President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own:
Dana Milbank: Mitt Romney is an impressive man, but until now, we didn’t know just how impressive. According to his senior adviser, Ed Gillespie, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is a time traveler.
Gillespie made this surprise disclosure to CNN’s Candy Crowley on Sunday as he attempted to explain why the candidate claimed to have stepped down as chief executive of Bain Capital in 1999 but the company’s filings show him in that position through 2002.
“He took a leave of absence,” Gillespie said, “and, in fact, Candy, he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result.”
…..A better strategy would be for Romney to get back in the time machine and eliminate the phrase “retired retroactively” from the record. While in the past, he might also pause long enough to take his dog Seamus off the car roof.
Eugene Robinson: Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy — and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame.
…. The only reason anyone cares when Romney left Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded and ran, is because Romney made a totally unreasonable claim: When Democrats pointed to outsourcing and job cuts at companies Bain owned or controlled, Romney denied any responsibility since these unfortunate developments took place after he left to run the Winter Olympics in 1999.
This was an absurd position to take. Romney has boasted of his prowess at creating jobs by pointing to successful companies in which Bain invested, such as Staples, the office-supply chain that went on to expand and hire tens of thousands of employees. But much of this growth took place after 1999. Romney was trying to take credit for post-departure successes but not for failures.
…. Going out of your way to invite this kind of speculation, as Romney is doing, seems an awfully unpromising campaign strategy.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk following a meeting in the Oval Office, March 2 (Pete Souza)
A gazillion thank yous to HZ for her wonderful comment (turned-in-to-a-post today at Tien Le’s excellent suggestion) – it was a joyful, constructive, positive breath of fresh air in the middle of all today’s madness. You’re a gem, HZ.
Robert Shrum: After Mini-Mitt’s diminutive three-point Michigan “triumph,” which was a little like a Roman general being hailed for a near defeat, how important is Ohio? To put it in Santorian terms, it could be apocalypse two; once more, as in Michigan, Mitt will have to avert the sun darkening and the sky falling on his presidential campaign.
President Barack Obama is introduced by Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar before delivering remarks at a conservation event at the U.S. Dept. of Interior in Washington, March, 2
President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn upon his return to the White House after visiting wounded service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland
Mitt Romney holds up a baby from the audience at a campaign rally at Cleveland State University, March 2
Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign stop at Chillicothe High School on March 2, 2012 in Chillicothe, Ohio
First Lady Michelle Obama embraces members of the Johnson C. Smith ladies’ basketball team during a “Let’s Move!” physical fitness promotion between games at the CIAA basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C.
TOD is up and running on YouTube again after today’s little, eh, setback. Just click the YouTube logo third from the top in the right sidebar and it’ll take you to the channel. I’ll add more of the old videos over the next few days. Hey, this YouTube channel might disappear too …. if it does, well, we’ll just start up another one 😉
TPM: While Republican leaders gathered in Speaker John Boehner’s Capitol office Wednesday morning for a photo op with reporters – hectoring Democrats and making the case that they’re on the right side of the payroll tax fight – an unusual scene played out on the House floor.
In an attempt to illustrate just who’s at fault for the payroll tax stalemate Minority Whip Steny Hoyer showed up to ask for a vote on the Senate’s compromise bill. Republicans could have simply objected and given Hoyer his talking point. Instead they gave him so much more.
Republicans just ignored Hoyer and refused to hear his unanimous consent request. The fill-in Speaker simply walked away.
Greg Sargent: In a speech late yesterday, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of trying to use government to “create equal outcomes.” Romney argued that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society,” in which “everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk.” He made a concerted case that under Obama’s ideal vision, everyone will “get the same rewards.”
This is a Big Lie – it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Obama has ever said, proposed or accomplished. And many liberal writers have noted today that this is Glenn Beck-level craziness, suggesting that Romney is willing to say and do anything to win.
CNN: Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.
…. President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year’s end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.
Steve Benen: It’s not uncommon for the Obama administration to do something worthwhile. Once in a while, though, the administration does something very worthwhile that will have a major impact on society.
Dave Roberts (‘New EPA mercury rules are a bona fide Big Deal’) has a helpful piece today on the EPA’s new national standards for mercury pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants – the first of their kind – which he described as “a Big Deal” and an instance in which “history is being made.”
….. When we talk about separates a Democratic administration from a Republican one, there are no greater reminders about the differences than measures like these.
If recent history is any guide, this encouraging news won’t get quite as much attention as it deserves, and that’s a shame. Obama’s critics on the left expect developments like these, and don’t make a fuss to congratulate the administration for progress they’d like to be routine….
You may know me as the tall guy who followed Barack everywhere he went.
As the President’s body man for the last four years, it’s been my privilege to help him with whatever he needs: making sure he’s on time, finding some food when we’re on the road, or playing a quick game of basketball (he won, mostly).
Of course, this also means I’ve also eaten many, many meals with him.
So first of all, I just want to say thanks for supporting the Obamas and being part of this campaign. It means a lot, not only to the President, but to all of us who’ve worked by his side.
Two: I kind of love this “Dinner with Barack and Michelle” contest. You all have to do this.
President Obama greets well-wishers as he arrives in Manchester, N.H.
…. having breakfast with the Corkery family in Julien’s Corner Kitchen in Manchester, New Hampshire
AFP: President Barack Obama’s personal aide, gatekeeper and basketball sparring partner Reggie Love says that one of the coolest jobs in the world sometimes has its downside: No air conditioning.
“The thing that used to kill me is that the guy loves to ride around with the AC off in the summertime,” Love said in an interview with an ESPN sports television network to be broadcast Tuesday on ABC television.
“And I get hot. I start sweating. And I’m like, it’s 80 degrees in this car. I’m going to pass out,” said Love, 30, who is due to step down later this year to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s elite Wharton School of Business.
…. Love told ESPN he was grateful to be a “very long passenger on an amazing ride” and that he’ll miss quiet moments with the president, including an evening ritual when Obama checks in to say what the next day holds in store.
“I know definitely I’m going to miss that,” Love said. “He’s been like big brother to me, a mentor. I’ve learned so much about life from him.”
Jonathan Bernstein (Washington Post): What can you say about a debate in which one candidate had perhaps the worst moment ever in a presidential debate – Rick Perry’s brain freeze about the third of the three government agencies he wants to eliminate – and he didn’t even give the most embarrassing performance?
No, that would be Herman Cain …. after dragging American political rhetoric to a new low, referring to the House Minority Leader and a former speaker as “Princess Nancy,” it’s about time that Cain was called to account for insulting the American people and the political process for the farce that he’s engaging in….
Paul Begala: The only knockout punch in the CNBC debate was the one Rick Perry administered to himself. His tiny Texas Aggie brain froze when he tried to repeat his talking point about the three federal agencies he would close …. I have never seen a more devastating moment of self-destruction. What’s next, Perry endorsing Cain’s 9-9…ummm, what’s the third number?
Michael Tomasky: Barack Obama is winning the Rust Belt back. The overwhelming repeal in Ohio of Governor John Kasich’s anti-labor bill from last year shows that the GOP has gone way, way too far—too far for Democrats, obviously, but also for independents. It shows the potential for something else, too: the populist message can stick. “Class warfare” can work. It can take hold even with the people who allegedly despise our Kenyan leader the most: the white working class. And if this turns out to be right, then the Washington conventional wisdom will be proven as wrong as it’s been since 1998, when the Cokie Roberts caucus convinced itself that the American people wanted to throw Bill Clinton out of the White House over Monica.
…. If Romney is going to be the Republican standard bearer, is this really the right time for a nominee who’s worth $250 million and is going to be walking around talking about lower taxes on everyone, including the rich, and who presumably pays at the 15 percent rate, since most of his income is from capital gains and not compensation?
Washington Post: Reggie Love, a key member of the Obama entourage, is planning to leave the White House by the end of the year, people close to the administration said.
Love, 30, is a popular, gregarious figure in the White House. A onetime forward for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team, Love started out as a staff assistant in Obama’s Senate office after college, rising to become his personal assistant, known as the “body man.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood talks with President Barack Obama aboard Marine One during a flight from the White House to Joint Base Andrews, Md., Sept. 22, 2011. Riding aboard Marine One, from left, are: Personal Aide Reggie Love; Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy; and Press Secretary Jay Carney. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)