President Barack Obama participates in a town hall-style question-and-answer session with participants from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Identified as Sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘most promising young leaders,’ 500 people were invited by the U.S. State Department for the three-day summit where they interact with representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors
Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellowship participants sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama embraces Nigerian disability-rights activist and musician Grace Alache Jerry
President Barack Obama speaks about climate change during an event in the East Room at the White House. President Obama announced a major climate change plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s coal-burning power plants
President Barack Obama speaks beside California Governor Jerry Brown and California Senator Barbara Boxer during a round table discussion on the California drought at San Luis Water Facility in Firebaugh, California. President Obama pledged on Friday to speed federal assistance to help California recover from a crippling drought that is threatening the critical agriculture industry in the No. 1 farm state.
President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to a drought affected farm in Los Banos, California
President Barack Obama tours a local farm with Governor Jerry Brown, Joe Del Bosque of Empresas Del Bosque, Inc., and Maria Gloria Del Bosque also of Empresas Del Bosque, Inc.,and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., in Los Banos, Calif.
Bob Cesca: As predicted, the Keystone XL pipeline has now been officially rejected by the Obama Administration after the Republicans chose to hasten the timeline for approval with a rider inserted into legislation that extended payroll tax-cuts and unemployment benefits for 2 months.
….. [when] Speaker Boehner whines about this today … you should keep this in mind:
Environmentalists note that in December 2010, according to Boehner’s financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport….
350.org founder and Keystone XL protest leader, Bill McKibben, had the following reaction the news that the State Department is expected to reject the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline later this afternoon:
“Assuming that what we’re hearing is true, this isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.
Mediaite: In a preview of Wednesday’s Piers Morgan Tonight, former President Jimmy Carter surprised host Morgan with his somewhat blunt (by mainstream media standards) assessment of Newt Gingrich. Speaking of his standing ovation moment at Monday night’s debate, President Carter told Morgan “I think (Gingrich) has that subtlety of racism that I know quite well, that Gingrich knows quite well, that appeals to some people in Georgia.”
“Really?” Morgan exclaimed as Carter spoke, later adding, “That’s a pretty serious charge to level at Newt Gingrich, that he’s being racist.”
“I’m not saying he’s racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to a racist group,” Carter responded.
NYT Editorial: Preaching Division in South Carolina. By mixing falsehoods with racial condescension, Newt Gingrich brought a raucous presidential debate crowd to its feet on Monday night in South Carolina, further cheapening his reputation and that of the state Republican Party.
For months, Mr. Gingrich has made racial resentment an integral part of his platform as a conservative challenger to Mitt Romney. He has traversed the country calling President Obama “the greatest food-stamp president in American history” and presenting African-Americans with the great revelation that they should prefer paychecks to federal handouts….
The fact is that Mr. Obama has “put” no one on food stamps. People apply for food assistance, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, because they’re poor or out of work and their families are hungry. The number of people using the program, which is now at a peak, began rising with the recession, in 2007, and continued through four of the toughest years ever faced by the poor and near-poor in modern history. Mr. Obama eased the eligibility requirements as part of his stimulus program, a desperately needed measure that helped struggling families and the economy…..
Chris Weigant: The Huffington Post ran an article today titled “Gov. Martin O’Malley Urges Dems To Focus More On Romney’s Governing Record, Less On Bain.” In it, the governor of Maryland makes the following case:
“I think a point that needs to be emphasized was that in easier times when he [Romney] was governor of a pretty innovative state, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 [in job creation],” he said. “You contrast that to the tougher times we have now, under Governor Deval Patrick’s leadership, Massachusetts is 5th in the nation.”
O’Malley makes a good point. President Obama’s re-election team should heed it …. the real issue to put before the voters is what Mitt Romney did after he left the private sector for politics.
Harold Meyerson (Washington Post): If you think it is Rep. Paul Ryan’s gutting of Medicare that is pulling the Republicans down, you need to think bigger … his proposal to convert Medicare into a private insurance-voucher plan is indeed a political calamity for the GOP, as the results of last week’s congressional special election in Upstate New York showed. But it’s far from the only disaster that the party has visited upon itself.
For even as Republicans have imperiled themselves on the national level, they also seem to be committing political hara-kiri in one statehouse after the next. Republican governors who took office this year or last – the ones as determined as Ryan to do a wholesale rewrite of America’s social contract – have approval ratings that we normally associate with strains of bacteria. What’s more, they’re tanking in many of the swing states that will be key in next year’s presidential election.
In Florida, only 29 percent of voters approve of Gov. Rick Scott’s five-month tenure in office … In Wisconsin, Scott Walker would now lose in a recall election to either of two Democrats: former senator Russ Feingold and former Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett….Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s approval rating is a bargain-basement 33 percent, while his disapproval rating had risen to 56 percent….And so it goes in state after state. In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder had a 33 percent approval rating, against a 60 percent disapproval rating … Gov. Chris Christie’s favorables had slumped to 40 percent, while his unfavorables had risen to 60 percent.
….the Democratic governors of the nation’s two biggest blue states – California’s Jerry Brown and New York’s Andrew Cuomo – both have approval ratings higher than their disapprovals….
But the Republican governors – like Ryan and his fellow Republicans in Congress – have pursued a more radical course that sharply disadvantages most Americans. Even worse, they have sought to enact their agendas without warning their constituents. Republicans did not run last year on a platform of ending collective bargaining, slashing school budgets and gutting Medicare – in essence, favoring society’s most powerful at the expense of everyone else – yet that’s precisely what they’ve done since gaining power. That’s not merely bad policy; it’s bad faith – and bad news for Republicans’ electoral prospects.
8:00 AM The President meets with participants of the * 1968 ‘Memphis Sanitation Strike’ at the White House
8:30 AM The first family departs the White House
10:50 AM Arrives in Alabama
11:10 AM President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama view the damage in Alabama, as well as meeting with Governor Bentley, state and local officials and families affected by the storms
12:45 PM The first family departs Alabama
2:10 PM: Arrive in Cape Canaveral, Florida
2:45 PM The first family tours the orbiter processing facility
3:30 PM: …view the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour (the launch is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. Eastern Time)
(There is live coverage of the launch on the White House website –here– from 3:30)
5:40 PM President Obama arrives in Miami, Florida
6:55 PM: ….delivers the Miami Dade College commencement address
9:05 PM … departs Miami
11:30 PM … arrives at the White House
* The 1968 strike is a symbolic piece of civil rights history, in which hundreds of black sanitation workers demanded from Memphis higher wages and better working conditions. The last public remarks of Martin Luther King Jr. were to the striking workers, the night before his assassination.
E!: Good news, everyone. It looks as though Donald Trump won’t be giving up the charade of pretending he’s a viable presidential candidate anytime soon. In fact, if anything, he’s been getting even more into character, lashing out this week at none other than ever-uncontroversial Jerry Seinfeld.
And yes, since this is Donald we’re talking about, the insults flew fast and furious, and, as always, below the belt.
Well, if nothing else, he’s at least proving that those debates with Barack Obama would be pretty entertaining. Ridiculous, but entertaining. But as for this Jerry feud, well, in the words of Seinfeld himself, what’s the deal with that?
Simply this: Trump was back on his bully pulpit yesterday, writing a public letter condemning Seinfeld after the funnyman had the nerve (the nerve!) to back out of a fundraiser this fall for his son’s charity, the Eric Trump Foundation.
Reading between the lines of Trump’s missive, it’s clear that Seinfeld pulled out because he (along with the rest of the nation’s rational thinkers) was apparently growing uncomfortable with the follicle-challenged reality star’s racist birther rhetoric and continued quest to call for President Obama to produce his birth certificate. (Nevermind that it’s already been proven he has one. Why should a little thing like facts and showing respect to the leader of the free world get in the way of a good dogfight?)
….A rep for Seinfeld told the paper that Jerry “feels this kind of demagoguery has no place in public discourse”. And proving just how much classier he actually is than Trump, even before the Apprentice boss’ letter went public, Seinfeld compensated both the Eric Trump Foundation and St. Jude’s for backing out, making a contribution to both organizations.
ThinkProgress: But in his bestselling book, Art of the Deal, published at the conclusion of the Reagan presidency, Trump cited Reagan as an example of someone who could “con people” but couldn’t “deliver the goods.” Trump said Reagan was “so smooth” that he “won over the American people.” But at the conclusion of his presidency, “people are beginning to question whether there is anything beneath that smile,” Trump writes.
EJ Dionne: If you want to get national attention as a governor these days, don’t try to be innovative about solving the problems you were elected to deal with – in education, transportation and health care. No, if you want ink and television time, just cut and cut and cut some more.
Almost no one in the national media is noticing governors who say the reasonable thing: that state budget deficits, caused largely by drops in revenue in the economic downturn, can’t be solved by cuts or tax increases alone.
…The brave ones are governors such as Jerry Brown in California, Dan Malloy in Connecticut, Pat Quinn in Illinois, Mark Dayton in Minnesota and Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii. They are declaring that you have to cut programs, even when your own side likes them, and raise taxes, which nobody likes much at all. Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee has warned of possible tax increases too.
…Consider the new budget Gov. Scott Walker announced in Wisconsin on Tuesday. Among other things, he proposed cutting state aid to schools by $834 million over the next two years, a 7.9 percent reduction.
…what’s happening in so many places now is a reckless rush to gut the parts of government that all but the most extreme libertarians support – and that truly deserve to be seen (one thinks of education and programs for poor children) as investments in the future.
And those governors doing the hard work trying to balance cutbacks and tax increases get ignored, because there’s nothing sexy about being responsible.