Steve Benen: President Obama spoke from the White House’s South Lawn this morning, urging Congress to end the $4 billion in tax subsidies oil and natural gas companies receive from the government every year. Obama noted that “Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour” last year, and simply doesn’t need taxpayer subsidies on top of companies’ massive profits.
The president added “it’s like hitting the American people twice.”
Soon after, the Senate voted on the issue, and though a majority of members agreed with the president, a majority is no longer enough in the upper chamber.
Saturday: As part of her Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and serve military families, First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Coast Guard Island in Alameda, California, to participate in the commissioning ceremony (10:00 AM PT) of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton ….. Mrs. Obama, a sponsor of the Cutter Stratton, helped christen the ship in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 2010 by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow …. As the ship’s sponsor, the First Lady will ceremonially give the order to bring the ship to life, at which time the crew will board the Stratton with much fanfare.
The First Lady will travel to Los Angeles later on Saturday for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards where she will present The Big Help Award to Taylor Swift for her work with tornado and flood survivors.
I’m dizzy after watching that😕
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Ta-Nehisi Coates: Stunning. Pitch perfect. No idea how it’ll play. Don’t care right now. Maybe I’ll care later. But for now, I just felt it was a stunning exercise in political minimalism. That’s a compliment.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office, March 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
10:10: PBO and VP Biden meet with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
12:0: PBO, VP Biden and Kenny attend a St. Patrick’s Day lunch.
7:00: PBO and Michelle Obama host a St. Patrick’s Day reception, VP Biden also attends.
Wednesday: PBO will begin a two-day trip to highlight American energy in Boulder City, Nevada where he will visit the Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility, the largest photovoltaic plant operating in the country with nearly one million solar panels powering 17,000 homes. The President will then travel to oil and gas production fields located on federal lands outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, an area home to more than seventy active drilling rigs.
Thursday: PBO will travel to the Cushing, Oklahoma area to discuss his Administration’s commitment to improving and supporting the infrastructure that helps us leverage our domestic resources, while also ensuring these projects are developed in a safe and responsible way. The final stop on the trip will take place at Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio, home to some of the country’s most advanced energy-related research and development. In the evening, he will host a reception in recognition of Greek Independence Day.
Friday: PBO will attend meetings at the White House.
Andrew Sullivan: This is the kind of reality that makes Sean Hannity’s head explodes. So far, the GOP candidates have been running against a fictional president with a fictional record. Obama didn’t campaign to increase government spending, but inheriting what was in the final quarter of 2008 an annualized contraction of 9 percent of GDP, he opted for a stimulus. That accounts for much of the spending.
I know we are supposed – along with Fox News – to have total amnesia about the spending record of George W. Bush, who had nothing like the recession Obama inherited to counter. But there it is. Along with the fact that of the last seven presidents, the top three spenders are all Republicans.
Jamelle Bouie: As Greg Sargent, Steve Benen, and others have amply demonstrated, Mitt Romney has a problem with the truth. Throughout his campaign, he has openly lied about his previous positions, his beliefs, and the records of his opponents, Republican or otherwise. In a speech today on economic freedom at the University of Chicago, Romney continued the trend, building a mostly substanceless case against President Obama on the basis of half-truths and falsehoods. You can read the whole speech if you’d like. For now, I’d like to highlight a few passages that sum up Romney’s case against Obama in fact-free aplomb.
1:0 ET: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at DNC fundraiser in Raleigh, NC
2:20: PBO visits the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
5:15: PBO delivers remarks at a conservation event.
5:30: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at DNC fundraiser in Charlotte, NC
I posted this pic last night….
….. and the mischievous imp that is Lunarsea said: “That pic could use a photoshop effect to make it into a poster. Turn the ball into a globe, erase the background including the hoop. Viola! lol The wingnuts heads would explode big time hehehe.”
Morning everyone, I’ll catch up with the news later today
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk in the Green Room of the White House before hosting a Smithsonian Museum of African American History reception in the East Room, Feb. 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama listens during the groundbreaking ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, February 22
LA Times: Sales of previously owned homes rose 4.3% in January and inventories fell to nearly seven-year lows as lower prices, unusually warm weather and an improving economy lifted demand.
….. January sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million …. Sales rose in all four major regions, including an 8.8% pop in the West.
Job creation, mild weather, rising rents and increased household formation contributed to the sales gains, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group. “Things are genuinely improving,” Yun said.
Tuesday: PBO and the Vice President will meet with Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the White House.
Wednesday: PBO will travel to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. He will then travel to Los Angeles, California where he will attend campaign events. He will spend the night in Los Angeles.
Thursday: PBO will attend campaign events in Corona del Mar, California before traveling to San Francisco, California to attend campaign events. He will spend the night in San Francisco.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Seattle where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last. He will also attend campaign events in the Seattle area before returning to Washington, D.C. later in the evening.
PoliticalWire: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina rallied local volunteers in Arizona over the weekend by assuring them that Obama intends to compete in Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic.
Said Messina: “People said last time, ‘Oh, you can’t win Virginia,’ until we did. ‘You can’t win Florida,’ until we did. ‘You can never win North Carolina,’ until we did. And so a whole bunch of people are saying, ‘Can he win Arizona? Can he not win Arizona?’ The fact is you all are the secret weapon we have.”
The campaign will soon have four offices in the state.
Pew Research: Barack Obama now holds an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney in a general election matchup, and he has gained significant ground among independent voters. A month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney – today 51% say they would, while the number expressing support for Romney has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has a gift for words – self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
That’s clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.
Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Romney’s claims about jobs continue to crumble: A colleague emails: “Can you remember another time a candidate did as much damage to himself as Romney has done in the last 24 hours? I cannot.”
In that amount of time, two things happened. First, Romney has provided Dems with the perfect fodder for misleading but potentially devastating attacks on his primary vulnerability – his corporate past, which Dems will paint as emblematic of the predatory and unfettered capitalism that has produced untold economic misery for millions.
And second, the national political press – and even some leading Republicans and conservatives – have come around to the conclusion that the foundation of the whole case driving his candidacy, his career as an alleged “job creator” at Bain Capital, is based on a series of claims that are entirely untenable.
Here’s the latest, from Glenn Kessler, who weighs in with an epic fact check of Romney’s claim that he created over 100,000 jobs at Bain, and concludes that it’s unsupportable on every level…..
Greg Sargent: Conservative doubts rising about Obama: A key dynamic to watch: The assault on Romney’s Bain years is causing rising alarm in conservative circles. Jonah Goldberg gives voice to the worries, suggesting we now know that Romney really may not be as electable in a general election against Obama as we keep hearing.
Key footnote: Goldberg suggests that rising doubts about Romney’s electability may be what triggers a brokered convention.
The front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader website today: