ideas for reviving the economy. All they had to offer were economic ideas that not only are inadequate for that purpose but were instrumental in creating the nation’s current economic problems.
…. The solution is policies that promote growth and help the middle class, not what the Republican hopefuls want. Mr. Obama said it well on Monday night: “We can’t go back to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics.” You couldn’t tell that by listening to Mr. Romney prattle about a merit-based economy and call for lowering taxes and cutting spending.
…. The answer is not more of the same failed policies. The solution is to revive the successful ones, along with policies to stimulate the economy and stop foreclosures. Mr. Obama understands this. The Republican hopefuls are deluding themselves and trying to delude the voters.
Steve Benen: Herman Cain argued yesterday about the Republican field, “Look, these candidates have broken the Reagan’s rule from the beginning. Reagan’s 13th commandment, you know? Don’t go negative against another Republican, but they did it anyway!” I think he meant “11th”.
OFA: Get the scoop – including exclusive updates and sneak peeks – on Runway to Win, a project by fashion designers in support of Obama 2012.
CNN: Foreclosure filings and repossessions fell to their lowest level since 2007 last year.
Total filings, including default notices and bank repossessions were down 33% for the year to 2.7 million, according to RealtyTrac, the online marketer of foreclosed properties.
One in every 69 homes had at least one foreclosure filing during the year, while 804,000 homes were repossessed. That’s a significant improvement from the peaks reached in 2010 – when 1.05 million homes were repossessed – and the lowest levels seen since 2007.
Yes, I saw a pig fly today – GOPolitico (Donovan Slack) actually did some half decent journalism:
Michelle Obama was raring to help her husband promote his signature health care plan during the summer of 2009. But, according to the latest book about the first couple, “the West Wing never really took the first lady up on her offer.”
“She did a few events, but they were small and drew little coverage,” New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor wrote in “The Obamas.” …. “Her support for the initiative became a mostly private matter, the subject of long conversations between the Obamas.”
But a review of news clippings during the period covered by that chapter in the book – May through August 2009 – found that Michelle Obama was very public about her support and received extensive coverage. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and ABC News, among others, reported on her efforts.
Kantor’s own newspaper declared in July 2009 that she had become “one of the Obama administration’s most visible surrogates on health care.”
Kantor says that she stands by her core assertions but believes her language could have been clearer. “As Robert Gibbs told me on the record, the White House was concerned about putting the first lady in the line of fire. But given the NYT story you mentioned, I could have been more precise about the media coverage,” she told POLITICO in a statement.