Steve Benen: ….. the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein asked whether Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the campaign aides, after a painfully long delay, had no idea.
These weren’t trick questions. This was, after all, a call about women’s issues. It was organized by the Romney campaign, so it’s not as if these staffers could say they were caught off guard by extraneous and unrelated issues. Presumably, these folks prepared for their own telephone press conference.
Romney has cited a misleading statistic, and his aides couldn’t defend it. Romney has said current policies are keeping women from getting more jobs, and given three separate chances to say something coherent, his aides couldn’t explain what would change if the former governor is elected president. Were they not expecting these kinds of question?
…. Welcome to the general election, Mitt. I think you’ll find it’s a little more difficult than going up against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
TPM: Mitt Romney’s having a terrible time turning the tables on Democrats. But his camp’s claim that President Obama is the one waging the “real war on women” is best debunked visually.
….. male employment and female employment have nearly returned to the levels they were at when Obama took office. And if Obama is waging a war on women, he’s doing a poor job of it. Despite these setbacks, female labor force participation remains near its historic high.
Greg Sargent: I’m glad to see that there’s been a moderately aggressive media response to Mitt Romney’s latest falsehood: The claim that 92 percent of the people who have lost jobs on Obama’s watch are women.
The argument, which his campaign is now making regularly, is central to Romney’s effort to win back women who were apparently alienated by the primary.
The assertion has now been debunked by Politifact, the Post’s Glenn Kessler, and NBC’s Domenico Montanaro.
ThinkProgress: As part of its bizarre strategy of blaming President Obama for the GOP’s “war on women,” the Romney campaign released statements today from two Republican Congresswomen, Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The statements correctly note that women have been hit particularly hard by job losses in recent years, but misleadingly lay the blame for those losses on Obama, just as Romney himself has been doing recently.
…… their concern for pay equity and women in the workplace must be a recent development. Both congresswomen voted against the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009…..
Don’t miss Liberal Librarian’s latest post at The People’s View: The “Reagan Rule” and the GOP crackup
PPP: Barack Obama’s opened up a 13 point lead on Mitt Romney in Colorado at 53-40. He’s gained 11 points in the state since December when he led just 47-45.
The formula for Obama’s gains is the same in Colorado as it is everywhere. He’s getting more popular and Romney’s getting less popular. In December only 45% of voters approved of the job Obama was doing to 50% who disapproved. Now he’s on positive ground with 50% giving him good marks to 47% who think he’s doing a poor job. The main thing that’s changed is Democrats really rallying around him. In December he was at 76/18 with them, but now it’s 89/8. The party is getting a lot more unified as the election comes closer.
Romney’s headed in the other direction. His net favorability has gone from -18 (35/53) to an even worse -29 (31/60) …. he’s extremely unpopular with independents at 25/65.
PPP: Mitt Romney may have effectively wrapped up the GOP nomination with Rick Santorum’s withdrawal yesterday, but PPP’s newest North Carolina poll really shows how much Romney was hurt by the process with Barack Obama as the ultimate beneficiary.
President Obama now leads Romney by 5 points in North Carolina, 49-44. That’s the largest lead we’ve found for him in monthly polling dating back to November of 2010. Obama has a 51-38 advantage with independents and is particularly strong with women (54-39), African Americans (90-7), voters under 30 (61-33), and folks in the Triangle (60-33).
The Republican nomination process has taken a huge toll on Romney’s image in North Carolina. In February of 2011 voters in the state were almost evenly divided on him with 37% rating him favorably to 39% who had a negative opinion of him. Now that spread is a dreadful 29/58….
He was actually popular with independents at 45/36 last winter, now he is incredibly unpopular at 25/62.
ThinkProgress: According to several experts in Florida law, Sean Hannity could be compelled to testify about his conversations with George Zimmerman. Tamara Lave, a professor of criminal law at the Universtiy of Miami who also practiced as a public defender for 10 years, told ThinkProgress it’s a “no brainer.”
Under Florida Law, there is a “qualified privilege” for journalists that protects their conversations with sources. But this privilege can be overcome, per Florida Evidence Code 90.5015….
Don’t forget Michelle Obama on The Colbert Report tonight
Florida Atlantic University, April 10
People look at their pictures with First Lady Michelle Obama as Mrs. Obama continues to greets guests at the Joining Forces Community Challenge event on the South Lawn of the White House, April 11. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
Make sure you watch the video, the Science Fair clips are a hoot!
First Lady Michelle Obama greets a chef while visiting the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., as part of a tour celebrating the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Feb. 9, 2012. Little Rock Air Force Base is part of a pilot program that has enhanced food service quality, variety, and availability through new acquisition processes and redesign efforts. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
TPM: In his 2006 Massachusetts health care law, Mitt Romney embraced a virtually identical contraception coverage mandate as President Obama recently has, experts say, and as a result expanded access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women. And Democrats really want you to know that.
“They are practically mirror images or each other,” John McDonough, a professor of public health at Harvard, said on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee. “They completely reflect each other.”
NY Mag: …. The Telegraph finally admitted that their article about Michelle Obama shutting down a block of Madison Avenue so that she could go on a $50,000 “shopping spree” at Agent Provocateur with the Queen of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah, was indeed completely false. They also formally apologized for printing such total (but hilarious!) bullshit, but mostly to Sheikha Moza, not Obama – indeed, the title of the correction is “Her Highness Sheikha Moza – An Apology.”
Further to our article “First Lady’s luxury buys boost Agent Provocateur” (Jan 30), we would like to make clear that the “shopping spree” involving Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Michelle Obama that we referred to in fact never occurred, and that Her Highness has never been shopping with Mrs Obama, at Agent Provocateur or otherwise, and has never sought to have any part of New York closed off to enable her to shop undisturbed. We apologise for the distress and embarrassment this article caused.
First lady Michelle Obama at an Olive Garden Restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas
A gazillion congratulations to our beloved Liberal Librarian who has been invited by Deaniac to post at The People’s View (even though he’s a Chelsea fan) – it’s just completely brilliant news. Thrilled for you LL, looking forward to reading you, you legend 😉
I’ve added a Video Vault section to the sidebar on the right – it’s a collection of videos of PBO from the archives, up to the 2008 election. I’ll add more soon(ish).
Speaking of the archives, this is from Harvard in 1990 – hadn’t seen it before. I like. Very, very much.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a tug of war with Jimmy Fallon in the Blue Room of the White House during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping for the second anniversary of the “Let’s Move!” initiative, Jan. 25. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
** NBC tonight at 12:35 am ET **
AP: The number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high, supporting other data that show a brighter outlook for hiring.
Companies and governments posted 3.38 million jobs in December, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s up from the 3.12 million advertised in the previous month and nearly matches the three-year high reached in September. Job openings in the private sector reached the highest point in almost three and a half years.
…. The report on job openings follows Friday’s optimistic employment figures. Those showed employers added 243,000 net jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent.
….. It generally takes one to three months for employers to fill job openings. December’s big jump in postings is likely one reason January’s jobs report was healthy. But it also suggests job growth may continue in the coming months.
Steve Benen: For months, Republican presidential candidates have been eager, if not desperate, to accuse President Obama of waging a “war on religion”….
…. Mitt Romney seems to have settled on a policy to match the attack: the Obama administration’s decision to require coverage of contraception as preventive care under the Affordable Care Act is, according to the former governor, an “attack on religious liberty”.
…. As a substantive matter, Romney’s lying. The administration’s policy already exempts churches and other houses of worship and “doesn’t require any individual or employer to violate a religious belief – it simply ensures that their employees with different beliefs have the same access to birth control as all other women.”
…. he’s not only lying; he’s also denouncing Obama for adopting a policy similar to one Romney used to support …. as governor, a previous iteration of Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
USA Today: Pundits and bishops warn President Obama he could lose the white Catholic vote over requiring a contraception option for insurance plans. But Catholic women say they want birth control covered in employee health plans.
…. The Catholic bishops, backed by conservative evangelicals, say the Obama administration shouldn’t include contraception coverage as part of free preventive care options in employers’ health insurance plans …. here’s where the Catholic women come in. According to the Public Religion Research Institute poll released today:
….58% of all Catholics agree employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. That slides down to 52% for Catholic voters, 50% for white Catholics.
… the numbers might bring pause to pundits mulling the “Catholic vote”.
Steve Benen: For months, Republican super PACs have been raising vast sums from wealthy donors …. the political world, however, hasn’t heard much from Democratic super PACs, which have raised far less money.
That will apparently soon change … Jim Messina argued overnight that the Obama campaign just doesn’t have a choice.
He added that Republican super PACS, in aggregate, are “expected to spend half a billion dollars, above and beyond what the Republican nominee and party are expected to commit to try to defeat the President.” That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s a reasonable estimate. The Koch brothers alone are prepared to spend $100 million later this year to defeat Obama.
…. Democrats had a choice: stick to principle, refuse to play by the new rules, and make defeat far more likely, or level the playing field …. The only surprise here is that anyone would be surprised by the decision.
NYT: The delicate Karl Rove said he was “frankly, offended” …. (by)…. the Chrysler ad that Clint Eastwood narrated, which many people who don’t share Mr. Rove’s political worldview thought was rather uplifting.
…. he suggested the words were dictated by “the President of the United States and his political minions,” who bailed out Detroit with taxpayer dollars. It’s just another example of “Chicago-style politics,” he said, whatever that means.
The White House said it had nothing to do with the ad, but it had a great deal to do with Detroit’s resurgence, and that’s what’s really offensive to Mr. Rove and other Republicans. They’d prefer to drown out the good news coming from the carmakers, such as these recent headlines…
….. President Obama points to the wall after fourteen year old Joey Hudy, from Phoenix, Arizona shot a marshmallow from the Extreme Marshmallow Cannon which he invented, while touring student science fair projects on exhibit in the State Dining Room at the White House
… speaking with Morgan Ard, Titus Walker and Robert Knight, 8th grade students at Monroeville Junior High School in Monroeville, Alabama, as they demonstrate their award-winning robots
President Obama has a group hug with Janet Nieto, Gwynelle Condino, and Ana Nieto all from Presidio, Texas
Students, from left, Gaby Dempsey, 12, Kate Murray, 13, and Mackenzie Grewell, 13, read in the Red Room of the White House after setting up their science fair exhibit, Feb. 6, 2012. The three girls, part of the Flying Monkeys First Lego League Team from Ames Middle School in Ames, Iowa, will participate in the second annual White House Science Fair with over 100 students from 45 states. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
10:35 AM: PBO views science fair projects.
11:25 AM: PBO delivers remarks at the White House Science Fair.
Washington Post: President Obama will use the backdrop of a White House science fair Tuesday to highlight a nationwide shortage of math and science teachers and unveil a plan to invest $100 million to help train 100,000 new educators over the next decade.
Under his proposal, Obama will ask Congress for $80 million to support new Department of Education grants for colleges that provide innovative teacher-training programs. The president also is set to announce a $22 million commitment from private companies that will support the effort, according to White House officials.
We Will Not Play by Two Sets of Rules By Jim Messina
In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case opened the door to a new wave of so-called Super PACs—non-candidate political committees that can receive and spend unlimited money from special interests. For the first time, these committees could accept money from corporations, not just wealthy individuals.
The decision has accelerated a dangerous trend toward a political system increasingly dominated by big-money interests with disproportionate power to spend freely to influence our elections and our government…..
As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker: “Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street.”
So when are President Obama’s critics, people like Paul Krugman and Mitt Romney, going to offer President Obama an apology? Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy worse and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect or even on Romney (who I regard as a vapid twit bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point: President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.
2:00: VP Biden attends a campaign event in Fort Worth, Texas.
6:30: VP Biden attends a campaign event in DeKalb, Texas.
7:15: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
9:10: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event.
11:00: First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Los Angeles.
Michelle Obama appears on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.
In case you missed…
Chief of Staff Jack Lew briefs President Barack Obama during Lew’s first senior advisors meeting as chief of staff in the Oval Office, Jan. 30, 2012. Participating in the meeting are, from left: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Lew; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler; Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Counselor to the President Pete Rouse: Press Secretary Jay Carney; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations; and Bruce Reed, Chief of Staff to the Vice President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Sun Times: While the attention is on the Tuesday Republican primary here, the Obama 2012 re-election team has been organizing in this state for months and already has 11 Florida offices.
…. Here are highlights of the Chicago-based Obama campaign on-the-ground organizing in the Sunshine state:
• 194 State of the Union Watch Parties ranging from Key West all the way to Pensacola.
• Held nearly 3,000 trainings, planning sessions, house parties, and phone banks.
• Held 4,500+ one-on-one meetings.
• Opened 11 campaign offices across the state, including in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In November, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 22 percent of independents.
In December, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 29 percent of independents.
And in the new poll, Romney was rated somewhat or very negatively by 42 percent of independents — 20 points higher than two months ago.
Also: In November, Romney was beating Obama 47-34 among those voters. Now the numbers are upside down: Obama is beating Romney 44-36.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first act President Obama signed, fulfilling a campaign pledge.
The Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It gave legal support to Lilly Ledbetter’s 1998 equal-pay lawsuit – a lawsuit that the Supreme Court ruled against in 2007, by a 5-4 majority.
Lilly Ledbetter’s case had been largely ignored until then, but the decision made it “a rallying issue for the left … in their attempt to persuade the public that the Supreme Court was moving too far to the right”. (See more here)
The bill was re-introduced in Congress in January 2009. It passed in the House of Representatives with 247 votes in support and 171 against. The vote was nearly perfectly split along party lines…. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed the Senate, 61-36, on January 22, 2009.
President Obama had long championed this bill and Lilly Ledbetter’s cause and by signing it into law ensured that women like Lilly Ledbetter and other victims of pay discrimination could effectively challenge unequal pay.
By the way, here’s how professional left darling Cenk “Obama is a moron” Uygur (the pure ‘progressive’ who’s only 41, but ….. is a ‘former’ Republican whose hero was Reagan, who voted for George HW Bush and Bob Dole, who opposed affirmative action, was anti-choice on the abortion issue, supported Clarence Thomas, had a serious problem with feminism, attended Federalist Society meetings (an organization of conservatives and libertarians co-founded by the charming Robert Bork) and, to this day, is an Armenian Genocide denier – and opposed PBO from almost his first day in office and called on Democrats to vote against him in this year’s Iowa primary …. PBO got 98.5% of the vote, so that worked well) described The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:
“Eventually the Democrats had a 60 seat majority in the Senate, they were unstoppable. And what did we get? Lilly Ledbetter. If you don’t know, that’s a minor bill that passed in the beginning of the administration … it’s a good bill, that’s why I bring it up … about women being entitled to equal pay. God bless. Incredibly easy victory.”
A “minor” bill?
Ooops, Uygur’s inner Republican slipped out. He should try telling Lilly Ledbetter it’s a “minor” bill.
Read Hoos Left on this fraud, fantastic: “A failed corporate lawyer and neocon with an enhanced opinion of himself and an ego as fat as his broad ass.”
PS Uygur is so progressive, he followed Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald’s lead by setting up a PAC pleading for donations for causes he, um, passionately believes in. And as Hamsher and Greenwald could tell you, these PACs can be very profitable 😉
First Lady Michelle Obama shows NFL PLAY 60 Super Kid James Gale, 11, historical photos from previous administrations on display in the Booksellers Area during a National Football League (NFL) taping in the East Wing of the White House, Jan. 30, 2012. At right is James’ mother Lisa Gale. The taping will air during the Super Bowl, Feb. 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Reuters: New claims for unemployment benefits fell by 15,000 last week in the latest sign the labor market was improving and could help the country resist the effects of a likely euro zone recession.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week’s claims data was revised up to 387,000 from the previously reported 381,000.
…. Claims have now fallen in four of the last five weeks, and the four-week moving average – a better measure of trends – fell 3,250 to 376,500, the lowest level since June 2008.
The Hill: President Obama on Thursday will unveil a summer-jobs initiative that the White House says is already on track to create 180,000 “work opportunities” in the private sector in 2012.
That is the number of opportunities, which includes mentoring and unpaid internships, that companies have told the administration they are willing to create. Some 70,000 jobs are paid, the White House says.
…. “Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act,” a White House statement reads.