Steve Benen: Since I raised some concerns about David Brooks’ column, it’s only fair that I note there’s been some follow-up on the story.
To briefly recap, Brooks built his entire column around a falsehood: the bogus claim that President Obama “hasn’t actually come up with a proposal to avert sequestration,” despite the detailed, already published plan, built on mutual concessions from both sides, the White House already released.
…. Though the walk-back is welcome, Greg Sargent helps highlight why Brooks still has some room to improve his argument …. And then Brooks made one more mistake: he argued with Ezra Klein. This interview is an absolute must-read – really, it is….
Jonathan Cohn: I have a big scoop, straight from an extremely reliable White House source: The Obama Administration has endorsed means-testing of Medicare.
For some time now, Republicans have been saying that wealthy seniors should pay more for Medicare …. New York Times columnist David Brooks seconded the plea in the New York Times. Apparently Obama has been listening. According to my administration source, the president would support means-testing.
Huge news! And who was my reliable source? The White House website. See, this isn’t a new proposal. It’s part of last year’s budget….
… the failure to recognize, or at least acknowledge, that the administration has already proposed serious means-testing is widespread in Washington — and emblematic of a broader truth in the budget debate….
Read Charles Pierce on David Brooks here – nooooooooo extract would do it justice.
TPM: Top Senate Democrats excoriated the competing House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act hours after it was unveiled Friday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the author of VAWA, derided the legislation as “partisan” and said it omits critical measures designed to protect vulnerable populations like Native Americans, immigrants and the gay and lesbian community.
“Next week, the House of Representatives plans to revert back to its partisan version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act,” Leahy said in a statement. “The Republican House leadership has decided to replace the Senate-passed version with a substitute that will not provide critical protections for rape victims, domestic violence victims, human trafficking victims, students on campuses, or stalking victims. This is simply unacceptable …..”
Washington Post: The number of double-digit rate increases requested by health insurers has plummeted over the past four years, according to a Friday report from the Obama administration.
Researchers combed through data available from the 15 states that publicly post all requests for rate increases in the individual market. They found that, in 2009, 74 percent of all requests came in above 10 percent. By 2012, that number had fallen to 35 percent. Preliminary data for 2013, which only cover a handful of states, shows 14 percent of rate increases asking for a double-digit bump….
TPM: A few weeks ago, Tom Teves, of Phoenix, sent his senators a letter. His 24-year-old son, Alex, was killed last year in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, and he wanted to tell them Alex’s story and encourage them to take action on guns.
What he got in response, he said, were cold, impersonal form letters from Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans. Neither of the letters even addressed the Colorado massacre. In fact, they brought up an entirely different shooting, the schoolhouse killings in Newtown, Conn., and mentioned each senator’s ongoing support of the Second Amendment. It was like Alex Teves’ death hadn’t gotten through to the senators or their staffs.
Now, Tom Teves has shared the letters he received with TPM. He did so after his wife confronted McCain in-person Wednesday with her son’s story and a question about guns at a town hall event in Phoenix. McCain’s response included the remark that Caren Teves needed “some straight talk” on the issue of assault weapons.
Michael Tomasky: Deluded Republican Reformers – Conservative pundits’ ideas about fixing the GOP are totally meaningless, says Michael Tomasky, until they deal with the problem of their party’s rage-driven fanaticism.
Conservative pundits and intellectuals have spent the past week or two ….. talking about how to save the Republican Party. They have lots of ideas — some good, some not so good, most very sober-minded policy prescriptions …. The party they purport to support and care about has been engaged in burning down the house of American politics for three or four years now, and they are saying nothing about it; and until they say something about it, everything else they say is close to meaningless.
President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan as they stand in the West Wing Lobby of the White House, Feb. 22 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama, Michelle Obama, VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden will host the 2013 Governors’ Dinner at the White House on Sunday
First lady Michelle Obama and host Dr. Mehmet Oz dancing with third graders from the Terence C. Reilly #7 School in Elizabeth, N.J. during a taping of “The Dr. Oz Show,” on Friday, Feb. 22 in New York. The episode will air on Thursday Feb. 28
And, one more time (that’s a lie: I’ll probably post it every day for the next four years):
Steve Benen: After three consecutive weeks of discouraging news, today’s report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims pointed to a sharp improvement in the data.
Indeed, the new numbers not only reverse the discouraging trend, they’re back to the level we saw in mid-March, which is near a four-year low.
…. It’s worth emphasizing that week-to-week results can vary widely, and it’s best not to read too much significance into any one report. Still, it’s generally heartening when the numbers are at least pointing in the right direction.
E.J. Dionne: We expect some hypocrisy in politics, but it was still jaw-dropping to behold Republicans accusing President Obama of politicizing the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Wasn’t it just eight years ago that the GOP organized an entire presidential campaign — including the choreography of its 2004 national convention — around the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and George W. Bush’s response to them?
Obama’s opponents don’t just think we have short attention spans. They imagine we have no memories whatsoever…
…. On foreign policy, Obama has kept his 2008 promise to turn history’s page. The nation is in no mood to turn it back.
MSNBC: GM posted a profit of $1 billion in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations on strong demand in its key North American market.
GM also said the U.S. economy was improving and it expected its core North American results in the second and third quarters to largely match the first quarter due to scheduled downtime at its large truck plants.
6:00: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event (Private Residence)
7:30: PBO delivers remarks at a campaign event (Private Residence)
Monday: The President will deliver remarks at the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference. In the afternoon, the President will welcome Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan to the White House.
Tuesday and Wednesday: PBO will attend meetings at the White House.
Thursday: PBO and the First Lady will host a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House.
Friday: PBO will attend meetings at the White House.
Saturday: PBO will travel to Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia for campaign events.