Friday, November 30, 2012

Media's a Tool in Fiscal Cliff Debate

Most in the media are being manipulated by politicians. Here's an analysis from CBSNews that appears accurate. As for me, I think this will be my last post on the fiscal cliff. BORED. I'd rather not watch all the shenanigans. It will get done if for only one reason, business is pressuring the GOP to compromise. Republicans have only one first move and that is to extend tax cuts for the middle class.
Republicans are thus arguing that the controversial budgets spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., are effectively their proposal. And the Ryan budget, with its deep cuts to entitlements and other spending, has the same chance of getting through the Senate as the Obama proposal has getting through the House: Zero. If the Obama proposal is a "joke," then the Republican proposal is the exact same joke.

Here's the reality: Despite the fact that the "fiscal cliff" deadline is just a month away, the two sides have yet to get serious about coming to an agreement, at least publicly. (It's anyone's guess what's happening behind closed doors - despite leaks from both sides that have fed speculative news stories, there is no evidence that either side has yet made major concessions.) They are effectively at the beginning of negotiations, with each player posturing in an effort to improve his position before the real deal-making begins. cbs

West Wing Week Nov. 30

US Denounces UN Vote on Palestine

I have to admit, the vote to improve the status of Palestinians seems like a good thing. Politically speaking, it seems the US always has to do what Israel demands. Perhaps recognizing Palestine as an "observer state" will impede the peace process, as US and Israel say. But the path to peace in the Mideast has been anything but successful. Maybe it's time to try something new.

Obama Speaks at Rodon Group Plant in Hatfield Penn

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 30

Times are eastern.

9:30 AM
Biden meets with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.
10:10 AM
Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews.
10:25 AM
Obama departs Joint Base Andrews.
11:00 AM
Biden attends the inaugural speech of President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the National Palace.
11:05 AM
Obama arrives in Philadelphia, Penn.
11:45 AM
Obama tours The Rodon Group manufacturing facility.
12:05 PM
Obama delivers remarks to the Rodon Group Manufacturing Facility, Hatfield, Penn.
2:00 PM
Obama departs Philadelphia, Penn.
2:40 PM
Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews.
2:55 PM
Obama arrives at the White House.

White House Press Briefing Nov. 29

Romney's Arrival at the White House Nov. 29

Obama met with Romney today at the White House. Perhaps the upwardly revised GDP was a topic of discussion, or maybe Stu Stevens' lameness. Looks like Romney came in through the kitchen.

A reporter *seriously* asks if Obama was offering Mitt a job.

This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America's leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.

Bo Inspects White House Holiday Decorations

Joe Biden Christmas Shopping at Costco

Obama's Expanding Lead Over Romney: 50.9 to 47.4

Because Obama is black there seemed to be all kinds of assumptions by the media and Romney strategists about who would and who wouldn't vote for him. I hope Obama and Mitt get a chance to discuss Stu Stevens at lunch today. I hope Mitt takes a heaping helping of Humble Pie. He is in dire need. It's also interesting that votes are STILL being counted.
Obama’s victory was more decisive than Bush’s in ’04: And here’s one final observation about the 2012 race. Per the excellent work by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, Obama’s national lead over Romney continues to expand as votes keep on coming in. It’s now Obama 50.9%, Romney 47.4%. That’s a bigger (and more decisive) margin than Bush’s victory over John Kerry in 2004 (which was Bush 50.7% and Kerry 48.2%). What’s more, the president’s lead has grown to close to 3 points in Ohio, 4 points in Virginia and 6 points in Colorado. One doesn’t win Colorado by six points without winning swing voters; there isn’t a big-enough Democratic base to make that argument. NBC

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 29

Factoid: Obama administration has produced a budget every year, contrary to popular republican opinion.

Times are eastern.
I'd love to be that fly on the wall at 12:30 pm.

10:25 AM
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
10:45 AM
Obama meets with senior advisors.
12:15 PM
Obama meets with the 2012 American Nobel Prize winners.
12:30 PM
Obama and Romney meet for lunch.
12:45 PM
White House press briefing.
4:30 PM
Biden attends a memorial service for Sen. Warren Rudman in the Russell Senate Office Building.

House Republican Committee Leadership: All White All Male

White House Press Briefing Nov. 28

Obama Meets with Cabinet and Praises Rice

Susan Rice gets backing of Obama's cabinet.

Obama's full remarks:

Michelle Obama Shows White House Holiday Decorations 2012

Michelle Obama welcomes military families to the White House for holiday decorating:

Obama Speaks on Extending Middle Class Tax Cuts Nov. 28

Obama also met with his cabinet and CEOs today.

In full, #my2K:

In their own way, republicans appear to realize they need to work with Obama:

Obama Meeting With Romney at White House Nov. 29

Update: In case anyone is wondering, Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked if Romney was in line for a cabinet level position. There was laughter and then a response: no. There is no agenda for the meeting tomorrow. Another reporter asked about Obama's emotions and feelings toward Mitt. Carney said Obama feels pretty good about how the election turned out.
President Barack Obama will host his former political rival Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House Thursday, their first meeting since the election.

Obama promised in his victory speech earlier this month to engage with Romney following their bitter campaign and consider the Republican’s ideas. More at WaPo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 28

Times are eastern.
The business leaders Obama's meeting with are those who backed Romney. 
At 1:30 pm ET, Michelle Obama shows the White House decorations. Live stream.

10:00 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
Closed Press
11:35 AM
The President delivers remarks at an event at the White House with middle class Americans who would see their taxes go up if Congress fails to act to extend the middle class tax cuts LIVE STREAM
South Court Auditorium
Open Press
12:30 PM
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
3:00 PM
The President holds a Cabinet Meeting; the Vice President also attends
Cabinet Meeting
Pool Spray at the Top
4:45 PM
The President and the Vice President attend a meeting with business leaders to discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit
Roosevelt Room
Closed Press

Obama Meets with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico

Tom Ricks: Benghazi Politicized by Fox News Arm of GOP

Update Nov. 28: Fox News says Tom Ricks apologized. Tom Ricks says, what? Fox News continues to abuse its viewers by providing false information.

This video says it all. Republicans will stop at nothing to avoid cooperating with Obama. Jay Carney said today that McCain and his pals are obsessed with Susan Rice. I don't understand why the media isn't pressing McCain and his pals on why they're so obsessed with Susan Rice. Here's a list of attacks on US embassies/consulates, which McCain has never complained about.

White House Press Briefing Nov. 27

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 27

Times are eastern.

Per the White House press briefing, Obama is also meeting with small biz leaders today regarding the coming tax hikes on the middle class.

10:30 AM
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
12:30 PM
Obama and Biden meet for lunch.
White House press briefing.
3:40 PM
Obama and Biden meet with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.
4:30 PM
Obama and Biden meet with Panetta.

White House Press Briefing Nov. 26

Rice Meets with McCain and Cohorts Nov. 27

Update Nov. 27: The three musketeers double down on their criticism of Susan Rice. Jay Carney says (paraphrased) McCain and his pals are obsessed with Susan Rice for some reason and barking up the wrong tree for answers. She answered for her part, and now the remaining questions of what happened in Benghazi must be answered by the people who had direct responsibility. Carney says McCain's attacking the wrong person.

I imagine this is a saving face meeting for McCain, Lindsay and Ayotte, who have behaved like small children.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will meet Tuesday with three key Republican senators to answer questions about the Sept. 11 attack at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) will attend the meeting, which was requested by Rice’s office, according to Senate aides. WaPo

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 26

Times are eastern.

10:30 AM
Obama and Biden receive the presidential daily briefing.
11:00 AM
Obama meets with senior advisors.
1:30 PM
White House press briefing.

Ken Burns Discusses Central Park Five on Meet the Press Nov. 25

Some of my observations.

Carly Fiorina is icky the whole way through. She's an incredible snob, with no sense of humility. Ken Burns is really smart. David Brooks too. It's confounding when media people say they don't know what Obama's grand vision is. He's stated it, explained it over and over. Elevate the middle class and help more people move in to the middle class, fairness, through all the tools: education, economic policies that get people back to work, healthcare, broadband, immigration reform, transportation and sound environmental policies. It's really simple. Perhaps that is why they they are confused. Perhaps they want something magical.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Obama Goes Christmas Shopping With Daughters

A reporter asked Obama about the media's latest obsession, the "fiscal cliff," to which Obama replied that they were Christmas shopping (source CBS' Mark Knoller). As if Obama would answer a question like that with his daughters there.

Shields and Brooks on Obama's Handling of Mideast

A lot of people, mostly conservatives who only know the fictional Obama in their minds, thought Obama was going to take revenge on Netanyahu. Revenge is for people who haven't reached a depth of maturity. When it comes to the good of the nation, Obama is above and beyond revenge. He's a reasonable, cool head, with the nation’s best interest in mind.
This term, it looks like republicans are trying a new course of action. They appear ready to spend this term thinking up conspiracy theories. Wouldn’t it be nice if elected officials simply did their jobs?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Photos of Obama's Trip to Asia 2012

Three countries in three days. Here are some photos of the trip by Pete Souza. Some of my faves:
Air Force One is very roomy:

 Obama with the Friday Buddha in Burma
 Obama greets children of US embassy staff

 Obama talking to Hillary about leaving Cambodia and heading to Mideast to help with a truce
 Obama and Hillary and head Monk at Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Thailand
 From Air Force One, Obama, with NSA Tom Donilon, talking to Egypt's President Morsi
 Obama talking to Netanyahu
 Obama and New Zealand PM in traditional shirts at summit in Cambodia
 Lining the streets in Burma
 Barefoot Obama, Secret Service at Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma
 View of Cambodia from Air Force One
 Welcoming Obama in Burma
 Obama and President of Burma
 Thailand's PM and Obama greeting kids

Obama Family Volunteers at Capital Area Food Bank

Earlier in the day, Obama pardoned the national Thanksgiving turkey. Volunteering the day before turkey day is an annual tradition for the Obama family:

Susan Rice's First Public Comments on Benghazi Since Republican Attacks

You'd think republicans would find something better to do than attack our very own Ambassador to the UN. Led by McCain and Graham, their behavior has been shameful:

Ezra Klein on Making Social Security Solvent

Ezra Klein has a nifty idea (actually, it's an idea that's been floated by many, even Obama), let the rich pay more by lifting the payroll tax cap. It would insure social security's solvency without raising the social security retirement age.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama Pardons National Thanksgiving Turkey 2012

About that turkey:

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, November 21, 2012, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden.  The President will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.

The President will pardon Cobbler and his alternate Gobbler, both 19-week old, 40-pound turkeys. The names of the turkeys were chosen from submissions from elementary schools in Rockingham County, Virginia, where the turkeys were raised.  Many of the submissions came from schools in agriculture-producing areas, where students have the chance to learn about the importance of agriculture to the world food supply and to our local economies.  This year, for the first time ever, the American public decided which of the two turkeys – Cobbler or Gobbler – would become the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote via the White House Facebook page.

After the pardoning, the turkeys will be driven to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.  The National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a special program through January 6.  After the holidays, the National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate will live in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s nationally recognized livestock facility.

Both birds were raised on the farm of Craig and Nancy Miller, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, under National Turkey Federation Chairman, Steve Willardsen’s supervision and in partnership with the Virginia Poultry Federation.  Dr. Bob Evans, also of Cargill, handled the turkey during the Rose Garden ceremony.

Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, gave President Obama’s family two dressed turkeys that will be donated to a local area food bank.

Hillary Clinton and Morsi Announce Hold Fire in Mideast

Israel and fighters in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip will "hold fire" beginning at 2 p.m. ET, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr just announced at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Via NPR

From the White House:

The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself.

The President said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.
Readout of Obama's call with Morsi:

President Obama spoke to President Morsi today. The President thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal. President Morsi expressed appreciation for President Obama’s efforts in this regard.

President Obama and President Morsi agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza.

President Obama reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Egypt, and welcomed President Morsi's commitment to regional security.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 21

Obama, with McKayla Maroney, is not impressed
Times are eastern.

12:45 AM
Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews.
Obama arrives at the White House.
11:00 AM
Michelle Obama is presented with the official White House Christmas Tree at the North Portico.
2:00 PM
Obama pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Live stream
4:20 PM
The First Family participates in a service event.

My favorite - More Obama not impressed here

Health Care Exchanges Coming 2014

See the health care implementation timeline.  If you don't get health care through your employer, you can go online beginning in 2014 and buy insurance on health care exchanges.

Many don't understand the new law. It's simple. If you don't have insurance through your employer, you can buy insurance through online health care exchanges. If you can't afford it, you will still be able to get health insurance:
When asked to highlight the words they liked, and the ones they didn’t, many had circled “might.” It conveyed an uncertainty about the law’s benefits, suggesting that participants that they might get something — or they might not get anything at all. “I don’t like the word might at all,” one participant said. “It makes me wonder if it’ll be really expensive,” another added.

One woman who expressed this view the strongest was Marina Sokolovsky, a 26-year-old who has been uninsured since she was 17. Earning about $1,500 each month, she’s near certain to qualify for new benefits. But when she looks out at the insurance system now — broken, fragmented, and out of her reach — she just doesn’t think it will work. “Change is good, and it may be a real change, but if it was doable, it would have been done by now,” she says. “For how complicated things are, it would be a really big shift to find something functional. I just don’t think that’s possible.” WaPo

Hillary Clinton Speaks in Jerusalem Nov. 20

Happy Birthday VPOTUS Joe Biden!

Tweeted by the Obama team earlier today, so in that vein, more Obama and Joe

Obama Leaves Cambodia Heads Back Home

I'm a sucker for these Air Force One videos.

Hillary Clinton Heads to Mideast to Help with Cease Fire

Hillary Clinton had been at the East Asia Summit with Obama, who returns to the White House today. NBC says sending a high level official means a deal is imminent. Obama's been talking quite a lot to Egypt's Morsi. Morsi is sympathetic to Palestinians but not interested in war in the region.

Obama Meets with Leaders of China and Japan at East Asia Summit

Monday, November 19, 2012

Obama's Schedule Nov. 20

Obama in a Batik shirt, ready for dinner at East Asia Summit
Times are eastern.

1:15 AM
The President attends an East Asian Summit Plenary Session
Local Event Time: 
1:15 PM ICT
Cambodia, Peace Palace, Phnom Penh
Press Information
3:00 AM
The President attends an East Asian Summit Retreat Session
Local Event Time: 
3:00 PM ICT
Cambodia, Peace Palace, Phnom Penh
Closed Press
4:50 AM
The President meets and greets with United States Embassy personnel
Local Event Time: 
4:50 PM ICT
Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel
Closed Press
5:35 AM
The President departs Phnom Penh, Cambodia en route Washington, DC
Local Event Time: 
5:35 PM ICT
Phnom Penh International Airport
Open Press
Show Detailed Press Information