President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference with Vice President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden. President Obama announced that Cuba and the United States would re-establish diplomatic ties, including an exchange of ambassadors and embassies
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President Barack Obama receives applause from Kelly Bryant as she introduces him to speak about the Affordable Care Act during a visit to Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee. Bryant is a breast cancer survivor who wrote Obama a letter to tell of her positive experience with the Affordable Care Act
President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act. The president said he wants to refocus on improving health care quality, expanding access and rooting out waste now that the Supreme Court has upheld a key element of his health care law
President Barack Obama walks with Kelly Bryant after arriving at her home to take her to the event where he was to speak about the Affordable Care Act during a visit to Taylor Stratton Elementary School
A woman photographs an autograph left by President Barack Obama on a wall at Taylor Stratton Elementary School
President Obama announces that he has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki during a press conference in the Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington
Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson leaves the White House after being named by President Barack Obama to run the Veterans Affairs Department on an interim basis while President Obama searches for a replacement for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki who resigned Friday.
President Barack Obama gives White House press secretary Jay Carney a hug after announcing that Carney will step down later next month, during a surprise visit to the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. The president announced Carney’s departure in a surprise appearance at in the White House press briefing room Friday. He said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job
Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, share the stage and a laugh during the daily briefing at the White House
President Barack Obama, flanked by Attorney Holder Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan,and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; speaks about a report from “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color
President Barack Obama attends a hurricane preparedness meeting at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, DC
On This Day: President Barack Obama lays a Presidential challenge coin on a grave in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 30, 2011. Section 60 is reserved for military personnel who have lost their lives while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern)
* President Obama appears on Kelly and Michael – check your local listings here
10:15: President Obama meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, Oval Office
11:0: The President meets with the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force
11:15 EDT: President Obama Makes a Statement
1:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:15: The President attends a hurricane preparedness meeting, FEMA Headquarters
…. Obama is battling a knee-jerk sentiment in Washington in which the only kind of international leadership that means anything is the use of military force. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail,” he said in his speech Wednesday at West Point.
A similar sentiment was expressed in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a strong leader who refused to intervene in the Suez crisis, the French collapse in Vietnam, two Taiwan Strait confrontations and the Hungarian uprising of 1956.
At the time, many critics blasted the president for his passivity and wished that he would be more interventionist. A Democratic Advisory Council committee headed by Acheson called Eisenhower’s foreign policy “weak, vacillating, and tardy.” But Eisenhower kept his powder dry, confident that force was not the only way to show strength. “I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he told his speechwriter. “It’s persuasion — and conciliation — and education — and patience . It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know — or believe in — or will practice.”
President Obama’s speech at West Point on Wednesday morning could be called a tribute to common sense, except that the sense it made is so uncommon. The ensuing cable pundits’ complaints—that it was insufficiently “muscular” or “robust”—only proved how necessary this speech was.
Obama’s point was not (contrary to some commentators’ claims) to draw a “middle-of-the-road” line between isolationism and unilateralism. That’s a line so broad almost anyone could walk it.
The president’s main point was to emphasize that not every problem has a military solution; that the proper measure of strength and leadership is not merely the eagerness to deploy military power; that, in fact, America’s costliest mistakes have stemmed not from restraint but from rushing to armed adventures “without thinking through the consequences, without building international support and legitimacy for our action, without leveling with the American people about the sacrifice required.”
Graduating cadets listen to President Obama deliver the commencement address at West Point, May 28, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)
NPR: Transcript And Audio: President Obama’s Full NPR Interview
NPR’s Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Wednesday about foreign policy, including his approaches to Syria, Ukraine and China, as well as his remaining White House priorities and his effort to close Guantanamo Bay prison. A full transcript of the interview follows:
STEVE INSKEEP: I want to begin this way. You’re here at this historic place, trying to speak with a sense of history. And I was thinking of past presidents that I know you have studied and commented on. And a couple came to mind who were able to express what they were trying to do in the world in about a sentence. Reagan wanted to roll back communism by whatever means. Lincoln has a famous letter in which he says, I would save the union by the shortest means under the Constitution. As you look at the moment of history that you occupy, do you think you can put into a sentence what you are trying to accomplish in the world?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not sure I can do it in a sentence because we’re fortunate in many ways. We don’t face an existential crisis. We don’t face a civil war. We don’t face a Soviet Union that is trying to rally a bloc of countries and that could threaten our way of life. Instead, what we have is, as I say in the speech, this moment in which we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong economy that is getting stronger, no military peer that threatens us, no nation-state that anytime soon intends to go to war with us. But we have a world order that is changing very rapidly and that can generate diffuse threats, all of which we have to deal with.
A new report this morning confirms that House Republicans are likely to delay plans to offer an alternative to Obamacare until after the elections; that multiple Republican candidates are retreating from repeal; and that they are increasingly mouthing support for the law’s general goals. Once again: There’s no real policy space for a meaningful alternative, but the base still sees repeal as its lodestar, yet everyone else opposes repeal, forcing Republicans to claim they’d scrap it and replace it with something or other doing all the popular things in it, without saying what.
Justin Wolfers (NYT): Deceptive Dip in G.D.P. Points to Perils of Election Forecasting
An economic report issued [yesterday] provides a good example of the hazards facing election forecasters. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in the first quarter of this year, Gross Domestic Product, a broad indicator of the health of the economy, shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent. Even worse, an alternative and more accurate measure, called Gross Domestic Income, shrank at an annual rate of 2.3 percent. If that persisted, we’d call it a sharp recession.
But no one is using the R-word. Nor should they. Markets have taken the news in their stride, and few economists have changed their view that the economy is growing and will continue to through 2014. Likewise, consumers remain confident about their economic prospects. Their confidence rests partly on other indicators that suggested far better growth throughout the quarter, such as nonfarm payrolls, which grew by 569,000 over the same period.
The president is about to take a major step to fight global warming. Here’s what you need to know.
President Obama promised to take action on global warming with or without Congress’s permission. Next week, he’ll tell the world how he plans to do it.
The administration is preparing to release the central pillar of Obama’s climate-change agenda: a proposal for far-reaching rules that will require power companies to cut carbon emissions.
The rules will mark the most significant federal action on climate change since Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate four years ago, and they’re Obama’s best shot at adding broad action on global warming to his legacy.
The rules will also touch off a political war of the first order, offering battleground for environmentalists, industry groups, and politicians to fight over the nation’s energy future.
Here’s what to watch for when the administration pulls back the curtain.
ThinkProgress: Redskins’ Twitter Campaign To Defend Their Name Goes About As Well As You’d Expect
The Washington Redskins — desperate to defend the name that Native Americans, members of Congress, a majority of the United States Senate, religious leaders, civil rights groups, several current and former NFL players, United Nations Human Rights representatives, and even President Obama have said should be changed because it is a “dictionary-defined” racial slur — started a Twitter campaign to rally support Thursday afternoon.
It started with this tweet asking fans to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has made a habit of chiding the team over its name, how they felt:
Rhodes Scholar Megyn Kelly of Fox “News” (snort*giggle*) has given us a wonderful opportunity to badger her again. It seems to happen every time she opens her mouth, but this time it was a doozy.
In an article written by Aisha Harris at Slate, Ms. Harris suggested that Santa didn’t have to be white. Which is a valid point to make, as Santa isn’t, you know, real. (Sorry to my 2 year old nephew for breaking the news to him.)
Kelly, in a fit of pique, had this to say:
“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” Kelly said. “But this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But Santa is what he is.”
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change, you know?” she added. “I mean, Jesus was a white man too. He was a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa — I just want the kids watching to know that.”
Of course, again, Santa isn’t exactly real—regardless of what NORAD says every Dec. 24—and Jesus, well, he was a Jew from the Galilee. Not a haven for 6-foot tall, blond, blue-eyed Nordic supermen—again, regardless of what painters from throughout Western history say.
Maybe Megyn Kelly wants to start a Race War on Christmas, or at least on those who don’t adhere to her yearning for a “white” Christmas. Whatever. Enjoy some Tweets.
Exclusive - TIME Magazine "Santa Claus Race Expert of the Year" Megyn Kelly. December 23, 2013 http://t.co/CtoH9iJLum
As I have said since the Egyptian Revolution, the United States supports a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law. Since the current unrest in Egypt began, we have called on all parties to work together to address the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people, in accordance with the democratic process, and without recourse to violence or the use of force.
The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.
The United States continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties —secular and religious, civilian and military. During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts. Moreover, the goal of any political process should be a government that respects the rights of all people, majority and minority; that institutionalizes the checks and balances upon which democracy depends; and that places the interests of the people above party or faction. The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard – including those who welcomed today’s developments, and those who have supported President Morsy. In the interim, I urge all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.
No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve. The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.
Congressional budget analysts on Wednesday released a positive economic assessment of the broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that passed the Senate last week, saying that the new legislation would cut more than $800 billion from the federal deficit over the next two decades and lead to 9.6 million new legal residents in the country.
Though the Congressional Budget Office had offered in June a similar estimate of the immigration bill that was then being debated in the Senate — in a report that found the benefits of an increase in legal residents from the immigration overhaul would outweigh the costs — the new report provides an analysis of the actual bill recently passed by the Senate.
Steve Benen: Koch brothers push GOP officials to sign anti-climate pledge
The Republican Party is certainly fond of its pledges. Grover Norquist, of course, has his infamous anti-tax pledge that has interfered with federal policymaking in recent decades, and in 2011, GOP presidential candidates were pushed to endorse an anti-gay pledge from the National Organization for Marriage.
But as it turns out, there’s another pledge that’s taken root in Republican politics that’s received far less attention. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reports this week on the “No Climate Tax Pledge” pushed by Charles and David Koch….
AP: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to the scene of the horrific shooting that wounded her and killed six people two years ago, urging senators Wednesday to pass background checks for gun purchases in her first public event at the site since the rampage.
Giffords, who is still recovering from her injuries, spoke fewer than 20 words in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery store in her hometown of Tucson in a brief but emotional call for stricter gun control measures.
“Be bold. Be courageous,” Giffords said. “Please support background checks.”