The President will remain in Palm City, Florida through Monday, Feb 18. No public events are scheduled
President Obama greets supporters after arriving at West Palm Beach International Airport, Feb. 15
Paul Krugman: It looks as if President Obama has successfully set a political trap over the minimum wage. Raising the minimum is very popular — even a narrow majority of Republicans are for it. But Republican leaders are opposed. And they’d like people to believe that their opposition is driven by sincere concern for workers who might lose their jobs.
Well, this isn’t likely to work…..
….. Maybe once upon a time, when Republicans were less intellectually inbred, they could have pulled off the stunt of seeming to care about the people supposedly hurt by a higher minimum wage. But I really don’t think they’re up to it at this point.
A year ago: A child reaches out to First Lady Michelle Obama prior to a Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way event at Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., Feb. 11, 2012 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
12:30: VP Biden holds a roundtable discussion on gun safety with law enforcement officials in Philadelphia
1:45: President Obama will present Clint Romesha with the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony
2:0: Senate lawmakers will debate and vote on re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act
On Thursday at 4:30 ET: “Fireside Hangout” with President Obama
23 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from prison having been locked up for 27 years by a racist state
NYT: President Obama will use his State of the Union speech to reinvigorate one of his signature national security objectives – drastically reducing nuclear arsenals around the world – after securing agreement in recent months with the United States military that the American nuclear force can be cut in size by roughly a third.
…… White House officials are looking at a cut that would take the arsenal of deployed weapons to just above 1,000. Currently there are about 1,700, and the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that passed the Senate at the end of 2009 calls for a limit of roughly 1,550 by 2018.
But Mr. Obama, according to an official who was involved in the deliberations, “believes that we can make pretty radical reductions – and save a lot of money – without compromising American security in the second term. And the Joint Chiefs have signed off on that concept.”
Washington Post: President Obama is considering a series of new executive actions aimed at working around a recalcitrant Congress, including policies that could allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages, provide new protections for gays and lesbians, make buildings more energy-efficient and toughen regulations for coal-fired power plants, according to people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues.
TPM: The Senate is poised to pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization early this week, with a final vote expected Monday afternoon or Tuesday.
…. Despite the unusually large Senate consensus, there has been no perceptible movement among House Republican leaders since they passed a scaled-back version of VAWA on a party-line vote last year, rejecting the Senate legislation.
In an exchange on the floor Wednesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) needled Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on VAWA….. Cantor responded that it’s a “priority” for Republicans to “move and act on this bill”….
…. By the end of the week, House Republican leaders had no progress to speak of. “Silence,” said a senior House Democratic aide.
NYT Editorial: If you’d like to know why Republicans are trying to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, take a look at three things the agency has already accomplished in its first 18 months:
* It called a halt to predatory practices by mortgage lenders, ensuring that borrowers are not saddled with loans they can’t afford and preventing brokers from earning higher commissions for higher interest rates.
* It won an $85 million settlement from American Express, which it accused of deceptive and discriminatory marketing and billing practices.
* It opened an investigation into questionable marketing practices by banks and credit card companies on college campuses, which often take place after undisclosed financial arrangements are made with universities….
Paul Krugman: Last week Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, gave what his office told us would be a major policy speech. And we should be grateful for the heads-up about the speech’s majorness. Otherwise, a read of the speech might have suggested that he was offering nothing more than a meager, warmed-over selection of stale ideas.
To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed – and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
NYT: (Missoula, Mont) This funky college town …. has long been a liberal pocket, an isolated speck of blue in a deeply red state. Now Montana is electing more politicians who lean that way, thanks to a different-minded generation of young voters animated by the recession and social issues.
…. these students, and dozens of other young people interviewed here last week, give voice to a trend that is surprising pollsters and jangling the nerves of Republicans. On a central philosophical question of the day – the size and scope of the federal government – a clear majority of young people embraces President Obama’s notion that it can be a constructive force….
…. Here in Montana, a state that backed John McCain in 2008 and Mr. Romney last year, voters under 30 have helped elect two Democratic senators and a new Democratic governor. Nationally, young voters have since 2004 been casting their ballots for Democrats by far wider margins than previous young generations – a shift that could reshape American politics for decades.
Later in the article, the GOP response to young voters in Montanta helping elect Gov Steve Bullock and re-elect Sen Jon Tester (“Both times, polls stayed open hours past their official closing time to accommodate huge lines of students. Both times, Forward Montana ran huge voter registration drives”)?
They are “now trying to undo a Montana law that permits voters to register on Election Day”.
ThinkProgress: Cleopatra Pendleton, mother of slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, will be Michelle Obama’s guest at the State of the Union on Tuesday.
NYT: Gabrielle Giffords looked slightly stricken as she considered the question: Would she feel bad about starring in a political advertisement against her former House colleagues who declined to stand with her on guns? “Yes,” she said, it would be painful.
“Sometimes you have to do things that are hard,” said Mark E. Kelly, Ms. Giffords’s husband, as she tucked herself close to him on their couch. Ms. Giffords nodded, as she often does when Mr. Kelly — as he often does — intuits the many thoughts she is still unable to express fully. “Really hard,” she added.
Ms. Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, a gun owner, an astronaut’s wife, a shooting survivor and an incipient gun-control advocate, is settling into the third act of her public life.
ThinkProgress: The NRA is a big spender when it comes to lobbying and campaigns. ThinkProgress investigated the NRA’s contributions to Members of Congress and — lo and behold — the most heavily NRA-backed congressman are leading the charge against new gun violence prevention measures.
Three years ago today: A bronze bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is visible in the foreground as President Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Feb. 4, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Today (All times EST):
10:15: President Obama departs the White House
11:15: VP Biden and Dr Jill Biden arrive in London
1:00: President Obama arrives in Minneapolis
1:30 Participates in a discussion with local leaders and law enforcement officials (Pool spray at the top)
2:30 Delivers remarks on a comprehensive set of ideas to reduce gun violence (Live coverage)
3:35 Departs Minneapolis, Minnesota
5:45 Arrives Joint Base Andrews
6:0 Arrives the White House
The week ahead:
Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House
Wednesday: Attends the Democratic Senate Caucus Retreat in Annapolis, Maryland
Thursday: Delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. In the afternoon, the President will travel to Leesburg, VA to deliver remarks at the House Democratic Issues Conference
Friday: Attends meetings at the White House
Steve Benen: Last night, if you were watching the Super Bowl you saw a rather powerful ad on gun policy …. The spot, sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, urges policymakers to approve a universal background check, and features “America, the Beautiful” against the backdrop of young children.
About 12 hours earlier, Americans could see theNRA’s Wayne LaPierre on “Fox News Sunday,” making a very different kind of argument: “I make the same thing during the campaign, when he said to people I will not take away your rifle, shotgun, handgun. They leafletted the country with flyers like this, ‘Obama is not going to take your gun, Obama is going to protect gun rights.’ And, now, he’s trying to take away all three.”
….. therein lies the problem: the policy debate has become increasingly strained because one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington relies on arguments based on evidence the organization has simply made up…..
Josh Marshall (TPM): I just found out that last September the NRA published an official list of gun enemies including the ADA, AMA, ADL, Mel Brooks, Chaka Khan and hundreds of other domestic gun enemies…..
The following organizations have lent monetary, grassroots or some other type of direct support to anti-gun organizations. In many instances, these organizations lent their name in support of specific campaigns to pass anti-gun legislation such as the March 1995 HCI “Campaign to Protect Sane Gun Laws.” Many of these organizations were listed as “Campaign Partners,” for having pledged to fight any efforts to repeal the Brady Act and the Clinton “assault weapons” ban. All have officially endorsed anti-gun positions.
Michael Tomasky: The Strangest NRA Story Yet – The fact that the NRA was keeping a list of its foes isn’t all that bizarre. But the list itself is positively loony — yet more evidence of just how nuts the NRA is
One of the sure markers of the paranoid mind is the urge to keep lists. In particular, lists of enemies, subversives, no-goodniks …. It virtually goes without saying that the keepers of such lists are always the bullies who survive by fomenting hatred and making sure that their constituents stay in a state of constant agitation. And so it was no surprise to learn over the weekend that the NRA has a little list of 497 people and organizations who are in some way, shape, or form anti-gun. It makes for hilarious reading, although it’s sort of frightening to think about the demented minds of the people who assembled it.
Paul Krugman: ….. There was, however, one piece of the reform that was a shining example of how to do it right: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a stand-alone agency with its own funding, charged with protecting consumers against financial fraud and abuse. And sure enough, Senate Republicans are going all out in an attempt to kill that bureau.
….. Right now, all the media focus is on the obvious hot issues — immigration, guns, the sequester, and so on. But let’s try not to let this one fall through the cracks: just four years after runaway bankers brought the world economy to its knees, Senate Republicans are using every means at their disposal, violating all the usual norms of politics in the process, in an attempt to give the bankers a chance to do it all over again.
Steve Benen: Long-time viewers of The Rachel Maddow Show may recall the “Geek Week” segments aired in May 2010, which included an interview with Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (The segment also noted why At Least I Am A Nerd.com still redirects to the show’s video player.)
Nearly three years later, we’ve learned that Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, will leave his post in President Obama’s second term, stepping down from the Department of Energy later this month. With this in mind, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the significance of Chu’s first-term efforts, which haven’t generated front-page news, but which carry extraordinary significance…..
2:15: Michelle Obama visits the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
3:30: President Obama meets with Ambassador Susan Rice
Susan Rice (Washington Post): On Thursday I asked that President Obama no longer consider me for the job of secretary of state. I made this decision because it is the right step for this country I love. I have never shied away from a fight for a cause I believe in. But, as it became clear that my potential nomination would spark an enduring partisan battle, I concluded that it would be wrong to allow this debate to continue distracting from urgent national priorities — creating jobs, growing our economy, addressing our deficit, reforming our immigration system and protecting our national security.
These are the issues that deserve our focus, not a controversy about me….
Jonathan Bernstein: Don’t jump to conclusions about Susan Rice …. I’d caution everyone to wait a bit before drawing any firm conclusions about what happened here. We don’t know she was Barack Obama’s first choice. We don’t know, if she was the top choice, why she didn’t wind up the pick…..
…. We’ll hear those claims the loudest from whoever has the loudest megaphone (and the Republican partisan press is an awfully loud megaphone). Doesn’t make it more likely that those who take credit the loudest were those responsible. If anyone was responsible.
….. All that said: if Obama backed off of Rice purely because he was afraid of a fight with Republicans, it’s probably a poor choice… although it depends, a bit, on whether he had counted the votes and knew she couldn’t get confirmed, as opposed to simply wanting to avoid a messy but successful confirmation.
ABC: President Obama says recreational users of marijuana in states that have legalized the substance should not be a “top priority” of federal law enforcement officials prosecuting the war on drugs.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said of pot users in Colorado and Washington during an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Barbara Walters.
“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said, invoking the same approach taken toward users of medicinal marijuana in 18 states where it’s legal.
More of Barbara Walters’ exclusive first joint, post-election interview with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama airs tonight on “20/20” at 10 p.m. ET on ABC stations.
President Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office, Dec. 13, 2012. Pictured, clockwise from the President, are: Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett; Pete Rouse, Counselor to the President; Senior Advisor David Plouffe; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Chief of Staff Jack Lew; and Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
It’s important to make this point, because I keep seeing articles about the “fiscal cliff” that do, in fact, describe it — often in the headline — as a debt crisis. But it isn’t. The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its deficit. In fact, its borrowing costs are near historic lows. And even the confrontation over the debt ceiling that looms a few months from now if we do somehow manage to avoid going over the fiscal cliff isn’t really about debt.
No, what we’re having is a political crisis, born of the fact that one of our two great political parties has reached the end of a 30-year road. The modern Republican Party’s grand, radical agenda lies in ruins — but the party doesn’t know how to deal with that failure, and it retains enough power to do immense damage as it strikes out in frustration.
President Obama and First Lady Michele Obama speak with Rabbi Larry Bazer, the Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard, at the end of the Hanukkah reception at the White House, December 13
President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office, Dec. 11. Pictured, from left, are: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Rob Nabors, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; and Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (Pete Souza)
12:0: President Obama holds a conference call with a bipartisan group of mayors and community leaders
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
Paul Krugman: Both Jonathan Chait and Charles Pierce have a field day with a Politico piece titled, without a hint of irony, Crafting a boom economy. In said piece they talk to various Very Serious People, and divine the insider consensus on What Must Be Done – which mainly seems to involve, naturally, cutting Social Security and Medicare while reducing corporate tax rates.
What I find remarkable about this piece is that after everything that has happened these past five years or so, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen still take it for granted that these people actually know what they’re talking about….
…. The whole theme of the Politico piece is that great things would happen if only the insiders could override all this messy democracy stuff. But the real lesson is that those insiders are not only self-dealing, but profoundly ignorant and wrong-headed. It’s too bad that so many journalists still can’t see that.
See also Liberal Librarian’s post at The People’s View: ‘More adventures in our failed media experiment’
Steve Benen: There was a widely held fear after Election Day that systemic voting restrictions would soon be forgotten. The outrage over voter-suppression tactics was real – unnecessary voter-ID laws, closed early voting windows, ridiculously long lines and waiting times – but once the election came and went, would the political world’s short attention span forget the fiascos?
Fortunately, no – or at least, not yet. Several Democratic members of Congress have already unveiled modest-but-helpful election reforms, and in the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder continues to take the issue very seriously….
NYT: A broad swath of the nation’s leading chief executives dropped its opposition to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans on Tuesday, while the White House quietly pressed Wall Street titans for their support as well.
Before Tuesday’s about-face, the Business Roundtable had insisted that the White House extend Bush-era tax cuts to taxpayers of all income brackets, but the executives’ resistance crumbled as pressure builds to find a compromise for the fiscal impasse in Washington before the end of the year.
“We recognize that part of the solution has to be tax increases,” David M. Cote, chief executive of Honeywell, said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s the only thing that allows a reasonable compromise to be reached.”
TPM: As Michigan Republicans pushed their controversial right to work legislation another step forward Tuesday, organized labor’s promise not to go quietly was realized.
…. labor groups say they’ve found a way to unwind the Michigan Republicans’ attempt to write the law in a way that makes it impossible to be overturned at the ballot box …. A high-ranking labor source told TPM unions are ready to turn Michigan into the next Ohio.
“If this bill is signed today, it will be Thunderdome for Governor Snyder and Michigan for the next two years,” the official said. “There are multiple options for a referendum, for the voters to have their say on this issue and all options are on the table, the fight is far from over.”
First Lady Michelle Obama during an event with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition on the South Lawn of the White House, May 9, 2011 (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
NYT: After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines. The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.
“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.
The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course.
10:10: The President and Vice President meet with governors at the White House
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The President will participate on Tuesday in his first television interview since the election. Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Julianna Goldman will do the questioning. According to a preview, they will discuss the fiscal cliff and his priorities and agenda for his second term. The interview will air at 12:30 p.m. EST on Bloomberg TV. (See here)
Paul Krugman: It goes without saying that the Republican “counteroffer” is basically fake. It calls for $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes, but doesn’t specify a single loophole to be closed; it calls for huge spending cuts, but aside from raising the Medicare age and cutting the Social Security inflation adjustment – moves worth only around $300 billion – it doesn’t specify how these cuts are to be achieved. So it’s basically the Paul Ryan method: scribble down some numbers and pretend that you’re a budget wonk with a Serious plan.
….. for all the seniors or near-seniors who voted Republican because you thought they would protect Medicare from that bad guy Obama: you’ve been had.
NYT Editorial: ….. under pressure from the White House, Republicans finally released their opening position in the negotiations – a remarkably shallow one that demonstrated a lack of seriousness in negotiations, or farsightedness in policy.
…. The only way to produce the necessary revenue is to combine some limits on deductions with an end to the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and Mr. Obama, fortunately, has been adamant he will not consider any plan that does not do so. The Boehner letter, by contrast, actually advocates lowering rates, suggesting that Republicans are still clinging to the notion, rejected by voters, that was put forward by Mitt Romney.
….. Monday’s offer may simply be intended to show the most conservative Republicans that their leaders fought before the compromises to come. For everyone else, they show a party unwilling to approach the bargaining with responsibility.
Eugene Robinson: How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a “balanced approach” to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.
…. “Right now, I would say we’re nowhere, period,” said Boehner. “We’re nowhere.”
Not true. It’s just that we’re somewhere Republicans would prefer not to be. We’re just past an election in which Obama won a second term and Democrats gained seats in both houses of Congress. And we’re nearing a “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and budget cuts that horrify Republicans more than Democrats.
… There is no guarantee that Obama will get everything he wants out of this showdown. But I’d rather be playing the president’s hand than Boehner’s.
2:55: President Obama hosts a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria
4:0: Delivers remarks to the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction symposium
Paul Krugman: In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: They can’t or won’t do it.
No, really …. And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble.
Steve Benen: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared on several Sunday shows yesterday, and for the first time, made explicitly clear that higher rates on income above $250,000 is a precondition to any fiscal agreement.
…. this, in a nutshell, is why talks aren’t going anywhere. The White House has a plan on the table, which includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue, relying largely on higher rates on income above $250,000. Congressional Republicans, by their own admission, have no plan….
For those who take arithmetic seriously, the GOP approach borders on laughable….
CNN: Mitt Romney supporter Kid Rock said on Sunday that he told President Obama there are “no hard feelings” over his re-election victory. In an interview with CNN, the rock singer said he spoke with the President on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors event. (Video at link)
No hard feelings? Aw, that’s nice of him.🙄
Loved what the President said to him when they met: “I’m still here.”😎
Kathleen Geier (Washington Monthly): One of the more surprising voting trends in American politics over the past two decades is the dramatic shift of Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party. Only 31% of the Asian American electorate voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but 73% supported Barack Obama in 2012. What accounts for this change? Working with data from the National Asian American Survey, two political scientists have some answers.
The professors reject a variety of explanations that have recently been offered. No, it’s apparently not because, as David Brooks proposed, Asian American voters are less individualistic or less antagonistic toward government than are other Americans …. Rather, there are are cluster of “push and pull” factors …. Some of the pull factors: Asian Americans like President Obama’s policies on health care, education, and the Iraq War…..
As for the “push factors”: well, the Republican’s anti-immigrant bias and its alliance with the Christian right are not doing them any favors so far as Asian Americans are concerned….
Business Insider: One month before Election Day, David Paleologos threw himself into the poll-heavy discussion of the 2012 campaign with a bold prediction.
Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said that he would no longer poll three key swing states — North Carolina, Virginia and Florida — because he was certain Republican Mitt Romney would win them.
That prediction, obviously, turned out to be horribly wrong. Romney won North Carolina, but Romney lost Virginia by nearly 4 points — and one of the biggest surprises of the election came when President Barack Obama won Florida.
…. Paleologos said that Suffolk would re-evaluate its likely voter screen ….
ABC: When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the Constitution won’t wait …. The iron beams are in place jutting out over Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.They will become the roof of the presidential reviewing stand for the second Obama inaugural next month.
But the traditional parade with its bands and floats will not march on January 20th, the day the Constitution requires the President to be sworn in. That falls on a Sunday this time so by tradition there will only be a small Sunday ceremony for the oath-taking at noon.
…. President Obama will also have to take the oath twice: At noon Jan. 20 as the Constitution requires, and again Monday at the US Capitol with the whole world watching.
Matthew Yglesias: Obama’s 2010 Lame Duck Tax Deal Was a Triumph, Not A Sellout …. David Corn has an interesting piece (see below) pushing back on the myth of the Obama cave-in, but I’d go further – the deal was a triumph …
….. Obama secured a deal that extended the middle class tax cuts, extended UI benefits, created a stimulative payroll tax holiday, cleared the legislative decks for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal and the passage of the New START arms control treated, and in exchange he gave up nothing of any real substance …. now he gets to play that leverage from a somewhat stronger economic and political context. It’s totally solid legislative dealmaking, and not any kind of cave-in or surrender.
David Corn (Mother Jones): ….. Obama didn’t wave the white flag in 2010. He turned a face-off over the Bush tax cuts into an opportunity to enact a second stimulus that he otherwise could not get past Senate Republicans. His failure at that time was not that he mustered insufficient mettle; he failed to convey to the world that he had ju-jitsued the GOPers.
…. no one ought to forget that Obama, a progressive in his policy preferences, remains a pragmatist. What happened two years ago is not an indication that Obama is likely to yield in the new face-off, but that he will be assessing the political dynamics in gridlocked Washington and be willing to bargain hard for a good deal with true benefits. That’s not caving in. It’s governing.
NYT: When Tea Party activists swamped town hall-style meetings about health care in the summer of 2009, President Obama’s army of campaign volunteers largely stayed away ….. now, Mr. Obama is seizing a second chance to keep his election-year supporters animated.
With lawmakers scheduled to return to work on Monday to begin intense discussions before a looming fiscal deadline, Mr. Obama’s aides are trying to harness the passions that returned him to the White House, hoping to pressure Republicans in Congress to accept tax increases on the wealthy. The president’s strategists are turning first to the millions of e-mail addresses assembled by the campaign and the White House.
Already, supporters are being asked to record YouTube videos of themselves talking about the importance of raising taxes on the rich. Aides said those videos would be shared on Facebook and Twitter and would be forwarded to centrist Democrats, as well as to mainstream Republicans, who they hope will break with their Tea Party colleagues.
2:15: Delivers remarks at a campaign rally at Elm Street Middle School, Nashua
4:30: Vice President Biden, Jill and Beau Biden campaign in Lynchburg, Virginia (live on C-Span)
5:05: President Obama departs Nashua
6:45: Arrives White House
On Wednesday, the President will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio and Akron, Ohio for campaign events. In the evening, the President and the First Lady will welcome local children and children of military families to trick-or-treat at the North Portico of the White House.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson:
Paul Krugman: For a few days there the Romney campaign was boasting a lot about having Big Mo — and the press corps actually fell for it, briefly. At this point, however, the reality seems to be sinking in: if Romney has Big Mo, it looks like this:
Despite the Denver Debacle and its aftermath, state polls are showing a clear Obama lead in the electoral college, which if anything is getting a bit stronger….
Why? Jonathan Cohn singles out the auto bailout, and rightly so. I’d add, however, that the killing of Osama bin Laden mattered too …. what the auto rescue and the bin Laden strike have in common is that they were both very courageous decisions — decisions that could easily have gone wrong, that faced lots of second-guessing. You can criticize Obama for many things (and I have, and will in future), but he showed true grit when it mattered, and now seems likely to reap the reward.
Mediaite: Bill Maher used his final New Rule of the night to warn voters unhappy with President Obama of the political and social consequences of the other guy winning. Maher argued that Mitt Romney winning the presidency would not just be a victory for him, but for every Republican extremist Romney has ever supported in his recent political career. Maher said Romney “may seem like a nice fella,” but he’s “a compulsive liar whose whole life is secret” and would bring too much unwanted baggage into a relationship with America.
…. Maher also warned about the “fresh can of nuts” in Congress with wildly anti-scientific beliefs that would have more free reign under a Republican administration. Maher said that a Republican in the White House would mean the return of “Bible-thumping bullshit” in government.
Joseph E. Stiglitz (NYT): This election has rightly been characterized as one that will deeply affect the future direction of the country: Americans are being given a choice with potentially large consequences. One arena in which there are profound differences that has not been adequately debated is the future course of inequality.
…. Every other advanced country has recognized the right of everyone to access to health care, and extending access was central to President Obama’s health care reform. Romney and Ryan have criticized that reform, but have said nothing about how or whether they would ensure universal access. Most important, the macroeconomic consequences of the Romney-Ryan economic program would be devastating: growth would slow, unemployment would increase, and just as Americans would need the social protection of government more, the safety net would be weakened.
…. let no one be deceived: their tax policies will lead to even more inequality at the top, the continued hollowing out of the middle, and more poverty at the bottom. Worst of all, they will lead to a more divided society that endangers our future – our economy, our democracy and our sense of identity as a nation.
(Joseph E. Stiglitz, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and a former chief economist of the World Bank, is University Professor at Columbia University)
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has been barnstorming the country, telling voters that he has a five-point plan to restore prosperity …. Mr. Romney’s “plan” is a sham. It’s a list of things he claims will happen, with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things happen…..
Actually, if describing what you want to see happen without providing any specific policies to get us there constitutes a “plan,” I can easily come up with a one-point plan that trumps Mr. Romney any day. Here it is: Every American will have a good job with good wages. Also, a blissfully happy marriage. And a pony.
So Mr. Romney is faking it. His real plan seems to be to foster economic recovery through magic, inspiring business confidence through his personal awesomeness. But what about the man he wants to kick out of the White House?
…. Mr. Obama may not have an exciting economic plan, but, if he is re-elected, he will get to implement a health reform that is the biggest improvement in America’s safety net since Medicare. Mr. Romney doesn’t have an economic plan at all, but he is determined not just to repeal Obamacare but to impose savage cuts in Medicaid. So never mind all those bullet points. Think instead about the 45 million Americans who either will or won’t receive essential health care, depending on who wins on Nov. 6.
President Obama has his drivers license checked prior to casting his vote in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago
President Obama has a laugh when an election official’s cell phone rings …
Greeting people as he leaves a campaign office in Chicago (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)
Eugene Robinson (Washington Post): This election is only tangentially a fight over policy. It is also a fight about meaning and identity – and that’s one reason voters are so polarized. It’s about who we are and who we aspire to be.
President Obama enters the final days of the campaign with a substantial lead among women – about 11 points, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll – and enormous leads among Latinos and African Americans, the nation’s two largest minority groups. Mitt Romney leads among white voters, with an incredible 2-to-1 advantage among white men … it would be disingenuous to pretend not to notice the obvious cleavage between those who have long held power in this society and those who are beginning to attain it.
When Republicans vow to “take back our country,” they never say from whom. But we can guess.
…. Some of Obama’s opponents have tried to delegitimize his presidency because he doesn’t embody the America they once knew. He embodies the America of now.
Paul Krugman: …. If you’re new to this, there are two basic approaches to election analysis at this point. One is the campaign reporter style, full of impressionist reporting about who won the news cycle and who has “momentum”, whatever that means ….. The other is poll-based. And that mostly means state-level polls at this point: there are more of them, and we have an electoral-college system, not a popular-vote system.
The impressionistic style has been all about Romney on the rise, a narrative that is to a large part being fed by the Romney campaign itself. But the state-level polling doesn’t show it…..
NYT Editorial: …. For Mr. Romney, Mr. Obama’s decision to bail out the auto industry and his own rejection of it is proving to be an Electoral College challenge. Several states are also feeling the benefits of an improved economy. Obama campaign officials say that to win, Mr. Romney would have to pick off voters already committed to the president in states where Mr. Romney has never been ahead. “We think we maintain a lot more plausible pathways to 270 than Governor Romney, who we think has to essentially pull an inside straight,” said David Plouffe, the president’s chief strategist.
Those pathways exist because millions of voters still harbor doubts about Mitt Romney. He has apparently decided that in the final days of the campaign, he will do little to dispel them.
Washington Post: …. this is an interesting case in which Mitt Romney has taken two moments from the third presidential debate – both of which were faulted by fact checkers – and turned them into television ads. In both cases, Romney also misspoke, making his statements even less accurate. The campaign commercial for the “apology tour” selectively snips out Romney’s errors, but apparently it was impossible to clean up Romney’s error on the size of the Navy.
…. The net effect is to suggest Obama made those supposed apologies to Arabs, without actually saying so, because that would be incorrect. But even careful editing still does not fix the basic problem in the first place – there was no apology tour.
This ad also repeats the criticism that Obama has never visited Israel. As we have noted, only four of the last 11 presidents visited Israel during their presidency — and only two visited in their first term…
For doubling down on claims that have been repeatedly called out by fact checkers, even to the point of editing out the candidate’s misstatements, the Romney campaign earns Four Pinocchios.
Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): GOP’s Benghazi Smoking Gun Goes Up in Smoke …. When a set of State Department emails were released Wednesday, one reporting that a local Islamist militia had claimed responsibility for the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, conservatives thought they had the smoking gun that the Obama administration had lied about what had occurred.
…. There’s only one problem — well, actually, there are many, but one big one: The email appears to have been incorrect…..
….. in the future it’s a good idea to remember that just because someone posts something on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Even better: Just because someone said someone posted something on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s true. Even if you really, really want it to be.