Ahead of Thursday’s State Dinner at the White House for VC’s fella, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a trip down State Dinner memory lane…..
November 24, 2009 – India: Manmohan Singh
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama await the arrival of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Mrs Gursharan Kaur, for the State Dinner at the White House, Nov. 24, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ms Gursharan Kaur for a State Dinner
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chats with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama prior to the state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Mrs Gursharan Kaur (Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Michelle Obama claps during the entertainment portion of the State Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, left, and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, held in a tent on the South Lawn of the White House (Photo by Pete Souza)
The President and First Lady wait for Indian Prime Minister Singh’s motorcade to depart the White House at the conclusion of the first official state dinner for the Obama administration (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama listen to the Seneca Valley High School Chamber Choir in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House following a holiday reception, Dec. 5, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All Times Eastern):
1:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:0: President Obama tapes an appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews
4:10: President Obama delivers remarks at a Hanukkah reception
8:0: President Obama delivers remarks at a Hanukkah reception
But the comparison to commercial websites should come with two very important caveats. One is an acknolwedgment of the huge, fundamental difference between what the two types of systems must do. Innovative companies like Amazon are constantly developing new, more efficient ways to sell books, clothing, and other goods. (Just check out those stories about the Amazon drones.) But they are still engaging consumers, producers and retailers in a series of relatively straightforward transactions.
Healthcare.gov, by contrast, must perform a whole series of complex transactions—taking and verifying identity and income, determining eligibility for government programs or private insurance subsidies, calculating individualized insurance prices based on that data, presenting options for consumers to buy, notifying and paying insurers, and following up with consumers after the process is done. To do that, the system must communicate with multiple government agencies, at both the federal and state levels, as well as private insurers.
If we’re going to compare the process of buying health insurance at healthcare.gov to the process of buying books at Amazon, we should also compare it to the process of buying health insurance before Obamacare came along. That wasn’t always so much fun, either.
They say a liberal is someone who doesn’t know how to take his own side in an argument, and the latest paper from former Clinton administration official Alan Blinder and co-author Mark Watson seems to confirm it. The paper looks at the well-established fact that GDP growth under Democratic Party presidents is more rapid than under GOP Presidents, and concludes that it’s all just a coincidence. Except they don’t mount a very strong argument for that conclusion. Consumer confidence is higher under Democrats: 25 percent. Fewer adverse oil shocks under Democrats: 12.5-25 percent. More positive TFP shocks under Democrats: 25 percent.
Unexplained: 25-37.5 percent. Lets take this in order. Consumer confidence is definitely something you could imagine the President being able to impact despite central bank independence and the separation of powers. People think of Democrats as representing majoritarian economic interests and unpopular secularism and internationalism. So when a Republican gets in, they expect America to stand tall on the world stage and stand up for core moral values but perhaps give short-shrift to the middle class. When a Democrat gets in, it’s just the opposite. So Democrats = more confidence.
Alex Wayne: Medicare Drug Discount Saves Elderly $8.9 Billion
The Obama administration said the U.S. health-care overhaul has saved Medicare recipients $8.9 billion so far in prescription drug costs. The savings average out to $1,209 a person, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicessaid today in a statement. The savings are related to a discount program on medicines created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
The discounts apply to recipients of Medicare, the U.S. health program for the elderly and disabled, who reach a coverage gap in the program’s prescription medicine plans called the “donut hole.” The law requires drugmakers to provide a discount to people in the gap until they spend so much in a year, after which the government covers almost all the medicine costs.
On Wednesday, fresh off a visit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Joe Biden spent five and a half hours in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping over a series of meetings and dinner. The marathon diplomacy capped a delicate effort by the vice president this week to tamp down Japan’s anger over provocative Chinese actions in the East China Sea while not coming down too hard on China. So into the fray Biden has moved, counseling all parties to contribute to regional stability rather than undermining it and harming their own economic prospects and security.
In the past, America’s role as a guarantor of security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region may have created a moral hazard problem wherein nationalist leaders could shake their fists at each other over deep historical grievances without fearing the outbreak of war. As he travels through Asia, Biden appears to be subtly breaking with that state of affairs, pushing countries in the region to not free ride on American security but rather collectively develop a more stable and resilient infrastructure to handle crises. The goal, it seems, is to not only manage conflict but also build a future of what Biden called “limitless benefits.”
TPM: At Least 1.5 Million People Enrolled In Medicaid Since Obamacare Launch
Nearly 1.5 million Americans have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program since the state Obamacare marketplaces went live on Oct. 1, according to a new report released Tuesday. The report from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the most comprehensive look yet at how the low-income public insurance programs are faring under the health care reform law. It covers the month of October, and CMS said that more reports would be released on a monthly basis.
The total includes both those who are newly eligible for Medicaid in states that expanded the program and those in all states who were already eligible. They were funneled to the program both through the state-based insurance marketplaces that have opened under Obamacare and other sources (applying through local government offices, etc.). Coverage for those newly eligible under the Medicaid expansion starts on Jan. 1, 2014.
Bloomberg: Economy In U.S. Grows At 3.6% Rate On Bigger Inventory Build
The U.S. economy expanded in the third quarter at a faster pace than initially reported, led by the biggest increase in inventories since early 1998. Gross domestic product climbed at a 3.6 percent annualized rate, up from an initial estimate of 2.8 percent and the strongest since the first quarter of 2012, Commerce department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted a 3.1 percent gain. Another report today showed first-time claims for jobless benefits dropped by 23,000 to 298,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. Still, housing and autos remain bright spots for the economy.
Residential construction increased at a 13 percent annualized rate, compared with a previous estimate of 14.6 percent, and added 0.38 percentage point to growth, today’s figures showed. More home-construction permits were issued in October than at any time in the past five years, a sign the residential real-estate market is gaining momentum heading into 2014, according to data last week from the Commerce Department. Auto sales remain on pace for their best year since 2007. General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC led November U.S. sales gains that met or exceeded analysts’ estimates
A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend’s Iron Bowl football game was angry that the victim and others didn’t seem upset over the Crimson Tide’s loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman. People, it is time to talk about guns. I am embarrassed by our Supreme Court. The people who sit on a nation’s Supreme Court as supposed to be the wisest among us. They are supposed to be the men and women who understand and speak plainly about the most difficult topics confronting our nation. Our Supreme Court, however, has been failing us, as their actions have been almost the exact opposite of this ideal.
Five of the nine members of the Supreme Court agreed that the part in the Second Amendment which talks about “A Well Regulated Militia, Being Necessary To The Security Of A Free State…” did not matter. In other words, they flunked basic high school history. The lengths to which Justice Scalia had to go in his attempt to rewrite American history and the English language are as stunning as they are egregious. In essence, what he said about the words written by the Founding Fathers was, “Yeah, they didn’t really mean what they said.” You have got to be fking kidding me. Seriously? You spent nearly 4,000 words to deny the historical reality of thirteen words? That, sir, is an embarrassingly damning indictment not just of you, but of an educational system that failed to teach history.
The Obama team has won the first round on the six-month agreement with Iran by a knockout. The phony, misleading, and dishonest arguments against the pact just didn’t hold up to the reality of the text. As night follows day, the mob of opponents didn’t consider surrender, not for a second. Instead, they trained their media howitzers on the future, the next and more permanent agreement, you know, the one that has yet to be negotiated. The Saudis lost most gracefully.
They simply said this step has been taken and they’ll see about the next one. The Israelis lost most tendentiously. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called the interim arrangement “a historic mistake.” His minions went further to say that, in retaliation, Israel might well just trash the ongoing private negotiations with the Palestinians, probably the last chance for a treaty in Obama’s tenure. More creatively, American neoconservatives and conservatives are now contending that with his first round, Obama has mortgaged America’s future security. As for Obama having lost his negotiating leverage on economic sanctions, that is pure nonsense.
If some Republicans are sounding just a little bit desperate right now, I think I know why. “Obamacare is not just a broken website,” House Speaker John Boehner sputtered the other day in retreat as it emerged that the website is now working well. “This bill is fundamentally flawed.” He sure hopes he’s right about that—and by the way, Mister, it’s a law, not a bill. But I bet late at night, when he’s having that last smoke and thinking back over his day, he fears that he’s wrong and that the central Republican…“idea,” if you want to call it that, of the last three years—get rid of Obamacare—is going to look awfully stupid to a majority of Americans eight or 10 months from now. If you haven’t gone to HealthCare.gov just for kicks, I certainly recommend now that you do. Pretend that you’re from a state that didn’t create an exchange. I just did, for the first time in weeks, an hour before scribbling these sentences. I was amazed. It was lightning fast. Explanations were clear and straightforward.
"I'm fine with calling it Obamacare; the President is fine with it. We're focused on the 'care,'" Jay Carney says about dropping the term.
Instead of bureaucratese, I encountered something I didn’t expect at all: plain English! And here’s the key thing. It gave me loads of choices. I pretended to be a 35-year-old man from Kansas with a spouse and child. Without even having to enter my fake income, the site delivered me in a split second to a page with loads of plan options. Choice. That’s what America’s about. How many options? An amazing 42, to be precise. Forty-two plans! That might be more than the number of available potato-chip flavors in America. And this is where Republicans, if they’re looking around the corner, might be freaking out. No American who has 42 choices is going to feel like the jackboot of the state is stomping on his neck. And sometime next year, the people in the states that didn’t take Medicaid money are going to start noticing something else: that in a lot of cases, they’re going to be paying more for the same plan that a person in a participating state is paying. How’s that going to go down, Rick Perry? Mr. Speaker, light up another one. It’s going to be a long night.
President Obama meets with National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling in the Oval Office, Dec. 4 (Photo by Pete Souza)
On This Day:
Following the Kennedy Center Honors, President Obama receives a briefing from Jeff Bader, Senior Director for Asian Affairs, left, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, right, before placing a telephone call to President Hu Jintao of China in the Oval Office, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets Elie Wiesel in the Oval Office, Dec. 5, 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose in front of the Official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House, Dec. 5, 2010 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Four years ago today: “A temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.” May 8, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
10:15: VP Biden attends President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea’s address to a Joint Session of Congress
12:0: VP Biden delivers remarks at the 43rd Annual Washington Conference on the Americas at the Department of State
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:25: President Obama meets with electric utility CEOs and their trade associations
5:30: Meets with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders
6:30: Has dinner with members of the House Democratic Leadership at the Jefferson Hotel
7:45: VP Biden delivers keynote remarks at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ 19th Annual Gala Awards Dinner
President Barack Obama and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea, May 7. Photo: Pete Souza
USA Today: …. The president starts this afternoon at the Energy Department, where he meets with electric utility CEOs and trade associations to talk about preparations for the upcoming hurricane season….
Later, Obama and Vice President Biden discuss budget issues with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Then comes a presidential meeting with a group of Asian American and Pacific Islanders national leaders. The agenda includes Obama’s efforts to win a major immigration bill and the ongoing implementation of the health care bill.
Obama caps his day with another congressional dinner, this one with House Democratic leaders. The dinner at a hotel in downtown Washington features House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., and some of her colleagues: Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, Joe Crowley, Chris Van Hollen, Rosa DeLauro, Rob Andrew, Steve Israel, and Mike Thompson.
President Obama with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye in the Oval office today – Photo by Pete Souza
U.S. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Bi-lateral meeting
President Obama thanked President Park, who is South Korea’s first female president, for choosing the United States for her first foreign trip. This visit “reflects South Korea’s extraordinary progress over these six decades,” President Obama said, from “the ashes of war, to one of the world’s largest economies; from a recipient of foreign aid to a donor that now helps other nations develop.”
3:40: President Obama and VP Biden meet with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.
Steve Benen: …. Susan Rice will head to Capitol Hill today where she’s scheduled to meet with the same Republican senators who’ve spent a few weeks trying to destroy her reputation …. it now appears Rice’s nomination to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department is practically a foregone conclusion….
…. the White House is giving McCain, Graham, and Ayotte some special attention and a way out of their own mess. They can, in other words, come out of today’s meeting saying, “We had serious questions, and we’re glad Rice took the time to answer them.” If they then drop the filibuster threat, they’d look less ridiculous.
At least, that’s the idea. In practice, the GOP campaign against Rice has always been detached from reality, and facts from Rice and Morell may not matter, but from the administration’s perspective, it can’t hurt to try.
AP: President Barack Obama plans to make a public case this week for his strategy for dealing with the looming fiscal cliff, traveling to the Philadelphia suburbs Friday as he pressures Republicans to allow tax increases on the wealthy while extending tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or less.
The White House said Tuesday that the president intends to hold a series of events to build support for his approach to avoid across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts in defense and domestic programs. Obama will meet with small business owners at the White House on Tuesday and with middle-class families on Wednesday.
The president will visit the Rodon Group on 2800 Sterling Drive in Hatfield. The president’s visit will cap a week of public outreach as the White House and congressional leaders negotiate a way to avoid the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
Steve Benen: …. as of yesterday, we appear to have reached an interesting, albeit largely symbolic, threshold:
“Call it irony or call it coincidence: Mitt Romney’s share of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential race is very likely to be 47 percent…..”
…. as things currently stand, Obama’s popular vote margin of victory is 3.43%. That’s close, to be sure, but for all the talk about the razor-thin race and the speculation that this could be the tightest national election any of us have ever seen, Obama’s 2012 victory isn’t even in the top 10 of the closest presidential elections in American history.
Eugene Robinson: Maybe the fever is breaking. Maybe the delirium is lifting. Maybe Republicans are finally asking themselves: What were we thinking when we put an absurdly unrealistic pledge to a Washington lobbyist ahead of our duty to the American people?
I said maybe. So far, the renunciations of Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” amount to a trickle, not a flood….
…. Republicans who signed the pledge – and who now find themselves in a box – have only themselves to blame. To boost their own political fortunes, they lied to the voters. They pretended it was possible to provide the services that Americans need and want without collecting sufficient revenue. They sold the bogus promise of not just a free lunch, but a free breakfast and supper, too.
…. President Obama has been trying to wake Republicans from this silly, self-defeating dream for four long years. Now, perhaps, a twitching of eyelids.
Dana Milbank: President-unelect Rick Santorum made his triumphant return to the Capitol on Monday afternoon and took up a brave new cause: He is opposing disabled people.
Specifically, Santorum, joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), declared his wish that the Senate reject the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities….
The former presidential candidate pronounced his “grave concerns” about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. “This is a direct assault on us,” he declared at a news conference.
Lee, a tea party favorite, said he, too, has “grave concerns” about the document’s threat to American sovereignty. “I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session.”
Rolling Stone: …. When Obama 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe likened the campaign’s email list to a television network in his campaign memoir, it was a rough analogy. But for the revamped Obama 2012 campaign, the meaning is quite literal. The YouTube and social media revolution of the last four years has given the campaign the power to produce and disseminate powerful video content that it can broadcast to a highly targeted audience of millions, effectively for free.
….. The folks in Chicago have spent next to nothing on television ads. Yet the campaign’s digital team – the biggest squad by far in Obama 2012’s massive headquarters in a downtown skyscraper – is quietly churning out nearly a video a day, designed to reengage Obama supporters, activate new volunteers, or persuade fence-sitting independents.
…. We’re seeing something really new in the history of presidential politics develop out of Chicago. This is a social-media-optimized campaign …. All of this direct communication with targeted voters is happening without the advice or consent of the mainstream media, in ways that David Plouffe could scarcely have imagined just four years ago. Meanwhile, the Mitt Romney campaign website looks like it’s still trying to catch up to Obama 2008.
Pew Research: The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.
In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters. It marked the second consecutive month that Obama held such a wide advantage over Romney among women (59% to 38% in February).
MSNBC: …. a new NBC News/Marist poll shows President Obama holding a sizable advantage over his Republican opposition in Wisconsin, which he carried in 2008 but where Republicans made big gains in the 2010 midterms.
Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin among registered voters, 52 percent to 35 percent, with 13 percent undecided. And he edges Santorum, 51 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided….
Benefitting Obama is growing optimism about the state of the economy (52 percent believe the worst is behind them), as well as a more negative perception of the Republican Party (48 percent say the Democratic Party does a better job in appealing to those who aren’t hard-core supporters, while just 32 percent say that about the GOP).
What’s more, there’s a significant gender gap: Obama leads Romney among women by 25 points (55 percent to 30 percent) and men by 12 points (50 percent to 38 percent). The president’s job-approval rating in Wisconsin stands at 50 percent.
…. with U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Korea Sung Kim aboard Marine One during an early morning flight from Osan Air Base to the landing zone at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25
….. greeting troops the dining hall at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25
….. signing a bar in the dining hall at Camp Bonifas
…. briefed by Lt. Col. Ed Taylor as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas
…. greeting members of the audience following his remarks at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul
…. with President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China at a bilateral meeting at the Coex Center in Seoul
….. talking with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon during a break in the Nuclear Security Summit
….. in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani of Pakistan
People wave along President Obama’s motorcade route to the landing zone at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul
…. waving from the top of the stairs before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base
…. greeting US soldiers and family members before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base outside Seoul, March 27
Time: ….. Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton were on the long stretch of a turnpike between Orlando and Miami on March 23 when they heard President Obama’s poignant remark about their boy — that if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”
They say that was when they realized how far-reaching the impact of his controversial death, and their effort to get to the bottom of it, is. “It felt real warm to know our son’s name had been mentioned by the President of the United States and all over the nation and the world,” Martin says.
“His name is ringing all over the country, all over the nation, all over the world.” Fulton agrees, saying, “It showed us that even President Obama understands we need justice, that he understands our situation.” Adds Martin: “The nation is saying, What if — what if this was my son, what would I do?”
Charles Pierce: This picture, which ran on the front page of The New York Times this morning, and which accompanied the story about the opening of the arguments in the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, makes me as sad and despairing about the state of the country as I have been in an awfully long time. There are better places on the Intertoobz than this one to look either for a general overview of what may happen in the Court over the next three days – Ezra Klein’s joint did a masterful job this morning – …. but this picture makes the whole affair ring a little hollow already.
….. with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ahead of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit working dinner in Seoul on March 26
… with Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard
…. with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
… with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev after their bilateral meeting in Seoul on March 26
President Barack Obama is briefed by Lt. Col. Yoon Bong-hee, left, as he views the DMZ from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. A translator assists during the briefing. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
People rally on the sidewalk as legal arguments over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take place at the Supreme Court in Washington, March 26
Medical students show their support for President Obama’s healthcare law
Linda Door protests against President Obama’s health care plan🙄
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to children at the White House’s garden on March 26. The First Lady welcomed school children from across the country to join her for the fourth annual White House Kitchen Garden spring planting.
Caroline Kennedy speaking to volunteers in a field office in Florida, March 23
Hi everyone, just a few pics and videos for now, I’ll try and catch up properly with all the news tomorrow – I’m way behind!