President Barack Obama gestures to lipstick marks on his collar – the aunt of American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez kissed the president’s collar and left the lipstick marks just before he gave his remarks at an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month event
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 red ribbon is hung from the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 30, to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Michael Grunwald (Time): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan….
This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party…..
…. we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.
David Firestone (NYT): Republicans reportedly laughed when they saw the Obama administration’s initial offer in the fiscal negotiations yesterday. The idea that President Obama might actually want to enact his campaign promises – tax hikes on the rich, modest Medicare cuts, investments in infrastructure – is apparently considered a joke to the party that has shown virtually no flexibility in the last four years.
But some of that laughter may contain nervousness, because there is more going on here than just a pathway to splitting the difference. The White House made clear yesterday that it is approaching these talks from a position of responsibility, and that it actually takes seriously the notion of old-fashioned bargaining. That’s something Republicans have refused to do — and now they realize they’ve been called out.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he’s barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration’s opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here’s a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.
Liberal Librarian (The People’s View): Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones): There’s one particular strain of Republican reaction to their election loss that’s always given me the biggest chuckle, and today Paul Waldman highlights it: the absurd proposition that Mitt Romney never forthrightly defended conservative principles….
…. For months, conservatives yelled from the rooftops about how 2012 presented the sharpest choice ever in governing philosophies …. [they] claimed that this one was truly an ideological turning point, America’s last chance to choose what kind of country we should be. But literally within hours of defeat, they turned on a dime and insisted that the American people weren’t given a real chance to decide between two competing visions. And they’ve maintained this claim despite losing the popular vote in the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and despite the fact that demographic trends very clearly spell even further trouble in the future for their hardnosed brand of social intolerance and slavish dedication to the interests of the rich.
NYT Editorial: The millionaires and billionaires who gave nearly $500 million to independent groups in the race to elect Mitt Romney and other Republicans not only bet on the wrong party, they bet on the wrong tactic. They believed that an endless drumbeat of television advertisements would be enough to drive voters away from President Obama and Democratic policies.
It did not work…..
…. the biggest-spending conservative groups were trounced. American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove, spent $104 million in the general election, but none of its candidates won. The United States Chamber of Commerce spent $24 million backing Republicans in 15 Senate races; only two of them won. Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul, spent $53 million on nine Republican candidates, eight of whom lost.
… A backlash against the damaging power of big money cannot come too soon.
Steve Benen: First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the 2012 presidential election, and the differences along religious lines….
….. the results among Roman Catholic voters are arguably the most electorally significant. In every recent cycle, Catholics have been considered a key swing constituency and President Obama narrowly won their support, 50% to 48%. It suggests Republicans’ efforts to focus on contraception and reproductive rights had limited success, and the Bishops’ lobbying largely fell on deaf ears.
Also note, while many on the right hoped 2012 would be the year that Jewish voters abandoned Democrats, that didn’t come close to happening. Though Obama fared slightly worse among Jewish voters as compared to 2008, he still enjoyed overwhelming support.
Deaniac (The People’s View): The Impact of A President: A Personal Reflection on Equality
Four years ago, on election day 2008, I was a poll-captain for the No on 8 campaign in California. After working day and night trying to beat back California’s attempt to ban marriage equality, election day was finally upon us, and my job was to lead my team of volunteers to speak to voters in the parking lot of the polling place about voting No on 8. The team of volunteers rotated throughout the day, in 2, 3 or 4 hour shifts. Some stayed even half a day. I was there all day. From the break of dawn before the polls opened till they closed…..
Yahoo: It was an intimate snapshot of a sweet celebration: Minutes after the networks called the 2012 presidential election for Barack Obama on Tuesday night, the Obama for America campaign posted a picture of him hugging his wife along with a simple message: “Four more years.” Within minutes, it became the most popular post in the history of Twitter and the most-liked image in the history of Facebook….
…. no one was more surprised than the woman who took the photo back in August, Scout Tufankjian….
…. The President is “so much happier and more relaxed” when he’s with his family … he and the first lady are so focused on each other. The way that they play off each other and get energy from each other… when I was shooting the president during the 2008 campaign I would watch them greet each other on stage and I used to text-message my boyfriend, now my husband: ‘Do you love me as much as Barack loves Michelle?’ and he’d be like, ‘Probably not, no’.”
Secretary of Defense Leo Panetta, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at an event to announce a new report outlining opportunities and best practices for states to better support military spouses serving in professions with state licensure requirements at the Pentagon in Washington
Nate Silver: The last time I considered Barack Obama’s re-election chances in this magazine, in mid-November, things were looking pretty bleak for the president. The statistical model I used measured three key factors — a president’s approval rating, economic growth and the ideological orientation of his opponent — and taken together, they showed that Obama had become a slight underdog to win re-election.
Three months later, his position is much stronger……
PPP: Michigan is looking more and more like it won’t be in the swing state column this fall. PPP’s newest poll there finds Barack Obama leading the entire Republican field by double digits.
The biggest surprise in the numbers might be how badly Obama is beating Mitt Romney- he leads him by 16 points at 54-38. That’s a major departure from PPP’s previous 3 Michigan President polls, which found Obama ahead by only 4-7 points. Romney’s seen a major decline in his personal favorability in the state over the last 6 months from 39/43 to now 29/58. His numbers have dropped across the board but the most striking shift is with independents. He’s gone from a +14 spread with them at 48/34 to a -20 one at 32/52.
USA Today: President Obama has outraised the top Republican presidential fundraiser in two-thirds of the country, including battleground states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina considered crucial to his re-election prospects, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
In 19 states, Obama collected more than his four major GOP rivals combined… Obama also has a fundraising edge over Romney in all but two of a dozen swing states – Florida and Michigan, where Romney was born and his father served as governor in the 1960s.
Thursday: PBO will attend campaign events in Corona del Mar, California before traveling to San Francisco, California to attend campaign events. He will spend the night in San Francisco.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Seattle where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last. He will also attend campaign events in the Seattle area before returning to Washington, D.C. later in the evening.
BMG: The next big prize in the GOP primaries is Michigan, one of Mitt Romney’s five home states. He’s released an ad showing him driving around in a fancy Chrysler while he talks about how much he loves Michigan, and all…..
And here’s the problem: that Chrysler that he’s driving is a 300 model, and the 300 is made in Canada…..
2:45 Michelle Obama visits Georgetown University in Washington
President Barack Obama greets representatives from leading veterans’ service organizations in the Oval Office before delivering remarks on the American Jobs Act in the Rose Garden, Nov. 7, 2011. The President spoke about about tax credits included in the American Jobs Act and new executive actions that will help get veterans back to work. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Nate Berkus interviews the First Lady – original video here
Steve Kornacki: Maybe you remember the much-discussed map that the New York Times ran in November 2008, just after Barack Obama racked up a bigger share of the national popular vote than any Democrat had in 44 years. It really was the perfect election for Democrats, with just about everything breaking their way, and yet the Times showed that in a few pockets of America, Obama had somehow fared worse than his party’s previous (losing) nominee.
This phenomenon was mostly centered in Appalachia, but there were exceptions – like the Brooklyn/Queens-based 9th District of New York, where Obama performed one point worse than John Kerry had in 2004 and 12 points worse than Al Gore had in 2000.
This may be the most important piece of information to keep in mind now that the voters of that same 9th District have just handed national Republicans a dream talking point… there really isn’t much that’s remarkable about the victory that Republican Bob Turner achieved on Tuesday night.
Mainly, it tells us what a simple look at President Obama’s job approval numbers (or the economic indicators that are largely responsible for them) would tell us: Voters are frustrated and eager to register their displeasure with him and his party. This is true everywhere, but particularly in areas like the 9th District, where voters already had clear reservations about Obama even before he did anything as president – back when his approval ratings were still stratospheric.
…. None of this is to say that Turner’s win is a non-story … President Obama is in serious political trouble and is faced with an electorate that could easily deny him a second term next year. But then, that would have been true even if the Democrats had pulled an upset or two on Tuesday night.
Nate Silver: …. New York’s Ninth Congressional District has highly unusual demographics, with a set of local issues that are unlikely to extrapolate well to the rest of the country.
… First, there are the local issues – Barack Obama’s positioning toward Israel, Mr. Weprin’s endorsement of a plan to build a mosque and Muslim cultural center in Lower Manhattan, and possibly gay marriage – that will resonate more in Queens than they will in the rest of the country.
Roughly 40 percent of voters in the Ninth District are Jewish, 20 times the rate in the country as a whole. Moreover, and perhaps more important, many of those voters are Orthodox Jews, who often have starkly different political viewpoints than Reform or secular Jews, and who are extremely rare in the United States outside a few spots in the New York region.
There’s also the fact that the district was already behaving unusually in 2008. Despite having a 37-point edge in party registration, Mr. Obama won the election by only 11 points there – barely better than the seven-point edge he had nationwide.
I doubt that there was any district in the country (in 2008), perhaps outside a few remnants of the “Solid South,” where so many enrolled Democrats voted against Mr. Obama.
Eric Boehlert, 2010 (a senior fellow with Media Matters, a progressive research center): “I don’t think there are Republican polling firms that get as good a result as Rasmussen does. Their data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”
Nate Silver concluded that Rasmussen’s polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver’s model. He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate Race, which Rasmussen showed the incumbent 13 points ahead, where he in actuality won by 53 – a difference of 40 points, or “the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.”
Nate Silver (NYT): Earlier this week, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post published a column titled “Obama Revealed: A Moderate Republican”….he argued that the president’s policy preferences in some key areas, including health care, resemble those of a Republican from the early 1990s….
….I’m a big fan of Mr. Klein’s work, but I don’t find his thesis persuasive in this case … It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that Mr. Obama’s policy preferences resemble those of a typical Democrat in today’s Congress … A system called DW-Nominate rates each member of Congress on a scale from negative 1 (very liberal on economic issues) to positive 1 (very conservative) based on their roll-call votes. The system also creates a score for each president based on cases in which the outcome he desired from a vote in Congress was clearly articulated.
According to the system, the score for the average Democrat in the 111th Congress was -0.382, although there was a fairly significant range, from very liberal Democrats like Dennis J. Kucinich (-0.612) and Barbara Lee (-0.743) to moderates like Heath Shuler (-0.100) and Ben Nelson (-0.030).
Mr. Obama’s score of -0.399 was very close to the average, splitting the difference between his party’s liberal and moderate wings….
Mr. Obama’s positions are also broadly in line with the median Democratic voter. According to polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, 70 percent of Democrats think Mr. Obama’s positions are “about right”, and those who disagreed were about as likely to say he was too conservative (12 percent) as too liberal (14 percent).