Ooooh, it’s nearly time again – get all the latest news at the Inauguration website
USA Today: President Obama’s second inaugural? There’s now an app for that. The Presidential Inauguration Committee plans to announce Monday it has created an iPhone and Android app that enables people to follow next week’s events as Obama is sworn in for a second term.
The app will provide livestream video of inaugural events, including the Jan. 21 swearing-in ceremony. There are also schedules for nationwide events associated with the inauguration, including the National Day of Service on Saturday.
Update: President Obama will hold a news conference at 11:15 a.m. today
11:0: VP Biden meets with Members of the House of Representatives
12:0: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:30: The President and VP meet with Secretary of State Clinton
3:0: President Obama participates in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony (closed press) – Ambassadors from Poland, Japan, Zambia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Paraguay, Tuvalu, Maldives and Mexico will attend
TPM: Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with House Democrats’ task force to reduce gun violence at 11 a.m. ET Monday. The House members joining Biden are: Rep. Mike Thompson (CA), Rep. Bobby Scott (VA), Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Rep. Jackie Speier (CA), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT), Rep. William Enyart (IL), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO), Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS), Rep. John Conyers (MI), Rep. John Dingell (MI), Rep. Ron Barber (AZ).
Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will also attend the meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
NBC: Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe has a message for the White House: “Ban assault weapons, restrict those magazines that so have so many bullets in them, shore up any loopholes in our criminal background checks,” he said in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
As Vice President Joe Biden prepares to present his gun violence proposals to the White House this week, the residents of Newtown — including first responders and some families of the victims — are speaking out on gun policy for the first time.
Few have a more personal connection to the issue than Kehoe: He was one of the first on the scene at the Sandy Hook Elementary School …. as a veteran law enforcement officer, what was most striking to Kehoe was that the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, had heavier firepower than Kehoe and his officers. The police had Glock pistols with 14-round magazines; Lanza had a Bushmaster assault-style rifle, two handguns and multiple 30-round magazines that allowed him to squeeze off an estimated 150 shots….
Washington Post: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will seek to institute some of the nation’s strictest gun-licensing requirements, ban assault weapons and restrict visitor access to schools in one of the most expansive government responses sought to last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Perhaps most controversially, O’Malley (D) will ask the General Assembly to force prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police, complete a hands-on weapon-familiarization and gun-safety course, and undergo a background check to be licensed.
And the governor is seeking new measures to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness who show violent tendencies…..
TPM: The White House’s weekend ultimatum that Congress either lift the debt ceiling cleanly or take responsibility for default puts Republicans in a bind over their goal of reforming entitlement programs.
In ruling out all executive options, such as minting a high-value platinum coin, the White House put the onus on congressional Republicans to agree to raise the nation’s borrowing limit — without spending cuts or strings attached — or permit the first ever credit default. President Obama has steadfastly rebuffed their calls to cut social spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, and Democratic leaders support his position.
NYT: A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.
Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.
The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.
“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.
…. The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”
A copy of a detailed advertising plan was obtained by The New York Times through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”
…. with Safak Pavey, the first disabled woman elected to the Turkish Parliament
Read about the 2012 Women of Courage here and here
InsideHigherEd: … Roughly two-thirds of public and private college presidents say they plan to vote for President Obama in November, and only 1 in 10 believe the Republican candidates for the presidency have laid out a helpful vision for higher education.
…. 65.1 percent said that they planned to vote for the president this fall. Among sectors, support was stronger in public higher education (75 percent at public doctoral and master’s institutions, 85 percent at public baccalaureate institutions and 66 percent at community colleges). The lowest level of support was in for-profit higher education, where only 29 percent of presidents said they plan to vote for Obama this fall.
…. Only 10 percent of all college presidents believed that the Republican candidates have offered a higher education vision, but that figure is inflated by a high proportion of yes answers from for-profit higher education (44 percent). The figures are much lower for the rest of higher education – 4 percent among public doctoral institutions, 3 percent among public master’s institutions, and not a single private doctoral university president agreeing.
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been occasional setbacks. Today’s report appears to be one of them.
Though still low by recent standards, filings went up over the last week, a little more than expected: “Jobless claims in the U.S. rose to the highest level in five weeks, climbing by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000…”
….. when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly. Though today’s report is disappointing, we’ve now been below 370,000 for five consecutive weeks, and six of the last eight weeks.
Charles Pierce: I have tried to avoid the mighty efforts of the heirs of Andrew Breitbart to make his name more of a synonym for “jackass” in death than it was when he was alive. So, instead, let’s just play a little Harvard bingo, shall we?
Barack Obama once went to the Harvard Law School. Derrick Bell once taught at the Harvard Law School.
…. In 1992, Derrick Bell thought that “none” was an insufficient number of minority faculty members at the HLS. He decided to make a little noise about it. At a rally, Barack Obama introduced him and, after doing so, hugged him….
…. This, of course, proves that Barack Obama is a lifelong coddler of, and sympathizer with, black radical revolutionaries.
Res ipse loquitur! QED! Scoreboard, bitches!
I expect a job offer from Big Something in the morning.
President Obama meets President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana in the Oval Office, March 8
TPM: President Obama enjoys massive leads in Maine, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) …. Obama leads both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by the same margin in the Pine Tree State, 58 – 35. Maine has voted for a Democrat for president in the last five elections, but that doesn’t mean Dems dominate the state – Republicans currently hold the governorship, both houses of the state legislature and the two US Senate seats (Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)).
ThinkProgress: Questions about women and womens’ health have dominated the political debate over the past weeks, and at least one female Republican lawmaker is unhappy with her party’s record. New York Assemblyman Teresa Sayward (R), who is retiring after serving a decade in Albany, told the New York political program Capital Tonight that she does not support any of her party’s presidential candidates, because of their stances on women.
She also took an apparent shot at Republicans’ opposition to President Obama’s birth control mandate, saying, “It’s disheartening for me to see our party move away from what it was always about and that is to stay out of people’s lives, let them live their lives, don’t impose their religion on anybody else.”
Asked which Republican candidate she supports, Sayward replied: “I do not have a favorite in the presidential race, if I had to vote today, I’d vote for Obama.”
The Atlantic: The president of the United States reflects on what Abraham Lincoln means to him, and to America.
By Barack Obama
Lincoln is a president I turn to often. From time to time, I’ll walk over to the Lincoln Bedroom and reread the handwritten Gettysburg Address encased in glass, or reflect on the Emancipation Proclamation, which hangs in the Oval Office, or pull a volume of his writings from the library in search of lessons to draw.
Always thoughtful, always eloquent, Lincoln’s writings speak to me as they speak to so many Americans, reminding us what is best about ourselves and the Union he saved: that though we may have our differences, we are one people, and we are one nation, united by a common creed.
Charles Pierce: By now, everybody’s seen the America’s At Halftime commercial, featuring Clint Eastwood…. The general feeling is that the ad itself was a kind of endorsement of the president’s re-election bid, what with its emphasis on the recovery of the auto industry, which Willard Romney opposed in favor of letting the major automakers go bankrupt.
… The president can’t run on “It’s Morning In America.” He’d look foolish. He can, however, credibly run on the notion that the sky is getting a little brighter in the east. By contrast, more than a few people have noted that the Republicans in general, and Willard in particular, seem interested in running on “It’s Apocalypse In America,” gloomily drooping around the country as the people to whom they’re talking try desperately to feel optimistic again…..