Pete Souza: Sometimes you gotta have fun. For the past three weeks, there have been four snowmen on display in the Rose Garden (see photo in earlier post). We’ve been joking that we should move the snowmen a few feet closer to the Oval Office every day to see if anyone noticed. Then we realized the snowmen were too heavy to easily lift. But finally this morning before the President came to the office, some helpful staff–I won’t say who–moved all the snowmen so each one was peeking through a different window into the Oval. This photo was taken this afternoon as the President signed end-of-the-year bills.
Pete Souza: Another snowman from yesterday. Yes he enjoyed the prank. See previous post for the backstory
SurveyUSA: By 5:1, NJ Voters Say Governor Christie Should Not Run for President in 2012 …. he has a Minus 18 job approval today as speculation continues about whether Christie should run for President. 38% of NJ adults approve of the job Christie is doing, 56% disapprove.
* Obama carried NJ in 2008 by 15 points. Obama’s approval rating in NJ today is Plus 14 (54% approve, 40% disapprove).
* Voters split evenly on whether Christie would be better president than George W. Bush.
Christie has cut state spending on education. In those Jersey homes where a school teacher lives:
* Christie’s job approval is Minus 30 (33% approve, 63% disapprove).
* 6:1 say Christie should not run for president.
* 5:2 say Christie would be a worse president than Obama.
In union households:
* Christie’s job approval is Minus 36 (31% approve, 67% disapprove).
* Obama’s job approval is Plus 15 (55% approve, 40% disapprove).
* 8:1 say Christie should not run for president.
* Among Independents, Obama’s job approval is Plus 7, Christie’s is Minus 11.
* Among Moderates, Obama’s job approval is Plus 28, Christie is Minus 23.
* Among lower-income voters, Christie is Minus 32. Among upper income voters Christie is Minus 5.
Eric Boehlert, 2010 (a senior fellow with Media Matters, a progressive research center): “I don’t think there are Republican polling firms that get as good a result as Rasmussen does. Their data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”
Nate Silver concluded that Rasmussen’s polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver’s model. He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate Race, which Rasmussen showed the incumbent 13 points ahead, where he in actuality won by 53 – a difference of 40 points, or “the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.”
Salon: At the annual White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, SNL’s Seth Meyers made a quip about Osama bin Laden’s elusiveness….President Obama, who had actually authorized action against the terrorist leader on Friday morning, was sitting ten feet away. Check out his reaction:
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.
Salon: Donald Trump added a blatantly race-baiting component to his already racially charged campaign against Barack Obama’s Americanness this week when he claimed – based on things he’s “heard” – that Obama was a “terrible student” who got into Columbia and then Harvard based solely on affirmative action:
“How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I’m thinking about it, I’m certainly looking into it. Let him show his records,” he said, without providing backup for his claim. Trump added, “I have friends who have smart sons with great marks, great boards, great everything and they can’t get into Harvard.”
Leaving aside the fact that Obama, who went on to graduate Harvard Law magna cum laude, seems like he was probably a very good student, Mr. Trump might need a refresher course in how unqualified people actually do manage to get into the prestigious Ivy League Universities.
Let us take, as an example, the story of a student so obviously unqualified, so transparently unworthy, that a book was written about what his admittance into Harvard said about the sorry behavior of supposedly elite colleges.
That student was Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner’s father, real estate developer Charles Kushner, bought Jared his Harvard acceptance. It cost him $2.5 million. (Kushner later went to jail for tax evasion and witness tampering, so it was also, technically, dirty money that bought Trump’s daughter’s husband’s entry into the Ivy League.)
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.
At a time when even some Republicans are conceding that Michele Bachmann is bat-shit crazy, King says this:
Yep, “You have taken what I would describe as a reasonable position……”
It gets worse…..
Let’s have a look at that exchange again:
Bachmann: We need to have the fight on Obamacare … I think it is a crime against democracy because Speaker Pelosi and President Obama failed to even tell the members of the House and Senate, much less the American people, that if a member casts a vote for the Obamacare bill they would also be voting to spend $105 billion…..it is my opinion that that money should be given back because it was passed fraudulently, no one knew that money was there…..
King: As you know, a lot of Democrats dispute your numbers on the healthcare bill, but I want to save that one for another day….
No, no John, it’s not that Democrats dispute her numbers, it’s that every single independent observer has concluded that she was talking complete and utter shit about this “bombshell, hidden $105 billion”. eg:
Washington Post (Fact Checker) …. Bachmann’s main points have been that “this money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill” – something akin to a “slush fund” – and that it was done “secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress.”
This is bordering on ridiculous.
…The Obama administration insisted that the health care bill be “paid for” through various revenue raisers and cost cuts in order to not increase the deficit. In the end, CBO declared that the health care bill would reduce the deficit over the next decade.
… it is disingenuous of Bachmann to talk only about the costs without noting that, in theory, all of this spending is fully funded.
There is a further problem with Bachman’s charge of “hidden” spending … the administration has not tried to hide this money at all; instead, it has trumpeted each dollar spent in a press release.
As for the claim that “this money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill,” we think she means that there were different sections in the legislation, depending on the issue. This is common practice for virtually all major bills, and it is not unusual or nefarious at all….
The Pinocchio Test: There is no “bombshell” except Bachmann’s bombast.
She is correct that Congress already has appropriated some spending in future years, but her claim that this money was “hidden” does not have credibility. The money for these programs was clearly described and analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office before the legislation was voted into law…..
With Beck’s imminent departure from Fox, you have to wonder if King is looking to fill the gap. He was already a joke, but after suggesting that the racist nutjob that is Bachmann had taken a “reasonable position” on anything … and failing to challenge her on her debunked lies about that ‘fraudulent’ $105 billion …. oh dear, oh dear.