Thursday, February 28, 2013
I was pleased to see the House of Representatives come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community. The bill also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing critical support for both international and domestic victims of trafficking and helping ensure traffickers are brought to justice. I want to thank leaders from both parties – especially Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Leahy – for everything they’ve done to make this happen. Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk.
Today, Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit. And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families. They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.
I believe we should do better. We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes. That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed. But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.
Tomorrow I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward. As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another. Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington. We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise. That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A majority of the country believes the Republican Party is out of touch with the American people, too extreme and inflexible to change, according to findings released Tuesday by Pew Research Center, placing the GOP in decidedly lower public esteem than the Democratic Party.
Sixty-two percent — including 36 percent of Republicans — said the GOP is out of touch with Americans, compared with 46 percent who said the same of Democrats. Only 23 percent of Democrats said their own party is out of touch. TPM
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor accused a Texas federal prosecutor Monday of tapping into a “deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice” in his questioning of a black man facing a drug charge.
The justices did not accept Bongani Charles Calhoun’s request that the court review his conviction, but Sotomayor appended a scathing statement to make sure that the court’s denial would not be seen as a signal of “tolerance of a federal prosecutor’s racially charged remark.”
Sotomayor did not name Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam L. Ponder in her statement, but she denounced his questioning of Calhoun, who maintained in court that he did not know that the friends with whom he was traveling were planning a drug deal.
Ponder had asked Calhoun: “You’ve got African Americans, you’ve got Hispanics, you’ve got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn’t go off in your head and say, ‘This is a drug deal?’ ” WaPo
Monday, February 25, 2013
Michelle Obama speaks at 10:45 am ET, followed by Obama at 11:05 am ET:
Obama's speech at the NGA's dinner yesterday:
Times are eastern.
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
The President and the Vice President deliver remarks to the National Governors Association; the First Lady and Dr. Biden also deliver remarks LIVE STREAM.
State Dining Room
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
Friday, February 22, 2013
Like the worst of the tea partiers, Ted Cruz is immature and doesn't belong in Congress. He's the kind of guy who talks out of his arse
Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. Cruz attended Harvard Law School from 1992 until 1995. His spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request to discuss the speech.
Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called “Defending the American Dream,” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit political organization founded and funded in part by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.” (I was covering the conference and kept the notes.)
He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
“We are puzzled by the Senator’s assertions, as we are unaware of any basis for them,” Robb London, a spokesman for Harvard Law School, told me. London noted that Cruz had contributed “warm reminiscences“ of the school by video for a reunion of Latino alumni. “We applaud the fact that he has pursued public service, as so many of our graduates have done. We are also proud of our longstanding tradition of freedom of speech and the robust range of views and debates on our campus.”
Read more at New Yorker
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
Obama and Biden attend the Democratic Governors Association Meeting.
White House press briefing.
Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan; Biden also attends.
Obama and Biden have lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
Republicans have reached new heights of foolishness on Hagel's "friends of Hamas." The reporter who made up "friends of Hamas," reported as a fact by the radical right Breitbart site, explains how the rumor got started.
That should give Mr. Hagel at least 58 votes for confirmation (with 53 Senate Democrats and the two left-leaning New England independents.) The nomination has appeared to be secure since Sunday when Republican Sen. John McCain, who opposes Mr. Hagel's appointment to lead the Pentagon, said he would no longer support a filibuster to block a straight up-or-down vote, giving Senate Democrats the 60 votes needed to proceed to a vote on the nomination. With Mr. Shelby's decision, the count is now 61. WSJ
This is an amazing project. It will employ a lot of people and it could help better treat and cure diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and illnesses of the brain, such as depression and schizophrenia.
The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics. NYT
On Twitter, follow @FLOTUS and @LetsMove for live updates from the national tour and join the conversation using the hashtag #LetsMoveTour.
Mrs. Obama launched Let’s Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children.
Thanks to these efforts, families now have access to more information to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved. More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home. And the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states.
More information on three years of healthy changes can be found here: http://www.letsmove.gov/blog/2013/02/08/lets-move-three-years-working-towards-healthier-generation-children
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2013
New York, NY
Mrs. Obama will be in New York City to talk about the third anniversary of Let’s Move! with several national TV outlets. Mrs. Obama will appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, to air the evening of Friday, February 22. The First Lady previously appeared on the show in a special comedy sketch facing off with Fallon in a lively fitness challenge taped at the White House for the second anniversary of Let’s Move!.
Mrs. Obama will also film a segment with Robin Roberts about the anniversary and a new Let’s Move! partnership that makes finding healthy, reliable recipes easy for busy parents. The interview will air on Good Morning America on Tuesday, February 26.
The First Lady, joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, will also tape an episode of The Dr. Oz Show to talk about how physical activity affects both children’s health and academic achievement. This episode will air on Thursday, February 28, the day Mrs. Obama and Secretary Duncan will make a major announcement about bringing physical activity back to schools.
The First Lady’s Let’s Move! national tour schedule is below:
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013
Clinton, MS * 2:00 PM CT /3:00 PM ET * Change is Happening
First Lady Michelle Obama will join TV personality and child nutrition advocate Rachael Ray to highlight the new healthy school lunches that are now being served across the nation. Thanks to the bi-partisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by Mrs. Obama and Ray, and signed into law by the President in 2010, the 32 million students who eat lunch provided by their school are now seeing more fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk varieties, and whole grains; less saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium; and proper portion size on their lunch trays. Mrs. Obama and Rachael Ray will host a cooking competition between school chefs to highlight the new healthier school lunches. This portion of the visit will be pooled press and will also air on The Rachael Ray Show on March 11.
Mrs. Obama and Rachael Ray chose to highlight school lunches in Mississippi, which was rated the most obese state in the nation for several years, because the state’s childhood obesity rates have declined by 13% among elementary school students in recent years. Mississippi is one of several states and cities to show decreases in childhood obesity. The Clinton Public School District in Mississippi, where the First Lady will be visiting, mobilized the entire community to make their schools healthier to support their children’s physical wellness and academic achievement. With leadership from the Superintendent, Board of Education, parents, students and community leaders, Clinton made healthy schools a top priority and implemented district-wide changes to bring physical activity and nutritious choices to students – all with no additional funding.
Mrs. Obama and Mississippi leaders will deliver remarks to highlight the changes happening in Mississippi and across the nation. These remarks will be open press, members of the media can RSVP HERE by Friday, February 22 at 5:00 PM ET.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2013
Chicago, IL * 11:00 AM CT / 12:00 PM ET * Bringing Physical Activity Back to Schools
First Lady Michelle Obama will return to her hometown of Chicago to make a major announcement to bring physical activity back to schools. The First Lady will be joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Bob Harper, Bo Jackson, Colin Kaepernick, Sarah Reinertsen, Paul Rodriguez, Serena Williams, a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students at the event hosted by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Studies show that kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day to stay healthy, but they’re spending an average of 7 or more hours a day in front of a screen, and only 1 in 3 kids is active daily. In addition to the health benefits of an active lifestyle, research indicates that regular physical activity can improve test scores, classroom behavior and attendance. Yet, only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools and 2% of high schools currently offer daily P.E. and only 9 states require recess in elementary schools. Kids spend about half their time in schools, and the First Lady will call on leaders to work together to support schools’ efforts to ensure that all kids get the physical activity they need to stay healthy and succeed in school.
This event will be open press, members of the media can RSVP HERE by Monday, February 25 at 5:00 PM ET.
Springfield, MO * 2:25 PM CT/3:25 ET * Healthy Families, Thriving Businesses
First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to Springfield, Missouri to see changes Walmart has made to reduce sodium and added sugars from packaged food items, to make healthier food more affordable, and to include a simple front-of-package seal for identifying healthier food choices. The Walmart store Mrs. Obama will visit was built as part of the company’s commitment to Let’s Move! to open or expand up to 300 stores in communities with limited access to healthy, affordable food. This store tour will be pooled press.
Walmart is one of many businesses across the country that is making healthy changes to support their customers, because they recognize that what’s good for their customer’s health is also good for their business. Following the tour, Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks about how supporting the health of American families is also good for business, and remind consumers that it’s up to them to continue demanding healthier options. These remarks will be open press, and members of the media can RSVP HERE by Monday, February 25 at 5:00 PM ET.
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2013
Washington, DC * 11:10 ET * First Lady Michelle Obama Joins a Google+ Hangout
Following the national tour, First Lady Michelle Obama will continue the dialogue about healthy families online through her first Google+ Hangout. Continuing a series of “Fireside Hangouts” from the White House, Mrs. Obama will participate in a completely virtual conversation with parents and kids from around the country, moderated by Kelly Ripa, Emmy Award-winning co-host of daytime talk show LIVE with Kelly and Michael.
For a chance to join the Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama, Google+ is inviting families to share their thoughts and questions on how we could raise healthier families and communities on the Let's Move YouTube channel. Entries must be submitted by Thursday, February 28, 2013 on the Let’s Move! YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/letsmove.
The First Lady’s Fireside Hangout will be streamed live on LetsMove.gov, the Let’s Move! YouTube Channel and the White House Google+ Page at 11:10 a.m. ET on March 4th, 2013.
WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2013
Washington, DC * First Lady Michelle Obama Answers Questions on Twitter
First Lady Michelle Obama will answer questions about her Let’s Move! initiaive using her office’s @FLOTUS twitter account. Additional details will be released closer to the event.
For live updates from the national Let’s Move! tour, follow @FLOTUS and @LetsMove. Use the hashtag #LetsMoveTour to join the conversation.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Times are eastern.
Obama receives the presidential daily briefing.
Obama meets with senior advisors.
Obama records radio interviews with Al Sharpton, Joe Madison and Yolanda Adams.
Biden delivers remarks at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University.
White House press briefing.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The second half of this Morning Joe conversation brings up the media criticism that Obama isn't finding common ground with republicans. It's ludicrous. It's a GOP ploy. The media has taken the bait. I find it absolutely fascinating, given Obama's first four years of reaching out to republicans and getting criticized for that.
Meet the GOP:
Monday, February 18, 2013
Obama visits Israel in March.
President Barack Obama will receive Israel’s Presidential Medal of Distinction when he visits the Jewish state next month, making him the first sitting U.S. president to receive the honor.
The office of Israeli president Shimon Peres announced the honor in a Monday afternoon statement. “Barack Obama is a true friend of the State of Israel, and has been since the beginning of his public life,” the statement reads. “As President of the United States of America, he has stood with Israel in times of crisis. During his time as president he has made a unique contribution to the security of the State of Israel, both through further strengthening the strategic cooperation between the countries and through the joint development of technology to defend against rockets and terrorism.” Specifically, the Obama administration has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system. National Memo
Friday, February 15, 2013
After three days of campaign-style barnstorming to promote policy initiatives, President Barack Obama arrived at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday night and headed to the Treasure Coast for a weekend of golf. Palm Beach Coast
See a list of the recipients here. Newtown teachers also among the few receiving a medal.