Monday: President Obama attends meetings at the White House
Tuesday: Hosts President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the White House
Wednesday: Holds a Cabinet Meeting at the White House
Thursday: Meets with the 2012 Nobel Prize winners in the Oval Office
In case you missed these articles/posts:
Washington Post: When Barack Obama published his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” about racial identity in 1995, he talked with his neighborhood newspaper in Illinois, the Hyde Park Citizen, about the economic disparities he had seen while exploring the world as a child and young adult.
…. That sensitivity to inequality has stuck with Obama throughout his rise in politics, from Chicago’s South Side all the way to the White House. He remains largely a pragmatist in his approach to governing. But beneath his tactical maneuvering lies a consistent and unifying principle: to use the powers of his office to shrink the growing gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else…..
Washington Post: Late on election night, a small melee erupted at the University of Mississippi when a group of white students frustrated by the reelection of President Obama marched outside and began shouting racial slurs at African American students. Several hundred people gathered to watch as two white students were arrested.
…. Yet even as that incident evoked ugly memories of an earlier era, Election Day in the South told a newer and more surprising story: The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support.
Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states.
Michael Tomasky: A new report appears to exonerate Susan Rice for public statements following the Benghazi attack. Will John McCain apologize for his reckless crusade against her? Don’t bet on it.
We don’t yet really know as a society what a person has to do to completely and utterly cancel out a record of war heroism, but we may be about to find out. If this CBS News report is even close to accurate, John McCain’s arguments of the last few weeks about Susan Rice are thrashingly demolished. He has, or should have, zero credibility now on this issue.
…. Will he stand down now from this embarrassing crusade? …. Once you’ve hopped on the Crooked Talk Express, detraining isn’t easy.
NYT Editorial: … From the beginning of his run for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has offered to transfigure himself into any shape desired by an audience in order to achieve power. In front of massed crowds or on television, he can sound sunny and inclusive, radiating a feel-good centrism. His “severely conservative” policies and disdain for much of the country are reserved for partisans, donors and the harsh ideologues who clutter his party’s base. This polarity is often described as “flip-flopping,” but the word is too mild to describe opposing positions that are simultaneously held.
…. He hasn’t abandoned or flip-flopped from the severe positions that won him the Republican nomination; they remain at the core of his campaign … All he’s doing is slapping whitewash on his platform. The immoderation of his policies, used to win favor with a hard-right party, cannot be disguised.
…. There isn’t really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt. Anyone willing to advocate extremism to raise money and win primaries is likely to do the same to stay in office.
Greg Sargent: So here’s where this is going. The Romney campaign is out with a new Web video hitting Obama over the “don’t build that” quote. It features a business owners who is angry at Obama for supposedly insulting his hard work. “My hands didn’t build this company?” the man asks. “Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we build this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?”
But the video deceptively edits Obama’s remarks to seamlessly link up two different parts of the speech, removing a chunk in order to make Obama’s remarks seem far worse than they are. Here is how Obama’s speech — which you hear in the background while pictures of the man driving flash on the screen — is represented in the video….
NYT: In the new blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises,” the actor Morgan Freeman plays an aide-de-camp to Batman as the caped crusader battles the arch-villain Bane.
But in the battle for the White House, Mr. Freeman is backing President Obama. Last month, Mr. Freeman donated $1 million to Priorities USA Action, officials there said Thursday. The group, a super PAC backing Mr. Obama, has lately been broadcasting advertisements attacking the Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital, the private equity firm.
“President Obama has done a remarkable job in terrible circumstances,” Mr. Freeman said in a statement, adding that Mr. Obama was “being targeted by hundreds of millions of dollars in special interest money.”
“Priorities USA Action is doing a great job of protecting the values I believe in,” Mr. Freeman said. “I am happy to help them and I hope others will do so as well.”
NYT Editorial: President Obama’s fruitless three-year search for compromise with the Republicans ended in a thunderclap of a speech on Tuesday, as he denounced the party and its presidential candidates for cruelty and extremism. He accused his opponents of imposing on the country a “radical vision” that “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”
….The speech was the first time that Mr. Obama linked Mr. Romney, by name, to his party’s dishonest budget and discredited trickle-down policies. As Mr. Obama pointed out, Mr. Romney described as “marvelous” a budget that would drastically cut student financial aid, medical research, Head Start classrooms and environmental protections. Mr. Obama further ridiculed the budget’s deficit-cutting goal as “laughable” because it refuses to acknowledge the need for new revenues.
…. Mr. Obama provided a powerful signal on Tuesday that he intends to make this election about the Republican Party’s failure to confront, what he called, “the defining issue of our time”: restoring a sense of economic security while giving everyone a fair shot, rather than enabling only a shrinking number of people to do exceedingly well. His remarks promise a tough-minded campaign that will call extremism and dishonesty by name.
Hadley Freeman (The Guardian): And so, as widely dreaded, the Republican primaries have dragged on into April. Well played, everyone! In a country so ruthless that TV shows can get cancelled after just one episode, maintaining such a long-running entertainment programme is an achievement. Admittedly, this is largely due to the fact that all of its featured stars are so uninspiringly bad….
…. one must not underestimate the impulse of Romney’s own party towards the ABR tactic – Anyone But Romney – one that has led to a sex-obsessed homophobe in a sweater vest and the Pillsbury Doughboy, AKA Newt Gingrich, being touted as sorta serious contenders for a presidential election …. Rick Santorum is predictably digging his heels in, like a toddler refusing to go to bed even though it’s at least two hours after his bed time, showing the deluded tenacity one would expect of a grown man who believes that restricting access to contraception reduces unwanted pregnancies….
Nevertheless, it does increasingly look as if, after all the bloodletting and financial expenditure of the past months, the Republicans will end up with the nominee who was always going to be the nominee. Hasn’t this been an excellent use of everyone’s time and energy?
But if you think this signifies the end of the bursts of crazy fun Santorum and Gingrich provided, don’t worry! Despite the vice-presidency being the most high-profile and pointless job outside the royal family, the Republicans have a knack for picking some doozies as running mates. There was Ken doll Dan Quayle, who thought he was JFK and couldn’t spell potato; Dick Cheney, the human Heart of Darkness; and of course, Sarah Palin, who needs no elaboration…..
Laughingsquid: Star Trek original television series actress Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura on the USS Enterprise) recently visited the White House for Black History Month. She was given a photo opportunity with President Obama and they both posed with their hands firmly giving the Vulcan salute.
Nichelle Nichols: On Feb 29, 2012 I was honored to have the chance to meet with President Obama in the Oval Office. I always knew that there was a reason that I liked him so much! Live Long & Prosper!
11:30 AM: Michelle Obama holds a conference call with reporters in the week leading up to the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces
2:00 PM: Michelle Obama will visit the Fisher House located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
This would probably be HuffPo’s version of the photo:
People wait in line for tickets to President Barack Obama’s speech on jobs at Asheville Regional Airport. Citizen Times – thank you Jovie
This news is kind of embarrassing for the Firebaggers …. if the President is so kind to Wall Street, why are they not supporting him?
NYT: It is no secret that the relationship between President Obama and Wall Street has chilled. A striking measure of that is the latest campaign finance reports.
Mitt Romney has raised far more money than Mr. Obama this year from the firms that have been among Wall Street’s top sources of donations for the two candidates ….. The imbalance exists at large investment banks and hedge funds, private equity firms and commercial banks ….
…. “There’s no doubt that Governor Romney has raised money off of his belief that Wall Street should be allowed to write its own rules again by repealing Wall Street reform,” said Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman. “The president put in place protections to ensure that the financial crisis is not repeated and that unacceptable risks aren’t taken with Americans’ life savings.”
…. But anger at big banks – manifested by the growing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and elsewhere – is palpable enough that Mr. Romney must avoid being seen as a friend of an industry that many Americans blame for onerous bank fees and underwater mortgages….
From the President and First Lady’s tax returns, released today
Wiki: The Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund, is the operating name of an annuity fund of the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Trust, benefiting first ladies of the United States. It began in 1912, as part of the will of Henry G. Freeman Jr., a prominent Philadelphia real estate developer.
Freeman believed that the U.S president was paid a “miserable pittance”, and that a way of increasing his income while avoiding the appearance of political gifts was to institute an annuity to be paid “to the lady termed the first lady in the land; that is, the President of the United States [sic] wife, or anyone representing the president as such, should he not be married or should she die during his administration”.
Freeman’s will specified that the money be for the first lady’s “own and absolute use” and the payments “shall continue in force as long as this glorious government exists.”
The fund became active in November 1989 during the administration of George H.W. Bush, but due to a court dispute the first payments were not made until December 1992.
Barbara Bush received US $36,000.00 retroactively and donated a portion to her charity work, and spent an unspecified amount doing “something nice for my grandchildren”. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and First Lady Laura Bush have donated the payments to charity. The income is taxable, and the fund is overseen by Wachovia Trust Services.
There’s another article here on the Pin Money Fund (MSNBC)