This past week saw American corporate media at one of its criminally shameful worst. And there is gross competition for how low they can go. Brian Ross of ABC news led the pack in exploiting the grief of James Foley’s family to push utterly offensive nonsense that the White House was derelict in pursuing efforts to rescue James Foley from the grip of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL/IS). At the heart of this spurious attack is the media’s sensational headline that Foley’s mother claims that the Obama administration threatened them with prosecution if they paid ransom money to the militants to secure their son’s release.
Bam! That framing was all that was needed to shift focus away from the heinous actions of the militants, to the virulent and cynically profitable blame-Obama-for-any-and-all-horror-that-happens-in-the-world syndrome in our political zeitgeist. And like clockwork, the rest of the media, politicians, and many commentators were baited and hooked by this media scam, including, I’m sorry to say, the Foley family itself.
President Obama Talks to Thomas L. Friedman About Iraq, Putin and Israel
President Obama’s hair is definitely grayer these days, and no doubt trying to manage foreign policy in a world of increasing disorder accounts for at least half of those gray hairs. (The Tea Party can claim the other half.) But having had a chance to spend an hour touring the horizon with him in the White House Map Room late Friday afternoon, it’s clear that the president has a take on the world, born of many lessons over the last six years, and he has feisty answers for all his foreign policy critics.
Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi Shiites or any other faction. Despite Western sanctions, he cautioned, President Vladimir Putin of Russia “could invade” Ukraine at any time, and, if he does, “trying to find our way back to a cooperative functioning relationship with Russia during the remainder of my term will be much more difficult.” Intervening in Libya to prevent a massacre was the right thing to do, Obama argued, but doing it without sufficient follow-up on the ground to manage Libya’s transition to more democratic politics is probably his biggest foreign policy regret.
This made me smile – Knoller has been getting epic push-back on Twitter in recent days for his shilling, and his obsession with the President’s vacation. So much so, he now has an army of Teabaggers following him (just check any of the comments under his tweets). So, maybe the pressure actually left him feeling obliged to tweet at least one bit of honesty:
Pete Souza: “The President, in the process of saluting, participates in a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer of U.S. and Afghan personnel who died in Afghanistan a few days earlier. Many family members and friends of the special forces who died in this incident requested a copy of the photograph and later wrote me how much it meant to them.” Aug. 9, 2011
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On This Day – Pete Souza: “We were walking through a locker room at the University of Texas when White House Trip Director Marvin Nicholson stopped to weigh himself on a scale. Unbeknownst to him, the President was stepping on the back of the scale, as Marvin continued to slide the scale lever. Everyone but Marvin was in on the joke.” Aug. 9, 2010
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MoooOOOooorning everyone! Another rushed R&S, will try to catch up through the day.
President Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens (Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
8:50 PM EST: President Obama departs the White House
9:05: Departs Joint Base Andrews
The Week Ahead:
Amy Lynn Smith: Student Celebrates The ACA’s 4th Birthday With The Gift Of Coverage For $5.23/Month
On March 23, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrates its fourth anniversary of being signed into law. Also known as Obamacare, the law has helped millions of Americans obtain affordable, quality coverage — many for the first time. Andreea Prundeanu, a 29-year-old doctoral candidate at Michigan State University in Lansing, is one of them. Concern about getting sick weighed heavily on her as she was working hard toward her future. She was uninsured for three years after she turned 26 and could no longer stay on her parents’ plan. Prundeanu enrolled in a Silver-level plan through Healthcare.gov. Because of her low income as a student, she was eligible for financial assistance — and now pays just $5.23 a month for coverage.
Vice President Joe Biden called employers’ ability in some states to fire employees because of their sexuality “barbaric” and “bizarre” during a keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign Gala dinner Saturday. “Hate can never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm,” he said. “I’ve had it up to here with cultural norms.” He called on Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would outlaw discrimination by most private employers against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Yahoo: How Obama Crippled A Russian Bank With A Stroke Of A Pen
He may not take shirtless horseback rides across the steppes, or have a black belt in judo, but on Thursday, President Obama sent a message to Russian president Vladimir Putin about strength. Specifically, economic strength. The message was this: Whenever I decide to, I can pick up a pen, and kill a significant financial institution in your country. Obama’s victim was the St. Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya. In response to Russia’s takeover of the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Obama yesterday authorized the Treasury Department to add 20 members of Putin’s inner circle, as well as Bank Rossiya, to the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s list of “specially designated nationals.”
The designation makes the individuals named ineligible to do business with U.S. financial institutions, which is likely a major personal inconvenience. But for Bank Rossiya, the designation is something like the kiss of death. Bank Rossiya is not the largest bank in Russia by a long shot, but its significance lies in its clientele rather than its size. In announcing the sanctions, the Treasury Department noted that Bank Rossiya “is the personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation” including members of the Ozero Dacha Cooperative, an exclusive community where members of Putin’s inner circle live. In addition, it provides financial services to the single largest segment of the Russian economy – the oil, gas, and energy sector.
Capital flight from Russia reached $35 billion in the first two months of this year, Russian Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev said this week. That outflow has only increased in recent weeks and by the end of the first quarter, it could exceed the $65 billion capital-flight figure recorded for all of 2013, analysts say.
This trend — and other factors including likely international sanctions, the falling value of the ruble, and the costs of integrating Crimea into the Russian economy — could tip the sluggish Russian economy into recession. “The sum of these factors — the decline in investment and a slowdown in consumer demand — in my view will mean that the economy is on the edge of a recession,” says Kirill Tremasov, an economist with Nomos-Bank in Moscow. “Although you can still hear predictions from government bureaucrats that the economy might grow by 2 or 3 percent, I think these predictions are completely unfounded.”
NYT: Russian Forces Take Over The Last Ukrainian Bases In Crimea
Russian forces pushed Saturday to complete their expulsion of the Ukrainian military from the disputed Crimean Peninsula, smashing through the gates of a base here with armored vehicles, firing weapons into the air and demanding that the cornered Ukrainian soldiers surrender. The operation to seize the base — one of the Ukrainian military’s last strongholds on the peninsula — was larger and more dramatic than at other installations where Ukrainian forces have capitulated steadily in recent days as Russia declared its formal annexation of the region.
By evening, Russian forces were fully in control of the base here, and most of the Ukrainian troops were dispatched to their barracks and homes to pack. In interviews before the takeover Saturday, soldiers expressed frustration with the lack of help from the their government in Kiev. Some troops said they were defending the base as a matter of honor, having sworn to serve the people and government of Ukraine. “I took an oath,” said one commander, adding that he felt no personal antipathy toward Russia or Russians. The sense of abandonment was echoed at other bases where soldiers and marines began to pack up their belongings last week, accepting that their cause was lost.
Jonathan Cohn: The Koch Brothers Are Accidentally Advertising The Benefits Of Obamacare
Some new advertisements attacking the Affordable Care Act actually show why the law is working. The ads are running in Colorado and Louisiana, two states where incumbent Democratic senators face difficult reelection fights. They come from Americans for Prosperity, the conservative organization backed by the Koch Brothers. In short, these stories may generate sympathy but they are rarely the stuff of tragedy. And that’s because of the protections Obamacare provides—which is to say, the very things that Koch-funded right-wingers want to gut.
After all, it’s Obamacare that sets a minimum standard for insurance, so that all policies include comprehensive benefits and set limits on out-of-pocket spending. It’s Obamacare that puts coverage within financial reach of many more people than before, by offering those subsidies and then, for some people, reducing out-of-pocket expenses even more. In the old days, it wasn’t so hard to find tear-jerker anecdotes: People without insurance or with inadequate insurance were filing for bankruptcy, losing their homes, and missing out on essential medicine. Now those stories are less common and, for the most part, they are among people who had these same problems previously. Telling the stories of these people would be a rationale for expanding the Affordable Care Act, not repealing it.
Christian Caryl: President Obama Takes A Big Risk And Scores A Big Win For Democracy — And No One Gives A Damn
President Obama pulled off a master stroke this week. He deployedU.S. military force in support of an infant democracy that desperately needs our help. The result was a resounding success, a vivid illustration of how the United States can put its unchallenged power to positive ends. He did it, once again, by sending in the SEALs, the U.S. Navy’s famous special forces. But this time they weren’t double-tapping a terrorist. Instead they seized a mysterious tanker that had skipped out of Libya with a shipment of oil that one of the country’s rogue militias was trying to sell on the open market. By doing it the SEALs foiled a potentially game-changing challenge to the authority of Libya’s hard-pressed government — one of the very few in the Arab world to have actually been elected by its own country’s people.
The reaction in Washington: a giant yawn. Deafening silence from Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are always quick to demand U.S. military action in situations where it will usually make things worse. Fox News barely noticed. Nor was there a word of praise from the president’s liberal allies on Capitol Hill. Even theNew York Times ran a perfunctory report. And as for the rest of America: Well, hey, the NCAA tournament is getting under way, and there are big controversies from the world of reality TV that need attending to. The collective disinterest is even more appalling when you consider that the country we just helped is Libya. You remember, right — the place where our ambassador was killed by terrorists two years ago? The president’s critics never tire of bringing that up, since they can use it to score political points against him
Oil is Libya’s lifeblood. The economy entirely depends on it; turn off the taps and everything grinds to a halt. Make no mistake: This was not “leading from behind.” This was an act of daring from a president who’s often typecast as too passive for his own good. But it was also a smart, calculated move — a truly surgical operation of a kind that probably only the United States could have pulled off with such confidence. It sends exactly the message that needs to be sent: If you try freelancing with oil resources that rightfully belong to the Libyan people, you won’t get far.
Shake Shack, a burger chain with locations in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. as well as international locations in the Middle East, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, pays starting workers $9.50 an hour outside of New York City and $10 an hour for New Yorkers, CEO Randy Garutti told ThinkProgress. It also offers full-time employees health, dental, vision, retirement, and disability benefits plus paid time off. But on average, workers get $10.70 an hour thanks to a program it calls Shack Bucks. Every month, it gives employees a percentage of the company’s top-line sales. The company pays about 70 percent of employees’ health care premiums and also matches contributions to their 401(k)s.
Michigan’s Moo Cluck Moo pays entry-level workers $15 an hour, a move its owners say leads to less turnover, better customer service, and more skilled employees. In-N-Out, a West Coast burger chain, pays $10.50 an hour for entry-level employees. Outside of the burger world, Boston-based burrito chain Boloco pays starting workers anywhere from $9 to $11 an hour, which the owner says increases loyalty and productivity and, in turn, profitability. In light of the conversation to raise the minimum wage, others have decided to join in. Two pizza companies in St. Louis will soon pay at least $10.10 an hour. It has also spread outside of the food industry: clothing retailer The Gap recently announced it will also raise its lowest wage to $10.
Sy Mukherjee: Insurance Giant Raises Its Profit Forecast Amid Surging Obamacare Enrollment
WellPoint, the insurance giant that encompasses the Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield brands, has raised its 2014 profit forecast after gaining more than a million new customers largely thanks to the Affordable Care Act. According to WellPoint CEO Joseph Swedish, the company now expects more than $8.20 per share in net income versus the $8.00 per share it was originally expecting, “driven by growth of 1.0 to 1.3 million net new medical members and mid-single digit percent increases in both operating revenue and operating gain.” Swedish even mentions Obamacare marketplaces specifically as a source of continuing growth.
“While it is early in 2014, we are encouraged by results thus far across our businesses and we believe [Obamacare] Exchanges are tracking our general expectations,” Swedish said in a press release. “As such, we are raising our 2014 earnings outlook… Our updated outlook reflects solid growth in membership, revenue and operating earnings. Our outlook also remains prudent in light of the dynamic nature of the marketplace, and we believe this is a point from which we will grow in the future.” WellPoint and its subsidiaries are selling policies in 14 states’ Obamacare marketplaces. Swedish has consistently been bullish about Obamacare enrollment — which surpassed five million private health plan signups earlier this week — both for this year and over the coming decade.
Nevada Medicaid enrollments under federal health care reform have surpassed initial projections and are on pace to reach 500,000 by summer, a mark initially not expected to be reached until the end of the 2015 fiscal year, a state official said. Mike Willden, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, said his agency has a backlog of 60,000 pending Medicaid applications, and he may need to speed up hiring to keep up with the demand. “We’ve doubled capacity. We really need to triple capacity,” Willden told the Board of Examiners on Tuesday. The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services began receiving electronic enrollments through Nevada’s health insurance exchange,
Nevada Health Link, in October. At the start, the agency was receiving about 121 applications per day electronically, representing about 40 percent of all Medicaid applications, Willden said. By December, “the floodgates opened” and enrollments jumped dramatically, sometimes reaching 3,000 per day, Willden said. “Since mid-December, the pipeline is wide-open and we are getting thousands of Medicaid applications each and every day,” he said. Under President Barack Obama’s health care law, states were given the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to include people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. When the current fiscal year began July 1, Nevada had 320,000 enrolled in Medicaid. By February, that number spiked to 402,000.
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.
2:45 ET: Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware
5:45 ET: Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event at Cuyahoga County Community College, Cleveland
NYT Editorial: There are many unanswered questions about the vicious assault in Benghazi last month that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. And Congress has a responsibility to raise them. But Republican lawmakers leading the charge on Capitol Hill seem more interested in attacking President Obama than in formulating an effective response.
It doesn’t take a partisan to draw that conclusion. The ugly truth is that the same people who are accusing the administration of not providing sufficient security for the American consulate in Benghazi have voted to cut the State Department budget, which includes financing for diplomatic security. The most self-righteous critics don’t seem to get the hypocrisy, or maybe they do and figure that if they hurl enough doubts and complaints at the administration, they will deflect attention from their own poor judgments on the State Department’s needs.
Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, October 13 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Washington Post: President Obama is regarded as significantly more honest and trustworthy than Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll — a finding that could inform the incumbent’s strategy heading into the second debate of the general election Tuesday night.
Fifty-five percent of likely voters said that Obama is “honest and trustworthy,” while 41 percent said he was not. For Romney, on the other hand, 47 percent said he could be described as honest and trustworthy, while an equal 47 percent said that he could not.
…. But in the handful of swing states identified by the Post (along with Democratic-leaning Ohio), Obama’s lead is even more pronounced on the question. Fifty-six percent of swing-state voters said the incumbent is honest and trustworthy, while just 44 percent said the same of Romney.
Virginia Gazette: …. The president arrived at the office, where he came into the lobby carrying a stack of pizzas …. he introduced himself to a small group of campaign workers in the lobby before heading into a back room, where 11 volunteers were phone banking. Obama introduced himself to the volunteers before taking a seat between Alexa Kissinger and Suzanne Stern to make his own phone calls to local volunteers. “I’ve got to get to work,” Obama said.
After joking with Stern about “old school” phones Obama …. then called Ellen and Chuck Hawkins. “Is this Ellen?” Obama asked. “Ellen this is Barack Obama.” Hawkins seemed not to believe she was getting a call from the president of the United States.
“It is. It is. Really, truly,” Obama said. “I’m over here in the Williamsburg office. They have told me some of the great folks that have been doing work, and I know you and Chuck have been working so hard.”
After making phone calls Obama, shook hands with and hugged a line of roughly 20 volunteers standing outside in front of the office, before heading back to Kingsmill to continue preparing for the debate.
With campaign volunteer Suzanne Stern at a campaign office in Williamsburg, October 14 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
…. greeting supporters outside the Williamsburg campaign office (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
NYT: BOSTON — When the ceiling collapsed in the Big Dig tunnel here, Gov. Mitt Romney was at his vacation home in New Hampshire. When the Bush administration warned that the nation was at high risk of a terror attack in December 2003, he was at his Utah retreat. And for much of the time the legislature was negotiating changes to his landmark health care bill, he was on the road.
During Mr. Romney’s four-year term as governor of Massachusetts, he cumulatively spent more than a year – part or all of 417 days – out of the state, according to a review of his schedule and other records. More than 70 percent of that time was spent on personal or political trips unrelated to his job, a New York Times analysis found.
Reuters: U.S. retail sales rose in September as Americans bought more cars and gasoline, while a gauge of consumer spending pointed to stronger-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter.
Retail sales increased 1.1 percent, the Commerce Department said on Monday, beating expectations after an upwardly revised 1.2 percent rise in August.
…. The details of the report showed broad strength across retailers, with sales of motor vehicles and parts up 1.3 percent … Other categories were also strong, with sales at electronics retailers up 4.5 percent, while sales at food and beverage stores rose 1.2 percent.
President Barack Obama stands with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during the transfer of remains ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 14, marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya (Pete Souza)
President Obama talks with Mario Orosa, a native Ohioan, before dinner at the Smith Commons Dining Room and Public House in Washington, DC, on October 12, 2012. Orosa was one of the three winners of the final “Dinner with Barack” fundraising contest. The winners are Kimberley Cathey, Mario Orosa and Joe Laliberte (UPI/Pete Marovich)
NYT: …. When Americans go to the polls next month, they will cast a vote not just for president but for one of two profoundly different visions for the future of the country’s health care system. With an Obama victory on Nov. 6, the president’s signature health care law – including the contentious requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty – will almost certainly come into full force, becoming the largest expansion of the safety net since President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through his Great Society programs almost half a century ago.
If Mr. Romney wins and Republicans capture the Senate, much of the law could be repealed – or its financing cut back – and the president’s goal of achieving near-universal coverage could take a back seat to Mr. Romney’s top priority, controlling medical costs.
Given the starkness of the choice, historians and policy makers believe this election could be the most significant referendum on a piece of social legislation since 1936, when the Republican Alf M. Landon ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal programs….
‘Romney’s emotional story remembered very differently by friend of fallen SEAL’
MyNorthWest.com: On the stump in Iowa Tuesday, Mitt Romney revealed that he met former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty at a holiday party some years ago. Doherty is one of four Americans killed during the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi.
…. one of Glen Doherty’s best friends remembered Doherty’s impression of this meeting much differently …. “He said it was very comical. Mitt Romney approached him ultimately four times, using this private gathering as a political venture to further his image. He kept introducing himself as Mitt Romney, a political figure. The same introduction, the same opening line. Glen believed it to be very insincere and stale.”
Ellefsen said Doherty remembered Romney as robotic … “He said it was pathetic and comical to have the same person come up to you within only a half hour, have this person reintroduce himself to you, having absolutely no idea whatsoever that he just did this 20 minutes ago, and did not even recognize Glen’s face.”
…. “Honestly it does make me sick. Glen would definitely not approve of it … I think he would feel, more than anything, almost embarrassed for Romney. I think he would feel pity for him.”
Charles Blow: Elections often turn on character moments and the slopes of lines. They are about who a candidate reveals himself to be under pressure more than who he says he is on stage…..
Taking that into account, at this moment, President Obama’s chances of being re-elected look stronger than they have in months. The Romney campaign seems to be coming off the tracks with no clear vision for how to get back on.
Romney’s panicky, premature excoriation of the Obama administration over violence in the Middle East — a response that was factually flawed and widely panned — only served to shake the fragile faith of those who might be holding their noses to support him…..
It also doesn’t help that Romney seems incapable of concealing his anxiety. He too often looks like a boy who just stepped on a nail and can’t remember his last tetanus shot.
Liberal Librarian: I think that this week has been a fulcrum not only in the election, but in the very real fight for the soul of the country.
Yes, way too many of our fellow citizens are still addled by hatred and bigotry. Obama should be ahead by 10-15 points, not 4-8. But let’s put that into perspective: Before the conventions, the polling averages had him ahead by at most 2 points. The debacle of Tampa and the triumph of Charlotte, without the media filter, basically reintroduced the country to both parties.
The GOP was seen as a heartless collection of ideologues whose only interest was in achieving power to service its rich backers. There was no positive vision of the future, but a wallowing in the contention that America was “in decline”. Charlotte highlighted a party and a President who believed in the nation, believed in the ability of its citizens to make an adult decision when presented with facts. The country saw a party united in its determination to make life better for all citizens, not just the fortunate few. It was the antithesis of the malaise bruited about by the GOP.
ThinkProgress: Biotechnology firm Monsanto Company, which currently owns most of the patents for America’s staple crops, is already cozy with American lawmakers. A new Nation report, however, indicates that “a very old friend in a very high place” may usher in the corporation’s most prosperous years yet.
The Nation’s investigative report has uncovered how Mitt Romney personally helped Monsanto shed its string of toxic chemical-related scandals and reinvent itself to dominate American agriculture. Monsanto, an early Bain & Company client, was so impressed with Romney that they started bypassing his superiors to deal with him directly.
ThinkProgress: House Republican Leader Eric Cantor announced Friday that after next week, the House will stand in recess until November 13. His plan for a nearly two month vacation will undoubtedly allow more time for campaigning, but will leave several vital bills awaiting action.
Among the important legislation the House will likely not address before the November elections:
1. Violence Against Women Act re-authorization…. 2. The American Jobs Act…. 3. Tax cuts for working families…. 4. Veterans Job Corps Act….
The Independent (UK): …. Mitt Romney has a fight on his hands if he wants to keep using Thin Lizzy music to back his campaign. The widow of Phil Lynott, the band’s legendary frontman, said there was no way the singer would have supported the Republican candidate.
Caroline Lynott-Taraskevics has told the band’s record company to issue a cease and desist order preventing Romney from using Thin Lizzy classics …. she and his mother Philomena were angered after Mr Romney used the anthem The Boys Are Back In Town at the Republican convention in Florida.
The rocker’s mother has said her son would have rejected any association with the Republicans, particularly the Christian right-wing of the party and what she called anti-gay and pro-rich policies.
In a message published by Irish music magazine Hot Press, Ms Lynott-Taraskevics said that were Lynott still alive, he would back Democrat US President Barack Obama.
“Absolutely in no way would Philip have supported Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan and he would have been so happy about Obama becoming US president,” she said.