NYT: A longtime aide to George W. Romney issued a harshly worded critique of Mitt Romney, accusing him of shifting political positions in “erratic and startling ways” and failing to live up to the distinguished record of his father, the former governor of Michigan.
Walter De Vries, who worked for the senior Mr. Romney throughout the 1960s, wrote that Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House was “a far cry from the kind of campaign and conduct, as a public servant, I saw during the seven years I worked in George Romney’s campaigns and served him as governor.”
“While it seems that Mitt would say and do anything to close a deal – or an election,” he wrote, “George Romney’s strength as a politician and public officeholder was his ability and determination to develop and hold consistent policy positions over his life.”
… “George would never have been seen with the likes of Sheldon Adelson or Donald Trump.”
… Mr. De Vries, who said he wished to the see the Republican Party return to its moderate roots, said he intended to vote for Mr. Obama on Election Day.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a pre-Easter celebration with military families and children at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, April 4
President Obama signs the STOCK Act into law at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, April 4. The STOCK Act is a bipartisan bill that prevents members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information they gleaned on Capitol Hill
The First Lady and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces tour schedule:
Wednesday, April 11:
White House, 11:00 AM ET – Anniversary Celebration
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will honor the 20 finalists of the Joining Forces Community Challenge at the White House. The finalists will be joined by the Challenge’s notable judges, Tom Brokaw, who will deliver opening remarks, J.R. Martinez, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, USO President Sloan Gibson and Deanie Dempsey, wife of General Martin Dempsey.
University of Pennsylvania, 2:15 PM ET – Nurses Nationwide Join Forces to Support Veterans and Military Families
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will announce a major initiative by more than 150 of America’s leading nursing organizations and more than 450 nursing schools in 50 states and territories to ensure our nation’s nurses are prepared to help meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.
New York City – The Colbert Report
First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on The Colbert Report to discuss her Joining Forces initiative.
Thursday, April 12:
Shreveport, Louisiana, 1:15 PM CT / 2:15 PM ET – Announcing Joining Forces’ 50,000th Hire
Last August, President Obama announced a series of policies to increase veterans’ employment and asked the First Lady and Dr. Biden to lead an effort through Joining Forces to challenge the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. Well on track to exceed this goal, First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Shreveport, Louisiana, to announce the 50,000th veteran or military spouse to have been hired by a company through the Joining Forces initiative. Mrs. Obama will visit the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, which has aggressively hired veterans in the last year because of the unique skill set that they bring to the job
Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, 6:00 PM ET – Honoring Young Women from Military Families
First Lady Michelle Obama will invite young women from military families to a celebration honoring their service to our nation as members of a military family. Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks to the high school junior and senior girls and their parents and reveal surprise guests who she invited for this special occasion.
Navy corpsmen help Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden into gowns before their meeting with patients and families during a Christmas visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Dec. 25, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
NYT: On Memorial Day, Michelle Obama made an unannounced trip to visit the wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Joao Silva of The New York Times was among those on whom she paid a call. “She came across as a kind and attentive person,” Mr. Silva said. She asked about the progress of his recovery and gave yo-yos, Frisbees and White House candies to his children, Isabel, 6, and Gabriel, 5.
Perhaps the most telling moment occurred before Mrs. Obama arrived. On learning of her pending visit, Mr. Silva made a point of putting on his prosthetic legs. “I wanted to be able to greet her standing up,” he said.
Walter Rodgers (Christian Science Monitor): “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,” instructed the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “people will eventually come to believe it.”
….the big lie repeated about President Obama has been that he’s not a real leader … Some of this maligning reflects darker bigotry toward Mr. Obama. But it also shows our outdated and wrongheaded notions of leadership.
American culture mistakenly prizes bravado and arrogance as sure signs of leadership. Public showmanship – like donning a flight suit in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – is easy. Quiet, cool, competence that gets results – like pulling together an international coalition to protect civilians in Libya in record time – is hard. It’s a bias we learn as kids. Our history books lionize war heroes, yet are often silent about the diplomats who prevented conflict.
Let’s recall the herculean tasks Obama has already accomplished (see here)
….Forgetting these and other accomplishments …. Goebbels-style nihilism that rejects anything Obama does as odious remains a powerful narrative. The good news is that Obama’s shrewd and calculated management of the hunt for bin Laden shows how hollow these critiques are…
….Obama’s hawkish critics chide him for allegedly “sitting on the sidelines” during recent uprisings in Yemen, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Take it from someone who has reported from across the Middle East: Sitting out potential Arab civil wars isn’t abdication of leadership; it is wisdom.
And yet, when facing near-certain humanitarian disaster, Obama wisely and rapidly put together a broad NATO coalition to deal with the Libyan revolt while keeping American involvement to a minimum – no boots on the ground and no dead Americans.
…A friend, a center-right voter, told me recently, “The reason I voted for Obama is because he has no hatred in him.” In another era of divisive bitterness, Lincoln preached, “with malice toward none, with charity toward all.” It’s worth noting how closely Obama’s philosophy of leadership approaches that.
Walter Dellinger (The New Republic): I had thought that everything useful had already been said about the president’s determination that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) could no longer be defended. Then, I saw the statement by Newt Gingrich. He said that the Obama administration “didn’t understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional” and urged Congress to defund the Office of the Attorney General unless the president reverses his decision.
That statement, from a leader possibly on the cusp of declaring his candidacy for the presidency, is so far off the mark that it calls out for additional clarification about exactly what the president and the attorney general did—and did not—do.
First, the president did not “suspend a law.” Far from it … (Details here) … he has decided to comply with the law and leave the final decision of its constitutionality to the courts, a course of action that respects the institutional roles of both Congress, which passed the law, and the judicial branch… …Obama’s decision was honest, transparent, and respectful of the rule of law….
It is easy to sit on the sidelines and say that the government should always “defend the law.” But those who would defend this law, perhaps including even the House leadership, will find that doing so requires them to argue that discrimination against individuals or couples on the basis of their sexual orientation is generally reflective of merit, not bias. The courts ought to hear that view from someone, but it should not be from this president and his law officers.
….make no mistake about the importance of what Attorney General Holder and President Obama have done: They have placed the executive branch of the government of the United States firmly behind the proposition that discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong. History will be kind to this decision.
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with troops and their families on Christmas Day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)